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Top 100 Most Exquisite Songs Of All Time (90-81)

Posted on 2008.08.05 at 23:49
Top 100 Most Exquisite Songs Of All Time (90-81) *

*My favorite songs from my life 2002-2007

I thought adding a date and country of origin would be interesting, although even before doing a statistical analysis I know where and when my ear most likes to be.
Country is picked on where the musician or band hailed from or is most associated with. It's of course tricky, for instance Benjamin "Bert" Ambrose was born in England, grew up in the United States and ping ponged a bit between the two countries before finally hitting it big with a steady gig in England.

90)Riz Ortolani - Killer's Weapon
Italy: 1967
It's brief. The guitar is the swirling of dust and the hot breath of anticipation held inside your chest. And then after a quick rumble of drums, the horns kick into town; heroic and untouchable. Swiftly they've passed through, leaving corpses of whatever Doubt was foolish enough to stick around.

89)Marie Laforêt - La Vendemmia Dell' Amore
France: 1964
I'll admit a bit of a nostalgia factor might have influenced the picking of this particular song (and the fact that it's the Italian language version rather than French). Lucky for my integrity and your ears it's hard to go wrong with a Marie Laforet song in any event. Her music seems to me to have an austere classical structure with ornate and elegant production. Furthermore while the bulk of ye-ye singers have voices like soda-pop, Marie has a voice like vino rosso. In this song about 'the grape harvest of love' string and flutes accompany Marie on an idyllic September romance among the vines.

88)Rita Pavone - Datemi un martelo
Italy: 1964
Ostensibly a cover of "If I Had a Hammer", it is in the great tradition of the non-english speaking music world, a cover only in melody, not in words or meaning. While the original was a political folk song, the sprightly Rita is just having fun. The whole song is mischief. The background has the clank and murmur of a party, as in Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up (Pt 1)". Hand claps, call and response choruses, silly lyrics, and Rita's cute sounding vocals, make a fan out of me. This is a good one to search for on youtube too.

87)DNTEL - Why I'm So Unhappy
United States: 2001
It's unclear whether the twittery trip-hop/glitch beat ages well, but what I come for is the dreamed out fizz. During this era Jimmy Tamborello (who is DNTEL, featuring guests vocalists such as on this song Rachel Haden) was a to me something of a wizard at conjuring the melting edges of dreamstates through ocean waves of electronics and a twisting whirlpool of guitar.

86)Bert Ambrose & His Orchestra - Good Evening
England: 1930
The word "jaunty" never felt more at home than as a descriptor for this song. "Good Evenin'" is simple and straightforward, yet never fails to put some swagger in my step. Upbeat horns and strings and a delightfully effete croon (sadly I'm not clever enough to identify the singer) makes me want to suck in the breath of life and wink at girls, with just enough magic left in the tune to make me believe I wouldn't get slapped.

85)Huey "Piano" Smith & his clowns - If It Ain't One Thing, It's Another
United States: 1962
An absolutely infectious romp, starring an ensemble of vocals supported by horns and a piano. When the girl chorus refrain comes in I lose it and get an unstoppable urge to wag my finger.

84)Kylie Minogue - I Believe In You
Australia: 2004
Kylie has several times hit pop perfection, and this is certainly such a moment of glorious effervescence. It has the double whammy of the 'glitter synth' and chorus that makes you feel like you're dancing in the arms of Kylie (her whispering must help to this effect). Who could possibly top this pop hit?

83)ABBA - Take A Chance On Me
Sweden: 1977
ABBA did pop perfection as default. It goes without saying that the vocal interplay is the main appeal here, though I also find the lyrics strangely fascinating. If you're all alone/after the pretty birds have flown. Such exuberant settling! Also I swear they say listen to some music/maybe just cocaine at some point, but I'm sure that's just my imagination.

82)Claude Debussy - Nuages
France: 1899
Ok this way predates the 2002 starting date I set for myself, as it is one of the first "classical music" pieces I fell in love with back in high school (1998?). My portal to the world of orchestras and dead composers was Debussy and "Prelude a L'apres d'un faune". I went out and bought a CD with that piece and "La Mer" and some nocturnes including "Nuages". Listening to Debussy is about harmonies as much as anything and I remember being so fascinated by the series of chords at 2:23 and again at 3:30. The whole song is lush, gorgeous and melancholic.

