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Five great songs
I got sick, missed a class, and STILL worked unti 2 a.m. today! But I had excellent musical accompaniment.

5. Sparks, “Mickey Mouse” (1982) – Many people talk down the band’s post-Moroder work, saying it’s dated 80s hackwork that deserves to rot in the teen movies that featured them. I strongly disagree. The “Rocky Horror Picture Show” guitar work, Muppet percussion, and insane lyrics (Disneyland as a metaphor for everything) make this one a keeper.

4. The Left Banke, “She May Call You Up Tonight” (1967) – My favorite of their Holy Trinity (completed by “Walk Away Renee” and “Pretty Ballerina”). There’s not a wrong note here, and the middle-eight and final key change (in the harmony! Just in the harmony!) are heavenly.

3. The Jayhawks, “Blue” (1995) – I admit, I first heard it covered by Matthew Sweet and “The Thorns.” But the original is even better. Listen to the delicately placed horn section.

2. Tom Waits, “Ol’ 55” (1973) – A chorus you cannot remove from your head. The Eagles covered it – no matter what you think of them, know they’d never grab an inferior piece of songwriting. (Did Lionel Richie rip the harmony off for “Easy”?)

1. !!! – “Me and giuliani down by the school yard” (a true story) (2003) – The best single of 2003, up there with “Hey Ya” and “Bad Day.” Ten minutes of dynamic melodies and tempo changes, and lyrics I would disagree with if they were comprehensible.

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