25. The Velvet Underground – “Rock & Roll” (Full Length Version) off Loaded
Lou Reed wrote one hit single, “Walk On The Wild Side”, but this Loaded cut with the VU should have been his other. Three chords, a simple but powerful message, a solid guitar solo and the song is kind of weirdly composed but seems totally perfect. Loaded may be the VU’s worst album, but “Rock & Roll” is probably the band’s single greatest song.
24. TV On The Radio – “Family Tree” off Dear Science,
Three shuddering chords echo across eternity in this stunner about forbidden, star-crossed love. Tunde Adebimpe’s somber delivery performs its part modestly, allowing Sitek’s atmospherics to swarm the soundscape like graveyard fog. When the drum-machine kicks in towards the end carrying the song off like a funeral march, it gets me every time. This ghostly elegy is TV On The Radio’s best yet.
23. The White Stripes – “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground” off White Blood Cells
Detroit poetry for lost love from the always awesome Jack and Meg White. Simple, striking and powerful, this song is The White Stripes at their absolute pure-pop-garage-rock zenith and that desolate, dirty riff is the sound of a star being born.
22. Dinosaur Jr. – “Freak Scene” off Bug
The opening riff just says it all: an anthem for freaks, geeks, and anyone who just doesn’t fit in and can never seem to get what they want. The song is cut up into the main verse part and the parts where J. Mascis goes batshit on his fret-board, churning out gorgeous, screaching melodies like rainbows. The key to this song however, is the sensitivity and naivety in Mascis’ voice and the joyous, searching quality in his noodling.
21. Moby Grape – “Seeing” off Moby Grape ’69
Skip Spence’s last song with the Grape pretty much makes the rest of Moby Grape ’69 seem like the tame piece of shit it is in comparison with this incredible closer. Phantasmogoric guitars shplash around the left and right channels as if they were trying to illustrate the acid-trip scene in Easy Rider in audio format as the song jolts between quiet acoustic bits in between full blown rockouts. In under four minutes, this epic seems to encapsulate what it might feel like to feel your mind being violently whacked off its rocker by schizophrenia and a plethora of hallucinogenics. And then there’s that weird falsetto bit in the middle where it sounds like the angels comes down and just takes Spence’s head off with them for good. Spence’s insanity was no laughing matter and it pretty much decimated the unbound talent of this incredible sage of a man, but it did make for this masterpiece of a song, as well as his classic Oar album.
20. Arcade Fire – “No Cars Go” off Neon Bible
The Neon Bible version is definitely better, hipsters. An enormous epic about dreaming of a world away from the techno-pression of the modern age, with Owen Pallet’s majestic arrangements elevating this already unbelievable composition to new heights of elation. Strings, organs, synthesizers, and gorgeous harmonies; uplifting and incredible: “No Cars Go” is the Arcade Fire at their best.