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!
Goo Goo Dolls – Iris (1998)
” Iris” is a song by American alternative rock band Goo Goo Dolls. Originally written for the soundtrack of the 1998 film City of Angels , the song was later included on the band’s sixth album, Dizzy Up the Girl . “Iris” has contributed greatly to the band’s success.
We’re leaving the UK and heading back to the US and to Buffalo in New York. Formed in 1986 Goo Goo Dolls dabbled in different varieties of rock but it would be more than a decade before they achieved their biggest commercial success. In 1998 they were invited to consider writing a song for the soundtrack to City of Angels, a remake of the 1987 German masterpiece, Wings of Desire. The song the group came up with was Iris.
Taking inspiration from City of Angels, John Rzeznik was moved by the plight of the angel that falls in love with a woman on earth, and the magnitude of that romance led to the lyrics of Iris. The song resonates with the film’s story as the narrator talks of giving up heaven to be with this woman and how beautiful she is to him. We are not certain what the outcome of this desire is but the chorus suggests the protagonist is desperately trying to reach her and only her, that he doesn’t want the rest of the world to bear witness to him and who he is, only her.
I can’t recall when I first heard Iris but I do know it is a song that I loved immediately. The song seems gentle in the verses but in the chorus the music and vocals intensify. There is so much emotion being evoked here. The song was a critical and commercial success, faring well across multiple charts across the globe. Goo Goo Dolls continue to this day and although they have had many hits since, they are unlikely to ever top Iris.
Favourite songs so far: