The Two-Minute Man, Episodes 16 and 17: Supersize Edition
It's a mega-edition of the Two-Minute Man as we go 20 deep after missing last week. I think we'll probably wrap up this grand experiment after another three weeks. [How about two? -- Ed.] I just don't know how many more Tom Petty anecdotes I can come up with. Perhaps a new station will be spotlighted, perhaps there will be a new Friday feature altogether. There will definitely be no TMM next week as I'll be in Austin, apparently seeing Bo Bice among others.
1. "Lola" - The Kinks
This song is every kind of perfect you could ever want. It's catchy as can be, gets bigger and better as it goes on, tells a good story and has great sing-along sections. During my 20-some minute walk across Maryland's campus (Elkton quad to Susquehanna Hall is a trek), I would sometimes just listen to this song 5 or 6 times in a row.
3. "Watching the Detectives" - Elvis Costello
There's something appealingly sinister about this one, mostly in the piercing organ and sharp blasts of guitar that break through the reggae beat rhythm.
4. "Rock the Casbah" - The Clash
So it's no "White Man in Hammersmith Palais," but really, what is? During my brief "punk" phase (which mostly consisted of reading books about the late-'70s and not actually being a punk) I was pretty disdainful of the "Combat Rock" stuff but in retrospect it's just good pop music that still manages to be somewhat subversive.
5. "Dancing With Myself" - Billy Idol
When it comes to songs about self-pleasure, this one, uh, beats out "Turning Japanese" and "She Bop," but can't hang with the best of the bunch: "Pictures of Lily," "Pump It Up," "Blister in the Sun" and "Longview."
6. "Personal Jesus" - Depeche Mode
Sometimes I feel the urge to get the cover of this single blown up to poster size and hang it on my apartment wall. That's my kind of narcissism.
7."Heart of Glass" - Blondie
I guess Blondie got accused of being sellouts and cashing in on the disco craze when this came out, but is it not the best Blondie song?
8. "Graceland" - Paul Simon
For a split second I thought Vampire Weekend made the huge leap to mainstream rock radio. But nope, it was the real thing. No wonder this is one of those albums that everybody loves. It just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
9. "Bizarre Love Triangle" - New Order
If you go to an '80s dance night and the DJ doesn't play this song, you're allowed to ask for half of your money back.
10. "Found Out About You" - Gin Blossoms
At the risk of losing the credibility I already apparently lost when I made some Big Head Todd/Toad the Wet Sprocket joke a couple of weeks ago, this song and "Hey Jealousy" remain unimpeachable jangle-rock classics.
Bottom ten after the jump...
11. "I Need to Know" - Tom Petty
Maybe the most punk of Petty's hits, with it's simple, chugging riff and brief run time. It sounds like something that would have been on an early album by the Saints.
12. "Walk of Life" - Dire Straits
A little Cajun-flavor sure spices things up. You don't normally equate Dire Straits with fun, but it works for this song.
13. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" - The Police
Even a devoted disdainer of almost all things Sting (that's me) can't deny the poppy peppiness of this tune.
14. "Times Like These" - Foo Fighters
A Foo Fighters edition of Discographically Speaking wouldn't be so much fun. It might as well be called Chronologically Speaking. Because it just keeps getting a little worse every time. This one's from a few albums back, so it's still OK.
15. "Red Red Wine" - UB40
In my realm of musical expertise my knowledge of toasting is pretty far down the list. Still, I'm fairly certain that "Red red wine you make me feel so fine/You keep me rocking all of the time," is some of the lamest toasting ever.
16. "Two Princes" - Spin Doctors
As some chatters pointed out earlier this week, not including this song on the Most Annoying '90s Alt-Rock Hit Poll was a bit of an oversight. This song was definitely more annoying than "Semi-Charmed Life," even though the band itself was 100 times less annoying.
17. "Shout" - Tears for Fears
Ladies and gentlemen, the 1980s!
18. "Luka" - Suzanne Vega
Not that this song is any good, but it's worth remembering that there was a time when female artists like her, Tracy Chapman and Sinead O'Connor were making what you could call "meaningful" music that was also extremely popular. Not so much these days.
19. "Why" - Annie Lennox
I think my grandmother really likes this song. So, y'know, it has that going for it.
20. "Snow (Hey Oh)" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
This band will finally go away some day soon, right? Right?
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