DoofusWainwright
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Last Active 10-20-17 11:43 am
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 Lists
10.11.17 Rec Doof 201710.10.17 Largest 'full album' discogs on Sput?
10.04.17 Doof's Top 50 Tom Petty Songs10.01.17 Doof's Top 100 Albums: Update 2
09.22.17 Doof: 15,000 useless comments, 4000 dum09.20.17 Doof: Rec me consistent
07.28.17 '67 // '17 doof list 07.10.17 Doof's Top 100 Radiohead Songs
07.05.17 Doof's Top 100 Lambchop Songs 06.17.17 Top 5 Songs '79-'17
05.30.17 Title Tracks 03.22.17 "Sorry dude, I just can't stand your vo
03.18.17 Doof Top 101 Songs 03.16.17 Favourite Lyricists
03.03.17 Genuine Sput Meet - Zak and Doof02.28.17 Rec Doof ONE Album Released Between 195
02.15.17 Overlooked Top 100 of the 00s02.14.17 Overlooked Top 100 of the 90s
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Doof's Top 100 Songs (Random Order)

Only one pick per artist
1The Flaming Lips
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots


"Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell" - I had to put a Flaming Lips song on the list and there was some competition (half of 'The Soft Bulletin' for a start) but this song is the one that spoke to me the most upon first listening to it. Some songs want to impart a clear life lesson, in the case of 'Ego Tripping' it's to point out the ultimate waste of holding out for true love through your youth. When this song came out in 2002 I was about 22 years old and I'd been about but never been close to love and so could easily have found myself falling into the trap this song details, obsessing on that one thing. The genius of the song is that it doesn't preach the message or chaste the guilty party, it's more like a soothing elixir made up of organic sounding electronic chirrups and flute melodies, a chorus of little buddies trying to coax you out of the emotional tunnel vision.
2Kyuss
Welcome to Sky Valley


"Gardenia" - this will probably end up as the least controversial pick on this entire list, I don't think I've met a soul who upon first hearing this song didn't instantly love it. This is strange in so much as this song is in many ways very very cheesy; Garcia's vocals and particularly his lyrics here are cliche and hammy as hell. Of course that's all part of the appeal, you the listener revel in the rawk n' roll theatre of it all. Make no mistake this is THE iconic opening song on THE ultimate cult rock album. You say 'desert rock' or 'stoner rock' and it's hard not to think of 'Sky Valley'...you think 'Sky Valley' and it's hard to see past 'Gardenia'. The definition of a classic.
3Fleetwood Mac
Tusk


"Beautiful Child" - what's worse than hurting someone? Easy - you win back their trust, they confess to how much pain you caused them...then you hurt them again. There was a girl I was seeing for a while, she loved 'Tango in the Night' and I'd never really bothered too much with the Mac, but she got me interested in checking them out. I made a real mess of things but even after it was over I carried on digging into the FM discog. That's when I started getting obsessed with 'Beautiful Child'. If there's a sadder song in existence I'm hard pressed to think of it right now. Like a lot of truly great songs there's a point (here at the 3:00 mark) where the intensity of conviction ramps up; you're left in no doubt Nick's meant every word (is the song about Fleetwood? Or Buckingham?) and you actually fear for her mental health, a case of 'men in white coats on standby'.
4Bhundu Boys
Friends on the Road


"Foolish Harp/Waerera" - possibly the entry to benefit the most from this list's 'no two songs from one artist' rule - it's probably not a true top 100 song for me but that rule gives me some wriggle room so I'm grabbing the opportunity to put it up. I know very little about world music and I only investigated this band due to the interesting backstory and the association with John Peel. This song is a collaboration with Celtic harpist Savourna Stevenson and it really adds another dimension to their music (this would have been a great style to expand across a whole album). It's also one of those 'game of two halves' songs where both sections are equally strong. There are technically better world acts but every sound on this track is just perfect; this is the ultimate music to wake up to when there's sun streaming into the room and you've no reason to get out of bed.
5Jason Molina
Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go


"It's Easier Now" - after re-listening to this one from Jason Molina I thought maybe I'd spoken too soon labelling 'Beautiful Child' the saddest song I know...but then I realised this song isn't so much sad as utterly bleak. The way Molina delivers the line 'it's easier now that I just say I got better' - for anyone who has got to that level, where they will pretend to be fine just to avoid the difficulties of having 'those conversations' and to escape hurting the people who care about them, these words will have an instantly familiar ring. Of course in the case of Molina things never got better - he drank himself to death before his 40th birthday (less than seven years after this song was recorded), a real tragedy because he had an incredible talent. This song is just man, guitar and some piano chords - no-frills, but thanks to that voice it's totally mesmerising and utterly devastating.
6Carcass
Heartwork


"Heartwork" - this is the 'Beat It' of Death Metal (or grindcore, whatever) - one of the catchiest songs ever written in any genre. It boasts a riff you never tire of and for me the tune also works as a time machine, taking me back to my school form room where people would sit on a bunch of desks and ritualistically nod their heads in reverence to this belter.
7Emeralds
Does It Look Like I'm Here?


"Double Helix" - some albums have one song that's like a condensed little slice of perfection that captures the overall appeal of the work in one short burst. 'Does It Look Like I'm Here?' is my go-to 'soothe me to sleep' album, if I'm feeling tired it never fails to send me pleasantly off to the land of nod, but I always hope I'm still awake enough to appreciate this one. For me there's something magical in the mix of the guitar line and the electronics on this track.
8Faith No More
The Real Thing


"The Real Thing" - back when I was a kid I was always alarmed at how time and memory worked, in particular how you forget your old self and the way you used to think. I made a pact with my older self to try and remember my young self - obviously the way I'd do this would be fixing images at the time with particular music. 'The Real Thing' is one I remember well, the images I've implanted here are the sun baked landscape and tiny windmills of Malta. Generally this song reminds me of family holidays when I was about 12 or 13, playing this on my Walkman in the back of a rental car. The last verse that mentions childhood laughter, that I already felt was disappearing into the rear view mirror, and first time lovers, back then an adventure yet to come, is the one I remember most. The song is still a favourite, FNM have plenty of schizophrenic tunes but this one feels natural, and Patton lets genuine beauty shine through in his vocals without an ironic wink in sight (uh, yes you 'Easy').
9Cass McCombs
A


