1. The Velvet Underground – What Goes On (The Velvet Underground, 1969)

One of my favorite Velvet-songs, this second track from their (post-Cale) third album. Pretty straight forward, with that awesome pushing Velvet guitar sound. The instrumental combo with the rhythm guitars and Doug Yule’s (replacing Cale) organ could easily be called one of rock’s greatest song climaxes ever.

2. The Cure – The Figurehead (Pornography, 1982)


Just like Faith from 1981, this fourth album continues the bands practice from its break-through album Seventeen Seconds (1980): explicit melancholy written by the classic line-up Smith-Tolhurst-Gallup. This song in particular resembles The Smiths’ sound, especially the surprisingly melodic guitar riff and of course the desperate lament, but is fortified with that typical repeating drum and bass rhythm. The instrumental parts laid the groundwork for post rock, while Smith himself would rather concentrate on writing some solid pop songs later on.

3. XTC – 1000 Umbrellas (Skylarking, 1986)


Andy Partridge signed the end of XTC’s touring history in 1982, as he started to suffer from stage fright. Just like The Beatles did earlier, XTC concentrated on working in the studio from then on and also picked up the idea of making a concept album. Skylarking was supposed to be about growing up, getting older and dying, all in one day. The result was an incredible album filled with orchestration, like the numerous string sections in this song, completely in line with the Paul McCartney Academy of Pop Music.

4. Afghan Whigs – Now You Know (Gentlemen, 1993)


Typical guitar sound from the nineties, resembling that of their lumberjacket wearing peers from Washington. However, not only did their wardrobe differ, also the lyrics from this Cincinatti band sound much more mature and devoted, even reminding of Dylan sometimes. This is of course their best (and fourth) album, released one year after break-through album Congregation (great cover) and recorded in Memphis.

5. The Beatles – Not a Second Time (With the Beatles, 1963)


Iconic pop album, released in the US as Meet The Beatles. It’s actually a mix of some of the bands’ live covers like ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’, ‘Please Mister Postman’ and ‘Money’, together with the Fab Four’s first songwriting gems, like McCartney’s ‘All My Loving’. This one is a Lennon song without electric guitar, so no Harrison.

6. Smashing Pumpkins – To Forgive (Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness, 1995)


For me personally one of the biggest rediscoveries last year. Billy Corgan already dominated the Pumpkins on their second album (Siamese Dream (1993), on which he frequently overdubbed the bass and guitar parts with his own stuff), and on this magnificent third (ultimate cocktail of riff & melody) he shined like never before, and never afterwards. The threatening, modest sound of this song would dominate the next album and also returned on Radiohead’s OK Computer .

7. Pavement – Conduit For Sale! (Slanted and Enchanted, 1992)


More nineties, and not complaining. Californian trio that formed in 1989, played till 1999 and saw their status grow each year since. Great record that offers a lot, except pretention.

8. The Raconteurs – Top Yourself (Consolers of the Lonely, 2008)


Second and (for now?) last album of The Raconteurs, written by Brendan Brenson and Jack White, the man who secured the heritage of all preliminary guitar music in the new century. Whatever band this guy played in, it never took long before I liked it.

9. David Bowie – Right (Young Americans, 1975)


Bowie leaves his androgen identity behind and freely throws Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder into the blender in a way that makes all other attempts at white soul pale into insignificance. Featuring Carlos Alomar for the first time.

10. The Eagles – Life in the Fast Lane (Hotel California, 1976)


A dash of funk blew over from the previous song into the guitar playing of Joe Walsh. Classic.

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