A playlist (now with commentary!), with British military bookends like Buckingham Palace guards in bearskin caps:
"Generals And Majors" - XTC
Nothing is more martial than Opie whistling in an echo chamber.
"Innocent When You Dream (Barroom version)" - Tom Waits
When Tom starts with "The bats are in the belfry," I realize I want a version of this led by The Count from Sesame Street, with the Yip Yips laying down some "uh-huh/uh-huh" bass backing.
"Breed" - Nirvana
I liked them best as a melodic hardcore band, as on this live recording from Halloween 91.
"The Nile Song" - Pink Floyd
Dinosaur Jr with over-the-top stupid lyrics; in other words, brilliant.
"How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore" - Prince
A: I realized you're testicles hadn't dropped yet.
"Kingstown" - Kode9
What starts as beautiful Morricone dub ends up going nowhere as bad poetry supersedes any possible sonic innovations.
"Gone At Last (demo)" - Paul Simon
Even ponderous Paul can't ruin this (he did on the "finished" version), as The Jessy Dixon Singers get righteous over a Grady Tate rhythm which is New Orleans channeling Trinidad.
"Swamp" - Talking Heads
Proving – yet again – that Bernie Worrell is funk; he doesn't need to pack it in a suitcase to bring it with him.
"Baby" - Gal Costa & Caetano Veloso
Gal is the best interpreter of Caetano's work, and proves it on one of the defining songs of Tropicalia.
"If I Ever Needed Love (I Sure Do Need It Now)" - Ruby Johnson
Pairing an A-list song with a B-list performer happened way too often at Stax; Mable John would have made this song about her own personal sexual fulfillment; Carla Thomas would have made it about wistful, heartfelt love; Ruby Johnson just made it.
"Cotton Crown" - Sonic Youth
I find Sister the last album of Sonic Youth's I truly love, and this song is one of the reasons why.
"The Call Up" - The Clash
There are times I think Sandinista! may be the greatest album of all time, and The Clash doing a soft disco anti-conscription song is fair proof.