"I Went to the Hospital" - I was going to choose 'County Line' as my McComb's selection partly because 'Hospital' has such a melodic similarity to Smog's 'Dress Sexy at My Funeral' which I was also toying with including. Listening to this a few more times I decided I couldn't leave it off. One of the greatest songs about mortality of all time, it taps into that regression to a childlike state you associate with being sick and helpless ('they put me in a bed cos I always do what my mother says'), concerns about legacy ('I want to be famous...for falling in love'), trying to place your life in the grand scheme ('we are living in an era of kings' - but kings still die) and of course the fear of death itself ('is it dying that terrifies you...or just being dead?'). The way Cass delivers these lines is uncanny, often repeating the same phrase with a subtly different inflection on the second attempt, as if hearing himself sing the words is itself helping to bring peace to his mind.
10Richmond Fontaine
We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River


"The Pull" - they say bad luck comes in threes and back in 2009 I'd had my recent share; I'd split up with my girlfriend of five years; I'd recovered from a broken collarbone and quit weekend football; and I'd been having money issues that had left me struggling to pay my mortgage. To save cash I'd eat cereal for lunch at work every day (milk was supplied), I was paying for a cheap gym membership so would run there most nights and then run home for beans or soup with toast and some raw vegetables and fruit. It was like this for a couple of years and I remember this song by Richmond Fontaine really striking a chord. It tells the story of a man who blocks out everything else to train obsessively, eventually making it as a late bloomer pro boxer...before suffering a career ending injury. Vlautin is a genius at painting these character portraits without forcing the sentimentality - as a listener you never feel manipulated. There's an honesty to his songs, and this is one of his very best.
11The Juan MacLean
The Future Will Come


"One Day" - another song to benefit from the 'only one song per artist' rule, this one just about sneaks onto the list. My second serious girlfriend loved this album and she actually looked quite a bit like Nancy Whang (maybe that's why she liked this?) This grew on me at the time for sure, but it's since become a document of the communication breakdown and eventual, nay inevitable, split - the faintly ridiculous vibe of this song has cast what should be a painful memory into a lighthearted 'you just have to think back and laugh' one.
12Tom Petty
Full Moon Fever


"A Face in the Crowd" - one of those songs that initially seems unremarkable but slowly wins you over. Soon after meeting my girl I started making mix CDs as she has an hour commute; this song made the cut for the first one. It was probably the song she cared for least at first, but recently I put it on at home and she stopped dead and told me its now one of her all time favourite songs. It's that type of tune. Petty is underrated as a singer of ballads, he should have recorded more of them. The song still takes me back to summers day trips with the family, stopping for pub lunches, listening to 'Full Moon Fever' and waiting for this song, daydreaming that the girl I'd one day love was alive and walking around somewhere out there...I guess I also hoped that she'd dig this tune.
13Therapy?
Troublegum


"Hellbelly" - Therapy? always had their own thing going, there was a post punk vibe lurking deep in the mix plus a Celtic lilt that'd seep through in that guitar tone, those rolling supple drums and of course Cairn's accent. If Joy Division and U2 had got together to record music to crack knuckles and break faces to (unlikely I know) then maybe it'd have sounded a bit like this. 'Hellbelly' lives up to the grand tradition of awesome song title/even better song - plus we've all wanted to scream 'Fire! Fire! Fire!' in the face of all the phoney 'tin Gods' with car salesman smiles (you know the types).
14Slint
Spiderland


"Good Morning Captain" - the first song on the list that would make my Top 10 (I'll try and spread these ones out evenly among the list). A really mysterious one this, it certainly owes something to the poem 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner', though for a long time I imagined maybe the child was seeing the ghost of his father who perished at sea, I don't know. It's great story telling in any case, all building towards that release...you know the one...the screams of 'I Miss You' at around the 6:50 mark (and yup, that's a lot of building up). Allegedly singer Brian McMahan screamed this section so intensely he was ill after the recording and you can believe it. There's something about the swaying rhythm and the 'tinkle tinkle' guitar tones that are just inherently nautical, while the underpinning riff is indeed spider-like...perfection.
15Hank Williams
40 Greatest Hits


"Ramblin Man" - a straightforward toon with a dose of strangeness added in the form of Hank's yodellin' that adds a necessary discordant counterpoint (as well as having a certain haunted quality to it). The lyrics detail the lifestyle of a typical drifter and the ramifications it has on the relationships he has. Pedal steel and fiddle weave in and out but never overpower the chug chug of the two note guitar riff.
16Wild Beasts
Two Dancers


"Fun Powder Plot" - the plummy vocals and near-gibberish lyrics paint these Wild Beasts as half posh boy thespians / half Clockwork Orange droogs. If they woo your girlfriend away with their pretty words best leave it otherwise they'll biff you up, sticking their boots 'up your arsehole' no less. The non-swerving rhythm section is more what you'd expect from Krautrock than typical indie and the guitars are supremely tasteful. All quite spiffing.
17Angelo Badalamenti
The Straight Story


"Laurens Walking" - I pretty much said all I wanted to say about this track in my review of the Straight Story soundtrack, it's a piece of music that takes me back to a restless time in my life where I'd have a vivid recurring dream of escaping to an idyllic rural life. Thanks to the film it conjures a palette of cornfield yellows and bright sky blues; the classic mix of old time guitar, violin and fiddle never fails to soothe. It was difficult to leave off the Twin Peaks theme but there was an obvious way to get around that...
18Julee Cruise
Floating into the Night


"Falling" - better with or without the words? For a long time I preferred the classic Twin Peaks instrumental but now I've grown to love this equally as much...maybe even a bit more. Obviously the show has gone down in history as a cult classic for loads of different reasons but make no mistake the music played a massive part in its success. It's still one of the most distinctive ever intros to a song, within those first two notes you know what's coming. Julee's vocals are from the breathy, otherworldly school of singing and pretty odd but a perfect match here.
19Daniel Johnston
Yip/Jump Music


"Sorry Entertainer" - no wonder Cobain respected Johnston's music, you listen to a song like this and it really feels like a proto-'Bleach' track. Dan's music can make you feel uncomfortable, it's always stuck somewhere between 'this is really funny' and 'oh god, this really isn't funny at all, I worry for him' but as the song itself states this was the only way he could get the demons out of his head - so best to just sit back and enjoy it.
20Talking Heads
Stop Making Sense


"Making Flippy Floppy (live)" - I'm using my live song wild card here (yeah, I make the rules) to save the world from another write up of 'Once in a Lifetime/Born Under Punches/Life During Wartime' (take your pick). This feels like an honest selection in that checking itunes this is my most played Heads tune - most likely due to it being one of the most energetic tracks in their discog. From the moment Byrne drops that twitchy 'wait a minute...!' he's got you, then it's just a case of the classic lines tumbling over you. This is also an example of a live version of a song that's ten times as good as the studio album version. 'Making flippy floppy! Tryin to do my best!' - yeah this song almost makes me wish I was old enough in the early eighties to have watched this band live. Almost.
21Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Before Today


