And here we are at Part 2! Compiling this list I realised it’s a slightly more absurd list especially compared to part 1 but what is life without a little absurdity right? No digressing, let’s get straight into part 2:
26. Every1’s A Winner – Hot Chocolate
I remember hearing this song in a movie and recognizing it but had no idea what the name was or who played it. It aggravated me because I needed to know what it was right away so I could listen to it on my own. I had heard it many times before and always loved it but could never find out what it was. But I eventually did and it was such a glorious moment playing this song on repeat over and over. It’s such a cool song that is perfect to just walk down the street confidently too. You can’t listen to this song and not feel good about yourself. It really helps that the singer keeps saying that everyone’s a winner and that’s no lie, which feels good to hear, especially when you’re down on your confidence. Their trademark guitar sound that riffs it up throughout is also a huge plus and adds a lot to this extremely cool ass song.
27. Femme Chinoise – Yellow Magic Orchestra
When I was going on my New Wave binge of listening to every New Wave band I could I fell upon YMO after hearing they were the Japanese equivalent of Kraftwerk, a band I absolutely love. Pioneers of video game style music, these guys were a band I just had to listen to and off their first album this song just stuck with me. I was addicted and couldn’t stop listening to it. I even had another friend become addicted to it. The mix of synthesizers with traditional Japanese sounds and a jumpy beat just was a perfect mix to keep me engaged. I can’t count how many times I used to listen to this song on repeat and everytime I listen to the album, the build-up to this song for me is just incredible.
28. Fichtl’s Lied – Die Woodys
I love novelty music. Something about things that are just so incredibly dumb that I just love. This was the perfect blend of awkward and stupid and it’s just so much fun. It’s hard not to be happy listening to this song because of how childish and poppy it is. Watching the video adds another layer of amusement to this that never ever fails to put a smile on my face. From their awkward playing to their dead stares to their smiles, it’s quite a magical experience. I have no idea what’s being said (because it’s in german) but it’ always my go to tune to make me feel happy because sometimes you have to just enjoy the little pleasures in life, no matter how much nonsense they are.
29. Fizzy Barf – Andrew Hung
In the summer of 2016 I saw a movie that completely changed my life at the Fantasia Film Festival. It was the most disgusting, absurd, vile, grotesque, over-the-top and just awfullly written film, but by-god I fucking loved it. It was The Greasy Strangler, a movie made purposefully as a high budget B-Movie, with awful dialogue, over the top gross-out scenes and purposefully bad acting. It was such a strange trip and reminded me of those troma films only this time with a high budget and good quality. The absurd sense of humour that permeated throughout captivated me and to this day there’s scenes I always go back and watch for how absurdly funny they are. One thing that stood out for me was the soundtrack and one song in particular, Fizzy Barf, that played plenty of times throughout always stuck with me long after the film was done. It’s those bass notes that play throughout the song that just stick in your head like a parasite and doesn’t leave. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve listened to this song more times than I can count, especially in the last few months. It’s absolutely absurd, but I love it.
30. Fountain of Filth – Devo
I’m surprised it took this long for a Devo song to appear on my list. Devo, as literally everyone knows, is my favourite band. I’ve listened to everything Devo, from their entire discography, to live albums, to compilations of unreleased material. I own 24 Devo records on Vinyl. Choosing a favourite Devo song was incredibly difficult but this tune from their compilation Hardcore Devo Vol. 2 always stood out to me. It’s easily one of the songs I’ve listened to the most by them and I even had it as a ring tone for some time. It’s hard to tell what this song is about exactly, whether their referencing the BP Oil SPill in Akron or it’s a comment on man’s sexual or even just human desires and how we lose control from them. Mark’s calls of he’s got a hunger that makes him do things, think things and say things is always a great part of the song that I find myself singing to myself all the time. The fast Guitar riff mixed with Alan Meyer’s mechanical drum beat just adds to it and this gem before their debut album is probably the best part of their Hardcore Albums. When I saw them perform their Hardcore Tour I was anxiously awaiting them to play this song and they did and I absolutely lost my mind. it was amazing and in the words of Jerry Casale: ” We are all just living in one big Fountain of Filth”.
