30. You Can’t Hurry Love-The Supremes
Perhaps the most perfect piece of Motown fluff to come from Motor City. Although the song may seem deceptively simple, the chorus/verse structure is completely flipped—something unheard of at the time. Did I mention this is another universal truth song?
Favorite Lyric: “How long must I wait/How much more can I take.”
Almost Picked: Come See About Me
29. Love Is a Losing Game-Amy Winehouse
I love Amy’s voice and her retro vibe. This song has perfect lyrics and arrangement. Allegedly an advanced degree program at Oxford used the lyrics of this song as a part of a poetry final. I can see why.
Favorite Lyric: “And now the final frame/Love is a losing game.”
28. Up to the Mountain-Kelly Clarkson
This was another toughie. Since U Been Gone, My Life Would Suck Without You, Breakaway, and Gone were all considered for Kelly’s spot. Yet, when push came to shove, I went with a live cover she performed only once (well, not counting her tours). Apparently her label wanted her to perform Never Again, since it was her single at the time, as a part of the Idol Gives Back concert. Kelly found that too crass and performed this instead. We are all better off, thanks to Miss Independent.
Favorite Lyric: “Lord telling me softly you love me so.”
Almost Picked: Gone
27. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)-Whitney Houston
When it comes to dancing and the 80s, this is my top pick. EPIC KEY CHANGE!! Plus I maintain that Whitney (at one time) had the most powerful voice in pop music. Granted, it wasn’t the most soulful or emotive, but girl could hold a note.
Favorite Lyric: “Somebody who, somebody who-who.” Obviously for how she sings it.
26. No Woman No Cry-Bob Marley and the Wailers
No matter how sad I am, this song cheers me up. Granted, the subject matter (war and violence) is a bit heavy, but when Bob tells me that everything is going to be alright, I believe him.
Favorite Lyric: The aforementioned, “Everything’s gonna be alright.”
25. Paper Planes-M.I.A.
The wackiest pop song to hit mainstream radio in recent history. The chorus is gunshots. GUNSHOTS! Who does that? I mean, that question has a really obvious answer. But still! Plus the song tackles U.S. treatment of immigrants with a sarcastic and clever point-of-view. Well done.
Favorite Lyric: “M.I.A. third world democracy/Yeah I’ve got more records than the KGB, so, uh, no funny business.”
24. He Stopped Loving Her Today-George Jones
This song is almost too sad. I can’t really say too much about it except that it has one of the most gut-wrenching lyrical twists of all time. Pay very close attention while listening so you catch all of the nuances.
Favorite Lyric: I would ruin the listening experience if I said something here
23. Bleeding Love-Leona Lewis
If I hadn’t reset my iTunes play count, this would be my most played song ever. Say what you’d like. WORDS CAN’T BRING ME DOWN!
Favorite Lyric: “Time starts to pass before you know it you’re frozen.”
22. Coat of Many Colors-Dolly Parton
Ah, Coat of Many Colors. So simple in its honesty and beauty. To me, the most defining characteristic of country music is its ability to tell stories. With that in mind, this is what I would objectively consider the best country song of all time. My word selection indicates there's a more subjective country song on the horizon.
Favorite Lyric: “And I couldn’t understand it for I felt I was rich”
21. Unchained Melody-The Righteous Brothers
This song makes me melt on the inside. When it comes to pure love songs, this one is second best. Number uno is on the docket.
Favorite Lyric: “I-I-I NEEEEED your love.” You know the part, with that crazy high note.