"Round and Round" - some albums just catch you on an upward trajectory in life and 'Before Today' really benefited from that - it also didn't hurt that the album was released on June the 8th 2010, in perfect time for the first knockings of summer. The album is chocca with classic retro pop numbers but 'Round and Round' always stood tallest, a deceptively complex multi-part track that you'd file under 'catchy and disposable' but actually doesn't get round to revealing its first chorus until the two minute mark. It has all the Pink trademarks of babyish backing vocals, whooshing none-more-80's FX and brief spoken word sections but like all his best work it somehow never crosses that line into irritating territory...at least not for me.
22King Crimson
Red


"Starless" - yes, this pips '21st Century Schizoid Man' to make the list...and what a weird track this is. The opening reminds me a bit of what Radiohead were aiming for on 'Life in a Glass House', that low key jazzy funereal dirge vibe, only here John Wetton's voice feels a better match to this sort of tone. From the 5:30 mark the vocals are ushered off stage and the song starts clopping along like Nelly on her way to the Elephant Graveyard...before, well...before everything goes very prog. I mean really, really 'socks and sandals and copious pipe smoke and a bit of a wizard's beard and a black t-shirt with a dragon on it' prog. The full works. It's pretty glorious all told.
23Cloud Nothings
Here and Nowhere Else


"Pattern Walks" - 'Here and Nowhere Else' is one of my favourite albums to run to, the drums are incredibly tight and the songs just motor along with nary any let up. 'Pattern Walks' starts out like it'll be just another indie punk tune like its neighbours but on the 3:30 mark it deconstructs like an experimental Sonic Youth offering before bursting back into life a minute later with a driving Grohl-esque drum workout. Just when you think you've finally got the song pegged it transforms for a final time, dissolving into a swirling psychedelic My Bloody Valentine style coda. You listen to this song and you feel the sky's the limit in terms of this band's potential.
24Anathema
Hindsight


"Temporary Peace" - when this song first appeared on 'A Fine Day to Exit' in 2001 it captured the Scouse masters of misery standing at the crossroads between their goth-tinged past and their widescreen symphonic New Age reboot. I've put up the 'Hindsight' version here because it's at least equally as good and it doesn't have the annoying hidden track tacked on at the end. The song is all about the section that starts 'Beyond this beautiful horizon...' - as perfect a match of poetry and sound that you could hope for.
25The Stranglers
La Folie


"Golden Brown" - I spent a lot of my early childhood living in a small village in leafy Warwickshire - there wasn't all that much to do. Weekends were often spent taking day trips into the countryside or visiting historical sites - castles, country houses and what have you. It all added up to this impression of a strange distant English heritage I was meant to feel part of, maybe even possibly proud of. It's something I also heard in Stranglers tunes we'd listen to in the car like 'Duchess', 'Strange Little Girl' and particularly 'Golden Brown' - they were antiquated, folky, almost medieval sounding. Despite just being a kid I also caught on to the irreverent tone of their songs; The Stranglers loved their English history but they didn't half enjoy perverting it for their own amusement too. This has to go down as one of the all-time greatest subversive pop tunes - my homeboy Shakespeare would surely have approved.
26Nirvana
In Utero


"Frances Farmer" - I remember being absolutely blown away by the whole 'In Utero' aesthetic back in '93... that violent guitar sound, those brittle song structures, Cobain's cynical delivery. You looked at the angel mannequin on the album sleeve with her guts showing and that slightly queasy image suited this music to a tee - you could imagine exposure to this album causing your bones to mutate and splinter, puncturing your lungs and intestines. Kurt felt he'd gone too far with his sneering deadpan delivery on this release but this is a cynicism that feels inclusive, like a shared language between friends, and it never felt more intimate than on 'Frances Farmer's chorus of 'I miss the comfort in being saaaaaaaaaaaaaaad'.
27Nine Inch Nails
Pretty Hate Machine


"Terrible Lie" - Trent Reznor has always been one sexy bitch, all breathy vocals and sado masochistic lyrics. Five years later he'd be singing about wanting to f'ck us like animals but make no mistake, this tune from the debut is where he sounds most virile. Woof.
28Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
No More Shall We Part


"Love Letter" - I've only ever written a love note once, the night my girlfriend of five years broke it to me she would be leaving me the next morning. She insisted she slept on the sofa that night and I obviously couldn't sleep...so I wrote down my thoughts. Did I believe it would change her mind? Probably not but there was a faint hope. Looking back it's easy to see that 27 year old as a naive idiot but that would be harsh - there's a certain romance and nobility to such a doomed enterprise. Nick probably won't change her mind however passionate his words are...but it's a heartfelt gesture all the same.
29Tom Waits
The Heart of Saturday Night


"The Heart of Saturday Night" - a lot of Tom Waits' early material I find pleasant but unremarkable, I generally prefer his loony tunes 80's output. There are some exceptions; a large chunk of 'Blue Valentine' is pretty cool and then you have this classic from the album of the same name. It's got an everyman nostalgia working in its favour and Waits' voice is at its most engaging here. I'm betting he was a demon pool player back in the day too.
30The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream


"Red Eyes" - it's only recently that I've decided this is my favourite War On Drugs song, I think I always considered it a little too 'on the nose' in the past but I've since caved in and now recognise it as a bona fide anthem. The band's critics label them too sleepy and I get that, but they'd be hard pressed to level that charge at 'Red Eyes'. The song fair motors and even boasts a few 'whoops' for good measure - viva la 80's.
31Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavalle
Perils from the Sea


"Gustavo" - yes from all the wealth of Kozelek material available I've plumped for this pretty obscure track from one of his side project releases. It's hard to explain the appeal of this song, the story it tells is pretty unremarkable if you strip it down to just the broad strokes, and the musical backing is also distinctly minimal. I guess the genius is in the small details, both lyrical and musical. It's also strangely a song that peaks early, in particular one passage of seemingly mundane lyrics ends up really tugging at those heartstrings, Kozelek getting straight to the heart of illegal immigrant Gustavo's humble existence and limited aspirations:

'...falling asleep to the TV snow,
making ground beef tacos
On the top of a potbellied stove
Eating noodles from a Styrofoam cup
Waiting for a ride that never shows up...'

A masterclass of understated storytelling.
32The Microphones
The Glow Pt. 2


"The Glow Pt. 2" - a song of many different moods; there's a sense of rebirth for sure, but also a feeling that old scars are still barely covered and are just waiting to be picked at. At points Elverum sings with a strange intensity like he's having visions or an out of body experience of some sort brought on by the heady, soupy fug of his own music.
33Tindersticks
Tindersticks


"Blood" - the Tindersticks' debut is an adorably sprawling scrapbook of an album and this is possibly the least polished sounding song on the thing. For some reason that just adds to it's appeal for me; I love the false start, the muddy near demo vibe to the production, the metronome click click of the drum track, the even more mumbly than Michael Stipe on 'Murmur' vocals....{swoon}. You have to wonder if 'Blood's a favourite of The National as it's also the tune that feels the closest in tone to that band's style...in fact the two bands are so similar at times it reminds me of that joke people used to tell concerning Michael and Janet Jackson - no one ever saw them in the same room at the same time...
34DJ Shadow
Endtroducing...


