The Bestest Song Ever? (Well, It Could Be.)

Oct 29th, 2007 // 44 Comments

Aside from the delightful domestic abuse of The Jacksons: An American Dream, seeing Control this weekend also reminded me that I had yet to do the flip to my post on the worst song of all time. I doubt this will engender as much solidarity as you all showed in hating 4 Non Blondes. But it’s a pretty friggin’ good song.

I could make allowances for James Brown or the Ronettes or Pere Ubu or Al Green (all-time MVP) or any other number of personal heroes/heroines, and I do wish YouTube had the 12-inch mix kitted out with all the Shep Pettibone bells and whistles. But even truncated, I’ll stand behind this as the pop song, the one I’d stand up and proclaim the best. (Unless a weapon was involved. Or unless it’s actually “Temptation.” It might be “Temptation.”) Feel free to tell me I’m crazy and that it’s really 311/Howlin Wolf/Dead Or Alive/Flying Saucer Attack/Gil Evans/the Shop Boyz.


  1. dippinkind

    it’s Temptation.

  2. dog door

    The correct answer is “Hey” by The Pixies, but thanks for playing!

  3. iantenna

    311/Howlin Wolf/Dead Or Alive/Flying Saucer Attack/Gil Evans/the Shop Boyz

    goddamn, i’d forgotten about this collabo. possibly the best posse cut of all time.

  4. It Must Be Take a Worm for a Walk Week

    I love New Order like I love love, but I think their best is “True Faith”, personally. But like the namesake sandwich, BLT pretty much totally rules as well.

  5. dog door

    For some reason my favorite New Order song is “Touched by the Hand of God”; I really can’t explain it. tho True Faith is a fine choice as well.

  6. Bob Loblaw

    @iantenna: And props to Bob Geldof for pulling it all together. The naysayers claimed it couldn’t be done, but that guy’s UNSTOPPABLE.

  7. Chris Molanphy

    I’ll back you up on this, Jess. It wouldn’t be my all-time No. 1 (top 20 easily, maybe even top 10), but it’s a very respectable choice. Not only because the recording is so awesome, but because it’s been proven (even in that drippy Frente! cover) to be a brilliant composition, which is more than you can say for some electronic masterpieces.

    My all-time favorite song, as an original recording (I wouldn’t let any artist dare cover it), is “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. Flawless.

  8. extracrispy

    Oh goodie! I live for completely subjective arguments.

    Now I always thought that “Being Boring” was supposed to be the best pop song ever recorded.


    But my personal pick for best pop song has to be “Swamp Thing” by Chameleons UK. Not that it was a big hit or anything.

  9. Fried Bologna Is Back!

    So the best song ever is from the late 80′s, and the worst song ever is from the early 90′s? Through my amazing powers of deduction, I have determined that you are between the ages of 29 and 34, and listened to a lot of “modern rock radio” as a teenager.

  10. Jupiter8

    “True Faith” is good but the video is bad…I think most of New Order’s catalog has aged pretty well but maybe it’s just because I’m a 43 year old guy who used to wear a lot of black in high school.

  11. NickEddy

    I was on a kick a couple of weeks ago where “State of the Nation” OWNED me.

  12. Centaur Rodeo

    I agree whole-heartedly. This is, in fact, my favorite pop song…ever. Abba’s “Waterloo” is a very close second, but this one will always rule my heart, probably because it ruled my freshman and sophomore years of high school.

  13. natepatrin

    I’m not gonna argue with New Order. At least not too much. (I kinda prefer “True Faith”, but hey.)

    I rarely think about which single song would be my personal favorite, but “One Nation Under a Groove” makes me so goddamned joyous every time I hear it that I’ve got to put it as the frontrunner.

  14. Anonymous

    @dog door: Seconded.

  15. Dick Laurent is dead.

    Another acceptable answer would be “I Wanna Be Adored” by the Stone Roses, but I am also a pale, Anglophile with too much black in his wardrobe.

  16. Liz Lemon

    As part of the too much black in my wardrobe contingent, I must agree that this is the best pop song ever. Ever. Completely danceable and makes me smile every time I hear it.

  17. hindenburger

    Best song of all time? jeez, i don’t know about that. It’s a great song, but on any given day I’d just as soon listen to Perfect Kiss, Temptation, Blue Monday, True Faith, Regret, Love Vigilantes, or Round & Round.

  18. Botswana Meat Commission FC

    good choice. my own:

    “Billie Jean”

    (honorable mention: “Wild Boys” by D.D.)

    What can i say… i like dancefloor burners that are also tuneful.

  19. JustThisGuy

    No arguments here. Best song they ever wrote, and easily my #1 for most favorite song of all time. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that numbers 2 through 6 on my list consist entirely of tracks from [i]Brotherhood[/i].

  20. disinterested 3rd party

    @dennisobell: “I Want You Back” is way up there. But it makes me kind of sad now. From the tenor of this thread so far I guess there won’t be a “Good Vibrations” >” “A Day in the Life” debate….so “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”?

