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The Lifespan Of A Pop Song

6 Nov

To follow Satirical Thoughts, hit us up on Twitter (BACK TO TEN FOLLOWERS) and Facebook.  

Upon the release of 1989 by Taylor Swift, I see my timeline split in two.  One side, OH MY GOD!, the other side; “pshh, let me know when REAL music comes out”.

Both sides of this argument are horrifically annoying, but since all I do online is complain and beg for you to pay attention to me; I have no leg to stand on.  But nonetheless, as Shake It Off is officially about to be bumped off the radio for the next MegaSwift song; it’s time for a chart.

Well not a chart but my blog, my words.  If you don’t like it, hit the back button.

Here’s the lifespan of a pop song.

Release

The song is released with a front loaded, probably payola-aided release.  Usually radio stations do this bullshit where they go “let us know if you REALLY LIKE THIS NEW AMERICAN HI FI SONG” as if you have a choice of staving off the inevitable.  At this point, you will see friends on social media linking it and demanding you listen to it.

Surge

Now that everyone has heard it, radio really starts to pick up on it.  It takes like ten weeks apparently for a pop song to hit #1 which I find impossible but that’s the deal.  I have no facts to prove that, so you just are going to have to believe me on this one.  But now, even if you ignored the whole release party; you can somewhat sound out the melody.

On social media you will see statuses such as “just cleaned my room to Shake It Off!”.  You’ll hear it at parties and there will always be that weird mashup with an Iggy Azalea song that every college town bar plays.  I don’t know why that happens.

Viral

There will always be a viral lip sync to every popular song.  “HEY GET IT FRAT GUYS KNOW THE LYRICS TO LET IT GO!  ITS FUNNY BECAUSE ITS KIND OF NOT MASCULINE BUT THEY ARE MEN AND ARE REBUKING GENDER ROLES.”.  It’s always like….a D1 baseball or swimming team too.

Then Jimmy Fallon will dance to it on his show and do some weird bit with it that the Roots have to suffer through.

This is around the time the diehards start going “ugh this song is overplayed now!” and “I hate radio nowadays!” like radio is now all of a sudden overplaying songs.

Casual people like me start to appreciate this song at this point.

Weary

Everyone fucking hates everything about it.  This song is not played anymore.  No one references it anymore except people who are not up-to-date on things use it as “songs these days suck because there isn’t a guitar” or something.

Nostalgia

A few months later, and for the rest of your life, this song will be used in shitty segments like “THROWBACK JAMZ” and played when the alumni come down to college towns to relive the glory days; not like I ever do that.

Ten Songs I’m Ashamed I Once Liked

25 Oct

To follow Satirical Thoughts, hit us up on Twitter (at TEN followers now, watch out fourth guy who was in New Edition) and Facebook.  

Today while cleaning out my room for a good ole’ fashioned garage sale (we sold one thing by the way, a Limp Bizkit CD), I found some old relics from my preteen-to-early teen years.  You know things that are important to a growing boy’s voyage into manhood like Penthouse issues, family members autopsy reports and Jim Thome Phillies jerseys.

I knew that some of this shit needed to be sold ASAP but I had a bit of a nostalgia trip.  This of course got me to thinking about what I loved and hated about being a 7th-to-9th grader.  Like a fine wine, some memories end up getting better while like a unrefridgerated Four Loko; some get way worse.

I thought about my music tastes back then and I decided that I have to come clean on some things.  I’m very open-minded when it comes to music.  I’m down with Vampire Weekend, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, New Order, the Strokes, David Bowie, Television and ‘Ye.  I’m part-wannabe hipster, part-douche, part-WASP.  So really just full douche.  At times though, I do tend to have a “holier than ‘thou” attitude regarding other people’s music tastes.  If someone tries to combat me, I make sure they don’t get a word in edgewise and just start yelling so they stop.  I never lose arguments.

But I gotta get some things off of my chest.  The songs that are about to be listed aged worse than (you know what too easy saying Renee Zellweger) hmm…., Whose Line Is It Anyway episodes.

I’m not going to link these songs to YouTube clips because fuck that. I’m just going to admit this flat out.

10. Good Charlotte – The Anthem

I was a big Good Charlotte fan in 6th grade.  Huge actually.  I think when you went on my MySpace page, The Young and the Hopeless immediately blasted while your screen froze waiting for the page to load.  I did a project on them even.

Good Charlotte was perfect for me.  They wore mascara and nothing but black clothing, however they sang pop songs so I didn’t have to worry about dressing that way to fit in.  Good Charlotte was punk for kids whose mothers bought them polos and cargo pants that zipped off into shorts.  Popular enough to not be a weird kid for liking them (for some reason there’s always a 12-year old who loves the Misfits) but “edgy” enough to say “I don’t listen to solo pop stars”.

However, just as I got into them; I got bored.  I was getting closer to high school age, and wasn’t as angst-y (or wannabe angsty) anymore.  I just had no friends which I was cool with (laughs while unfriending people who won’t notice).  Anyway, this song just sounds so cheesy when you consider the turn Good Charlotte took.  “I don’t wanna be youuu”, :proceeds to date Hilary Duff underage then Nicole Ritchie:.  I cringe listening to this, I only keep it on my iTunes as a reminder that life can be worse.

9. Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf

For some reason I loved this song.  I never watched American Idol, but I heard a cover by David Cook and loved this song so much I DOWNLOADED THAT too.  I do enjoy cheesy 80s songs, but this one just sounds so….bad.

The reason why this is on the list too is because frankly, I still listen to this on the rare occasion.  If you love Hot Fuss by the Killers, as I do, then you almost have to appreciate this.  But anyone who claims to say that this is a great song (“better than the shit the radio plays today”) would’ve HATED this song when it came out and called it “typical mainstream shit”.  I hate people like that.

8. Aerosmith – Cryin’

I’ve grown to really hate Aerosmith.  Aerosmith seems like a bad parody of “Dad Rock” and Steven Tyler dresses like a guy who Googled “How To Be A Rock Star” and mixed it with “How To Look Like A Transylvanian Sex Offender”.  He’s the junior varsity crossbreed of Mick Jagger and gym teachers who play Rock Band.

Anyway, this song was big on my playlist and one point and the Limewire version I downloaded was about as quiet as a drone attack (author’s note:  I don’t know if they are quiet or loud so let’s just say that my version is fucking loud).  It’s a cheesy rock ballad with a big guitar solo that is supposed to make this song sound good.  I can picture a Dad just going to his too-old to be driving around together to the supermarket son “this part just SHREDS”.

7. blink-182 – Adam’s Song

I LOVED blink-182 until the last year or so when I just felt like I outgrew them.  Don’t get me wrong, Dammit and What’s My Age Again are some of my favorite songs and I still love Feelin’ This.  I’m not going to pretend I never listen to them because they are still important to me.

One song that got old quick though is Adam’s Song.  It’s subject matter is sad, yes I can’t deny that, but there are some horrific lines in this.  “Remember the time that I spilled the cup of apple juice in the hall” which is just fucking stupid until the whole “please tell Mom this is not her fault” makes you feel horrible for hating it.

Adam’s Song had to be the result of the record label going, “okay guys getting a little too old for diarrhea and streaking; be a little bit deeper” and Mark Hoppus thinking its either talk about getting drunk or teenage suicide.  I love Mark Hoppus, who might appear later on this list, but this is something we could’ve done without.

6. Busted – What I Go To School For

For reasons I’ll never figure out, I got into the old Jonas Brothers/blink-182 copycat boyband Busted from Britain.  I can’t explain how, in 2009 of all years, I stumbled upon them but I listened to that shit daily.  Some songs are legitimate catchy earworms, everything else is “you are 17 and should not be listening to music associated with 10-year old girls”.

I guess I just thought since I was the only one who listened to them or heard of them, I was cooler.  I can’t tell you why I did the things I do.

5. Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmastime

This was my favorite Christmas song growing up.  Now each year, I hate it more and more.  I love synths, I am actually OK with Christmas music as since I’m an atheist; that’s what the holiday means to me.  I’m aware how little sense that made.  I just wanted to tell you that I NEVER PUT CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS.

Anyway, I love the Beatles but it was either this song or Imagine and I’ve already discussed how much I hate Imagine.  Christmas songs, much like soundtrack songs and novelty ones; should never be included but I find this to be a disservice to Sir Paul.  It’s chorus is mind-blowingly annoying and its devoid of any charm.  I don’t care if you make a Christmas song, I think everyone should (even Jewish artists) but why does the backing synths sound like they were copy and pasted at the last minute?

4. The Police – Every Breath You Take

For some reason people are still whipping out the whole “YOU KNOW ITS ABOUT A STALKER” fun fact like no one in the fucking world doesn’t know that.  In twenty years, someone will hear Pumped Up Kicks and go “ya know, its about a school shooting listen to the lyrics”. Some people should self-immolate.

