As opposed to our favorite songs, or songs we'd like to think define our listening habits, taking a look at what a person actually listens to can be far more revealing. With that in mind, we've decided to ask a few folks to take a look at the most-played songs in their iTunes libraries and share with us the results. (A few of you may have seen Maynard James Keenan's list last week). We do this on the honor system, and we ask our subjects to share a few words about each song.
In addition to being an Oscar-winning actor, Tim Robbins is a singer, songwriter, and frontman of Tim Robbins and The Rogues Gallery Band, and he's bringing his forthcoming self-titled debut to the Triple Door on July 18, the night before the record is released. Just as we requested of Keenan, we asked Robbins to send us the 10 most-played songs in his iTunes library. He countered with 30. Here, Robbins talks about Elvis Costello, Arcade Fire, and Billie Holiday.
1. "Sigh No More," Mumford & Sons: Great Band, kick-ass banjo. Great live.
2. "Just Breathe," Pearl Jam: One of many great songs from Eddie and company.
3. "Sinner Man," Nina Simone: Sublime, beautiful, complex.
4. "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," Billie Holiday: Try not to dance to this.
5. "Modern Man," Arcade Fire: My favorite from their best album yet.
6. "Helplessness Blues," Fleet Foxes: Love the line, "If I had an orchard, I'd work til I'm sore."
7. "Don't Let Us Get Sick," Warren Zevon: A beautiful prayer. A healing song, one of his last.
8. "Miss Otis Regrets," (Cole Porter) The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl: Great depth of storytelling in this song.
9. "Don't Fence Me In," (Cole Porter) David Byrne: Cole Porter is such a clever playful lyricist and David Byrne adds a nice drive to the song.
10. "I Gotta Know," Woody Guthrie: Unheard classic protest song that remains relevant today.
11. "All the World Is Green," Tom Waits: Elegiac, graceful, sad and beautiful
12. "In Your Mind," Johnny Cash: A surreal epic Johnny wrote after seeing Dead Man Walking.
13. "What Keeps Mankind Alive" (Brecht/Weill) Tom Waits: As tough as a song can be. Punk rock before its time.
14. "Drive All Night," Bruce Springsteen: I love the love in this song. "C'mon C'mon C'mon C'mon, let's go to bed."
15. "Lay Down Your Weary Tune," Bob Dylan: Nice surrealistic images in the lyrics. A song for musicians. "Rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings."
16. "Let England Shake," P.J. Harvey: Great song off a great album.
17. "Clampdown," The Clash: How do you pick your favorite Clash song? Impossible, but this week it is "Clampdown."
18. "Lipstick Vogue," Elvis Costello: Fast, furious and nasty. Great drum part.
19. "In Spite of Ourselves," John Prine and Iris Dement: Funny and romantic. Could be the best trailer park love song ever.
20. "Chanson de Chagrin," The Highwaymen: My dad singing lead on his own arrangement of a traditional French song.
21. "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea," Neutral Milk Hotel: I can't get enough of this band.
22. "Two Headed Boy," Neutral Milk Hotel: I like how this song repeats later in the album.
23. "Buona Sera," Louis Prima: Because sometimes you have to put on wing tip shoes and nicely ironed trousers and dance like its 1959.
24. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1," Flaming Lips: The great benefit of having children with good taste in music is being exposed to bands like the Flaming Lips. On vinyl.
25. "Street Hassle," Lou Reed: A great operatic, theatrical song that evokes NY in the seventies in all its messy, complicated glory.
26. "Breakaway," Irma Thomas: A great song to sing and dance to.
27. "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts," X: My favorite 80s band still going strong today.
28. "Giving that Heaven Away," Jackson Browne: Wistful, romantic. I love the imagery in this song.
29. "This City," Steve Earle: The best song about post-Katrina New Orleans.
30. "One Love," Bob Marley: Whenever you are down, or troubled this song lifts you up.