Lists. They’re the articles everyone loves to hate. Every magazine, whether it’s business, entertainment or food makes top-10 lists that usually irk people to the core.
That’s precisely why they’re so entertaining — you always have a better list in your head and can’t believe anyone else would choose anything different.
So get ready to be angered Thursday, when venerable East Coast music scribe Bob Mersereau releases his latest book, the Top 100 Canadian Singles.
He polled hundreds of people in the music industry to come up with this list. He asked me to contribute, but I never got around to sending him my picks.
We won’t know who topped the list until the 30th, but had I sent him my choices, here’s what they would have been:
Needle and the Damage Done — Neil Young
It’s one of the best tunes ever written, period. From the opening guitar run to the incredibly infectious verse and the lack of a chorus, this song is so simple, yet very different than most of the folk tunes that came out in the early ’70s. The haunting lyrics about heroin addiction put this track over the edge.
Underwhelmed — Sloan
The single came out not long after Nirvana hit big, but while it’s got a grunge feel, it’s anything but angsty indie rock.
The blistering drums, dueling vocal harmonies and distortion overload give the song just the right amount of alt.rock aggression, but the humorous lyrics and poppy melodies proved that Sloan weren’t just Cobain-like sad sacks.
These Eyes — Guess Who
The Guess Who are always hit and miss. But when they’re good, they’re pretty fantastic. These Eyes is one of their best. It’s bouncy keyboards and jazzy instrumentation shows a different side to these rockers.
Arcade Fire — No Cars Go
This song is quintessential Arcade Fire. The speedy beats, brooding melodies, haunting, complex instrumentation and countless hooks has worked for them time and time again, but it started with this song.
With its loud “Heys!” and rock-opera feel, it’s likely this track will top lists for years to come.