Saturday, June 30, 2018

RS top 100 songs, part 2

Let's do this!

49. Sign of the Times by Harry Styles - Wow. While this wasn't my favorite song on his debut, I'm happy and surprised to see him represented, and in the top 50 no less. I honestly think this former boy band member is a force for good in rock. (Watch, his next album will be all autotuned drum machine dance numbers lololol)
48. Happy by Pharrell - Pharrell is a super talented musician. He's made some great beats. But this? This is the kind of predictable, middle of the road pap I thought they'd want to avoid. I don't get what's so great about this song.
47. Redbone by Childish Gambino - YUSSSSSSSS! I love this song. When they get it right, they really get it right.
46. Cry Me a River by Justin Timberlake - This is a good solid pop song. I prefer "What Goes Around Comes Around," but no complaints.
45. Sorry by Justin Bieber - Nope.
44. Stan by Eminem - I'm not personally into Eminem, but this is iconic.
43. don't know it
42. Electric Feel by MGMT - Wow, not "Kids!" They're both good but this one is extra funky. I like funky.
41. Hurt by Johnny Cash - HELL yes. Such a heartbreaking song. Only reason I didn't include this on my covers list is it's too painful to listen to.
40. Beautiful Day by U2 - A predictable pick, but I can't complain about it, it belongs here.
39. No One Knows by Queens of the Stone Age - this is a band I've always meant to get into but never have. I don't know their songs by title, but I've probably heard this. I salute them keeping rock alive. Maybe one of these days I'll actually sit down and listen to them.
38. a Beyonce song I don't think I've heard
37. don't know it, but it's Leonard Cohen so I approve.
36. Gold Digger by Kanye West - Again, not a Kanye fan, but this is an okay song. Still overrated.
35. Blue Jeans by Lana Del Rey - I'm not a Lana fan, but there are three songs I really like on her debut album, and this is one of them. Kinda cool to see this here honestly.
34. Mr. Brightside by the Killers - Do I even need to say anything? Should I be a snarky bitch and say this should be MUCH higher, or just enjoy that it's here?
33. another post-OK Computer Radiohead song I just never got into. I've tried with Kid A, I really have. Just not my thing.
32. In Da Club by 50 Cent - It's ok for mainstream hip hop, I guess? 50 Cent seems dumb as a post, which probably isn't really relevant lol.
31. Wake Up by Arcade Fire - this is from Funeral, which is the only Arcade Fire album I really got into. I prefer "Tunnels," but sure, glad to see this here.
30. a Bob Dylan song I don't know. RS loves Bob Dylan, I can't really argue against him.
29. All Too Well by Taylor Swift - Wow, the only Taylor Swift song and it wasn't a single. That's a bold choice and a good one, cause this is one of her best songs.
28. Umbrella by Rihanna and Jay-Z - Yeah, this is a pop classic.
27. B.O.B. by Outkast - I miss this kind of energetic hip hop so much. Outkast was great.
26. Hotline Bling by Drake - loooool. I've come around on this song, but I wouldn't put it on this list and sure as hell not this high. Speaking of high, someone must have been. smh.
25. Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars - Well, obviously. Kinda surprised this isn't higher. Great song, one of the few times I'm in consensus with the masses lol.
24. Lose Yourself by Eminem - the best Eminem song I've heard. I'm not even a fan (Stan?) and I think this is awesome.
23. Ms. Jackson by Outkast - Awesome hip hop song. Take your Migos and Lil Whoever and blow them out your ass, long live Outkast.
22. Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand - HELLLLL YES.
21. Bad Romance by Lady Gaga - awesome song, another pop classic.
20. Rehab by Amy Winehouse - what can I say? Great song by an artist gone way too soon. I wonder what kind of music she'd be making now.
19. I don't know the song that's at #19? WTF?? never even heard of Robyn.
18. late period Bowie, not my thing but totally respect it being here.
17. Work It by Missy Elliot - Man, remember when popular hip hop had life, energy, and personality? This song is so catchy and Missy Elliott is probably the best female rapper I've heard.
16. 2nd song by LCD Soundsystem, a band I've heard of but never heard.
15. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley - Yup, classic.
14. Toxic by Britney Spears - NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO number 14?? Seriously???
13. Alright by Kendrick Lamar - don't know it but I like what I've heard from Kendrick. I'm actually gonna check this one out.
12. Get Ur Freak On by Missy Elliott - wow, they really like Missy Elliott. Can't say I disagree with either of these honestly. This beat is like, ingrained into the fabric of society at this point.
11. Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson - I never would have imagined this song would be so high but I really like it. Not #11-like it, but ehh? Okay I guess.
10. Last Nite by the Strokes - HELLLLLLL YEAH.
9. Royals by Lorde - not my favorite Lorde song, but this absolutely belongs here.
8. Rolling in the Deep by Adele - Classic, great song, great voice. Kinda surprised Adele only showed up once.
7. And speaking of people showing up more than once, here's more frickin' Kanye 😡 When I say over, you say rated! I haven't heard this song but it has Pusha T on it, who has impressed me the few times I've heard him. *shrug*
6. And in possibly the biggest surprise... Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs is at NUMBER SIX. I LOVE this song you guys, OMG. I might have expected it to show up, but this high? Mind blown. Awesome.
5. 99 Problems by Jay-Z - Yeah, this pretty iconic. I do like Jay-Z when he's on.
4. Hey Ya by Outkast - Hell yeah! Sure not gonna complain about Outkast showing up 3 times. If anything, they're generally underrated.
3. Seven Nation Army by White Stripes - HELLLLL YEAH and honestly, this doesn't surprise me. Is there a more immediately recognizable riff in recent memory?
2. Paper Planes by M.I.A. - really? #2? This is kind of a cool experimental song that somehow hit it big, but putting it here baffles me. Again - "Welcome to the Black Parade," my pick for song of the century, is not even on this list. I get that music taste is subjective, but some of these choices genuinely confuse me.
1. Aaaaand probably the most confusing choice of all... Crazy in Love by Beyonce at #1??? Um, at least it wasn't Kanye again, I guess? Don't get me wrong, this is probably my favorite Beyonce song I've heard and she totally deserves to be on the list. She's a superstar and she is actually talented. But putting a good pop song - and that's what this is, a good pop song - at number one for 18 years worth of music? I just don't get it. This would be like if they did a top 100 of the previous century and instead of putting The Beatles or Nirvana or Led Zeppelin at number one, they picked a pretty good Madonna song. "Crazy in Love" over "Welcome to the Black Parade" is like "Material Girl" over "Smells Like Teen Spirit." It's a good song, but does it belong in that kind of lofty space? I say no, no it does not.

