Monday, November 27, 2006

The 11 Best U2 Songs (80s)

Could U2 be the most successful band of all time? 25-years after their inception the band is still the number concert act in the world. They dominate the chart with every new release. They receive Grammy nominations like they were food stamps. Critics love them. Even President of the United States rocks out to U2. What other band has survived as a dominant musical force as long as U2? The Stones are still making music and selling out concerts but none of their new CDs are welcomed with the popular fanfare of a U2 release. Dylan is still a critical force but only Time Out of Mind has turned multi-platinum numbers in the past 20 years. U2 is one of a kind. And here is a look at the decade that made them the premiere act they are today.

The 11 Best U2 Songs (80s):

1. New Year's Day (War)
2. With Or Without You (The Joshua Tree)
3. Pride (The Unforgettable Fire)
4. Like A Song... (War)
5. Where The Streets Have No Name (The Joshua Tree)
6. I Will Follow (Boy)
7. All I Want Is You (Rattle and Hum)
8. Stories For Boys (Boy)
9. Sunday Bloody Sunday (War)
10. Out of Control (Boy)
11t. The Unforgettable Fire (The Unforgettable Fire)
11t. Unchained Melody (Rattle and Hum B-Side) MP3

PS. Before you blast with all the songs I missed...just remember to add a song means I have to remove one.

PPS. Yes, it's a tie for 11th...but there's no way I could exclude one of those songs.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The 11 Best U2 Songs (90s)

The 90s were a time of anti-establishment. As many of us fought conformity by wearing flannel, drinking Starbucks, and listening to Nirvana...U2 went on a journey of self. Who were they really? Rock or dance? Bono or Memphisto? Lemons or pop? And did we ever get an answer?

As I relistened to U2's more elusive years, the most common reaction to the music was..."oh yeah, I remember that song." That's not to say the music was forgettable. It was just...not that memorable. But with a bit of perspective from their modern sound, some the songs shine through
with more than a strength of nostaglia. Not their strongest work (well, later in the decade) but not in any way their worst.

Here are the 11 Best U2 Songs (90s):

1. One (Achtung Baby)
2. Until the End of the World (Achtung Baby)
3. The Ground Beneath Your Feet (Million Dollar Hotel)
4. Do You Feel Loved? (Pop)
5. Dirty Day (Zooropa)
6. Ultraviolet (Achtung Baby)
7. Stateless (Million Dollar Hotel)
8. Last Night On Earth (Pop)
9. Paint It Black (Achtung Baby B-Side) MP3
10. The First Time (Zooropa)
11. Gone (Pop)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 11 Best U2 Songs (00s)

I have this friend Max, who I've been friends with since high school. We were never great friends in high school but hung out a lot and knocked a few ones back from time-to-time. Oddly, Max and I stayed in touch through and there...and even now, 15 years later, he's one of my only high school friends I'm still in regular contact with and I can call a real close friend.

To me U2 is that kind of a friend. They were never at the top of my list as one of my favorite bands but they have always remained as an artist that I listen to on a regular basis. After 20 years of listening to them, I can honestly say they are one of my favorites of all time.

So when it came to making a top 11 on their 27-year career, it was next to impossible. How do you compare War-era U2 with The Fly or ATYCLB? The thing is you can't, which is apparent in their new 18 song greatest hits compilation. What the label doesn't realize is that U2 is 3 different bands: the politcal rockers of the 80s, the dance-lounge artist of the 90s, and the corporate rock band of the 00s. They were on the right track with the 2-disc decade compilations until they screwed it up throwing ATYCLB in with the 90s. But hey, when was the last time a label ever did anything right? We'll try to amend that here with part 1 of a 3-day look at U2's career.

Here are the 11 Best U2 songs from the 2000s:

1. Walk On (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
2. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
3. Beautiful Day (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
4. Electrical Storm (1990-200)
5. City of Blinding Lights (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
6. Yahweh (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
7. Vertigo (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
8. Are You Gonna Wait Forever? (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb B-side)
9. Always (All That You Can't Leave Behind B-side) MP3
10. When I Look At The World (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
11. Summer Rain (All That You Can't Leave Behind B-side)

Monday, November 20, 2006

The 11 Best Depeche Mode Songs

In 1989, I worked for my high school's slide show presentation club. Yeah, it was cheesy but there was this really cute girl in the club I was trying to get friendly with. She turned out to be a crazy religious fanatic and now has seven kids and lives on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. But that's beside the point. At the end of the year, the club put on a presentation, featuring slides of all the students and activities of the school, set to music of the day. At midnight, 12 hours before we were set to display the presentation to the world, we sat at an impasse. What was to be our final song? On one side, a bunch of us wanted Depeche Mode's "Somebody." The rest of the club wanted Skid Row's "I Remember You." The teacher made the final decision. He chose Skid Row. His reasoning? He said when we look back 10 years from one will know who Depeche Mode is. But Skid Row will still be around. Well, it's 15 years later and though Sebastian Bach's biggest audience is from his guest appearances on Gilmore Girls...Skid Row is a thing of the past. DM on the other hand, is considered one of the best artists of the 80s, if not one of the best alternative acts of all time. So much for the intelligence of high school teachers.

