Sunday, October 19, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Ok Go

Years ago, MTV ruled the world.  Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, and Guns N Roses didn't just make videos of themselves playing in a room...they made mini-movies.  They made creative pieces of art.  MTV wasn't just a creative outlet for musicians, it was a visual experience.  You could watch and enjoy as much as you enjoyed listening to the music.  Many times the videos were better than the songs they accompanied.  MTV is not what it used to be.  I'm not even sure what it is anymore.  I'm not sure it knows either.  Youtube and Vevo have taken up the video reigns with lackluster results.  Bands still make videos.  But they have more in common with the early days of MTV than they do with the true creative explosion.  All of them...except one band:  Ok Go.  Ok Go makes videos as if no one ever told them that MTV doesn't exist anymore.  Their videos are so spectacular that Michael Jackson offed himself because he couldn't compete with their excellence.  (Too soon?)  Ok Go's videos are so amazing, they may honestly be the best band at making videos of all time.  If music videos are going to fade away into obscurity, at least Ok Go is going to take us out with a huge bang.
Here are the 11 Best Videos By OkGo:
  1. This Too Shall Pass (Rube Goldberg) -  (Of The Blue Colour of the Sky)
  2. Writing's On The Wall (Hungry Ghosts)
  3. End Love  (Of The Blue Colour of the Sky)
  4. Here It Goes Again (Oh No)
  5. Needing/Getting  (Of The Blue Colour of the Sky)
  6. Last Leaf  (Of The Blue Colour of the Sky)
  7. All Is Lost  (Of The Blue Colour of the Sky)
  8. Muppet Theme Song (The Green Album)
  9. WTF? (Of The Blue Colour of the Sky)
  10. White Knuckles  (Of The Blue Colour of the Sky)
  11. Primary Colors (Sesame Street)
Buy OKGo's new album, Hungry Ghosts...now!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By The Juan Maclean

When it comes to weeks like this when there are a lot of good releases, I get torn between doing lists for the big artists like the Weezers and the Stevie Nicks...and the smaller lesser known artists like the Juan Macleans and the Caribous.  The big artists draw the biggest audience...but the smaller artists add some diversity to the site.  If you want to see Weezers best songs I've already done that multiple times.  Just click on an old list and explore.  If you want to know what Juan's best songs are, well...you can't.  Until now. Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Juan Maclean:
  1. One Day (The Future Will Come)
  2. Give Me Every Little Thing (Less Than Human)
  3. Happy House (The Future Will Come)
  4. Find A Way (Everybody Get Close)
  5. The Station (The Future Will Come)
  6. Deviant Device (Everybody Get Close)
  7. The Future Will Come (The Future Will Come)
  8. Simple Life (The Future Will Come)
  9. Feels So Good (Everybody Get Close)
  10. Crush The Liberation (Less Than Human)
  11. Tonight (The Future Will Come)
Buy The Juan Maclean's new album, In A Dream...now!!  

Friday, October 10, 2014

The 11 Best Stevie Nicks Team-Ups

We all have our favorites.  We all have artists who we follow.  We all have artists who we can listen to no matter the album, whether it's considered their best or their worst.  For me that artist is Tom Petty.  He has been one of my favorites for over 25 years.  He also may be the only artist among my favorites I've never seen live.   That changed this week.  After going through a deeply frustrating personal set-back, one of my best friends came through out of the blue with a free ticket to his show in Anaheim.  It could not have come at a better time, and it was exactly what I needed.  Tom Petty...40 years a rock n roll star...put on one of the best rock shows I have ever seen.   It was big, personal, and filled with every riff I ever wanted to hear out of Petty's mouth or Campbell's guitar.  Today, I have gratitude that when we get knocked down that our friends are there to pick us up. One of Petty's best rock friends is the one and only Stevie Nicks.  Many people don't know that Nicks almost became a member of the Heartbreakers in the 80s.  Nicks may have had a massive career in dysfunctional family of Fleetwood Mac but her solo outings were ripe with huge duets and guests that made her equally respected on her own.  And with Mike Campbell sneaking into every one of her solo albums, it's safe to say that she might as well be a Heartbreaker. Here are the 11 Best Stevie Nicks Team-Ups:
  1. Stand Back w/ Prince (The Wild Heart)
  2. Stop Draggn' My Heart Around w/ Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (Bella Donna)
  3. Whenever I Call You Friend w/ Kenny Loggins (Nightwatch)
  4. I Will Run To You w/ Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (The Wild Heart)
  5. Leather and Lace w/ Don Henley (Bella Donna)
  6. Magnet And Steel w/ Walter Egan (Not Shy)
  7. You Can't Fix This w/ Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffe (Reel To Reel)
  8. Too Far From Texas w/ Natalie Maines (Trouble in Shangri-La)
  9. Sorcerer w/ Marilyn Martin (Streets of Fire)
  10. Everybody Loves You w/ Dave Stewart (In Your Dreams)
  11. Twisted w/ Lindsey Buckingham (Twister Soundtrack)
Buy Stevie Nicks new album, 24 Karat Gold...now!!  

