Thirty years ago, Robert Pollard’s Guided by Voices released their first album. This year, Pollard released his—brace yourself—100th album. Let that sink in for a second. That’s quite a discography for a schoolteacher from Dayton. Pollard recorded those 100 albums with and without GBV, but today, we’re just going to focus on his biggest claim to cult fame, because even I could not keep up with every single release by Go Back Snowball, Lifeguards, Boston Spaceships, Circus Devils, and whatever other Pollard side projects have slipped through my grasp. Hell, I can’t even keep up with Guided by Voices anymore, so you may notice that this list only extends to the end of Guided by Voices’ first official run in 2004. Plus, anything later than that violates Psychobabble’s unbreakable retro code. As you will see, there was still plenty to choose from amongst the countless albums, EPs, singles, and compilations released during their first two decades. As you will also see, I am no GBV snob. I love the fan-fave lo-fi stuff as much as I love the fan-loathed hi-fi stuff, so maybe you should brace yourself for that too. So here goes Psychobabble’s very personal and subjective 100 Favorite Guided by Voices Songs!
100. “Land of Danger” (from Forever Since Breakfast)
We begin our blatant doom trip with an appropriate number since “Land of Danger” is the very first track on Guided by Voice’s very first release. Or is it appropriate? After all, these masters of mixing their multitudinous influences are really just aping R.E.M. on “Land of Danger”. Don’t mistake that for bad news, though, because R.E.M. is awesome and Guided by Voices supply one of the catchiest, most powerful R.E.M. songs that R.E.M. never got to supply themselves.
99. “Perhaps We Were Swinging” (from Hardcore UFOs)