Greatest Songs of the Past 30 Years – WYEP

October 8, 2020
We combed through the concluding 30 years of music and curated our list of the greatest 600 songs .
Check out the full list here .
Below are reviews of some of our favorite songs, via Afternoon Mix host Liz Felix, Morning Mix host Joey Spehar, Midday Mix host Kyle Smith and Station Manager Mike Sauter.

2Pac, “California Love”

There are a distribute of great songs that pay tribute to the Golden State. “ California Love ” was a comeback individual for 2Pac. primitively intended for a Dr. Dre album, 2Pac wrote his bombastic, celebratory verses in fifteen minutes. Add a funk-influenced futuristic television and you have a party hymn that stands the test of clock. ( LF )

Chance the Rapper, “Angels”

“ Angels ” could be Chance the Rapper ’ sulfur composition song. A standout on a mixtape full of standouts, the Chicago native pays tribute to the city “ where I stay. ” It ’ s a playful sung about his hometown, but the claim hints at some dark realities ( “ there ’ s besides many young angels on the South Side ” ). The gospel influences and bravado might remind you of another, more celebrated Chicago knocker who has since moved out to the west coast with Kim, but from the orifice lines, “ Angels ” makes it clear : chance won ’ thymine abandon his roots or his hometown. ( LF )

Drive-By Truckers, “Decoration Day”

The deed cut from the isthmus ’ sulfur 2003 album, and a Jason Isbell-penned track about a real-life feud ending in murder. The song ’ s emotional composition involving thorny issues of U.S. social biography encapsulated in a grapple narrative and swirling rock guitars predicted much of Isbell ’ randomness acclaimed subsequent alone career. american english Songwriter magazine belated called the song among Isbell ’ s inaugural classic songs. ( MS )

Elbow, “Magnificent (She Says)”

The English rock ‘n’ roll ring likely has adequate critical accolades to pack a board by immediately, and their reinvention of a kind, gentler prog-rock legal in a mold evocative of Peter Gabriel. This single from their 2017 album Little Fictions is a diaphanous portrayal of a young family on a beach, but the deceptively pressing guitar and sweep orchestration are enough to make a hearer cry with joy. ( MS )

Electronic, “Get the Message”

The Smiths ’ Johnny Marr and New Order ’ s Bernard Sumner teamed up at the final examination sunset of the 1980s to form this isthmus, they had a distribute of corporate experience in crafting hypnotic, layered songs that became about cultish favorites. This track—their second single—hit that nail very much on the head. It starts plainly but adds more sonic elements as it progresses, finally unwrapping into one of the best of its era of early ‘ 90s dance-rock. ( MS )

The Grateful Dead, “So Many Roads”

A young man couldn ’ t sing a birdcall like “ So Many Roads. ” We ’ vitamin d fair never believe it. On the early hired hand, when Robert Hunter gave Jerry Garcia the lyrics to the song in 1992, the pair had already traveled more metaphorical roads than most of us would ever have the fuel for. This song was never recorded on an album, though. Jerry didn ’ t make it that far on this particular road. It does live on, however, in the hearts ( and on the tapes ) of Grateful Dead fans the world over. This performance, from Star Lake Amphitheatre in Burgettstown in 1992, is without motion the most knock-down version to come from Jerry ’ mho mouth, guitar, heart, and soul. Go ahead and try to not cry with this one play. ( JS )

Harvey Danger, “Old Hat”

It ’ s a blasted shame that Harvey Danger will entirely always be remembered for “ Flagpole Sitta. ” Yes, it ’ s a big sung, but it doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate come close to touching the magic trick conjured by Sean Nelson and company on the perch of the band ’ s three albums. “ Old Hat ” teems with literary allusion, smart pun, and an emotional astuteness not much reached in the crunched out, squealy guitar world of 1990s alternative Rock. Is the line “ Like a simile, I paint suggestive pictures … of me and you, ” the greatest joke your high school English teacher never made ? possibly. Either way, it does paint a word picture that deserves to be displayed in a gallery somewhere other than the Museum of One-Hit Wonders. ( JS )

Lauryn Hill, “Ex-Factor”

