Gene Pitney – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance  

50% repellent, 50% bewitching, 100% awesome. I think this is probably the most American song ever made. It might even be the most American thing ever made.

Young People – Rhumba  

This is a wonderful and terrifying song. It's here for its own sake, but also to balance out the fetishised violence of the first song. "I'm going to be a knifin' man/ With this bayonet in my hand" against those drums is a picture of hell.

Sparks – Barbecutie  

I am completely transported by the chord progression [is that what I mean?] in the verse: it has a kind of perpetual motion thing going on.

The Magnetic Fields – All You Ever Do Is Walk Away  

This sounds like what dropping a full tin of paint looks like. The Magnetic Fields are so completely amazing I sometimes just have to lie down and think about how amazing they are. They share my fave-band top-spot with...

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Messages (10" single version)  

A 60 watt vision of a fine but emotionally ankle-sprained human from an unimaginable future, two and a half years from now. It's the fear of tomorrow. It's epic.

Galaxie 500 – King of Spain  

If the basic theme of a song is about how a permanent state of everything being OK has been achieved (albeit at the expense of the normal range of human emotions) then I am pretty much guaranteed to like it. I don't dare to try and work out why that is. Another good example is Gary Numan's "M.e."

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Talking Loud and Clear  

A pyramid of sugar cubes, afloat in a sea of 7up.

Metronomy – The Look  

Yep. And to top it off I'm a little bit in love with the drummer (youtube). Gulp. (Guardian link).

Fine Young Cannibals – I'm Not the Man I Used to Be  

This was lodged (by choice rather than malfunction) in the cassette player of the family car for several formative years. Now it's a part of my brainscape.

The Incredible String Band – The Minotaur's Song  

Every so often I use this to focus any angry feelings I might be having. I have no idea where they go once they get focused...

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