"Stem/Long Stem" - I'd always bonded with my little brother over a shared love of music but as we entered our teens our tastes diverged more and more. His great love was for hip hop and instrumental electronic music whereas I was starting to delve more into indie rock, folk and the classic albums of the 60's and 70's. By '96 our biggest remaining overlap was trip hop and instrumental hip hop, especially the sort of acts you'd find on labels like Mo' Wax. That label's 'Headz' compilation was one of our shared favourites but it wasn't until the release of 'Endtroducing...' that we'd find our champion; we were in total agreement that this one was a work of absolute genius. 'Stem/Long Stem' is the centrepiece of the album and those pummelling drums that kick in at 2:40 have lost none of their appeal over the years.
35 Vic Chesnutt
Is the Actor Happy? [reissue]


"Onion Soup" - this is one of those strangely uplifting songs and an unlikely singalong favourite. You have to love the way Vic mangles and strangles those weird vocabulary choices of his; 'those were the daaaaaaaaaaays you were so . . . cosmo...pol-i-tan', just perfect. His buddies Michael Stipe and Mark Linkous had the prettier voices but ol' Chesnutt brought a quirkiness all his own.
36Metallica
...And Justice for All


"Blackened" - for the longest time my choice would have been the t/t from 'Pastor of Muppets' but I've slowly grown to realise this bad boy has irresistible swag, way more so than any other 'Tallica tune. The riff that comes in at 2:37 is a cheeky little snake charmin', devil dancin' winner. Then you have the sped up section at 5:32...masterful. Track just swings.
37Mercury Rev
Yerself Is Steam


"Frittering" - another from my top 10, this song is the ultimate dream pop indie tune with that late 80's/early 90's sound. The music is a perfect match with that song title, this really sounds like the summer days of youth slipping through your fingers; the lyric 'I get so high...sink to the bottom of your room' triggering flashbacks of getting stoned lazing about in the bedrooms of your friends and lovers. This soothes...and it aches.
38The Young Gods
Only Heaven


"Kissing the Sun" - it's rare you hear a rock track that sounds this sleek and pristine, back in '95 I used to listen to this album while playing futuristic racing game F-Zero and it was a perfect match. I'm usually not all that much of a production audiophile but Roli Mosimann's work here is top notch; whenever the guitars and drums kick in they jump out at you with surgical precision. Probably another wildcard beneficiary of the 'no two songs from one artist' rule but I'm happy giving it a shout here.
39Alice in Chains
Jar of Flies


"Nutshell" - 'Jar of Flies' really felt like a one off, Alice in Chains' music never sounded as warm and classic outside of this mini album. One of the most evocative songs I've ever heard, 'Nutshell' is that rare depressive track that you'll still enjoy whatever your mood. There's a timeless beauty here found in the mix of acoustic and soaring electric guitar, and in the blend of Layne's rich tones and those gentle backing vocals. When people talk about the 'new Alice in Chains' my eyes just glaze over...there was a special chemistry at work with that original lineup, the chance to record another 'Nutshell' went to the grave with Staley.
40Battles
Mirrored


"Atlas" - I'd hardly call myself a huge fan of Battles but this tune is glorious. 'Atlas' bounces along with such enthusiasm you'll feel like you've been strapped into a clown car and rolled down a rocky slope. It just slaps a massive grin on your face and forces you to bob your head in time.
41The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band


"A Day in the Life" - one of the most famous songs by arguably the most popular band of all time. This song has no particular significance to me, its simply The Beatles tune I enjoy the most, and the band's pedigree should speak for itself.
42Portishead
Third


"Machine Gun" - I could have gone for any of Portishead's trademark cinematic trip hop torch songs like 'Undenied', 'Roads', 'Mysterons' or 'The Rip' but instead I've settled on the black sheep of the flock. 'Machine Gun' is probably divisive even among Portishead fans let alone music listeners in general. It starts as a skeletal composition made up of brutal machine-like drums and mournful vocals but it's not until the halfway point that the song springs it's trap; the vocals fall away and we enter an apocalyptic soundscape of twisted electronics and Terminator soundtrack style synths. You can't help but build images of a devastated future landscape where even Beth Gibbons has been rendered mute.
43Massive Attack
Blue Lines


"Unfinished Sympathy" - 'Blue Lines' was the ultimate album to get stoned to with the smokers among my friends. On these occasions the album would fall into the role of background music...except for 'Unfinished Sympathy'. When that intro struck up a hush would descend on the group; it was like an unspoken understanding, a kind of holy reverence. This track is a one off, Massive Attack never managed to record anything else quite like it, and it has to go down as one of the most memorable and unique songs of the 90's.
44Soundgarden
Superunknown


"Head Down" - I can't remember who it was who first labelled Soundgarden the Led Zeppelin of the 90's but I see where they were coming from. Their best work always had that 'Kashmir' middle-eastern thang in the mix. Ben Shepherd was the song writer I respected most in the band and 'Head Down' epitomises his style; trippy, rhythmically unconventional, with a playful mystical 70's vibe at work...a lot of great qualities basically. Was this really grunge or just a throwback to dinosaur rock? It matters not.
45Sonic Youth
Sister


"Schizophrenia" - Sonic Youth are one of those acts I don't know much about beyond the music and their prolificacy has perhaps worked against them for me. The frustrating thing is I imagine if I took the time to seek out my top 10 songs by them they'd stand up to anything else out there considering how much I dig tunes like 'Teenage Riot', 'Sugar Kane' and in particular 'Schizophrenia'. If you ask me to think of late 80's indie rock then it'd be the intro to this track that first fires up in my mind. It's a little bit slacker and a little bit jangle, with some druggy and arty undertones in there too. On this song Thurston sings like a man who's not left bed for a week due to all the constant fucking and that's fantastic too.
46Destroyer
Kaputt


"Chinatown" - I've realised I've left my first 50 picks light on Top 10 contenders so 46-50 are all in that bracket. 'Kaputt' is my second favourite album and this opening track is both a perfect scene setter and the most successful pure pop moment on the disc too. This song has an intoxicating exotic atmosphere that's hard to place and Bejar's voice is smooth as anything here, intertwining with the female vocals perfectly.
47Fennesz
Endless Summer


