5 Addictive Songs That Hooked Me and Never Let Go

17 July 2014 by 13 Comments

Addiction is obviously a very strong word. I will admit that at no point in my life have I broken out in cold sweats because I hadn’t listened to Damien Rice or sold myself on a street corner trying to get a City and Colour fix. (Music is definitely a more healthy addiction than heroin.) But what I can say is that the following addictive songs hooked me the moment I heard them and in some cases I can’t stop listening to them a decade later. These aren’t necessarily the best songs by these artists, and in the case of Sleater-Kinney not even in the top 10, but these are the songs that made me fall in love with them.

“Broadripple is Burning” – Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s

I was introduced to this song in the summer of 2009 by someone that broke my heart. And oddly enough, she introduced this song to me because she thought it reflected how I was feeling when someone else broke my heart.

Boy was she right. The entire song is about the clear anguish the author is feeling after losing his partner. Every verse, every line, every word of this song boils with a mix of sadness and anger. It comes to a head at the end with the line that will forever resonate with me: “We’ve got a lot, don’t you dare forget that”

Nearly 10 years after its release, it is still the featured live song of Margot shows. And on the rare occasion that it isn’t played, the band’s Facebook feed fills with angry posts.

“Sleeping Sickness” – City and Colour

I have to thank Pandora for introducing me to this song. I had heard it once a few years earlier while at a friend’s house but it didn’t really hit me then. Probably because it was some guy playing it on a guitar after a rowdy game of beer pong and I was turned off by its down notes.

This song really hit me the first time I gave it a proper listen. I had just lost my job less than a year after moving to a new city. I was broke, alone, and wallowing in a sea of self pity in my apartment, struggling to figure out how I would get out of this rut. I had been finally feeling like an adult working a job that paid a living wage and the rug was swept out from under me. I spent a lot of time laying on my couch with my ear buds in and listened to this song on repeat, because City and Colour expressed my feelings better than I could ever do myself

“Popular Mechanics for a Broken Heart” – Beulah

Most of you won’t agree with this statement, but The OC is the greatest televison show in history. I may have rolled my hyperbole knob to an extreme but the fact is that I first heard of Beulah whilst watching Ryan Atwood brood about Orange County and chase after Marissa Cooper.

This song is great for numerous reasons. First off, it references Popular Mechanics in a pop song, which is always a plus. The 2nd great thing is that it perfectly sums up the feeling of unrequited love, especially when that love is seeing someone else. And then the best part is that it such a happy, fun sounding song that you can listen to it while you are incredibly depressed and people around you that aren’t paying close attention to the lyrics will assume you are in a great mood and having a good time.

The stark contrast that is evoked by the music and the lyrics reminded me of something Ben Folds said when I saw him in concert. He has a song called “Song for the Dumped” which is a very angry break up song with a very happy sounding musical accompinment. He was criticized by his record label for using ‘happy chords’ witch such downer lyrics. It helped explain the absurd thinking of corporate suits and the brilliance of musical diversity.

“You’re No Rock and Roll Fun” – Sleater-Kinney

Growing up in a relatively small town made it hard for me to be exposed to really good music. If it wasn’t on MTV or the radio, I had never heard of it. I procured a subscription to Rolling Stone in 8th grade but largely ignored reviews and stories about bands I had never heard of in favor of its stories about TRL and the VMAs.

The summer before my senior year, I traveled to Washington on a mission trip for my church. On the last day we decided to spend a fun day in Seattle a week of working on an Indian reservation. Some friends and I were decided to visit a newly opened museum called the Experience Music Project. The EMP was originally intended to be a Jimi Hendrix museum but was eventually turned into a museum focusing on the Northwest music scene.

In the gift shop, I noticed an album by the band Sleater-Kinney. I had seen them mentioned constantly in Rolling Stone but had never bothered to give them a listen. I picked up the headphones at the listening station and flipped it to a random track. At that moment my ears were drowned in something I had never heard before. Women. That rocked! Not the gorgeous pop singers I had long been exposed to, but women with instruments and something important to say. From that day forward, I was hooked on riot grrl music and realized that the music world really was a diverse and amazing thing to experience.

“Volcano” – Damien Rice

This song came out when I was in the middle of failing out of college. I heard mention of Damien Rice from coworkers and the Internet but never bothered because I was in my punk/jam band phase. No idea how those connect but I was either listening to Phish or Dead Kennedys and that’s the way I liked it.

Then one morning, I woke up early and just lay in bed flipping channels. I landed on VH1 and the VJ mentioned that the next video was Damien Rice. I figured I may as well check it out because hitting a button on the remote again seemed like an awful lot of work.

I sat there and stared in awe while I was watching. I’m not sure what it was exactly that hooked me the first time. Damiens voice, the cello, or Lisa Hannigan. But I will say the male/female dynamic is what has kept me around this song for 10+ years and I still can’t get enough.

So what addictive songs have hooked you? At any point have you been listening to the radio and just became mesmerized? Ever heard a song at bar, whipped out your phone, opened up Shazzam, and became an artist’s biggest fan? Ever hear “Desperado” by The Eagles and start ignoring your girlfriend? Let me know about it!


Don't like country music? Well you're wrong. I hate it when people only listen to one genre of music. I also hate it when people brag about how 'eclectic' their taste in music is and then proceed to only listen to pop music. I was born and raised and continue to live in Kentucky and I think banjos are pretty much the best thing ever.

13 thoughts on “5 Addictive Songs That Hooked Me and Never Let Go

  1. Walked into the breakroom at 5am one morning a couple of years ago and VH1 played “Black Horse and Cherry Tree” (KT Tunstall) followed by “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” (Death Cab for Cutie) Instant favorites.

    And “Black Horse” is even cooler when you see her perform it solo and using a looping pedal to cover all the background stuff. Just amazing.

  2. Back in high school, I would listen to Fiona Apple’s “Never Is a Promise” over and over again. I doubt I fully appreciated the lyrics, but I could feel her emotion, and the instrumentation is just beautiful. Honestly, any song that makes lyrical use of strings has the potential to put me in that Desperado-trance.

  3. Songs I have been addicted to lately:

    “Fast As You” by Dwight Yoakam. I’ve always liked this song, but for some reason I can’t stop listening to it right now. And for whatever reason (actually, I know the reason: because everyone I knew was obsessed with Garth Brooks and that’s what we all listened to back in the day), I never knew how awesome Dwight Yoakam is, so that song kind of gateway’d me into the rest of his work.

    “Transmission” by Joy Division, the live version from the BBC recordings. My husband is a huge New Order/Joy Division fan, but I didn’t get into JD until I heard their live music–it’s much better than the processed studio stuff, I think.

    Also “Regret” by New Order, ever since I heard them play it live in 2013.

    “Way Over Yonder In the Minor Key” by Billy Bragg/Natalie Merchant/Wilco. Had totally forgotten about this song and now it’s on repeat a lot. Usually I just listen to it and “California Stars” until I can’t anymore.

  4. I’m addicted to “Celebrity Skin” by Hole, “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by The Postal Service, “Seven Wonders” by Fleetwood Mac, and the entire My Head is an Animal album by Of Monsters and Men.

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