My Top 100 Favourite Songs Part 3

No delays, let’s get right on with Part 3!

51. Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime) – The Flirts

I first heard this song when driving down to Florida with my dad last year. Since it was my turn to drive, I had put the radio on the First Wave channel and this popped on. It was so damn catchy that I couldn’t wait for that chorus to come around every time on the song. Once it was done, I found it stuck in my head and as I kept driving I had hoped it would appear again on the channel (they have a habit of repeating songs). It eventually did on our drive back from Florida and I was hooked ever since. It’s silly and novel but a ton of fun and I find myself singing it to myself a lot at random moments. Maybe It’ll eventually over stay it’s welcome and I’ll grow fed up of it, but for now it’s a fun tune I love to enjoy.

 

 

52. Kiss From a Rose – Seal

Parapapapapapapa parapaaaaa. Man isn’t this song just beautiful? And Seal just performs it with such grace and passion. I’ve tried singing this song many times and have failed miserably to the point I now purposefully sing it badly with the wrong lyrics just to anger those closest to me. Sure, lyrically it;s incredibly cheesy but with that whistle solo, Seal’s voice and a catchy chorus, it all comes together to create a song that just feels good to listen to. I always find myself coming back to it and listening to it on a loop for a small period of time, usually in hopes that one day I’ll be able to sing it too, but I fear that day will never come. It’s such a great song to be used both seriously and for comedic purposes and boy does it work for comedic situations. I think, thinking about it now, is in part why I love it so much, because of how it’s often used in comedies as a contrasting piece, usually making a scene funnier with it’s use. Being a huge fan of comedy it’s obviously a selling point for me, but it doesn’t take away from how beautiful this song sounds as a whole. Maybe one day I’ll get to use it comedically myself, I sure hope so.

 

53. Let’s All Make a Bomb – Heaven 17

With their commentary on new social bureacracy and the shape of society and war, this song is a definite highlight on the Heaven 17 debut “Penthouse and Pavement”. This was definitely their response to the creation of neutron and atomic bombs and how the people in power will easily drop the bomb, especially during the rise of the cold war and fear of possible fallout at any time. Taking the positions of the higher ups in power ready to respond with pure annihilation, it’s definitely not the answer but Heaven 17 are quick to criticise this attitude (it kind of reminds me of the Dead Kennedy’s Kill The Poor in some ways). It’s also one hell of a catchy synth tune, with some great sustained notes that add to the vibe of the song as the singer with his unique voice sings about the choice of making a bomb. It’s both fun and menacing and has a dark undertone that makes this song a killer every time I hear it.

54. Little Girl – Syndicate of Sound

Going back to the raw sound of 60s garage rock. Syndicate of Sound were short lived (like most garage bands) but were able to stand out with this little tune. It sounds more polished than their garage band counterparts, but thematically is still the same. The Lead singer laughingly sings about a girl who’s treated him wrong but instead of being hurt laughs as he proclaims she hasn’t done anything new. All her actions are old news and even though she cats like she’s the first to do it, he doesn’t refrain from reminding her she’s just an immature girl who’s like every single other one and isn’t anything special. There’s something great about his delivery, he doesn’t at all sound angry and the fact he’s laughing about it packs an even bigger punch. Throw in a catchy guitar riff and you’ve got a really fun tune to enjoy.

55. Living on Video – Trans-X

*Note: this song has become a difficult one for me now because it was a song I shared very deeply with my ex to the point that we used to joke about using it as our first song if we ever got married. That being said it’s still one I love very much and I won’t let that weight that’s now on it affect my enjoyment of the song* What do you get when you cross new wave synth pop with a montreal band talking about the computer age (as most did), you get Trans-X’s Living on Video, A rather silly yet incredibly danceable synth song that definitely feels like a pre-cursor to dance music with a music video that has everyone dancing robotically except the lead singer who looks like he’s having the time of his life. Along with his iterations of “STOP” that has the camera zooming into his face really quickly and he points to it, there’s absolutely nothing to not love about it. I remember first hearing it on the galaxy 80s channel and messaging my ex to check it out. She stumbled upon the music video and told me to check it out and I’ve been in love ever since. There’s even a 2012 version that modernises the synth sounds and it’s a fucking blast. It’s 80s new wave at it’s silliest and holds a place close to my heart.

56. M-Train – Pylon

I love a band that utilizes their bass at it’s best and this band definitely knew how to use their bass. It’s loud. deep and resonates at the forefront of most of their songs. This one in particular their bass is practically used as the position of the lead guitar and it’s simply amazing. I never get tired of this bass riff and anyone who loves a good bass will definitely love this one. It’s really the defining trait of this song for me and why I love it so much. The singer growls her lyrics with such aggression as she tells an ex-lover to basically fuck off. You know she means no nonsense and stands up for herself, which is also half the greatness of this song. But that bass will always it me hard and keep me listening.

