Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’
It’s crunch time! Here’s 200 to 101 of our top 500 songs of all time. Kicking us off at 200 is Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’ (1988, Rough Trade). Inspired by Frank Black’s experiences scuba-diving in the Caribbean, its eerie sense of mental dislocation saw this song played over the closing credits of Fight Club.
Credit: Ed Miles/NME
Blur – ‘Tender’
193. Blur – ‘Tender’ (1999, Food Records).
On ‘Tender’, we heard Blur do gospel, and they did it beautifully. At the time, of course, Albarn was hurting from his split from Justine Frischmann, and it all came out in this track’s bruised but euphoric six minutes. There was no smart-assery here, no clever-cleverness. Just a whole lot of feeling.
Eric B And Rakim – ‘Follow The Leader’
151. Eric B And Rakim – ‘Follow The Leader’ (1988, MCA).
On 1988’s ‘Follow The Leader’, the pair really came of age. This was hip-hop not rooted in ghetto tales and ego-driven one-upmanship, but music of substance and boundless imagination. Hip-hop moves quick these days, but ‘Follow The Leader’ still sounds untouchable.
Lee Hazelwood And Nancy Sinatra – ‘Some Velvet Morning’
145. Lee Hazelwood And Nancy Sinatra – ‘Some Velvet Morning’ (1967, Reprise).
This psychedelic odyssey stands out as Exhibit A of why it must have been fucking brilliant to have been around in the 60s. Lee and Nancy gallop around a dreamscape, effectively singing two different songs, and it not mattering at all.
The Beatles – ‘Hello Goodbye’
143. The Beatles – ‘Hello Goodbye’ (1967, Parlophone).
Nick Frost: “When I was 17 working in the City, I did karaoke quite a bit. My song was ‘Hello GoodBye’ by The Beatles. Me and my friend Peter Ashton would work out which bits we’d do, it worked. We had a thing going on.”
The Sex Pistols – ‘Pretty Vacant’
132. The Sex Pistols – ‘Pretty Vacant’ (1977, Virgin).
Rhys Ifans: “It was my first record. I got it by swapping it for a Damned armband that I ordered from the back of Melody Maker. I think it was an American import because it had a picture of Frank Sinatra on the cover with his eyes cut out – Yeah, really rare. I’ve still got it somewhere.”
Jesus And Mary Chain – ‘Just Like Honey’
126. Jesus And Mary Chain – ‘Just Like Honey’ (1985, Blanco y Negro).
Tipping the hat to such an iconic pop emblem as ‘Be My Baby’ could have been a risky, reckless move in lesser hands, but the Reid brothers created something just as beautiful, but couched in ever-darker hues, an enveloping chasm of narcotic fuzz that you can never fully scrape off your eardrums.
The White Stripes – ‘Hotel Yorba’
122. The White Stripes – ‘Hotel Yorba’ (2001, XL).
Light relief from all the lightning bolt blues, ‘… Yorba’ was Jack and Meg’s wild, thigh-slapping hoedown. Pop fact: the Hotel Yorba was a former hotel in southwest Detroit and the track was recorded in room 206, now used as subsidised government housing.
Prince – ‘When Doves Cry’
113. Prince – ‘When Doves Cry’ (1984, Warner).
This taut funk wail against domestic tension was the white-hot peak of Mr Rogers-Nelson’s imperial phase. It saw the most memorable synth riff of the entire 80s collide with industrial beats and /that/ guitar to whip up a genuinely menacing sense of disco apocalypse, amid which he can lament a relationship that is getting just as End Of Days.
The Gossip – ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’
109. The Gossip – ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ (2006, Kill Rock Stars). Feeling helpless and cheated after gay people in the US were denied the right to marry, Beth Ditto bellowed out her anger on this, which married Riot Grrl politics with disco escapism. A classic modern protest anthem.
Manic Street Preachers – ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’
102. Manic Street Preachers – ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ (1992, Sony).
Every ounce of loathing, glamour and hope the Valley Clash ever stood for condensed into four ludicrous minutes. Ambition, filth, pomposity and romance; stadium rock never sounded cooler.
101. REM – ‘Losing My Religion’
101. REM – ‘Losing My Religion’ (1991, Warner). REM entered their golden years by bending the mainstream to their own ever-so-slightly twisted shape. Dynamics, minor chord tension and spiritual disenfranchisement were the orders of the day, forcing literate, collegiate indie rock deep into daytime radio.