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Delta Spirit

You can't have a road trip without a soundtrack.  I have taken plenty of day-long car rides with friends and by myself.  A great soundtrack can make the difference between an adventure and torture.  About a year ago, I headed up the coast to Ojai for the weekend.  I brought over 100 different albums with me because you never know what mood you'll be in.  Less than 15 minutes into the journey, we ran into horrible traffic.  Living in LA, you get used to the parking lot-like freeways but when you go out of town, you hope that's one of the main things you can escape.  The problem is every Angeleno leaves LA for the exact same reason, creating the very same perfect storm you're escaping.  My friend who came with me kept a clear head as we eased down the freeway at a steady 3 mph.  My friend suggested we change up the music.  From the east coast hip-hop we were playing my friend pushed for music with a country vibe.  We settled in on the Delta Spirit.  It was the smartest choice we could have made.  From the first howl of Matthew Vasquez's raspy voice on Empty House, the mood soften, and my outlook brightened.  The insanely slow crawl became secondary to the atmosphere created by the music.  The road trip once again became a place I wanted to be.  My friend's suggestion was the right one because once we found the right music our journey became clear.  Within minutes, traffic cleared up and we were on our way.  That's the power of music. Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Delta Spirit:
  1. Empty House (Delta Spirit)
  2. Streetwalker (I Think I've Found It)
  3. Bushwick Blues (History From Below)
  4. California (Delta Spirit)
  5. Idaho (Delta Spirit)
  6. Ode To Sunshine (Ode To Sunshine)
  7. Ballad of Vitaly (History From Below)
  8. Gimme Some Motivation (I Think I've Found It)
  9. Strange Vine (Ode To Sunshine)
  10. Golden State (History From Below)
  11. Tear It Up (Delta Spirit)
Buy Delta Spirit's new album, Into The Wide...now!!  

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The 11 Best Songs From Death From Above 1979's Hiatus

I'm still in shock and I'm not sure I totally believe it...but the legendary, mythical punk rock band from the 00s, Death From Above 1979, has returned with a new album.  This wasn't supposed to happen.  It's been 10 years since their landmark debut in 2004.  Like a bolt lightning when they appeared...they vanished just as suddenly without a trace.  Sort of.  DFA1979, the thundering duo of Sebastien Grainger and  had gone their separate ways.  There were rumors of infighting, creative differences, even Fleetwood Mac like jealousy of sorts.  We knew as much as they wanted to tell us.  The one thing that was certain...new music was not coming anytime soon.  Us fans dealt with the shock of the news like a death.  It was over and it was time to move on.  Though the next album was a full decade away, the two songwriters of the band were still keeping busy making music.  They formed new bands, bringing the undertones of that unique DFA1979 sound with them.  This is a look at the decade between DFA1979's debut and their sophomore album, selecting the best tunes that came out of that era. Here are the 11 Best Songs From Death From Above 1979's hiatus:
  1. Love Can Be So Mean (Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains)
  2. Going With You (Sebastien Grainger - Yours To Discover)
  3. Easy Love (MSTRKRFT - The Looks)
  4. Heartbreaker (MSTRKRFT - Fist of God)
  5. Who Do We Care For? (Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains)
  6. American Names (Sebastien Grainger - American Names)
  7. Renegade Silence (The Rhythm Method - Renegade Silence)
  8. It Ain't Love (MSTRKRFT - Fist of God)
  9. The Streets Are Still A Mess (Sebastien Grainger - Yours To Discover)
  10. Bangkok Hilton (Bad Tits - Garbage Night)
  11. Ways To Come Home (Sebastien Grainger - American Names)
Buy Death From Above 1979's comeback album, The Physical World...now!!!  

Friday, October 03, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Prince of the 80s

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate this artist known as Prince.  There are very few artists who have been as prolific as Prince.  This week, he just released his 33rd and 34th albums at the young age of 56.  Surprisingly, the 2000s were the decade with the most Prince album releases, especially if you count two albums for the double release of Lotusflow3r and MPLsound.  Even though the 90s were populated by more albums, it's the 80s that we are here to go crazy about.  Let's go back to a time when people partied like the apocalypse, raspberrry was a color, and dance floors rained in purple. Here are the 11 Best Songs By Prince of the 80s:
  1. Let's Go Crazy (Purple Rain)
  2. When You Were Mine (Dirty Mind)
  3. Little Red Corvette (1999)
  4. 1999 (1999)
  5. I Would Die For U (Purple Rain)
  6. When Doves Cry (Purple Rain)
  7. Controversy (Controversy)
  8. Raspberry Beret (Around The World in a Day)
  9. Darling Nikki (Purple Rain)
  10. Uptown (Dirty Mind)
  11. I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Sign 'O' The Times)
Buy Prince's new albums, Plectrumelectrum and Art Official Age...now!!  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Guns N Roses (featuring Slash)

Being the third week of the NFL season, despite all the crazy parody in the games, all anyone can talk about is abuse.  Players in the NFL are no longer just being suspended for games but they are being kicked out of the NFL...indefinitely.  It's a bold move and draws a giant line in the sand.  The NFL is shouting out loud that they will no longer tolerate players in their league behaving like uncultured cavemen.  If you're going to play in this league, then you must have an image to uphold on and off the field.  These players only hit each other when they are wearing huge pads and helmets, any of them who thinks it's okay to hit an unprotected woman is a coward and a disgrace. But I have a problem with this.  My problem is that this has gone on way too long.  The NFL, NBA, MLB have all turned the other way.  I'm writing this while watching the Pittsburg Steelers play on Sunday night football, led by Ben Roethlisberger.  Why do his "legal" missteps get swept under the rug?  The guy was basically found guilty of rape.  Even the Oscars and Grammys have ignored some of the worst perpetrators.  With Chris Brown releasing a heralded album this week...have we all forgotten that he beat the living shit out Rihanna?  The Grammys did when they gave him the featured spot to perform on their telecast.  Just hope you all remember that when you do music shopping this week and you're looking for new tunes. Here are the 11 Best Songs By Guns N Roses (featuring Slash):
  1. Civil War (Use Your Illusion II)
  2. Rocket Queen (Appetite For Destruction)
  3. Sweet Child O Mine (Appetite For Destruction)
  4. Mr. Brownstone (Appetite For Destruction)
  5. Estranged (Use Your Illusion II)
  6. You Could Be Mine (Use Your Illusion II)
  7. Paradise City (Appetite For Destruction)
  8. Nightrain (Appetite For Destruction)
  9. Coma (Use Your Illusion I)
  10. Locomotive (Use Your Illusion II)
  11. Patience (Lies)
Buy Slash's new solo album, World On Fire...now!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Ryan Adams And The Cardinals

With such a big week of releases and the awesome return for a few big artists...who has the time to write about all of them.   I'm doing my best to catch up...so here's another post from the book...with one alteration.  In the book, I only rank the best songs by an artist between the years 2000-2009.  But Ryan Adams added a couple more songs to the Cardinals catalog in 2010...so I thought I'd throw them in for fun. _______________________________________________________________ Obsession with Ryan Adams does not have to do with the music he makes as much as it has to do with the amount of music he makes.  Over the course of the decade, this heartbreaker has released twelve official albums, half a dozen EPs, and over fifty non-album tracks.  He has had six unreleased albums leak to the internet along with a 5-volume, 25-disc, 350-song live bootleg collection.  Listening to Ryan Adams’ music isn’t as exciting as trying to collect it all.  Ryan Adams fans don’t discuss what our favorite album is, we discuss:  what unreleased material do you have?  This list focuses only on his songs with the Cardinals.  I mean, who has time to include all his music? Fun Fact:  Besides performing solo, Ryan Adams has a glam metal band called Orion, a punk band called The Finger, a death metal band called Werewolph, a hardcore-punk band called The Shit and a hip-hop persona, called DJ Reggie.  The 11 Best Songs by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals:
  1. If I Am A Stranger (Cold Roses)
  2. Don't Fail Me Now (Jacksonville City Nights)
  3. How Do You Keep Love Alive (Cold Roses)
  4. Lovely And Blue (III/IV)
  5. Sweet Illusions (Cold Roses)
  6. Always On My Mind (Jacksonville City Nights B-Side)
  7. Majik (Cardinology)
  8. P.S. (III/IV)
  9. These Girls (Easy Tiger)
  10. Let It Ride (Cold Roses)
  11. The Hardest Part (Jacksonville City Nights)
Buy Ryan Adams new album, Ryan Adams...now!!!   Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now!  (featuring Ryan Adams and the Cardinals) Buy this book or everyone you know will die.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The 11 Best U2 Songs of The 2000s

