inessential by Brent Simmons

We Only Sing About it Once in Every 20 Years

The other day, my friend — who’s enjoying being a hermit lately, and asked not to be named — expressed a wish to know more pop songs. I said I could come up with a list of 12 worth knowing.

It isn’t the list. It’s a list.

Every one of these can still give me chills (in the best way). In no particular order:

Under the Milky Way by the Church.

A Pair of Brown Eyes by the Pogues.

Spanish Bombs by the Clash.

Brimful of Asha by Cornershop. “Asha” means hope, and the reference to “45” is a reference to pop songs. I once did a talk that used this song — it was about how apps are the new pop songs. (Imagine the call-out at the end, but with The Iconfactory, Panic, Omni, Tapbots, and so on.) Sometimes I think this is my favorite song of all songs ever.

Here Comes Your Man by the Pixies. Bonus points: Gigantic and Monkey Gone to Heaven.

Just Like Heaven by the Cure.

Fade Into You by Mazzy Star.

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division.

What’s the Matter Here by 10,000 Maniacs. I’m in tears by “Oh these cold, and rude, things that you do…”

See How We Are by X.

Sweet Jane by the Velvet Underground. Bonus points: Cowboy Junkies cover. “Everyone who had a heart — they wouldn’t turn ’round and break it. Everyone who played a part — they wouldn’t turn ’round and hate it.”

Ceremony by New Order.

All of these except for Ceremony are great for one guitar and singer (or singers). They could all be modern folk songs.

I include Ceremony anyway because it’s a miracle.

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Update 3:10 pm: Nick Arnott created a Spotify playlist and an iTunes Music playlist.

Update 3:13 pm: Brimful of Asha, explained.

Update 3:30 pm: Isaiah made an Rdio playlist.

Update 4:55 pm: Isaiah made his own list. A whole bunch of his songs could have been on my list. (A Message to You Rudy, especially. And the Buzzcocks. And Billy Bragg. And Iggy, though I might have gone with The Passenger. For the Smiths it would have been Panic instead of How Soon Is Now.)