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… legendary!
Spiritualized – Broken Heart (1997)
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space is the third studio album by English space rock band Spiritualized, released on 16 June 1997. The album features guest appearances from the Balanescu Quartet, The London Community Gospel Choir and Dr. John.
We’re leaving the US today dear reader and making our way back to the UK. We find ourselves in Rugby in the heart of the English Midlands. Formed in 1990 Spiritualized are a rock band dabbling in space rock and psychedelia and led by their mainstay, Jason Pierce. When we join the group in 1997 it is with the release of their third album – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space – and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track, Broken Heart.
Broken Heart is divided into four heart-rending verses and no chorus. As the title suggests, this is a poignant account of an individual who has been unlucky in love and is either nursing a broken heart or still trying to pick up the pieces and repair the seemingly irreparable damage to themselves. Although the lyrics cut through to the bone, the track is also augmented by the stunning music with a gorgeous opening melody that takes up more than a minute of the song’s opening. Broken hearts often repair but this song shows that the journey is long and painful.
I had not heard of Spiritualized before this song challenge but I was left astounded by Broken Heart. Each verse is united by the simple refrain of “Lord, I have a broken heart” and each repetition makes this one all the more emotional as you listen in on someone else’s pain. Beautiful orchestral music, coupled with a serene and tortured vocal make this track one of my favourite finds in this esteemed list. Absolutely stunning.
Favourite songs so far: