Tag Archives: Rock music

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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A Whole Week of Elliott Smith: Coast to Coast

“Coast to Coast” is kind of unexpected as the first song on the  album From a Basement on the Hill that was originally intended to be his next release after Figure 8.  Released in 2004, it ended up becoming a posthumous album, after he died from a stab wounds to the heart. 

“Coast to Coast” is a straight ahead rock song. It  has got big fuzzy, distorted guitars – and of course the multi-layered vocals which were one of his trademarks.  Smith also had his friend Nelson Gary recite some poetry explaining to Under the Radar in 2003:

“I asked this friend of mine to make up something he could say as fast as he could in fifteen minutes about people healing themselves or being unable to heal themselves. While he’s saying this thing there is a main vocal that goes over that.”

The song begins softly with what appears to sound like a distorted orchestra – something that would have been suited to a latter-day Beatles’ song.  And then the actual music kicks in, and the central riff pulls in you.  It’s chunky and distorted – confusing the listener, a theme which also appears in the lyrics.    

 Smith was known for his love of the Fab Four, even claiming that The White Album was the reason that he started making music in the first place.  Even the repeated non-verbal “ahhhhs” beginning at the 2:38 mark are very Lennon-esque.    The song even ends with piano gently playing while numerous voices speak over each other in the beginning – linking together a standard “rock” song with avant-garde effects.  It’s as if Smith was trying to combine the things that he loved about the Beatles in one song – the conventional song, the open heart lyrics, and the experimental.

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