1. Prince And The Revolution | The Beautiful Ones (Purple Rain Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Style and Substance. Just put this one on repeat and close the studio. We don't need any more Music in this World.
2. Tego Calderón | Metele Sazón
Reggaeton is Rainbow Music. Anybody can dance to it.
3. Grimes | Oblivion
Beautifully crafted Synth Pop with amazingly unique vocals.
4. Radiohead | Idioteque
This is the song that took everything I thought Alternative Music was supposed to be and turned it on its head. The distinctive way the mix is compressed, side-chained to the kick drum, while not something new in and of itself (see Daft Punk, Aphex Twin, etc.), had never been used in this context before.
5. Steve Reich | Piano Phase (Played by Double Edge)
VS. Philip Glass - Mad Rush... I recently put my student debt on an income-based repayment plan. What that means is I don't have to pay thousands of dollars in student loans unless my degree is actually making me enough money to do so (thanks, Obama!). Since I went to a pricey University in New York City, you'd think I'd be cashing in pretty heavily. Eh, not so much. But I did learn about incredibly Forward-Thinking Music like this. The feud between Minimalists Steve Reich and Philip Glass will go down in history a couple notches below Biggie and 2Pac, but studying their work helped me understand the difference between Technique and Artistry. Have one and not the other, and your songs will miss the mark.
6. Spoon | Everything Hits At Once
+ The Strokes - You Only Live Once... I commuted every day, 40 minutes each way, in Southern California traffic for a number of years, and these two songs and a strong cup of coffee really got me pumped up to waste away in an office (note to people Googling me because I applied for a job with you - I'm just kidding). I'm not kidding. When slaving away for the Man you have to find these little nuggets of Motivation. Or, you know, do something with your life that you actually enjoy…
7. The Breeders | We're Gonna Rise
I love the Pixies, don’t get me wrong, but the Kim Deal-fronted Breeders have stood the test of time a bit better in my opinion, and this awesome track off 2008’s Mountain Battles is sonic proof.
8. Bob Dylan | I Pity The Poor Immigrant
Dylan has been getting a lot of shit from the hipster press lately about unoriginal paintings, plagiarized writings, and being picked up by police wandering around aimlessly in a New Jersey suburb. I'll admit that stuff is disconcerting, but whatever, I'm here to plant my flag firmly on the Pro-Dylan side. When it's all said and done, when he's gone, when I'm gone, when you’re gone, his songs and recordings will remain as impactful and poignant as anybodys'.
9. Com Truise | VHS Sex
Com Truise is my guilty pleasure. I like to listen to this jam working out (so, not often), close my eyes and pretend I'm at some packed underground Fitness club circa '85. Girls in spandex, guys in short shorts, teased hair and mullets… But it's not all Retro Bliss. His compositions might be filled with vintage synthesizers, but the production techniques he utilizes are modern, and his ear for melody and balanced arrangements are timeless.
10. Piero | La Gringa
Listen to this guy's voice! Is he being serious? Or is he simply a coy bastard toying with our emotions? Piero is like the Italian-born, Argentinian Joan Manuel Serrat, which, in case you were wondering, makes him cooler and more obscure than Serrat, but every bit as good.
+11. Dirty Beaches | Love Is The Devil
Alex Zhang Hungtai is an inspirational figure for me. He moved around a lot as a child, like I did, and he found what he was passionate about in Life and just kept honing his craft for years until people took notice of his talent. He's at the top of his game and shows no signs of slowing down. I find this tune, the title track off his last record, to be especially moving. The synthesized strings rise from a dark beginning into a soaring mesh of chords and ambiance and then back to nothing again.