This week saw the release of a 1-disc career-spanding disc from DM. Though filled with some its most famous radio singles...the CD is glaringly missing some of their most classic tracks. No "Somebody"...the most played track from the 80s. No "Policy of Truth" the 4th more downloaded song from itunes and the highest billboard track for the band. No "Blasphemous Rumors." And they picked "See You" over "Dreaming of Me?" I guess there is no accounting for taste.

So here are the 11 Best Depeche Mode tracks:

1. Enjoy The Silence (Violator)
2. But Not Tonight (Black Celebration)
3. Photogrpahic (Speak and Spell)
4. Somebody (Some Great Reward)
5. Never Let Me Down (Music For The Masses)
6. It's No Good (Ultra)
7. Sea of Sin (Violator B-Side) MP3
8. Set Me Free (Master and Servant B-Side)
9. People Are People (Some Great Reward)
10. Policy of Truth (Violator)
11. Just Can't Get Enough (Speak and Spell)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The 11 Best Foo Fighters B-Sides

Finding a good B-Side of your favorite band is like finding $20 in the pocket of an old pair of jeans. It's especially grand when you can show off by playing it for your fellow fans. There's nothing like making other audiophiles jealous. Piggy-backing yesterday's blog, here are...

The 11 Best Foo Fighters B-Sides:

1. Down in the Park (The Colour and the Shape B-Side) MP3
2. Baker Street (The Colour and the Shape B-Side)
3. Fraternity (There Is Nothing Left To Lose B-Side)
4. Winnebago (Foo Fighters B-Side)
5. Darling Nikki (One By One B-Side)
6. Win or Lose (Out Cold Soundtrack)
7. How Do You Do? (Touch Soundtrack)
8. A320 (Godzilla Soundtrack)
9. How I Miss You (Foo Fighters B-Side)
10. Dear Lover (Scream 2 Soundtrack)
11. Gas Chamber (BBC Evening Session)

PS. Butterflies and I'm Alone Again are great songs but since they were never officially released, they were excluded from consideration.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The 11 Best Foo Fighters Songs

After the Foo Fighters' last album, I decided to swear off the band. Not only was it an over-inflated ego-serving piece of forgettable music...they put a download safeguard on the CD so I couldn't load it onto my computer. I'm not surprised bands with no talent throw these CD safeguards on their albums since they will never make much money...but Dave Grohl has more money than most government lobbyists. Is he really that worried about losing a few hundred dollars to some starving fans who can't afford to go buy his album? Or did he realize the album was so bad, he knew no one would pay for the album once they found out how much it sucked? It's pretty much a toss-up which is the right answer.

This past week, the band released a live acoustic set of many of their hits and (in my opinion) misses. I tried to listen to it...but fell asleep. It's unfortunate that a once great band has fallen so far...but that doesn't mean they didn't have great material in their arsenal. So...

Here are The 11 Best Foo Fighters Songs:

1. I'll Stick Around (Foo Fighters) MP3
2. Learn To Fly (There Is Nothing Left To Lose)
3. Come Back (One By One)
4. Everlong (The Colour and the Shape)
5. New Way Home (The Colour and the Shape)
6. This Is A Call (Foo Fighters)
7. Low (One By One)
8. Headwires (There Is Nothing Left To Lose)
9. For All the Cows (Foo Fighters)
10. Halo (One By One)
11. Monkey Wrench (The Colour and the Shape)

PS. These are all album tracks, B-sides will follow tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The 11 Best Pavement Songs (NON-Album Tracks)

A wise man once said (that was me) that you can judge a band by their B-sides. A band with strong B-sides has a long career ahead of themselves. A band with throwaway tracks doesn't have the creative ability to stand up to the test of time. Pavement is a prime example of a band whose B-Sides, at many times, rival their album tracks. Most bands would kill to have A-sides on par with some of Pavement's B-Sides. In fact, most bands would kill to have as many A-Sides as Pavement does B-Sides. Pavement has close to 75 officially released non-album tracks. Take that Morrissey!

So to continue the celebration of the expanded edition of Pavement's Wowee Zowee, here are...

