Songs That Give You the Chills

A perfectly crafted song, IMHO, should cause the listener to experience the joy of chills running up their spine and down their arms. This sensation usually produces a blissful smile and a warm, fuzzy feeling. It is rare that a song can continue to do this after repeated listening, but I have quite a few.

More Than Words” by Extreme. Not only do I get chills, but it also feels as if I had someone’s hand inside my ribcage, squeezing my heart. I will never get sick of this song.

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” by Rufus Wainwright. Actually, a lot of Rufus’ songs give me chills, but this one especially. It always happens when he sings, “I’m just a little bit heiress, a little bit Irish, a little bit Tower of Pisa,” and it builds and peaks in a very sparkling way. I can’t even really describe how much I love that song.

Come What May” by Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. Yes, from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. What a wonderful love song! And what amazing lyrics: “Never knew I could feel like this/ Like I’ve never seen the sky before.” That’s a great song, fo sho.

To Be With You” by Mr. Big. Along the lines of “More Than Words.” What really gets me is the guitar solo part. So very sweet.

Senses Working Overtime” by XTC. Some people on the boards suggested this band, and I cannot believe how wonderful they are. I haven’t heard very much of their music yet, but this one gives me the chills.

Pretty Good Year” by Tori Amos. Actually, I could probably say that her entire Under the Pink CD gives me the chills. But the piano at the beginning of this song just sounds so melancholy and for some reason reminds me of Christmas time.

Different People” by No Doubt. I still love Tragic Kingdom. The part that gets me is, “Once in a while I sit back and think about the planets/ And most of the time I trip on it/ To kick back and think about how massive it all is/ And how many others are on it.” I guess those lyrics actually sound kind of stupid when you read them, but it’s chilly to listen to.

Weak” by SWV. The chills part is when they really break it down: “I get so weak, blood starts racin’ through my veins…” Delicious!

The First Taste” by Fiona Apple. Her Tidal CD is still one of my favorites. I like the part, “But daddy longlegs, I feel that I’m finally growin’ weary of waiting to be consumed by you.” So very cool.

So, I hope I didn’t bore you with those descriptions. What songs give you the chills?
Mods - I don’t really know if I’m violating any copyright laws by posting snippets of lyrics. If so, I’m really sorry and won’t be mad if you have to remove anything. If not, good.

I guess my concept of chills is slightly different, but even before I opened the thread, the first song that came to mind was “Ghost Riders in the Sky” (anyone’s version, but particularly Johnny Cash.)

Eva Cassidy’s version of Sting’s Fields of Gold off of Live at Blues Alley. I’ve gotten misty listening to this.

Shawn Colvin’s version of Rolly Sally’s Killing the Blues off of Cover Girl. This is an example of impeccable timing and meter.

and for some reason…

Steve Goodman’s A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request. Don’t ask me why, but by the last verse I’m a-shiver.

The Titanic soundtrack.

The title/theme song of “Diamonds Are Forever,” by Shirley Bassey.

Su Sudio by Phil Collins. If you’ve seen the movie American Psycho, you’ll know why.
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by the Eurythmics. It has a creepy, spooky quality to it.

Hallowed Be Thy Name - Iron Maiden
Alleyways and Avenues - Rancid
Watching Over Me - Iced Earth
Countdown to Extinction - Megadeth
Cemetary Gates - Pantera
Fade to Black - Metallica
Demon of the Fall - Opeth
Gone Away - Offspring
Kaw-Liga - Hank Williams Jr.
Rainbow in the Dark - Dio
Victim of Changes - Judas Preist

and probably the greatest…
Fred Bear - Ted Nugent

There has got to be like a million more - this was just off the top of my head.

Non Nobis from the Henry V soundtrack. If I let myself get into it, I can feel a shiver in my spine that reaches my face and gives me a warm buzz for a few minutes.

The opening to the second movement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, specifically the oboe. My high school girlfriend played the oboe in the Minnesota Youth Symphony, and I still swoon when I hear this played well.

Leaetherstrip’s The Black Widow’s Kiss, track 2 on Serenade For The Dead, especially 6:29 into it, for some reason.

Morning Has Broken, by the Pipes & Drums & Military of the Queen’s Own Scottish Borderers. I don’t know if it is the Cat Stevens song or not; I definitely get the spine-tingles when I hear it. You can find it on the CD “All the Best from Scotland, Volume 2.”

Barcelona, by Jewel. She lets her voice loose on this one, and the results are striking to me.

Drift Away - Dobie Gray
New Orleans Lady - Louisiana’s LeRoux
and to a minor extent
Walking in Memphis - Marc Cohn

I think the notion of posting one line to convey the whole emotion felt in a song is difficult, but I’ll take a stab at it. I think a song gets to me when it succinctly connnects with some emotion I’m feeling at that moment; the two have to be at the same place, at the same time, which doesn’t happen very often. They’re all similar as well in that there is a deceptive simpleness to them. It’s like comparing Television, who sang about anger and alienation, with the Sex Pistols, who also sang about anger and alienation. But the Sex Pistols just said “Get Pissed. Destroy”, which looks very silly in print, but conveys a theme that carried that genre of music for a long time.

So my list, off the top of my head

Karma Police by Radiohead. The line “For a minute there I lost myself”. Probably because I just saw them, and that song came along when I needed it in my life. Almost overwhelming.

the new album by Siquor Ros. The whole thing is so incredible and beautiful, I can’t pick one song. It’s also sung in a combination of Icelandic and nonsense, so the lyrics are a mystery, which is even better.

