Tag Archives: music lists

The 5 Best Songs of the 80s

5. “Mother” – Danzig

Best hard-rock song of the 80’s bar none and also the best song named “Mother”.  John Lennon and Pink Floyd’s respective songs are too inward and depressing.  On his “Mother”  Glen Danzig warns parents not to listen to his words, or follow him.  And he’s right too.  Because if you find hell with him, he’s gonna show you til your bleeding!  Scary stuff.  All of this would mean absolutely nothing if the music didn’t come across as a song Satan himself could have wrote.  Hide your kids.

4.  “Take on Me” – A-ha

Eat your heart out, “Baba O’Riley” this is synthesizer perfection right here.  The song is also memorable for its iconic video with its sketches that come to life.  However, one should not cross out the cleverness of its lyrics either: “I’m coming for your love, ok?” and  “Take on me” becomes “Take me on” during the chorus.  Classy.  Also, look for Patrick Carney of the Black Keys in the video around the 2:00 minute mark.

3. “Dangerzone” – Kenny Loggins

Does any other movie capture the spirit of the 80s more than Top Gun? And as a bonus you get Kenny Loggin’s masterpiece, “Dangerzone”.  The real genius of the lyrics comes from the double meaning of the lyrics.  It could be about lift-off in a plane, or about a sexual encounter, or both.  Who cares?  Lift-off achieved.

2. “Whip It” – Devo

The lyrics of the catchiest song about masturbation/S&M are just icing on the cake.  What really makes the song is the keyboard during the chorus. Has there ever been a more effective use of one note?  Another iconic video, which has the band “playing” on the set of what looks like a photo-shoot for a Marlboro Man ad.  Despite the use of the whip, in a real situation the man in the cowboy hat probably kicked Devo’s ass with their silly hats and keyboards.  A victory for nerds!

1. “The Final Countdown” – Europe

The best intro to a song ever.  Also worth noting the world’s best magician used this as his theme music.

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5 Songs About New York

I’m in the middle of Patti Smith’s fantastic memoir Just Kids which recounts her early years in New York City with Robert Mapplethorpe.  I’ve compiled a mix of songs about New York as a soundtrack while reading it.  Here’s a few of the songs I picked.

Leonard Cohen – “Chelsea Hotel #2”

It seems like every artist that lived in New York during the 1960s resided in the Chelsea Hotel for a period.   With its sparse guitar and Cohen’s naked lyrics – “giving me head in the unmade bed” –  present a heartbreaking portrait of his affair with Janis Joplin.  She tells him that she prefers more handsome man, but she’d make an exception for him.   “We are ugly but we have the music” seems to represent not just Cohen and Joplin, but rather all of the artists that lived there.  For many artists the Chelsea was a mecca for artists looking for their muse.

The Clash – “Koka Kola”

At first, “Koka Kola” might seem like the weakest song on London Calling.  It’s short and concise.  But in under 2 minutes, Strummer manages to attack stock brokers, advertisements, and businessmen’s love for cocaine and party-girls.  “The money can be made if you really want some more,” Strummer muses.  London Calling was released in the December 1979, so in its own way “Koka Kola” could be seen a song that foreshadows what some saw as a decade of corporate greed.

U2 – “The Hands That Built America”

U2 has written several songs about New York.  Some are great (“City of Blinding Lights”) some are not (“New York”).   “The Hands That Built America” falls into the “forgotten” bin.  Written for Martin Scorcese’s under-rated “Gangs of New York”, the song recalls the trials of immigrants and how they shaped the US and specifically New York.  The bridge contains some operatic singing from Bono – a theme he would explore on “Sometime You Can’t Make It On Your Own” a few years later.  The final verse contains references 9/11 – “it’s early fall, innocence dragged across a yellow line”.  One of U2’s best songs in the past decade.

Simon & Garfunkel – “The Boxer”

I could probably write a whole post on this song – which remains one of all time favorite songs.  Largely known for its chorus, “The Boxer” contains some of Simon’s best lyrics, a first person account of struggling to find his way in New York.  There’s also some pretty fantastic guitar picking courtesy of Fred Carter, Jr. Urban legend had suggested that the song is an attack on Bob Dylan, however Simon said that the song is mostly an autobiographical account.  If you’ve ever heard Dylan’s version released on Self Portrait – it’s one of the worst things ever put to record.

John Lennon – “New York City”

One of Lennon’s best “rockers” from his solo career.  With its fast-paced lyrics recalling tales of wandering around New York, in some ways its similar to “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, except less serious.  There’s also hilarious lyrics as well: “the pope smokes dope everyday”, and “up comes a preacher man singing, ‘God’s a red-herring in drag.'”.  Lennon seems pretty animated throughout the song and sums up his feeling about the city at the end with: “New York City – what a bad-ass city!”

 

 

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Top Ten Rock Band List From An Unknown Magazine

According to an article on radio station DC101, a “new magazine” put out a list of the list of the top 10 best bands ever.  Note that the name of the magazine wasn’t listed, and that the article doesn’t state whether it was a reader’s poll or a staff pick.  Either way, I’m pretty sure I won’t be reading this “new magazine”.  It’s a terrible list.

Here’s the list according to the article:

1. The Beatles

2. Led Zeppelin

3. Queen

4. The Cars

5. Heart

6. Green Day

7. Journey

8. Santana

9. Rolling Stones

10. Motley Crue

Personally, I think there’s only two bands which deserve to be there – and I’ll leave you to guess which ones.

What are your top 10 bands?

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