26. AIR – “Suicide Underground”

The title sets you up for something nicely nasty and atmospheric, and for its glorious opening seconds “Suicide Underground” pulls it off: a gravelly male voice pronouncing solemnities – which are really platitudes – on the mystery of death, the unknowability of suicide; and a tired woman answering him. “Obviously, Doctor, you’ve never been a thirteen-year-old girl”, and just as she says it the drums slide and spin downwards into the same dark place the strings are looming up from, and the thirteeen-year-old girl in all of us smiles and shivers with recognition.

After that, if Air had stuck to their instrumental guns and left their slow Floydian flow unsullied, this might have been a masterpiece. No such luck: the rest of the song drones a Sight And Sound film plot summary above Air’s fuggily sensual music, and stops only just short of ruining it. But all the way in you’re remembering that title, and that moment, and so you keep listening anyway.