Michael Wright (Editorial Director):
“Title 5,” The Rolling Stones
It’s only been out for a day and I’m already living inside the disc of previously unreleased material from this masterpiece, which ends with a rollicking instrumental that owes as much to Dick Dale as it does the usual Stones blues influences.
“Smoking Pot Makes Me Not Want to Kill Myself,” Stardeath and White Dwarfs
Dennis Coyne more than emulates his uncle Wayne’s (The Flaming Lips) brand of psychedelic experimentation, he matches it in sheer beauty and trippiness with this raggedly gorgeous song about dulling the pain of losing a girlfriend who wasn’t quite worth the bother.
“What Is and What Should Never Be,” Led Zeppelin
It’s a tribute to the magic of Jimmy Page and company that Classic Rock radio hasn’t managed to kill my love of their music. Zep II remains the “Brown Bomber.”
“I See the Rain,” Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs
Sid and Susie’s gorgeous cover of the forgotten Marmalade classic.
“Always on My Mind,” Willie Nelson
Moving to Nashville this year has put me in a country state of mind and, to me, Willie’s music is the most personal and beautiful of that lot. Bourbon tastes a little sweeter if he’s playing.
Andrew Vaughan (Editor)
“Teenage Kicks,” The Undertones
John Peel loved it, which was good enough for us in post punk England. Teen angst has never been more poignant or better expressed.
“There’s a Guy Works Down the Chips Shop Swears He’s Elvis,” Kirsty MacColl
One of the UK’s brightest talents until her tragic death. Brilliant, and the best song title in pop history.
“A New England,” Billy Bragg
One of the unlikeliest pop stars of the past thirty years, Bragg launched himself with this hard-to-categorize classic.
“Wall of Death” Richard Thompson
Underestimate this folk-meister at your peril. When he wraps those weary vocals and truly unique guitar style around a melody this good, he’s peerless.
“Hot Rod Lincoln,” Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen
Commander Cody remains one of America’s hidden treasures and Bill Kirchen is still one of the best bar acts around.
Sean Dooley (Editor, Social Media)
“God Only Knows,” Beach Boys
Paul McCartney’s favorite song.
“Ain’t That Lonely Yet,” Dwight Yoakam
Dwight drips cool in this classic ode to the kiss-off.
“All I Wanted,” Paramore
Shines the spotlight on the power of Hayley Williams’ pipes better than any song to date.
“Let It Go,” Def Leppard
Easily one of the top three Def Leppard songs of all time.
“One More Time,” Mindy Smith
Written to her dying mother, it’s staggering heartbreak!
Bryan Wawzenek (International Editor):
“Drunk Girls,” LCD Soundsystem
Danceable, insightful, hilarious. Another great single from reliable James Murphy and Co.
A riff/beat combo that never fails to make me stomp around my house like a moron.
“Chips Ahoy!” The Hold Steady
“Some nights the painkillers make the pain even worse.” A joyful tune about a joyless high.
“Balcony,” Dolly Varden
A gorgeous, haunting song from one of the best – and unfairly overlooked – albums of the ’00s, The Dumbest Magnets.
“Shine a Light,” The Rolling Stones
In my mind, this gospel-tinged Exile stunner is the album-closer. “Soul Survivor” always feels tacked on.