31. Gangsters – The Specials
I like ska music, especially two-tone ska from the 80s and the third wave of ska in the 90s. Never really delved into old school ska, but maybe one day I will. At the height of the two-tone ska movement was The Specials playing their way through bars and clubs, making fun of bouncers and having everyone skank away. They were raw and unfiltered and their song Gangsters never fails to have me up and dancing. The opening riff was one I remember eharing all the time, like one of those songs that you know you’ve ehard but didn’t lnow what it was, but I finally discovered it and absolutly loved it. Every iteration of that opening riff throughout the song just lights me up and the singers wails about living in a gangster world just fit perfectly together. Hugely influential in the ska world, this song was no exception for their catalogue.
32. Generals and Majors – XTC
XTC was one of the first New Wave bands I really got into. they have such a fascinating evolution as a band, satrting with an album that purposefully tried to be as annoying as possible and eventually turning into this incredibly artsy band with almost pretentious insights. For me the halfway mark between both these styles was their album Black Sea, which blended their early career and later career perfectly creating such a gem of an album. I almost went with their song Living Through Another Cuba for their infectious bass, but the more I thought about it the more I realised I love this one way more. I find myself listening to it all the time. That opening guitar riff barges in and keeps you hooked and the singer’s “Generals and Majors always seem so unhappy unless they got a war” over that banging drum beat and the whistling riff that follows it… everything about this song seems precisely done and super tight and creates one of the greatest New Wave tunes I’ve ever heard. I always get excited thinking of this song and I find it perfectly representative of what this band is capable of and their sound.
33. Get a Grip On Yourself – The Stranglers
The musical disillusionment of The Stranglers talking about getting a grip on yourself and how you’re naive to think you’ll actually make money playing music in bars is both great and slightly ironic (they were very successful as a band) but this is from their debut and I guess they were fed up of seeing all these young-fresh-eyed bands coming onto the scene with the belief they were going to become rich and famous to which The Stranglers responded with this song. What really brings the song together though and has it stand above most rock tunes is Dave Greenfield’s keyboard playing. He is honestly one of the most underrated key players and this song is a perfect example of how amazing he is. He slips and slides with ease across his keyboard and makes it seem completely effortless. And with his barrage of non-stop notes he even manages to create a riff that is catchy as hell. My goal is to one day be able to play Dave Greenfield’s parts on my keyboard, but until then I’ll just enjoy the song on repeat.
34. The Ghost of Stephen Foster – Squirrel Nut Zippers
A few years ago I performed in a school touring of Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’d like to thank that show for introducing me to this swing revival band. Their album Perrenial Favourites is a… favourite of mine and this song off that album is a solid stand out for me. In the show it was used as the first introduction to The Mechanicals and everytime that part came up in the show I always got excited. From the initial guitar notes to the fast paced horn section and the swingin’ beat, it was the perfect formula for the kind of music I love and I was immediately addicted. I often forget about this song and it’s always a pleasant surprise when it appears on my playlist, like a gentle reminder that this is a song I still love even after all these years. It’s a great throwback to the swing era and the music video that accompanies it is in the style of those 30s era black and white cartoons and is just fantastic.
35. Ghostdancing – Simple Minds
Once in awhile you encounter a song that surprises you. Mainly in the sense that you don’t expect it to be something you’d like especially in comparison to everything else you love. This is one of those songs. I always sort of liked Simple Minds, but this song stood out to me. I didn’t love it at first but I found it growing on me and kept finding myself wanting to hear it again and again. Something about the opening guitar riff that sways from ear to ear and then the sudden drum beat kicking in that always gets me. The singer does a great job at bringing it all together singing his heart out and the band just seems to be tighter than usual. It’s a nice gem of a song that I always find myself going back to.
36. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! – Abba
I love Abba, it’s up there as one of my favourite bands. Their music is eclectic enough that they have a little bit for everyone, but it’s their disco era that always gets me going. This b-side from their Voulez Vouz record (it’s not on the actual album believe it or not. I found out the hard way) is my all-time favourite Abba tune. If you ever want to see me really get into a song and sing along and dance, then all you have to do is play this tune around me. That famous riff constantly resonates in my ears (mistakenly considered a Madonna riff since she sampled it) and the girls have that right sense of longing and solitude with a mix of flair that gets this disco tune above others as being more than just for dancing, it’s actually layered. It’s one of those songs I love to blare loudly in my car as I drive down the street just to see the confused faces of passerbys. But anyone who likes music likes Abba and this song is no exception.
37. Gloria – Umberto Tozzi / Laura Branigan
Another song to hits my Italian roots. With this one though I didn’t know which one to pick, the Umberto Tozzi version or the Laura Branigan one because they’re both fantastic. Laura Branigan shines on this song and the original just sounds so great in italian. The perfect version would have been Laura Branigan singing in Italian, but alas we have these two separately and must pick and choose when it comes to listening to it. This was always a staple at parties and every time it comes on you can be sure the family will be singing along to it. I’ve definitely seen my mom get excited about it, and how can you not, it’s a fantastic song all around. I realise I just keep saying every song on this list is a great song, but this one really is. Everytime I listen to it my head is constantly filled with visions of my mom’s small village she grew up in and the sense of community it had. I know that has nothing to do with the song, but that’s what this song does to me and why I hold it dear to my heart. This one is for you Mom.
38. Hate You – Reel Big Fish
Sometimes when you’re angry the best way to let it out is with one big FUCK YOU. No need to be subtle or passive aggressive, just direct and to the point. That’s why I love this song so much. Singing “I hate you, fuck you, leave me alone” at the top of your lungs is so liberating and meditative. There’s so many people I would love to say this to but instead of doing that (because that would be counter-productive and horrible) I crank on this song and just let out all my anger in a therapeutic way. It especially helps if you’re at a Reel Big Fish concert in the mosh pit letting out your aggression in dance form in close proximity to others doing the same. Pure fury and rage in one song just let out in the most honest and direct way is sometimes the only way to do it and when I’m having a rather rage-filled moment towards someone I loathe I listen to this song and pretend I’m singing it to them (I would never send them the song though). It’s all about irrational envy and anger and it’s good to have a song to help you alleviate that negativity rather than having it explode out of you one day at the wrong moment.
39. Health Angel – P-Model
Another case where I have no idea what’s being said in the song at all. Japanese punk/new wave band that used synthesizers in really absurd ways that i really love. Those opening notes are odd enough to have you interested and I honestly just really love the way the chorus is sung. After I first heard it I found myself singing the chorus to myself, didn’t know the words so it was mostly gibberish I was repeating, but the tune was there. It’s just a fast-paced rockin’ japanese song that I really like. Simple as that.
40. Hip to be Square – Huey Lewis and the News
I know what you’re thinking, so I’ll say it right now. No I didn’t like this song because of American Psycho. No I didn’t discover Huey lewis and the News because of Patrick Bateman. However I do love this song for the exact reasons he says in the movie. The band basically getting old and poking fun of themselves for settling down and hanging up their rebellious younger days is some great tongue in cheek fun and it’s only accentuated by the rhythm section having a blast performing it. I actually discovered Huey Lewis through Back to the Future and knew this song before watching American Psycho, but I will say his monologue about it really did seal the deal for me loving this song and gave me insight I didn’t really know before, so sure it gets some credit. I like the idea of a rock song that subverts the typical lyrical content of a rock song and this one does it very well. Plus, as a dorky guy, Hip to be Square feels like a life motto more than anything.
41. I Die: You Die – Gary Numan
Gary Numan made a career making soundtracks to machines. His songs were always tunes that were from perspectives of robots or related to the relationship between man and his machines. I think this in part to do with the fact he had Asperger’s and had difficulty connecting to humans and he himself felt that, but with I Die: You Die, there’s something transcendental about Gary Numan. Here we find him incredibly emotional and just oozing with human connection. Everytime he yells out the chorus it just tugs at your heart strings and makes you want to shed a tear. To call this one of his best is an understatement and it’s honestly a beautiful song that’s just filled with feeling that is expelled from deep within. Everytime I listen to it I always feel inspired and uplifted (even if it’s not particularly an uplifting song, but it still has that affect on me) and never fails to help me move forward.
