As I mentioned a couple weeks back, it’s been five years since I first posted my 20 Favorite Songs of All-Time list. Which means it’s time to review and tweak the list.
There wasn’t any great, complex methodology to this. I simply took the original list and evaluated those 20 songs against each other. There was some movement, and one replacement, adding a song I nearly put on the list five years ago. Then I reviewed my 100 favorite songs list to see if anything needed to be added from there. Finally, I looked at my Favorite Songs of the ’00s list and selected two songs from there.
So, three songs drop out, one replaced by another song by the same artist, and two brand new songs/artists are added.
Thus, I present my 20 Favorite Songs of All-Time, as of August 2013. 2008 place in parenthesis.
1 – “Don’t Dream It’s Over” – Crowded House (1). It’s been my favorite song for a long, long time and nothing has changed that.
2 – “Clampdown” – The Clash. (5). A big mover! These lists are always subject to whims of the moment. I think my love for this song had faded a bit in ’08, but it’s back, baby! And with a vengeance. It is The Clash’s finest moment.
3 – “And Your Bird Can Sing” – The Beatles (3). Solid. Steady.
4 – “Corduroy” – Pearl Jam (6). Respectable movement up the list.
5 – “Karma Police” – Radiohead (2). The big dropper at the top. I still love it, but I was in a bigger Radiohead place five years ago. I still spin them regularly if not as often as then.
6 – “One” – U2 (4). I admit, I just don’t love U2 as much as I used to. However, this song remains great and loved.
7 – “True Faith” – New Order (7). Lucky number seven sticks.
8 – “T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You)” – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth (8). No shame in staying in the Top Ten.
9 – “Purple Rain” – Prince replacing “Raspberry Beret,” also by Prince. This was one of my big dilemmas when making the original list. “Purple Rain” had always been my favorite Prince song. But as I listened to several of his biggest hits to make sure, “Raspberry Beret” jumped out at me. I wrote that it was the perfect pop song. That is still my opinion. But “Purple Rain” is epic and grand. The perfect final statement for the perfect album. And the bonus that it was (mostly) recorded live just adds to its excellence. Also, I needed a 1984 song in here.
10 – “Paid In Full” – Eric B. & Rakim (10). Still one of the most important hip hop songs of my life. I watched Old School a month or so back and it’s still shocking to see Snoop Dogg take a crack at this. Some songs shouldn’t be covered, no matter how good the covering MC is.
11 – “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next” – Manic Street Preachers (11). I really badly want this in the top ten, but it can’t quite crack it.
12 – “How Soon Is Now?” – The Smiths. (9). Another song I don’t listen to nearly as much as I once did.
13 – “The Modern Leper” – Frightened Rabbit (NA). New addition number one. My favorite song of the past decade. It’s the soul-grabbing, gut-punching opener to one of the most powerful albums I’ve ever heard.
14 – “Welcome To The Terrordome” – Public Enemy (15). Chuck’s masterpiece.
15 – “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Division (13). The song that kicked off alternative rock.
16 – “Last Goodbye” – Jeff Buckley (17). Swappin’ spots with The Church.
17 – “Under The Milky Way” – The Church (16). I’ve been loving this song for 25 years now.
18 – “Bitter Sweet Symphony” The Verve (18). A song that still gets regular radio airplay, and I crank it up each time I hear it.
19 – “Born To Run” – Bruce Springsteen (20). The song by which every meaningful American rock song has been influenced.
20 – “Stuck Between Stations” – The Hold Steady (NA). The other newcomer. One of the greatest lyrics ever, with every single line quotable. Performed by one of the best American bands of the past 20 years at their absolute prime.
“Battle Flag” – Lo Fidelity All-Stars with Pigeonhead (14).
“She Sells Sanctuary” – The Cult (19).
No shame in being in my Top 25. These just don’t make the big list anymore.