More List-making torture: Your Top 10 or 20 Vienna songs

She's a helluva chef. Interpretation, praise, criticism ...

Moderator: Ginny

Warm Stranger
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 10:04 am

More List-making torture: Your Top 10 or 20 Vienna songs

Postby murlough23 » Fri May 01, 2009 11:24 pm

I'm just a glutton for punishment with this list-making business! List your favorite 10 or 20 Vienna songs. (20 is almost half her output so far. I figured I had to cap it somewhere to prevent us from listing every song. This is triage. You gotta make some hard calls!) Tell me your reason for the song you put at #1.

1. Harbor
2. Between
3. Antebellum
4. The Tower
5. Unwritten Letter #1
6. I Don't Feel So Well
7. Gravity
8. Pontchartrain
9. Radio
10. No Gringo
11. Love Turns 40
12. Momentum
13. Blue Caravan
14. Hope on Fire
15. Passage
16. Now Three
17. The Last Snowfall
18. Grandmother Song
19. City Hall
20. Feather Moon

"Harbor" is kind of a weird pick for my #1, to be honest. I like Vienna because she's willing to be unflinchingly moody/melancholy when the situation calls for it, and it's a lot of those darker hues that make her songs so gripping and memorable. yet here I am, picking what is probably one of her most "poppy" songs, not to mention a totally mushy love song, to put at #1. It's the music geek in me taking over. Almost nobody can write a song that is so musically complex, with so many time signature changes in it, and yet so catchy and singable at the same time. many attempts to write pop songs in non-standard time signatures, or that change their rhythm midway through, usually strike me as forced. Something about it is off-putting to the ear until you get used to the change-up that you initially weren't expecting. That doesn't happen here. It flows beautifully from 5/8 to 6/8 to 7/8, or whatever the order of those crazy time signatures happens to be.

Posts: 1675
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 4:21 am
Location: Hilo, HI

Postby Scot » Mon May 04, 2009 3:09 pm

Ack- there's just no way I could do this. :)

My little attempt at a Vienna Teng WWW page (Set lists, song info., and more...)

Cool Stranger
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:54 am
Location: Oberhausen, Germany

Postby Aschefeder » Fri May 08, 2009 7:49 pm


1.: The Atheist Christmas Carol
2.: St. Stephen's Cross
3.: Nothing Without You
4.: Recessional
5.: Lullabye For a Stormy Night
6.: Cannonball (Damien Rice cover)
7.: Stray Italian Greyhound
8.: Whatever You Want
9.: Augustine
10.: Waking Hour (web-release only)

There is no particular reason why "The Atheist Christmas Carol" is on top of my list. I could say because it's "calming", but so are many others of these slow-paced songs too. I guess it's just the combination of her voice, the melody and/or the "gentle" piano.

However, I don't regularly create such lists for any musician I do listen to. I just went down the songs I currently keep listening to most of the time and thought which have or had impressed me (in whatever terms) most. And it's pretty important which mood I'm in.

Jonathan Sanders
Warm Stranger
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 4:19 am

Postby Jonathan Sanders » Sat May 30, 2009 8:02 am

My "Vienna Greatest Hits" ... (this is actually a list I frequently listen to, to which the new album was recently added):

1. Gravity (Original Piano Cut) -- from her initial release, pre-Virt
2. The Tower
3. Lullabye For A Stormy Night
4. Harbor
5. My Medea
6. Homecoming
7. The Athiest Christmas Carol
8. Green Island Serenade
9. I Don't Feel So Well
11. Recessional
12. Antebellum
13. Kansas
14. No Gringo
15. St. Stephen's Cross

I like to keep things chronological because I think Vienna's music has developed very evenly, so the chronology makes musical sense. I know I left off some of her singles, but these have always been the tracks I've beent he most addicted to (and the new album's becoming as addictive as anything!)

Since the list is chronological, my favorite long term would be Gravity, because it was the first song of Vienna's to hook me ... It later inspired a song I wrote called "Vienna," based on me first hearing the song and imagining I'd been there to observe her writing process.

Currently, however, "St. Stephen's Cross" has been atop my list due to the aural compexity of the arrangement. It's a real brain workout due to all the layers and the complex weaving of melodies and countermelodies. Structurally it's the most adventurous song I think she's composed.

