24. Phoenix "Love Like a Sunset Part II" (2009)
Better Than Original?: Yes
Since the band's 2000 debut record Untitled, French alt-rock act Phoenix has been working hard at creating that perfect nu-new wave power pop anthem, which is longer than most people have really known of them. It wasn't until 2009's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix came out that they really took off. Some of the sheen and perfectionism that ran through earlier records got cut. Their songwriting got tighter. And their more creative, left-field impulses got reigned in...except for one seven and a half minute, two-part segment of the record, "Love Like a Sunset."
The first part starts off with a zooming synth, the sound of something taking off, and five minutes later, after a purely instrumental cacophony of very deliberate bleeps, bloops, and feedback, an organic noise makes its way through, sounding for the very first time: An accoustic guitar, the sound of, oddly enough, triumph. By then, you're twelve seconds into the second part, with barely a minute and a half to go. At 40 seconds, lyrics finally emerge-just eight spare lines about horizons starting and ending, about where the point gets hammered home, as the two-act idea closes out: Love's like a sun on a horizon, intense and brilliant one minute, and then gone the next, taking a brilliant luminicsense with it. Both songs not only became one of the most revalatory moments for Phoenix as a band-that there's a time and a place for this kind of creative adventuring, that if done right, can win everyone over-but it also became one of the most memorable elements of (Phoenix lead singer Thomas Mars's wife) Sophia Coppola's massively-underrated 2010 film Somewhere. All that said: The second installment, if only because it can stand on its own as a pop song, edges out its predecessor, and deserves a rightful spot in great sequel-song history.