57. Masquerade – Berlin

This is one of the few songs I’m proud to say I actually learned how to play by ear. It was quite a feat and happened almost accidentally, but I still did it and feel very proud of myself. That being said, I remember listening to Pleasure Victim for the first time and although their song Metro is definitely a staple of the new wave genre, it was Masquerade that stuck with me long after the album was done.  Can’t really explain it. The main riff is catchy as hell, the chorus is sung beautifully by Terri Nun and lyrically it just resonated with me. Just like any good artist there’s a lot of emotion thrown into it and Terri Nun doesn’t just hit her notes but hits them with feeling and to me that always strikes harder than just a well done song.

58. Mbube – Miriam Makeba

Here’s a pick that’s completely different. Off the 1001 albums list, this was a very special discovery. Mbube seems to be the song that heavily inspired the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” which was a big part of my childhood. Here Miriam sings beautifully and is supported by a group chanting and hollering and it all comes together to create something that not only feels inspirational and all around just happy. There’s almost a bitter-sweet feeling to it, but more sweetness than anything and it always brings up images of people getting together, resolving issues, walking away in the sunset type cliches. I usually tend to avoid cheesiness but this one is an exception because it always manages to touch me to my core and will remain a song I love to listen to.

59. Mexican Radio – Wall of Voodoo

What do you get when you mix New Wave sensibilities with a spaghetti western sound? You get the ever unique Wall of Voodoo, fronted by the man with his own voice, Stan Ridgway. They weren’t big in any sense, but credit to them for creating their own sound that is really their own. Mexican Radio was their one slight hit and I absolutely love it. The spaghetti western vibe helps drive this song a lot and Stan Ridgway’s vocals bring it altogether to make this song work as much as it does. This song just wouldn’t work sung by anyone else. It really has it’s own flavour and might be an acquired taste for most, but once it’s stuck, it’s stuck and it’s a song that keeps pulling you back in its own weirdness that just seems to work very well.

60.Misirlou – Dick Dale

I Love surf rock and this is the epitome of surf rock music. Done by the king of the surf rock guitar himself, Dick Dale. It’s fast-paced, catchy and really gets your heart pumping. Dick Dale’s skills are shown off here as he plays his guitar with incredible precision. There’s nothing more I can really say about this other than it’s such a great fun time and a staple of surf rock music. If this doesn’t make you feel like twisting on the beach than I don’t know what will.

61. Money For Nothing – Dire Straits

I want my… I want my… I want my MTV. If there’s ever a song that has an amazing build-up it’s this one. That intro just builds and builds, those synth lines playing mesmerizing you. Once those drum beats start you know something good is coming all the way to the point that it climaxes into Mark Knopfler’s killer riff. This song just absolutely kills in every way possible and Mark’s lyrics of the gripes of someone coming to terms with the MTV generation and new stylized acts becoming famous (although I don’t think it was him and was actually inspired by some old man’s angry rant he heard once) is not only still relevant but provides some great commentary.  This song just rocks and I will never not love it.

62. More Than A Feeling – Boston

I know I usually tend to like out of the ordinary choices and try to have original picks. But sometimes I really like a classic song and this is definitely at the top of those. It makes sense why so many people love this song, I mean how can you not? Everytime that main riff kicks in you can’t help but feel lifted off your feet. I remember when I was 18 I was going through a slightly rough time and was listening to this song on repeat because it made me feel good. I took a look and noticed I had listened to the song over 1000 times, which caught me off guard completely. So yes, I know this song very well and it has stuck with me for years and years and it still gives me the same feeling as it did when I was 18 every time I listen to it.

63. Moskau – Dschinghis Khan

Story time. I was 14 years old and going to Day Camp. One day I discovered three videos with my group that my camp counsellor showed us. One was Lasha Tumbai (which you saw earlier on my list). Another was Tunak Tunak Tun, which I became obsessed with for a short amount of time (not enough to make it on this list) and the third was this one, Moskau. The group of German power rangers singing and dancing like Russians. I think this was the day I discovered the possibilities of novelty music and it definitely shaped and warped my mind forever. I absolutely love how catchy this song is and the dance is unbelievably fun. I learned the dance and even taught it to kids when I eventually became a Camp Counsellor. I always find myself returning to watch the video and it makes me stand up and dance along every single time.

64. Mr. Vain – Culture Beat

Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely love to dance and there’s no better music to dance to than 90’s eurodance. It’s upbeat, synth heavy and exciting on every end. If I had to pick just one tune from the plethora of eurodance tracks that everyone knew but had no idea who the artist was, it would be none other than Mr. Vain. i cannot control myself when this song starts. Wherever I am, if this song plays I must dance. It is a staple and a must for every dance party I attend and I am always extremely disappointed if it doesn’t play. I even learned how to play it on my keyboard so I can always just do it myself if I can’t access any music. It’s a ton of fun and I will never get sick of dancing to it.