Thus ends my take on this sometimes great, sometimes confusing list. I guess this really does show how subjective music tastes can be, so in that sense, it's a pretty good representation.

The biggest takeaway for me - in light of what I was talking about the other day, it's pretty cool that The Strokes, White Stripes, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs all made the top 10. Guess I'm not the only one missing that 2000s rock revival! Hint hint, folks.

I could make a whole long list of songs and artists I think should have been represented, but there are probably better uses of my time. Peace!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Rolling Stone's Top 100 songs of the century so far list

For the sake of argument, let's pretend Rolling Stone is still relevant and dive in to this list, song by song. There's some bad, but there's also some really, surprisingly good! Like songs and bands that are personal faves of mine, not just classics everyone likes. #s 74 and 75 are especially mind-blowing for me.

100. Gasolina by Daddy Yankee - I don't know this song, but I know he was the rapper on Despacito. He was alright. Shrug? Yup, we're starting with a shrug.
99. No idea what this is, not gonna type it all out.
98. OMG, freaking Alvvays! I love Alvvays! This is from their first album which I'm not as familiar with, but how cool to see them represented.
97. don't know it
96. might know it? never got into Black Keys
95. Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue - Yeah, that's a solid pop song. I wouldn't call it a song of the century, but maybe it's here for being an actual pop song in a time with so few of them.
94. blah blah Kanye West. Have never been a fan.
93. I'm Not Okay by My Chemical Romance - YEEEAH! I mean, it should be Black Parade and it should be higher, but I love seeing them here.
92. don't know it
91. Despacito - We're 10 songs in and that umm, great artist of our time, Daddy Yankee, has already been represented twice. Okay? I mean this song was massive, I guess I get it. It's nothing special though.
90. don't know it
89. Hate to Say I Told You So by The Hives - HELLLLLL YEAH I love this song!
88. don't know it, but I've liked some Vampire Weekend songs
87. We Belong Together by Mariah Carey - I will never argue against Mariah Carey. Classic.
86. I Love It by Icona Pop and Charli XCX - Really? Charli XCX is a great presence, but this song is nothing special.
85. don't know it
84. One More Time by Daft Punk - Yeah, this is a classic electronic song. Not my favorite genre, but I dig this.
83. Lost Cause by Beck - Not my favorite Beck song, I prefer his funkier side, but still great. Love Beck.
82. New Slang by The Shins - One of my favorite songs of all time. Respect.
81. Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani - pardon me, I can't say that with a straight face. Seriously?? I don't even hate this song, but whaaa?
80. don't know it
79. Drop it Like It's Hot by Snoop Dogg & Pharrell - Yeah, that's a classic, can't argue with that.
78. Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John - AGH that earwormy whistle song! I guess it's iconic, but damn I don't wanna hear it again.
77. don't know it
76. Get Lucky by Daft Punk & Pharrell - Yep, great pop song.
75. The House that Built Me by Miranda Lambert - OMG! One of my favorite songs! I'm shocked this was recognized, but so happy.
74. Letter from an Occupant by New Pornographers - And even more amazing, it's one of the most underrated bands ever, and also one of my favourites. And wow, this is such a fireball of a Neko Case performance, it's glorious.
73. don't know it
72. Bad and Boujee by Migos - Ewww, this might be the worst song they picked. Blecch. Trap shit is the shame of the century.
71. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen - Nah.
70. American Idiot by Green Day - Hell yeah Green Day! I prefer Holiday or Boulevard of Broken Dreams, but choosing the title track makes sense. It's a good song in its own right, and it's kind of like picking the whole album.
69. don't know it
