Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best Discography Sites - Part 2 of 5

I recently introduced a new series to evaluate the best discography sites, starting with Vehicle Flips, a 90s indie band.  Let's shift now to the 50s with Lillian Briggs and see how allmusic, discogs, rateyourmusic, 45cat, wikipedia, and a new competitor, musicbrainz, stack up.

This time I'm going to start with Wikipedia.  The Lillian Briggs wikipedia page rather boldly asserts that she was the first woman to achieve super-star status at the dawn of the rock'n'roll era.  The wikipedia page also provide the year and chart position of her first single, and it closes by noting that she has a new 2013 collection on Jasmine records.  It also includes my favorite Lillian Briggs fun fact.  She owned the boat (monkey business) where Gary Hart got caught with Donna Rice, knocking him out of the presidential race.

Let's move along now to allmusic.  As of the very end of 2013, allmusic is the only source that lists the new collection on Jasmine records.  Yes, the wikipedia page mentioned its existence, but it didn't show a cover or give a track listing or provide any useful information about it.  The collection is the only record allmusic lists in the Lillian Briggs discography, but, it too mentions the monkey business fun fact.

Discogs.com fills in quite a bit more of the Lillian Briggs discography with 6 singles, an EP, a 1985 collection, and 6 compilation tracks.  The compilations include Hot Boppin Girls, Vol III, They don't have the new collection though, and that reflects a general observation I have that allmusic tends to list new releases faster than the other sites even when the other sites are otherwise more complete.

Rateyourmusic also has 6 singles, but they aren't exactly the same ones as discogs.com, and rateyourmusic has dates for all of the singles, while discogs did not.  RYM has 2 EPs, and 5 compliation appearances, but no collections, neither the new collection listed by allmusic nor the 1985 collection listed by discogs.

As you would hope, 45cat stomps the competition in the singles category.  They list 10 singles in the US alone, and most have not only the release year but even the release month.  They also have high-resolution pictures of almost all of the records.  They list 7 additional releases ex-US for a total of 17 listings.

By popular request (or maybe just a single comment on a previous blog post), I'm also consider musicbrainz.org.  They list 3 compilations and that's it.

It's hard to pick a winner this time.  It may be a 3-way tie between discogs, RYM, and 45cat, but you can't totally discount the fact that allmusic was the only site (as of the end of 2013) to list the new compilation.  On the other hand, the new compilation is easy to find on Amazon, so maybe it's not so important for it to be covered on music sites. No - I think the music sites need to cover it.  I'll need to check back during 2014 to see when any of the other sites pick it up.

This concludes part 2 of our series.  Stay tuned for part 3 because, in Lillian Briggs' words, I can't stop.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Best Discography Sites - Part 1 of 5

On my bookshelf, my go-to music resources are the 3rd through 5th editions of the Trouser Press Record Guide, Joel Whitburn's billboard chart books, and Martin Strong's Great Rock Discography and Great Alternative and Indie Discography collections.  As with so many other resources, however, the web has overtaken print as a more up to date and complete source of information.  This is the first in a 5 part series exploring which web resource is best for what.

Thanks to Kickstarter, Vehicle Flips is releasing a collection of their 90s singles and compilation tracks.  Vehicle Flips had a complicated discography of 3 CDs and 5 singles spanning several different labels, not to mention all the compilation tracks, making them a good test case for completeness and accuracy at the 5 different sites I plan to evaluate in each part of this 5 part series.

We'll start with Allmusic.com, which was for many years my favored resource for getting information on band's discographies.  Once you get past the annoying pop-up ads, which have become increasingly aggressive at allmusic, you can find that they correctly list the 3 Vehicle Flips original CDs.  Selecting singles and EPs, it gets a lot sketchier.  They list 3 of the 5 singles, but only one listing is complete and accurate.  They don't have a date for "Impressed Beyond Belief" and they are under the misimpression that "Terminus" is a different band as opposed to the name of a Vehicle Flips song, an error they compound with a bizarre review.  In allmusic's favor, they do note that Frank went on to form The Gazetteers, but they don't mention Wimp Factor 14, his prior band.

Increasingly, Discogs has overtaken allmusic as my go-to resource.  Let's see how they do with Vehicle Flips.  They list all 3 CDs and all 5 singles.  Interestingly, the 3rd CD gets a 2000 date at allmusic and a 1999 date at discogs.  The CD itself does have 1999 imprinted upon it, but I believe the true release was delayed until 2000.  That's kind of a toss-up, but I think I'm willing to give allmusic credit for that one.  Discogs also lists 7 compilation appearances, which is pretty impressive coverage even if it isn't 100% complete, missing a rare cassette compilation.  Interestingly, the bio is nearly if not totally identical at Discogs and Allmusic.  I wonder who stole from whom, or if they both got it from the same third source.

Rateyourmusic, which started out focusing on ratings has gotten increasing reliable with discography's as well.  They do OK, but not great, with Vehicle Flips.  They mistakenly list one single as an album, and they miss 2 of the singles, but they get 6 of the compilations.  Like the others, they mention the Gazetteers and not Wimp Factor 14 as related artists.

For old 45s, I've found that 45cat is the most reliable source, and we'll get to that later in this series.  They also do well with the early punk era, but they're pretty spotty with recent (as in last 20 years) indie rock.  Vehicle Flips is no exception.  They don't show up at all, but, interestingly, they do have 3 Wimp Factor 14 singles listed.

Lastly, we need to consider Wikipedia.  They remain far behind the other sources when it comes to music, but they've been improving rapidly, and may eventually overtake them.  As of the end of 2013, there is no Vehicle Flips entry, but, if you search on Vehicle Flips, you can find the Harriet Records Discography, which looks pretty complete to me.  I've found Wikipedia to compete most successfully with the music-centric information sources when it comes to artists who are either more mainstream or who are outside of the main rock genres.  We may get to that later in the series.

So, the big winner in part 1 of 5 of our series is Discogs.com, with rateyourmusic.com, and allmusic.com coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Stay tuned for further trials with other artists.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Best Tracks of 2012

It's that time of year once again.  It's the time when countless websites and publications make lists of the best songs and albums of the calendar year that is not even over.  I love these lists, but I also find that their publication is creeping ever closer to Thanksgiving every year.

