Always Love by Nada Surf, from The Weight is a Gift (Barsuk, 2005)
Dejame vivir by Jarabe de Palo con La Mari, from Adelantando (Warner Brothers, 2007)
I'm kicking off the soundbombing with a comparison of killer pop songs built off the same riff. It's one of those simple riffs you get into right off the bat and doesn't get old after that. These aren't samples or EXACT copies, but you'll see what I mean....
The first use came in 2005, in Always Love by Nada Surf. This is a group my friend Dave Marony, who had moved away from San Diego to Colorado by the time this hit the radio, always loved... so it always reminds me of both him and SD. Always Love is a great example of the delayed satisfaction that really hooks me into the songs I like best (and is the primary reason reggae is my favorite type of music, btw), as the super-ULTRA-killer "I've been held back by something..." bridge waits a long time to come in. Once you've heard the song once, you'll be waiting for that moment.
The first time I heard Dejame vivir, I expected the Nada Surf vocals to start and was shocked to hear Spanish vocals instead. But this is a different animal entirely, with nice lyrics-the title means "let me live", and it's an ode to freedom in general-and great vocal interplay between Pau Dones & La Mari. The song's by Pau's band Jarabe de Palo (literally "stick syrup", but meaning a whipping or beating) with the guest shot by La Mari, who heads Chambao, a huge band in their own right.
Which song is better? You decide... but I say BOTH. Create, recycle, chop, remix... whatever the case, as long as the result sounds good the rest doesn't matter.