I’m not sure how I feel about The Police.  I think they are cool in a way, even if Sting tries to turn every song into an extended hiccup, but I loved this song, now I hate it.  I’m ashamed that this was legally downloaded and used in school projects.  Its just not good.  I’m surprised people thought this was a love song because these lyrics aren’t exactly metaphorical.  It’s pretty cut and dry what Sting is singing about.

It also gave us Puffy rapping over it.

3. Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’

Obvious choice.  Again though, its not the fact that everyone knows this song that kills me its how much I loved it.  Songs like this are solely made for television finales and the last song at the bar before I go home alone.  Everyone sings it, and then you don’t hear it again.

But I played the shit out of this song.  No excuses.

2. Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline

Holy shit, I played this song way too much on my iTunes.  This is in the same boat as Don’t Stop Believin’ and this is almost worse.  This song sucks.  It is about a three-year old Caroline Kennedy.  It’s made by Neil Diamond.  Boston LOVES this song.

That’s a lethal combination.  Boston should not like anything that I like except Rob Gronkowski and the Kennedy family.  I even hate Mark Wahlberg, and I wasn’t even sure he was from Boston; it just sounded like someone with a Boston accent trying to pronounce Mac Walker. I know now this.  Neil Diamond is a shitty version of everyone from Elvis to Tom Petty to Billie Joel to anyone.  He’s horrible.  You should not like him.  If you are over 50, get back into the Grateful Dead or Jimmy Buffet.  Neil Diamond is totally stuck in the character of Neil Diamond by the way.  I bet he BELIEVES he’s Neil Diamond.

But I played this song, yelled BAH BAH BAH by myself in my room and clicked repeat.  Joke is on me.

1. Kanye West – Gold Digger

I respect that Kanye is proud of his early work.  But every time I hear it, I just think of popped collars and the sagging cargo pants fad.  I think of skateboarding and the word “mad” as a synonym for “very”.

Gold Digger was the perfect “first real rap song I bought” for a guy like me.  But since I’m a dumbass, I genuinely thought that the lyric was “broke a broke”.  When I first found out that it wasn’t, I quickly took my headphones off and looked around on the track team bus to make sure no one heard that word.  I was convinced I was breaking some suburban rule.

Kanye West has ventured into such cool shit the past six years, that anyone who says “I only listen to his old stuff” are people who think its funny to share the whole “Kim Kardashian has been married to more people than people who died of Ebola” meme.  Then pretend they don’t know who the Kardashians are.  If you can actually listen to College Dropout or Late Registration in entirety; then you need to buy Yeezus and lock yourself into a room for 48 hours.

Also, artists trying to parody current pop culture are always about three months too late.

 

Album Review: Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes

13 Oct

Guess what?  We welcome back a prior contributor, Jamil Larkins, who has blessed us with a new piece.  Radiohead frontman and human strobelight Thom Yorke released a new album and if you were to listen to NME and Pitchfork (probably, didn’t look it up) it’s better than fornication with egret.  Pitchfork definitely refers to sex as that right?  Or coital continuum.  Fuck that site.

Anyway, before we continue let’s solicit your views and make you follow all of the accounts associated with this so you get to be incited and earn insight.  To follow Jamil on Twitter, click on this hyperlink and his social media imprint of StraightFreshNet.  To follow Satirical Thoughts, hit us up on Twitter (almost at TEN followers now, watch out Oran Juice Jones) and Facebook.  Take it away Jamil.

__________

Snap Judgments:

For a long time, Radiohead stood as one of the few enigmas left in the overall spectrum of modern music. They were to be felt and to be heard, by those only who could grasp what their messages were (those people being Computer Science & Engineering majors at your school who get no play outside of their PSN).

Radiohead’s cult following of fans have carried them into a seemingly canonical place in electronic music history. (“Electronic music history” is a phrase I hope I never have to ever type or say out loud ever again.) To Radiohead fans, Thom Yorke is the messiah, sent to Earth to save mortals from listening to the radio or selling-out. To the casual music fan, ask them what their favorite Radiohead song is and they’ll say “Creep” and ask them what their second favorite song is and they’ll reply “oh I like them all”. It would be easy to simply minimize Radiohead as boring emo-nerd computer rock for people who don’t like fun, but who said I was above taking the easy way out?

Anyway, Thom Yorke just released a brand new album out of the (computer) blue. I really want to make immature nerd jokes about how much of a wing ding he is for releasing an album through BitTorrent, but at least Thom Yorke has enough self awareness to realize that the only people who still care about his music are the people smart enough to navigate and purchase an album through BitTorrent.

My unedited first impressions of Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes:

I listened to 10 seconds before I shut it off because I just saw this on Twitter and I know it will make me happy before I enter a melancholic matrix of emotions.

K, here goes.

A BRAIN IN A BOTTLE

Very non-threatening house track, safe for kids of all ages. This is what’s playing in your car radio in “Midnight Club” when you’re in-between missions and just exploring the city. Would be a decent intro if Yorke didn’t sing on it.

This wasn’t special but I didn’t hate it and probably would prefer an instrumental version so I can dance to it while I’m cleaning the house.

 

GUESS AGAIN!

Eh, this isn’t bad. Yorke really is not caring about whether you can understand him clearly or not, so don’t expect to hum along to any of these joints. You might hear this in a Scion commercial in 2015.

 

INTERFERENCE

This feels more like an interlude, which is probably the last thing this album needs right now considering I’m close to kicking my feet up and snoozing. Coffee break is looming.

 

THE MOTHER LODE

Why sing at all? Remove the vocals, and you’ll have the perfect soundtrack for the new Tekken 8 game on Xbox One. More synth and more drum loops. Beginning to think Yorke recorded this whole album’s vocals through a collect call like Hell Rell’s old Diplomat skits.

If not for anything so far, atmospheric is probably the best word I can single out to describe the sounds.

 

TRUTH RAY

Every song so far has been ruined by Yorke jumping on and singing at a horrible moment.

*Taps foot, nods head*

“Oh hey this beat is nice, I think I might like thi…”

*Yorke sings*

“Ugh”

-scene-

THERE IS NO ICE (FOR MY DRINK)

This is cool. Actually, this would be cool if it was only like, say, a minute long. 7 minutes of ~vibes~ can become a bit overwhelming, and I had to fight the urge to skip ahead through this song. Throughout, there are some nicely chopped Swizz Beatz-esque vocals that appear in the background that I thought someone was going to start rapping over. I was wrong.

I think this was the song playing in that Japanese strip club Bill Murray was at in Lost In Translation. Iono tho.

 

PINK SECTION

Just spent 5 minutes trying to figure out what this was because I thought I missed it after first listen. I’m listening to a YouTube rip and it’s all one track because you got me confused if you thought I was buying this off BitTorrent. This is another faux-interlude, setting an actually very fitting natural feel for hopefully a strong final track. Wind whistles and heavy piano chords always mean business.

NOSE GROWS SOME

This was my favorite song because I knew it was close to the end, so I listened a little more carefully and put Ree Drummond on the Food Network on mute to hear more clearly.

 

It makes me want to dance like this:

 

The completely unconventional method of this album’s release overshadowed the actual content, which has led to a very solid amount of hype. Yorke, along with Radiohead, have been at the forefront of artists’ rights and distribution tactics in the digital age. I don’t think Yorke fumbled the opportunity to put out a classic album through this method, as this was the first sample test for maybe something bigger (a new Radiohead album?) to come.

 

Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes was, at times, a luxurious and emotional roller-coaster ride through synths and drums. This was like a really beautifully plated dish of food, but every bite tasted like college-ruled notebook paper. The surprise BitTorrent release and the novelty of presentation took away from the underwhelming and very typically boring and digitally depressing content.

 

I need more coffee. I’m going to go listen to Migos.

 

Eddie Cheddar’s Top 40 Takedown: Taylor Swift – Shake It Off

10 Oct

We have another guest blogger who has chosen the option of remaining anonymous and I gave him the pseudonym Eddie Cheddar.  Eddie is not a fan of current pop music and has decided to take his talents to Satirical Thoughts and offer his opinions on some of the current hot hits of today.  This week’s takedown is “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift; a song this guy has on his iPod (come to homecoming in Kutztown Taylor!).  As always, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  Take it away Eddie

To start things off, I’ll give you all a little information about myself.  I was asked by a friend of mine (editor’s note: that’s me!) to write a column about the most popular pop song in America at the time.  Now anyone who knows me knows just how much I hate current pop hits so I’m basically here to tell you all why that song that’s stuck in your head fucking sucks.  Because they all do.  Anyways let’s take a look at the first song I’ve been requested to listen to.