81)André Popp - Ophelia
France: 1972
A tune both gaseous and purposeful. Maybe like a gas leak left on by a hitman giving you your last few minutes of strange light-headed bliss before curtains for Tintin. The second act of the song, with the electric piano (or whatever that is) and muted guitar manages to come on more seductively than the cooing woman of the first act. A fantastic song.

Next: 80-71


(Anonymous) at 2008-08-06 13:38 (UTC) (Link)
" Killer's Weapon " and " Good Evening ". And my mother every day sings " datemi un martello "!
Ciao ciao!

-mark von manten-
Various Artists
goethe_re_scape at 2008-08-06 16:45 (UTC) (Link)
haha that's adorable that your mom sings "datemi un martello" all the time, i'm jealous of her for growing up with this music.
frankie teardrop
frankieteardrop at 2008-08-06 15:43 (UTC) (Link)
i am familiar with 81, 82, 84, & 89, and i love all four of them very much. i think i'll be nabbing the others...
Various Artists
goethe_re_scape at 2008-08-06 16:43 (UTC) (Link)

it will get worse

i bet you know 10/10 or 9/10 of the top 10. it doesn't help that i've posted 90% of these songs already.

also you
A) haven't heard that ABBA song (83) or
B) don't love that ABBA song
either scenario causes heads to explode.
frankie teardrop
frankieteardrop at 2008-08-06 16:44 (UTC) (Link)

Re: it will get worse

i think i'm finally losing my resistance to abba. not sure yet, but i feel my hatred waning quicker than expected.
Various Artists
goethe_re_scape at 2008-08-06 16:57 (UTC) (Link)

Re: it will get worse

well whatever you do don't see Mamma Mia. my understanding is that will set ABBA-ABBA skeptic relations back several decades. hell it might damage ABBA-ABBA lover relations too.

but hey aren't you an Ace of Base fan? There's virtually no difference except that ABBA has a better and deeper catalog of songs. I hope I'm not confusing you and glazomaniac, because if you hate Ace of Base I might have just inadvertently rebuilt some resistance.
frankie teardrop
frankieteardrop at 2008-08-06 16:58 (UTC) (Link)

Re: it will get worse

i do like ace of base...but it's more of a childhood thing, as that record dropped when i was young and was infectious as sin. abba is a post-script to me, "discovered" far after i started passionately seeking music out.

that said, i'll give it a shot. and i damn well know to steer clear of mama mia. don't worry.
gorgol at 2008-08-10 02:06 (UTC) (Link)
that debussy is gorgeous
Various Artists
goethe_re_scape at 2008-08-15 01:29 (UTC) (Link)
he created some beautiful worlds
(Anonymous) at 2008-08-13 14:38 (UTC) (Link)
I think you had a miss-print. Riz Ortolani #1. That's uno.
Various Artists
goethe_re_scape at 2008-08-15 01:30 (UTC) (Link)
don't worry, the #1 is that song, but louder
spisok_korablei at 2008-08-14 09:08 (UTC) (Link)
Oh man, it's such a pleasure to follow your list! Exquisite choice. Waiting for the next tens!

It's quite funny that some french pop artists sound more lovely singing in foreign languages. This Marie Laforet song is swell, and my favorite Francoise Hardy's album is certainly "Ein Deutschland". Probably it's because I don't understand a word in German and in Italian, their lyrics sometimes seem far less sophisticated than their voices.
It was quite funny to see Swans here. Listening to them this time I once more made sure I hate them :)
Various Artists
goethe_re_scape at 2008-08-15 01:34 (UTC) (Link)

thank you!

ahh yes those gals were quite linguistically dexterous, though I have to admit I find the most of the german versions didn't go down as smooth for me. I think French is a gorgeous sounding language but my own prejudices give me a predilection for italian everytime.

hahah I'm not a huge Swans fan myself, but I do love that song.
_i_am_rad_ at 2008-08-18 08:45 (UTC) (Link)
shut up.
Various Artists
goethe_re_scape at 2008-08-18 12:09 (UTC) (Link)


oh yeah it took you 13 days to come up with that zinger?
_i_am_rad_ at 2008-08-18 13:28 (UTC) (Link)



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