Top 50 Favourite Songs: Kevin John Bozelka

Lil McClintock.

1. Europe’s Society Orchestra: “Down Home Rag” (Victor, 1914) – Vernon and Irene Castle won’t dance, don’t ask them.
2. Nelstone’s Hawaiians: “Fatal Flower Garden” (Victor, 1930) – The folk process preserved on shellac. An obscure Alabama duo forget crucial verses of the centuries-old “Sir Hugh” tale and lay down the weirdest dispatch from the Old, Weird America.
3. Lil McClintock: “Don’t Think I’m Santa Claus” (Columbia, 1930) – An early megamix proving three songs are better than one.
4. Geeshie Wiley: “Last Kind Word Blues” (Paramount, 1930) – Finally—lesbian folk music!
5. Judy Garland: “Medley: You Made Me Love You/For Me and My Gal/The Boy Next Door/The Trolley Song” (Capitol, 1955) – As Garland herself sings in the opening recitative, gay songs.
6. Julie London: “The Boy on a Dolphin” (Liberty, 1957) – Gargantuan self-absorption in the face of a natural wonder. Pop that’s as rock ‘n’ roll as Little Richard or The Trashmen.
7. Lefty Frizzell: “The Long Black Veil” (Columbia, 1959) – “If there was a defining figure in early accounts of sound recording, it was the possibility of preserving the voice beyond the death of the speaker.” Jonathan Sterne, The Audible Past. Duke University Press, 2003, p. 287.
8. The Tammys: “Egyptian Shumba” (United Artists, 1964) – Even LiLiPUT had precedents.

9. Gino Washington: “Gino is a Coward” (SonBert, 1964) – An exploration of how much democracy there is in rock ‘n’ roll.
10. Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm: “Snow Flake” (Hanna-Barbera, 1965) – The Flintstone kids in an étude worthy of Another Green World.

11. Lou Christie: “Rhapsody in the Rain” (MGM, 1966) – A slightly more woke “Lightnin’ Strikes.”
12. La Lupe: “El Carbonero” (Tico, 1966) – The tragic guarachera was built for speed, staying on top of, ahead of, and all over the hair-raising beat.
13. The Third Bardo: “I’m Five Years Ahead of My Time” (Roulette, 1967) – An essential rock ‘n’ roll text, the chutzpah of which can barely be imagined.
14. She Trinity: “Climb That Tree” (President, 1970) – Womanist psych-prog that upends received concepts of the well-made song.
15. Franco & O.K. Jazz: ‎”Azda” (Pathé, 1971) – The soukous titan tries his quicksilver hand at a car commercial with typically ebullient results.

16. The Sweet: “Teenage Rampage” (RCA Victor, 1974) – Pop and rock, feminine and masculine, gay and straight, all are one.
17. Cerrone: “Supernature” (Cotillion, 1977) – Here for the opening dance number in Gaspar Noé’s Climax which made me burst into tears last night.
18. Tampax: “UFO Dictator” (Compact Cassette, 1979) – Screeching Italian punk with a guitar that pokes up from the mix like acid reflux.
19. The Trend: “Band Aid” (Northside, 1980) – Featuring the punkest guitar solo of all time.
20. LiLiPUT: “Eisiger Wind” (Rough Trade, 1981) – Ripped three pages out of Lil McClintock’s songbook.

21. The Stick Men: “Charmed” (Phantom Plaything, 1982) – Whoever Smiley the Potato Chip was, I bet he danced to this fractured-fairytale funk.
22. Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock: “It Takes Two” (Profile, 1988) – I don’t care what Chuck Eddy says. Spin was perfectly justified deeming this the greatest single of all time barely a year after it was released.
23. Screamer & Daddy Freddy on the Acid Lick, Sir Coxsone v Java v Unity, London (no label, 1989) – I don’t even know how to enter this discographically. It’s a reggae toaster screaming at a scratchy sound-system set and it comes off as the greatest moment in captured music history. Who was Screamer?!?
24. Soukoué Kô Ou: “New-York City Amélioré” (NR, 1989) – Chirpy, criminally catchy zouk that somehow sounds like Christmas every time it plays.
25. Overweight Pooch: “Hip House Party” (A&M, 1991) – An overwhelming last gasp from a genre we should’ve heard more from in the 1990s.

26. Alcazar: “Crying at the Discotheque” (BMG, 2000) – The Chic Organization as continuum which will have you displaying the title activity.
27. A*Teens: “Halfway Around the World” (MCA, 2001) – My 9/11 song.
28. Attack Attack!: “Stick Stickly” (Rise, 2008) – I will take no questions about this one.
29. Beyoncé: “Countdown” (Columbia, 2011) – Ripped ten pages out of Lil McClintock’s songbook.
30. Azealia Banks ft. Lazy Jay: “212” (Azealia Banks and Jef Martens, 2011) – And hip house returns!
31. Ellie Goulding: “Lights” (Polydor, 2011) – Playing over the end credits of Spring Breakers, it reveals the heart at the center of this trashy exploitation film.
32. Miss Prada: “Voodoo Pussy” (no label, 2012) – No one recorded fiercer bitch tracks than the future Joanne the Scammer.
33. Dead Rose Music Company: “Faith” (Let’s Play House, 2012) – Stream-of-consciousness disco.
34. Mystery Jets: “Greatest Hits” (Rough Trade, 2012) – If High Fidelity were a song.
35. How To Dress Well: “Repeat Pleasure (A. G. Cook Remix)” (PC Music, 2014) – My current favorite single of all time.
36. Little Mix: “Black Magic” (Syco/Columbia, 2015) – Spotify pop, i.e., a track designed to prevent you from clicking away every thirty seconds with a crucial assist from, who else, two Scandinavians.
37. The Knocks ft. Alex Newell: “Collect My Love” (Big Beat, 2015) – Sylvester’s godchild and Glee graduate Newell starring in a filter-disco apotheosis.

38. ZAYN, Teddy Pendergrass & Grandmaster Flash: “You Can’t Hide/You Can’t Hide From Yourself (Touch of Class GMF Remix)” (RCA, 2016) – Grandmaster Flash is still a genius gene splicer.
39. Fergie: “M.I.L.F. $” (Interscope, 2016) – Many lessons have been learned from Lil McClintock.
40. Carnage ft. Lil Yachty: “Mase in ’97” (no label, 2016) – Gawd, what’s “Yachty in ‘16” gonna sound like?
41. Migos ft. Nicki Minaj & Cardi B: “MotorSport” (Quality Control, 2017) – Transmissions from an ancient alien civilization, with rappers up top.
42. Cassie: “Don’t Play It Safe” (Bad Boy, 2017) – This goes on my sequel to David Toop’s world-historic tense-soul compilation Sugar and Poison.
43. Ariana Grande: “No Tears Left to Cry” (Republic, 2018) – Yet again, Max Martin pushes his charge to transcend pop’s limitations.
44. Shangela: “Spirit Award Best Feature drag medley” (no label, 2019) – RuPaul’s Drag Race alum introduces you medley-style to the five films nominated for Best Feature at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Hilarious couplet: “Uh uh oh Eighth Grade, baby/The grade between seven and nine.”
45. Lil Darkie: “HAHA” (no label, 2019) – The best music nowadays comes at you in chunks on TikTok.
46. Dua Lipa: “Levitating” (Warner, 2020) – In memory of a summer that never was.
47. Iamdoechii: “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake” (no label, 2020) – Rap’s most indelible calling card ever.

48. 645AR: “Yoga” (no label, 2020) – To reverse a scathing review graded zero on The Singles Jukebox, yes. Absolutely yes.
49. Olivia Rodrigo: “Brutal” (Geffen, 2021) – Algorithm rock. It’s too short to click off. Check out the even rawer Sour prom version too.
50. Hall and Nails: “I Can’t Get Closer for That” (no label, 2021) – From just last week, a mashup in which Hall & Oates tell Trent Reznor to take a hike.


2 thoughts on “Top 50 Favourite Songs: Kevin John Bozelka

  1. Nice. Surprised by the lack of NY Dolls, X-Ray Spex, and Roxanne Shante picks. (Also, would have appreciated some kinda playlist.)

  2. Fascinating list, and loved your descriptions/thoughts on each. Inspired me to do so likewise.

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