by Nickolas Cook
13. ELBOW- One Day Like This
Album: The Seldom Seen Kid (2008)
This is a live version of a great recorded song. I first saw them play this on Glastonbury 2008 and was blown away by the sense of choral power and redemption the song has, and it was a wonderful introduction to a band which began to admire for more than one song, and collected all of their albums afterwards.
12. WAYLON JENNINGS- Honky Tonk Heroes
Album: Honky Tonk Heroes (1973)
I have to admit, this is a song that meant a lot to me during my childhood. I really didn't like country music, but there were a few musicians who never left my conscious mind as I got older. Jennings was one of those musicians who helped create the "country outlaw" movement, a complete musical and philosophical change of view to a few popular country musicians, including Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristopherson, who all gave up the shiny suits and ostentatious way of life, for the simpler, more honest human way of living: denim, long hair, unkempt beards and songs about drugs and bad behavior.
11. ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA- Mr. Blue Sky
Album: Out of the Blue (1977)
Another childhood song that means a lot to mean. What a happy sounding song, a life-affirming song, one which always makes me feel better about things. There sure aren't a lot of songs, even now, that can do that.
10. LEONARD COHEN- Hallelujah
Album: Various Positions (1985)
This song means a lot to me because of my wife, Kim. She had it for a ringtone after we saw the movie "THE WATCHMEN" together. She is not a superhero movie fan...trust me. But the music and the dark honesty of the movie made her a fan of at least this one movie...and this one song. Since then, whenever I hear it or sing it, I think of her, her smile, her laugh. She is my own personal prayer, much like the word "Hallelujah" to the faithful.
9. SISTERS OF MERCY- Dominion
Album: Floodland (1988)
If you frequented a Goth night club in the 80s and 90s, then you knew this song by heart. The shortened video, here, is still worth the viewing, even if it's not the extended version. These guys knew how to write a song...with the help of 'Meatloaf's' mainman, Jim Steinman, who helped construct long, well thought out, dancable tracks for the entire album. But this is still one of my faves by them, and I have a lot.
8. PETER MURPHY- Cuts You Up
Album: Deep (1989)
Again, another Goth club favorite. When 'Peter Murphy' left 'Bauhaus' behind, everyone thought for sure the best we'd get was 'Love and Rockets' (a sad re-hash...and I mean sad...of 'Bauhaus'), but when 'Deep' came out this single hit the airwaves, it was immediately recognized that here was the true talent behind the best Goth group who ever played music. 'Cuts You Up' is a Goth anthem.
7. SLOWDIVE- Avalyn 2 (B-side)
Album: Just For a Day (re-release 2005)
'Slowdive' was one of the best of the ambient 'shoegazer' groups to come out of the UK. Sadly, when 'grunge' music came along to kill off their style, along with a lot of other very talented groups which deserved more recognition, we were left with the dying embers of albums and some great best ofs...and the 'Mojave 3', which was the dregs of this supergroup gone by the way. This song is instrumental and ambient and meant to be listened with earbuds and high bass. Enjoy.
6. LUSH- Desire Lines
Album: Split (1994)
Speaking of great lost 'shoegazer' groups, 'Lush' was one of the best and one which had the saddest history. They were on the cusp of becoming a very wll known international group, when sadly, their drummer committed suicide, leaving the rest of the group felling adrift and without any sense of purpose. It was no surprise to hear they were disbanding within weeks of his terrible death. 'Desire Lines' is one of the most beautiful, melancholic songs I've ever heard, a long guitar solo that meanders, but does not show off, with a solid rhythm line, and lyrics that feel the pain of lost love.
5. TANITA TIKARAM- Twist In My Sobriety
Album: Ancient Heart (1988)
This was Tikaram's biggest hit, thanks to heavy play rotation on MTV, but over all, this is was a well thought out album, well produced, with mature myrics--especially given the fact she was barely 14 years old most of these songs were written and produced. It's one of the great crimes of music that she never attained a larger success than this song and this album. But she's not ancient or anything, and there's still time that she might make a "comeback". 'Twist in My Sobriety' is one of those songs that sticks with the listener long after the hearing.
4. ROXY MUSIC- More Than This
Album: Avalon (1982)
'Roxy Music' went across the board when it came to trying different musical styles, but this album came towards the end of their career, in which they'd already lost Brian Eno to his production efforts with other artists, but they still found a way to create one of the great pop album of the 80s. Ferry's voice was hardly ever as smooth sounding as it was on 'Avalon', and especially this song, 'More Than This', a beautiful love song.
3. THE ROLLING STONES- Moonlight Mile
Album: Sticky Fingers (1971)
This is the last song on one of the last great R & B albums from one of the greatest English rock/blues groups to ever pick up instruments. At first listen, you hear romance, but in reality the man is already looking over his lover's shoulder at the next conquest. But still a hell of a great, gorgeous song. 'Sticky Fingers' is a must-own album for any collection, but this song is one of the lost gems of a great album.
2. MARVIN GAYE- Trouble Man (Theme Song)
Album: Trouble Man Original Soundtrack (1972)
This is an anomaly of an album, one of the greatest 'Marvin Gaye' albums that is almost purely instrumental, except this lyrical song which is the main theme song to one of the classic blaxploitation flicks of all time. 'Trouble Man' is filled with menace and threat and romance for the city life.
1. FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM- Sumerland (What Dreams May Come)
Album: Earth Inferno- Live (1991)
And last, but not least, an extended live version of one of my favorite 'Fields of the Nephilim' songs (and I have a lot of them, by the way), from their live album 'Earth Inferno', which is taken from their live video "Visionary Head". The ambient sense to this song keeps your blood pumping and your feet moving. Great album, great song, great band. They are missed, no matter the number of incarnations they keep trying to come out with these last couple of decades. Sorry, guys, but 'FotN' is not to be duplicated.