Hot Stranger
Posts: 252
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 11:06 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Postby sheeba » Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:01 pm

My very very favorites in no particular order.

Feather Moon
Nothing Without You
Love Turns 40
I Don't Feel So Well
Blue Caravan
St. Stephen's Cross
Decade & One
The Atheist Christmas Carol
The Tower

Cool Stranger
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:56 am
Location: New York

Postby tomcos » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:47 am

I'm new here, but I've been a fan since the Letterman appearance. Here is my list:

1. Gravity
2. Between
3. Daughter
4. Say Uncle
5. Augustine
6. Antebellum
7. Whatever You Want
8. The Tower
9. The Last Snowfall
10. No Gringo
11. Recessional
12. 1BR/1BA
13. Radio
14. Hope on Fire
15. Harbor
16. Kansas
17. My Medea
18. Lullabye for a Stormy Night
19. Momentum
20. Green Island Serenade

Gravity is Number 1 because it was, quite simply, my introduction to her music. I have been a fan of David Letterman since 1982, and I was watching the January 20, 2003 episode of the Late Show. By the time Vienna Teng was introduced, I was busy wrapping things up for the evening - putting my papers away, tidying up a bit, etc. I remember vaguely hearing Dave say the words "television debut," and remember hearing the first few notes of her piano and thinking "hmm, this sounds nice." But once Vienna sang the first two words of the song, "Hey Love," I dropped everything I was doing and sat down and watched and listened to the whole song, and I don't think I blinked once. These were the days of the VCR, and I used to tape the Late Show every night in case I missed an episode. So I rewound the tape and watched again. And again. The first thing that caught me was the clarity and utter beauty of her voice.. almost like "where is that voice coming from?" On a second viewing, I was struck by her piano playing. On a third run-through, and remembering that this was her "television debut," I looked at her in amazement, because this had to be the biggest moment of her career to this point, but she barely betrayed any nervousness, and even looked out and smiled at the audience and the camera during the performance. I remember smiling at the little dance she and Dave did as he tried to get her to stand next to him and face the camera after she had finished. And, she got a hand kiss, which, as fans of the Letterman show know, is kind of a big deal (recent Letterman events notwithstanding). Those were my thoughts on January 20, 2003. I went out and bought Waking Hour as soon as I could, and she was kind enough to sign it at a show in NYC. As an aside, now that I know the full story, it appears that Paul Shaffer and the CBSO learned that song the day it was performed - which makes me admire Mr. Shaffer and co. even more than I did before. Sorry to be so long-winded, but that's why Gravity is #1 on my list. It is very difficult to put them in order and to leave some amazing songs off the list.

Can't wait to see the shows at Joe's Pub next month.

Tom C.

Posts: 1675
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 4:21 am
Location: Hilo, HI

Postby Scot » Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:51 pm

Hey Tom,

Great story! I've often wondered what it takes to get up on stage
every night and just put yourself out there- exposed to everything. Vienna
does such an excellent job of that - a skill handy in any profession, but especially a musician!

My little attempt at a Vienna Teng WWW page (Set lists, song info., and more...)

Cool Stranger
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:56 am
Location: New York

Postby tomcos » Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:57 pm

The list is in no particular order... I happen to think that Inland Territory is a masterpiece of an album, and I like every song on it. To paraphrase David Letterman when he was talking about Waking Hour, "there isn't a dud on it."

For a song like Kansas, which (as she has stated) is so personal to her and such a melancholy song, I don't know how she is able to keep it together to perform it, while I can barely do the same while listening to it.

Howdy, Stranger!
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:09 pm

Postby hespera » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:14 pm

(Hey there. I'm new to this forum, but I've been a fan of Vienna for almost a year. Sixteen years old (girl) expat who loves to write and finds that Vienna's music is very inspiring. Coincidence that I live in Taiwan? Nah. But it's cool. I'm learning how to sing the lyrics in Green Island Serenade properly in Mandarin. :) )

Here's mine:

1. Eric's Song [I love the lyrics here...]
2. Stray Italian Greyhound
3. Gravity
4. Recessional
5. Lullaby for a Stormy Night
6. Enough to Go By
7. Green Island Serenade
8. Antebellum
9. Between
10. Anna Rose

Man, it was hard to pick. I'm in love with almost all of her have to say that Eric's Song holds the undisputed first place there. I think it's gorgeous (and the lyrics are the name of the forum!)