42. I Feel Love – Donna Summer
When I was a kid I loved disco music. You can even say it was the first genre of music I got into. I just really loved to dance and disco music was great music to get you up on your feet and shaking your booty. Donna Summer (or Summers as I have been calling her wrongly all these years) was definitely at the top of the list. Hot Stuff was a perosnal favourite but it wasn’t until I heard I Feel Love that I fell in love with Donna Summer. Giorgio Morodor’s production on this song is absolutely stunning and everytime she sings I feel looooooooove it gives me chills. It’s less of a dancey song and more of a disco experience where you plug your headphones in and get lost in the moment of the music. Every time I listen to it the 7 minute time length feels like it zooms by and I still feel like it’s not long enough, I keep wanting more and more and wish it would never end. It’s such a great feeling to have when listening to a song and I’m glad this one does it for me.
43. I Get Around – The Beach Boys
I know I’m a big New Wave fan but I have a soft spot for surf rock. No idea why, something bout those beach vibes that I can’t get enough of. I went through a phase trying to listen to as much surf rock music I could get my hands on and even tried to create my own (in my head because I don’t know how to play guitar). The Beach Boys were big in the genre and this song in particular is one I always go back to. I even went as far as green screening myself into the video. It’s just a ton of fun as a song, from the opening chords to the harmonies to the wawaoooos, its hard not to sing along and just bounce to it. There’s a lot of Beach Boys songs I love but none come close to the listen count on this one. It also helps that it’s nice and short so you don’t even get a chance to get annoyed by it, which is great.
44. I Palindrome I – They Might Be Giants
“Someday mother will die and I’ll get the money. Mom leans down and says “My sentiments exactly, you son of a bitch” I Palindrome I”. These opening lyrics are enough to really set the mood of what’s going on in this song. What I love most about They Might Be Giants is their absurd sense of humour and their clever use of words to create songs that both make sense and are complete nonsense at the same time. I’m unable to decipher what’s going on in this song and what the relevance of palindromes are (i’m sure it’s there, maybe I’m too dumb to figure it out) but I don’t care because this song packs a punch every time I hear it and the duo of John and John really shine on this tune. It’s a perfect example of They Might Be Giants and their weird quirkiness and my go to song when introducing people to the band.
45. Icky Thump – The White Stripes
a long time ago, an ex of mine had left her White Stripes Cd in my car (back when I drove a Mini van). This was before the time that you could easily plug ipods into your car to listen to (not a comment on my age but on how quickly technology has developed in a short period of time), I had to get one of those plugs that went into the cigarette lighter, But this was a time where I was burning my own compilation cds to have music to listen to in the car. Either way, this White Stripes cd was left in my car and the opening track was this strange song. It was so weird because the first time I heard it I thought it was terrible, the riff was just clunky and awkward and the tune was just annoying. But I found myself oddly addicted to it. I kept going back to it over and over. It eventually heavily grew on me and I now see it for the amazing piece of alternative rock that it really is. The weird riff is possibly one of my favourite riffs I’ve ever heard and Jack White’s screeching vocals are so much fun to emulate. I even sang it at karaoke once to the wide-eyed stares of everyone in the bar. They didn’t expect what they got. A guy even came to me and was like “that was entertaining. Didn’t like the song but you really sold it there. Fun stuff”. I’d love to learn the guitar just to be able to play this song and screech and wail whenever I want. I could do that already but it really helps to have the guitar track with you, adds that extra oomph.
46. Ideas For Walls – Men Without Hats
Ever have those feelings of isolation where you feel like you’re constantly talking and venting but no one is actually listening, you’re just talking to the walls? Men Without Hats managed to capture that feeling perfectly in this song expressing their feelings of giving ideas for walls. Its another upbeat song that has rather sad lyrics, but moments like that are always a strange bitter-sweet. As much as there is a sadness to moments like that there’s always the underlying feeling of a racing heart and possible aggression. Everytime the singer belts out “Ideas for waaaaaaaaaaalls” you get that sense of longing to just be heard and it connects with me every time. Also, not gonna lie I think it’s a lot of fun as a song and gets me pumped up every time I hear it. It’s always been one that stayed with me years and years later after listening to it and I always go back to it over and over. It just never fails to get me going.