Meanwhile, contrarian that I am, I will continue the tradition I began in 2011 by counting down the best songs of 2010 a year late.  Last year (2012) at about this time I counted down the best songs of 2011.  These are some of my least read posts, so I have little reason to keep up this tradition other than my love of lists, self-righteousness and obstinate disregard for popularity.  Therefore, let's pause a moment.  Love of lists?  Check.  Self-righteousness?  Check.  Obstinacy?  Check.  Forging ahead!

These are the top 75 tracks of 2012, with an extra year to evaluate, re-evaluate, supplement, and sift compared to all those sites that came out with their lists prematurely in 2012.

75) Water Liars - Rest
74) Bear in Heaven - Noon Moon
73) Menomena - Plumage
72) Sufjan Stevens - Lumberjack Christmas / No One Can Save You From Christmases Past
71) The Dandy Warhols - Enjoy Yourself
70) fun. - We Are Young (feat. Janelle MonĂ¡e)
69) Old Crow Medicine Show - Levi
68) Yppah - Film Burn (feat. Anomie Belle)
67) Shovels & Rope - Keeper
66) Trampled By Turtles - Risk
65) Tomten - So So So
64) DJ Food Feat. DK - Sentinel (Shadow Guard)
63) The Evens - King Of Kings
62) Field Music - Sorry Again, Mate
61) Amanda Palmer - Institutionalized
60) Daughn Gibson - Rain On a Highway
59) Animal Collective - Honeycomb
58) Air - Astronomic Club
57) The Coup - The Gods of Science
56) Punch Brothers - This Girl
55) Peter Blegvad & Andy Partridge - St. Augustine Says
54) Porcelain Raft - Unless You Speak From Your Heart
53) Opossom - Blue Meanies
52) Beach House - Myth
51) Lord Huron - Time To Run
50) Giant Sand - Thing Like That
49) The Shins - Simple Song
48) Pond - Elegant Design
47) Dr. Dog - That Old Black Hole
46) Adele - Skyfall
45) Squarepusher - Energy Wizard
44) Oh No - Ohnomite Jazz
43) Tame Impala - Apocalypse Dreams
42) Grizzly Bear - Sleeping Ute
41) Kindness - That's Alright
40) Rosie Flores - Working Girl's Guitar
39) The Mountain Goats - Harlem Roulette
38) Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Hummingbird, pt. 1
37) The Balboas - Souls (Taste Like Chicken)
36) Kid Koala - 8 Bit Blues (Chicago To LA To NY)
35) Cory Branan - Bad Man
34) Nashville Cast - Kiss (feat. Jonathan Jackson)
33) Robert Glasper Featuring Erikah Badu - Afro Blue (feat. Erykah Badu) - Robert Glasper Featuring Eri
32) Beachwood Sparks - The Orange Grass Special
31) Daniel Rossen - Silent Song
30) Lower Dens - Stem
29) The Lumineers - Flowers in Your Hair
28) The Royalty - Bartender
27) Kelly Hogan - Whenever Your'e Out Of My Sight
26) Rayland Baxter - Driveway Melody
25) Public Service Broadcasting - Everest
24) M. Ward - Sweetheart
23) Django Django - Love's Dart
22) Noisettes - That Girl
21) The Fresh & Onlys - Presence Of Mind
20) Calexico - Splitter
19) Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built
18) The Tallest Man On Earth - Criminals
17) Trembling Bells & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I Made a Date (With An Open Vein)
16) Sharon Van Etten - Serpents
15) Lotus Plaza - Strangers
14) Pepe Deluxe - Queenswave
13) Cloud Nothings - Stay Useless
12) Woods - Back to the Stone
11) Father John Misty - I'm Writing A Novel
10) Damien Jurado - Working Titles
9) Hospitality - Eighth Avenue
8) Alabama Shakes - Hang Loose
7) Jake Bugg - Trouble Town
6) Zammuto - F U C-3PO
5) Craig Finn - Jackson
4) Allo Darlin' - Neil Armstrong
3) Menahan Street Band - Sleight of Hand
2) Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Man On Fire
1) First Aid Kit - first place tie (The Lion's Roar and Emmylou)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Early Year-end Music Lists of 2013

There are still 23 days left in 2013 for musical artists to release new tracks or albums, but none of those tracks or albums will appear on any of these year-end lists.  I love year-end lists, so I can hardly complain about them starting so early, but it really does feel like they show up earlier and earlier every year.  For myself, I'll be sticking to my tradition of waiting a full year.  Look for my best of 2012 list sometime in the next month.  Wait another year for my best of 2013 list.  In the mean time...

Paste Magazine features both a song list and an album list:

Paste's top 50 songs of 2013

Paste's top 50 albums of 2013

Pop Matters gives us the top songs of the year and the top albums in various categories

Pop Matters top 75 songs of 2013

Pop Matters top 10 best indie rock albums of 2013

Pop Matters top 10 best indie pop albums of 2013

Spin provides their lists in annoying slide show format

Spin's top 50 sings of 2013

Spin's top 50 albums of 2013

Stereogum also uses the slide show format, but it's a wee bit less annoying because there's a little more content.

Stereogum's top 50 albums of 2013

Pretty Much Amazing gives us a top 100

Pretty Much Amazing's top 100 songs of 2013

Pitchfork also goes to 100 with top tracks and a top 50 album list

Pitchfork top 100 tracks of 2013

Pitchfork top 50 albums of 2013

Drowned in Sound has just 20 albums, but only scrolling and no clicking is required, which is really thoughtful of them

Drowned in Sound top 20 albums of 2013

A New Yorker blog provides a very pop-centric top 40 songs list

Top 40 songs of 2013 (New Yorker blog)

Billboard has a critics picks list, which is also, of course, very pop-centric.  It's valuable though to have pop-centric critics lists because often critics ignore pop and some pop is definitely a lot better than other pop.

Top 20 songs of 2013 (Billboard critics list)

NPR thinks a top 100 should be listed alphabetically by artist.  I disagree, but here it is.

NPR's favorite 100 songs of 2013

NPR's top 10 folk and americana albums of 2013

NPR's top 50 favorite albums of 2013

Allmusic suffers from the same inability to rank their selections, but they alphabetize by last name (phone book style) rather than NPR's first name first approach (iTunes style).

Allmusic's top 50 albums of 2013

eMusic has a top 100 albums list with a rather odd interface.  They claim the "experience" of looking at the list is optimized for iOS7.  I think I'd like it better as a read rather than an experience, but I'm old-fashioned that way.

eMusic top 100 albums of 2013

Uncut has a top 80 albums list.  Why 80?  Twice as good as 40?  I don't know.

UNCUT's top 80 albums of 2013

I found all of the above a bit more predictable than I would have hoped, so I went searching for a few more obscure lists.  I haven't actually had that much luck so far.  Maybe those looking for hidden gems wait until after the year has really ended, much as I do with my own lists.  These were at least a little bit different in one way or another:

Secretly Important 10 best albums

The L Magazine best 20 albums of 2013

Chart Attack's 50 best songs of 2013

Top 10 songs of 2013 from The Boot

More lists will follow soon enough.  I'll update this post when they do.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

If you think my lists are too short...

My decade lists for the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s range from 300 to 500 songs.  Somebody who made a list at rateyourmusic.com made a list that currently stands at 6,612 songs.  My hat is off to him not only for ranking so many songs, but also for getting it all posted with links on rateyourmusic.  He's also made it sortable by artists, which allows for a different way to browse if you're looking for how your favorite bands rank.  I saw the sortable list first and was initially alarmed to think that somebody ranked 6612 songs and put A-Ha's "Take on Me" first, but A-Ha is just first in alphabetical order and "Take On Me" is the 3,086th best song, which really sounds just about right.  I bet I could think of about 3,000 better songs than "Take On Me", but probably not a lot more than that.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Top 20 Songs By The Jam

One of the things I like about iTunes is that it's easy to sort songs (rather than albums) by popularity.  This is especially helpful for bands that released a lot of songs as singles between albums or who released a lot of EPs.  The Jam is one of those bands with a complicated discography and it's further complicated by the fact that I first really got to know The Jam through their double-LP best-of-collection Snap, which was later truncated to fit on CD as Compact Snap.

Here are the top songs by The Jam based on current iTunes rankings along with the rank of their singles on rate your music (rym), rank of songs on Vinyl Surrender (vs), and my own personal nothing but good things (nbgt) ranking.

#1 Town Called Malice (rym #2, vs #1, nbgt #6)
#2 That's Entertainment (rym #1, vs #2, nbgt #1)
#3 In The City (rym #6, vs #11, nbgt #2)
#4 Beat Surrender (rym #18, vs #10, nbgt #3)
#5 Start! (rym #8, vs #9, nbgt #10)
#6 The Modern World (rym #14, vs #18, nbgt #4)
#7 The Bitterest Pill (rym NA, vs NA, nbgt NA)
#8 Down in the Tube Station at Midnight (rym #3, vs #5, nbgt #5)
#9 English Rose (rym NA, vs NA, nbgt NA)
#10 Eton Rifles (rym #7, vs #7, nbgt #15)
#11 Ghosts (rym NA, vs #4, nbgt NA)
#12 Thick as Thieves(rym NA, vs NA, nbgt NA)
#13 Going Underground (rym #4, vs #3, nbgt #9)
#14 The Butterfly Collector (rym, b-side of #5, vs NA, nbgt #19)
#15 Pretty Green (rym NA, vs #13, nbgt NA)
#16 David Watts (rym #11, vs NA, nbgt #16)
#17 Absolute Beginners (rym #13, vs #20, nbgt #14)
#18 Mr. Clean (rym #15, vs NA, nbgt #18)
#19 Liza Radley (rym NA, vs NA, nbgt NA)
#20 Away from the Numbers (rym NA, vs NA, nbgt NA)

Notable songs outside of the iTunes top 20

Strange Town (rym #5, vs NA, nbgt #7)
To Be Someone (rym NA, vs #8, nbgt NA)
Smithers-Jones (rym b-side of #9, vs NA, nbgt #8)
Funeral Pyre (rym #10, vs NA, nbgt NA)
News of the World (rym NA, vs NA, nbgt #11)
All Around the World (rym #17, vs NA, nbgt #12)
Dreams of Children (rym b-side of #4, vs NA, nbgt #13)
I Need You (rym #12, vs NA, nbgt NA)
Man in the Corner Shop (rym NA, vs #14, nbgt NA)
Saturday's Kids (rym #16, vs NA, nbgt NA)
A Bomb in Wardour St (rym b-side of #11, vs #6, nbgt #17)
Just Who Is the 5 O'clock Hero (rym #19, vs NA, nbgt NA)
Tales of the Riverbank [fanclub version] (rym #20, vs NA, nbgt #20)

On the whole the iTunes rankings are pretty well in line with all the other rankings.  Bitterest Pill ranks high on iTunes without making it on any of the other top 20s, and both Down in the Tube Station and Midnight and Going Underground are less popular on iTunes versus every other list, but not by all that much really.

English Rose makes the iTunes top 10 and none of the other lists.  That's one of the songs that was on Snap and not on Compact Snap.  I wonder how many people are filling in that digital gap on iTunes.  Strange Town makes the top 10 of every other list, but misses the iTunes top 20 entirely.  Strange.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Best Elvis Costello Records

Over at Stereogum, they've posted a list (in tedious slide show format) ranking Elvis Costello's 25 albums.  I decided to make my own list, ranked in order of how many 4+ rated songs I have from the album on my iPod, with the number of 3+ rated songs as a tie-breaker.  I also decided to check the user ratings at rateyourmusic.com.  Here are the three rankings with the Stereogum rating listed first.

