Blonde Redhead is currently on tour to promote their latest album, Barragan, and this coming Wednesday, November 12th, they will be stopping by LA’s Fonda Theatre. I’m excited to hear the new songs live next week, but I’ve been a fan of the group since the release of 23 in 2007, and their storied discography is worth examining in anticipation of the upcoming show.

Blonde Redhead released their self-titled debut album in 1995, and since then they’ve produced almost 20 years worth of music. Their sound spans a variety of genres and is still evolving, but the thing that seems to remain constant is their dedication to experimentation and abstraction. They’re never going to rest on their laurels or remain stagnant.

It seems unfair to pick through so much music and distill it down to five representative tracks, so I’m going to pick five songs from my three favorite Blonde Redhead albums: Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons, Misery is a Butterfly, and 23. That they happen to have been released consecutively is probably not a coincidence, but these are the albums that have stuck with me.

5. “The Dress” from 23

It’s always a bit difficult to get a clear sense of what Blonde Redhead’s lyrics mean, but when Kazu Makino sings, “Don’t let the dress trick you / I love you less now that I know you,” you understand exactly how she feels.

4. “Signs Along the Path” from 23

“Signs Along the Path” is a bonus track from 23 that I would have ignored if someone hadn’t sent it to me in a music exchange (this spot would have gone to sweeping “SW” otherwise). I’m a sucker for emotional blows, and this bubbling track exemplifies what it’s like to look back on love with regret. The electronic arpeggios and Makino’s sighing “aahs” drive the feeling home.

3. “For the Damaged” from Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons

This one is a simple, lilting track about the kinship of being “equally damaged.” It contains the feeling of not being able to make it and the crushing resignation that you’re irreparably fucked up, but with that glimmer of hope that comes from knowing you’re not alone.

2. “Misery is a Butterfly” from Misery is a Butterfly

From the very first violin swell, you know you’re going to be in for a sonic experience while listening to this one. The song is, in the simplest of terms, beautiful. It wraps you inside of itself, and its description of misery is unlike anything else, yet somehow perfectly understandable: “Misery is a butterfly / Her heavy wings will warp your mind, with her small ugly face…”

1. “23” from 23

The first song I heard from Blonde Redhead and still the best. The first chords strike, echoing into the next chords, then in comes the swell of guitars and the pounding of drums. The moment Makino utters “23,” it becomes magic. I’m not going to pretend I know what the song means, but “23” is probably one of the most perfect pieces of shoegaze I’ve heard. It creates an entire world of sound, and by the time the song ends, you’ll be staggered and questioning the silence.