This week’s top pop song- “Shake It Off” 

Artist- Taylor Swift

Album- 1989

  • JESUS CHRIST NO!!!!  Anything but that.  Oh man I can’t believe the amount of untalented singing / brain damage I’m about to take just for you people.  Oh well let’s start this and try to get it over with as quick as possible.
  • :05 into the video- There is no way I am making it through this.  For some reason there is a bunch of ballerinas all stretching, BUT WAIT, is that Taylor Swift I see in the distance?
  • :06- YES IT IS!!!!  Right now every white girl just took a big sip of their pumpkin spiced latte.
  • :18- Taylor goes from being the lone rebel ballerina not doing what she is supposed to suddenly looking like she’s in a music video with Flavor Flav.
  • :22- Would you look at those sweet dance moves.
  • :23- That guy in the background does NOT look happy with T. Swift at all.
    Picture 35
  • :27- Back to the ballerinas again.
  • :38- Taylor Swift leading her crew of ballerinas with what I guess she assumes is sexy dance moves.  HIDE THE CHILDREN FROM THIS!!!
  • :45- “Cause the haters gonna hate, hate, hate on me”.  Wow I can tell how super creative and deep her music is.  Barf.  Little word of advice for T. Swift.  “If you have a lot of haters, then they’re not haters, they’re right”.- Daniel Tosh
  • :50- “I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake”.  What does shaking solve?  Come on.
  • 1:00- Back to ballerina style T. Swift.  Why can’t musicians just pick one outfit like they use to.  I personally think it’s because the music industry got secretly taken over by BIG FASHION (thanks Drew Magary for that!) years ago.  Anyway, continue.
  • 1:05- Now she is dressed like Lady Gaga.  What the hell now you have to steal other people’s clothes?
  • 1:10- More sweet dance moves from people in the background who shall remain nameless.
  • 1:12- T. Swift doing her best to pretend like she knows how to dance to disco music.
  • 1:16- Wow that guys arms turn into like snakes there for a second.
  • 1:30- Now she is dressed like a backup dancer on one of Nicki Minaj’s awful music videos.  And was that Julia Roberts from Pretty Women I just saw.  Because that lady looked exactly like her except much older.
    Picture 36
  • 1:35- There are currently 6 women in the background twerking and then T. Swift doing something in the middle.
  • 1:45- Now she’s finally back to wearing all black and playing music with her band.  By the way that band knows they are going nowhere with their careers.  I’m willing to bet they were a heavy metal band at one point but are now stuck doing this bullshit.  The music industry is a cruel world.
  • 1:51- Back to being a Flavor Flav add on for Taylor.
  • 2:01- Just straight up twerking at this point.  Is she even trying anymore at this point or has she given up already?
  • 2:04- And right back to Nicki Minaj clothing.
  • 2:10- Now for some reason she is crawling through a tunnel of twerking ladies looking completely shocked like she had no idea this was part of HER music video.
    Picture 39
  • 2:18-Oh now she’s a ribbon dancer.  So creative on her part.  SOMEBODY GET THIS DAMN WOMAN A GRAMMY ALREADY.
  • 2:26- Now she is singing in Monotone to somehow make her voice even more annoying than before.
  • 2:45- T. Swift just got thrown into the air dressed in a cheerleader’s uniform.  Is it wrong if I hope this happens to her?
  • 2:46- She didn’t.
  • 2:50- Now Taylor is hitting the ground with her hands.  I think she may have just finally lost it.  I’m willing to say she will end up in drug rehab at some point in her near future.
    Picture 38
  • 3:00- ONLY A MINUTE LEFT!!!  I can do this.
  • 3:05- Never mind.  I’m pausing the video to go down to the gun store and purchase a firearm.  After waiting the required days to get it I can put an end to myself and this awfulness.
  • Gun store is closed already.  I guess I’ll finish this video instead.
  • 3:12- Now everyone is shaking themselves.  Who could have seen that coming?
  • 3:15- Swift dancing with some random guy.  HUSSY
    Picture 37
  • 3:26-Just realize that they have a person of every race dancing with T. Swift.  That’s some good diversity for you.  I’LL TAKE BACK THE HUSSY STATEMEANT FOR NOW!!
  • 3:37- More random awful dancing.
  • 3:48- OH NO. T. Swift can’t hold the pose!
  • 3:50- OH it’s all good because she nodded to the camera.  Gotta love that dedication right there.
  • 4:00- Video is finally over thank god.

 

Here is the section where I will play you a song that came out in the more recent years that I’m sure most people haven’t heard of.  It’s my way of being able to relax after having to listen to that music FOR YOU GOOD PEOPLE!!!

This week’s song- “Voices” by Alice In Chains (2013)

 

 

Katy Perry To Perform Super Bowl Halftime Show

10 Oct

Good news out of the NFL.  Pop star Katy Perry (you may have heard of her) will be performing the Super Bowl Halftime show this February.

This is good news because it continues to prove, in my opinion, that the NFL is ready to embrace women again.  Women and the NFL have a pretty complicated relationship lately, and that dates back to Janet Jackson’s “indecent exposure” (which I rated as “decent” but I guess the FCC is uncomfortable with non-white nudity unlike me who is kind of well-known amongst my friends as an equal rights warrior) about a decade ago.

Afterwards the NFL picked a variety of artists that proved they were the type of guys that likes to wear bands T-shirts (as long as they kept them on).  We got to see Bruce Springsteen and the rural junior varsity equivalent of him (Tom Petty) which was short on time but high on American spirit (this was before we elected a Kenyan to the White House and enjoyed America for what it the founding fathers wanted).

Then to appease the British for going into Iraq with us (and to help support a future London franchise) we got Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and the Who; which ranked as boring, exciting and upsetting in that order.  It was very smart of the NFL to tab the Who because it warned NFL players who were considering toughening it out through another year of concussions to hang it up before you ended up singing Baba O’Reilly and not knowing quite why.

Of course though the NFL, always looking to market to the younger demographic, chose Madonna which was about as close to royalty as America can get (unless the Commander-in-Chief named Barack Hussein Obama who will remain nameless) and then we got the Black Eyed Peas.

The Black Eyed Peas revolutionized the game of football as the NFL adopted Will.I.Am to be the new FOX robot.  Roger Goodell also probably wished he would’ve just sang “Where Is The Love” when consulting with Ray Rice and his wife on how long he should be suspended.  The Black Eyed Peas let Slash come on stage too which just in my opinion saved rock and put it into a medically induced coma until Gene Simmons called it dead.  It propelled the Black Eyed Peas from a small, underground indie group into a group that shortly broke up afterwards.

Then there was Beyonce which inspired Thought Catalog to become a website afterwards.

The NFL last year had a stroke of genius by selecting Bruno Mars, the first ever house elf to perform at the Super Bowl (he wasn’t a distraction by the way which I know some people were worried about) and then for white fans uncomfortable with R&B; they picked the Red Hot Chili Peppers to act as a sort-of translator.  This was a very intelligent and shrewd move on the NFL and proved that they genuinely care about their straight white male fans, something that they get accused of not doing enough for just my opinion.

But now Katy Perry which probably will have a million GIFs of her almost popping out of her shirt (I won’t be searching these just so you know, I mean why would I objectify someone like that I can’t believe you are implying that already #heforshe I guess doesn’t apply to men) and more missed notes than me in College Algebra (my mom just laughed) my sophomore year.

However, I’m pretty excited and not because of the reasons I stated above.  I can’t possibly suggest that.

Album Review: Tyranny – Julian Casabalancas + The Voidz

19 Sep

Pretty much since New Years, I have been eagerly awaiting the second solo album by Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas.  I guess this is TECHNICALLY not a solo album as it’s a new band but fuck it, my blog my rules.

Back in the Spring, JC+TVZ went on a festival type tour and the feelings were pretty mixed.  Casablancas seemed more in his element than he did in the past decade with the Strokes but musically; something was off.  The mixes didn’t sound too hot, the vocals were hit or miss and since we had no idea what songs he was singing; it just wasn’t really good.

I started dreading the release to a degree.  I was going to obviously buy it, but enjoy it?  Considering the standard set by the criminally underrated Phrazes for the Young what would I expect from Tyranny?

Well today, I finally got my chance to hear Tyranny (streaming FOR FREE on RollingStone) and I am much more optimistic.  Throughout the pre-release promotion of the album; there seemed to be a common theme.  This was a protest record by Casablancas and it would not be the same as the Strokes or Phrazes.  It would be “rad” but “alienate” certain fans and critics.

After hearing the album I can say that it’s definitely out there but not as crazy as the initial hype would have suggested.  Make no mistake, this album is at times HEAVY and there’s only small glimpses of the same man who wrote “The Modern Age” and “Someday”.  If you are expecting a 6th Strokes album off of this, then well; save your $3.87.

The album kickstarts with “Take Me In Your Army” which to me sounds like a haunting spinoff of “Instant Crush”, the song that Casablancas collaborated with Daft Punk.  It’s a lowkey opener in the vein of “Is This It” but that’s the only comparison I could think of.  “Crunch Punch” follows and you hear those trademarked Casablancas drones that we have all become accustomed to hearing with another “haunting” repetitive riff backing.

The album kicks into overdrive with “M.utual A.ssured D.estruction” before the 10-minute “Human Sadness” (the first track released) slows things down, then picks it up, then slows it down; then really makes you stop and think.  I’m of the opinion that “Human Sadness” is kind of a snoozer but it’s clearly the deepest track Casablancas has ever wrote.