1) Armed Forces (#5 on my iPod, #3 at RYM)
2) This Year's Model (#1 i, #1 r)
3) Get Happy (#2 i, #4 r)
4) King of America (#7 i, #6 r)
5) Trust (#6 i, #8 r)
6) My Aim Is True (#4 i, #2 r)
7) Imperial Bedroom (#3 i, #5 r)
8) Blood & Chocolate (#10 i, #7 r)
9) Punch the Clock (#13 i, #11 r)
10) Spike (#9 i, #17 r)
11) Brutal Youth (#15 i, #13 r)
12) Painted from Memory (NA i, #9 r)
13) The Juliet Letters (NA i, #20 r)
14) Almost Blue (#17 i, #18 r)
15) When I Was Cruel (#16 i, #14 r)
16) The Delivery Man (NA i, #12 r)
17) North (NA i, #23 r)
18) All This Useless Beauty (NA i, #16 r)
19) National Ransom (#12 i, #19 r)
20) The River in Reverse (#18 i, #10 r)
21) Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane (#8 i, #22 r)
22) Momofuku (NA i, #15 r)
23) Kojak Variety (NA i, #25 r)
24) Goodbye Cruel World (#11 i, #24 r)
25) Mighty Like a Rose (#14 i, #21 r)

What strikes me most about the 3 rankings is how consistent they are.  There are a few flukes due to the fact that my iPod rating system really isn't rating a whole record and also due to the fact that I tend to use the 3-star rating for new-ish songs about which I haven't totally made up my mind.  Thus, Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane ends up inappropriately high in my own rankings, as does National Ransom, but to a lesser extent.  Also, Goodbye Cruel World doesn't pay as big a price in my rankings for being a poor overall record because it does have a couple of songs I like and there's no particular penalty for terrible songs.

My initial thought upon looking at the Stereogum list was that King of America was way too high.  Out of Sterogum's top 7, it's the only record that doesn't get a 5-star rating at allmusic.com, and both RYM and my iPod rank it lower, but not way lower.  It's one of 3 records that gets 4 and a half stars at allmusic.

Lastly, I should say that I don't think Get Happy is Elvis Costello's second best record, even thought it's rated as such based on my iPod rankings.  It benefits in my ranking from having so many songs, but I don't think it contains any of my top 10 favorite Elvis Costello songs.  Combing the 3 ratings, though, it's a very solid #3.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Top 5 Elephant 6 Albums

When I get an idea for a list I want to make, I usually start by googling to see if the list has already been made.  This one has.  Somebody else at rateyourmusic already put more time and effort into this than what I had planned myself.  They even made a follow-up list.  The rationale for my list is that I have different picks.

I'm not going to try to explain Elephant 6 in any more than one sentence.  It was a loose collective of bands with a lot of overlapping members and a similar approach to instrumentation and production values, starting in the 90s, and very influential on the indie pop of the 2000s.  If you want a longer explanation, the one on Wikipedia it totally adequate.

#5 The Minders - Hooray For Tuesday (1998)

A lot of Elephant 6 bands wear their adoration of the Beach Boys on their sleeves.  The Minders remind me much more of early Kinks.

#4 Olivia Tremor Control - Black Foliage (1999)

This is a sprawling psychedelic sound collage (foliage?) to rival late 60s Pink Floyd, but often tuneful and clearly identifiable as 90s indie pop/rock.  Making this list has made me aware of how much the Elephant 6 bands fall in the middle between indie pop and indie rock.  They're just a bit too noisy to be comfortably categorized as indie pop, and just a bit too ethereal to be considered proper indie rock.

#3 Apples in Stereo - Fun Trick Noisemaker (1995)

This first record, from the band I consider to be the center of Elephant 6, was more firmly rooted in mid-90s indie rock is full of catchy songs that didn't let whimsy get in the way of rocking.  As they matured, they rocked less. This record is on the second, but not first, of the rateyourmusic lists.  Apples in Stereo have stayed interesting and have become more sophisticated, but they're on a long list of bands that I believe hit their peak on their first record.

#2 Beulah - The Coast is Never Clear (2001)

Although Beulah was definitely an Elephant 6 band with the Elephant 6 logo displayed clearly on their early recordings, it's not clear to me if they remained an Elephant 6 band.  The logo isn't on the later records, which had stronger power pop production.  Nonetheless, I've included this record here partly because it isn't on the rateyourmusic list and partly because I think Beulah is far and away the most underrated of the Elephant 6 bands.

#1 Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over the Seas (1998)

I favor songs over full albums, but this is the kind of complete record that reminds me why anybody ever listened to albums from start to finish.  It's a contender for best indie record of the 90s and best record of the 90s period.

If you're on Spotify, click here to listen to songs from these records.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Top 25 debut EPs

I was thinking about the sophomore jinx the other day, i.e., artists whose second album is substantially weaker than their first, and it occurred to me that there's another sort of sophomore jinx.  There are a lot of artists who have released hugely promising, critically lauded debut EPs, only to fall flat with their first full length record and/or the rest of their career.

Here's a list (my own, totally subjective as per usual) of the top 25 debut EPs with some added commentary on whether or not the artists ever lived up to their promise.

#25) No Trend - Teen Love (1984)

This EP was primarily a vehicle for the punk "hit" Teen Love, parts one and two.  They went on to make some actual albums, which had their merits, but nothing else ever came close to being the kind of underground hit that Teen Love was.

#24) The Walkabouts - 22 Disasters (1985)

The Walkabouts evolved considerably from this obscure start.  I suspect most of their fans are happily oblivious to the existence of this EP, but I consider it a high point of their career.  They might have sounded like they were aping R.E.M. a little too much, but the female vocals and the varying instrumentation made it more unique.

#23) Blue Giant - Target Heart (2009)

The best songs on their full-length debut came from this EP, which is usually not a good sign, but the jury is out until they make a second full-length record.

#22) Let's Wrestle - In Loving Memory Of... (2008)

Initially, I was let down by their 2009 debut LP, mostly because I didn't like the re-recorded version of "I Won't Lie to You", but the way this band has matured has really grown on me.  The shambling jokey stuff like the original recording of "I Won't Lie to You" still has a lot of appeal, but I appreciate the way they've matured and become more thoughtful on their LPs.

#21) Miracle Legion - The Backyard (1984)

In the mid-80s, there were a lot of records I heard and thought "oh - they could be the next R.E.M.".  This was the first of those records.  Like The Walkabouts, I like Miracle Legion less as they evolved, but everyone else seemed to like them more.  This debut EP falls in the category of showing promise that was ultimately fulfilled.

#20) 3 Teens Kill 4 - No Motive (1983)

The highlight here is the cover of "Tell Me Something Good", which included tapes of news coverage of the Reagan assassination attempt mixed in.  I have no idea what happened to them, but I don't think there was ever a follow-up.

#19) Janelle Monae - Metropolis (2007)

The EP was more adventurous than the full-length follow-up, but you can't hold back somebody on the verge of mega stardom.  The new single Q.U.E.E.N. suggests she might be the rare performer who can remain a little out there while still becoming huge.  We may find out as soon as this summer.

