The Two-Minute Man
Welcome to Post Rock's first weekly feature. I'm not much for radio, but I tune in to 94.7 The Globe on my two-minute drives to and from Starbucks each morning. So I figured at the end of each week I'd rank the 10 songs I heard Weasel spin, offer up a bit of commentary and let you tell me how very wrong my rankings are. YouTube video links will be provided for each song so you can listen for yourself. The first week presents a real battle for the top spot, with two of the greatest songs of all time going head to head.
1. "Gimme Shelter" - The Rolling Stones
Kind of eerie how the apocalyptic lyrics penned back in 1971 are just as relevant - if not more so - today as they were back in the Vietnam era. Mary Clayton's backing vocals take this song to heights that few rock songs have ever achieved, Keef's riff is one of his most memorable (that's saying something) and Mick's howl is at its most evil. Truly an all-time classic.
2. "A Day in the Life" - The Beatles
Don't take this to mean I think the Stones are better than the Beatles, although it's really a lot closer than most people want to believe. This is another all-time classic, of course. What can I say that hasn't been said about this song? So I'll just say that next time you give this one a spin, listen to Ringo's sparkling rolls and fills. We'll save the Best Drummer Ever debate for another day, but Ringo never, ever gets enough credit for making the Beatles as great as they were.
3. "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" - Elvis Costello
Best part of this Nick Lowe-penned tune? That descending bassline at the beginning of the chorus. How hasn't Ted Leo covered this song yet?
4. "Never Tear Us Apart" - INXS
"Kick" was my absolute favorite album in the world when I was 7 years old. The first cassette I ever wore out. And this three-minute ballad still holds up pretty well; it has an almost doo-wop quality to it, especially when the backing vocals kick in towards the end. It reminded me of the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" when I heard it this morning and even the videos have some similarities.
5. "Vertigo" - U2
Major deductions for making us endure about three months of lame "1, 2, 3, 14" jokes. It's a good rock song, doubtful it will make too many Top 20 U2 Songs lists, but it's a pretty impressive feat for a band 25 years into its career.
6. "No Rain" - Blind Melon
What a blast from the past! Bee girl, buzz clips, Alternative Nation! C'mon, that opening riff is timeless. And the late Shannon Hoon's voice is ... only mildly irritating if heard once every four years. Sort of like James Carville.
7. "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" - Georgia Satellites
I can't hear this song without thinking of the great "Goin South" compilation, which you've certainly seen an ad for if you watch cable TV after midnight. It features all of your favorite southern rock tunes - "Sweet Home Alabama," "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," "Tuff Enuff," etc. - but is most memorable for its album cover, which features a very busty lady wearing daisy dukes. And her hands are suggestively pointing, well, down south. The song is your standard bar-band blues-rock but you have to admit it's a great vocal outing by Dan Baird.
8. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" - Green Day
I realize that bands mature and have to change their sounds and move forward artistically and all that. But I sure liked Green Day a whole lot better when they played snappy, snotty songs about self-pleasuring instead of heavy-handed wannabe arena rock like this.
9. "Soul Meets Body" - Death Cab For Cutie
The Globe plays this song all the time. All. The. Time. It used to be when I thought of the Globe I thought: Tom Petty. Now I think: Tom Petty and "Soul Meets Body." It's an old Seth Cohen favorite but that doesn't count for much in my book anymore. "Cause you're the only song I want to hear / A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere." That might work on 16-year-old girls, and while I probably love "Gossip Girl" even more than they do, but it doesn't do much for me. Pretty voice, though.
10. "Real Wild Child"- Iggy Pop
This song is a pretty good encapsulation of why I simply cannot listen to most music made in the '80s. Instruments are not meant to sound like that. Well, I guess the synths are, and that's a problem in and of itself. The "'80s sheen." as I like to call it, is in full effect here. This song is pretty much unlistenable.
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