65. Nobody Takes Me Seriously – Split Enz

Isn’t it great when you find a song that seems to express how you feel. Sad to say but a song called Nobody Takes Me Seriously was one of those songs. For a long time in my life I always felt like no one took me seriously, it was mainly because I was always a bit of a joker and fun guy who looked like he couldn’t take things seriously ever. SO of course when it was time to be serious, people would either not care or laugh at it (YOU?! BEING SERIOUS?! pffft). My joker side was always a coping mechanism for things I was actually dealing with in my life. I had learned that nobody likes you when you’re mopey and sad, so I thought, I’ll just look happy and funny all the time. It was also a way for me to not have to deal with the issues and at least give the illusion that I was doing fine and looked like a happy guy. That obviously backfired for a period of my life. Thankfully that has turned around for me and I am indeed taken more seriously than I used to be, but this song still expresses those moments of my life and still holds weight to me even today. It’s also an upbeat song, which is always a plus!

66. Nothing to Fear (But Fear Itself) – Oingo Boingo

Before Danny Elfman was making musical scores for Tim Burton, he was leading this off-the-wall, incredibly unique and slightly odd band called Oingo Boingo. Off my favourite album of theirs comes this tune, a fast-paced, punk inspired song that describes fearful situations with the constant reiteration that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. It’s one of those songs where every member of the band is used to perfection, from the bassists deep bass notes hitting hard during the Temperatures start to drop section and the horn sections riff that will stick in your head. Everything about this songs just works to the band’s style in it’s advantage, not only showcasing what they can do as a whole but creating a damn fine song. It’s a bit of an addiction but definitely a good one and it’s a song that has you coming back time after time (at least it does for me, I don’t know about you).

67. Non-Alignment Pact – Pere Ubu

This song is notorious for annoying the shit out of anyone I’ve played it for. It’s mainly because the opening seconds is just a high-pitched synth note playing over and over and over, with a few bass notes coming in here and there, but that opening synth note is what dominates until the guitar track breaks in. It’s irritating, I get it, but once you get past it you get an incredibly absurd post-punk tune that is just amazing. The lead singer has one of the weirdest voices (and it’s funnier knowing he’s this fat, bald guy who wears a tight suit). But what really sells it to me is the bass line. There’s a point in the song where the bass line kicks in nice and hard and it’s simply amazing. I purposefully crank up the bass to hear it even better. If you like weird and unusual but still good, this is the song for you.

68. Omaha – Moby Grape

I don’t really have much to say about this one. It was one of those tunes I heard in my psychedelic music class that just stuck with me for one reason or another. It was just a great tune all around. From the backwards drum hits at the beginning, to a catchy riff and the vocals coming in with “Listen my friends”, it was just a tune that stuck with me and I enjoyed very much. Moby Grape were a band that deserved more than they got and this song is a testament to their talent.

69. Our Lips Are Sealed – The Go-Go’s

(Another difficult one to talk about because it was another song I shared with my ex, but whatever I don’t care anymore). I love the Go-Go’s and their debut is one of my all-time favourite albums. This song, for me, is their stand out and is one that I am absolutely addicted to. I don’t know what it is, but from that opening drum beat and relatively simplistic guitar riff, it just hooks you in and keeps you on for the ride. My favourite dance move came about from listening to this song and up to today I still find myself singing the main chorus over and over. Lyrically I think it also stuck with me, a sort of attack on people and their jealousy games (which I absolutely hate) and how we just won’t participate in them. I can stand behind that and I do because I don’t like playing jealousy games at all and when talking bad about people I usually try my best to avoid saying their names since they aren’t there to defend themselves (but I fail at this many times, I’m only human). It’s a great tune by great bunch of ladies and I will never get sick of it.

70. Philosophy of the World – The Shaggs

Sometimes I love shit music. The Shaggs are the definition of crap. They aren’t in tune, they don’t play at the same time as each other, they can’t sing and can barely play their instruments. But by god do I love this. It’s like The Room of music. It’s horrible but it’s so bad that it’s good. It’s the worst music ever but somehow it’s beyond enjoyable. You love how bad it is and it’s mesmerizing how anything like this could have been created to begin with. It’s so earnest and genuine in every way that even if you tried you couldn’t come up with something like this. Their first song off the album is the one that sticks with me as easily being their best one and the closest to an actual song that works (doesn’t mean it does). It’ kind of catchy in it’s own weird way and surprisingly has meaning to it (no one is ever happy, grass is greener on other side type thing) but I am sure that was completely accidental on their part. If you’re up for it, check them out, it’s quite an experience.