#18) Bongwater - Breaking No New Ground (1987)

I don't think the next 2 LPs lived up to the promise of the first EP, but I know others differ, and eventually I think they did start to break new ground, even while riffing off of classic rock nostalgia.  This EP also helped to launch Shimmy Disc, which was an important player in the awkward transition from 80s underground rock and college rock to 90s alt-rock and indie rock.  Indie rock could have been swallowed by alt-rock if not for labels like Shimmy Disc and band like Bongwater.

#17) The Undertones - Teenage Kicks (1978)

They never fulfilled the promise of their debut, but the overpowering love from John Peel might have just been too much right from the beginning.

#16) Fugazi - Fugazi (1988)

I like this record because they still sounded a bit like Minor Threat at this point, not a whole lot like Minor Threat, but at least a little bit like them.  They got huge in the 90s through aggressive touring, an adoring cult following, and an interesting evolution.  I didn't like the later records as much, but Fugazi also belongs in the achieved-their-promise column.

#15) Black Kids - Wizard of Ahhs (2007)

So much promise.  This rough set of four songs was initially just available for download from the band's Myspace page, with no physical presence.  Now 6 years later, they've released just one full-length record whose best songs were re-recordings from the EP.  If they do release a second record, I'm still going to want to hear it because the first record sounded so fresh in 2007 that there's still a chance of freshness 6 years later.

#14) Jens Lekman - Maple Leaves (2004)

According to Wikipedia there was another EP before this one, but there were only 20 copies made.  I'm an obscurophile, but even I feel comfortable ignoring that first one.  Both Maple Leave and a second EP later in 2004, You Are the Light, were excellent and showed creative growth and diversity over a short period of time.  In contrast, all his full length records have been big disappointments.  I think most of them do have 3 to 4 really good songs, so maybe he should have just kept making EPs and churned them out a little more slowly than his early pace.

#13) Fishbone - Fishbone (1985)

If you're going to blend genres the way Fishbone did, you've really got two choices.  You can crossover to lots of different audiences and get huge (e.g., Prince's Purple Rain) or you can get lost and get mismanaged and confusingly marketed by your label.  The fact that Fishbone fell in the latter category is so well documented that there's actually a full-length documentary about it.  I haven't seen it.  As much as I like them, I think I'd find it too depressing.

#12) Big Black - Racer X (1985)

There were two very poorly distributed EPs before this one, but I consider this one to be their real debut, in terms of being a coming out party, at least with the more adventurous college radio stations.  They continued to pound away with increasingly popular and increasingly polished pounding with their next LPs and leader Steve Albini became a production machine with a huge influence on the remainder of the decade and the next one as well.

#11) The Bees - Punchbag (2001)

The strength of the debut 2002 LP was in the songs that were already on this EP and the 2004 follow-up was quite weak by comparison, possibly due to an effort to assimilate into a more commercially viable sound.  They didn't achieve their true potential, as the ninjagos would say, until their third LP in 2007.

#10) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2001)

This was such an unexpected jolt in 2001, it's hard to see how they could have followed it up in a way that would have pleased everyone who loved it.  They've maintained an edge, but a lot of it has been an image edge as opposed to a real music edge.  The songs from the 2001 EP are very good, but a lot of what made this great was that nobody else sounded quite like this right then.  A few years later, it just wasn't nearly as unique, and so the EP stands alone as the most special thing they've done even though they've managed a very respectably lengthy career.

#9) Jurassic 5 - Jurassic 5 EP (1997)

For a hip-hop band with such a pure respect for the old school style of boasting and scratchin', it's impressive that they've had as much success as they have.  I was shocked, for instance, to see 2002's "What's Golden" show up on one of the music video channels even though they hadn't come close to selling out.  Put J5 in the achieved their early promise column, even if they've been handicapped by the public's taste.

#8) The Embarassment - The Embarassment EP (1981)

This was an excellent EP, and way ahead of its time.  They would have had much more success as contemporaries of Sebadoh and Pavement in the early 90s.  It was followed by the excellent mini-LP (another EP, really) Death Travels West, and then they all went their separate ways.  Though they eventually re-formed, nothing came close to comparing to the early singles and EPs.

#7) Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant (2008)

They peaked on this EP, as far as I'm concerned.  I know the critics continue to give them kudos, and the LPs haven't been bad, but they've been softer and safer.  For all the CSN comparisons, this EP was something new and different.  The later records haven't been.

#6) The Honeydrippers - Volume One (1984)

Nile Rogers and others join Robert Plant and Jimmy Page to do the best conceivable oldies covers possible in the 80s.  It's funny that they called it Volume One, right?  I guess Robert Plant couldn't cope with his success on the adult contemporary chart.  They should have just replaced with with Rod Stewart.  I'm sure he wouldn't have cared.

#5) Bangles - Bangles (1982)

I really don't understand how Faulty Products managed to go broke after releasing this.  The debut LP on Columbia was a whole lot slicker, but still very good.  The second follow-up LP was much slicker and hugely popular, but not at all what led me to love this EP.  This hard-to-find rough gem remains one of the best items in their catalogue.

#4) TV On The Radio - Young Liars (2003)

A debut EP of such complexity and sophistication in sound is a rare thing.  Today it does sound rough compared to what they became, but the songs themselves are among the best they've ever written.  They did suffer a sophomore jinx with the follow-up that really didn't have anything new that was half as catchy as anything from the EP, but they came back strong with their second and third full-length CDs and definitely fulfilled their early promise.

#3) Billy Bragg - Life's a Riot with Spy vs. Spy (1983)

It calls itself a 7 track album and not an EP, but as far as I'm concerned a 7 track album with short songs is an EP.  He wrote plenty of excellent songs after these, but this was by far his highest concentration of excellence and the stark production on the EP played to his strengths more so than just about anyone else on this list.

#2) Beta Band - The Three EPs (1997-1998)

They started out with not just one spectacular EP, but three, and had a debut CD that was the collection of the three.  The follow-up had at least one very good song, but it was a huge disappointment compared to the 3 EPs.  Their later records are quite good, but everything suffered in comparison to the consistent strength and impressive evolution of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd EP.