The 11 Best Pavement Songs (NON-Album Tracks):

1. Westie Can Drum (Brighten The Corners B-Side) MP3
2. Texas Never Whispers (Watery, Domestic)
3. The Killing Moon (What's Up Matador?)
4. Harness Your Hopes (Terror Twilight B-Side)
5. Unseen Power of the Picket Fence (No Alternative)
6. Easily Fooled (Wowee Zowee B-Side)
7. Sue Me Jack (Slanted and Enchanted B-Side)
8. Roll With The Wind (Terror Twilight B-Side)
9. Painted Soldiers (Brain Candy)
10. Raft (Crooked Crooked Rain B-Side)
11. Shoot The Singer (Watery, Domestic)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The 11 Best Pavement Songs (Album Tracks)

Okay, I will start off by saying this might be one of the hardest lists I've ever had to do. This was like having a lifeboat with 11 seats on a sinking ship filled with hundreds of little children. No matter what songs I picked, at least a dozen excellent songs were going to be excluded. So, I'm splitting the list in two. Today's list will be album tracks only. Tomorrow's list will feature non-album tracks and B-sides.

That said, today sees the re-release of Pavement's Wowee Zowee with about 700 extra tracks, including b-sides, demos, outtakes, live tracks, and church sermans. Upon it's original release, 11 years ago, it was seen as an unfocused mish-mosh of experimental mumbo jumbo...but like a good French Bordeaux, the album has aged well. Not the masterpiece in the vein of Crooked Crooked Rain or Slanted & Enchanted...but an underrated classic that sounds more relevent today than it did in its time.

To celebrate it's release, here are the The 11 Best Pavement Songs (Album Tracks):

1. Range Life (Crooked Crooked Rain)
2. In The Mouth of A Desert (Slanted & Enchanted)
3. Stereo (Brighten The Corners)
4. Elevate Me Later (Crooked Crooked Rain)
5. Trigger Cut (Slanted & Enchanted)
6. Stop Breathin' (Crooked Crooked Rain)
7. Unfair (Crooked Crooked Rain)
8. Grounded (Wowee Zowee)
9. Here (Slanted & Enchanted)
10. Anne Don't Cry (Terror Twilight)
11. Transport Is Arranged (Brighten The Corners)

Friday, November 03, 2006

The 11 Best Mega Songs (of the past 20 years)

Before Metallica's Black album, the band planned to do the unthinkable for their new album. They were preparing to record one song. One 70-minute long song. But with the forseeable non-existant radio play for the song...they opted to go for the more commercial route...and the rest is history. But bands are constantly playing with song structure, seeing how far they can stretch it. Out of this experimentation has been born the "mega-song." Any song that is longer than 10-minutes is considered a "mega-song"....9:59 may not apply. In recent years, the attempt at recording mega-songs has grown. Some bands like Tool and Mars Volta make a living out of it. Sometimes the result is amazing...other times it just takes up space on your ipod. On the new Decembrists' album, the band not only took a stab at recording a "mega-song," they recorded 2 "mega-songs." Both are exceptional musical pieces from an otherwise traditional band. Green Day who perfected the 3-minute pop song have two songs clocking over 9 minutes on their latest record...they're not mega-songs but Green Day, they might as well be operatic movements. Now songs lasting longer than 10 minutes have been around a long time, but only recently have they become more than just an opportunity to jam unlimited as many classic rockers were guilty is today's list...(this list is recorded songs only...not live nor remixes)

The 11 Best Mega Songs (of the past 20 years)

1. Three Days - Jane's Addiction (12:06) MP3
2. Coma - Guns N Roses (10:13)
3. This Corrosion - Sisters of Mercy (10:53)
4. Let's Not Shit Ourselves - Bright Eyes (10:06)
5. 10,000 Days - Tool (11:13)
6. B-Boy Bouillabaisse - The Beastie Boys (12:33)
7. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore - The Mars Volta (27:29)
8. The Island - The Decembrists (12:26)
9. Goodbye Sky Harbor - Jimmy Eat World (16:11)
10. When The Fool Becomes A King - The Polyphonic Spree (10:37)
11. Highlands - Bob Dylan (16:30)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The 11 Best Strokes Songs

Back from vacation...and ready to keep up the listings.

You know a band has made it when other people besides the lead singer are putting out solo albums. Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, John Frusciante, even Ace Frehley have solo albums...and who is the newest member to join this illustrious group? None other than Strokes guitarist, Albert Hammond Jr. How much does Albert vary from his signature Strokes' sound? Not much considering Julian Casablancas guest vocals on some songs. That said...if you like the Strokes than this pick up is a must.

Here are the 11 Best Strokes Songs:

1. 12:51 (Room on Fire)
2. Heart in a Cage (First Impressions of Earth)
3. Reptilia (Room on Fire)
4. Ize of the World (First Impressions of Earth)
5. Hard To Explain (Is This It?)
6. You Only Live Once (First Impressions of Earth)
7. Last Nite (Is This It?)
8. Electricityscape (First Impressions of Earth)
9. Someday (Is This It?)
10. Hawaii (FIOE B-Side)
11. New York City Cops (ITI B-Side)