71. The Plastic Age – The Buggles

What a song. This is one hell of a song. It’s big, it’s epic and layered in so many ways. It attacks you with telephone rings and shouts right at the beginning and then a synth bass beat representative of a fast-beating heart and then come sin with hooks and catchy riffs that will stick with you forever. The Buggles are mainly known for Video Killed the Radio Star, which is a great tune in it’s own right, but I really wish people knew this one more than that one because, personally, I feel it’s a much better tune. It opens their debut album and boy does it keep you hooked. It’s an experience from beginning to end and doesn’t disappoint.

72. Poison Arrow – ABC

I don’t care what anyone tells me, this is the greatest break-up song of all time. It’s all the emotions one goes through in a break-up, confusion, anger, doubt, sadness, but without all the weird creepy obsessiveness of every other break up song (I’m looking at you Adele). The singer doesn’t dwell on his ex like other artists do, he doesn’t claim that they would be perfect together or they could have had it all or how he keeps thinking of her, no it’s pure you broke my heart you asshole and you don’t even seem to care (which is way more relate-able than any other sappy crappy break up song). ABC perfectly captured the emotions one goes through, especially since the singer seems to get angrier as the song goes on. He’s really torn here but in the most natural way possible without the creepy obsession (I feel like I really need to reiterate that to make clear why those other break-up songs just suck so bad). He’s not creepily obsessed with his ex but just going through the motions of a break-up which we’ve all been there before. I loved this song for awhile, but after my break-up I loved it even more because I realised how genius it was. Found myself singing it a lot and it felt good to sing it. If you’re ever going through a break-up, crank out this song and let yourself go.

73. Polaroid/Roman/Photo – Ruth

Time for another french song. This time about a shy guy who finds romance and love through the use of photography. There’s something really sweet about the subject matter, but it’s the music itself that really drew me in. I discovered this around 19 years old completely by accident. Ruth is such an unknown band (only one album) that I would have never discovered them if it weren’t for listening to a random New Wave playlist on some music streaming site that I can’t even remember the name of because it was popular for a short time and then disappeared. If you’re looking for french new wave underground dance pop that resurged in popularity in underground dance scenes decades later, than this is the song for you. It’s simplistic yet catchy and had been stuck in my head relentlessly when I first heard it. It’s a fun little unknown tune and I think it needs more exposure than it has received.

 

74. Pop Muzik – M

M is an interesting artist. Managed to create his own unique vibe while still remaining relatively accessible. And although his sound probably attracted more artsy types than mainstream audiences I still manages to attract your attention. Pop Muzik is one of those tunes that I just enjoy with no real reason why. I find it mostly to be really catchy and love his vocalisations as he almost sing talks his way through the entire song. The instrumentals also manage to be odd enough to stand out and manage to stick in your head as well. A mix of female back-up singers and talking about how pop music is basically taking over the world (in his on weirdly poetic way that sounds almost like nonsense) and you’ve got an interesting little tune that you find ourself oddly attracted to and don’t know why. If you can figure out why, please tell me, but for now I’ll enjoy it for what it is.

75. Psyche Rock – Pierre Henry

This is the most recent addition to my favourite songs list. Discovered this one within the past few months and immediately fell in love with it. Pierre Henry is an experimental musician who works primarily in music concrete. Not my favourite style at all but this one really stuck with me. I think it’s the mix of bells and whistles and weird synth noises that come together over a repeating guitar riff, with some fun horns, that made a classic tune. Or maybe it’s because it sounds exactly like the Futurama theme song. No joke and there’s a reason for that. This song played a big influence when it came to composing the Futurama theme song and when you listen to it, it sounds almost exactly the same, only the Futurama version is more accessible and melodic than this one. What makes this one much cooler is that it’s straight from 1967 when synthesizers were still a very new thing. Was he a pioneer? Maybe, I’m sure that’s left up to debate, but for now, I’ll enjoy Psyche Rock in all it’s glory.

Advertisements

My Top 100 Favourite Songs: Part 2

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.

My Top 100 Favourite Songs: Part 1

I decided to take a mini break (one of many it seems) from listening to the 1001 Albums list and wanted to take a look at my own tastes and likes. I love music, always have and always will, and like anyone who does, I have songs that I constantly go back to and listen to on a loop, or can sing by heart (not always well), or have listened to so many times I know every little detail of it.

Making a little pit-stop here, I thought it would be fun to share songs that I love, possibly to give insight into my own personal tastes in music but also maybe to help you the reader discover new things as well that maybe you never heard of!

For the sake of the list (because 100 songs is quite a bit) I chose to put them in alphabetical order to make everyone’s lives that much easier and have included a link to the song as well for your listening pleasure (or displeasure depending on your own tastes).