The Shellac song where he sings “He lied to her. He lied to her with a perfectly straight face”. I ashamed I can’t remember the song name. Again, it pushed a button.

Watching Flaming Lips play Waiting for Superman live. Contemplating the day my father won’t be a part of my life.

The Loom of the Land by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Mrs Cancelled by the Cows

Some Jesus Lizard songs got to me, but looking back I’m not sure what I was thinking. Maybe that’s the point.

Ooh, I LOVE this song…it gives me chills too. (Then there’s the dreadful rendition given by the church music director at Mass a couple of weeks ago. I almost cried, it was so bad… :eek: )

And then there’s the Les Miserables finale, especially the chorus entry after “To love another person is to see the face of God…” (Actually, there are a lot of moments in Les Mis that give me chills, come to think of it…)

Oh, and Lachrymosa from the Mozart Requiem.

Two that come to mind off the top of my head:

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Gordon Lightfoot

All My Tears. Emmylou Harris.

‘Drift away’ is a good one, previously mentioned.

Papa was a rolling stone Temptations.

Each time we say goodbye Ella Fitzgerald

Why can’t we live together Timmy Thomas

If you don’t know me by nowHarold Melvin and the bluenotes.

It’s too late Carole King

The first time ever I saw your face It was written about Peggy Seeger sister of Pete but I can’t remember the name of the artist except that it was her first husband

Donna Joan Baez, this was used as an anthem during the Czech revolution that threw out the communist government and helped kill of the cold war.

Lets stay together Al Green.

Nightline Bob Seeger

Reason to believeTim Hardin

Andrea Bocceli singing Con Te Partiro from Romanza. I’m not too hot on the version with Sarah Brightman.

Johnny Mathis singing just about anything, but especially Chances Are or Twelfth of Never.

Tony Bennet’s version of In Other Words (Fly Me To The Moon). No other version will do. This is probably because it was my and Mrs. Spritle’s wedding song.

Off the top of my head:

  • Exit Music (from a film) by Radiohead
  • Cool Water from the Talking Head’s Naked
  • The Sprawl by Sonic Youth
  • Gouge Away by the Pixies
  • Shore Leave by Tom Waits

Father Figure by George Michael. It was the song I lost my virginity to, and she was the one girl I’ll never get over.

Urge for Going–Joni Mitchell version
Come on in my kitchen–Robert Johnson
Wish you were here–Pink Floyd
Mother–Pink Floyd
Comfortably Numb–Ppink Floyd
A Few of my Favorite Things–John Coltrane

Sour Girl - Stone Temple Pilots…

Spark - Tori Amos…uh…

Not The Doctor - Alanis Morissette

Human Behaviour - Bjork(not sure if thats that’s the exact song) thats what its called) BRRR that one is the creepiest.

Porcelain - Moby

I can’t think of any more! Rrr…

Recently, I’ve been obsessive about Lullabye for the Working Class. The last song, actually suite of songs, on I never even asked for light is incredibly moving. “To those who have wandered these drugstore aisles…”

Nick Drake’s At the Chime of a City Clock.

Mojave 3’s Prayer for the Paranoid.

Wheat’s Body Talk, Pts 1 &2, and Leslie West

David Bowie has more bone-chilling moments for me than anyone else, probably. Teenage Wildlife, Heroes, Soul Love

Oh, and the live version of Amelia/Pat’s Solo/Hejira from Joni Mitchell. Or her new version of A Case of You.

Off to my CD collection.

Roberta Flack (of “Killing Me Softly” fame) had a hit with that one in the 70’s. It is a chill-inducer.

Some of mine:[ul][li]Ballad of Ira Hayes by Johnny Cash (About the alcohol-and-racism-induced downfall of American Indian Ira Hayes, who had been one of the Marines who raised the flag at Iwo Jima.) Best verse:[/li]Then Ira started drinking hard, jail was often his home.
They let him raise the flag there and lower it like you’d throw a dog a bone.
He died drunk early one morning, alone in the land he’d fought to save.
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch was the grave for Ira Hayes.
[li]And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda- I like the Pogues version. About an Australian who loses his legs in WWI.[/li][li]The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down- as performed by The Band[/li][li]Tangled up in Blue- Bob Dylan[/li][li]Goodbye- Steve Earle (But I recall all of them nights down in Mexico…)[/li][li]Fourth of July- X ("She gives me her cheek, when I want her lips; but I don’t have the strength to go…)[/li][li]Nightswimming- R.E.M.[/li][li]Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald- Gordon Lightfoot[/li][li]Thunder Road- Springsteen[/li][li]Gimme Shelter- Rolling Stones[/li][li]True Colors- Cyndi Lauper. This gal is under-appreciated as a songwriter, I think.[/li][li]Old Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town- Pearl Jam[/li][li]The Reaper-Blue Oyster Cult[/li][li]Drift Away- Dobie Gray[/li][li]Must I Paint You a Picture- Billy Bragg[/li][li]Almost Blue- Elvis Costello[/li][li]There Is a Time- The Dillards (Had to throw a little bluegrass in there.)[/li][li]Paradise (Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County…)- John Prine[/li][li]Blue Bayou- as performed by the immortal Roy Orbison[/li]Londonderry Air (Danny Boy)[/ul]