1. Róisín Murphy | Off & On
I'M NOT SURE IF THIS TRACK is released, officially by Róisín? Anyway, Róisín is such a fucking brilliant singer, she's sort of like a contemporary Dusty Springfield with synthesizers and a wardrobe by Gareth Pugh? How much more amazing could you get? I could have chosen something from her last album Overpowered but every track on that album is so good, I couldn't choose. So I chose this, I guess b-side? It's really good, it sort of alternates between a punchy synthesizer riff/swirly synthesizer riff, and Róisín sings over it really fantastically, she always has such fantastic sort of acrobatic vocals, really I just want to write about Róisín ten times over, but I can't do that, I don't think??????????????????????????????????????????????? Oh God, I love Róisín so much, all I want to do is listen to this track over and over again. Also Sophie Ellis-Bextor covered this song almost exactly, sometimes I listen to her version instead. I really hope Kylie doesn't cover this track. Because then my favorite version would, by default, become Kylie's.
2. Pearls Before Swine | Rocket Man
This track is sort of extremely epic in a really profound almost freakishly profound way. I read somewhere that Elton John's Rocket Man was based on this song, which makes sense as it's earlier, Elton would have had some sort of contact with this music, and this song is maybe 100000000000000.666 times better than Elton's version. It's sort of a really sick sad song too, it's about a boy who's father is an space explorer, his father dies because his rocket ship got too close to The Sun, so the boy and his mother never go out into the daylight, they only go out when it rains. Almost every line in the song is some sort of poetic masterpiece. I don't have a problem with spoiling the story of the song, because the song really is so extraordinarily beautiful that nothing could ever spoil it? It recurs to me often that this may be one of the saddest lyrical narratives I've ever heard.
3. The Associates | Party Fears Two
Oh my God, what can I possibly tell you about Billy Mackenzie's voice? It's probably one of the top ten voices in late 20th century pop music? Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Billy Mackenzie. The synthesizers in this glisten, literally glitter like diamonds, and Billy's voice just keeps going higher and higher until he's just screaming into some sort of New Wave existential disco void. He sings about smashing glasses and getting drunk and calling up family, it's a dance song, but it's something else entirely, I think there's a really dramatic opera crammed into it somewhere. The whole album, that this track is from, is actually the same, meaning it's brilliantly genius dance music. It gets at me that Billy committed suicide so soon before people started rediscovering Associates music. But at least he left us stuff as magnificent as this.
4. Joe Smooth | Promised Land
Classic Chicago house, it's basically a four to the floor beat, bass synth, e-piano, and some strings (probably the best string synth riff in all of house music?) It could just be any house track but the strings are so sad, I dunno what key they're in, but they're in a sad key. And Joe Smooth just sings sort of about religious imagery and brotherhood throughout the entire track. It's very rare, for me personally, to be inspired and filled with hope by a song, and this song does that. I often listen to it and imagine riding in a convertible down the side of lake Michigan with tons of cash and booze and lovers and mansions and like the wind flying through my hair, all of that sounds really materialistic and shallow, but in actuality the real gift would be that there was some sort of spiritual predestination involved with my success and because all of these prizes were gifts from some mystical higher being, I wouldn't be selfish about it, I would buy houses for all of my friends and I would open a house for homeless HIV+ youth and play this song 24/7.
5. Big Black | Passing Complexion
Big Black are so sick and angsty, Steve Albini basically just screams some sort of weird story about racism over the most iconic guitars in proto-industrial rock, uhhh. The guitars in this shred. THEY SHRED. LIKE SHRED YOU ASS TO A BLOODY BOMBED OUT MESS.They're so distorted and screeching they barely sound natural, the drum machines are fighting each other, it's all totally extreme, and somehow still remains a catchy pop song. It's hard to write a good pop song, it must be extra hard to write a good pop song and then turn it into a good experimental pop song? This isn't necessarily pop in the classic sense, but it's catchy. Big Black aren't Pig Destroyer, but they still edge along the extremities of rock music, it's a very confrontational song, is Albini singing WHITE POWER over and over in there? I can't remember, I hope he is.
6. Destroy All Monsters | You Can't Kill Kill
OH. M. JAY. I lol'd when I wrote this down as #6 it's such an absurd song, it sort of meanderingly opens with the worst worst worst guitars ever, like not even The Shaggs recorded guitars this bad, and then Niagara (often the singer for the band) starts singing YOU CAN'T KILL KILL CAUSE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN TWICE, NO ONE DIES BACKWARDS IT ONLY WASTES TIME... lollololollololoollo... Oh my God oh my God, it's so fucking brilliantly fucked up and weird to listen to. Not to mention that DAM is one of the greatest noise projects ever to exist in the history of recorded sound, and half of it's members went on to become conceptual art superstars, this is definitely the crown jewel in all of their careers. Music right now, even experimental music, is so produced, you can tell what programs people use, what mics they even use, this sounds like it was recorded with like a broken microwave or something? It gives me alot of hope to listen to this song and realize that anyone can record music with a broken microwave and still go on to be tremendously influential. L.O.FUCKING L.