Without further ado, here are my Top 100 Favourite songs of all time (Subjective of course):

1. 88 Lines about 44 Women – The Nails

Well, didn’t expect to start with this song when I was randomly compiling the list. What a song to start on too. The Nails were a short lived band but managed to create an interesting album with their debut Mood Swing. On it is this incredibly simplistic yet infectious song that just speaks lines about a wide assortment of women of completely different backgrounds and worlds. It’s really just that, nothing more. But what I love about it is Marc Campbell’s monotonous and apathetic delivery of the lines which gives off almost a dark comedy type of vibe and the infectious bass line that permeates throughout. Here is proof that sometimes taking a simpler route is much more effective than being complex. There’s absolutely nothing complicated musically about this song but it works so well. Even the humming that appears after every couple of lines sticks in your head. Nothing much more to it, just a cool tune all around.

 

2. Along Comes Mary – The Association

Here’s a song from my famous psychedelic music class I took back in University. Don’t know what it was about this tune that struck a chord with me, but the minute I heard it I couldn’t stop listening to it. Maybe it was the harmonies or the main vocalists fast singing or even that fantastic recorder solo (yes you read that correctly, a recorder solo) or maybe all these elements combined that just did it for me. Something about a song referencing marijuana use with an absolute 60s vibe that just sticks with you. There’s no denying it’s pretty damn catchy and will probably get stuck in your head. I always find myself returning to this song after periods of not listening to it and still enjoying it every time, especially trying my best to sing along to it (and not always doing a great job).

3. Antmusic – Adam and the Ants

What I find to be the anthem for underground music everywhere, Antmusic is at the top of my all-time favourite songs. I absolutely love this song and find myself singing it all the damn time wherever I am. This wasn’t only a response to the critcism from Adam and the Ants about their music but a response for all new wave/post-punk music that was getting a bad rap for not being mainstream enough. With Adam Ant’s declarations to turn off the jukebox because the music has gone stale and his jabs at the radio telling the youth what they should enjoy, it becomes a declaration of one’s own artistic integrity and want to stand out with their own voice rather than becoming another generic pop song, even expressing to the youth to have their own opinions and not fall for it all. It’s a bold stand against it all and Adam and the Ants have no fear expressing exactly how they feel about it all. Remember “don’t tread on ant, you cut off it’s head, legs come looking for you”.

4. The Bad Touch – The Bloodhound Gang

The Bloodhound gang is one of those bands that you have to take them for what they are. They’re the musical equivalent to an r-rated teen sex comedy and to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying that once in awhile. Bloodhound Gang never pretends to be more than what they present, a fun r-rated band that is just here to have the most fun they possibly can. The Bad Touch is a perfect example of what they’re trying to do and it’s one hell of a fun song. If there’s one thing the Bloodhound Gang is really good at is innuendos and this song is chock-full of it. Add in a danceable beat and a memorable synth riff and you’ve got a nasty earworm that sticks in your head. This has become a staple for me at Karaoke nights and one of the first songs I learned all the lyrics too. There’s absolutely no way you can’t just have fun with this one. All you need to do is check your brain at the door and enjoy for what it is.

5. Ballroom Blitz – Sweet

I remember hearing this song for the first time when I was around 9 or 10 years old and was immediately hooked. From that opening drum beat, that iconic riff, the screeching vocals and the famous chorus of “And the man in the back said everyone attacked and it turned into a Ballroom Blitz”. From beginning to end this was one hell of a ride. It was one of those songs that I used to think to myself “How did they come up with this?”. It just felt seamless from the soothing vocal part to the crazy action, it just never failed to get me going. It really builds up to that famous chorus amazingly and keeps you stuck the whole way through ready to partake in a ballroom blitz of your own.

6. Beetlejuice Theme Song – Danny Elfman

Now for something a little different. Still technically a song but this time it’s from a film score. The main theme to Beetlejuice has always been my absolute favourite movie theme song. It sets the tone perfectly for the whole film, bouncy, halloweeny with a dark twist to it. Any dark comedy wishes they had a theme like this, but alas Danny Elfman did it with this Tim Burton classic. Every time that drum roll kicks in and the horns blare out I feel my soul leap out of my body and start dancing a jog over my lifeless corpse. I don’t think I’ve listened to a main theme as much as this one and it’s one I always use as inspiration for music to my own films (I’ve used it for two films so far). Never gets old for me.

7. Blue Monday – New Order

It’s the bass. That synth bass gets me every single time to the point it’s one of my favourite songs to play on my keyboard just because I love that synth bass riff so much. Beyond that the drum kick and other synth parts collectively bring this new wave classic together in a way that’s so hard to describe and must be experienced firsthand to truly get it. I love to strut my stuff to this song. New Order managed to create a dance song with such a dark vibe to it. Beneath it all is this underlying cynism and darkness that adds some great layers to an overall great tune. I always catch myself returning to it every once in awhile and it still manages to get me everytime.