68. Springsteen by Eric Church - Interesting. I like this song, but this over Record Year? I'll take it, I guess.
67. don't know it
66. Beez in the Trap by Nicki Minaj - Ugh, really? It seems like I'm hating on hip hop here but I'm not. I'm hating on bad hip hop. Where's King Kunta? Where's Downtown?
65. We Found Love by Rihanna & Calvin Harris - It's alright.
64. DNA by Kendrick Lamar - Okay, this is better. I still like King Kunta more, but at least this is hip hop that brings it instead of falling asleep.
63. Sugar We're Goin' Down by Fall Out Boy - Ah, back when FOB was a decent band. Back when they were a band, that played instruments. Yeah, I dig this one.
62. Teenage Dream by Katy Perry - Her best song and a nice little pop gem. Can't argue.
61. Don't know this one, but OMG Madonna? Seriously? Her best music was waaaaay back in the last century. I think RS just likes Madonna.
60. don't know it
59. Bodak Yellow by Cardi B - Nope.
58. don't know it, but it's Kanye so meh.
57. don't know it
56. Later period Radiohead, don't know it. I dig their 90s stuff but never got into their newer stuff.
55. don't know it
54. Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiley - OMG! I wrote a while ago, am I the only person who still cares about Rilo Kiley? Apparently I am not, and I'm so happy about that. One of my favorite bands, and this is a great song.
53. don't know it
52. Chandelier by Sia - a little overwrought for me, not a fan, but I get why it's here.
51. Single Ladies by Beyonce - AGH get it out of my ear! Get it out! Okay, I get this was big and maybe it's iconic, but does anyone really... like it?
50. The Scientist by Coldplay - Beautiful song. I like Coldplay. I would have picked Viva la Vida or Clocks, but this is good too.

Okay, I'll get to the other 50 tomorrow! Good game.

Feel Good (Inc) Friday

This long weekend, you could listen to 25 Drake songs, or you could listen to this fun, funky, fresh new album from Gorillaz, The Now Now. I know what I'll be doing.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

I suppose this is as good a time as any to discuss the one album I've listened to since I moved, Panic! at the Disco's Pray for the Wicked. Man, that is a cool ass title wasted on a pretty mediocre album.

Why does it seem like most music now is either severely underproduced or overproduced? You've either got that droney, tinny stuff that sounds like a gnat cursing in your ear, or you've got this thing, which sounds like a bomb going off. Panic! at the disco, indeed.

Why did I listen to this instead of probably 50 more deserving albums that came out this year? Well, there's that cool title. I liked the first two songs I heard, "Say Amen" and "Silver Lining." And honestly, I have a pretty good history with this band. Pretty. Odd. is a beautiful Beatlesesque album that fits nicely on a playlist with early of Montreal. A Fever You Can't Sweat Out has that classic mid-2000s emo vibe, complete with ridiculous song titles you'll never remember. It was kind of a silly, over the top time, but by God it was something. There were guitars. There were live drums. There was a sense of deranged fun, which could almost make you forget that the songs were called things like "There's a Rock In My Heart and a Hole in My Shoe and You Put it There, Darling."*

*not a real song but I bet you had to look it up to be sure.

I wouldn't say I loved their (or I should say his, it's just Brendan Urie at this point) album Death of a Bachelor, but I liked a good half of it, maybe a little more. It had a good vibe, and while the pop production was definitely there, it didn't rub me the wrong way. I called it dance rock, and I think that's accurate. It's fun. This new album, I think, is trying to be fun but... that's just it. You can feel it trying, straining at the seams to be noticed. It's loud, but it doesn't say anything and it sure as hell doesn't rock. This is the first PatD album that hasn't felt organic to me, and I don't just mean instrumentally. Ultrapop production aside, there's just no there there.