47. It’s Not Cricket – Squeeze
I always seem to like the weirdest songs from bands. Like no one I know likes the same songs I do from every band, I always seem to pick the most unusual and left field choice. This is easily one of them. Out of all the songs in the squeeze catalogue, I highly doubt anyone would ever expect someone to pick this one. But I did and I absolutely love it due to it’s quirky sound. The bell sounds, chorus, and storytelling of people in the town and their sexual encounters just seems to be something that really caught me. I didn’t even know what That’s Not Cricket even meant until a british person told me (It means That’s not fair) which now makes the whole song make more sense to me, the idea of telling stories but you won’t name names because that wouldn’t be fair to them. Knowing that it makes sense why I love this song. I’m a firm believer of not sharing names when telling stories. I’ll vent about people and share what happened but I don’t like to name names because it’s not fair for that person as they aren’t there to defend themselves and naming names only makes the person you’re telling the story to to suddenly have this opinion of this person from your story. My friend can vouch for that. Everytime I talk about someone, he always says who? I tell him everytime, I’m not naming names, but he gives me crap for it so I end up anyway and I hate it. Either way point is, this song is quite the quirky one in the Squeeze catalogue and I love it.
48. It’s the End of the World as We Know It – REM
The song famous for it’s fast-talking almost non sensical lyrics that everyone tries to sing along to and fail miserably at. My goal was to learn the lyrics and succeed at singing it, and I have on multiple occasions. This is one of the earliest songs I got addicted to. It was probably the fast-paced lyrics that did it for me but it’s also that chorus that just sticks in your head every time you hear it. It’s the end of the woooorld as we knoooow it. Reading that you probably now have it in your head too. It’s just an infectious song and everytime you hear that opening drum roll, you’re right there ready to sing along badly. It’s become an iconic song and no matter what I always seem to find myself going back to it in some capacity. It will never leave me alone.
49. In a Big Country – Big Country
Big Country, the band that managed to have their guitars sound like bagpipes. I always found it weird when a band had a song that shared a title with the band name… it’s unusual and kind of throws you off, but nevertheless it always seems to be a staple for the band (I guess sharing the name with it will do that). Big Country really bring out the life of living in a big country with this song, from bagpiping guitar riffs to large drum beats that bring about visions of sweeping landscapes, it’s another song that creates an experience and manages to capture a vibe and feeling very well. It’s hard for me not to listen to this song and not feel a little fire burning inside my soul (a good fire, the kind that makes you feel warm and calm). Everytime those bagpipe guitars pop up it’s always the ebst part of the song and thankfully they do it quite a bit throughout. Thinking about it, I actually haven’t listened to this song in quite awhile and talking about it makes me want to really badly now. Excuse me for a few minutes…
50. In the Hall of the Mountain King – Edvard Grieg
I had to put at least one classical song on this list. There’s a ton that I love (yes I love classical music, I have eclectic tastes, so what) but this one always manages to stand out from the rest. I even own the Edvard Grieg suite that includes this on vinyl and it’s fantastic (I didn’t realise that famous good morning song was also Edvard Grieg which was a pleasant surprise, but not relevant right now). As far as classical music goes, this was the first one I really got into, having listened to it as a kid and constantly trying to sing it to myself with ideas of movie scenes that it could play over (even at the ripe young age of 9 I was coming up with movie ideas, they were terrible then though). What I always loved about this song was the build-up. This song knows how to build up the suspense to that incredible climax. It makes sense why so many movies use it because it’s the perfect song to use for oncoming danger. You know it’s coming and you see it coming but it can happen at any minute and boom. That build-up is insane, getting slightly more intense with more instruments and speeding up until the ultimate climax of the song, gaaaahhhhhh. I’m done, it’s too much for me.