#1) Mission of Burma - Signals, Calls, and Marches (1981)

This post-punk record dispensed with punk purism as quickly on the heels of punk as it was really possible to do so, and it provides one of the clearest templates for what became indie rock roughly 10 years later.  Their follow-up full-length, Vs., gets nearly as a high a rating at rateyourmusic.com, but I think 3 of their 4 best songs are from this EP and the 4th is from a single that preceded the EP.

Final thoughts

I think I went into making this list thinking that the early 80s had been a heyday for EPs and that there had been a resurgence in the 2000s.  It's possible I missed some great 1990s EPs, but I think cool new bands tended to roll out a string of 7-inch singles rather than going the EP route in the 90s.  If a band had enough money to put out a CD, they tended to cram it full with as many songs as would fit.  I think by the 2000s, bands and labels had begun to see the error in that approach, and it was also more critical to have a digital release as turntable owners became a narrower audience.

I see iTunes and their ilk as having revived the pop single format, albeit without b-sides for the most part.  That the EP has also made a come back over the last dozen or so years also feels like a positive development in music.  Not every great writer is a novelist, nor should we expect that every band excels at making full albums, especially not modern-era CD-length albums.  It does occur to me that I don't have anything on this list yet from the 2010s.  Hopefully that doesn't mean we have to wait for the 2020s for another resurgence of the EP, but, if we do, so be it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The 250 Most Archetypical New Wave Songs

As I've mentioned in some previous posts, I've been working a list of the most archetypical new wave songs of all time.  As I started ranking the top of the list, I realized the flaw with the head-to-head comparison ranking method I've used with most of my previous lists.  I realized that I didn't want my top 3 to be the 3 songs that were individually the top contenders for most archetypical new wave song.  I wanted the top 3 to be the set of 3 songs that would be the most archetypical collection of 3 songs, and I wanted the top 10 to be the set of 10 songs that would be the most archetypical collection of 10 songs.

Think of it like this.  If you wanted an archetypical set of 10 average Americans, would you want ten 40-something white women who were all five-foot-four?  Even if we called it an archetypical sample, you'd still want some variety.  The larger the sample, the more variety you would allow, but in a big sample you would still have a lot of 40-something white women.

In the case of new wave, many of the individually most archetypical songs are circa 1982 synth pop, but a top ten of 10 1982 synth pop songs doesn't really describe new wave well, nor would a top 100 of only synth pop and new romantic MTV hits from the early 80s.  Songs that are borderline new wave, and might be better described as goth or ska-revival or pub rock or post-punk or mod-revival or college rock, had virtually no chance of making the top 10, but the term new wave was inclusive enough that many of those songs made the top 100, or at least the top 250.

With all of the above in mind, I won't be posting this as a countdown.  It needs to start at #1.  I'm starting by posting the top 20 today (April 14, 2013).  I've also made a playlist of the songs on Spotify.  Click here to listen.

1) Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (1983)
2) Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf (1982)
3) Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science (1983)
4) Split Enz - I Got You (1980)
5) Heaven 17 - (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (1981)
6) ABC - The Look Of Love, Part One (1982)
7) The B-52's - Rock Lobster (1979)
8) The Human League - Don't You Want Me (1981)
9) Modern English - I Melt With You (1982)
10) Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime (1980)
11) Martha & The Muffins - Echo Beach (1980)
12) Yaz - Nobody's Diary (1983)
13) The The - This Is The Day (1983)
14) The Style Council - My Ever Changing Moods (1984)
15) Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me) (1985)
16) Soft Cell - Tainted Love (1981)
17) XTC - Making Plans For Nigel (1979)
18) Blondie - Heart Of Glass (1978)
19) Squeeze - Cool For Cats (1979)
20) Gary Numan - Cars (1979)

[added April 18, 2013]

21) The Cure - Boys Don't Cry (1979)
22) Men Without Hats - The Safety Dance (1982)
23) Elvis Costello & the Attractions - (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love & Understanding (1979)
24) The Go-Go's - We Got The Beat (1981)
25) Berlin - Metro (1982)
26) Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough (1981)
27) Tears For Fears - Mothers Talk (1985)
28) Smiths - How Soon Is Now? (1984)
29) Robert Hazard - Escalator of Life (1981)
30) Madness - Our House (1982)
31) Nick Lowe - Cruel to Be Kind (1979)
32) The English Beat - Mirror In The Bathroom (1983)
33) New Order - Blue Monday (1983)
34) Devo - Jocko Homo (1978)
35) Cars - Just What I Needed (1978)
36) Jam - Beat Surrender (1982)
37) David Bowie - Let's Dance (1983)
38) Adam Ant - Goody Two Shoes (1982)
39) Psychedelic Furs - Love My Way (1982)
40) Gang of Four - I Love A Man In Uniform (1982)
41) Romeo Void - Never Say Never (1982)
42) Fun Boy Three - The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum (1982)
43) Talk Talk - It's My Life (1984)
44) Siouxsie & the Banshees - Happy House (1980)
45) Buzzcocks - I Believe (1979)
46) The Thompson Twins - Lies (1982)
47) Prefab Sprout - Don't Sing (1984)
48) Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill (1985)
49) Peter Schilling - Major Tom (Voellig Losgeloest) (1983)
50) Billy Idol With Generation X - Dancing With Myself (1981)

[added April 20, 2013]

