I'm a sucker for a story-song. They don't even have to be singing.
  1. Lake Marie / John Prine
    Perfect in the way only John Prine can be. Perfectly written and perfectly performed.
  2. The Ballad of the Kingsmen / Todd Snider
    Possibly the greatest rant-song ever written.
  3. The Last Great American Whale / Lou Reed
    I hadn't listened to this song in years. It was on some compilation album I had in high school. A little preachy but still great.
  4. Nirvana / Tom Waits (Hat tip to Bukowski)
    This is really just Waits reciting a Bukowski poem so I'm not sure it belongs on this list, but it is so beautiful I included it anyway.
  5. Randal Knife / Guy Clark
    This was an iTunes Radio discovery and it hit me at the right moment. A little maudlin but powerful to me.
  6. Blue / REM
    Lyrics only Michael Stipe could write.
  7. A Most Disgusting Song / Sixto Rodriguez
    Beautifully real.
  8. That Time / Regina Spektor
    The award for sudden tone change in the end.
  9. Small Change / Tom Waits
    I could fill this list with Tom Waits but I'll end it with one of his best.
  10. Jerusalem / Dan Bern
    I loved this so much in high school, and it carries to today:
    Suggested by   @sally
  11. Space Boy Dream / Belle & Sebastian
    Everything sounds better in a Scottish accent
    Suggested by   @mlb
  12. A Boy Named Sue / Johnny Cash
    Suggested by   @sashabronner
  13. The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest / Bob Dylan
    Suggested by   @sashabronner
  14. Bonnie and Clyde - serge gainsbough and Bridgette Bardot
    Suggested by   @alibaron
  15. Don't You Want to Share the Guilt? / Kate Nash
    Suggested by   @soniakharkar