On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Mazzy Star – Into Dust (1993)
” Into Dust” is a song by American duo Mazzy Star that appears as the ninth track on their second album So Tonight That I Might See . The song’s arrangement is sparse and features only acoustic guitar and cello as accompaniment to the vocals.
We’re leaving the UK today, dear reader, and making our way back to the US and to Santa Monica in California. Formed in 1989 Mazzy Star began life as Opal back in the early 1980s but when Kendra Smith left, David Roback brought in his friend, Hope Sandoval, as the new vocalist. They continued as Opal for a time before writing new material and becoming Mazzy Star. When we join them in 1993 it is with the release of their second album, SoTonight That I Might See and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Into Dust.
Into Dust is a poignant account from a morose woman about how her life and the moments she lives are all fading into oblivion. She describes imagery of her eyes turning to dust and tries to convey this feeling to others, only to find that they too also dissipate into the air. The song sounds like a reflection of mortality and how each and every one of us is on borrowed time with each breath we take and each day that passes. One can drive themselves mad thinking about it too deeply but it is our shared truth and reality, no matter how hard we resist it.
I was familiar with Mazzy Star and Into Dust and it was refreshing to see it on this list. The gentle melody and gorgeous vocals from Hope Sandoval are a pleasure to hear, even though the subject matter here of one’s fragility is very sad indeed. The group disbanded in 1997 due to pressure from their record company but have reunited in the last decade and continue to command a loyal following.
Favourite songs so far: