Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The 11 Best Cure Songs (post-Disintegration)

Instead of a rant or a little story that quietly refers to the music I'm blogging about...today, I have a question for you.

What is more influential...more memorable: an album or a band?

(example: Nirvana or Nevermind...Guns N Roses or Appetite for Destruction....The Cure or Disintegration)

The 11 Best Cure Songs (post-Disintegration)

1. Cut (Wish)
2. Trust (Wish)
3. Watching Me Fall (Bloodflowers)
4. Apart (Wish)
5. Bloodflowers (Bloodflowers)
6. Anniversary (The Cure)
7. Treasure (Wild Mood Swings)
8. From The Edge of a Deep Green Sea (Wish)
9. 39 (Bloodflowers)
10. Open (Wish)
11. The Promise (The Cure)

Buy The Cure's new album, 4:13 Dream...now!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The 11 Best Cure Albums

Used CD stores are killing the music industry. It's a bold statement. Most people want to blame greedy college kids in dorm rooms for bringing down the sincere music exec's salary by downloading millions of songs illegally. But there's one problem with that theory...which I've repeated many times...college kids don't have any money. They can't afford to buy albums anyway. If a kid has $20 in his pocket, he can only afford to buy 1 CD. Even though he may sit in his dorm room and download every seattle grunge rock album, that doesn't mean he had the money to buy that music. Granted, I'm not trying to say it's legal...it's still not legal...but that's not what is causing the downturn. The downturn is coming from the used CD stores.

Why you ask? Used CD stores put a value on a CD. In a regular music store...all music is the same list price...or relative of that. But in a used CD store...the prices fluxuate based on demand. The new Jakob Dylan album...though only a couple of months old was selling for a meager $4.99...while Bob Dylan's "Oh Mercy" was selling for $11.99. Both used. Bob's album is in fact selling for more "used" that it is new in most retail locations. Here's where the problem lies. Used CD stores are the way station between retailers and the internet. Though the money doesn't go to the muscians...they keep certain albums in circulation. Once the Used stores try manipulating the market for financial gain...it will just the customer to other forms of purchasing (or stealing) music. People go to Used CD stores for an alternative. But if the alternative is less satisfying than the retailer...it's going to turn off music buyers completely.

Here are the 11 Best Cure Albums:

1. Disintegration (1989)
2. Wish (1992)
3. Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me (1987)
4. Three Imaginary Boys/Boys Don't Cry (1979)
5. Head on The Door (1985)
6. Pornography (1982)
7. Bloodflowers (2000)
8. The Top (1984)
9. Faith (1981)
10. Seventeen Seconds (1980)
11. Wild Mood Swings (1996)

Pre-Order The Cure's new album...4:13 Dream.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The 11 Best Cure B-Sides

I often get emails why I don't include new songs on the "best of" lists. The whole point of the site is to take a look back at the bands (that I like) as they are on the cusp of a new stage of their career with a new release. Lots of times, it's hard to really feel where a "new" song deserves to fall until you've listened to it a few dozen times...then take a break from it...then come back to it. Usually, initial listens don't do the song justice. If you're really excited about a new release, you tend to fall in love rather quickly...wow, this is the greatest song ever!! But after the novelty wears off...I've found myself almost embarrassed that I liked the song to begin with. Other times...I've hated new songs only to find myself a few months later digging through my boxes of CDs because I can't a certain tune out of my head. Hope that makes sense.

Barring anymore delays...the new Cure album should hit stores next week. One of the best parts of the Cure's career has been their vast depth of B-sides. The Cure's b-sides have never been cute little additions to CD singles in hopes of getting you to shell out another 5 bucks for a song you already own. The Cure's b-sides are more like extensions of the album. Taking the sound of the band at that moment in time and expanding out....testing the waters in ways that sometimes were too limiting on the constrictive nature of the album. I honestly can't think of Disintegration or Wish without thinking about their b-sides. Maybe this is why the Cure chose to honor their b-sides with a proper box set release (Join the Dots). If you don't have it...get it.

The 11 Best Cure B-Sides

1. Harold and Joe (Mixed Up)
2. This Twilight Garden (Wish)
3. Burn (The Crow)
4. Scared As You (Wish)
5. Babble (Disintegration)
6. A Foolish Arrangement (Wish)
7. Fear of Ghosts (Disintegration)
8. Snow in the Summer (Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me)
9. This Morning (The Cure)
10. Out of Mind (Disintegration)
11. A Chain of Flowers (Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me)
11. Play (Wish)

(I honestly couldn't choose between the last two songs...I rarely do this...but it's a tie. Which one is your favorite?)

Buy the Cure's new album...4:13 Dream

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The 11 Best AC/DC Songs (Brian Johnson)

Buying Halloween costumes for kids is harder than buying a new car. Both take months of research. Looking up ideas online...getting expert's opinions...finding out which one is the least likely to spontaneously burst into flames. Once you decide on the make and model you want to be...then comes the legwork. Then comes the actual shopping. Going from store to store to find out if they first have the costume you're looking for...finding out if it's the right material...the right color...the right features...then finding out if it actually fits! And once you get all that done. Once you have all the ducks in a row, quacking...or screaming...take your pick...then you have to hope that after you purchase the "all sales final" costume that your kid doesn't go home and turn on the TV and decide she wants to be something else.

Here are the 11 Best AC/DC Songs (Brian Johnson):

1. You Shook Me All Night Long (Back In Black)
2. Back in Black (Back In Black)
3. Who Made Who (Who Made Who)
4. Jailbreak ('74 Jailbreak)
5. Thunderstruck (The Razor's Edge)
6. For Those About To Rock (For Those About to Rock)
7. Nervous Shakedown (Flick of the Switch)
8. Shoot To Thrill (Back In Black)
9. Evil Walks (For Those About to Rock)
10. Shot of Love (The Razor's Edge)
11. Hells Bells (Back In Black)

Buy AC/DC's new album Black Ice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The 11 Best Songs By The Dears

I'm not sure what to think of the Dears. To me, the band has always had more potential than punch. Maybe it was because I always confused them with TV on the Radio...or maybe it's that I'm always waiting for them to deliver that knock-out album slathered to the brim with sugar-coated Morrissey-influenced tunes. But they always fall short, shining through on a couple of songs then spending the rest of the album running around like a blind cameraman...without focus. I have yet to listen to their new album and am hesitant to do so. Usually I would run out and buy the album the day it comes out. (I always do this for bands I like...yeah, yeah...I still pay for most my music) But part of me is afraid that it will be a letdown like their other material. Until I make the decision whether the purchase will be worth the gamble on my wallet...

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Dears:

1. Lost in the Plot (No Cities Left)
2. Ballad of Human Kindness (Gang of Losers)
3. Bandwagoneers (Gang of Losers)
4. Summer of Protest (Protest EP)
5. Who Are You, Defenders of the Universe (No Cities Left)
6. Whites Only Party (Gang of Losers)
7. The Second Part (No Cities Left)
8. This is a Broadcast (End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story)
9. Howlin' (Gang of Losers B-Side)
10. Raise The Dead (Gang of Losers B-Side)
11. End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story (End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story)

Buy The Dears new album - MISSILES

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The 11 Best AC/DC Songs (Bon Scott)

Here's a question: Would Bon Scott be for or against digital downloads? Hard to imagine that guy was against anything as long as he could party. Part of me is skeptical of AC/DC's stance against digital downloading since they make "albums" not "singles" when they've made a career by having some of the most successful rock radio singles of all time. But their albums sales continue through the roof...so at the same time, it's hard to argue against them.

And I'm not about to tempt fate with some AC/DC mp3s...but they can't stop me from doing a list.

