14. PJ Harvey, "You Said Something" (Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea)
It's a dangerous thing to fall in love with a person and a city at the same time, but PJ Harvey took the plunge on her Mercury Prize-winning 2000 LP, and didn't worry about how deep she had to go. All of Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea carries that double-dose of second-hand intoxication, but no song more than the waltzing "You Said Something," in which Harvey's wonder at her Big Apple romance gets so wide-eyed you fear for her corneas. "On a rooftop in Brooklyn at 1:00 in the morning/ Watching the lights flash in Manhattan/ I see five bridges, the Empire State Building/ And you said something/ That I've never forgotten." We never find out what the "something" is -- does it even matter? -- A.U.
13. Ghostface Killah feat. Cappadonna, Method Man & Redman, "Buck 50" (Supreme Clientele)
Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele is a virtuosic display of individual lyrical genius from Wu-Tang’s Iron Man, yet it wouldn’t be the same without its one stellar posse cut. For much of “Buck 50,” Ghost cedes the floor to his cohorts -- Method Man is the smooth-talking alpha, Cappadonna lets his gruff flow barge in for some nice one-liners, and Redman’s got so much energy that he nearly starts his verse too soon -- but then the master of ceremonies strides in over the buttery soul sample, and drops his infamous coda, “Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious/ Dociousaliexpifragalisticcalisuper/ Cancun, catch me in the room, eating grouper!” -- J. Lipshutz
12. Madonna, "Impressive Instant" (Music)
The synth-groan that opens the song is, by all indications, the sound of a pop star who's just had her first kid and released her most introspective album and wants to hit the friggin' clubs already. Coming after the set's title track and lead single on Music, "Impressive Instant" cranks up the electro-pop exhilaration even further, Madonna dragged to the dancefloor by forces greater than herself: "And the world is spinning, spinning baby out of control/ I let the music take me, take me where my heart wants to go." It sounded like the future, if we were lucky. -- A.U.
11. Modest Mouse, "Third Planet" (The Moon & Antarctica)
Modest Mouse were four years away from floating on to the mainstream charts when they made their major label debut with The Moon & Antarctica, but opening track "3rd Planet" demonstrated their knack for hypnotic nihilism was already fully formed. Gentle, sad acoustic plucking gets quickly bulldozed by spiky post-punk guitar fury as Isaac Brock ponders the interconnectedness and circularity of life – and more importantly, death. -- JOE LYNCH