Top Five Songs ... 06.10.2019
DFM Masthead Disenfranchised FM Cuckoo's Eleven Top Five Songs Armchair Producer Music MD Tin Cans Scratch Take Life and Times Input


As of today, I've been married to my lovely wife for thirteen years. Over that time, she's listened to more than her fair share of music pontification. She still humors me - that may be because she'd rather hear about music than fantasy football - but doesn't hesitate to call me out on the blog.

"'Top Five Songs for a First Kiss'. Interesting how I didn't get mentioned."

"'Top Five Songs for Breakups'. Good thing I'm not mentioned in that one, I guess?"

So, in tribute to my better half, this month's theme is about songs that belong together. They're good songs in isolation, but someone along the way - the artist, a producer, a radio DJ - came up with the idea that they should be played back-to-back. Listeners have become conditioned to expect the follow-up song; without it, they are left unfulfilled. So let's take a stroll down the aisle for songs that belong together. As usual, this list is compiled without any Beatles or Rolling Stones songs.

NUMBER FIVE - Beastie Boys, "Girls" / "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)"


It's no surprise that this was the first rap album to reach number one on the Billboard 200. Seven out of the twelve tracks were eventually released as singles. There are certainly plenty of cringe-worthy lyrics, which Horowitz, Diamond, and Yauch ackowledged by keeping many of these tracks off of their greatest hits compilation, Sounds of Science. That said, what makes this pair inseparable is the celebratory shout-out between songs. The compact disc era designated it as the end of "Girls", and it absolutely must be followed by that infamous A-flat power chord, to which one can only respond,"Kick it!"

NUMBER FOUR - Van Halen, "Eruption" / "You Really Got Me"

"You got me so I can't sleep at night."

Forty years and scores of YouTube covers by budding middle school guitarists has stolen a bit of the lustre, but to the virgin ear "Eruption" is electrifying (just ask George McFly). Radio DJs recognized the potential to use the album opener as a lead-in for the single, and the rest is history.

NUMBER THREE - Mother Love Bone, "Chloe Dancer" / "Crown of Thorns" [1989/1990]

"It's a broken kind of feeling / She had me tied up to the ceiling."

Chances are, if you've heard of Mother Love Bone, it's because of the Singles soundtrack. It wasn't until a good five years later that I picked up a copy of Apple and realized that they were separate tracks. It's a subtle change in the arpeggio, but you can sense the 1:57 mark is exactly where the transition lays. The only exception where I enjoy "Crown of Thorns" in isolation is on the PJ20 documentary, where Eddie first sings an MLB song at Pearl Jam's 10th anniversary show. Fun fact: Pearl Jam and our oldest son share the same birthday.

NUMBER TWO - Queen, "We Will Rock You" / "We Are The Champions" [1977]

"I've had my share of sand kicked in my face / But I've come through."

A pre-game taunt, followed by a confetti-drenched victory lap. Simply perfect for each other and inseparable in any instance: as the opening two tracks of News of the World; as the lead single and wildly popular B-side; or as the closing two tracks of Greatest Hits. It's nearly impossible to top how well these two songs go together. Nearly.

NUMBER ONE - Led Zeppelin, "Heartbreaker" / "Livin' Lovin' Maid (She's Just a Woman)" [1969]

"With a purple umbrella and a fifty-cent hat."

It's amazing that the band considered the second track "filler." Then again, it's on one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Additionally released as a double A-side single, it's unholy to play these songs separate from one another. And don't get me started on how both Boxed Sets and Mothership opted to decouple the pair. It's maddening.

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