Thursday, December 08, 2011

Top 25 Redux

When you've not written in a while or are in a slump, sometimes it's a good idea to just ride the coattails of something you've written before and ease on back into the groove. Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, and, most obviously, Dan Brown have all made a career out of this. I mean really, The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons are EXACTLY the same book. Yes, this means I read both of them...Damn you, Dan Brown! Damn youuuuuuuu!

Clearly, I'm not in the same boat as these guys. For one, I'm terrible at writing fiction. For two (Can you say 'for two'?), half of my posts are about people crapping their pants and my most popular writing to date is a reading of The Dukes of Hazzard as the Gospel of Christ. I guess that's a sort of hillbilly Da Vinci Code, right?

Anyhow, I'm going to pull a Dan Brown here and revisit a post from about a year ago. A lot has happened in the last year. Heartbreak, a best friend's wedding, two moves, personal crises, heartbreak again...let's see how this has been reflected in my iPod's Top 25 Most Played songs! I know, you're on the edge of your seat in anticipation. Cut me some slack.

1. This Modern Love by Bloc Party - Admittedly, this live version is not as good as the album version, but who cares? If you're going to schlep a song title from David Bowie, you'd better bring the business. Lyrically, I love this song, especially the last lyrics. "Do you wanna come over and kill some time? Throw your arms around me." Is there such a thing as a love song that isn't in some way part of everyone's autobiography? Methinks not.

2. No Love by Eminem - Only Eminem could sample a song by a guy who looks like this and still sound hard as fuck. This may be the greatest breakup song of all time. Thank God Eminem cleaned up and got his shit in one sock. Offended by his lyrics or not, the guy is absolutely the most clever, intense, and skilled rapper out there.

3. Kill Everybody by Skrillex - I probably never would have gotten turned on to Skrillex were it not for a certain young lady with an eclectic and discerning taste in really, really cool music, but I'm glad I did. A lot of dubstep producers cringe that he's brought their genre to the masses, but I have to chalk that up to sour grapes. In another universe, where I'm a mixed martial arts fighter (laughable as I've never been in a fight and have no intention of starting that habit now), this is my entry music. Pretty sure I win the fight before I even get to the ring.

4. Almost Easy by Avenged Sevenfold - I don't know what it is about these guys that I like because they're essentially a meat head band, but I have to admit to a weak spot for really aggressive music. And if there is a redeeming value to Avenged Sevenfold it's, as I've mentioned before, the musicianship is pretty unbelievable. Additionally, as I've also said before, there's something delicious about unabashed heavy metal. This song reminds me of an ex girlfriend from ages ago. We played the back and forth game for way too long; sort of a fucked up, emotionally disturbing version of the Mango skits from Saturday Night Live. If she were self aware enough to have any sort of introspective thought, I think the lyrics to this song would have been a pretty accurate inner monologue.

5. Too Shy To Scream by AFI - Full disclosure: I LOVE AFI. If I have a critique, it's that lyrically Davey Havoc (great stage name) can be a touch too earnest. Having said that, what's wrong with being a little over the top from time to time? Androgynous? Effeminate even? The fact is, I'm not sure there's a lead singer out there who has more fun being a lead singer than Mr. Havoc. Also, if you get the chance, brave the Hot Topix kids and go to an AFI show. Awesome live. Fact.

6. Veronica Sawyer Smokes by AFI - Clearly, I don't skip over these two songs as they're ordered back to back on the Crash Love Album. Ditto my thoughts above. "Oh, I saw you every time I closed my eyes in the Hughes film I had scored, produced, and starred in in my mind. I could recite you, well, I'd written every line but you strayed far from my flawless script on which I'd spent a lifetime."

7. Tell Me What it Is by Rodney Parker and the 50 Peso Reward - Again, the album version is better, but a songwriter and his guitar are tough to beat. What do we have so far? Rap, dubstep, heavy metal, Indy, Emo, and now country? Sounds like a day in my life. I have a weakness for good Texas country and this is right up my alley. I'm pretty sure Rodney Parker is going to appear somewhere else on this list...maybe a couple of times. Lyrically, Parker doesn't pander to the conventions of modern country music and I could kiss him for it. He also does a great cover of Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen. Who wouldn't love that? Communists, that's who.

8. Just Like Heaven by The Cure - My best friend and I were both raised in separate football nuts regions of the area south of the Mason-Dixon line and constantly argue about Big XII offenses and SEC defenses. He also occasionally sends me comedic picture messages of himself in his underwear, I've told him I love him on more than one occasion (his wife too), and we both adore The Cure. If his parents are reading this, they're probably praying and mainlining Fox News shows just to stay alive. The Cure are easily the best band of the 80s and in my top five all time.

9. Smile Like You Mean It by The Killers - Can you be wildly successful and still be underrated? Great, great song writing. Wonderful lyrics. Morrisseyesque vocals. More often than not, a perfect soundtrack to my life.

10. We've Had Enough by Alkaline Trio - The aesthetic of this band is addictive and tailor made for some really great tattoos...if getting album jacket art as a tattoo wasn't itself tailor made for instant regret. I remember when Good Mourning came out. It was pretty much all I listened to and I still love the album. I'd say most of their lyrics are haunting and disturbing, but also tongue-in-cheek and playful. That's a tough combination to nail, but they do it.

