Playlist: The Most Beautiful Song in the World

Last week, Redditor McSlurryHole asked other users what the most beautiful song they’ve ever heard is.

Think to yourself, what is the most beautiful song you have ever heard, im not talking about your favourite song, or the most technical, or something that made you cry, I just want to know the song that made you say “holy shit… I could die to this”

I’ve listened to the top 100 songs on the public Spotify playlist and while I’m in love with a good quarter of the songs the Redditors chose (“Your Hand In Mine” by Explosions in the Sky? Yes! “The Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel? Double yes!), I have to admit that it’s a little heavy on Radiohead and light on ladies for me (for the statistically-inclined among you, 4 songs were by only women, 10 songs were by bands that have at least 1 woman, and 3 songs include an unknown number of women). So we decided to take things into our own hands.

The Most Beautiful Song In The World


The Most Beautiful Song In The World from Autostraddle on 8tracks Radio.

Malaika: The Magnetic Fields – 100,000 Fireflies

Fonseca: Metric – Soft Rock Star
Metric’s “Soft Rock Star” (Jimmy vs. Joe mix) is a song for people who are on the mend/rebound. It’s about being in a dire situation and still milking it for what it’s worth. It’s also about balancing wistful thoughts about the past with hope and ambition for the future.
The healing process is unapologetically bipolar; one second, you’ll find comfort in the fact that things can only get better. The next, you’ll be sobbing into a box of Kleenexes and wanting to press rewind on the past year of your life. Both parts are equally as integral. When you’re in a dark place, sometimes light comes in the form of someone like Emily Haines reminding you that it’s okay to be melancholy.
Choice lyrics: “Choose the highest bidder,” was my answer when they told me I was up for sale.

Kristen: Marina and the Diamonds – Obsessions

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Gabby: Maxwell – Pretty Wings

DanielaSimón Díaz ft. La Rondalla Venezolana – Madrugada Llanera
When I think of beautiful, I usually think of things that are equal parts haunting and familiar. I guess I like things that give me a sort of soft sadness I can get comfortable in. Simón Díaz -Venezuela’s most beloved folk artist, is into that sort of thing, too. Here’s “Dawn In The Fields,” a song about the dawn before the start of the work day.

Kate: Wagner – Vorspiel
I’m going to die to wagner’s vorspiel from the ring cycle at a very, very old age and my body will ascend beauty and the beast-style and it will be glorious

Julia: Regina Spektor – Samson

Alice: James Vincent McMorrow – We Don’t Eat (Adventure Club remix)
This is actually a remix of a folk song, but it beautifully captures the best of the original song and recreates it into this amazing song that inspires a delightful dizziness like an aural opium den for my mind.  I have trapped a whole car full of people and made them listen to this without speaking. Several times, actually.

Laneia: Band of Horses – I Go to the Barn Because I Like

Laura: Calle 13 – Latinoamérica
The first time I heard this song, I was driving to work in the morning and switching through radio stations hoping to find something to keep me awake. The slow start and the voice that couldn’t decide if it wanted to talk or sing caught my attention but I was running late and had to leave my car before I got to the chorus. With the last words I heard – “la cara bonita que he conocido…” – scribbled down and the beat pulsing through me all day, I looked up and listened to the whole song as soon as I got home. No matter how many times I’ve heard it since, I still can’t get over how insistent the song is. It wants you to listen and feel it and sing the words if you know them or at least try twisting them around in your mouth if Spanish isn’t your language because it’s just that beautiful.