First single “Where No Eagles Fly” sees the Voidz starting to sound like a more cohesive unit and then it’s followed by “Father Electricity” (a seven-minute experiment that would’ve been better left at four) and album highlight “Johan Von Bronx”.  “Johan von Bronx” was formerly “Ego” and it has the strongest, most catchy chorus that you’ll find.  In fact, when it comes to a “catchy” chorus; this might be one of Casablancas’s best in recent memory.

“Business Dog” is a tight, disjointed jam that is the older brother of “50/50” and “Xerox” is a weird, off-kilter ballad that instrumentally sounds like something straight out of Halloween.  “Dare I Care” sees the Voidz sound like an evil version of Vampire Weekend with heavy drums and island influences with a “One-Way Trigger” twist.  “Nintendo Blood” is the true 80s sounding song on this album before “Off to War” puzzles you as the album draws to a close.

All in all, “Tyranny” seems like the project Julian Casablancas and the Voidz wanted.  It sounds intentionally incomplete and I guess the word “disjointed” and “haunting” are the best words describe it.  There’s influences of a variety of bands and I can’t help but see the homage to the Misfits with “Where No Eagles Fly” and “Dare I Care” as one of the most recognizable Misfits songs is “Where Eagles Dare”.  This is a punk rock sounding album that is a lot heavier than any Strokes-related material beforehand.

It’s not perfect and it’s not for everyone.  There’s some misses on this album and it struggles when Casablancas tries to be a bit too ambitious on certain tracks.  When he keeps it “relatively” concise and simple, the album shines.

Overall, I’m giving it a B.

Overall Grade:  B (or 8/10)
Songs To Download:  “Where No Eagles Fly”, “Johan von Bronx”, “Dare I Care”, “Nintendo Blood”
Songs To Skip:  “Xerox”, “Off To War”

 

Our Top-25 Favorite Songs: The Sequel 2014

6 Aug

Well, one of my favorite blog posts of all time (and my favorite personal project) was last year’s “Top-20 Favorite Songs and What Music Says About Us”….this was a purely interesting thing I thought of one night with some of my closest friends.

It’s been more than a year since that post and I felt it was time for an update.  I’ve gotten closer with the group from last year and I felt that it was prudent to see how/if their tastes have changed.  Since I spent a year closely living with them and hearing various music, I thought that it would be interesting to compare from year-to-year.  I am a true believer that music, minus photographs, is the best way to really tap into good memories.  A song can take you back to a certain moment, and in fact I believe almost every song on my iTunes has one special moment to me.  Whether it was the first time I heard it or the first time I screamed at the top of my lungs; music is what really brings people together.

Okay, it doesn’t but it does lead to interesting capsules into people’s lives and how they think.  You can learn a lot from a person, not exclusively by their music taste, but from the way they explain it.

But enough talking, let’s get to what you are truly here for.  In parentheses is last year’s ranking.  Here’s a link to last year’s.

Anthony’s List

1.) “Time” (#1)  by Pink Floyd – The guitar solo in this song made me want to play guitar.  The first note is so loud and long.  It is, in my opinion, the best song on one of, if not, the greatest concept albums of all time, “Dark Side of the Moon.” The album takes a man through his trip of how he is running away from life (On the run), running out time to do what he loves (Time), whether he should just end it (Great Gig in the Sky), depression (Us and Them), lack of decision making skills (Any Colour You Like), greed (Money) and ending with him ending up in an insane asylum (Brain Damage). This song offers everything from the album. The famous Floydian sound effects, genius lyrics from Roger Waters that give a great point but yet are soft and mellow, which is then crushed by a guitar solo that will literally rip your face off. You can really get a feeling that Waters had a deep message to let out with his words.​

2.) “Here Comes the Sun” (#2)  by The Beatles – You can never be in a bad mood while listening to this song.  One of George’s best contributions to the band. It really has a great outlook that sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. You can really hear that in this. Also, the combination of chord progression and strumming on George’s acoustic is very complicated. Many a time I have found myself raging and upon hearing the opening note of this song I mellow out and just enjoy.

3.) “Basket Case” (#3) by Green Day – I remember being about 4 or 5 when this song came out and will never forget it.  Late night on MTV they would play music videos. Green Day is playing in the center of a mental health care clinic and are just rockin’ out. I guess what makes this song awesome is that it is the moment I liked a true rock song and really got into music.

4.) “Dazed and Confused” (#4) by Led Zeppelin – The greatest hard rock band ever! Four members that changed music and performing forever. All talented in their own way. It was the perfect storm and this song shows it. Those thundering notes by Jimmy Page are amazing. Oh so simple but oh so powerful. Robert Plant has to have one of the most unique and great voices ever. John Bonham smashing the drums and John Paul Jones bringing it all together on the bass. Plus, anyone who has been in a relationship with a girl and it went sour should love this song. Plant’s lyrics tell a bitch what’s up.​

5.) “L.A. Women” (#5) by the Doors – I love the line “Mr. Mojo rising.” Jim Morrison is the original American bad ass.  I think he was just too creative and intelligent for his own good. That deep voice just gets me every time. Also, his “not give a fuck attitude” makes every guy wish they could act like him.​ The Doors are a bad that I don’t go out of my way to listen to a lot but when I hear a song by them I always love it.

6.) “Gimme Shelter” (Unranked) by the Rolling Stones – Yes, this made it here and it never appeared last year. When looking at my list from last year I realized I had a lot of songs that I liked “at the moment” but they may not be my favorite in the long-term (which I looked at more for this list). Thinking more about it, this is my favorite Stones song of all time. Back in high school when I first got into classic rock this is one of the first songs I loved. I don’t think I can think of another outright Vietnam protest song ever. And it’s the STONES! Not much needs to be said there.

7.) “Evil Woman” (#9) by Electric Light Orchestra – This song just makes me love music. I love singing and hearing this song. ELO is not mentioned but they had 12 radio singles in the 70′s and early 80′s. That puts them with some great bands but are never recognized.​ I feel a lot of people can relate to this song as well.

8.) “All You Need is Love” (Unranked) by the Beatles – This has always been a Beatle favorite of mine. I can say that I more of a Lennon fan. I love the cello and mellotron (yeah, who even knows what that instrument is) in the background. It was such a revolutionary song that shows Lennon’s “give love and peace” side.

9.) “Bohemian Rhapsody” (#10) by Queen –  If you ever got drunk with me than you know why this is here.  I love Freddy Mercury. What he did for the music industry was great. He brought “show business”/Broadway to rock and roll. He created imprint that will never be forgotten. He also had one of the greatest voices in history. He could sing all notes in four octave ranges. If you do not know what that means it’s just amazing most good singers can only sing thoroughly in two (I read that on the internetical).​

10.) “Since I’ve Been Loving You”(#12)  by Led Zeppelin –  Led Zeppelin playing the blues!!!! Didn’t know the blues could be so loud. The whole song is a chance for Jimmy Page to show what he is capable of. After listening to this you can understand why he is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time. It is even better live when we can hear the band really improvise and go in many different directions with this song. Every time it was played live it was played a different way. This is what made Led Zeppelin not only the greatest rock band period but the most dynamic rock band. 

11.) “Red House” (#8) by Jimi Hendrix – The greatest guitarist ever playing the blues = Awesome. He played so fast but yet with such elegance. He changed the way the electric guitar was played. Before him not too many people distorted their guitars. He did this while controlling feedback, diving-bombing notes, adding phasing effects, and was able to play with his teeth. All the guitars today would not sound like they do without him. He revolutionized the way rock and roll was played.

12.) “Pinball Wizard” (#10) by the Who – A deaf, dumb, and blind kid playing pinball. Kind of stupid but they made it work.  It is also brings the “other” greatest concept album of all time full circle, “Tommy.” It is about making life work with what you have been given. Pete Townsend’s thundering guitar chords can always wake you up. Roger Daltry was another great front man. Known for running around stage and throwing his mic around. It is also cool that they destroyed their set after every concert. Townsend would than throw his smashed/mangled guitar into the audience. That is rock ‘n’ roll.​

13.) “Spirits in the Night” (Unranked) by Bruce Springsteen – ​I cannot really tell you why I love this song so much. I have always been a Boss fan! This song just delivers such a cool story. You can tell Bruce pours out his youth in this song. Maybe that is why I like it so much. It makes me think of all the good times I have had with friends. And who is the “Mission Man”.

14.) “Already Gone” (Unranked) by the Eagles – This song I have just got into recently but I think it will be here to stay. I have always been an Eagles fan but never thought much about this one. The Eagles were such a extremely talented band. All 5 members would sing and all great musicians. This is the first time they moved into harder rock. Always considered a country rock band, they really changed their style with this song. There is a deep message in this songs as a lot of the lyrics are symbolic with hidden meanings. Only can guess the story behind this one.