Here are the 11 Best AC/DC Songs (Bon Scott):

1. Ride On (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
2. Highway To Hell (Highway To Hell)
3. TNT (TNT)
4. Rock N Roll Damnation (Powerage)
5. If You Want Blood, You Got It (Highway To Hell)
6. Sin City (Powerage)
7. It's A Long Way to the Top (TNT)
8. Let There Be Rock (Let There Be Rock)
9. Up to My Neck In You (Powerage)
10. Big Balls (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
11. Whole Lotta Rosie (Let There Be Rock)

Buy Ac/Dc's new album...BLACK ICE...at midnight!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The 11 Best Cure Songs (Part One)

Let's be honest...if I were to do a true "best of" list for the Cure it would look something like this...

1. Disintegration (Disintegration)
2. Lovesong (Disintegration)
3. Prayers For Rain (Disintegration)
4. Same Deep Water As You (Disintegration)
5. Homesick (Disintegration)
6. Pictures of You (Disintegration)
7. Last Dance (Disintegration)
8. Plainsong (Disintegration)
9. Fascination Street (Disintegration)
10. Closedown (Disintegration)
11. Lullaby (Disintegration)

...so, the only fair way to do this was to split the Cure's career up into two categories...the Best Cure songs pre-Disintegration...and the Best Cure songs post-Disintegration...

Each era represents a sharply different sound for the band...the early material harkens back to a darker gothic style born out of the post-punk of London's underground...while the later material finds the band perfecting their pop sensibilities. This isn't to say that one is better than the other...but that they are just vastly different and each deserve their own list.

In the 70s, the Cure set off on their own path by layering their own music with emotional mood rather than the typical raw angry emotion of the waning punk scene. If you listen closely to Smith's vocals in the early days, you can hear the perpetual punk pang honed by Johnny Rotten, which sounds more like he was shouting orders rather than the crooning of their predecessors. In these days, even though he emulated some of his punk commrades, it was Smith's rich textured voice that set him apart...it was the emotion tank that was deep in the back of his voice that would eventually carry his music through 4 decades...spanning a longer musical career than any of his peers.

Though the Cure is best thought of for their dark brooding material, in all honesty, it's their more lively energetic songs (Primary, 10:15, How Beautiful), where the band truly excels.

Like the Travis disc...the Cure's new album has also been pushed a couple of weeks...so the second part of this list will surface around that time.

Here are the 11 Best Cure Songs (pre-Disintegration)

1. A Night Like This (Head on the Door)
2. A Forest (Seventeen Seconds)
3. 10:15 Saturday Night (Boys Don't Cry)
4. How Beautiful You Are (Kiss Me)
5. Primary (Faith)
6. Like Cockatoos (Kiss Me)
7. Kyoto Song (Head on the Door)
8. Siamese Twins (Pornography)
9. Charlotte Sometimes (Charlotte Sometimes)
10. Killing an Arab (Boys Don't Cry)
11. Just Like Heaven (Kiss Me)

Pre-Order the Cure's new album...4:13 Dream to be released on October 28th.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The 111 Best Bob Dylan Songs:

It's my 300th post. Bob Dylan is releasing his 10,000th album today. In celebration...

Here are the 111 Best Bob Dylan Songs:

