1. New Order | Age Of Consent
This song gives me Life. The Beat. The Energy. The Raw Emotion. And of course, the interplay of guitars & synths is Perfection. If I hear this song playing anywhere, I have to get up and dance. Doesn’t matter if I’m at a McDonald’s parking lot… It’s on!
2. Wham! | Everything She Wants
From the 80s drum machine start to the filtered synth bass line, this song is the perfect Synth-Pop song. George Michael’s cooing and pleading vocals are the cherry on top. He’s long been one of my heroes. RIP George!
3. Desire | Under Your Spell
Heartbreak in a song. This gorgeous hypnotic track is a study in Minimalism. I’m a maximalist by nature & this is what I strive to create – crafting an emotional experience from a few simple parts.
4. Peter Gabriel | In Your Eyes
I think my fascination with Afro-Pop & poly-rhythms dates back to childhood memories of this song. I Love just how unique this song sounds. Another gorgeous, emotive Pop song. And Peter Gabriel’s voice is insane.
5. Cut Copy | Out There On The Ice
This Cut Copy album (In Ghost Colours) changed Music for me. My band at the time was a Dancey Rock band (like The Killers meets Bloc Party), but this was the album that made me want to learn Electronic Music production – it’s a perfect album. Great Pop songs. Great beats, sonic layers & breakdowns. ESPECIALLY the breakdown on this track! The thing I’ve always loved about Cut Copy is their ability to add these artsy textures to their Pop songs. Something I strive to do with my Music.
6. Hot Chip | Boy From School
Another pivotal Electronic album for me. This album and Patrick Wolf’s Lycanthropy introduced me to how emotionally impactful and SOULFUL Electronic Music can be. I used to see those anti-EDM bumper stickers on cars Drum Machines have no soul, but I think those drivers need to hear Hot Chip. Listen to the airy harmonies take over and lift a monotonous groove to bigger and bigger heights.
7. David Bowie | Let’s Dance
OF COURSE I’d have to put Bowie on here. It’s just a matter of what Bowie song and I settled on something off his massive breakout 80’s Pop album. I wish I could watch a 2 hour documentary on how the hell they produced this song – taking a tiny Acoustic guitar strummed Bowie song and turning it into this groovy 7.5 minute Niles Rodgers-Funk song featuring a Blues guitar solo from Stevie Ray Vaughan! So creative and original for it’s time.
8. Wilco | I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
I fell in Love with Wilco’s first albums in High School and they’ve shown me how to age and evolve in Music. Much like Radiohead, they embraced Experimental Music and this song is a prime example of an Experimental Pop song. They were also the first band I heard that had dissonance in their songs. It taught a Classically trained piano guy like me that sometimes it’s okay to play the wrong notes. It’s all about Intention.
9. Nilsson | Salmon Falls
One of my favorite songs ever. Steel drums, strings, a tinkly piano and Harry Nilsson’s voice at it’s gruffest contemplating the meaning of Life. PERFECTION. (I had to choose between Nilsson and Tom Waits here, but I think I made the right call!)
10. UNKLE | Lonely Soul (with Richard Ashcroft)
DJ Shadow introduced me to a new way of making Music. Turntablism and Sampling gave a whole new perspective to Music. What is a song? How can you create songs from parts ripped out of other songs and have that be an emotional experience? I was blown away when he finally teamed up with James Lavelle for this groundbreaking UNKLE album and recruited some of my favorite singers (including Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and on this particular track, The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft). A masterful opus emerging from the dark depths of a drum groove that transcends into a heavenly finale where Ashcroft says farewell as he moves on to a Life after Death. It’s one of the most epic piecest of Music I’ve ever heard and, my God, the string arrangements are Pure Bliss!