15.) “Brown Sugar” (Unranked) by the Rolling Stones – Another recent song I got in to. The Stones were always known as “the bad boys of rock ‘n’ roll” and they show it here. All about the party life and sexual innuendos. My friends and I think we live this lifestyle but not even close.

16.) “Night Moves” (Unranked) by Bob Seger – A lot of people may be surprised that this song is on here. I can’t say I am the biggest Bob Seger fan but I can say that I absolutely love this song. Since the first time I heard it and couldn’t stop listening to it. It is one of those songs that just sticks with you. I always get excited when this song comes on and I love singing along with it.

17.) “Jungle Love” (Unranked) by the Steve Miller Band – This song was the anthem to my freshman year of college. I will never be able to say that I don’t like this song and it is not one of my favorites of all time. It has a rocking guitar and just gives you the “time to have fun” feeling.

18.) “Benny and the Jets” (Unranked) by Elton John – I don’t think anybody who likes rock can dislike this song. This song is one of those anthems of the 1970s. Every one of our parents likes this one. Elton John is a terrific musician and song writer. A great performer as well. Say what you want I love the crazy costumes and weird glasses he would wear. There are always parts in this song that people sing the wrong lyrics to. I can also proudly say that I know every word to this song.

19.) Suite Judy Blue Eyes” (Unranked) by the Crosby, Stills, and Nash – This song one song that can say would not make many people’s top 25 lists. CSN were very similar to the Eagles. They all had a great ability to harmonize and were terrific performers. Three highly creative minds. This name of this song is such a cool play on words.

20.) “Bad Moon Rising” (Unranked) by Creedence Clearwater Revival – I have always been a CCR fan. They are one band that when I listen to their greatest hits and I like every single song. They were a short lived band, only being popular for 3 years, but built an everlasting mark on rock and roll.

21.) “Suffragette City” (Unranked) by the David Bowie – I have recently got into Bowie and really love him. He was such an innovator and one of the most important faces of the 70s. He changed is style so many times but, to me, nothing beats the hard rock Ziggy Stardust days. From one the greatest concept albums of all time. Bowie definelty broke onto the seen like no else. His elaborate outfits and behavior changed the way we look at rock artist. He actually thought he Ziggy Stardust.

22.) “Hey, Hey, My, My (Out of the Blue)” (Unranked) by Neil Young – This is such a deep deep song. Such a good message. I have to admit I can’t listen to this song often because it always get to me. Some of my friends will understand that part…..and laugh. “It’s better to burn out than slip away.”

23.) “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” (Unranked) by AC/DC – I had “Shoot to Thrill” by this band on my list last year but this one is better. Just gets me pumped and ready to pound shots.  True, fast-paced rock and roll song. Angus Young will go down in history for his school-boy outfit. His guitar riffs though are so up-beat and “good-to-go.” Guitarist are just not like that anymore. Easily, my favorite AC/DC song.

24.) “Echoes” (#6) by Pink Floyd – This song drove me to Pink Floyd. The creepiness and mystery of the sound of this song is just addicting. The sound effects and guitar rhythms are haunting. Roger Waters lyrics are genius. Plus it’s 25 minutes long. Also, the fact that the band performed this song live in front of NO audience in the ancient Amphitheater of Pompeii is crazy. Creepy setting for a creepy song.  This song really just takes you to another planet. A masterpiece from the most influential band of all time. Music would not be the same without them.​

25.) “Roxanne” (#14) by the Police – Love when Sting yells Roxanne. It’s about a prostitute and can be a drinking game.  The Police are a very underrated band but hear they shine. I think this a great song but yet is very catchy and you can really just jam out to it.

So no offense to Anthony, but he’s kind of typecasted in our friend group as the friend who insists on listening to anything before 1990.  Not that’s a bad thing but I have to give him credit when it comes to one thing.  Well two things, because a lot of my music tastes (currently) have been somewhat based off of his to a slight degree but two, while the songs are older; the memories are nearly brand new.  Anthony’s list is almost completely different minus the top songs on his countdown.  It’s also cool because I was pretty much there when Brown Sugar started entering our main playlist and I remember the first time we really started playing Suffragette City a lot. 

Our friendship can best be described through Rolling Stones songs.  At first, we exclusively listened to Paint it Black.  Then Start Me Up.  Then Tumbling Dice.  Now Brown Sugar.  Sympathy For The Devil has to be next, right?

Last year our friend Josh released his favorite song list.  This year he decided to not take part in it.  So BOOOOOOO.
But Jack, who last year was seen not providing any explanations whatsoever to his list decided to add his two cents.  Let’s take a look shall we?
  1. “Alive” by Pearl Jam (#1)- I know it may be the most known and most played song by Pearl Jam and it’s the same for me.  This song was the song that got me into Pearl Jam when I was in 8th grade and since then they have easily become my favorite band.  The song has Mike McCready give one of the best guitar solos of all time and Eddie Vedder’s voice will never get old to me.
  2. “Corduroy” (#3) by Pearl Jam- Not as known of a Pearl Jam song but still a great one.  This song was off Pearl Jam’s 3rd album, Vitalogy, and basically describes how Eddie Vedder was dealing with the bands success at the time.  It has some of the deepest lyrics of any Pearl Jam song and one that you just have to sit and listen to it to really appreciate it.
  3. “Lightning Crashes” (#4) by Live- My favorite non-Pearl Jam Song.  This is one of those song that when it comes on I will just automatically just rock out to it.  The song has everything that you could expect to hear from a great rock song and I will stop whatever I am doing to listen to it.
  4. “Tell Me Baby” (#5) by the Red Hot Chili Peppers- This is the song that got me listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and since then I’ve never looked back.  The way Flea plays the bass in that is perfect and Anthony Kiedis’ voice goes perfect with the song.
  5. “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” (#9) by The Clash- The Clash are my dad’s favorite band and that sort of rubbed off on me.  Joe Strummer is one of my favorite lead singers of all time and the song is just all around great.
  6. “Longview” (#6) by Green Day- Green Day was the first band that I ever really liked.  I remember seeing them when I was in 6th grade and since then I’ve only liked them more.  This CD was giving to me by my dad and that song instantly grew on me.  I remember in 6th grade getting in trouble in class for singing the line “When masturbation’s lost it’s fun
    You’re fuckin’ lonely.”  Not a good one to have to go explain to your mom.
  7. “Otherside” (#7) by the Red Hot Chili Peppers- The song just has tons of energy in it from front to back and is easily one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers best songs.  The song just rocks and that’s really all I can say about it.
  8. “Breakout”  (#8) by the Foo Fighters- This was the song that got me into the Foo Fighters.  I knew of them but I never really got the chance to sit down and listen to them until I heard this song come on the radio.
  9. “Gotta Get Away” (#10) by The Offspring- The Offspring are another band that can do no wrong to me.  All their songs have something about them that makes me want to rock but this song just stuck with me more than any other songs made by them.
  10. “Brain of J.” (Unranked) by Pearl Jam- The first song off their 5th album “Yield” was by far my favorite song off that album.  Right from the beginning this song gets in your face and just rocks until the end.
  11. “Breed” (#2) by Nirvana- Like most people, the first Nirvana song I heard was “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.  Not that I didn’t like the song, I think it’s a great song, but it just didn’t stick with it me.  However I did listen to the whole “Nevermind” album afterword’s and found this song.  There was just something about it that just made me want to rock out to it
  12. “The Clampdown”  (Unranked) by The Clash- Such a great song.  The song was written by Joe Strummer describing the failures of capitalist’s societies.  With Joe Strummer being socialist he described working for “the Man” to be “Working for the Clampdown”.  As someone who sees Joe Strummer as a personal hero the song definitely has a deeper meaning to me.
  13. “Orange Crush” (#12) by R.E.M.- Another band that both my parents listen to that got passed on to me.  R.E.M. has so many great songs but this was the first one that I ever heard.  There was a time in 8th grade that I was really big into R.E.M. They also were a band that heavily influenced the Grunge Rock movement of the early 90’s and especially Nirvana and for that I am grateful for them.
  14. “Poprocks and Coke”  (#15) by Green Day- This was the first Green Day song I heard when I was a kid and for a while they were my favorite band so this song brings back memories for me.
  15. “DOA” (Unranked) by the Foo Fighters- After I got more into the Foo Fighters this was one song that really stuck with me.  The entire song just feels like an extended jam session that just flat out rocks.
  16. “Icky Thump”  (#16) by The White Stripes- Some people are just not Jack White fans but I don’t know how.  I personally love his guitar playing and this song is some of his best.  Meg White is fantastic on drums and the guitar solo and lyrics are in your face the whole song.
  17. “So What Cha Want” (#17) by the Beastie Boys- Who can’t love the Beastie Boys.  Their songs are just fun and you can tell they love what they do.  This was the first song from the Beastie Boys that I ever heard so it’s my personal favorite but they just have so many good songs.
  18. “Gone Away” (Unranked) by The Offspring- This is probably The Offspring’s saddest song but the way it comes together is so perfect for me.  As I said before they really can do no wrong for me.
  19. “Selling The Drama” (Unranked) by Live- This is on the same album as “Lightning Crashes” and really makes the album a whole to me.  The lyrics and guitar beat come together perfectly to make a great song.
  20. “Feel Good, Inc.” (#19) by the Gorillaz- Another band that my parents introduced me to and I’m so glad they did.  It’s just a fantastic cartoon band making great music.
  21. “Once In A Lifetime” (Honorable Mention) by the Talking Heads- The only word I can use to describe this song is awesome.  The lyrics, the drums, the guitar, and the bass all come together so well.  David Byrne has become one of my favorite vocalist and they really are an awesome band.
  22. “Little Black Submarines” (#14) by The Black Keys- This is a band that has really grown on me in the last couple of years.  This song starts out slow but builds up do such a great finish that really brings the song together.
  23. “Better Man” (Honorable Mention) by Pearl Jam- Another great song with a fantastic build up that comes together perfectly.  Not much to say about it other than how great it is.
  24. “Ball And Chain”  (Honorable Mention) by Social Distortion- This was a band that I was big into in high school.  This song has always been my favorite of theirs and well deserves to be on my lists.
  25. “Sea Of Sorrow” (Honorable Mention) by Alice In Chains- This is a band that I got more into while in college thanks to a roommate who was a big Alice In Chains fan.  There is just something about this song that I really like.