I had originally planned to just do a post using my U2 chapter from my book.  Yet, with all the controversy surrounding the new U2 release, I felt like I needed to comment.  If you don't know, U2 released their new album this week (Songs of Innoncence) by giving it away to everyone who had an Itunes account.  Certainly, an innovative idea in a world where hearing new music has been fractured and overly complicated.  You would think this would be met with a fanfare from fans...instead...that's not necessarily the case.  One of the details of getting this new album was that everyone who had an itunes account, had the album automatically added to their accounts, whether they wanted it or not.  This is where the outrage originates.  Critics (meaning anyone who has a Twitter account) have been slamming the band for forcing the album upon them without their permission.  It's been called an "invasion of privacy" and an extreme example of "corporate harassment" as well as "creepy," "sinister," and outright "evil."  Let's just start here. It's fucking music album...that you get for free.  If you don't like it...don't listen to it.  Everyone complains about corporations gouging customers...then when they give something away...people continue to complain.  Stop whining...everyone.  Getting free music on a platform owned by Apple is not an invasion of privacy...go talk to some Holocaust survivors about what real invasion of privacy is.  I don't want 90% of the terrible TV shows I get via my digital antenna...I'm not going to storm ABC and make them take Grey's Anatomy off the air (yes, it's still on).  Grow up...get a backbone...and shut the fuck up.  There are kids in part of this world who have to dodge landmines when walking to school.  Get some fucking perspective. And it's U2.  One of the greatest rock bands of all time.  You may not like their music...and honesty, that's okay.  But if Apple is going to give us an album at least they picked a band with a respectable pedigree.  Would you rather it be Mylie Cyrus? Free U2 album is the ultimate first world problem. In honor of U2, here is my article from my book. _____________________________________________________________ When making U2's best song list for their 2009 release, No Line On The Horizon, I became inspired to compile this book.  I realized that an act like U2, with a career that spans decades, cannot be categorized into one giant list. There is no comparison of U2's material of the '80s to the music they are making now. Don't get me wrong, there is some great material still coming out of the band. You just cannot compare music being made in the '00s by guys in their forties to music being made in the '80s by guys in their twenties. The circumstances are different. The societies are different. The trends are different.  The worlds are different.  In the '80s, they were struggling musicians. Today, they are multi-millionaires, shaping the world.  They are not the same band. This is what makes U2 so magnificent.  Has there ever been a band that has had as much continued success as the Irish lads? The Rolling Stones? Springsteen? Dylan? It is a short list. Many artists who manage to stay around for multiple decades struggle to sell new albums.  U2 has done something that no one else has ever accomplished... they remain trendy. Most artists cannot remain trendy for three years, let alone thirty.  That in itself is a major accomplishment. I firmly believed that their work in the 2000s deserved its own list - its own moment of splendor.  From that realization, this book was born. The 11 Best U2 Songs of the '00s: 
  1. Walk On (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
  2. City of Blinding Lights (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
  3. Magnificent (No Line on the Horizon)
  4. Beautiful Day (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
  5. Moment of Surrender (No Line on the Horizon)
  6. Miracle Drug (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
  7. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
  8. Stateless (The Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack)
  9. New York (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
  10. The Ground Beneath Your Feet (The Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack)
  11. Electrical Storm (Best of 1990 - 2000)
Fun Fact: U2 has had the same line-up for their entire recording career.   Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now!  (featuring U2) Buy this book or everyone you know will die.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The 11 Best Albums this Week

I never do this...but holy crap there's a ton of great new music coming out this week.  This honestly might the biggest releases of music this year...if not the decade.   Yeah it's that huge.  Interpol's best album since their sophomore release, Tricky's best solo album since his debut, Ryan Adams first album in 3 years, U2's first album in five years (which came out of nowhere...and is FREE), Death From Above 1979's reunion, Karen O's first solo album, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin's new solo offering, and four lads from Liverpool.  Why are you still reading...get listening.
Here are the 11 Best Releases This Week:
  1. U2 - Songs of Innocence
  2. Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World
  3. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams
  4. Interpol - El Pintor
  5. Robert Plant - lullaby
  6. Tricky - Adrian Thaws
  7. Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers
  8. Karen O - Crush Songs
  9. Delta Spirit - Into the Wide
  10. Banks - Goddess
  11. The Beatles - Vinyl Mono Masters
Along with new releases from classic legends: Loudon Wainwright III, Pere Ubu, The Grateful Dead, Gladys Knight, Sergio Mendes, and Chick Corea