51) Specials - Do The Dog (1980)
52) Television - See No Evil (1977)
53) Bow Wow Wow - I Want Candy (1982)
54) Wall of Voodoo - Mexican Radio (1982)
55) Missing Persons - Walking In L.A. (1982)
56) The Fixx - One Thing Leads to Another (1983)
57) Joe Jackson - Sunday Papers (1979)
58) Men At Work - Who Can It Be Now? (1982)
59) Blondie - Rapture (1984)
60) Yello - Desire (1985)
61) Elvis Costello - Radio, Radio (1978)
62) Wang Chung - Dance Hall Days (1984)
63) The Cure - In Between Days (1985)
64) Howard Jones - What Is Love? (1984)
65) Flock of Seaguls - I Ran (1982)
66) Art of Noise - Close to the Edge (1984)
67) Psychedelic Furs - Pretty In Pink (1981)
68) Falco - Der Kommissar (1982)
69) Japan - Quiet Life (1979)
70) Elvis Costello & the Attractions - I Stand Accused (1980)
71) Ian Dury - Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (1981)
72) Police - De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da (1980)
73) Joe Jackson - Breaking Us In Two (1982)
74) Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed (1983)
75) Devo - Whip It (1980)
76) The Cure - The Love Cats (1983)
77) Roxy Music - Avalon (1982)
78) Lloyd Cole - Rattlesnakes (1984)
79) The Waitresses - I Know What Boys Like (1982)
80) The Police - Synchronicity II (1983)
81) Naked Eyes - Always Something There to Remind Me (1983)
82) Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Electricity (1979)
83) The Romantics - What I Like About You (1980)
84) Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come on Eileen (1982)
85) Duran Duran - Girls On Film (1981)
86) Trio - Da Da Da I Don't Love You (1982)
87) Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Annie I'm Not Your Daddy (1982)
88) XTC - Generals And Majors (1980)
89) The Knack - My Sharona (1979)
90) David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes (1980)
91) Tommy Tutone - 867-5309/Jenny (1981)
92) Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers (1980)
93) Bananarama - Cruel Summer (1984)
94) Jam - That's Entertainment (1980)
95) Laurie Anderson - O Superman (1982)
96) Suburbs - Love Is The Law (1984)
97) The Buggles - Video Killed the Radio Star (1980)
98) Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun (1984)
99) Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Lovers Walk (1981)
100) The Clash - Rock the
Casbah (1982)

[added April 21, 2013]

101) Talk Talk - The Party's Over (1982)
102) New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle (1986)
103) The Cars - You Might Think (1984)
104) Culture Club - Do You Really Want To Hurt Me (1982)
105) The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays (1979)
106) Ultravox - Vienna (1980)
107) Siouxsie & the Banshees - Spellbound (1981)
108) The Cure - Let's Go To Bed (1984)
109) Echo & The Bunnymen - The Killing Moon (1985)
110) Visage - Fade To Grey (1980)
111) Nena - 99 Luftballons (1984)
112) Magazine - Shot By Both Sides (1978)
113) The Thompson Twins - You Take Me Up (1983)
114) Talking Heads - Girlfriend is Better (1983)
115) Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Relax (1984)
116) Graham Parker + The Rumour - Mercury Poisoning (1979)
117) Nails - 88 Lines About 44 Women (1984)
118) Feelies - Crazy Rhythms (1980)
119) The Cure - Just Like Heaven (1987)
120) M - Popmuzik (1979)
121) Josie Cotton - Johnnie Are You Queer? (1982)
122) Marshall Crenshaw - Cynical Girl (1982)
123) Tears For Fears - Mad World (1983)
124) Alphaville - Big In Japan (1984)
125) Frank Zappa - Valley Girl (1982)

[added April 27, 2013]

126) Tin Huey - The Revelations Of Dr. Modesto (1979)
127) Icicle Works - Whisper to A Scream (1984)
128) Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning (1988)
129) Kajagoogoo - Too Shy (1982)
130) Scandal - Goodbye To You (1982)
131) Stranglers - Skin Deep (1984)
132) Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love (1981)
133) Elvis Costello - Welcome To The Working Week (1977)
134) Psychedelic Furs - The Ghost In You (1984)
135) Haircut 100 - Love Plus One (1982)
136) Mental As Anything - If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too? (1981)
137) Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) (1978)
138) The Selecter - The Selecter (1979)
139) blotto - I Wanna Be a Lifeguard (1980)
140) Squeeze - Take Me I'm Yours (1978)
141) a-ha - Take On Me (1985)
142) Clive Pig - Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen (1983)
143) Depeche Mode - People Are People (1984)
144) David Bowie - Heroes (1977)
145) The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet (1979)
146) Eddy Grant - Electric Avenue (1982)
147) Bauhaus - She's In Parties (Edit) (1983)
148) Greg Kihn Band - The Breakup Song (1981)
149) Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express (1977)
150) Katrina & The Waves - Walking On Sunshine (1985)

[added April 28, 2013]

151) Talking Heads - Psycho Killer (1977)
152) The Colourfield - Thinking of You (1985)
153) Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)
154) Kate Bush - Babooshka (1980)
155) Adam & the Ants - Dog Eat Dog (1980)
156) Stan Ridgeway - The Big Heat (1985)
157) Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (1985)
158) Re-Flex - The Politics of Dancing (1985)
159) Madonna - Lucky Star (1983)
160) Kate Bush - The Dreaming (1982)
161) Human Sexual Response - Land of the Glass Pinecones (1981)
162) Steve Forbert - Romeo's Tune (1979)
163) Big Country - In A Big Country (1983)
164) Marc Almond - Untitled (1982)
165) Siouxsie & The Banshees - Cities In Dust (1986)
166) Killing Joke - Love Like Blood (1985)
167) Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl (1981)
168) Oingo Boingo - Only a Lad (1981)
169) Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumours (1985)
170) Difford & Tilbrook - Action Speaks Faster (1984)
171) Pat Benatar - Hit Me With Your Best Shot (1980)
172) Plastic Bertrand - Ca plane pour moi (1978)
173) Wham! - Bad Boys (1983)
174) The B-52's - Strobe Light (1980)
175) The Cars - Shake It Up (1982)

[added April 29, 2013]

176) Time Zone - World Destruction (1984)
177) The Human League - (Keep Feeling) Fascination (1983)
178) Damned - I Just Can't Be Happy Today (1979)
179) Police - Roxanne (1978)
180) Gun Club - Sex Beat (1981)
181) The Cars - Let's Go (1979)
182) Comstat Angels - Independence Day (1980)
183) Vapors - Turning Japanese (1980)
184) Pere Ubu - On The Surface (1979)
185) The Durutti Column - Tomorrow (1985)
186) Animotion - Obsession (1985)
187) Adam Ant - Stand and Deliver (1981)
188) Polecats - Make a Circuit With Me (1983)
189) Billy Idol - White Wedding (1981)
190) Bangles - Hero Takes a Fall (1984)
191) EBN-OZN - AEIOU Sometimes Y (1983)
192) Section 25 - Looking From a Hilltop (1984)
193) The Fixx - Red Skies (Alternate) (1982)
194) Prince And The Revolution - When Doves Cry (1984)
195) R.E.M. - Radio Free Europe (1983)
196) Cyndi Lauper - Money Changes Everything (1984)
197) Talking Heads - Life During Wartime (1979)
198) The Undertones - Teenage Kicks (1979)
199) Magazine - Model Worker (1980)
200) The Stranglers - Golden Brown (1981)

