30 Wish You Were Here
- Pink Floyd 29
I've never bought into the whole 'Dark Side of the Moon is the greatest Floyd album ever' nonsense. I much prefer The Wall, and have done for as long as I can remember. Sometime in the 90s however I started to really appreciate Wish You Were Here (the album). It was a toss up between Shine On You Crazy Diamond and Wish You Were Here as to which song to include on this list. It is possible, though I would not admit it to his face, that my University housemate Jamie may have indoctrinated me by playing this song over and over. Whatever the truth is, this is a fantastic song that glides majestically like a swan on a river over honey. And this, despite the memory of Jamie singing "We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl" being burned forever on my mind
29 2 Of Us
- Beatles new
I only 'discovered' this song a couple of years ago. It's a lovely little song. It's very simple, with a delightful melody and pleasing harmonies. It is a perfect nugget of whimsey, and what sealed it for me was the clip of Lennon before it starts saying "I dig a pygmy by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids. Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats." (not on this video clip though) Errant nonsense but somehow appropriate.
28 Bohemian Rhapsody
- Queen 28
This is quite possibly the greatest song ever written. So why, I hear you cry, is it languishing at number 28? It is glorious, subtle, brash, understated and over the top in equal measure. But I am so familiar with it, that though I haven't tired of it, it doesn't quite pack the same punch it once did. I still love it though.
- Led Zeppelin 27
The guitar line is an intimidating brute that is juxtaposed with the high fragile vocals of Robert Plant. The instrumental chorus is epic, and with the return to the verse you have the feel of an impending crescendo supplemented by the introduction of luscious strings. It builds and builds, even with a segway into a new verse structure, but it never does reach that climatic end.
26 Subterranean Homesick Blues
- Bob Dylan 26
Don't you just love Dylan? Strip away the innovative video that has been aped more times than I can count and this song stands on its own two feet. This is a supremely confident song that subverted the songwriting conventions of the day. It chugs away with the verse and chorus blurring together, and then in little over 2 minutes it is gone. It may not have had the immediate impact of The Times They Are A Changing
or Blowin' In the Wind
, but it still resonates today.
- Public Image Limited 24
I love the hints of the old Johnny Rotten that you get in this song allied to a controlled and classy backing track. Lyrically there are beautifully succinct phrases: "I could be wrong, I could be right", "Anger is an energy", "May the road rise with you". Getting more pretentious than usual for a moment, the repetition of these phrases reminds me of Handel and his use of repetitive phrasing in oratorios such as the Messiah. It is certainly effective in Rise.
24 Senses Working Overtime
- XTC 15
It starts off a little weird, like a post-punk curiosity. It builds in intensity over the course of the bridge and explodes into a wonderful chorus. Get in! During the course of the song we learn that the world is both football shaped and biscuit shaped. I am still trying to resolve this apparent paradox.
- Elvis Costello 23
Songs about unrequited love or lost love always seem to reflect the reality of life more accurately than songs that revel in the glow of being in love. With a song like Alison you feel both the love and the aching disappointment of a lost love. It is beautiful and delicate while at the same time being pointed and edgy.
22 Walls Come Tumbling Down
- Style Council 22
I am amused by the fact that the opening line in the video has been changed. The 'c' being removed from "We don't have to take this crap". Those were such innocent days! This is an energising call to action from the darkest days of the Thatcher ("public enemy number 10") era . "You can actually try changing things". "Unity is powerful". Where are the political songwriters in the mainstream nowadays? Anyway that aside, any song that starts with a Hammond organ and blaring horns is always onto a winner with me. Fortunately it never lets up that pace and this is a ramraiding slam dunk of a song from the guy who also brought us The Jam.
21 Don't Stop Moving -
S Club 7 21
It doesn't happen very often, but every now and again I am not only on trend but slightly ahead of the curve. The first time I heard this song I was in my car and just about to drive to London to see my friend Sara. As I switched the engine on the radio burst into life with this tune but I had I missed the start so I didn't know the act. But from very early on I knew it would be a hit. Not in the "dumb kids are going to love this piece of xxxx" kind of way, but in the "wow this song is great and will be number 1" way. Pretty much the first thing I said to Sara when I got to her flat was "I have just heard a future number 1". It's a high quality party tune. Forget that S Club 7 were manufactured for the teeny bop market, this is a great pop song. Is it a better song that Bohemian Rhapsody? Of course not. Can I listen to it over and over? Oh yes. Of course my defence is blown out of the water by those who know I also rather like other songs by S Club.
Labels: Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Public Image Limited, Queen, S Club 7, Style Council, XTC