The Cure: Close To Me (Closet Remix)
Originally from The Head on the Door (Elektra, 1985)

Ah, time to revist my high school years in Los Angeles during the 1980s. Before I became a hip-hop head, like many APIs my age/era, I listened to modern rock: New Order, Depeche Mode, The Pet Shop Guys, Erasure and, of course, The Cure. Robert Smith was the MFin’ genius of moody New Wave ballads and dance cuts and even now, some 15 years, the group’s songs still resonate with the same charms, having barely aged for me (but hey, maybe that’s nostalgia talking). “Close To Me” is hands-down, an all-time favorite, not just by the Cure, but of that entire era. It embodies pure pop pleasure – the kind of love song that wide-eyed teenagers can get behind but won’t feel embarassed by later (compared to say, Tiffany or Debbie Gibson). When I’m feeling more somber, I’m convinced that Duke Ellington and John Coltrane’s rendition of “In a Sentimental Mood,” is the perfect soundtrack for falling in love but in lighter moments, “Close to Me,” is like sunshine captured in a vinyl groove. The Closet Remix, by the way, is quite loyal to the original but if you really, really like it, you can find it on the group’s 1997 Galore compilation.

The Pixies: Here Comes Your Man
From Doolittle (Elektra, 1989)

The Pixies fucking rock. I couldn’t get enough of this song when I was back in high school and I still listen to it today when I need a boost. It has that brash opening guitar chord, ala “Hard Day’s Night” and that drops right into Kim Deal’s indelible bassline that becomes the song’s defining signature. All in all, this is another slice of pop perfection, as good a way to spend three minutes and twenty one seconds as you could imagine.