7. Burzum | Dunkelheit
Shredding shoegazy HI FREQUENCY guitar shards of noise and tinny decrepit mumbling, grunting, and moaning. Alot of people give me shit for being such a devoted Burzum follower, yeah, I know there's alot of better Norwegian metal. But Varg killed, he MURDERED, and that basically places him on the TOP GANGSTA, of Norwegian black metal, list. He's a murderer, a cold blooded, sick, racist, Evil murderer. And he recorded this song, it's one of the first Burzum songs, I believe. I like dark music, and sometimes I feel that listening to this song is like staring directly into the darkest pit of someone's personal hell. I also like listening to the Manson family jams, and if Jeffrey Dahmer recorded disco albums, I'd love those too.
8. White Car | Hearths Hymn
The best track, I love to put this on and then like dance on my bed, it's so good, it's so thumpy, somehow White Car have perfected so many iconic industrial music sounds, it's sort of stupefying to listen to, it's like you can pinpoint exactly where certain sounds come from down to like albums by specific artists, but it's not at all derivative because they construct such interesting melodies and beats with these sounds, not to mention Elon Katz sings so luridly over it all, he's all tall and porcelain skinned and he sort of looks really sketchy like maybe he could be a pedophile priest or something. His vocals sound the same way, they're all jittery and sort of delayed here and there and he always uses alot of SHhsaa in his words or like KaKahhsss or something, if that makes sense, if you listen to as much industrial music as he probably does, then you would know exactly what I'm talking about. Anyway, it's so fresh and dark, in a vague contemporary way that abandons all the cheesiness that alot of industrial/dark music has grappled with for so long.
9. Felix Da Housecat | Madame Hollywood (feat. Miss Kittin)
I used to listen to this song obsessively in high school, when Ii thought I was Andy Warhol or something. Why do all art students go through such an extreme Andy Warhol phase in their youth? I had it bad, I would listen to recordings of him talking, he had a really deadpan voice. Miss Kittin sings in this song, about being a Hollywood madame with astronomical real estate, and total power. With this minimal synth bass line that repeats throughout the entire song. It's really fucking good. She sings EVERYONE WANTS 2 B HOLLYWOOD, MAYBE 1 DAY U CAN VISIT MY CONDO ON A BIG HILL U KNO LIKE 90210... Oh yeah... lol she sings it like a computer would say it. I'm pretty sure that Andy Warhol was one of the most evil, vile, destructive things that could have happened to the art world, but I still love this song.
10 Cathy Dennis | Just Another Dream
This list really had alot of dance music on it, but I honestly don't care, I'm a gay man, dance music is an integral part of my spiritual and physical existence, especially HOUSE MUSIC, which Cathy Dennis is the master of. IN fact, Cathy Dennis is the master of ALL MUSIC. Because she's mastered pop music. I can't believe that Cathy Dennis composes songs, and that she's won Ivor Cutler awards for composition? It's sort of mystifies me that someone can master the art of writing a pop song, it's sort of like thinking about painters in the 18th Century who mastered still-life painting. I often try to imagine how contemporary pop songs are composed, and especially how they're composed by the masters. I guess Lady Gaga goes into the studio and doodles around on a Korg synth for a couple hours, records some shit on Cubase, adds for autotune to vocals from yesterdays recording sessions and three weeks later she has Bad Romance, which has to be a modern classic by now, right? Well before there was Gaga and Katy Perry (who also wins awards for composing her own songs) there was Cathy Dennis! I guess there STILL IS Cathy Dennis, as she's the same person who wrote Can't Get You Out of My Head for Kylie and also Toxic for Britney Spears. HOW FUCKING BRILLIANT DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO COMPOSE ALL OF THESE HIT POP SONGS? What does she do? Does she sit down and say OK, FOR THIS ONE I WANT REALLY SIMPLE 909 BEATS!! THE SYNTH HAS TO GO LIKE THIS AND I ALSO WANT LIKE SAMPLES OF SOME WEIRD DUDE JUST LIKE REPEATING THE CHORUS WITH ME!... It must be so cool to watch her make this shit up, I guess there are producers somewhere in there too, BUT SHE'S ALSO A PRODUCER?!?!? So basically she single handedly writes this stuff. Anyway. Yeah, Just Another Dream is like that.