Howdy, Stranger!
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:58 am

Postby RhineGold » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:26 pm

1} Augustine
2} Eric's Song
3} Recessional
4} Shasta (Carrie's Song)
5} Harbor*
6} Antebellum
7} Gravity
8} St. Stephen's Cross
9} Between
10} The Tower
11} House
12} The Last Snowfall
13} Unwritten Letter #1
14} Drought
15} Kansas
16} Grandmother Song
17} Enough to Go By
18} Feather Moon
19} Soon Love Soon
20} Homecoming (Walter's Song)

*(this was our first dance at our wedding - a weird dance, but the best ever)

Warm Stranger
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 7:35 am

Postby Erik » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:53 am

At random, I just picked the ten songs that I feel are my favorite Vienna Teng songs for the current moment. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Radio
2. Hope On Fire
3. No Gringo
4. Love Turns 40
5. Shine
6. The Tower
7. Between
8. In Another Life
9. Rainwalk Song
10. Signal Fire

Here are my current top 10 Vienna Teng collaboration songs also in no particular order:
1. Urbanismo (Estonia)
2. Help is On the Way (Vienna Teng and The Animators)
3. Go On Make Promises (w/Paul Freeman)
4. Mary Ann (Ben Arthur Live Modern Troubadours version)
5. Everything's Fine (w/Amber Rubarth)
6. We're Going to Fly (Brother Henry)
7. Happy to Love You (Leigh Nash)
8. Temptations: Bread and Water (formerly known as Sid Arthur)
9. Subway (Estonia)
10. In The Air (Peter Bradley Adams)

Getting Stranger
Posts: 397
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:19 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Postby aaparallel » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:54 am

Sure, I'll make a list.

No particular order, but I'm considering the songs that have been stuck in my head lately and the songs most played on itunes (where I do not have all of VT's songs...).

1. Pencil Sketch
2. House
3. I Don't Feel So Well
4. Recessional
5. Stray Italian Greyhound
6. Daughter
7. Gravity
8. Grandmother Song
9. Blue Caravan
10. Radio

Woo! Got 10 down. Very interesting. Yes, I love the unreleased songs enough to put them at the top. Pencil Sketch, in particular, is so fun to sing along to. Makes me so happy...the art metaphor, the imagery, the French...and yet, there's a feeling of sadness throughout. How does she put a song like that together so quickly?

I've been playing and singing Daughter. Love it more than ever before.

Looks like Warm Strangers didn't make the cut. Very interesting. It used to be my favorite album. She and Alex should bring back My Medea.

Radio...took a while for me to warm up to that one, but it's scary brilliant. And how could I not fall in love with it after hearing it live. It needs a music video.
"Drowning my pain in lemonade. . . Singing along to 'feelin' alright'"

Howdy, Stranger!
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:35 pm
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Impossible Task

Postby Godiago » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:44 pm

This will be a works in progress top 10 as I delve deeper into the melodic wonderland that is Vienna and her music.

For me two songs immediately make a top 10 list, first and foremost, for the fact they were the first two Vienna experiences I had. Like a first kiss or a first love, you rarely forget and always hold special somewhere. So, for me, My Medea and Harbor are two of my favorites.

My Medea when first heard (or 1000th heard) hits you like a ton of bricks. The song itself is like a perfectly written novel. All great masterpieces of literature start out slow, luring you into their characters, their situations, the settings, and what the plot line is going to be. The novel then ascends building the plot to the point where you don't want to put the book down and salivate for that next chapter. Then you read it. The climax where good triumphs evil, where true love wins out or when the lead character finally gets what they wish for. But, like in life, it isn't over. We still have a hundred pages to go and smaller loose ends to tie up. We keep reading, breathing coming back down to normal, until the final page, the last sentence, the ending word.

That is how My Medea is to me. The music, the vocals, the story. Every time I hear it I can feel the goosebumps rising on my arms. It is one of my all time favorite songs. One that I will never tire of. And hope upon hope she plays when she comes to Dallas.
"For you, I'd burn the length and breadth of sky."

Return to “Vienna's Kitchen”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests