Top 50 Favourite Songs: Ethan Sawyer

After hours of painstaking research and reflection this is where I landed. 50 songs pulled from decades past, each a perpetual favorite. As a proud member of the streaming generation, it seems only right that my list is a melting pot of one-hit wonders and Pitchfork-approved perfect 10s. Common themes include: big guitars, big emotions and big drums.

—>Spotify playlist<—

1. "Give Yourself A Try" – The 1975 (2018)
2. "Purple Rain" – Prince (1984)
3. "We Found Love" – Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris (2011)
4. "Sugar We're Going Down" – Fall Out Boy (2005)
5. "All Falls Down" – Kanye West (2004)

6. "You Know You're Right" – Nirvana (2002)
7. "End of the Road" – Boyz II Men (1992)
8. "LOVE FEAT. ZACARI" – Kendrick Lamar (2017)
9. "Gigantic" – Pixies (1988)
10. "Straight in at 101" – Los Campesinos (2010)
11. "March Madness" – Future (2015)
12. "Slide feat. Frank Ocean & Migos" – Calvin Harris (2017)
13. "The King of Wishful Thinking" – Go West (1990)
14. "Mr. Brightside" – The Killers (2003)
15. "Friday I'm in Love" – The Cure (1992)
16. "Quit Playing Games (with My Heart)" Backstreet Boys (1997)
17. "The Boys of Summer" – Don Henley (1984)
18. "Never Let You Go" – Third Eye Blind (2000)
19. "Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl" – Broken Social Scene (2002)
20. "Sweet Thing" – Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan (1975)

21. "Spit Fountain" – Algernon Cadwallader (2009)
22. "Bigmouth Strikes Again" – The Smiths (1986)
23. "Shadrach" – Beastie Boys (1989)
24. "Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2" – Neutral Milk Hotel(1998)
25. "Sunflower" – Post Malone & Swae Lee (2018)
26. "Once in a Lifetime" – Talking Heads (1980)
27. "Nightswimming" – R.E.M. (1992)
28. "Everywhere" – Fleetwood Mac (1987)
29. "NEW MAGIC WAND" – Tyler the Creator (2019)
30. "Hyperballad" – Bjork (1995)

31. "Staying Fat" – Bloc Party (2004)
32. "00000 Million" – Bon Iver (2016)
33. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" – Whitney Houston (1987)
34. "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" – Marvin Gaye (1971)
35. "Eighteen" – Joyce Manor (2016)
36. "thank u, next" – Ariana Grande (2019)
37. "Hearts and Bones" – Paul Simon (1983)
38. "The Other Woman" – Nina Simone (1959)
39. "Ms. Jackson" – Outkast (2000)
40. "Hold Up" – Beyonce (2016)
41. "Sprained Ankle" – Julien Baker (2015)
42. "Ex- Factor" – Lauryn Hill (1998)
43. "Fire" – Waxahatchee (2020)

44. "Dancing Queen" – ABBA (1976)
45. "Saturday Night" – The Blue Nile (1989)
46. "cardigan" – Taylor Swift (2020)
47. "Return of the Mack" – Mark Morrison (1996)
48. "Fruits Of My Labor" – Lucinda Williams (2003)
49. "Hide and Seek" – Imogen Heap (2005)
50. "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" – Nelson (1990)


Ethan Sawyer is a writer and journalist from Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Find his work at Human Pursuits (Substack).


Have a Top 50 Songs list of your own? We’re open for submissions. Details here.


2 thoughts on “Top 50 Favourite Songs: Ethan Sawyer

  1. Great list! “Hyperballad” was dropped from mine in the final revision, so happy to see it show up here. Also, the inclusion of the only Backstreet Boys song I can stand, over their more popular favorite, is nice. Finally, I don’t think I expected Go West to show up on any of these lists, so…cool?

  2. I listed “Hide and Seek” the last time I did a long songs list and it still sounds great to me — THE great novelty record of the last 20 years, maybe? (Which I don’t intend as a slight in any way, and not that it’s necessarily *funny*, just sort of in a universe of its own.)

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