Masochist
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Dear God, It's A List About Music!!!1!

Lately, I find myself focusing more on the drama on this site and forgetting that I come here specifically for the music (nevermind the year-end lists...). This isn't an indictment on the site in any way, but simply a personal observation; I know exactly what to expect when I log on here, and to expect any less is to live half a decade in the past. Still, sometimes I dig myself in too deep, and need pop my head out of the shit for some fresh air every once in a while...hence this list. This is a list of 21 of the most immediately awe-inspiring songs I've ever heard; that is, the first time I heard them, my jaw dropped, my mind was blown, and I was in love. Descriptions abound.
1Anberlin
(*fin)

A pop-punk band isn't supposed to be able to create something like this, let alone actually do it...and yet, Anberlin did. The first time I heard this song, I was engrossed; I listened to it multiple times to make sure that it sunk in that I was listening to something above and beyond what a band like this should be expected to make. It's not even my favorite Anberlin song, to be honest, but it is without a doubt their best.
2Bad Religion
Who We Are

I almost missed this song because it was never released on one of their albums; instead, it was on the "Punk-O-Rama, Vol. 8" compilation. This is one of the best songs I've ever heard by them--the urgency, the lyrics, the absolute destruction of guitar strings juxtaposed with an aloof, near-apathetic vocal performance (as opposed to the rapid fire delivery most of their other songs are noted for) combine to form something familiar like I've never heard from the band. It's beautiful...that's all I can say.
3Bob Dylan
Like A Rolling Stone

I heard this for the first time earlier last year after being really into 'Bringing It All Back Home' for a good long while. I just wanted to know if there was a reason why Rolling Stone called it the greatest song of all time other than the fact that the words "Rolling Stone" are in it. Turns out, there may have been something to their claim; first time I heard it, I put it on repeat four times. I really think it's just the straightfoward venom; where most of Dylan's other songs are stories riddled in metaphors, this one is just fucking harsh.
4Blindside
Roads

The trumpet solo makes this one, absolutely. This is the softest song they've ever written, and it's followed by the heaviest song they've ever written, and the feeling of listening to the two back to back is like eating ice cold vanilla ice cream on top of a hot fudge brownie.
5Deftones
Be Quiet and Drive

The Deftones introduced me to the concept of soft-yet-heavy songs. This was the first song I ever heard by the band, and it's probably the song that best reflects their entire sound. It's just amazing how so many emotions can be evoked and expressed which so little lyrics (it's a 5:00+ min. song with less than 10 lines of lyrics).
6Dredg
The Canyon Behind Her

I'm not explaining this. All I'll say is that in order to really, REALLY "get it," you have to listen to the entire album all the way through (at least, I did); otherwise, it'll only be a pretty song as opposed to an awe-inspiring work of art.
7Eminem
'97 Bonnie and Clyde

How do you get away with making a song like this!? You're talking to a baby about how you just murdered her mother...and you're rhyming perfectly, and it makes sense, and she helps you dump the body, and everyone can see you really love her, and the backing music is amazingly melodic, and I guess I can forgive you for it, you did what you had to do, maybe she had it coming, at least Hailey's all right...so what happened in the first place? Doesn't matter...no possible way at all that it could ever, ever, ever be any more awe-inspiring than this. No way.
8The Gaslight Anthem
The '59 Sound

I'll never understand it, but this song really almost made me cry for all the nostalgia it brings about. It's such a deceptively simple song, with very straightforward lyrics, and I don't even LIKE Bruce Springsteen, but this song is something special.
9In Flames
Come Clarity

When I first heard this song, I wasn't as big a fan of this band as I am...but this just has a grand, epic feel to it...very strange for a song with such depressing and REAL lyrics. Still one of my favorites by the band.
10King Crimson
In The Court of the Crimson King

This song, this one right here, is why King Crimson became legendary after just one album.
11Mew
156

When I described my interpretation of Progressive Pop a week or two back, THIS is the song I meant. I think it's the multiple tempo and time sig changes, or the ethereal quality of vocals and instruments, or maybe just the backing wind sound effects, but it takes my breath away every damn time. "Am I Wry? No" does it by being so damn catchy--who the hell has a rhythm guitar solo, and how the hell do you make it work so well!?
12Nas
The World Is Yours

This song single-handedly (re-)ignited my passion for good hip-hop. Every hip-hop song I ever heard/liked/sang with after 2005 owes my interest to this one. It's the most beautiful hip-hop song I think I've ever heard, which is saying a lot.
13Newsboys
Elle G.