"Endless Summer" - my brother bought me an orange salt lamp as a moving in present for my old flat in Brixton and I remember for a few months putting it on and listening to this album which I'd discovered at the same time. As a result whenever I listen to 'Endless Summer' I picture a warm orange light that seems a great match with the fuzzy, gauzy sounds of Fennesz. The title track was always my favourite, the opening section has some haunting barely there piano melodies buried under the surface...then you get attacked by what sounds like an angry mosquito...before the music returns with a newfound warmth and clarity. Probably my favourite instrumental track of all time no less.
48Lewis
L'Amour


"Like to See You Again" - this synth laden piano ballad is the highlight of one of my most unlikely favourite discoveries of recent years. Lewis' vocals sound half mumbled and choked like he's holding back dem tears; the piano playing seems similarly hesitant while the synths apply dreamy sepia tones around the edges of this fading photograph.
49Leonard Cohen
Songs of Love and Hate


"Famous Blue Raincoat" - Cohen is one of the absolute songwriting masters and this is widely regarded as one of his very best. He's in true storytelling mode here, the song playing out like a mini novel tracing the history of a love triangle. The story is probably fictitious or at least embellished but there are some intriguing clues in there; the lyric 'did you ever go clear?' is a reference to Cohen's dalliance with Scientology, he did indeed live on Clinton Street in the 70's and yup he did own a lovely blue raincoat (that's now famous I guess).
50Talk Talk
Laughing Stock


"New Grass" - there's an elemental beauty at the core of 'Laughing Stock' and really I could have selected any song from the album as they all have this natural magic about them. Listening to 'New Grass' outdoors on a sunny day you'll sense that guitar line just melting into your surroundings.
51Mogwai
Young Team


"Mogwai Fear Satan" - if 'Endless Summer' is my favourite instrumental then this is the track that runs it closest. The Mogwai debut album has always been my pick of the crop and the album's closer is an absolute beast. The band's discog is littered with prettier songs ('Cody', 'Take Me Somewhere Nice') and heavier ones ('Like Herod', 'Christmas Steps') but I feel 'Fear Satan' has that the most impressive sweeping range of all their work. One of the greatest guitar epics of the 90's.
52Thomas Feiner & Anywhen
The Opiates Revised


"Dinah and the Beautiful Blue" - I've only been listening to this song for a week and have probably played it less than 25 times but 'my list my rules' I'm putting it up. Mr Feiner has one of those great weathered voice that just imbues his singing with so much emotion and depth. This song may just be a simple melodic orchestral ballad but it's just dripping in atmosphere. Sometimes it only takes a few listens to know you've got a classic on your hands.
53Sunhouse
Crazy on the Weekend


"Hard Sun" - Taken from the official Greatest Sput Discovery 2015, this is another Top 10 entrant:

'At empty walls I sit and stare
I sense a feeling in the air
In the throes of thought I wonder
Can I make it on my own
But, deep down in my heart I known
That I ain't never, ever going home

And it's a hard sun
A hard sun that's
been beating on my back
It's a hard sun
That shines its light on me.'
54Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy


"The Rain Song" - Led Zeppelin are the ultimate 70's rock act in my eyes but I've always been most impressed by their folk influenced material. This song from the underrated 'Houses of the Holy' compares love to the seasons, explaining how if you want something lasting you'll need to weather the good times and bad...I feel your pain Robert, these are lyrics I'd have loved to staple to the foreheads of some of the more (ahem) fickle girls from my past but there you go. The guitar work from Page is as impeccable as you'd expect and the composition ebbs and flows to match the theme of the rolling seasons.
55Shearwater
Rook


"I Was a Cloud" - this song took a long time to grow on me, there are more obvious standout tracks on 'Rook' like 'The Snow Leopard' and 'The Hunter's Star' but I consider this Meiberg's crowning achievement. The song is built around a Sparklehorse style repeating acoustic guitar figure that's then joined by all manner of delicate instrumentation that intertwine to build up a stunning wintry Talk Talk soundscape.
56Chromatics
Kill For Love


"Into the Black" - my favourite cover version of all time (and yes there will be a couple more appearing later in the list). The Neil Young original is a cool song in its own right but this version just has that soundtrack vibe to it that lifts it to a whole new level. 'It's better to burn out than it is to rust...the King is gone but he's not forgotten...rock n' roll will never die' - for some reason these lyrics work even better delivered by a group of non rockers.
57This Mortal Coil
It'll End in Tears


"Song to the Siren" - I told you there'd be a couple more covers on the list and my good gawd does this song get covered a lot. I know three versions really well; the bonkers Tim Buckley original; a really tastefully done Robert Plant take; and this female sung offering. Famous for appearing at the upsetting conclusion to David Lynch's disturbing 'Lost Highway' this will always be the definitive version for me. The quavering vocals run in a really unconventional manner that's at first jarring but later you come to prefer to the more classic readings.
58Lambchop
Is a woman


"My Blue Wave" - I was really torn between all three of the opening tracks on the genius 'Is a Woman' album but in the end plumped for this morose soul-crusher. Wagner's strangely soulful croaky granpaw vocals have rarely sounded as heartbroken as they do here; this being Lambchop they still find time to laugh at this sort of everyday melodrama... Kurt laying it on thick as 'the dog gives you the paaaaaaw'
59Felt (UK)
Ignite The Seven Cannons


"Primitive Painters" - I've not really enjoyed anything else I've heard from Felt but this song is an 80's classic, replete with prominent guest backing vocals from Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins. I suppose 'Colour of Spring' Talk Talk is the closest comparison, though the vocals owe something to Matt Johnson of The The too. The lyrics are impossible to not sing along to, 'there's a look on your face it's the human race and if you just keep saying ah ah swear!'
60Depeche Mode
Songs of Faith and Devotion


"Walking in My Shoes" - I find a lot of Depeche Mode to be weak beer 'Top Gear/dad pop' of the highest degree (I'm hard pressed to think of a less cool band right now off the top of my head...) but I can't help but love this one. It has a bit of spunk to it, maybe they'd heard 'Pretty Hate Machine' and realised they had to try and at least try and put a bit of welly into it.
61Pearl Jam
Vitalogy


"Corduroy" - this one has a little bit of everything I like most about Pearl Jam; Eddie's an intense dude and his vocals here really show that; the lyrics are heart on sleeve with a strongly felt sentiment (here media manipulation painting him in the wrong light and wishing to put across his true beliefs about what is of real value to him); and of course that epic quality to the music and composition. 'Vitalogy' is my favourite of their albums because I feel the rawness of their performance and the production choices suit those strengths down to the ground. 'Corduroy' is their true anthem, the one that followed Cobain's death and all the associated grunge movement fallout. Here they set out their stall; we're in for the long haul but we're doing it our way - full integrity, zero compromise.
62Smashing Pumpkins
Siamese Dream


