Yep, my absolute absolutes…as of May 3, 2008, when Bryn first circulated his faves. Brian responded in kind, and Bill threw down big-time, so now it’s my turn. Oddly there’s no Dylan on my list. He is just one example of an artist whose work I love, but it’s not as personal to me as these below. (Update: Bob is actually in there now.) I will say the same for other classic 60s/70s/80s stuff (Beatles-Stones/Bowie/REM for 3 more). Plus there’s only two women, but Bjork, Tori, and Fiona songs just aren’t all-time faves of mine right now. Anyway, in no particular order…

01 U2/The Fly
Staggeringly obvious choice, for me anyway. For better or worse this song never, ever gets old for me, even 17 years later. I think it’s the pivot of my musical fandom, the BC/AD changeover. Works the same as Goin Against Your Mind does for Bryn.

02 Radiohead/Subterranean Homesick Alien
Obviously there are better songs on OK Computer, but this one is still my favorite, the one that sold me on the album, the one just drenched, soaked, slathered in glorious womb-like reverb.

03 Mermen/Bondage of the Sea
Barely beats out With No Definite Future… in the evocative-of-Dana-Point nostalgia sweepstakes. This was a recent development, too, like in the past few years.

04 Jeff Buckley/Dream Brother
There are repeats of Bryn’s songs on this list and this one is the first. It’s far and away my favorite JB song. The narcotic pull is hypnotizing.

05 Elbow/Fugitive Motel
There are many Elbow songs that could crack my Top 50–Guy Garvey is one of my favorite lyricists–but this one is still as strong for me as it was when it demanded I delve deep into Cast of Thousands. Shit, that was 5 years ago.

06 Cracker/Big Dipper
It’s hard to choose between this one and Seven Days and Around the World, but for me Big Dipper’s the absolute perfect David Lowery tune and one of the reasons I consider him a major influence.

07 Bodie/Twilights
You can’t go wrong with something that evokes the harbor at night. I will tell Bodie frontman John Kraus that very thing until he flees in embarrassment, but I will still be correct.

08 Elliott Smith/Between the Bars
For me Elliott’s music is all wrapped up in those first few monts dating Em when she gave me all the albums to date (Either/Or) on tape. I love the later albums, but for me he was never better than this disc, and this one’s my current fave from it.

09 Wilco/How to Fight Lonliness
Bryn pretty much summed this up just like I would.

10 Rilo Kiley/It’s a Hit
RK front-woman Jenny Lewis is Elvis Costello in drag. Her best lyrics are razor blades buried deepwithin the cotton candy of her voice and her band’s VH1 alterna-pop. “It’s a Hit” is one of those all-purpose zingers that handily demolish a multitude of foes in a single blow, but all the sly wordplay is built around a mushy core: “Your writer’s block, it don’t mean shit/Just throw it against the wall and see what sticks.”

11 Explosions in the Sky/First Breath After Coma
This one made the all-time list within the first minute of the first time I ever heard it. It will now stay there, for being the first song they played at the show Bryn and I saw.

12 Elvis Costello/Watching the Detectives
Obviously he’s a major influence, but I mostly like Costello in clumps; there’s so much variety with him that any given album will suit any given mood, more so than individual songs. Detectives, though, adds some uber-cool reggae bass, though, so that vaults it into this list.

13 Tortoise/Ry Cooder
Speaking of super-cool instrumental bass guitar…

14 Morphine/Like Swimming
Hard not to pick a track from Yes or The Night, but for me this one is perfect Morphine. Nice little compact metaphor, and the composition itself says a lot with very little.

15 PJ Harvey/Down By The Water
Making a faves list without PJ is criminal, but none of her songs really are capital F favorites of mine. I take them all as one big bucket of good. This one gets here cause it’s my favorite song on my favorite PJ album and cause of the fuzzy bass.

16 Secret Machines/Sad and Lonely
Because they deserve to be on a list like this, and because this song is already big before it deploys the deadly accurate “you’re still in love with me and you don’t know why” line.

17 BRMC/In Like The Rose
I could also put Red Eyes, Stop, or Weapon of Choice in Rose’s place here, but this one wins out and joins the all-timers because, well, it just does. And yet our “Let Go” still kicks its ass in terms of tremolo. 🙂

18 Oceansize/Women Who Love Men Who Love Drugs
For all the reasons Bryn cites, plus the that of the band feeling so utterly confident in using only 2 lines of lyrics for the whole monster 8 minutes.

19 Supergrass/Cheapskate
This would have been on the list even before I got more into them in recent years. You can never go wrong with a simple funky bass line.

20 Sea and Cake/Four Corners
Sea & Cake music literally conjures the bright yellow light of SB County for me. That and the drive from Ventura to Carp. It’s a contented happiness sort of sound, and they do it extremely well.

21 British Sea Power/Oh Larsen B
3/4 of the song is merely OK, but the last minute or so of building instrumental outro is simple and glorious. I’ve only recently appreciated it, but it definitely deserves a space here among other songs that do just the same thing.

22 Pixies/Ana
Odd choice for a favorite Pixies song, but again, there are other much better Pixies tunes, but this one is my current favorite, and has sneaked onto the all-time list not just because it’s surfy but cause I also like it as a reminder that a lyric doesn’t have to be anything more than a clever acrostic-anagram for “surfer.” It’s a goal of simplicity I have yet to reach.

23 Big Sleep/New Strings
It’s that warm-bath of noise feeling I was talking about with Bryn at the Explosions show. And damn, this is the 4th instrumental on the list. Another recent fave elevated to the A team purely on umpteen million plays.

24 Interpol/Pioneer to the Falls
Yes, another repeat from Bryn’s list. This position was previously held by an Interpol song, though (Untitled from their first disc), and since Pioneer is that to the nth degree, sort of, it’s really no contest. Plus that thing Bryn said about the guitar.

25 Smashing Pumpkins/To Sheila
Unlikely choice for a fave Pumpkins tune, but that’s what it is, mostly because of the pure, graceful calm. Well, that and it’s fucking cool to have a banjo on a Pumpkins tune, isn’t it? That’s right, buddy.

26 Police/Tea in the Sahara
For eons and eons Synchronicity II was my favorite Police song. Recently it’s been more of a crowded field in that race, but despite his wankery Sting should probably be on this list because of being my first bass influence, and this one seems like the best fit right now. That and we ripped it off for Sandman’s rhythm section. 🙂

UPDATE 9/12/08: Oh what the hell, let’s throw some Bobby in there for shiggles. My gun-to-the-head favorite Dylan song will always be Like a Rolling Stone because, as I said–while Bryn, Brian, Shaun, and Em groaned with “overplayed”–on their lips, there’s a reason that motherfucker was overplayed: it’s his absolute best lyric of sneering, cackling fury, putting someone in their place who so, so deserves it. And for a million other reasons too tiresome and overblown to mention. So there.

UPDATE 2 9/15/08: Everyone else picked a Honey White song. so I guess I should too, but that’s hard to do- choosing just one I mean. I guess my favorite thing is when we have a great 1-2 or 1-2-3 punch in our live sets, like Unprofessional/Heart On A Platter/Shivering Sand, Sandman/I Fly Free, Nightfall/Island Fever, that sort of thing. But since Bill didn’t pick Mercy Rule, I will, and for basically the same reasons he did: that one is a great example of being a true “band” song that we all built together. There are many more, but that’s my favorite.