Monday, January 23, 2012

Five Songs That Were Ahead of Their Time

Sunday was a day of rediscovery for me. It had been years since I listened to Doolittle, the 1989 breakthrough album by Pixies, in its entirety. So many that I'd nearly forgotten what a fantastic album it is. Then yesterday, on the way home from my morning run, my iPod shuffle landed on "Debaser," the opening track, and it all came flooding back to me.

What was it about Doolittle that made it such a perfect album, so much so that when I started to listen to it for the first time in years, my love for it picked up right where it left off? Is it that the record reminds me so much of one of the best times of my life (my college years at the University of Florida, when I was living on my own for the first time), or is it really that good?

It's probably a mixture of both. Though the songs on Doolittle will always bring me back to a specific period in my life, they still hold up today. Which got me to thinking about timeless music, songs from the last century that could easily be coming out today and not seem at all out of place. Not only were they completely of their time, but before it, too. They could belong to 2012 -- or 10 years from now. Here are five that will be on my Monday playlist.

Donna Summer "I Feel Love" (1977) Sexy without even trying to be, which, come to think of it, is the very definition of "sexy" -- in any decade.

David Bowie "Sound and Vision" (1977) No monster of rock produced more classic songs that are still standing the test of any time than Bowie. This particular one just happens to be my personal favorite.

Tom Tom Club "Genius of Love" (1981) This track, as ageless as anything Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth did with Talking Heads, was a decent-sized hit when it was released but perhaps a bit too arty to be the blockbuster it surely would have been 24 years later, around the time Mariah Carey sampled it for the hook of her massive No. 1 single "Fantasy."

Talk Talk "Life's What You Make It" (1985) Close your eyes, or simply ignore Paul Webb's dated layered ensemble in the video (yes, there was a time when I would have killed for that fringe leather jacket!), and you could be in '85, '95, '05, or 2015.

Elastica "Connection" (1994) It's nearly 20 years old, but it can still cold rock a party (to borrow a not-so-timeless phrase from the timeless rapper MC Lyte) from Buenos Aires to Sydney. Believe me, I've seen it happen with my very own eyes.

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