1. Hurricane (Desire)
2. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
3. My Back Pages (Another Side of Bob Dylan)
4. It Ain't Me Babe (Another Side of Bob Dylan)
5. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bringing It All Back Home)
6. Lay, Lady, Lay (Nashville Skyline)
7. Knockin' On Heaven's Door (Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid)
8. Wedding Song (Planet Waves)
9. Masters of War (Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
10. Things Have Changed (Wonder Boys Soundtrack)
11. Ballad of a Thin Man (Highway 61 Revisited)
12. A Hard Rain's A-Going Fall (Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
13. Like a Rolling Stone (Highway 61 Revisited)
14. Tombstone Blues (Highway 61 Revisited)
15. With God On Our Side (The Times They Are A-Changin')
16. Precious Angel (Slow Train Coming)
17. Stuck Inside of Memphis with the Mobile Blues (Blonde on Blonde)
18. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (Bob Dylan)
19. Desolation Row (Highway 61 Revisited)
20. I Want You (Blonde on Blonde)
21. The Times They Are A-Changin' (The Times They Are A-Changin')
22. Tangled Up In Blue (Blood on the Tracks)
23. You Ain't Going Nowhere (Basement Tapes)
24. Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest (John Wesley Harding)
25. Bob Dylan's Dream (Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
26. Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands (Blonde on Blonde)
27. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (The Times They Are A-Changin')
28. Only A Pawn in Their Game (The Times They Are A-Changin')
29. Absolutely Sweet Marie (Blonde on Blonde)
30. Simple Twist of Fate (Blood on the Tracks)
31. North Country Blues (The Times They Are A-Changin')
32. Love Sick (Time Out of Mind)
33. All Along the Watchtower (John Wesley Harding)
34. You're No Good (Bob Dylan)
35. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bringing It All Back Home)
36. Tonight, I'll Be Staying Here With You (Nashville Skyline)
37. Blowin' In The Wind (Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
38. Girl From North Country (Freewheelin' Bob Dylan/Nashville Skyline)
39. Maggie's Farm (Bringing It All Back Home)
40. Visions of Johanna (Blonde on Blonde)
41. He Was a Friend Of Mine (Bootleg Series Volume 1)
42. Most of the Time (Oh, Mercy)
43. One More Night (Nashville Skyline)
44. Just Like A Woman (Blonde on Blonde)
45. Dignity (Greatest Hits 3)
46. Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts (Blood on the Tracks)
47. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream (Bringing It All Back Home)
48. Boots of Spanish Leather (The Times They Are A-Changin')
49. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry (Highway 61 Revisited)
50. Most Likely You'll go Your Way and I'll Go Mine (Biograph)
51. Going To Alcapulco (Basement Tapes)
52. Love Minus Zero/No Limit (Bringing It All Back Home)
53. Jokerman (Infidels)
54. Not Dark Yet (Time Out of Mind)
55. Political World (Oh, Mercy)
56. Highway 61 Revisited (Highway 61 Revisited)
57. Mississippi (Love and Theft)
58. Nobody 'Cept You (Bootleg Series Volume 2)
59. Fixin' To Die (Bob Dylan)
60. One More Cup of Coffee (Desire)
61. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Blood on the Tracks)
62. Going Going Gone (Planet Waves)
63. The Ballad of Hollis Brown (The Times They Are A-Changin')
64. Shelter From The Storm (Blood on the Tracks)
65. Honest With Me (Love and Theft)
66. Lily of the West (Dylan)
67. Changing of the Guards (Street Legal)
68. When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky (Empire Burlesque)
69. Quinn The Eskimo (Self Portrait)
70. All I Really Want To Do (Another Side of Bob Dylan)
71. I'll Remember You (Empire Burlesque)
72. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (Bob Dylan)
73. Million Dollar Bash (Basement Tapes)
74. Highlands (Time Out of Mind)
75. In Search of Little Sadie (Self Portrait)
76. Forever Young (Planet Waves)
77. Tell Me That It Isn't True (Nashville Skyline)
78. Just Like Tom Thumb Blues (Highway 61 Revisited)
79. She Belongs to Me (Bringing It All Back Home)
80. Highway 51 Blues (Bob Dylan)
81. You're a Big Girl Now (Blood on the Tracks)
82. Covenant Woman (Saved)
83. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (John Wesley Harding)
84. From A Buick 6 (Highway 61 Revisited)
85. Sweetheart Like You (Infidels)
86. Idiot Wind (Blood on the Tracks)
87. Standing In The Doorway (Time Out of Mind)
88. As I Went Out One Morning (John Wesley Harding)
89. Mozambique (Desire)
90. To Ramona (Another Side of Bob Dylan)
91. If You See Her, Say Hello (Blood on the Tracks)
92. On A Night Like This (Planet Waves)
93. Sara (Desire)
94. Blackjack Davey (Good As I Been To You)
95. Thunder On the Mountain (Modern Times)
96. Chimes of Freedom (Another Side of Bob Dylan)
97. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (Love and Theft)
98. Emotionally Yours (Empire Burlesque)
99. Series of Dreams (Bootleg Series Volume 3)
100. Tears of Rage (Basement Tapes)
101. If Not for You (New Morning)
102. Talkin' World War III Blues (Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
103. Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (Biograph)
104. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) - (Bringing It All Back Home)
105. World Gone Wrong (World Gone Wrong)
106. Days of 49 (Self Portrait)
107. I Shall Be Free (Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
108. I Threw It All Away (Nashville Skyline)
109. Caribbean Wind (Biograph)
110. Buckets of Rain (Blood on the Tracks)
111. Ain't Talkin' (Modern Times)
Buy Dylan new addition to the Bootleg series...Voulme 8. This guy has more bootleg albums than people have actual albums...crazy.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The 11 Best Songs by The Streets