Jess R: Fiona Apple – I Know

Vanessa: Ani DiFranco – Small World
I really love listening to “small world” by ani in the winter (I mean I love everything by ani ever all the time, but I particularly enjoy this one in the winter) because it’s so hauntingly beautiful and reminds me of this very mysterious intriguing girl I used to give rides to when I was a senior and she was a freshman in high school. I hope this doesn’t sound creepy because maybe that can be construed as creepy — but basically I had no idea I was gay, I was going about life dating/kissing boys, blah blah blah, but this girl was so fascinating to me, and so wise even though she was 3 years younger, and she’d sit on the floor outside the photo lab (lots of kids sat on the floor outside the photo lab) and whenever I left the photo room i’d kind of stop and just be really taken aback by how…not beautiful, just, striking? lost? perfect? she was..anyway she lived near me, I knew because she told me NOT BECAUSE I AM A CREEPY STALKER, and she used to walk home in the snow so one day I saw her and offered her a ride and then it sort of just became a thing, and I had a boyfriend and she was just some girl in my brother’s grade, but anyway we were listening to ani one day and she asked if i’d ever heard “small world” and I said no and she took her ginormous headphones out of her backpack and had me park and put them on and listen to it, and I sort of felt like crying, and it’s so obvious now that I wanted to date her but at the time I just could not comprehend that so I just kept giving her rides and dating my boyfriend and listening to “small world” on repeat.

CaraDeerhunter – He Would Have Laughed
The first time I listened to this song it was really late at night, I was alone in a building, I was staring at a large fishtank, and I knew I was going to see someone I was in love with the next day. Putting it on brings me back to that, but it manages to be right for every mood, somehow. It is also a eulogy song (for musician Jay Reatard) which is a beautiful idea.

Crystal: The Foo Fighters – Everlong
If I was a betting woman, I’d have thrown down some serious cash on my pick for this playlist being by Cold War Kids or Holly Miranda, as they make the most amazingly beautiful music in my iTunes library and also on the planet. The embarrassing truth, however, is that the one song that is capable of slaying me harder than any other is actually written by every white American male’s favorite rock band, the Foo Fighters.
The first time I heard this acoustic recording of “Everlong”, I was so completely overwhelmed by the vulnerability and quiet desperation in Grohl’s tone, it was like I’d never believed in something as much as I believed his words right then. When he sang “if everything could ever feel this real forever”, all I could think was how if the world was to end right at that moment then listening to this song would be the perfect way to go. I still feel that way whenever I hear this recording. A lot of people think the lyrics are cheesy but whatever.

Carrie: Yann Tierson – Comptine d’un autre été, l’après-midi
This is a song for staring out the window on a rainy day or taking a long walk without a destination. When I hear it everything feels beautiful and nothing hurts.

Rose: The Beatles – A Day in the Life

Riese: Bach/Gounod – Ave Maria
I will listen to this over and over and over and over again until everything is so tragic and beautiful that my soul explodes

Whitney: Sharon Van Etten – Give Out
“Give Out” is haunting — the beautifully hollow, effortless quality to Sharon Van Etten’s voice always makes me feel like my heart is falling out of my chest. The song is spare, but its elements — acoustic and electric guitar, percussion, Van Etten’s voice and its harmony — move together to create a atmosphere that’s as thick as fog, and a sense of longing that’s just as palpable: “You’re the reason why I’ll move to the city / Or why I’ll need to leave.”

Hansen: Iron & Wine – The Trapeze Swinger
The most beautiful song in the world is “The Trapeze Swinger” by Iron and Wine.
IT JUST IS. Goodness, this song just makes my chest swell with its beauty. It’s so simple, just a plea or a prayer, but also so complicated with symbolism and lushness. I could listen to it on repeat for days (and have, which works out because it’s a really long song and you don’t get bored with it as easily). Sam Beam is a gorgeous man with a gorgeous voice and I love everything he does, but there’s just something about this song. I’d say my perfect moment would be listening to this song on vinyl, lying on the floor with a breeze in the window. But I’m a romantic like that.

Let’s talk. What’s the most beautiful song in the world to you? We’ve got 18 tracks which means we need you guys to help us with the other 82.


Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit Crystal up on Formspring and someone of the team will make it for you.

Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 323 articles for us.

247 Comments

  1. To Build a Home – Cinematic Orchestra (with this short film about a young, lesbian couple in New Zealand during the 1940s/50s)

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vl55Y5JH7l0&w=420&h=315%5D

    Daniela Andrade’s cover of Radiohead – Creep (anything by Daniela Andrade is amazing!)

