24. “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” by the Smiths
“Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” the fourth and final single from the Smiths’ fourth and final studio album, Strangeways, Here We Come, was the first track from the band that I openly enjoyed, mostly because I was stupid. While I was arduously learning to expand my musical tastes during high school, I naturally and unfortunately took cues from my peers, a group of largely unenlightened souls who will quick to tag the U.K. group built around the creative tension between lead singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr as unacceptably “faggy.” There’s about a dozen reasons I wish I’d been better equipped to challenge that ignorant language, the least of which is that I could have used some doses of the Smiths’ lushy romantic gloom and doom during my teenaged years, surely the best time to be exposed to songs with titles like “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me.” I eventually played catch up with the band’s output, but it still took my longer than it should have to overcome that shameful first impression. The the first of three songs from the Smiths on the countdown.
23. “Twenty Killer Hurts” by Gene Loves Jezebel
The House of Dolls, the 1987 album by the U.K. band Gene Loves Jezebel, was their second straight working with producer Peter Walsh, a producer who had a fascinating mix of cool and uncool on his resume. Walsh continued his efforts to add commercial slickness to the band’s gothy dance sound, garnering greater appreciation on the charts and festering animosity among certain band members, notably co-vocalist Michael Aston, who left behind his twin brother in splitting from the band midway through the recording process. Though he’s credited as a co-writer, “Twenty Killer Hurts” is one of the tracks from the period after he’d already walked out the door. Though it clearly did well enough on its own, the song’s profile was raised further in 1988 when it was used in an episode of Miami Vice. This is the first of two songs by Gene Loves Jezebel on the countdown.
40 and 39: “4th of July” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”
38 and 37: “Heartbreak Beat” and “Not My Slave”
36 and 35: “Alone Again Or” and “Absolute Perfection”
34 and 33: “Love Removal Machine” and “The Passenger”
32 and 31: “It’s Still Warm” and “Hourglass”
30 and 29: “Alex Chilton” and “We Care a Lot”
28 and 27: “Crazy” and “It’s a Sin”
26 and 25: “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Rules and Regulations”