Lauryn Hill ’ s solo debut, “ The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, ” is broad of capital songs. “ Ex-Factor ” ( reportedly ) tells the report of her quixotic split from fellow Fugee Wyclef Jean, but its lyrics will be easily understood by anyone who ’ randomness gone through a difficult separation. Like all the best dissolution songs, it ’ sulfur deplorable, but Hill ’ south skilled, soulful sing is a ointment. ( LF )

Jurrasic 5, “Quality Control”

This landmark introduction rap let go of recently turned 20 and sounds as fresh today as on its publish date. J-5 were partially of the West Coast metro rap picture. Four rappers take separate on vocals this track, combined with beats, basslines, samples, and scratching make the retro-rap seem modern and moving. It ’ sulfur besides one of the grooviest, head-bobbing songs of the by 30 years. ( KS )

B.B. King & Eric Clapton, “Riding With the King”

Eric Clapton has acknowledged the impact of the blues on his career many times, including working with some of his heroes. “ Riding With the King ” is the perfective birdcall to commemorate with the legendary B.B. King. not alone does it play on King ’ sulfur name, it is written by one of America ’ s great songwriters, John Hiatt. Both King and Clapton are in rare form as they trade licks and lyrics, obviously enjoy each other ’ s caller. ( RW )

Local Natives, “Dark Days”

in the first place thought of as a look into our recent struggles as a society. “ Dark Days, ” the band has claimed, is actually about the intensity of beginning loves and looking out into their normally sunny California weather on a gloomy day. in the first place out in 2016, they recently remixed the track this year, with the outspoken additions of Sylvan Esso. ( KS )

James McMurtry, “We Can’t Make It Here”

McMurtry ’ s evocative songwriting possibly hit its peak on this 2005 album track. Like Neil Young has done throughout his career, McMurtry channeled his anger about american economic opportunities into a drawn-out epic brimming with apt wordsmithing and intertwine guitars. ( MS )

Morphine, “Buena”

This Boston band evolved during a very active time period for alternative music in their native city. “ Buena ” was not your distinctive alternative band cut, nor did it achieve widespread commercial success. It did combine rock ‘n’ roll, sleep together and blues along with conduct singer Mark Sandman ’ s unique smokey bar crooner-style. The combination of all these elements, gives this song a dateless feel with a homemade two-string bass and baritone sax. ( KS )

Alexi Murdoch, “Orange Sky”

The british singer-songwriter emerged in 2003 with a Nick Drake-inspired sound, memorably catchy songs, and an expressive voice. He joined a growing “ quieten is the new forte ” wave of the time, along with Kings of Convenience, Sun Kil Moon, and Dolorean, among others. This song made an immediate impression on music fans and was included in multiple movies and television shows to help set a climate. ( MS )

Of Montreal, “Gronlandic Edit”

“ Gronlandic Edit ” is one of many of Montreal songs that address depression and anxiety while still sounding laughably cheerful and kind of fishy. Who else except of Montreal ’ s Bowie-esque frontman Kevin Barnes could make the ceaseless wrinkle “ I just want to hold the di-vi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ne in heed ” sound actually divine and not wholly annoying ? When the layered chorus kicks in, it ’ south peculiarly fabulous – specially when you learn that Barnes created these dumbly layered sounds by himself on his calculator. There ’ s still not much else like it. ( LF )

Pedro The Lion, “The Fleecing”

David Bazan is one of America ’ mho greatest songwriters. For decades he ’ south helped people make sense of the populace through his songs about faith, relationships, and the mysteries of the human discipline. On “ The Fleecing, ” Bazan reminds us that he knows angstrom little about these complect mysteries as the rest of us. He ’ mho just got a give for asking the ruffianly questions with an eloquence that is rarely matched. Sonically, “ The Fleecing ” is a moment of a window into the future for Bazan and his music. That unexpectedly good synth solo hints ever so slightly at the management his music would take in the future. ( JS )

Pixies, “Dig For Fire”

This classical alternate rock geld from The Pixies stands out from their 1990 album, Bossonova. Like many songs from The Pixies, the song itself draws the hearer in, repeating the refrain “ I ’ meter dig for burn ” within the far-out, and attention-getting arrangements. Asked to describe the meaning of the birdcall years ago, Frank Black, in an interview with Music Express in 1990 said “ It ’ second all folderal, a bad Talking Heads fake. Just like any other cool rock ‘ n roll song or pop sung, the contentedness international relations and security network ’ t what hits you. ” ( KS )

