The Top 100 Songs (60-41)
60. “Once Upon A Time” – Robert Bradley
(Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise, 1996)
While it’s cool to rail on about MTV, we all have to take a minute and thank them for the invention of M2 – Music Television the way it’s supposed to be. If it wasn’t for M2, I’d never have discovered Robert Bradley, and then I would never have bought the CD, and then I’d have never seen them play at the Red Carpet in St. Cloud just hours after returning to town from Seattle, and I’d have missed one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
“I remember Marvin Gaye, singin’/Let’s Get It On.”
59. “Baby Bitch” – Ween
(Chocolate And Cheese, 1994)
It was hard to pick Ween songs for this list because they’re all so different, so perfect for one specific mood. Instead, I had to figure out which ones I could listen to anytime, and “Baby Bitch” is one of them – a somewhat tongue in cheek (or is it?) view on a guy being led on and dropped by an ex-girlfriend. Painful, yet empowering, at least as far as Ween gets in both areas.
“Got fat, got angry, started hating myself/Wrote birthday boy for you babe/Now I’m skinny and sick and paranoid/Without a cent to my name.”
58. “New Noise” – Refused
(The Shape Of Punk To Come: A Chimerical Bombation In 12 Bursts, 1998)
Hardcore punk was left by the wayside when I moved on to college, but it was rediscovered in Seattle when Kerrie purchased this Refused album. It’s smart hardcore – not screamy, but very intelligent, with hooks that keep the songs stuck in the unconscious for days.
“We dance to all the wrong songs/We enjoy all the wrong moves.”
57. “Philosophy – Ben Folds Five
(Ben Folds Five, 1995)
Sara summed this one up pretty well – the final piano section, where Ben Folds goes completely crazy with improvising, is great. I’m also a big fan of the line below.
“But it’s really not that you can’t see the forest for the trees/You never been out in the woods alone.”
56. “The Radiator Hums” – Cursive
“The Radiator Hums” is a much welcomed break on Domestica – a fun and bouncy romp that still carries the weight of the albums’ theme but manages to relax the listener enough to get ready for the finale.
“When you’re selfless you’re so hard not to adore/When you’re selfish, I just love you even more.”
55. “Shorty” – The Get Up Kids
(Four Minute Mile, 1997)
The best Get Up Kids song, by far; you’ve got the stereotypical whiney emo voice, you’ve got the pain brought by a friend “doing you wrong,” and you’ve got a poppy chorus that sticks in your head for weeks.
“I’ll bet you never find another friend like me.”
54. “The Stars Are Projectors” – Modest Mouse
(The Moon And Antarctica, 2000)
The epic “song about life and creation” from The Moon and Antarctica. Filled with euphemism and philosophy, it’s about as heavy as Modest Mouse can get, and it’s nearly spooky at times. If I could, I’d have put every song from the album on here, but alas, I can’t.
“In the last second of life, they’re gonna show you how/How they run this show.”
53. “Radio” – Alkaline Trio
(Maybe I’ll Catch Fire, 2000)
Alkaline Trio has put out some great sing-along songs, but they’ve never been as good as the ones on their first two albums. The second best one was “Radio,” a song that dropped the F-bomb in just the right places – who needs angst, when you’ve got despair and swearing?
“I wish you would take my radio to bathe with you/Plugged in and ready to fall”
52. “Antique” – Texas Is The Reason
(Texas Is The Reason, 1995)
I got this album from Eric for Christmas as a junior in high school. Compared to their full length album, the self titled EP seems more real – more of what the genre needed at the time. Of course, their full length managed to build upon that feel and ended up being even better. “Antique” was the only song that had lyrics, so I always had reason to sing along.
“I’m asking you to smile because that’s what I like best.”
51. “Eulogy” – Tool
The best metal album of the past ten years happens to also have the best metal song: a sprawling song that continuously swings back into a driving and catchy hook. I always love Maynard’s voice, enough to actually have ventured into side project A Perfect Circle, and he’s on top of his game here.
“He had alot to say/He had alot of nothing to say/We’ll miss him.”
