1) U2 – With or Without You
Starting slowly, menacingly, mysteriously, it builds & builds until ending in passionate primal scream amidst crashing guitars & drums: U2′s masterful slow burning dark love song
2) U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
Utopian longing, rock with incredible passion. If there’s a rock heaven this is playing at the pearly gates
3) Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees
Another intense slow burner; the climactic guitar explosion for me is one of music’s great moments
4) Massive Attack – Teardrop
Eerie, other-worldly, uniquely beautiful Bristol trip-hop, & a fantastic Elizabeth Fraser vocal. Absolutely stunning video as well, 1 of the best ever made I think.
6) New Order – Blue Monday (Great live video here)
Great fusion of rock & dance – layer upon layer upon sinister high energy layer of sampled & live sounds; wonderfully complex cacophony of machine-gun drums, choral voices, synths, guitar, heavy bass & vocals
7) George Michael – I Can’t Make You Love Me (Unplugged video here)
Heart-rendingly beautiful love song, musically & lyrically, from the ridiculously talented George Michael. “I close my eyes then I won’t see the love you do not feel when you’re holding me” – ouch!
’8) Sigur Ros – Viðrar vel til loftárása
Another intense slow burner (seeing a theme developing here) leading to a climax which is for me also 1 of music’s great moments. Music at once old & new, orchestral rock from Icelandic geniuses.
9) Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – Tears of a Clown (Ropey old video here)
The genius of Motown at it’s best, a perfect pop song. My favourite happy song, but as with so many Motown songs a very happy tune with very sad lyrics: “there’s some sad things known to man but ain’t too much sadder than the tears of a clown when there’s no-one around”. Brilliant.
10) Bob Dylan – Most of the Time. (Live video here)
Speaking of lyrics: Dylan. Memorably used in the film High Fidelity, this is an achingly beautiful & brilliantly eloquent evocation of a man so cut up about his lost love that his extreme efforts at denial can’t even convince himself. The words Living Legend were made for Dylan & if I’m don’t see him live this year I will never forgive myself.
11) ABBA – The Winner Takes It All
12) Pink Floyd – Us & Them
14) Eagles – The Last Resort
15) Johnny Cash – Hurt
16) Zero 7 – Destiny (XFM session)
17) Bob Dylan – Not Dark Yet
18) Coldplay – The Scientist