1. Lou Reed - How Do You Think It Feels? (from Berlin, 1973)
Anguished, druggy, yet catchy but with kind of glitzy showbiz horns, no-one else could have recorded this song.
2. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Straight to You (from Henry’s Dream, 1990)
Big, overblown romantic ballad from one of the Bad Seeds' series of classic albums
3. Cyndi Lauper – The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough (1985)
Of Cyndi Lauper's handful of great songs this is the most nostalgia-inducing (if you're the right age)
Sad, comforting & lovely song from one of the band's less famous early 70s albums
5. Tom Waits – Widow’s Grove (from Orphans, 2006)
Sepia-tinted wistfulness, as lovely as his voice is gravelly.
Beautifully produced, played and sung, an immaculate piece of atmospheric pop music.
Probably the most 'proper song' type track from one of the cornerstones of extreme music, but none the worse for that.
The usual unearthly Roche harmonies made even prettier by Robert Fripp's beautiful guitar solo
More pretty guitar playing, this time from a pioneer of jazz guitar.
10. Scott Walker - The Escape (from The Drift, 2006)
Guaranteed to cause unease when played through headphones in a shuffle, Scott Walker's dark side is pretty dark, no matter what music it is compared to.
11. Jimi Hendrix - Bold as Love (from Axis: Bold as Love 1967)
Just on the right side of self-indulgent, Axis: Bold As Love is as good as any album Hendrix ever released.
12. The Velvet Underground - I'll Be Your Mirror (from The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967)
Just a lovely song, with Nico's least glacial, most fragile vocal performance.
13. The Cure - Six Different Ways (from The Head on the Door, 1985)
The Head on the Door may have been the Cure's first confident nearly-mainstream album but this strange and lovely little song sounds like a refugee from '84's highly eccentric The Top.
14. They Might Be Giants - We Want A Rock (from Flood, 1990)
Possibly completely nonsensical song that seems almost to be saying something deep. With a nice tune.
15. Morrissey - You Have Killed Me (from Ringleader of the Tormentors, 2005)
An excellent Morrissey single; enigmatic lyrics, great tune.
16. Miles Davis - Iris (from ESP, 1965)
The key to this beautifully understated atmospheric piece is the ensemble playing of the whole band; Tony Williams & Wayne Shorter shine every bit as much as Miles himself.
17. Kiss - Anything For My Baby (from Dressed to Kill, 1975)
Silly, rattly, fun rock song with a sense of humour and a lot of heart.
18 Scott Walker - Jean the Machine (from 'Til the Band Comes In, 1970)
Almost the polar opposite of The Escape, this is a silly, playful, camp Cold War music hall ditty.
19. The Beatles - Baby, You're A Rich Man (from Magical Mystery Tour, 1967)
Whimsical, if slightly barbed semi-psychedelic nonsense with a nice tune.
20. Iron Maiden - Flight of Icarus (from Piece of Mind, 1983)
One of Iron Maiden's many strengths is the way they can (often) make a very descriptive narrative into a song without any awkwardness. This classic has all of the great Maiden elements in one concise package.
21. The Smiths - I Won't Share You (from Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987)
This beautifully delicate song benefits from the broader texture of The Smiths' final album, with Johnny Marr apparently playing some kind of antique zither or autoharp.
22. Blue Oyster Cult - Cities On Flame With Rock & Roll (from Blue Oyster Cult, 1972)
A blatant ripoff of Black Sabbath's The Wizard, but it has its own charm
23. The Beach Boys - He Gives Speeches (from The SMiLE Sessions, 1967)
One of many very strange little snippets from the notoriously chaotic sessions for the psychedelic masterpiece that was never finished; typically, it has a very nice tune.
24. Teenage Fanclub - Neil Jung (from Grand Prix, 1995)
One of many lovely, sad songs on possibly TFCs greatest album.
25. Vangelis - Memories of Green (from Blade Runner 1982)
From almost Aphex Twin-like minimalism to romantic, melancholy atmosphere, this song captures the essence of the whole Blade Runner score in just over 5 minutes.
26. Gorgoroth - Gorgoroth (from Antichrist 1996)
Gorgoroths come and go, but this lineup was the best and this is their best song; the absolute epitome of Norwegian black metal.
27. Queen - Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy (from A Day At the Races 1976)
Virtuoso rock campness; no-one could make this kind of music better than Queen.
28. Public Enemy - Rebel Without a Pause (from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 1988)
Typically intense and multi-layered song from P.E.'s masterful and seminal second album.
29. John Lennon - Instant Karma !(1970)
None of The Beatles' post-Beatles careers were or have been entirely satisfactory, but they all had their moments and this is one of John Lennon's best. Phil Spector's excellent production (much the same as for the mostly great Plastic Ono Band album) gives the song at least half of its atmosphere.
30. An Autumn for Crippled Children - In February (from Only the Ocean Knows, 2012)
Limpid melancholy and harsh dissonance are inseparable on the Dutch post-black metallists 2012 opus, this song is one of its highlights.
31. Joy Division - New Dawn Fades (from Unknown Pleasures, 1979)
The almost tangible gloom that permeates almost every Joy Division song is here augmented by Bernard Sumner's strangely Black Sabbath-like guitar riff.