The Promise Ring, “Why Did We Ever Meet”

The Promise Ring may have created the quintessential emo record with Nothing Feels Good in the fall of 1997. Full of frantic contemplations on what it means to grow up ( or to live at all ), this revolutionize album went on to launch a million ships, as they say. “ Why Did We Ever Meet ” finds Davey von Bohlen asking a doubt we ’ ve all painfully asked ourselves, a higher being, the population : Why ? The what doesn ’ t truly matter. It ’ s the why that gets you in the goal. A few years subsequently, von Bohlen found himself asking that same question when he made a guest appearance “ A Praise Chorus ” from another genre-defining album – Jimmy Eat World ’ s “ Bleed American. ” ( JS )

Steely Dan, “Two Against Nature”

After a 20-year hiatus, Steely Dan returned to claim a farseeing delinquent Grammy Award for Album of the year in 2000. The title track features crisp production, impeccable mastermind, driving percussion, strutting sax, and a hushed horn section. Despite being surrounded by talented studio apartment musicians this cut highlights the consummate musicianship of Donald Fagen on keyboards and the recently Walter Becker on bass, rhythm and lead guitar. The copulate slide between major and minor chord, and sleep together and R & B influences. ( RW )

Sufjan Stevens, “Too Much”

“ The Age of Adz, ” Sufjan Stevens ’ long-awaited follow-up to his Illinois album, is one of indie rock ’ randomness ultimate career left turns. In the five years between those releases, Stevens had grown bored with indie folk and even his own whistle voice. “ Too much ” is not only a great song, but the perfect description of his new reasoned : densely layered experimental electronica. Stevens can ’ t completely escape his past, though ; melodious horns, wind instrument instruments, and an uplift sing-a-long choir glow through the noise on the paranoid love birdcall “ Too Much. ” ( LF )

Sting, “Fields of Gold”

The literate songwriter is the matchless who causes you to pull out the lyric book and read while you listen. Sting offers memorable lines that seemed to be ripped from the great poet ’ sulfur books. The physical global connects with the emotional earth in this gorgeous love ballad that acknowledges the bittersweet and evanesce aspect of evening the most arrant day or perfect of loves. ( RW )

Superdrag, “I’m Expanding My Mind”

Superdrag was pretty smart about things. The Knoxville band saw some success early on with its first single, “ Sucked Out, ” in 1996 which led its record pronounce to believe that shoveling money at the band would get them back into the studio to crank out a few more hits. alternatively, the band took all that money and used it to acquire every possible resource with which to create a studio apartment masterpiece, figuring they wouldn ’ thyroxine get the opportunity again. “ I ’ molarity Expanding My Mind ” sets the tone for its magnum musical composition, “ Head Trip In Every Key. ” A simple acoustic riff coupled with strong constriction accents and John Davis ’ yearnful pitch make this song an easy choice for repeated listens. ( JS )

Sylvan Esso, “Radio”

Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn are the North Carolina electro-pop couple that created this ace shake it all out on the dance floor path, that besides is a dangerous jab at mainstream radio ’ second constraints and programmers. ironically, this birdcall has become their most celebrated and wide played chase so-far, in their career. ( KS )

Rufus Wainwright, “Beautiful Child”

For a songwriter who has shown a heat for dramatics, “ Beautiful Child ” carries more than its share of flair. “ Beautiful Child ” is a cacophonous celebration of life, with eddy strings and a brassy horn rising above the refrain of voices ( note the nod to The Wizard of Oz in the arrangements ). Taking concentrate stage is the singer reminding himself – and you – to not lose touch with the child within you. ( RW )

Tom Waits, “Hold On”

For all his bravado and gruff vocals Tom Waits is a softy, a man with a gold heart, an auricle for melody, and a person that recognizes the delicacy of life. His grip of nostalgia, his empathy for characters, his poetic flair, is a recipe for songs that embed themselves in your psyche. “ Hold On ” captures the fragility of survival, and with lines like “ If you live it up you won ’ metric ton live it down, ” you may find yourself quoting the homo. ( RW )

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