 

8. Bobby Brown – Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa was openly calling out, mocking and making fun of self-entitled douchebags who think they’re hot shit and are owed any women they want as if their objects for their own personal desire long before the whole #MeToo movement happened. The perfect song for when the Brock Turner incident happened, Zappa manages to perfectly satirize these assholes by singing a song from their point-of-view. Upon first listen it might come across as extreme if you don’t get the satire (and let’s be honest satire flies over the heads of the stupid) but when you get it, Bobby Brown becomes one of Zappa’s greatest songs and it’s one that I just cannot stop listening to. The build-up of the whole story to Bobby Brown’s eventual outcome is just beautiful storytelling in that way that only Zappa can deliver with his dry and witty sense of humour. Zappa was a smart man and this is a perfect example of that observational intellect he possessed.

 

 

9. Bunkers – The Vapors

My first intention was to go with The Vapors’ hit Turning Japanese, which is my number 1 go to song for karaoke, but after thinking about it decided to go with their very unknown song from their first album Bunkers. There was always something about this song that just connected with me. Lyrically the singer delves into themes of uncertainty and feeling lost (which are sentiments I’ve felt for a long time, especially these days). The ideas behind the song definitely resonated with me and musically the sad yet energetic instrumentals just supported it very well. It was just a song that seemed to have struck a chord with me and after all this time stood out as my favourite Vapors song. Their vocalisation of “I have no idea where to go from here, maybe that’s why we’re living in Bunkers” just gets me every time and always sticks with me long after the song is done.

10. Burning Down the House – Talking Heads

What can I say? I’m a stickler for odd vocals and instrumentation. The Talking Heads were always masters at having that perfect blend of weird and artistic integrity without ever going to much to one side. Burning Down the House was the song that introduced me to them and will always hold a special place in my heart as being one of the first new wave songs I really got into. I originally fell in love with the Live version from their stop making sense tour which is a much more fast-paced and energised version, but after awhile the original album version grew on me to the point that I like it even better. David Byrne really knows how to sell a certain mood through both his singing and playing and here the band really comes together to make one strange yet fascinating tune. Everytime the synth notes hit midpoint, it always makes my heart drop in the best way possible. Whether you like the Speaking in Tongues version or the Stop Making Sense version, it’s still one to be remembered.

 

11. Ca Plane Pour Moi – Plastic Bertrand

A fast-paced, french punk song about a one night stand that has a catchy chorus that stick sin your head with every OOOOOOOO that’s sung. What’s not to love about it. For those who don’t know, yes I do speak french and understand what he’s saying. I have even gone so far as to take on the challenge to learn all the lyrics and sing it and have even come up with a version of it sung with an anglophone accent. I honestly can’t get enough of this song. When those opening chords start playing I’m hooked and won’t stop until the song has stopped. Not many songs manage to keep me sitting all the way through and this one manages to do it 98% of the time to the point that when I do listen to it I find myself playing it on repeat at least three times. It’s just non-stop energy and constant winks to the audience that it’s no surprise I love it as much as I do.

12. Cheesies and Gum – Martha and the Muffins

I have no idea why I love this song as much as I do. It’s mostly an instrumental song except for the few moments of the singer singing “Cheesies and Gum”. No idea what the significance of it is, but as far as instrumentals go I find it to be a ton of fun. With a mix of great synth hooks and some sweet sax moments it just feels like a nice little chocolate dessert I can enjoy every time it pops up on my spotify playlist. It’s one of those songs that you really like but can’t really explain why, you just do and you just love listening to it over and over, which I am not ashamed to say I have. Sometimes it’s just that simple.

*NOTE: They don’t have it on youtube, but it is on Spotify if you want to check it out*

13. Chips on my Shoulder – Soft Cell

Anyone who knows me knows I can be a really bitter person. I admit it, I have my moments of bitterness and that’s probably why I love this song so much. Hearing Soft Cell complain about chips on their shoulders, a comment on comparing your own problems to larger world ones and facing the hypocrisy of people and their preachy vows. Hearing Marc Almond exclaim “Misery, Complaints, Self-Pity, Injustice” every time the chorus hits is just beauty to my ears and I can never help but sing along to it. He really has a way with his delivery that just sells a song and along with the bouncy bass and crackling popcorn like synth notes, the song just never ceases to satisfy me. It’s another case where the instrumentation just supports the themes superbly well and brings it to life, creating a mood and vibe rather than just a song. This is one I can just never skip.

14. Con Te Partiro – Andrea Bocelli

Sometimes I like classy music. Yes, even I can have moments of class. Con Te Partiro is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and Andrea Bocelli sings it with so much emotion, belting out every note with such force that it hits you right to the core of your being and soul. If you can sit through this without shedding a metaphorical tear of pure beauty then you my friend are a person with your own tastes and opinions and I respect that (but seriously… come on, dude). One of the greatest moments of my life was when me and my friend Luis found the original italian version at karaoke. This was a song we both loved and were addicted to and we were over the hills with excitement and finding it and getting a chance to sing it together as a loving duet. The bartenders loved it so much that they had us do it again as the final song (which was ruined by our drunk friend who was jealous that he couldn’t redo a song to and kept begging the bartenders to let him go and they did… but I digress). I also feel it brings me closer to my Italian heritage, which I’ve always had a connection with that I constantly want to get closer to. This has been the closest I’ve come to feeling it. A time to say goodbye has never been uttered with as much bitter-sweet sadness and joy at the same time.