  21. Lucas Jensen

    I love “Run” from Technique more than life itself.

  22. HowCron

    It’s scientifically PROVEN that John Lennon’s “Imagine” is the best song ever. Bizarre Love Triangle is definitely in the top 20, but NOT number 1.

  23. Rob Murphy

    I vote for “Happy Birthday”. I always have a good feeling when someone is singing that to me.

  24. Bong14

    Bizarre Love Triangle is a fine choice. Can I just make a claim for the 7″ version being the best – not the original album version (incorrectly featured on the “Singles” comp), as it’s missing the key synth hook, and not the 12″ remix as it’s missing all the Hook bass action, but the 7″, which can be found on the US CD single reissue.

    I’d give the nod for best N.O. to True Faith by a hair, and best song of all time is clearly Joy Division’s Atmosphere. Followed by Soft Cell’s Say Hello Wave Goodbye. And There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.

  25. hotshot

    What would Frere-Jones say?

  26. dog door

    1. Hey- Pixies
    2. Invitation to the Blues – T. Waits
    3. Ugly – V. Femmes
    4. Sister Ray – V. Underground

    everything else is just details.

    Bizarre Love Triangle is somewhere in 100-150.

  27. Bong14

    @hotshot: He’d prefer the Dub version off the 12″.

  28. SonOfSlam

    You are all so, so wrong. Best song ever is
    Human Fly – The Cramps.

    In your heart, you know I’m right.

  29. simplyBeebo

    i so agree ; 7″ single is my ATF song. hate the video — ATF video and 2nd ATF NO song is Perfect Kiss.

  30. G3K

    You know, I could go for this if we had to reach a consensus decision.

    My personal vote, backed up by Eli Escobar the other day, is for Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again”.

  31. JedTheMime

    Had you not suggested anything, I would’ve debated this in my head for hours. So you saved me a lot of time by being indisputably 100% right.

    This is the best song ever.

  32. The Dewd

    Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack

  33. Lucas Jensen

    Honestly, I love “True Faith”, but I can think of a lot of songs better than that. I mean, “Age of Consent” anyone? That and “Run” are my #1s. But New Order is a top 5 band for me, so I’m a little biased.

  34. Chris N.

    Sorry, folks — it’s actually “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers.

  35. Anonymous

    yecch. that 80′s drum sound makes me want to go on a rampage.
    i know this won’t be a popular position either but i hate joy division as well.

  36. Anonymous

    “Naive Melody” – Talking Heads

  37. TheMojoPin

    If we’re sticking with NO, you had it right with “Temptation.”

  38. Anonymous

    My fave N.O. song is “Fine Time”. I can dance and laugh at the electronically-generated faux-Barry White bit in the middle all at once. Although “Confusion” is up pretty high on the list. Not the one that’s on all the comp albums, but a version I heard in ’84 on WMSE; it had a more organic sound than the better-known version. I can’t find it anywhere and that stinks.

    I work at a bank with a lot of young people (21-23) and they call BLT the “Every Time I See You Falling” song. It’s so cute how they’ve latched on to 80s songs the way I did to 60s songs when I was their age. And recording techniques aren’t that much different now than in the 80s, so a lot of 80s songs sound almost current to me – and to the kids.

    Best pop song ever? I so want to say “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” but it’s as if it was recorded in a shoe box. The sound is just so airless, flat and cold somehow. Not the singing or playing, which I think was top-notch. So badly engineered, as most of H&O’s 80s albums were. Boo! So I’ll give to DM’s “Strangelove,” more specifically, the Pain Mix from the single. Congratulations and well done, boys!

  39. Anonymous

    you are on the right track.

  40. KittytheKat

    What ‘cha gonna do for me—-Rufus and Chaka!

  41. Anonymous

    @dennisobell: I was taken back by the problem of choosing a composition or recording as well. Subsequently, I made two decisions. I appreciate your comments.
    Recording: Sir Duke – Stevie.
    Composition: Everlasting Love.

    … If not for the hate I’m sure would follow, I would’ve been tempted to select Sergio Mendez’s “Alibis”, oh well

  42. TonyTriple

    Sounds like Depeche Mode and Rednex had a threesome with Modern English.

  43. Deadly Tango

    @Lucas Jensen: Agreed — “Age of Consent” is the best New Order song. “Bizarre Love Triangle” was the crossover moment when New Order became safe for those without enough black in their wardrobes (a moment quickly squandered with Technique).

    If we’re looking strictly at singles, though, I have to go with “Blue Monday.” Truly an indestructible song, no matter how it’s covered or remixed or recompiled.

  44. RGve

    Seriously, ridiculous argument, because at least 80% of Robyn’s new(old) album is better than BLT… And Scarface/Geto Boys G-Code is comfortably the best song ever. No questions, go listen to it and tell me I’m wrong.

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