[added May 4, 2013]

201) Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy (1978)
202) Sisters of Mercy - Black Planet (1985)
203) Cheap Trick - Surrender (1978)
204) The Flying Lizards - Money (1979)
205) Spandau Ballet - True (1983)
206) Yello - I Love You (1983)
207) 'Til Tuesday - Voices Carry (1985)
208) The Teardrop Explodes - Reward (1980)
209) Tears For Fears - Shout (1985)
210) Laurie Anderson - Sharkey's Day (1984)
211) Graham Parker + The Rumour - Thunder And Rain (1977)
212) The Pretenders - Brass In Pocket (1980)
213) Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy (1984)
214) Nick Lowe - So It Goes (1978)
215) Utopia - Hammer In My Heart (Calling Out Trimble) (1982)
216) INXS - What You Need (1985)
217) The Go-Go's - Vacation (1982)
218) Rockpile - Teacher Teacher (1980)
219) Fishbone - Party At Ground Zero (1985)
220) Sheila Chandra - Question the Answer (1985)
221) Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Tears Before Bedtime (1982)
222) Squeeze - Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) (1980)
223) B-Movie - Nowhere Girl (1985)
224) The Specials & The Special A.K.A. - Free Nelson Mandela (1984)
225) Cocteau Twins - Lorelei (1984)

[final addition to list May 5, 2013]

226) Dead or Alive - You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (1987)
227) Todd Rundgren - Bang the Drum All Day (1983)
228) Bauhaus - The Passion Of Lovers (1981)
229) Sniff 'n' the Tears - Driver's Seat (1978)
230) Billy Bragg - The Busy Girl Buys Beauty (1983)
231) Bongos - Glow in the Dark (1982)
232) The Rumour - Frozen Years (1979)
233) Fad Gadget - Collapsing New People (1984)
234) Josef K - Sense Of Guilt (1980)
235) Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Enola Gay (1980)
236) Violent Femmes - Blister In The Sun (1983)
237) Lou Reed - New Sensations (1984)
238) The Style Council - Walls Come Tumbing Down (1985)
239) Martha & The Muffins - Black Stations/White Stations (1984)
240) Iggy Pop - Nightclubbing (1977)
241) Dire Straits - Twisting By the Pool (1982)
242) Big Sound Authority - This House (1985)
243) Ian Gomm - Hold On (1978)
244) Alarm - Sixty Eight Guns (1984)
245) Matthew Wilder - Break My Stride (1983)
246) Pylon - Crazy (1983)
247) Bangles - How Is The Air Up There (1982)
248) Tones on Tail - Twist (1984)
249) Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Every Day I Write the Book (1983)
250) Culture Club - Karma Chameleon (1983)

The spotify playlist I made is missing about 10% of these songs, but I was pleased I was able to make it fairly complete.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Top New Wave Songs - A Listener List

Much to my surprise, my most popular posts appear to be the ones with original content (i.e. my own lists).  Lists of my own take longer to compile, and I do refer to other lists when I work on them.  Right now I'm working on a list of the most archetypical new wave songs.  This is different from the best songs, but the best certainly have potential as the most archetypical.

I stumbled upon the list below on NPR's music blog.  I've shamelessly cut and paste the content from the comment section of the blog.  The actual blog has a dead link to a radio show on WFDU, and the list was a little hard to find, so I'm saving you the trouble.

Top 50 New Wave Songs Of All Time (as decided on by WFDU listeners):

1. Joy Division - Love Will tear Us Apart
2. Siouxsie & The Banshees - Christine
3. The Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
4. Ultravox - Vienna
5. Romeo Void - Never Say Never
6. The Smiths - Bigmouth Strikes Again
7. Echo And The Bunnymen - The Killing Moon
8. Gary Numan - Cars
9. New Order - Blue Monday
10. The B-52's - Rock Lobster
11. Talking Heads - Psycho Killer
12. Peter Godwin - Images Of Heaven
13. New Order - Temptation
14. Icicle Works - Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)
15. Gang Of Four - To Hell With Poverty
16. The Stranglers - Skin Deep
17. John Foxx - Underpass
18. Martha And The Muffins - Echo Beach
19. The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet
20. Yaz - Don't Go
21. The Specials - Ghost Town
22. The Psychedelic Furs - Heaven
23. Split Enz - I Got You
24. The Chameleons U.K. - Swamp Thing
25. Tom Tom Club - Wordy Rappinghood
26. Depeche Mode - Shake The Disease
27. Visage - Fade To Grey
28. Berlin - The Metro
29. Alphaville - Forever Young
30. Blondie - Heart Of Glass
31. The English Beat - Mirror In The Bathroom
32. Duran Duran - Rio
33. The Flying Lizards - Money
34. XTC - Dear God
35. ABC - The Look Of Love (Part 1)
36. Q Feel - Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Bebop)
37. Altered Images - I Could Be Happy
38. The Boomtown Rats - Rat Trap
39. B-Movie - Nowhere Girl
40. Squeeze - Cool For Cats
41. The Cure - In Between Days
42. Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough
43. Devo - Whip It
44. Public Image Ltd. - Public Image
45. Erasure - Oh Lamour
46. Fruer - Doot Doot
47. Lene Lovich - Lucky Number
48. Bow Wow Wow - Do You Wanna Hold Me?
49. Heaven 17 - Let Me Go
50. China Crisis - Working With Fire And Steel

I think at least half of these songs are strong candidates for the list I'm making.  As a non-WFDU listener, I also count 7 songs on the list that I don't know.  I'll have to listen to those before finalizing my own list.  Two songs I consider strong candidates for the top of my list don't make the WFDU list all.  Both of those songs were bigger hits than the songs on this list, so perhaps the WFDU audience eschewed new wave that successfully crossed over to top 40.  Maybe I need to give more thought to how crossing over does or does not fit the archetype, or maybe it's irrelevant.  Who am I kidding?  No criteria, no matter how absurd is irrelevant in this little world of idiosyncratic ranking.