"Hummer" - another really tricky pick, I decided pretty quick I was going to choose something from 'Siamese Dream' but even narrowing it down that far leaves you with 'Cherub Rock', 'Disarm', 'Geek USA', 'Mayonaise'...not easy. 'Hummer' stood out as the deep cut that best captures the essence of the album in the one song. It has the middle-eastern intro, the riffs, the big chorus, the solo, then the trippy featherlight coda - this is Billy doing what Billy does best.
63Elliott Smith
Either/Or


"Angeles" - Elliott Smith was king of the acoustic bedsit troubadours and in particular I always loved his songs that captured the unnatural stillness of nighttime like 'Between the Bars', 'Twilight' and 'Satellite'. 'Angeles' is another with that same tonal palette and listening to it always reminds me of stumbling home slightly drunk with my headphones on after meeting a friend for a few drinks. You'd look around the houses, churches and bars on your way home and Smith's music would cast them in a slightly different light, adding a sense of mystery and romance that wasn't there in the sober light of day.
64Robert Wyatt
Rock Bottom


"Alife" - I haven't heard too many songs that tap into that deep intimacy that develops in a relationship where you get to the level where two people have started communicating in their own language. 'Alife' is one that manages to do just that, sometimes you can feel slightly uncomfortable listening to this song as it's like peaking into someone's private world.
65The Cure
Disintegration


"Fascination Street" - it's the layering that makes this track such a winner, the keyboard and guitar lines that run in and out of the mix are masterful. On an album where every song hangs thick with atmosphere somehow 'Fascination Street' still manages to stand apart; listening to this song really feels like taking a trip to the freaky side of town and I'm guessing that's exactly what Robert Smith was aiming at.
66Bon Iver
For Emma, Forever Ago


"Re: Stacks" - probably the most straightforward and restrained song on this list, so how to explain the magic? Well it certainly helps that this song concludes a slow burning album that's worked hard digging those emotional hooks under your skin throughout its entire runtime. Despite being a perfect fit as an album closer 'Re: Stacks' still works well as a standalone song, it certainly boasts some of Vernon's strongest lyrics and some great imagery:

'There's a black crow sitting across from me
His wiry legs are crossed
He is dangling my keys, he even fakes a toss
Whatever could it be
That has brought me to this loss?'
67Animal Collective
Feels


"Banshee Beat" - another Top 10 pick this one and a track that I believe best represents the peculiar charm of Animal Collective as a band and Avey Tare as a song writer in particular. AnCo's music isn't usually the music of my immediate surroundings - it has an exoticness, an alien quality, one that sometimes snaps into a closer fit when I'm travelling to somewhere foreign and new; as a result most of the time this is music to soundtrack your fantasies and day dreams and Avey Tare's fevered non linear lyrics are the perfect spirit guide. The difficulties and limitations of human communication seems to be a recurring theme on 'Feels' and 'Banshee Beat' seems to document a troubled (failed?) relationship; as is usually the case with Animal Collective material there's a sense of nostalgia and clinging on to a youthful idealism.
68The Clash
London Calling


"The Guns of Brixton" - I'm not sure this really counts as a protest song but obviously it tapped into the discontent felt by Jamaican immigrants before the riots of the 80's. It goes without saying that most any other white band recording a song from this perspective would have been a recipe for disaster and a cringe factor of 10 but in the hands of The Clash it just works. The song has one of the most famous bass lines of all time and the rest of the instrumentation is a hoot with all manner of dubby effects gleefully employed.
69Beach House
Teen Dream


"Walk in the Park" - I'll just go straight on and slap the label of 'Greatest Breakup Song of All Time' on this one. It has the absolute perfect tone and some of the saddest imagery that you could imagine, communicating that feeling of the whole world having changed its nature at the end of a relationship.

'The face that you saw in the door isn't looking at you anymore
The name that you call in its place isn't waiting for your embrace
The world that you love to behold cannot hold you anymore' {sob}

Beach House are also the undisputed masters of the devastating coda and 'Walk in the Park' is one of their very best, Legrand's 'you want more's building and building until they take on this disarming strident intensity. She really wants some fucking more alright.
70The Felice Brothers
The Felice Brothers


"Don't Wake the Scarecrow" - or 'Don't Wank the Scarecrow' as I've christened it (that title would still fit the lyrics funnily enough). This is a song that tells a neat little story cum fable cum fairytale. The lyrics even riff off 'The Wizard of Oz' ye gods. It's a real tear jerker, the way Simone Felice sings the lines "Who gives a damn when a tramp dies?" and 'With an iron lung in that craaaaaaazy way' are particularly moving but you'll have to listen to the song to understand the context as I'm not giving a plot synopsis here.
71Jens Lekman
When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog


"Cold Swedish Winter" - how the hell can I maintain any credibility [cough] disliking the work of Morrisssey and fey bands like Belle & Sebastian and then put a Jens Lekman song up on this list you might well ask? Well, I'm a believer that music taste is frequently illogical and often the smallest of details can turn you on or off an artist. I can't explain why I enjoy Lekman's affected croon but I just do - I guess it helps that my other half has really taken to him too, this is one of her favourite songs and she usually sings the female section which considering the context of the song should be a bit weird but it still ends up really endearing. Definitely the best song to name check Cliff Richards, rhyme 'idea' and 'gonorrhea' and then theorise about future fossilised human remains being dug up in the Swedish tundra 2000 years hence.
72Megadeth
Rust in Peace


"Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" - list was starving for some riffs so up go Megadeth. Near enough anything taken from 'Rust in Peace' would have done the job but this one has the most twists and turns to the point you never feel you've got a complete handle on the song. Adventure is what they call it.
73The National
High Violet


"Sorrow" - Unsurprisingly a great deal of competition for my National pick but 'Sorrow' takes the crown thanks to being arguably their most archetypal song and also having incredible replay value for me. Of course the band tested that reasoning by playing 'A Lot of Sorrow' - a six hour marathon that repeated the song over a hundred times. For any other song performed by any other band that would sound like a horrific prospect but credit to The National, six hours of 'Sorrow' still sounds like good times to me.
74R.E.M.
Automatic for the People


"Find the River" - along with 'Sorrow' this is another song that probably just misses out on my Top 10 but not by too much. You get the feeling R.E.M knew they'd hit one out the park with 'Automatic' and 'Find the River' goes down as one of the all-time great celebratory high fiving, victory lapping set closers in history. The song flows with an engagingly relaxed feel and has a disarmingly open candour, you can't fake this sort of confidence - only a band at the absolute peak of their game release a song like this...and that was the position R.E.M were in back in '92.
75Liars
Mess


