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.