Honorable Mentions:

“Jeremy” – Pearl Jam, “Pinball Wizard” – the Who, “Under the Bridge” – RHCP, “About A Girl” – Nirvana, “Burden In My Hand” – Soundgarden

It was pretty cool seeing Jack’s explanation for some of his songs.  It does seem that he admits that his family and friends are pretty big impacts on his musical taste (just like all of us, but it was cool to see it in writing) but it’s quite clear he’s a child of the 90s.  I do like how consistent he was from last year to this year but also, there is some shocking ones.  I didn’t expect Gone Away to resonate with Jack that much and getting to live with the guy this year, I’m shocked Clampdown didn’t make his list last year.  

Now onto Andrew, who was Jack’s roommate last year.

  1. Narcolepsy (#3) – Third Eye Blind – It is my favorite song of all time. It is just so awesomely written. It’s a good song to just listen to on repeat. It epitomizes who I think Third eye blind really are as a collective band.
  2. Stairway to Heaven (#1) –  Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin I believe is the best rock band ever, other than the Beatles, has a certain thing about them. Whenever I listen to them, I become submersed in the music and just kick back and rock on. Stairway is I think their best lyrical song along with being my favorite by them.
  3. Baba O’ Riley (#2) – The Who – The Who is another one of my favorite rock bands ever. This song is just so awesome in so many ways. From the pipe organ to the guitar and Keith Moon on drums. This song is so badass that it is unreal.
  4. Under the Bridge (#5) – Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Chili Peppers are brand name funk rock music. Under the Bridge, I know is their most popular song, but it is one of my favorites because it just so deep that it almost tells a story through the song. This is their best song, I think, they have ever created.
  5. Mr. Brightside (#8)- The Killers – The Killers are one of my favorite post 90’s bands and this song is just so cool to listen to. It makes me sing along anywhere I am. It just has that quality that makes me want to listen to it over and over again.
  6. Eleanor Rigby (Unranked)- The Beatles – The Beatles I think had the biggest impact on music in the 20th century, other than maybe the likes of Elvis. Eleanor Rigby is such a great song by them and I really like it. Just a really good tune.
  7. Sympathy for the Devil (Unranked) – The Rolling Stones – This song is such a kick ass song its great. Mick Jagger is such an iconic lead singer to the band, and just ties the whole thing together. This song lyrically as well is written superbly.
  8. Come a Little Closer (unranked)- Cage the Elephant – Cage the Elephant is a relatively new band. They produce great music; that is written well and performed well also. They now have three records and I think their last record was fairly good with this being the best from it.
  9. Thirty Three (unranked)- Smashing Pumpkin – I REALLY like the Smashing Pumpkins but I wish front man Billy Korgan wasn’t such an asshole. Their first few records where awesome my favorites being Siamese Dream and Melloncollie and the Infinite Sadness. Thirty-three is a softer song that really relaxes me at times.
  10. Basket Case (#12)- Green Day – Basket case is my favorite Green Day song. I think it has grown to be like a battle cry almost out of our friends group, but other than that it is also a well-constructed song that rocks hard.
  11. Surf Wax America (Unranked)- Weezer – As of this moment, this is my favorite Weezer song. Its really catchy and is nice to listen to when im long boarding or on a run. It’s a good song from a good band. I can’t wait for their new album; supposedly it should be much like their first.
  12. Lazy Eye  (Unranked) – Silver Sun Pickups – This is one of my favorite songs that are relatively new. I have just recently started in depth listening to this band and this song is well written and has a special something about it. It is a very good song.
  13. Mr. Jones (Unranked)- The Counting Crows – Mr. Jones is one of those songs that I have liked for such a long time, and I thought it needed o be included in my top 20.
  14. Badfish (Unranked)- Sublime – Sublime is one of those bands that I have listened to for a while now. I really like their music they have put out, I do not like sublime with Rome, Badfish is a very good song that is mellow and keeps me relaxed and just ready to kick back and chill.
  15. The Mother We Share (Unranked)- CHRVCHES – CHRVCHES is a new band that aren’t really known by a lot of people. I think they have a decent potential. There is just something about this song that makes me want to listen to it. It’s catchy and I find myself re-listening to it after it’s played through.
  16. Seven Nation Army (Unranked)- The White Stripes – I’ve said before, but just to reiterate the point, Jack White is a magician on the guitar. What he can do with a guitar is amazing. Flat out.
  17. Watching the Wheels (Unranked)- John Lennon – Great song, and great musician.
  18. You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Unranked)- The Rolling Stones – It’s a simple fact of life that I have tried to disprove for years, but somehow it always wins.
  19. Killer Queen (Unranked) – Queen – Great song with a kick ass guitar solo that gets me every damn time.
  20. One Week (Unranked)- The Bare Naked Ladies – Any band that constructively works in fried chicken into a song needs some recognition.
  21. Pinball Wizard – The Who
  22. Bohemian Rhapsody (#14) – Queen
  23. Gypsy (Unranked) – Lady Gaga
  24. Buddy Holly (#6) – Weezer
  25. Interstate Love Song (Unranked) – Stone Temple Pilots

Honorable Mentions: New Slang- The Shins

Andrew was last to submit a list, in case you were wondering and much like last year; his list does shock me.  There’s a mixture of a lot of different influences with him but he does seem to find a new song and really embraces the current.  I can relate to that, though I am shocked that he didn’t have any Sublime songs on his list last year though this year he has it!  Lots of changes from last year, but the same core.

Followed by Andrew, we come to the last of my former housemates into Jake who has been my friend the longest so I always think I know what’s coming but always great to see how he makes his list!

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Under the Bridge” (#1)

“Under the Bridge” remains at the top of my list to this day. The song- which was originally intended to be a private poem by Anthony Keides until it was discovered by legendary producer, Rick Rubin- is a beautiful meditation on loneliness, regret, and uncertainty. It provides such a unique take on those kinds of awful feelings: the point where you feel so alone, so miserable, and so hopeless that you force yourself to confide in your hometown as if it were a living entity. Yet, the song ends up resonating an uplifting and optimistic tone with listeners (mainly because of its angelic full-chorus climax).

When I hear this song, I see it as Anthony Keides using his own mistakes to say: “Hey, listen, times are tough right now, but we will get through this. We won’t feel this way again.” “Under the Bridge” consistently moves me and makes me feel better when I’m down, and it will always be my favorite song for those reasons alone.

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers- “By the Way” (#2)

This was THE song that got me hooked on the good old Chili Peppers. The cool thing about this song is that it features held-back, melodic opening and closing parts that are reflective of much of the other songs on the “By the Way” album. However, nearly every other part is essentially an eruption of intense guitar scratches and upstrokes and an abstract rap section from Anthony Keides that is- at times- reminiscent of the down-and-dirty “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” sessions. The Chilis closed their first set with this song when I saw them live back in 2012. I will never forget that moment.

3. Stone Temple Pilots- “Interstate Love Song” (#4)

This is easily one of the best songs of the 1990s. As I said in my previous list, this song is very effective to me because of its sensory impact. I really got into it over one particularly beautiful summer in early high school. I think the combination was a perfect storm; every single time I hear it, I get a surge of summer-esque excitement. I can’t get over the vocal hooks in this song- they show off a hidden pretty/melodic side of Scott Weiland. As far as alternative rock songs go, this is a prime example of perfection.

