Couldn't sleep so what the hell, let's type. These are:
Sowing the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears - I first listened to this after winning a tape recorder from a trip to Disneyland (I was like 5 or 7 at the time) and my sister graciously shared one of her favorite tapes, and given that she was in a total 80's mood at the time, which wasn't that weird given that it actually WAS the 80's at the time, that was one of the first pop songs I really liked. It was so different because of all the clashing sounds, the buildups and decrescendos...like being high before you really understood what being high was all about. And it was such an upbeat song - I probably didn't even know what "sowing" meant, but whatever it was, it was cool.
The Luckiest by Ben Folds - I remember a coworker at Bain (Dan Galemba) told me about this song and how he wanted to play this at his wedding. And when I first listened to it, I felt like a million tiny hands reaching into my chest and simultaneously squeezing my heart. It's the kind of song which might derive some of its impact from old movies or lame photos but isn't overly saturated with maudlin lyrics or piano riffs. What's so great about the song is that you simultaneously want to sing it for that special someone, but also want someone to sing it about you. Okay, and now I must make my obligatory "let me stop before I puke" because really, I'm just getting quite mushy.
I will follow you into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie - This song I initially heard was taken aback. I mean he's obviously saying he's willing to GO TO HELL for the love of his life, and that's supposed to be romantic. But if you really listen to the song, it's actually an atheist/agnostic's creed. He makes fun of heaven and hell by comparing them to cheap motels, he remembers his harsh Catholic upbringing and the hypocrisy it espouses, and describes death in a reassuring, nonchalant manner without regard to consequence. He's not brave for his willingness to go to hell for his love because he doesn't believe in hell or heaven. In fact, his use of the word "dark" implies he believes there's NOTHING after death. And that's why this song is so cool - to pop culture and raving hordes of teenagers it's totally an indie love theme, but to those of us listening, really listening, the song is a gigantic smirk/dig at religion.