"Mess on a Mission" - If I had to name one song that best sums up the post-millenial generation it'd be this banger from Liars - information overload, everyone's a critic, bullshit thrust at you from every angle...Sputnikmusic.com The Soundtrack?!?
76Grant Lee Buffalo
Fuzzy


"Fuzzy" - Eat your poodle-haired heart out Jon Bon Jovi - this is what I consider to be true modern day cowboy music. A song that seems to call out directly to the listener, like it's asking you to cut your palm and make a blood pact..then blow this joint, hit the road and go full outlaw.
77Chilly Gonzales
The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales


"You Snooze You Lose" - In a Top 100 list is there really room to include a joke song? Probably not but thanks to the 'no two songs' rule I'm going to sneak this on here. If Sacha Baron Cohen came up with a narcissistic 'enfante terrible' musician character he'd probably end up with something close to Chilly Gonzalez. I have to admit I do take a perverse pleasure putting this on here ahead of anything by the Beastie Boys or Eminem but in truth I do actually listen to this song more than anything by either of those two artists. The song is actually featured on the 'Presidential Suite' album.
78Sigur Ros
( )


"Fyrsta" - I can remember listening to the ( ) album for the first time in 2002 after just moving into my flat on a frosty winter's day and it just captured that time perfectly. It was my introduction to Sigur Ros and the first album I purchased after moving in...I became a little obsessed with the band for a few years after that. They may seem over familiar now but back then Sigur Ros were something totally alien and exotic, ( ) was almost like a crazy mirror reflection of 'Kid A' with it's chilly vibe and disembodied chattering samples. 'Frysta' is one of the more understated moments on the album but sports the most enticing atmosphere and is the tune that really takes me back to the feeling I had with those first exploratory listens.
79Wilco
A Ghost is Born


"At Least That's What You Said" - I'm guessing this will be considered a bit of a strange choice of top Wilco song - the first two minutes are barren balladeering and the rest of the composition consists of an extended experimental guitar solo. Surely this is the sort of stuff Neil Young could toss off in his sleep (yarp!)? Quite possibly, but this track has character - it's a gutsy choice of opener to an otherwise largely pedestrian album and if I'm being real mean I'd go as far as to say it's the last truly great album cut Wilco penned (barring a resurgence in form from the boys). Rocks like a mutha.
80Pink Floyd
Animals


"Dogs" - Again another band with a shedload of potential favourite songs. I've only been listening to 'Animals' for under a year so maybe this pick has benefitted from that freshness but I'm not sure - the album is definitely my favourite start to finish listen from Floyd and even then 'Dogs' stands out as my clear favourite of the trio of tunes that make up the bulk of the disc. In the hands of another act the heavy handed lyrical theme and accompanying woof woofs/'here boy' whistles could have led to eye rolls but there's never any danger of that here, Floyd seem to be the only prog act that were equipped with a 100% reliable cheese deflector. Consummate dad rock.
81Sparklehorse
Good Morning Spider


"Maria's Little Elbows" - what could be more perfect than Mark Linkous singing a chorus of 'loooooonelinesss'? Not a lot. The lyrics are also noteworthy for quoting from The Velvet Underground's 'Candy Says' which just adds to my love of this song; it's a nicely judged tribute to a classic but beyond that the lyrics just work so well in the context of this song and the style of Mark's voice:

'She said I've really come to hate my body
And all the things that it requires in this world...'
82The The
Infected


"Out of the Blue (into the fire)" - to provide some context when I first listened to 'Infected' I was 8 years old, my other favourite album would have been 'Bad' by Michael Jackson and I'd never so much as kissed a girl. I'm not sure why out of all the albums my parents would play in the car I became so obsessed with this one, but I did, and I clearly remember 'borrowing' the cassette and playing it most nights on my walkman. It sounded like nothing else I'd heard at that age (or since tbh) and Johnson came across like an everyman who'd been afforded access to some incredible secret truths and ended up a modern day prophet. Johnson is my all time favourite lyricist and 'Out of the Blue' in particular is a genius piece of story telling that still grabs me after...what? 1000 listens? Could it really be that many? Definitely a top 10 song and has a real shout at being a Top 3 song for me. As they say most every great rock or pop song writer eventually pens one about a prostitute...
83Smog
Knock Knock


"River Guard" - Bill Callahan, perhaps along with Will Oldham, is one of the only song writers to start up since the start of the 90's I'd hold in the same esteem as the great exponents of previous decades like Dylan, Reed, Young, Cohen, Drake, etc. The particularly great thing about both of these artists is they're also incredibly prolific, and Callahan in particular is unbelievably consistent to boot. This is a man who probably has 100 potential classic songs under his belt so picking one is a tough task - I settled on 'River Guard' as it is the centrepiece of the Callahan album I feel i know the best, 'Knock Knock'. It also boasts one of Callahan's greatest ever choruses, not his obvious strength, and the lyrics paint some of the most vivid imagery of any of his songs.
84Palace Music
Viva Last Blues


"New Partner" - 'I See a Darkness' would have been the obvious pick here but I do find that song a bit of an ordeal to listen to at times whereas 'New Partner' just has this vibrancy and warmth to it that makes it a song you always feel like spinning - yes, it's an Oldham song that actually cheers the heart. It's also the song that most ably demonstrates all the best qualities in Will's unconventional croak, the winning way he sings phrases like 'there's a skirt in the bedroom that's pleasantly loooooow' and 'when you think like a hermit you forget what you know' just get you on his side instantly.
85Oneohtrix Point Never
Garden of Delete


"Sticky Drama" - what to say about the infamous 'Sticky Drama'? Well in my Top Songs of 2015 list I said this track sounded like the Decepticons doing unspeakable things to Grimes and that still sums it up for me. Modern pop, complete with the ubiquitous chipmunk filtered vox, bastardised to oblivion. The genius is that it still remains so catchy and I genuinely believe it to be one of the greatest pop songs of the last 10 years.
86Aphex Twin
Drukqs


"Mt. Saint Michel Mix+St. Michaels Mount" - if I had to name a song that I'd expect to cause the most offence played at ear splitting volume in a public area it'd probably be this 8 minute scatter-gun mindfuck from Mr James. This expertly straddles that line between being intensely irritating and gobsmackingly genius - exactly where Aphex Twin loves to operate.
87Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels 2


"Oh My Darling Don't Cry" - before this dropped in 2014 I have to admit to being pretty bored at the state of music that year, there had been some excellent slow burning albums but nothing just pure fun to listen to. 'RtJ2' was exactly what I was craving and I ended up playing the album to death, in particular the first four tracks. 'Oh Me Darlin' is the standout and I listened to it so much I think it's still the most played song on my iTunes.
88Arcade Fire
Funeral


