Tired of patronising eye-rolling from your all-knowing hipster friends? Cormac Duffy offers the definitive list of songs to exert your coolness
The Sugarhill Gang – ‘Rapper’s Delight’
Myth tells that the few who learn the lyrics to all fifteen minutes of this pioneering rap odyssey will reach a higher plane of consciousness where they are graced with the realisation that they have seriously wasted their time.
Lizzy Grant – ‘Kill Kill’
Now that the whole world and their mum have hopped on the Lana Del Rey bandwagon, it’s time to show off just how long you’ve known her. Tell your friends you were the one to persuade her to change her name and get those strange collagen lips, and reap their praise/scorn.
Naftule Brandwein – ‘Nifty’s Freilach’
This jaunty number is the perfect way to prove to your philistine friends who think Beirut qualifies as world music that you’re much more culturally astute than them. Best played on your wax cylinder of Now That’s What I Call Klezmer! 1925.
Manuel Gottsching – ‘E2-E4’
An hour-long German proto-techno opus that inspired a workout track by LCD Soundsystem, this hits all the buttons for looking like an elder statesman of pretension. Be sure to mention how you consider it light listening.
Unknown Artist – ‘Au Clair de la Lune’
Next time you get locked in a vintage-off with a fellow hipster, be sure to express your love for this recording of an anonymous singer captured by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville. Considering it’s the first recorded sound, you’ll instantly win. Just don’t admit that it sounds like a muppet gargling.
Fast Food Rockers – ‘Fast Food Song’
Sure, everyone knows this as a grating novelty tune, but have they heard you rhapsodise on how it’s actually a radical, critical spectacle on how the phallocentric patriarchy uses the fetishisation of mass-produced food to enslave the proletariat? Thought not.
Botanist – ‘Sanguinaria’
“This is so deep; it’s a black metal concept album about plants played mainly on the dulcimer.” There is no way you can say this sentence to that lucky hipster girl you’ve just brought home to see your record collection and not be in knee-deep in clunge moments later.
Jake Holmes – ‘Dazed and Confused’
There is no greater pleasure than letting your moronic rocker buddies in on the secret that Jimmy Page only wrote so many good riffs by stealing them all. Holmes not only wrote this, but also never slept with fourteen-year-old groupies or performed with Leona Lewis. Holmes: 1, Page: 0.
Julian Koster – ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’
It’s a former member of Neutral Milk Hotel playing traditional Christmas songs on a saw. No more need be said.
Karlheinz Stockhausen – ‘Gesang der Junglinge’
Arguably the first electronica track, this is perfect for overwrought comparisons to the simpler electronic music your peers enjoy. Try “Stockhausen is pretty much the David Guetta of modernist serialism” or “This is like Skrillex, if you replace the drop with a children’s choir.”
Vashti Bunyan – ‘Winter is Blue’
A mysterious British psychedelic folk singer whose career technically doubles up as an Animal Collective side project, this is the musical equivalent of a second hand flannel shirt made from organic hemp, vinyl, and your own sense of self-satisfaction.