15. Dancing (Lasha Tumbai) – Verka Seduchka

I love Dance music. I Love novelty music. I love accordions. This song perfectly blends all three of these elements creating a tune that I just absolutely adore. This absolutly strange yet fun song was originally presented on Eurovision (of course it was) with as much campiness, glamour and style as anything that has ever been on that stage. Verka Seduchka, a drag queen in flashy silver and large breasts, sings away as a bald accordion player kills the shit out of it and two effeminate men dance away. There’s also two women who belt out back-up vocals with as much glee as the rest of the team and all this is done with the pure intention to have as much of a party as they possibly can. If there was ever a song that inspired me to play the accordion, it’s this one. This left such an impression on me that I even learned the dance from the performance by heart. Insanity at it’s best.

16. Dare to be Stupid – Weird Al Yankovic

As I write this, I am currently listening to my Weird Al records that came in the special edition Weird Al Squeeze Box (shaped like an accordion of course). I had just finished listening to the album Dare To Be Stupid a few minutes ago, so it’s rather fitting I am now talking about the title song (pure coincidence by the way). As a Weird Al fan, I always loved his original songs way more than his parodies. What he did best was take the sound of a band and create a wholly original song in the style of said band. Nowhere throughout his catalogue did he do it better than with Dare to be Stupid, the Devo homage. Everyone knows Devo is my favourite band, so I can tell you first-hand he nailed it with this one. He captured their essence and sound to a tee. In the words of Mark Mothersbaugh: ” It’s the perfect Devo song and I essentially hate him for it”. It’s thanks to this song that I discovered Devo and it will always hold a place in my heart for being the ultimate gateway to the music I love today. Even the music video manages to bring in every single Devo reference you can possibly think of. Weird Al clearly knew what he was doing with this one and nailed it.

17. Degenerations – Mes Aieux

Here’s another song that relates to my heritage, but this time on my dad’s side. I’m a french canadian, bon and raised in Quebec. I was always raised with mostly american pop culture and wasn’t exposed to much from Quebec, except through my cousins who didn’t speak english. And even then we consumed products like Pokemon and Ninja Turtles. As I grew older I eventually started to get exposed to more Quebec art, mainly films but some music as well. Traditional Quebec music seems to have it’s roots in folk and country. Picture a cabane a sucre with a lot of folk dancing. Quebecers love their line dancing. This song take a piece from traditional Quebec music, incorporating fiddles and folk like harmonies. The first half of the song is the vocalists singing over a drum beat about the different generations and their differences, ending with how despite being different, the thing that never changed was how they all loved to party. On this we are met with an instrumental that even if you’re not the kind, makes you want to get up and just dance one hell of a jig. It’s such a great song straight out of Quebec and I feel deserves more exposure than it’s getting. It’s simply beautifully done.

 

18. Don’t Go – Yazoo

I used to know how to play this song on my keyboard. I haven’t played it in so long I have no idea if I still remember it. I’m sure if I try I’ll figure it out eventually, but it’ll be incredibly rusty at first. When I was first discovering synth pop, this was one of the first songs I had heard and it always left an impression on me. Vince Clarke’s synth arrangements mixed with Alison Moyet’s deep and jazzy vocals just seemed to be great mix that worked very well and this song is emblematic of the duo’s sound (this and probably Situation) but my go to will always be this one. With an upbeat tempo and down low lyrics, it always manages to get me moving especially when the bass synths take a forefront for a couple of notes (you’ll know when you hear it). Alongside the instrumentation it’s really Alison Moyet’s vocals that sells it. She has such a powerful voice that exudes so much feeling and longing for her subject she’s singing to that you can’t help but feel it with her. Even when she yells it never gets grating and comes off as completely believable and real. I haven’t heard this one in quite some time actually, but I’m happy I’ll get a chance to listen to it once again.

19. Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

What can I really say about Queen that hasn’t been said already? Yes Freddie Mercury is a great singer. Yes their music is amazing. Yes Queen is an amazing band, yadda yadda yadda. We’ve all heard it a million times. That being said, I’ve always loved Queen and Don’t Stop Me Now has always been my go to Queen song for every occasion. I mean sure it would have been easy to pick Bohemian Rhapsody (because literally everyone does) or even I Want to Break Free or Somebody to Love  or We Are The Champions, but none of them seem to have the sheer energy of this one. I mean it is called Don’t Stop ME Now and Freddie Mercury makes no sign of wanting to stop (except when the song actually stops but whatever). I mean he doesn’t get called Mr. Fahrenheit for no reason. By the end of this song you actually feel out of breath because there is no stopping for breaks, once the thrill ride starts, it starts and shows no sign of stopping until the final notes of the song. (It’s also used spectacularly well in one of my favourite movie scenes in Shaun of the Dead). I can’t help it, I have a soft spot for fast-paced high energy songs. He starts the song by telling us he’s gonna have a good night and feels alive, and anyone who listens to this song immediately gets that burst of energy fill inside them. It’s the perfect song to start a night out on the town with your best friends to set the mood. Once this starts, there’s no stopping me now.

20. Dread Love – Nina Hagen

I’ve recently discovered the amazing weirdness that is Nina Hagen. For those who don’t know, Nina Hagen is less of a singer and more of a theatrical voice actor, using her voice in the strangest ways, from high-pitched wails to deep demonic chants. She’s here to entertain through song and it’s all one hell of a performance. Her song Dread Love shows off this high range of voice acting from the exact range I mentioned above. One second she’s chanting in an almost satanic voice and the next is wailing like a banshee. It’s absolutely mesmerizing. This whole album, Nunsexmonkrock, was exactly that, just so weird but absolutely mesmerizing that you couldn’t stop. Dread Love is a high energy rock/punk song that just has Nina Hagen having the time of her life performing. Plus the idea of praying to the lord everyday with Dread Love, because love affairs are so exciting when the star of dread love is shining, is just… amazing. This song just kicks you in the ass and doesn’t give a shit and that’s why I just absolutely love it. It’s pure unapologetic music that aims to mesmerize you in a state of shock and it does a great job.

21. Drunken Maria – The Monks

I fell in love with Black Monk Time the minute I heard the album of the 1001 Albums list. It was just so different than everything else at the time and really set up the blueprint for what would become punk and garage music. Off the album, Drunken Maria was the one I always found myself relistening to and going back to. Don’t know if it’s because of the screaming MARIA vocals or maybe it’s that bassline/fuzz guitar riff. Whatever it is, this song has me going back to it constantly wanting to relisten to it over and over and over. So many great tunes of the album and this is the one that had me hooked. All around fun tune that I just can’t seem to get enough of.

22. Editions of You – Roxy Music

Oh yes, Roxy Music. The New Wave band that would inspire New Wave bands. Teaming up the likes of Brian Ferry and Brian Eno together. For Your Pleasure is my favourite Roxy Music album and off that album comes this song. Oh god this song is just an overbearing orgasm waiting to happen. From those opening synth chords through Brian ferry’s singing and finally to that grand solo of saxophone, crazy Brian Eno synths and guitar. It just builds and builds and never gives you a moment’s rest. That solo is what sells the whole song for me and it all blends together majestically that when that guitar sustain hits, you’ve officially creamed your pants. It’s like such delicious foreplay getting you ready for what’s to come (ha) and by when it happens it’s fantastic. I might be the only person who feels this way about this song, but I do and it gets me every single time I do (not literally of course because that would be messy).

23. Einzelhaft – Falco

This is a case of a song I love where I have absolutely no idea what’s being said (I don’t understand German). Many people criticise Falco for following a formulaic pop song structure with his songs to guarantee hits and as much as that may be true I would always pull out this song to show them otherwise. Here you’re not really sure where the song will take you exactly, throwing in some twists and turns that actually delight rather than annoy (to me at least). There’s not much I really have to say about this one other than I just really like it. Falco’s vocals always fascinated me and here he’s not as spastic as usual. The bass synth is great as always and it just seems to all work as far as Falco’s music goes. Whether you like him or hate him, I still think this is one that deserves some recognition of some sort. And even not, doesn’t matter, I’ll still keep listening to it every time it comes up on my playlist.

24. Electricity – OMD

This song I probably have the least to say about because I really don’t know what to say. I love the beginning build up to what would be the poppy synth notes that just make you want to shake and vibrate like crazy. OMD were pioneers in synth music and this song is representative of what they were able to do with a DIY kit in their garage. It’s a ton of fun and it’s one that I just always have a blast listening to. Nothing more to it.

25. Europe Endless – Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk were the grandfathers of electronic music, pioneering a genre before it even existed. What they did best was create soundtracks to various themes. Whether it was giving the feel of driving on the german autobahn or thematically portraying a computer world, there was no doubt they were masters at what they did and no one could do it better. For me, where they succeeded the best and what I feel is their masterpiece, is with this song Europe Endless. Giving the listener the impression their riding on the Transeurope express train, with the scenery passing by, they capture the essence of it perfectly and the entire 9 minutes are well worth the whole listen. It feels earned and deserved with all the attention and care that went into creating this tune and even though it’s so long I can’t help but just kick back and enjoy it for what it is. It’s almost meditative listening to it, envisioning the train ride, eyes closed and ears wide open. It’s absolutely breath taking as a tune and one I can never pass up when given the opportunity to listen to and yes… the whole way through.

 

Stay tuned for part 2!