If I was any good at titles (which I am not), I am certain that this playlist would have an incredible title. Now I appreciate this is not very helpful, but when you listen you will hear just how well all these songs hang together. It’s a complete vibe; I just wish I could explain exactly what vibe it is….

To be fair, I might go for “feelings which can’t be articulated into words”. Join me in relishing in the emotional catharsis created by these beautiful songs (all so elegantly ordered if I don’t say so myself):

“Beautiful (1999 Remastered)” – Marillion

Featured lyric: “We don’t have to live in a world where we give bad names to beautiful things”

I had to begin with “Beautiful” because there really isn’t a song quite like it; it would feel bathetic and useless anywhere else. This is a song for falling in love with everything and everyone, a song which will make you feel alive. Yes, the guitar is beautifully (get the pun!) dreamy, but it’s the lyrics you will get lost in. Look out for the bridge from 3:15 onward; as the music rises I know your heart will soar and your soul will sing.

P.S. Big shoutout to my mum for introducing me to Marillion, I am forever grateful.

“Futile Devices” – Sufjan Stephens

Featured lyric: “All words are futile devices”

I was reticent at first with this song because it has been so overused in the aesthetic hype of Call Me By Your Name. Saying that, there is something so musically sexy about Stephens’ voice and the subtlety of this composition in particular. In the shadow of his song I too find myself wanting to run away and hide in rural Italy.

“Cowgirl in the Sand (live)” – Crosby, Stills, Nash &Young

Featured lyric: “Old enough now to change your name, when so many love you is it the same?”

I’ve always been a big fan of Neil Young, and I absolutely think this is one of his best, particularly this arrangement. It is tempting to focus your attention primarily on Young’s lyrics, to puzzle out exactly who this cowgirl is. However, I think there is something to be said for the quietness of the instrumentation. Even when performing to an audience in the thousands, Young still perfectly conveys the sensation of utter loneliness.

“White Dress” – Lana Del Rey

Featured lyric: “I only mention it ‘cause it was such a scene, and I felt seen”

Quite probably the most sensual song I have heard in a long time, I don’t need to say any more. Emotionally it is… it is just…it’s…wow. I know there is a lot of hate coming out for Chemtrails, but I will not hear any “White Dress” slander, absolutely none.

“Do I Wanna Know? (Acoustic)” – Shannon & Keast

Featured lyric: “The nights were mainly made for sayin’ things that you can’t say tomorrow day”

Arctic Monkeys meets folklore, you might think this would be a match made in hell (I did when I stumbled upon this song completely accidentally)… but you will find yourself eating crow. Yes, living up to the Arctic Monkeys was always going to be a tough gig, but I think Shannon & Keast manage brilliantly. I actually think that the female voice adds an additional depth; it becomes almost an answer to the original. Plus the AM version was so overplayed in 2013 that it became a cliché. With this version you can listen to what was actually a very very good song without finding yourself dying slightly inside.

“Red Rain”– Peter Gabriel

Featured lyric: “I come to you, defences down, with the trust of a child”

Unfortunately, even though I study English, I am not fully convinced at exactly what the “Red Rain” represents. The lyrics are certainly odd and a bit confused. Is there a woman? Isn’t there a woman? Is he awake? Is he dead? Why is the rain red? But the lyrics aren’t what make this song magical, absolutely not. It’s the emotion contained within Gabriel’s unique voice, the way it builds with the orchestration. Definitely better than his hit “In Your Eyes”…it’s a really underappreciated Gabriel song.   

“Greek Tragedy (Bastille Remix)” – The Wombats

Featured lyric: “The method acting might pay our bills but soon enough there’ll be a different role to fill”

“Greek Tragedy” + the creators of “Pompeii” = a match made in classical heaven. With the  echoes of “Pompeii” present from the beginning, underscoring the modern drama contained in the lyrics, the song conveys a clear sense of majesty… and gosh when Bastille burst forth in the chorus, you too will feel like you are scaling the walls of Troy! TikTok might have butchered the original but this is a remix which certainly gets me excited.

“Scattering Crows (live)” – Fish

Featured lyric: “Time slips slowly by as I stare at forever, and I wonder if we still have time?”

I know I said “Beautiful” was one of the most beautiful songs of all time, but this comes a very, very close second. I cannot put into words the emotions I feel when listening to this song. The piano acceleration at 2:05… wow.

As I conclude, I realise that I may have shot myself in the foot by deciding to write an article about songs which provoke feelings I cannot quite articulate. However, I am also very sure this is a sensation everyone experiences when listening to their favourite songs. It’s this exact sensation which proves there is nothing quite like music.

These songs will never let you down; when you don’t have the words, just focus on the feelings…

Happy listening xxx

Jessica Steadman

Jess Steadman (she/her) is the Senior Cultures Editor at The Oxford Blue. She is a second year studying Medieval Literature at Univ and is from (mostly sunny) Essex. If you want to find her, she is probably...