The List, Part 3
1. Part the Last
Okay, so here we are. If you haven’t done so already, you can check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Part one also has a bit of discussion about why the hell I’m even regurgitating a months (years?) old meme from Facebook.
2. The List, Part 3
8tracks link-style! (No, I still haven’t fixed embedding. Right-click and open in a new tab or window.)
21. “Fat-Bottomed Girls” – Queen – A Song You Listen to when You’re Happy
I make the claim that this is the best rock song of all time. Sure, there might be Beatles songs that are more popular, and AC/DC songs with more drive, but for me this song is all about the attitude, performance, and production. First, this song sounds (pardon the pun) huge. The drums are thick, the guitar is expansive, and holy shit Freddie Mercury. Let’s face it, a better frontman has never lived. I don’t think it’s possible that Queen could have ever played in a club. And of course this was from their seventh album, so I doubt it was ever played in front of less than eight-hundred-thousand people.
And that drum fill before the last chorus? HUGE. I think Roger Taylor was using a 17-piece kit for that. (I may have exaggerated a bit on this particular inclusion.)
22. “Blake Says” – Amanda Palmer – A Song You Listen to when You’re Sad
I really can’t say too much about this one. “He takes his pills but never takes his medicine” is probably one of the best lyrics of all time, though. Amanda Palmer’s lyrics are so good it actually makes me angry. And this is coming from someone who rarely, if ever, listens to music for its lyrical content.
23. “In Your Eyes” – Peter Gabriel – A Song You Want Played at Your Wedding
You know that part in Say Anything when John Cusack holds up his boombox and plays this while standing out in the driveway? I don’t, because I’ve never seen it. Despite being a huge fan of both Peter Gabriel and John Cusack (and Cameron Crowe, for that matter). But! Somehow my wife and I came together over how goddamn awesome Peter Gabriel is, and decided we wanted it performed at our wedding. That fell through (thanks to the guy who was going to do it having to go to an in-law’s wedding or something), so we ended up having it for our first dance. Incidentally it was only time we ever danced, as we both avoided ever learning how. (I can pick ‘em, I say.) Also, despite being in 4/4, it’s practically impossible to dance to in any “traditional” way. So was a weird album like that.
24. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – A Song You Want Played at Your Funeral
The whole thing. With a full orchestra and choir.
I’m not kidding.
(This isn’t on the mix because it’s an hour long. Also it was going to be Mozart’s Requiem, but that’s just maudlin and cliche.)
25. “ZTO” – Devin Townsend – A Song that Makes You Laugh
That Wilhelm Scream at the beginning makes me cackle every damn time. The entire Ziltoid album is fantastic (“I am so omniscient, if there was to be two Omnisciences, I would be both!”), and the insanity starts right off the bat. I constantly reference the “Make it perfect!” at the end of the track. Devin has a sense of humor unparallelled. He’s definitely the second coming of Frank Zappa.
26. “Something Vague” – Bright Eyes – A Song You Can Play on an Instrument
It’s not a terribly difficult song on guitar, but I really like playing it. I could have probably put any number of other songs, but this was the first one that came to mind. It’s also, oddly, the only Bright Eyes song I know how to play.
27. “99 Ways to Die” – Megadeth – A Song You Wish You Could Play
This is, and probably always will be, my favorite Megadeth song. I just can’t seem to play it. I think it’s because it only sounds right if two guitars are playing it. Or because I’m trying to learn it off shitty internet tabs. In any case, if I ever learn how to play it, I will never play another song again, because I’ll just play this non-stop.
28. “Delilah” – The Dresden Dolls – A Song that Makes You Feel Guilty
This is the last Amanda Palmer-penned song on the list (my god, there’s a lot of them). I say it makes me feel guilty because it wavers between blaming the victim and frustration and exasperation. It’s almost painful to listen to because I think everyone knows one of those people that is stuck in a what appears to be an obviously toxic relationship but won’t get out of it. And that’s the part that I identify with. The problem I have is that it really seems to blame the person in the relationship, and that just doesn’t fly with me. It ultimately ends unresolved and the whole thing makes me feel downright bad. But it’s such a good song otherwise.
I’ve also discovered that, in trying to cover it, it sounds entirely different coming from a male singer. It sounds so completely asshole-ish that it’s really making me doubt the decision to cover it. It goes from being a song about frustration and friendship to a song about what a stupid bitch Delilah is and I just can’t do that. So this message is for the guys out there: Don’t cover this song, you’ll sound like a dick.
29. “Batdance” – Prince – A Song from Your Childhood
I actually had to think about this for a while. And once I settle on “Batdance”, I had to find a copy of it, which took some doing, considering how fucking popular the movie and the song were when I was nine. My favorite part is how it’s just a bunch of samples from the movie Batman with a couple of the theme from the 1960s show (mainly the “Batmaaaaan!” bits) over a fairly generic Prince instrumental bed.
But holy shit look at this video:
It’s like everything that was awesome and horrible about the 80s rolled into one. Which is, really, the same thing you could say about Prince.
30. “The Noose” – A Perfect Circle – Your Favorite Song at This Time Last Year
Like I said the first time around, this song has been my favorite since I first heard it. Probably won’t change.
So What Have We Learned?
Well, there are some amusing things, like going from Skynryd to Meshuggah, or from Slayer to Queen. Part of the reason I liked the original meme was that it gave me a chance to actually mention some things I don’t talk about much, or don’t typically acknowledge, like Peter Gabriel. I am, however, a little annoyed that I can’t honestly mention more underground stuff that I like, because so much of it doesn’t really fall into any of the above categories. It’s hard to fit something like chiptunes into anything listed, you know? It’s hard to cite Prong or Goatwhore as something that makes you fall asleep.
Also, uh, I don’t really go digging for random underground shit just because. I have no problem with reaching for populist garbage. Half the songs on this list probably could have qualified under “guilty pleasure” from some people, but I don’t really like to shy away from music I love.
If we want to do any sort of horrible statistical analysis by genre, it breaks down like this:
Other stuff: 7
You can debate what criteria I segregated those out by, but that’s how I see it. It’s not really as varied as I was hoping, but considering I don’t have any rap/hip-hop on there, only one country song, no jazz, and so on, I can’t really complain that much.
Now, having reached the end of all of this, I’m not even sure how much this list adds to the wider world of criticism. That really goes for any sort of list, though. I suppose it can add to the overall conversation of cultural minutiae, but it ultimately feels like it was an exercise in extracting meaning out of a bunch of arbitrary decisions. So many of them just came flying out of my ass (e.g., “Something Vague” just being the first song I can play that I though of) that it seems like the whole thing is devoid of meaning. And this doesn’t even touch on the people that answer every prompt with things like Justin Beiber. So it makes me wonder just how doomed our world is.
Though the fact that it came from Facebook should have been a warning.
In the end, though, I had fun compiling the original list, so I guess I’ll have to mark it in the win category. It’s just sad that, for being someone who puts so much emphasis on “WHY DO YOU LIKE WHAT YOU DO”, I really couldn’t dissect some of these further. Oh well. Come back next time for a much better episode!