Female politicians are like the white rappers of hip-hop. It doesn't matter how talented (or talent-less) they are, other rappers of the genre always look down on them with disdain...as if they don't belong. Even the Beastie Boys who are as integral to bringing hip-hop to the main stream as anyone (even though they did it in their own rather boiterous, obtuse way) are by many people not considered rappers. Many rappers protested the VH-1 Hip-Hop Honors when the Beasties were honored. But like any closed clubs...eventually the walls come down. Mike Skinner and the Streets have already broken boundaries with their 2nd album, a concept album, which had seldom seen in the hip-hop world (only Mr. Lif's I Phantom comes to mind). But now Skinner reveals that this 4th release is actually the 4th chapter in a 5 album series, which is supposed to tell an entire story when all combined. Take that Pink Floyd.

The 11 Best Songs by The Streets:

1. Dry Your Eyes (A Grand Don't Come For Free)
2. Blinded By The Lights (A Grand Don't Come For Free)
3. Never Went To Church (The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living)
4. It's Too Late (Original Pirate Material)
5. Has It Come To This? (Original Pirate Material)
6. Fit But You Know It (A Grand Don't Come For Free)
7. Could Well Be In (A Grand Don't Come For Free)
8. Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living (The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living)
9. Pranging Out (The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living)
10. Don't Mug Yourself (Original Pirate Material)
11. Empty Cans (A Grand Don't Come For Free)

Buy The Streets new album...Everything Is Borrowed.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The 11 Best Murs Songs:

Indie Rock was created in the 90s...though the punk movement really started it in the 80s, it didn't get it's own name tag until alternative rock went mainstream...then they needed something to describe the alternative to the alternative. Indie rock became the triple AAA league of rock and roll. Many bands paid their dues on small labels, generating a fanbase on the college charts before jumping to the radio syndicate. Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Modest Mouse, The White Stripes, Tool, Soundgarden, Green Day, The Offspring, Death Cab For Cutie all started on the indie rock scene. Earning clout from pretentious college rock music directors (I should know, I used to be one), was the equivalent of taking the prom queen to the homecoming dance. It was unmistakable cool credit and meant an instant ticket to the big dance.

Now, rap music faces the same problems that rock faced. The mainstream has grown dull and generic. The underground scene is growing a crop of unbelievably talented rappers, who have been praised for years by the college radio music directors. Will these highly respected rappers lose credibility when jumping to the mainstream...will they be accused of "selling out?" Or will they revolutionize a fading genre in desperate need of changing.

Murs, who is possibly one of the best rappers out there today makes his maor label debut on Sony (of all places) this week. Let's hope we see more artists like Murs getting their due...and less L'il Wayne.

The 11 Best Murs Songs:

1. The Pain (3:16 the 9th Edition)
2. Varsity Blues (Varsity Blues)
3. Yesterday & Today (Murray's Law)
4. Walk Like a Man (3:16 the 9th Edition)
5. Deepest Blue (Varsity Blues)
6. The Night Before (The End of The Beginning)
7. 3:16 (3:16 the 9th Edition)
8. Dreamchaser (Murray's Law)
9. Brotherly Love (The End of The Beginning)
10. Silly Girl (Murray's Law)
11. Say Anything (F'Real)

Buy Murs new album, Murs For President. He may be the best candidate running!!