The centerpiece track of 1984's Ocean Rain, the epic "The Killing Moon" is the point at which Echo & the Bunnymen turned from second-string post-punkers into members of the pantheon of heroes to the mildly alienated suburban teens of the mid-'80s, up there with Depeche Mode and the Cure. (This is as opposed to those who preferred the starker despair of Joy Division or Nick Cave, whose music was considerably darker and not nearly so pleasantly melodic.) The song opens abruptly, with a Spanish-style guitar intro from Will Sergeant over a doomy, bass-heavy setting, fading into Ian McCulloch's portentous intoning of the first verse. Crucially, the band made an atypical move in the arrangement of this song by modulating upward for the chorus; historically, the upward modulation is used to signify happiness or the release of tension, and its use in the midst of the minor-key melancholy of the verse melody makes a huge dynamic shift in the song. The smart use of strings -- one of the key factors that makes Ocean Rain Echo & the Bunnymen's most satisfying album -- amplifies the elegance of the tune, bringing both a musical richness and a sense of quiet dignity to the tune. "The Killing Moon" may not be their "best" song, but it's certainly Echo & the Bunnymen's biggest.