For part one of the countdown, click here. The top 5 will be online soon.
15. Debutante (We Were Exploding Anyway)
At first, I didn’t really like Debutante, if I’m honest. I was completely into the all dancing vibe of the other We Were Exploding Anyway songs, and it felt… kind of… out of place? After a while I grew into it, as I felt it was a perfect interlude between all of the explosiveness that came before and the epicness that was to come with Tiger Girl. Even later this song was completely linked with Belgian poet Jotie T’Hooft, as it played a lot while I was reading his biography. Then it completely exploded because it was the start of the whole No Man’s Sky adventure. Now, I think it’s a pretty grandiose yet really intimate song at the same time. It brings a lot of the more typical post-rock build-up to the album, and the vocals are heavenly.
14. The Conspiracy of Seeds (The Destruction of Small Ideas)
I never saw this coming. The Destruction of Small Ideas was a beautiful album, but its reputation has been buried underneath a well-intentioned but ultimately very flawed production. Most of the song writing on it is really intricate, and yet I still could not see this song coming. It’s so very different, yet so 65. The vocals, by Circle Takes the Square are a fantastic addition, but the song as a whole is glorious. From the bare strings at the beginning, over the original drums and the awesome guitar lines dancing between the rest of the noise, this is the song I’m quite sad about not ever getting to hear it live. Sure, it’s less conventional of a set-closer than most of the other songs to have been bestowed that honour, but for the patient among us it would have been utterly phenomenal.
13. Hole (The Fall of Math)
There aren’t that many 65 songs that punch as hard as Hole. The start of the epic final threesome on The Fall of Math, it’s pretty much the epitome of the musical evolution the band had gone through when they were making their debut album. I had loved the track before, but hearing it at the Manchester Cathedral during the 10th anniversary tour sealed it into my heart forever. It had never sounded as haunting as it did there, and has added this extra layer of despair that just breaks my heart every time I hear it now.
12. The Undertow (Wild Light)
When Wild Light arrived, I mostly listened to the opening two songs and the final quartet. The Undertow and Blackspots usually missed the cut, as they lacked the immediacy of the other songs. While Blackspots, though a great song, still doesn’t do that much for me, The Undertow has silently become one of my favourite songs on the album. What it lacks in urgency it makes up for in depth. Paul has called it a sad song, and I tend to agree. While a lot of 65 songs share a feeling of sadness, most of them refuse to let that sadness be the end of it. This song however feels kind of resigned to the emotion, and accepting of it.
11. Monolith (No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe)
Oh wow. Welcome to this new universe. It is beautiful, but there is a lot of danger out there, ok? Monolith feels like a microcosm of everything that awaits you when you take your first steps into the No Man’s Sky universe. You will get lonely, as the only aliens you encounter aren’t the best company. There’s dangers lurking on worlds you have yet to explore. But there’s also this excitement of being the first person to take a step on a new planet, of just getting into your spaceship and travelling to another planet you’ve spotted in the sky. There’s an element of speed, when you’re travelling faster than light, or when you’re evading enemy fire. It’s all here, and it’s amazing.
10. Taipei (Wild Light)
Ah yes, Taipei was the first song I ever heard off Wild Light, a couple of years before the album was released. 65 were headlining Dunk! Festival (Europe’s premiere post-rock festival) during the We Were Exploding Anyway tour. In the middle of a very loud and dance-y set, it popped up. It felt a bit out of place then, although I was cheering it loudly by the end of the song. Since then, I’ve only grown to love it more and more. It kind of sticks to a similar formula as Primer before it, but it’s different enough. The fractured start is beautiful, and the crescendo just hits all the right notes to be a highlight of any live show.
9. I Swallowed Hard, Like I Understood (The Fall of Math)
I have a lot of favourite live tracks by 65, but no matter how good their most recent albums have been, I will always hope there’s room on the set list for this song. I especially love Joe’s guitars on here as they screech all over the place. Joe and Rob appear to be to be hogging the spotlight (Rob’s drumming is incredible as usual), but please take the time to notice Simon’s bass on here as well. Paul’s piano is just a gorgeous finishing touch, adding an extra layer of emotion to the whole thing. The way the song sways back and forth from silence to crushing guitars is enough to get me hyped anytime.
8. These Things You Can’t Unlearn (The Destruction of Small Ideas)
I find this kind of thing hard to predict, but I imagine this might be a surprise inclusion for a lot of people. On the album, it’s a decent yet unspectacular song. It doesn’t stand out in the way Don’t Go Down to Sorrow or Music is Music as Devices are Kisses is Everything do. But it has to be up here, as this song is among my top 5 favourite live moments ever. By any band. During the Destruction tour, 65 headlined one of the tents at the Dour Festival. They closed the set with this song. Faces were melted. People were on stage. It was absolutely mental. The release at the end of the song is insane, especially at the right volume. Go play it right now, as loud as you can.
7. Go Complex (We Were Exploding Anyway)
Granted, I actually preferred the song when it was still called RBTS and featured that awesome breakbeat early on in the song. But even without all of that, Go Complex is the perfect culmination of everything the band stood for during their first ‘version’, for lack of a better word. It’s got everything you could want from the Fall of Math/One Time for All Time/The Destruction of Small Ideas/We Were Exploding Anyway era. What it lacks in intricacy, it makes up for with MORE LOUDNESS. It builds and builds and builds, until there’s nothing left but chaotic sound. I think this is what Bloc Party meant when they sung “We dance to the sound of sirens”. And then it just ends. The only way to stop the madness that is this song.
6. Supermoon (No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe)
Yes, it was the first song we got to hear from the new album. Yes, it’s the one song on the album that could fit quite neatly onto any other 65 album. No, these are not reasons to put it lower on the list. Because goddamn it’s so perfectly executed. I really like the touch of using Debbie Clare again as a vocalist (just as on Debutante). I love the kind of subdued drums. I simply adore the guitars. The scale of the song is just so huge, and it pays off so wonderfully. It still gives me goose bumps every time I hear it.