4.  Foo Fighters- “Let it Die” (#3)

Much like “Blow up the Outside World,” “Let it Die” left a huge mark on me the first time I heard it, mainly because of its raw emotional power. This song is absolutely astounding in its composition; it builds in tension for two full verses before exploding-seemingly out of nowhere-into a release of frustration and anger that simply cannot be held down any longer. I always pictured someone smiling through their teeth and finally just losing it. This too has been a go-to song for me in face of some recent frustrations and hindrances of my own. Every time I hear it the whole way through- from its pretty, arpeggioed intro to its concluding wail of “WHY’D YOU HAVE TO GO AND LET IT DIIIIEEE-” I end up feeling a lot better.

5.  Soundgarden- “Blow up the Outside World” (#5)

I usually struggle with picking my favorite song from each of my favorite bands. However, with Soundgarden it has always been easy for me. “Blow up the Outside World” is a song that is so good and so emotionally-cathartic that I literally feel drained after sitting down and giving it a good listen. We’ve all been in a position where we’ve “given everything that we need and/or own” to a person or to a cause, just to have the rug pulled from beneath our feet anyway; we’ve all been in a “fuck the entire world” kind of mood as a result of such treatment. I always saw this song as an outburst in reaction to such feelings. It’s been one of my go-to songs as of late, but even before that, it was already one of my all-time favorites.

6.  Rush- “Spirit of Radio” (#6)

I love this song to death. I can’t say too much about it honestly; just three of the greatest musicians in rock history coming together for one hell of a track. Alex Lifeson’s frolicking main opening riff is really cool.

7.  Foo Fighters- “Learn to Fly” (Unranked)

I smile- or at least get happy butterflies- every time I hear the opening of this song. I mean, how can you not? It rings with the kinds of upbeat diminished chords that have made Dave Grohl’s guitar style a household name in rock. There isn’t much that can be said about it, other than that it is just a textbook example of a fun, exhilarating rock song. If you haven’t seen its music video, you need to do yourself a favor and YouTube it right now.

8.  Alice in Chains- “Them Bones” (Unranked)

Opening tracks don’t get much better than this one. “Them Bones” grabs you by the face and demands your attention the second you press play on “Dirt.” Content-wise, the song is the quintessential Alice in Chains experience: metal-inspired grunge riffs and a sludgy Layne Staley vocal performance that periodically breaks for a cool, yet brief melodic chorus bit. Jerry Cantrell’s guitar solo on this song may very well be one of the main reasons I decided to begin playing guitar myself.

9. Black Sabbath- “War Pigs” (Unranked)

The best heavy metal song of all time. I said it. I love how it starts by building off a drudging riff from Tony Iommi and then just snaps into a fast tempo with an awesome call-and response vocal/instrumental arrangement: DUN-DUN “generals gathered in their mass-essss…” DUN-DUN. It’s so intoxicating.   Ozzy’s lyrical imagery is haunting and disturbing in that simplistic, yet psychologically-effective Sabbath way. 

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers- “Otherside” (#12)

The Chilis really let out their darker writing side on this song. I love the moody guitar riff from John Frusciante. The song is best enjoyed with its incredible music video (which I can’t even really talk about and give it justice- you just have to see it). I always would hear this song on the radio growing up, but I never knew it was by RHCP until after I had gotten into them years later. I was overjoyed when the song came on after I bought “Californication” as a middle school student. It was one of those “oh, that song is by THIS band” moments.

11. Temple of the Dog- “Call me a Dog” (Unranked)

I wish that Temple of the Dog could have produced more than just one album (though their self-titled effort is a great collection of songs). “Hunger Strike” and “Say Hello to Heaven” are wonderful in their own regard, but in my opinion, “Call me a Dog” is the centerpiece of the entire album. It’s a grunge song that lyrically looks like a passionate blues song on paper. Featuring a powerful vocal performance from Chris Cornell and a masterly-crafted guitar solo courtesy of Mike McCready, this song is an underrated gem from the grunge era.

12. Boston- “Peace of Mind” (Unranked)

Boston released a lot of quality songs in their heyday, but this is the one that has always stood out to me like a beautifully-constructed sore thumb. The song is mostly centered on a ridiculously-catchy guitar riff and a simple, yet uplifting set of power chords. Together, these parts blend to create a sound that seems to have been crafted for the sole purpose of getting someone excited and pumped. I have a thing for dual-harmonized guitars (I get wildly captivated by everything from The Eagles’ “Hotel California” to Avenged Sevenfold’s “Bat Country”), but “Peace of Mind” contains my favorite dual-guitar sections of all time.

“All I want is to have my peace of mind.” The line is eerie, considering the fate of late Boston lead singer, Brad Delp, but his legacy and his signature vocals live on every time this song is spun on a radio station, accessed on Youtube, or blasted off of an ipod at-say- the Graveyard House in Kutztown.

13. Soundgarden- “Jesus Christ Pose” (Unranked)

Holy shit! This song is brutally heavy, but in a way that is also impressively artistic. It’s the kind of song that make you want to mosh and lose your mind (and who doesn’t love to do that every now and then?) I think it perfectly captures the fury of the darker corners of early, underground grunge rock. Chris Cornell ends the song by hitting a note so high that it makes my throat hurt just thinking about it. It’s just an insanely awesome song from an equally awesome album.

14. Alice in Chains- “Voices” (Unranked)

This is the newest song on my updated “top songs” list. “Voices” comes off of Alice in Chains’ “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here,” an album that sat in the CD player of my car during the entire summer of 2013. I must have listened to that album front-to-back at least fifty times. Though I absolutely adore the entire album, I would always find myself looking forward to “Voices” when I’d start things from track 1 (“Voices” is track 4). Jerry Cantrell’s guitar tone is a thing of beauty; it rings with a melancholy acoustic/electric mesh that could only be found on an AiC song.

15. Dinosaur Jr.- “Watch the Corners” (Unranked) 

This was my favorite rock single of 2012. “Watch the Corners” holds true to the typical winning formula of Dinosaur Jr.: loud, fuzzy, heavy metal-inspired guitars and the voice of J. Mascis, that wonderful voice that sounds like a laid-back hybrid of Neil Young and Curt Kirkwood. The guitar solo that closes out this song is just fucking awesome.

16. The Wallflowers- “6th Avenue Heartache” (#10)

The Wallflowers were the first band I ever saw live (a free show at Virginia Beach). A few weeks prior, I downloaded a bunch of their popular songs so that I at least had an inkling of their discography going into the show. This song immediately stood out as my favorite. I found myself essentially crossing my fingers hoping for them to play it. They eventually did and it was incredible. Ever since then, I have had a deep sentimental connection to this song. It is probably the greatest single to come out of the mid-late 90s roots rock trend.

17. Incubus- “Dig” (#9)

This is one of those songs that always seems to hit me right in the heart. There is something about that echoing guitar riff and Brandon Boyd’s emotionally-charged voice that gets me. Lyrically, I love it because sort of revolves around the idea of humbling yourself in times of hardship, and asking for the understanding and consideration of a loved one. Everyone needs a voice of reason every now and then, so I guess I love this song’s composition because of how genuinely it captures and expresses that idea.

18. Foo Fighters- “My Hero” (Unranked)

I always liked this song a lot, but I never loved it until I heard it live. The drums kicked in and Dave Grohl introduced the song: “if you know this song, I want to hear you- all the way in the top- it’s called ‘My Hero’ AAAAYYY LET’S GO!” The entire Wells Fargo Center went completely apeshit ballistic. Ever since that show, I have had to fight the urge completely rock out of my mind every time I hear this song. What a fun track.

19. Rush- “2112” (Unranked)

I love Rush because they aren’t afraid to dive into a song and use it to tell a big, obscure story. “2112-” a seven-part prog rock suite centered on a sci-fi theme- is one of the most impressive and all-around epic rock songs in history. Its length seems daunting at first, but each chapter is captivating in its own regard. The first two sections (“Overture” and “The Temples of Syrinx”) are the ones that most people are familiar with, but the song is best enjoyed in its entirety- all the way up to the “Grand Finale.” “2112” is a crowning musical achievement.

20. Pearl Jam- “Yellow Ledbetter” (#13)

Though no one truly knows all of the official lyrics of “Yellow Ledbetter,” the song’s unbelievable guitar parts define it. This is one of those songs that gives off a huge emotional aura from its instrumentation alone. Mike McCready’s solo compliments the song perfectly, and is a truly inventive and emotional monolith comprised of simple pentatonic scale patterns. It is one of my favorite guitar solos of all time.

21. Dio- “Holy Diver” (Unranked)

I’m a huge Ronnie James Dio fan, and have been one ever since I first heard this song on the radio. With “Holy Diver” you’re getting a classic, powerful vocal performance from Dio himself, along with a set of lyrics that are a testament to the band’s fun obsession with fantasy, magic, and alternate dimensions. Vivian Cambell’s guitar parts are just monstrous. I love the huge build up to that chugging main riff. Long live Ronnie James! May he rest in peace.

