1. "I Shall Be Released" - The Band
Bob Dylan may have written this masterfully hopeful prison lament, but there is no question that the falsetto laced version The Band released as a part of their landmark 1968 studio debut Music From the Big Pink is the definitive version. Later, The Band recorded multiple versions with Bob Dylan for The Basement Tapes, but the dreamy production of the original is simply perfect.
2. "Cornelia Street" - Taylor Swift
There’s a lot of competition on Lover for the title of best track, but this brilliant song that appears at the halfway point of the album is its emotional peak. Its understated production in the intro gives way to an explosion of palpable desire as Swift reaches into her impressive upper register at the chorus, conveying a fearfully optimistic energy that can only come from seeing a break in the clouds after suffering years of heartbreak. “Cornelia Street” may also mark Swift’s high point as a writer thus far with incredible Springsteen-esque lines like “I get mystified by how this city screams your name.” Absolutely brilliant.