I don't think Brendan Urie had much to say this time.

That might be okay, if more of the songs were like "Say Amen" (or "Victorious" from the last album). Songs that make you want to stand up and shout out their meaningless anthemic choruses, because you are drunk and happy. But I don't find the majority of this album infectious, and it definitely doesn't forward the cause of rock. They/he isn't rock anymore, and yeah, they were always pop rock at best. But they put out some good pop rock. Memorable. And while I wouldn't call this album "trendy" or "selling out," it somehow manages to be just as forgettable as if it was. I wasn't expecting this one-man "band" to save rock and roll, but by moving farther away from it, nobody wins. It's too pop for the old fans and not pop enough for the trend eaters. In the end, it just kinda makes me scratch my head and wonder why these bands don't even try to rock anymore. Music doesn't have to say anything, but it does have to make you feel something, even if it's just "wheeee this is fun!" And when the music is empty, making it louder does not make it seem bigger. Just the opposite, really.

I guess we'll see where he's at next album cycle, cause I feel like it's time for a change.
I wonder if we'll ever have another mainstream rock revival like in the early-mid 2000s with bands like The Killers, The Strokes, White Stripes, etc. (which probably led to later bands' success, like MCR and Paramore). What happened? Why did rock's relevance completely disappear with the new decade? Is this just another music "cycle," or has the current generation lost interest in rock? I feel like it's timeless and we'll have another revival in a few years, but I guess we'll see. Which isn't to say that rock is dead, by any means. A lot of these bands are still making good music, as well as newer bands like Creeper. It's just waiting underground til it becomes cool again, I guess. I'm sure eventually people will realize every trap song is actually the same damn song, and they'll get bored and be all, "what's that? a guitar? Hey, I haven't heard one of those in a while..." I swear that's all music trends are, just waiting for people to get bored with whatever's popular. Next! (And the good stuff usually comes back.)

Edited to add: Why does it matter if music I like is "popular," when I can stream or download and listen to whatever I want, whenever I want? Because I'm not a hipster. I like to feel like part of a society. Sure, there's some unusual stuff I like that I wouldn't expect to hear in the mainstream, and I like having some "on my own time" music. But I also like hearing music I connect to when I'm out in the world, at restaurants, shops, bars, etc.

Obviously no one wants to be constantly pummelled by shit they hate - for me, this droney trap rap trend has been misery - but it's more than that. You can somewhat tune that out. But - I don't want to tune out music. I want the "hey, that's my song!" feeling. The shared music experience. It's not like I hang out at places that are all teens and 20s, where I might not expect to relate to the current trends. These are shared spaces with people from all walks of life, yet they're still being controlled by these lowest common denominator trends. A little more variety would be nice, is what I'm saying. A little more organic music that some of us still relate to. And not just on 90s night! I love 90s night, but I hear that shit all the time. That's what I already have on heavy rotation. Play some NEW music that evokes the 90s or early 2000s, if that's what you're so hungry for, you know? I don't know why 90s ROCK = COOL, but any rock put out this decade is no longer relevant. Nostalgia has its place, but it's nice to feel you belong in the here and now*, too.

*Of course, that won't stop me from sneaking in a Letters to Cleo reference. :)

tbt ~ The Killers

This album may be from 2012, but the sound is rooted firmly in my childhood.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

*a tumbleweed blows by*

So, I appear to have bought a house. Wait, how did that happen?? This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. How did I get here? Letting the days go by, water flowing underground.

So. There's that. Hence the large tumbleweed population 'round here. I will resume blogging after we're settled in and my cats stop hating me. I haven't really listened to much new music lately. Stuck in the 90s and 2000s, doop de doo. There's an Oasis song FIRMLY lodged in my head right now. Those new FGL songs? Haven't heard em, can't say I really care. However, I did listen to my first ever Ghost song, "Dance Macabre." It's 80s AF and I dig it. Like, we're talking right out of one of those old Metal Mania videos.

Here's the thing. I like some harder rock, but "metal" is one of those musical descriptors that makes my brain shut off, like "trap" or "k-pop" or "industrial." I just associate it with screaming and noise. But what can one song hurt? And yeah, I guess it's "metal" in the 80s sense, not that current hardcore screaming shit. It's very melodic, and that's what I look for. So I'll probably check out the album, but for now at least I have a cool "new nostalgic" song in heavy rotation. It kinda feels like the right thing to start this new chapter in my life with, you know? Something that reminds me of the comfort of the past, while still being fresh. Old and new.

Total side note: I'm pretty sure IKEA is one of the circles of Hell.