1. Gimme Shelter- The Rolling Stones (1969)
This is the greatest and most important piece of music ever written. It sums up the state of the world in a more poetic and dire manner than any other song in the history of modern music. The theme of the song is very grim. It explains in detail the numerous ways (war, rape, murder) in which the world we live in is fucked-up. These occurrences are so prevalent ("it's just a shot away"), we are forced to take shelter from them, lest we "fade away". This song was written during the Vietnam War and so it's very much about the awareness that war is always present; it was very present in life at that point. However, the track takes a hopeful turn with the ending ("I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away"). This is the great message of the song: even though people are capable of great violence and hate, they are also capable of love- it is which one they choose that makes all the difference. The song warns about how easy war is to create, and finishes with how close love can be. It is a statement of cold, dark reality, yet shimmering hope. This is what makes this song, in my opinion, a beacon for humanity, and what all of us should aspire to, both as individuals and as a species.
2. Bridge over Troubled Water- Simon & Garfunkel (1970)
This song has always brought me up in times of trouble. It sends shivers down my spine whenever I listen to it. One of the best songs ever written. So simple, yet so amazing. A fantastic testament to friendship.