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We’re not saying that this is the definitive list of the best 15 songs of the last 30 years, but...
Originally titled Drop The Guitar when New Order played it live in 2014. That title was deemed to give too much away, but note that Singularity’s edgy, icy synth-rock was appropriately produced by Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers.
The first single of five released from Philadelphia-based Adam Granduciel’s epic 2014 War On Drugs album, Lost In The Dream, hits a previously unknown sweet spot midway between 1980s pop, roots Americana and motoring Krautrock.
Its jocular, easy-going Southern rock vibes means Left Hand Free is probably Leeds trio alt-J’s least typical song, since they inhabit a proggy realm normally. But it’s also the song that remains their global ambassador.
Here, Josh Tillman’s poetic, confessional alter-ego Father John Misty delivers the most straightforward love song for his wife from 2015’s I Love You, Honeybear LP.
Witness Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds at their most restrained, the gentle pulse of the song propelling Cave down malevolent reflections upon those “good people on Jubilee Street”.
Grant’s wry memories of trying to fit into a new town when he was a teenager coming to terms with his homosexuality not only packs some brilliant one-liners, but also a mighty gust of a chorus built around Sigourney Weaver killing aliens.
This stripped-back remix of the Manics’ first single after the disappearance of founding member Richey Edwards reveals James Dean Bradfield’s call to working-class solidarity in a ghostly new glory.
Burial’s debut album in 2006 was the sound of a city in the deepest night: mostly asleep uneasily, but some reverberating to the rhythm of a ravey night. It rewrote the dance album and this is a stand-out moment.
The highlight from James Mercer’s Albuquerque indie rockers’ third LP, Wincing The Night Away, is the sort of jaunty, sprightly indie-rock you’d expect from one of the finest practitioners of the genre.
Alex Kapranos wrote this yearning melody walking home from school imagining being successful and describing his success on Terry Wogan’s sofa. And then that success happened with this. Spooky!
The greatest trio of the last couple of decades? Probably. The most furiously powerful? Definitely. This is pop-punk that gasps for breath at the top of a fairground ride, then delivers a stomach-churning thrill.
Pastoral, baroque folk-rock of the highest order from Robin Pecknold’s band of merry, beardy men. One of the many highlights from the Seattle, Washington-based combo’s eponymous debut.
After a six-year hiatus, due to band members concentrating on individual projects, the Wirral indie-rockers made a dramatic return this year with a seventh album full of hypnotic, sinister psychedelia. This is the brilliant title track.
Nashville-based Lambchop leader Kurt Wagner comes from the great American songwriter tradition that includes the likes of Randy Newman, and this whimsical calypso from 2002’s Is A Woman album demonstrates his craft at its very height.
Bragg at his most tunefully jubilant, and disproves the widely-held opinion that pop and politics don’t mix.
This month, print editions of the new 30th Birthday Issue Q come with a specially curated CD of Modern classic to celebrate our 30th birthday. We’re not saying that our hand-picked compilation is the definitive list of the best 15 songs of the last 30 years. That would be stupid to attempt and impossible to do. But if you’re looking for a spread of superb, inventive tracks that highlight the adventure and excellence of music in Q’s lifetime, you won’t find better than this. From unchartered territory where Americana meets Krautrock to straightforward but beautiful love songs, this is our birthday present to you. Plus the issue also features Stone Roses and Arctic Monkeys posters.
Get your copy – in print or on digital – on sale from Tuesday, 31 May 2016.
Plus to mark our birthday you can currently get a year’s subscription to Q for £30.
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Get the new issue of Q: Order a print copy of Q361 | Subscribe to Q Magazine
*Due to licensing and distribution issues, the cover-mounted CD and posters are not available for overseas or Q/Empire value pack purchasers.