98. THE HUMAN LEAGUE: Don't You Want Me/ Seconds(1981)
Although now cited as the archetypal camp '80s classic, Phil Oakey's chic appropriation of a story from a teen magazine was a skillful retooling of trash pop culture by a band who used to cover Gary Glitter without irony. Get beyond the consciously cheesy boy-girl duologue one-fingered keyboard riff and you'll hear a remarkably intricate composition--a poke in the eye for those who condemned synthesizer bands for being bland. Seconds harks back to the avant-garde League of old by examining the Kennedy assassination with a tabletop drum riff.
Availability: Dare! Virgin
97. BEACH BOYS: God Only Knows/ Wouldn't It Be Nice(1966)
Brian Wilson wanted this song to sound as if it came from heaven, and only a fool would deny that he succeeded. The Beach Boys were already hit-makers to rival The Beatles, but when God Only Knows began sending electric shivers up spines around the world, it was obvious that pop had found not just a new maturity, but a previously unimaginable spiritual dimension. Carl Wilson's vocal is the key, Tony Asher's lyric is perfect, but Brian's studio genious--those lightly phased sounds, the French horn, the multi-layered percussion--creates the celestial landscape.
Availability: Pet Sounds Capitol CD 


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