22. Alice in Chains- “Brother (Unplugged)” (Unranked)

Every now and then, a live rendition of a song ends up outshining its original studio-recorded version. For Alice in Chains, this is very much the case with the unplugged version of their song, “Brother.” The original track is noteworthy, but the unplugged version gives it a whole new emotional value thanks to its slowed tempo, entirely acoustic arrangement, and its dual-harmonized vocal section from Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell (one that sends shivers down my spine in its perfection). Alice in Chains’ unplugged session was-in my opinion- the best one ever filmed by MTV. “Brother” is a huge contributing factor to the show’s unparalleled greatness.

23. Chris Cornell- “Sunshower” (Unranked)

This may be one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Cornell’s guitar parts are dreary, yet shimmery and slick. The chorus shoots chills all over my body just about every time I hear it; he just sings it in a way that inspires hope and empowerment amidst depression and hopelessness.

24. Black Keys- “Next Girl” (Unranked)

Dan Auerbach really knows how to sing the blues. This song is so sincere in its expression of relationship grief. “I’m paying for her beautiful face…every day.” Who hasn’t felt that way after a rough break-up? This is a great, occasionally-overlooked song from one of the Black Keys’ greatest albums.

25. “Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell” – the Offspring (Unranked)

This is one of the most badass Offspring songs of all time, and a great concluding track.
I always enjoy Jake’s lists because I get so much information from him and I really can appreciate how he dissects and explains what and why he likes songs.  It’s a really cool thing to see because that dedication spills into other parts of his life as well.  I have seen some evolution to Jake though, just like every other person on this list.  I remember never really hearing the name Ronnie James Dio on our iPods until this past semester.  I also really have seen him progress more and more into a Rush fan (he always was but maybe I was just an idiot and didn’t FULLY notice until now).  
Then of course, here is mine.
  1. Mr. Brightside (#1) – The Killers
    Still my favorite song of all-time and I even added more memories to it this year. This might be my favorite song for the past decade at this point, and from the moment that opening riff comes to the strong chorus; I can’t resist it. Plus, it’s a guaranteed floor filler as literally everyone knows this song. Pretty amazing when an “indie” song can do that.
  2. 12:51 (#2) – the Strokes
    The gap is closing between first and second by a tad as I can’t help but grow more and more attached to the Strokes first single off their second album, Room on Fire. There’s new memories to this song and this is actually my most played song on my iTunes by quite a bit.
  3. The Modern Age  (#5)– the Strokes
    I said it last year that this song would move up my rankings once it aged a bit, and I wasn’t wrong. It’s my vote for the most “definitive” Strokes song and my review still stays the same.
  4. Rebel Rebel  (Unranked) – David Bowie
    I “liked” David Bowie (aka I liked Changes & Modern Love) when I was younger, but it was just after last year’s postings that I really started to get into him. Rebel Rebel was unranked last year and I must say, I think I played this song at least twice every weekend (and that’s not counting what I did during the week) during the school year as everyone has to know. Impossible to not go “doo doo doo-doo-duh-do-doo” when it comes on.
  5. Forever  (#3) – Chris Brown
    Even though it’s technically moved up a spot, I have slowly started to not listen to this song as frequently. But again, this brings back way too many great memories and it would be wrong to not include this. Yes, he’s still a major douche.
  6. Someday (Unranked) – the Strokes
    Another unranked song last year, though I admit I must’ve omitted it accidentally, but this song takes me back man. There’s something about this song that’s extremely nostalgic and I would recommend this song only for someone who may not be into the Strokes. Impossible to not bob your head to.
  7. Sweet Jane (Honorable Mention) – Velvet Underground
    Like Bowie, I didn’t firmly get into VU until right after, or right before, last year’s rankings; though it did crack my honorable mentions. But I played Sweet Jane enough, and enjoyed listening to it enough, to believe that as of this posting; it’s in my top-10. I love Velvet trying to be “pop” and though this may not be the one Lou Reed preferred; I do love the album version. How was this not a major hit?
  8. 99 Problems (#4) – Jay-Z
    Still my favorite rap song. I find it hard not to still quote the “pulled over” section that Hov has with the crooked cop. Hits you hard with an intro and still sounds current.
  9. Hard to Explain (#8)  – the Strokes
    Yes, another Strokes song. Oh well, they are my favorite band. Anyway, I can’t believe Hard to Explain actually “fell” a spot but I think it’s a testament to how much I loved Rebel Rebel and Sweet Jane. Still a big favorite of mine.
  10. Walk on the Wild Side (#19) – Lou Reed
    I have always loved this song but after Lou Reed’s passing, it became one of my most spun songs. I love Lou Reed’s takes on the Warhol Superstars and love his lyricism.
  11. Modern Love (Unranked) – David Bowie
    I’m equally fascinated by Ziggy Stardust as I am with Bowie’s transformation into pop royalty. Modern Love is the apex of Bowie’s pop career and I find it to be irresistible and proof that he still had it. Impossible to not dance to as well.
  12. Billie Jean (#17) – Michael Jackson
    Every time this comes on my shuffle, I can’t change it. Every song gets skipped now and then, but for some reason I’m always in the mood for this song. Still the greatest pop song ever.
  13. Read My Mind (Unranked) – the Killers
    This was last year’s most glaring omission. I don’t know how I forgot about this song last year, but it has been another consistent favorite of mine. The best song Brandon Flowers has crafted with the best line “the stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun” he has written.
  14. Taken for a Fool (Honorable Mention) – the Strokes
    Post Room on Fire, this is the best song the Strokes have had in my humblest of all opinions as a biased fan. An infectious rhythm, a ridiculously catchy chorus and how did this not go over well on the toxic radio? The album, Angles, might have been recorded in animosity but damn it; they crafted a gem here.
  15. 11th Dimension (#10) – Julian Casablancas
    This song still gets played regularly but its more of a testament to how much my music interest has expanded that it’s actually “fallen” despite the fact I play it often.
  16. Heroin (Unranked) – Velvet Underground
    When I first seriously listened to this song, it was almost like an epiphany. I kept waiting for more, I got entranced by the electric viola of John Cale, I loved Mo Tucker’s drumming and Lou Reed sounded like he was slipping into a high. This might’ve been my favorite song this past winter and while I’ve not played it as frequently; I can’t help but always be captivated by it when it comes on.
  17. Diane Young (Unranked) – Vampire Weekend
    I used to be one of those people that kind of blew off Vampire Weekend as some hipster band, and even if it’s true, I’ve become a big fan of them. I love front man Ezra Koenig’s auto-tuned “baby’s” and while Modern Vampires of the City is a bit more “darker” of an album by them…I love jamming out to this song.
  18. Here Comes The Sun (Unranked) – The Beatles
    You are right Anthony. This does just make you feel happy and optimistic. If a song can do that to you, then it’s pretty damn special.
  19. New Slaves (Unranked) – Kanye West
    I love angry Kanye. I love when he goes straight at your neck and when he samples some real avant garde stuff mixed with a random cameo by Frank Ocean at the end. The second verse of New Slaves is already iconic and this is the newest song on the list but one that still reverberates strongly with me.
  20. Change Your Mind (Honorable Mention) – The Killers
    This song is always there to me and while I never play it frequently, I always still play it. It isn’t one of the instant classics of Hot Fuss (that belongs to Brightside, Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine, Somebody Told Me, All These Things That I’ve Done) but it’s one that just resonates with me.
  21. Dammit (#3) – blink-182
    This song was one of my favorites but I have kinda felt myself aging a bit from blink over the past year or so. This is still my favorite song by them at the least, but I’m not really able to connect with it as well.
  22. Touch Me (Unranked) – The Doors
    I’ve always “liked” the Doors but never to the point of obsessive fandom. Even though they are one of my favorite bands, they are more of a group that I enjoy when someone else plays them. Over the past year that has gradually changed (as in the time before the rankings last year) and Touch Me has become one of my all-time favorites. I guess this shows that who knows what I’ll love a year from now.
  23. Razorblade (Unranked) – The Strokes
    I find it funny that Julian Casablancas’s pretty much ripped off Barry Mannilow’s “Mandy” with the chorus of this song. First Impressions of Earth gets a lot of flak from the mainstream press but there are some legitimate gems on there. It’s an anti-love song and I can picture Julian Casablancas half-heartedly mumbling this during the recording sessions.
  24. St. Justice (Unranked) – Albert Hammond Jr.
    I never was really into any of the side projects from the Strokes, but I have slowly really come to appreciate Albert Hammond Jr’s songwriting.  St. Justice was one of the more underrated and underplayed songs of 2013 and was a BIG part of my Fall semester just listening to this on repeat.
  25. The Show Goes On (Unranked) – Lupe Fiasco
    Very good memories from the past surround this song.

Honorable Mention: “Suffragette City” – David Bowie, “What’s My Age Again?” – blink-182, “Gypsy” – Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” – Lady Gaga, “Black Skinhead – Kanye West”, “There She Goes Again – Velvet Underground”, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Division, “Penny Lane” – The Beatles