Atmosphere is the name of the game for this song. I can't tell you what those random wailing guitar chords do for this song, or how much the very down-to-earth vocal delivery works in combination. But I can tell you that, in my opinion, it's one of the best things CCM has ever produced.
14Norma Jean
Disconnectie: The Faithful Vampire

A ten-minute-long Norma Jean song would probably have most people cringe at the horror...but then again, so would an eighteen-minute-long NOFX song, and we all know how THAT turned out. As it is, this is one of Norma Jean's best ever; yet another example of how repetition can be used to create the best of songs (looking at you, "Hey Jude")--in this case, NJ create a smooth, emotive groove with very simple lyrics that you subconsciously begin to chant along with. It's hard to imagine that this is on the same album as "Murderotica."
15Pink Floyd
Shine On You Crazy Diamond

'Nuff said.
16Raekwon
House of Flying Daggers

Awe-inspiring for an entirely different reason--I can't believe how amazingly catchy this is. There's not even a beat in the background; it's just one fucking sound repeated over and over throughout the entire fucking song--chorus, verse, everything. It's dark, it's gritty, and it's about killing people. And yet...it's SO. DAMN. CATCHY. One of my top 5 hip-hop songs of the past 5 years.
17Refused
New Noise

THE NEW BEAT! THE NEW BEAT! THE NEW BEAT! THE NEW BEAT! THE NEW BEAT! THE NEW BEAT! THE NEW BEEF! THE NEW BEEF! THE NEW BEEF! THE NEW BEEF! THANK NEW BEEF! THANK NEW BEEF! THANK YOU BEEF! THANK YOU BEEF! THANK YOU BEEF! THANK YOU BEEF! Thank you.
18Simon and Garfunkel
Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Same story as with "Like A Rolling Stone"--I was really into 'Bookends' for a long time, and kept hearing that 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters' was a better album. So I finally got it, checked it out, and while I still like 'Bookends' more as a whole, I can very easily see why "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" is considered their best song. It's effortless, and unimaginably pretty...like the greatest picture of a sunrise ever. It had an immediate effect; I was literally jamming to this in a grocery store within a week.
19Sigur Ros
Untitled 8

I'm pretty sure I had a moment of absolute clarity while taking a shower with a single candle lit while listening to this song. And I really doubt that I will ever hear something as utterly, painfully beautiful.
20Slipknot
Vermillion

The awe for this one comes from who wrote it. Slipknot, whose former songs are called things like "People = Shit," and contained such lyrical gems as, "All you fucking bands can suck these fucking nuts," came out with this song and it's second part. Very Deftones-like in its approach to soft-heaviness and eerie atmosphere, and the chorus is among the most fulfilling and satisfying as they've ever done. Songs like this are the reason why I love 'The Subliminal Verses' far beyond any other Slipknot album.
21Thrice
Firebreather and Daedalus

"Firebreather" made me a true Thrice fan; "Daedalus" made me realize their talent. "Firebreather," with that choral outro and intense, passionate beauty, is one of the best things I've ever heard Thrice produce, which is an amazing thing to say about a song. "Daedalus" is the exact opposite--subtle and calm, though oddly ominous until yet another passionate, intense outro, which made me wonder how a former punk/post-hardcore band creates something that pretty. I'll never figure it out, but to say that these songs are among the most awe-inspiring songs by a band well-known for making awe-inspiring songs should say enough.
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