1. English Beat, "Mirror in the Bathroom." If the early-80s 2-Tone groups from England were Ska Revivalists, what are the later Ska Revival Revivalists called? Among the possibilities listed in Wikipedia: third wave ska, ska punk, ska-core.
2. Blondie, "Call Me." The other evening, I was watching Evil Dead II for the billionth time. My wife and I started wondering how it was that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell ... well, just Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell's career has pretty much kept the faith ... how did Sam Raimi go from directing Evil Dead movies to directing Spider-Man movies? It's not about whether the Spider-Man movies are good ... I'm not a big fan of them, but that's not the point. How did the studio decide that Sam Raimi was the man to direct a huge franchise picture? His first five movies included the three Evil Deads, a $3 million cheapie, and Darkman. He followed those with a Sharon Stone western and two other moderately-budgeted films. The last movie he directed before Spider-Man had a budget of $10 million ... Spider-Man had a budget of $139 million. As the IMDB notes, the budget for Spider-Man 3 was 1000 times the budget of the first Evil Dead movie. Not sure what any of this has to do with Blondie, but a couple of Random Tens ago, I mentioned that I had a fondness for the first Blondie album, which in this context is like the Evil Dead Blondie while the hits are Spider-Man Blondie. Only real problem with that notion is that the first Blondie album isn't as good as Evil Dead II, while songs like "Call Me" are much better than the Spider-Man movies.
4. Sector 27, "Where Can We Go Tonight." We actually saw this band in concert. Tom Robinson had laryngitis, so his vocals were completely shot. We all loved him anyway. For my money, this is a better song/anthem than "Glad to Be Gay."
5. Diana Ross, "I'm Coming Out." Meanwhile, this is what gay people were actually listening to.
6. Selecter, "Too Much Pressure." See #1 above.
7. Joy Division, "Love Will Tear Us Apart." I am the kind of heretic who prefers New Order to Joy Division, but there's no denying the power of this one.
8. The S.O.S. Band, "Take Your Time (Do It Right)." It seems more obvious to me, with hindsight, that there was at times a strong element of funk in disco. Not always, or even often, but this "disco" hit, at least, is pretty funky sounding.
9. The Go-Gos, "We Got the Beat." I don't suppose anyone ever accused the Go-Gos of being funky. But they had the beat, for sure. Are they underrated? I have no idea what their critical standing is, so I can't say.
10. Bad Brains, "Pay to Cum." This doesn't really fit with anything else on this list, but it helps usher in the great College Rock Era. And there's the irony, or whatever you want to call it, that the ultimate thrash-speed-punk song of them all comes from an all-black band. A minute-and-a-half of influential brilliance.
Bonus live track: