Sunday, 25 January 2015

LIST #13. (no title)

Impossible but true.

Of course it is ridiculous to even contemplate the idea of compiling a list of the greatest songs ever; but after so many pointless lists – why the hell not.

At various points in my life I’ve mentioned each of these ten songs as the best song of all time. As the saying goes, if you had 10 cents for every song I’ve said is the best ever – you’d be a millionaire.

To all boring people: list #13 is very objective.

#10. Spiritualized – “Ladies And Gentlemen, We’re Floating In Space”

It is sort of silly to know it, but I do. The greatest three seconds of my music-listening experience up to this point happened when the lights went off and a woman’s voice said “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re floating in space”… Icy yet somehow deeply affecting. Then the music began. Dublin Concert Hall. Spiritualized live.

I know “Broken Heart” can move you to tears and “Come Together” will give you an erection, but Christ almighty – this was the moment that negated everything else. And I do mean everything.   

#9. Television – “Venus”

Broadway looked so medieval… Television had nothing to do with punk. Verlaine’s voice, guitar interplay, surreal lyrics – but how about those backing vocals that get you every time.

#8. Dexys Midnight Runners – “Burn It Down”

Can you think of a better start for a debut album than “Burn It Down”? Scratchy radio: “Smoke On The Water”, “Holiday In The Sun”, “Rat’s Race”... Enter the inimitable voice of Kevin Rowland: Oh for God’s sake, burn it down! A classic moment.

Then the horn section kicks in and you know you’ve just found your new favourite band.

#7. Tom Waits – “Falling Down”

Oddly, “Falling Down” is a studio recording that appeared on Waits’ live album Big Time. Anthemic and gloriously downbeat, this might be the best way to start your day. Also, I wouldn’t mind if this song was played at my funeral. No idea how he does it.

#6. The Velvet Underground – “The Black Angel’s Death Song”

Can’t explain this either. But then again – this is like falling in love. If you can explain it – it’s bullshit. Reed’s lyrics make sense only occasionally, but who cares – John Cale’s viola drives me insane each time the song is on.

Not trying to be original. And still looking for a person who would agree with me that this is their best song.  

#5. Black Box Recorder – “The Facts Of Life”

According to Jarvis Cocker, Luke Haines sabotaged his career by inserting the c-word (Jarvis doesn’t say the word, the lovely man that he is) into “The Upper Classes”. In a way, “The Facts Of Life” was also an act of sabotage. But at the opposite end of the spectrum. Because this actually got Haines into Top Of The Pops.

Heavenly pop music – made all the more heavenly by the cynicism involved in creating it.

#4. Kate Bush – “Leave It Open”

The primordial, bizarre, out-of-this-world brilliance behind these intensely Protean three minutes shows that it is perhaps not entirely impossible – to choose a favourite from The Dreaming. I don’t know how this is not #1, but with this here list – I have to ask myself that question again and again.

#3. The Fall – “Janet, Johnny & James”

I cried the first time I heard it. Cried during a Mark E. Smith song. It’s that good.

I started loving PJ Harvey even more after she said this was one of her favourite songs of all time. It’s that good.

I wrote a short story once because I misheard the lyrics of this song. It’s that fucking good.

#2. The Go-Betweens – “I’m All Right”

Imagine if Lennon and McCartney were one person. Can you do that? Now add Ray Davies. Multiply the result by Jagger and Richards. Add Pete Townshend. Throw Dylan into the mix...

The resulting talent would still not produce a song as good as “I’m All Right”.

She knows that I'm not ready
When my nerves are steady
When my eyes are free of tears
She doesn't want to hurt me
It's OK
I'm All right.

Splashing and dashing myself
A sad man
Trying to lift a hundred weight
If I can
When I say I'm available
She smiles
She doesn't want to hurt me
It's OK
I'm All right.

She can see that I'm still angry
It's no good
I can see her during the day
That's good
I have to earn the night
At night
She doesn't want to see me
It's OK
I'm All right.

As written by Robert Forster.

#1. The Ronettes – “Be My Baby” 

If you don’t think so, stick to gardening. 


  1. It's a classic of course but I've always preferred "Will he love me tomorrow?" by the Shirelles...

  2. Taking the piss with number 1, are you?