LMN reviewers unveil their Top 5 songs of '95

Most critics seem to have a love-hate relationship with end-of-the-year lists. It's fun to look back and remember the good music, but it's inherently unfair and ridiculously subjective to choose a mere handful. How do you compare 2Pac to Guy Clark, anyway?

We asked the regular reviewers of LMN to tell us about their favorite five songs of 1995. All of our critics put disclaimers at the top of their lists to express their discomfort. No one summed up the problem better than Mark Clark:

"First off, what follows are not necessarily the best songs of 1995. There were thousands of great tunes in 1995 — which was another wonderful year for popular music-—including many I wasn't fortunate enough to hear, at least not yet. But I'm positive these ten cuts are at least as good as any I may have missed. Each of them, for one reason or another, have carved their own, private niche in my cerebral jukebox. I present them in alphabetical order."

Mark Clark

" Endorphinmachine," Prince (No song rocked harder that this ear-blistering assault by old what's-his-name.)

"Free as a Bird." The Beatles (A sentimental choice. So sue me!)

"Get Older," Matthew Sweet (100% Fun was chock-full of amazing tunes. but this is one haunted me for months.)

"Kiss From a Rose" Seal (Courtly, yet soulful. Romantic without being sappy. The year's best love song.)

" World of Summer," Love Jones (If l could take only one of these songs with me to a desert island, it would be this one.)

Bonus Pick:

"Stupid Girl," Garbage (Or almost anything else from this band's terrific, self-titled debut.)

Michael Stout

"St. Teresa," Joan Osborne (Taut, hypnotic and mystical.)

"Luther's. Methadone Clinic," Sonia Dada (Sly Stone meets Steely Dan.)

"Dublin Blues," Guy Clark (His typical dead-nuts honesty.)

"I Know," Dionne Ferris (A distinctive pop voice and a killer hook.)

"Where Will I Be," Emmylou Harris (Gram Parsons is grinning like a possum somewhere.)

Allen Howie

"Guilty," Gladys Knight (Co-written by the singer, and delivered with all the urgency of her very best material, it's a gospel-drenched indictment of a society where ignorance is still alive and well.)

"Human," Dionne Farris (Shimmering street-corner doo-wop for the '90s, and a B-side to Knight's song above.)

"The Poem of Your Life," Michael Card (Card weaves Celtic and Middle Eastem melodic ideas into a driving rumination on who we are and who we can be.)

"Wrecking Ball," Emmvlou Harris (Harris and Neil Young sing Young's ethereal ballad like two ghosts roaming through an old, moonlit farmhouse in the dead of winter. Lovely and chilling all at once.)

"Spiderweb," Joan Osborne (In which Ray Charles regains his sight, loses his voice and discovers MTV, all propelled by Osbome's feverish vocal and vivid imagery.)

Bob Bahr

"Falling Into Grace," Red Hot Chili Peppers (A song that sums up the Peppers' growth to date.)

"Jimmy the Spock," Java Men (As good as any jazz standard, in my opinion.)

"So Many Tears." 2Pac (Nobody does regret and human sadness better than this rapper.)

"Zombie," the Cranberries (Hey, it got on my nerves too. But it captured 1995 — for better or worse — perfectly.)

"Bright Yellow Gun," Throwing Muses (Kristen Hersh is a great songwriter — plus the guitars were plenty punchy.)

Honorable Mention: Every song on John Hiatt's album Walk On.

Kory Wilcoxson

"1st of the Month," Bone Thugs N Harmony (In a down year for rap, Bone checked in with the best of the bunch.)

"Awake" Letters to Cleo (So simple and so good.)

"You Oughta Know," Alanis Morrissette (The sister throws some weight around in this vicious breakup song.)'

"Carnival," Natalie Merchant (The best thing she has ever done, with or without the Maniacs.)

"I Alone," Live (The sheer power in this song is what drove me crazy. I love the band's furious energy)

Jeff Walter

"Goodbye," Steve Earle (This poignant ballad from Steve's stunning acoustic "comeback" album calls forth images worthy of "Casablanca.")

"Sweet Old World," Emmylou Harris (Emmylou's cover, which features the unmistakable harp and harmony vocals of Neil Young, is consistently capable of moving me to tears.)

"The Rocky Road to Dublin," The Chieftains (How can you help but smile when suddenly, during a turn-around in the middle of this traditional tune, you hear Keith Richards impishly bashing out the riff to "Satisfaction" — and it works?)

"The Line," Bruce Springsteen (Plays out as a modem morality fable. In this story told from the view of a border patrolman, there is neither black nor white but only shades of gray.)

"The Cape," Guy Clark (At worst, it's a cute song about believing in yourself and your dreams, sung convincingly by a songwriter's songwriter. Go ahead, be cynical.)