72) Bjork, There's More to Life Than to This: Many of us first fell in love with her voice here. (She recorded her first album at age 11.) Clearly, her producer shared our infatuation during those ingenious couple of seconds where the backing track drops out and her voice goes cage-free. The effect puts her voice on a gilded pedestal and reveals more of its secrets: Her unique tone, its palette of sounds, her kundalini energy and spirit. Even her breathing is exalted. It's a moment that farts more rainbows that a herd of unicorns. It's also those seconds—bolstered by the background noise from a nightclub's toilets—that make the otherwise canned house backing immune to being a 90s anachronism. By the time song fades out you'll never hear her quite the same again.
73) The Cure, Hot Hot Hot: Of The Cure, I was never much of a fan—aside from a few: A Forest, Primary, Killing an Arab, Jumping Someone Else's Train, a few others—but this song is The Cure flying flat up against the sun. Here, Robert Smith comes out from behind his Tammy Faye Bakker makeover and concocts a whole other voice and energy—more like a guy who actually believes in himself. And his guitar, those funked up grooves are very, well, un-Cure like. To me, most of The Cure's Wall of Flange sound was as draggy and plodding as a gimpy zoo bear, better suited for those who're tripping, and so unlike Hot Hot Hot which is a cheetah on B-12, Red Bull, and Viagra. With this Smith proved his muse could get up offa that thang and shake out a buzzkill. If only he had of done it more often. The trumpet was a nice touch, too.
swings harder than Courtney Love's moods but what gets me especially, besides the great cool melody, are those booming fat clusters of piano and unison snare that together hit harder than John Hernry's sledge, an association that was completely intentional. The sax growls as melancholy as a Monday and the rest of them cats have a melodic back and forth that's unlike any office meeting you'll ever go to. If only our day jobs could be so blissful.
75) The Beatles, Tomorrow Never Knows: Yes, it was the song that changed everything yet influenced practically nobody because who could touch it? McCartney and Lennon were geniuses both but with this McCartney became the Oppenheimer to Lennon's Einstein. Lyrically, Lennon went from singing of post-adolescent desire to mastering said desires and shuttling them off to another plane. You've heard artists say, "the work's not mine, it just comes through me." That could be never more true than for TNK. George Martin's head must've been in a full spin with the production of this one. They make the studio the fifth Beatle and then make it their slave like just another song hook. This song is still so far out into the stratosphere I wonder if it'll ever come to Earth.
79) Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd, See Emily Play: The last throes of a brilliant mind battling mental illness. Shortly hereafter the illness would prevail (though he did manage to squeeze out a few more noteworthies). But for these three minutes, those swirling phantom voices and misfiring synapses colliding in his brain made for a glorious playground—glorious enough, one could argue, that the institution of Pink Floyd was never more innovative than this.
82) King Crimson, Discipline: I wouldn't say this song swings exactly but it marches with a wiggle. Its 17/4 time signature ain't exactly your normal deep groove stuff but when the syncopations layer up this is a pretty sweet parfait. The genius of the song is how it takes the minimalist and repetitive academics of guys like Terry Riley, Phillip Glass, Stomu Yamash'ta, Steve Reich (Discipline borrows a large chunk from Reich), et.al. as a starting point and then dances and pisses all over it. It takes the staid math of its predecessors and brings it into the realm of the danceable and plays it tighter than leggings on a weekend Walmart shopper. This is nerd rock at its finest and something no other proggy band could ever do: to be both smart and unpretentious.