11. Fast Lane by Bad Meets Evil - Highly inappropriate lyrics, expertly delivered. Best rap song of the last two years.

12. Wish by Paper Route - This band just lost the singer and songwriter that I loved them for, but hopefully it's not a death sentence. "All my decisions were just second guesses, looking for love like a bride looks for dresses." I spent the majority of a 16 hour drive back to Texas listening to this album and sang along most of the time. People in Arkansas stared.

13. Jenny Don't Be Hasty by Paolo Nutini - Where is Paolo Nutini from, you ask? Paisley, Scotland. When I was a little, little kid, I used to think it was odd to hear a black man speak with a UK accent, but now it seems completely normal. A guy named Paolo speaking with a Scottish accent still doesn't seem right. Great song. Fuck age differences. Like R. Kelly said, "Age ain't nothin' but a number." And that officially marks the first time R. Kelly and Paolo Nutini will ever be referenced in the same literary space. You're welcome.

14. Why Are You Here by MeTalkPretty - I'm beginning to wonder why I have a weak spot for overwrought female break up songs. Yeah, I'm not going down that rabbit hole. This chick has PIPES.

15. American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem - Working class band from New Jersey. Fender Telecasters. Heartfelt. I've seen this formula before.

16. Cautioners by Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American is a killer album from beginning to end and the ultimate "F you!" to the record label that dropped them. Yes, they can be a little too pop prone for my taste, but what a lovely song...and yes, it's breakup apropos.

17. 11 Hours by Rodney Parker and the 50 Peso Reward - God, this is a beautiful song. Do yourself a favor and listen to the album version (iTunes). If I cried, I never do...and I never lie either...seriously, this song would get me like a baby every time I hear it.

18. Silver Wings by Thrice -

From tender years you took me for granted
But Still I deign to wander through your lungs
While you were sleeping soundly in your bed,
Your drapes were silver wings, your shutters flung

I drew the poison from the summer's sting,
And eased the fire out of your fevered skin.
I moved in you and stirred your soul to sing;
And if you'd let me I would move again.

I've danced 'tween sunlit strands of lover's hair;
Helped form the final words before your death.
I've pitied you and plied your sails with air;
Gave blessing when you rose upon my breath.

And after all of this I am amazed,
That I am cursed far more than I am praised

If you're going to sing about God, by God, do it like this.

19. International Players Anthem by UGK - You have to love southern rap. Seriously, you have to. UGK and Outkast may be the best ever. Pour one out for Pimp C. Also, does Andre 3000 remind anyone else of RG3? Makes RG3 even more Heisman worthy as far as I'm concerned. Andrew Luck's got no drip in his hip.

20. Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol - Apparently, this was played at my request at my best friend's rehearsal dinner. I say "apparently" because, even though I was the best man, I was in a plane somewhere over the Deep South when said rehearsal dinner was taking place. Halfway to the airport early that morning, I realized I had forgotten my suit. Faced with the decision between upsetting the groom by missing our tee time and upsetting the bride because I forgot my suit, I immediately told the cab driver to turn around and head back to my house to retrieve the suit. Not exactly Sophie's Choice.

21. Motivation by Kelly Rowland - Not exactly my go to genre, but I'm pretty sure people get pregnant just by listening to this song. Hot.

22. First of the Year by Skrillex - The drop in this song melts my face. Creepy video though. Seems sort of like a, "Well, we have to make a video, any ideas?" kind of video. Whatever. I have a friend who works for a concert promotions company who I'm pretty sure thinks I only contact her when I'm looking to score free tickets to good shows. I texted her to say hey right about the time Skrillex came to town. She responded with something along the lines of, "You just want Skrillex tickets, don't you." I really was just saying hey...but once it was mentioned...

23 and 24 Wax and Wire by Loch Lomond and A Little Piece by The Jezabels (respectively) - I heard both of these songs for the first time on this video of Danny MacAskill doing absolutely insane things on a mountain bike. I watch this video at least once a week. Part of it is the music, part of it is the ludicrous shit this guy is doing on a bike, and the other part of it is a little bit of Scottish pride. I claim Texas, but I was born in Scotland. That's a pretty badass combination if I do say so myself. Barbecue and haggis. Kilts and cowboy boots. Six shooters and headbutts. William Wallace and Sam Houston. Battle of Stirling and The Alamo. #winning.

25. Rosa Parks by Outkast - The mock phone conversation at the beginning of this video is what Outkast is all about, and God bless them for it. I can't hear this song and not dance. I sent a text to a girl I was dating referencing lyrics to this song. She responded with question marks. I educated her. Don't say I never did anything of value. Hush that fuss.


David St. Hubbins III said...

Hi-fucking-larious!!! Good to have you writing again man.

Pancho said...

Thanks, Mr. St. Hubbins III! I say it that way because it sounds much more formal and slightly Victorian. Makes me feel like Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice...but as a dude...and you're not a suitor...Fuck, the analogy has already fallen apart. Maybe it's more Spinal Tap anyway. Regardless, thanks and thank you for reading!