"Neighbourhood #1 (tunnels)" - for a little while back in 2004 it really felt like we could have another Nirvana on our hands - a band who could explode out of nowhere and take over the planet. Of course it never quite happened, the world's changed, music's changed...but make no mistake Arcade Fire came closest to achieving this type of impact since the 90's. What they shared with that band was a certain youthful exuberance, an integrity, it seemed like they'd developed in their own bubble with little outside influence - musically there was little at all they shared but Arcade Fire had the spirit alright. Sadly the magic they bottled on 'Funeral' proved impossible to repeat so they turned into 'just another decent indie band'. This opener from the d├ębut is my favourite, the way this song builds an emotional head of steam is what stood the band apart - you actually wanted to jump up on stage and join them and there's few other current acts operating who make me feel like that.
89Jeff Buckley
Grace


"Hallelujah" - I'm guessing this will be an unpopular pick of Buckley song on this site, people seem to regard this as way too over familiar and widely celebrated. The fact is there's no getting around this being the peak of 'Grace' and by that definition also the peak of his career. The Cohen original...well...it's a well written song but Laughing Len's version held up to this is just a joke. Yes, it's depressing that yer Burke's n' Boyle's have all done similar interpretations now but don't blame my boy Buckley for that. Yes there's even a Top 60 ranking list out there - where interestingly this actually places 2nd behind the John Cale version which I admit I haven't listened to...I guess maybe I should.
90Nick Drake
Pink Moon


"Things Behind the Sun" - even by Nick Drake's standards this is a really depressing one - I mean the song does sort of try and lift a shade in the pre chorus but it still gets swallowed down by the chorus itself and then another unremittingly bleak verse sets in. This is the ultimate document of English grey clouded misery - it's undeniably pretty...but only in the same way you'd find a beam of sunlight glistening on a yew tree in a graveyard pretty. Morbid.
91Manic Street Preachers
The Holy Bible


"Yes" - the Manics really didn't sound like anyone else out there in '94, you had Nicky Wire's prominent bass lines backing up Bradfield's impassioned punk yelp and sinister sounding guitar tones. Vocally Bradfield struggled manfully, attempting to wrestle Richey's highly-literate-but-'conspiracy theorist'-crazy lyrics into these punk influenced song structures - indeed there's nothing comfortable about this album...for the band or listener. 'Yes' is the perfect opening track, it's seductive melodic qualities subverted (perverted?) by the casual horror of the lyrics and setting up the agenda for the rest of the album.
92My Bloody Valentine
Loveless


"Sometimes" - I guess this is the most conventional moment on 'Loveless' but that doesn't stop it from being a classic in my eyes. A song already overplayed that was then used on the soundtrack to 'Lost in Translation', leading to even greater saturation, means that there are times I even find it a little too overfamiliar but I won't hold that against it - this remains one of the defining songs of the 90's and only falls behind Mercury Rev's 'Frittering' (also released in '91) in the guitar-based dream pop stakes.
93Radiohead
OK Computer


"Let Down" - it took a long time for 'Let Down' to reveal itself as my favourite song on 'Ok Computer', for the longest time I thought it was the closest thing to a filler track on the album. Slowly it wormed its way into my affections, I recognised Yorke's performance here to be possibly the finest of his career, and the final minute to be one of the greatest finales to any song ever recorded. Now its got to the stage that whenever I hear that chiming intro I swear my mind instantly relaxes, there's something about the instrumental layering of this song that's simply transcendent. Easily a top 10 song for me, possibly top 5.
94Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest


"He Would Have Laughed" - the epic closer to 'Halcyon Digest' is one of the most intimate songs Bradford Cox has penned and the weight of the human condition is weighing heavy on him here. The song is a tribute to his friend, the late Jay Reatard, and the song seems to obsess over the passing of time and the associated loss we all must suffer. The genius part is the music also carries this feeling, as the song progresses it seems to get increasingly reflective and sad, with Cox sounding all the more alone by its conclusion.
95Pavement
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain


"Range Life" - this is a really atypical song for Pavement who are transformed into a Beck-alike alt country band here, a style that really suits them. Malkmus in particular excels himself in both word selection and vocal phrasing ending up with one of his most legendary performances. The lyrics are as archly clever, irreverent and playful as you'd expect - the listener is simply left to ponder just how tongue in cheek this all is supposed to be.
96Jane's Addiction
Ritual De Lo Habitual


"Then She Did" - I can hear a million souls screaming 'Three Days' but as much as I enjoy this song's neighbour it's 'Then She Did' that's sunk its hooks in me over the passing years. The band's love of Zeppelin is to the fore here, there's a 'mellow Kashmir' vibe in places and of course Farrell has his vocal similarities to Plant too. The song is likely to be a tribute to his former lover Xiola Bleu who was a kindred creative spirit who tragically died of an overdose. The song vocalises the connection he feels between her and his mother who committed suicide:

'Will you say hello to my ma?
Will you pay a visit to her?
She was an artist, just as you were.
I'd have introduced you to her.'

The man has seen his fair share of heartbreak I think it's safe to say.
97Pixies
Doolittle


"Gouge Away" - this song has the most swagger of anything on 'Doolittle', a perfect closer, Black Francis' vocals have just the exact correct amount of intensity to them...and yes, it's practically a blueprint for where Nirvana would head to on 'Nevermind'.
98David Bowie
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust...


"Five Years" - a final Top 10 pick, of course in a true Top 100 song list I'd probably find room for two or three more songs by the man but despite 'Always Crashing in the Same Car' being my favourite Bowie for years I've since settled on this being my number one choice and hence only representative here. What a way to kick off the album that would make your name - it has all the things we'd come to associate with Bowie...melodrama, flamboyance, rock n' roll posturing, sci fi fantasising, androgynous sexuality, highly unusual lyrics, distinctive role playing vocals, the lot.
99Sufjan Stevens
Carrie and Lowell


"Fourth of July" - people tend to skirt around the issue of death, even within the field of popular song, but here Sufjan just unloads with zero regard for such convention. It's an uncomfortable listen, are some of these lyrics taken directly from personal conversations he had with his mother? 'Fourth of July' can feel invasive and borderline distasteful...but it's by a million miles the most powerful thing Stevens has ever written.
100American Music Club
California


"Blue and Grey Shirt" - I just realised I didn't have anything from Mark Eitzel on the list and that feels unrepresentative so I'll put this standout track from the AMC album 'California' up. I think this list was always destined to finish with a low key shrug and Eitzel is the king of delivering those.

'...from now on...' [fade out]
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