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDjlaN-X8-0?list=UU2vPHIqjFdpPVMa2PGwJuYg&w=560&h=315%5D

    Kina Grannis – Stay Just a Little (all her songs rock!)

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yocWxAA_OZs?list=SP39139A0FB522C3B5&w=560&h=315%5D

    Sarah Slean – Cosmic Ballet (Also her song You’re Not Alone)

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiG-HqcqEEc&w=560&h=315%5D

    Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley – Whiskey Lullaby (I don’t really listen to country, but I love this song).

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZbN_nmxAGk&w=560&h=315%5D

  2. regina spektor – braille (oh my god. braille. it just gets me every time. everything off 11:11 is pretty much perfect and a decent choice for this, but braille. i just can’t.)

    (see also: loveology, eet, blue lips, somedays, ode to divorce, buildings, summer in the city, samson, and the no surprises cover. feelings abound.)

    (i swear i like music other than regina spektor! i’ve just forgotten it all!)

  3. msmr – dark doo wop
    jack beauregard – you drew a line
    portishead – roads
    wilco – radio cure
    houses – red
    yo la tengo – tears are in your eyes
    daughter – medicine
    james blake & bon iver – fall creek boys choir
    mansfield.tya – wasting my time
    ben gibbard & feist – train song

  4. oh gosh this is a great thread

    Kate yes i am such a big fan of Wagner, but i think i like the very very end of Gotterdammerung best (like the last 3 minutes). every time i hear it i just feel like i am going to ascend into the clouds in a giant burst of light.

    others:
    “Challengers” by the New Pornographers
    “You Were There” from the Ico soundtrack
    Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48

  5. My vote would be for either ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ or ‘All I Ever Wanted’ by the Airborne Toxic Event. Mikel Jollet writes the most beautiful music I have ever heard!

  6. Iron and Wine’s “Trapeze Swinger,” ohmigod, love. Could definitely listen to this on repeat for many hours. Fits so many moods, too.

    Saw some Bloc Party on here, but I have to add “Blue Light.”

    Also:
    “Us” and “Hero” by Regina Spektor
    “Love Is Blindness” by U2 (because they’re one of my favorite bands and the guitar solo is gut-wrenching)
    + the cover by Jack White (recently used in The Great Gatsby trailer–a-fucking-mazing)
    “Crane Wife 3” by The Decemberists. oh my heart.

  7. Lots (sorry):

    Wings – Mull of Kintyre
    The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun, Dear Prudence
    Queen – Too Much Love Will Kill You
    Florence And The Machine – You’ve Got The Love
    Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
    Truly Madly Deeply (still not found a brilliant version, but Savage garden might do)

  8. Since “Comptine d’un autre été” and “The Trapeze Swinger” are already on the list, I think I can be satisfied by only adding “Nuvole Bianche” by Ludovico Einaudi and “Trip to Pakistan” by Alasdair Fraser (although I would really recommend anything by either of them.)

    I put all the recommendations into a Spotify playlist and got 20 hours of music. SO EXCITED.

  9. none of mine are in english, for anyone willing to listen with their heart

    Nathalie Giannitrapanni-“Vivo Sospeso”
    Zazie- “J’etais la”
    Cristina Dona’-“L’aridita dell’aria”
    -also her cover of “Labbra blu” by Diaframma
    -“Nido”
    -“Goccia”
    Dolcenera- “L’amore il mostro”

    and the most beautiful love song i have ever heard in any language has to be “Nuotando Nell’aria” by Marlene Kuntz

  10. What Sarah Said- Death Cab for Cutie.

    Listing a Death Cab song for this kind of makes me feel like an emotional high schooler, but I will never get over this song. This has been my “I could die to this” song for years.

  11. Hammond Song – The Roches
    Alone – The Crashtones
    Butcher – Metric
    We We Never Young – Raised By Swans
    Flume – Bon Iver
    I could die to any of these songs!

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