50. “No, Not Now” – Hot Hot Heat
(Make Up The Breakdown, 2002)
Another KAUR discovery – I guess it’s the second dance/rock song I like. I lied before.
“Oh no, she’s not a secret now/But, nobody cares.”
49. “Award Tour” – A Tribe Called Quest
(Midnight Marauders, 1999)
The first hip-hop song I embraced after the gangster rap phenomenon. Tribe sounds very dated, especially next to the more modern indie-rap sounds of Jurassic Five, but it’s a classic sound that is always welcome.
“Do dat, do dat, do do dat dat dat”
48. “The Boxer” – Simon and Garfunkle
(Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970)
A powerful song by an oft-ridiculed duo. I had a great Simon and Garfunkle box set, given to me as a gift from Kerrie, which I borrowed to someone in Marshall and then lost when he moved away. Lame, eh?
“And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him/’Til he cried out in his anger and his shame/I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.”
47. “The Frequency” – Jets To Brazil
(Perfecting Loneliness, 2002)
It took me a few years to get into the non-Orange Rhyming Dictionary stuff that Jets to Brazil released, but once I did I realized how great of a song “The Frequency” was – a song that at times celebrates the success that JTB was experiencing while ridiculing the hipsters that wrote off their music.
“You can’t afford to miss a day/Call in sick/You better stay that way.”
46. “I Would Hurt A Fly – Built To Spill
(Perfect From Now On, 1997)
In college, when I really took Modest Mouse on as a favorite band, I searched out more of the Northwest indie sound that was coming out of Seattle – the music that was a far cry from the angst-riddled grunge of the early ‘90s. Perfect From Now On was their complex “jam-band”-esque album, filled with long rambling songs, and “I Would Hurt A Fly” is the best of the bunch.
“I can’t get that sound you make out of my head/I can’t even figure out what’s making it/it feels like fingernails across the moon/Or do you rub your wings together”
45. “The Decline” – NoFX
(The Decline, 1999)
Everything I ever liked about NoFX, and the “EpiFat” punk movement, was wrapped up in this 18-minute political opus. It’s long, and it’s inaccessible as a hit, but it’s the greatest punk song ever, as far as I’m concerned; more is said in the first 15 minutes than was ever said in all of the rest of NoFX’s library.
“I wish I had a schilling/For every senseless killing/I’d buy a government”
44. “Rodeo Jones” – Sunny Day Real Estate
A song that would have ranked much higher had this list been compiled in 1997, or even 2000. It includes some of the great quiet/loud combinations that made Sunny Day Real Estate the front runner of the emo movement (before the term was ever coined) and kept it’s inclusion on SubPop records from seeming out of place.
“Shakespeare sang air on air/So I sung/Shakespeare turned dust to dust/
So to my life.”
43. “Get It Together” – Beastie Boys/Q-Tip
(Ill Communication, 1994)
I liked A Tribe Called Quest, and so I loved this Beastie Boys collaboration – it’s funny to hear Q-Tip swear as much as he does here, but it doesn’t seem out of place. It almost sounds completely freestyle, as if they just got together, got drunk, and threw together some great lyrics.
“I’m Like Ma Bell, I’ve Got The Ill Communications”
42. “Grace Kelly With Wings” – Piebald
(If It Weren’t for Venetian Blinds It Would Be Curtains For Us All, 1999)
Quirky is one of the few ways that Piebald can be described in relation to the rest of the genre. This song, one of their longer ones, also played upon the quiet/loud dynamics, though they used a great deal of off-center guitar licks and odd arrangements. It’s easy to get into, but difficult to understand.
“That’s more than a dress that’s a Grace Kelly movie/Dressed up to the nodes’ we’ll make our grand entrance.”
41. “Lukewarm” – New End Original
Proof that a great band (Texas is the Reason) can spawn a very sub-par band. Norm Arenas and some wacko singer got together to write an album that sounds just like every other pop-emo album of the early 2000’s, but they got one song right – very right. I love “Lukewarm,” but the rest of Thriller can be forgotten. Apparently, though, they were really fun to see live.
“I never wanna say my best days are behind me.”