Friday, February 22, 2008

Taking a break from the list for random Friday drive thoughts

I didn't realize how gay the back end of my tv list would appear. Oh, crap. Did I just use "gay" and "back end" in the same sentence?

Anyway, we're halfway done and I need a break. Don't worry, lots of good shows are coming, and they're a lot more manly.

Manly coming? What the hell is wrong with me?

At any rate, I was listening to my "Green Day B-Sides" mix cd on the drive home. Basically, it's a compilation of all my favorite songs of theirs that weren't released as singles. Thus, they weren't played on the radio, so I'm not sick of them. It got me thinking that I should make a cd based on that same premise, but from lots of different bands.

I'm going to list a bunch of songs here, just going off the top of my head. I'd appreciate feedback and/or suggestions on the selections. The only criterion is that I've never heard any of these songs on the radio or used in a commercial, etc.

One large disclaimer: I'm only going to list songs from bands that are fairly well-known. I can't stand people who want to show off their musical acumen by showing how many obscure bands they know. Who the fuck cares how great the Beta Band was? Most bands who don't break big don't make it for a reason: they're not as good as the bands that do.

This is the same in any pretty much any walk of life, but only in music is it some sort of badge of honor to be unknown. You never hear anyone say, "Picasso was an overrated sellout. You know who was so much better? Porkshovsky from Poland. You would've never heard of him."

You know why Mudhoney never got to be as popular as Nirvana? 'Cause they weren't as fucking good. Get over it and stop begging me to listen to them. And for the last time, I'm not going to start worshiping The Arcade Fire. They just don't do it for me; I don't care how musically gifted they supposedly are. Oh, and lastly, Radiohead's new stuff is shit compared to its older, instrument-based albums. I'm not saying it's terrible, but just because you go "in a new direction" where you now use computers instead of instruments doesn't mean you're musical geniuses. Go back to playing the guitar. And Thom Yorke, I haven't understood a word you've sung since Kid A.

If any of that floated your boat, there's more angry musical musings of mine if you follow this link, with the added bonus that I make fun of J.T. Billeter:

On to the list:

Green Day: "Going to Pasalacqua" off 1039 Smoothed-Out Slappy Hours, "Uptight" off Nimrod, "Church on Sunday" off Warning, and "Letterbomb" off American Idiot. I just picked the absolute best, but obviously I have enough here for an 80-minute cd. I can prove it; it's in my car. One of my all-time favorite bands, and as popular as they are, I don't think they've gotten enough credit for the way they've evolved. Are you listening, Radiohead?

Since we're on Radiohead, "The Bends," off The Bends and "Let Down" off Ok Computer. I would've put "My Iron Lung" on here as well, but you can download it on Rock Band (AWESOME to play, btw), so it can't be that obscure. It's almost impossible to say that one has a favorite song, because it totally depends on mood, etc, but if you ask me to list five possibilities, "Let Down" definitely makes that list. Achingly beautiful.

Guns N Roses: The only one that immediately pops into my head is "Rocket Queen," (off Appetite for Destruction) which I'll bet WAS played on the radio in its day, but it was overshadowed by all the other hits on the album. I actually don't love the beginning of the song, but the last two minutes are such a sweet contrast to the aggression of the rest of the album. I just looked at the Use Your Illusions, and the only other one I can see qualifying would be "Breakdown" off II.

U2: This was nearly impossible. It seems like every song they have was a single. I finally settled on "Exit" off The Joshua Tree after deciding that "Red Hill Mining Town" probably was well-known. If anyone has a suggestion on this one, I'd love to hear it.

REM: I always think of these two bands together. Same problem here. I might be fudging a bit here, but I'll go with "Country Feedback" from Out of Time, "Circus Envy" from Monster, and "Leave" and "Be Mine" off New Adventures in Hi-Fi, probably their most underrated album.

Smashing Pumpkins: The best song on Siamese Dream, which was their best album, was "Geek U.S.A." It wasn't one of the six or seven singles. Go figure. I also love the James Iha-sung "Blew Away," off Pisces Iscariot. Billy Corgan claims it was the only Pumpkins song he never touched at all, and thank god. I always thought "X.Y.U." off Mellon Collie rocked, but I knew it was too long to see airplay.

The Killers: I kept waiting for "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" off Hot Fuss to become a big hit, but it never happened. It was only the second-best song on the album after "Mr. Brightside," for gosh sakes. On Sam's Town, the last song "Why Do I Keep Counting?" has really grown on me. There's some great songs on their new b-side album, but let's see what gets played.

Stone Temple Pilots: Again, I thought the best song off their second album (did we ever figure out a title for that thing? There's a picture on the cover of what appears to be a baby riding a dragon/horse with some Chinese symbols, for whatever that's worth) was "Unglued," which was perhaps too short for the radio. Or did I just miss its era? It friggin' rocks, at any rate. "Seven Caged Tigers" off Tiny Music isn't bad, either.

Sum 41: "Handle This," off All Killer, No Filler. And "Best of Me" should be the next single off their new album.

Third Eye Blind: Skip this one if you don't like guilty pleasures or can't remember the late 90's. I'll try and make this quick: "God of Wine" off the self-titled debut, "Wounded" off Blue, and "Faster" off Out of the Vein. There, that wasn't so hard, was it?

Taking Back Sunday: "Head Club" off Where You Want to Be, "Slowdance on the Inside" off Tell All Your Friends, "My Blue Heaven" and "Twenty-Twenty Surgery" off Louder Now, which is a kick-ass album title whether you like TBS or not.

Weezer: Another of my all-time fave bands. I would say "My Name is Jonas," because it's my single favorite Weezer song (followed by "Perfect Situation"), but it's on Guitar Hero III, so again, not unkown. There's JT's favorite: "No One Else," along with "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" off the Blue album. All of Pinkerton is underrated, but let's go with "Tired of Sex," the opener. Like most, I was not a big fan of Maladroit, but the closer, "December" is a tuneful lament. Off the Green album (I'm out of order here, I realize), I'll go with "Simple Pages" and "Oh, Girlfriend." And lastly, "The Other Way" is my second-favorite song on Make Believe and never made it to the radio, as far as I know.

The Yeah Yeah Yeah's album Show Your Bones was one of my favorites of 2006, and "Honeybear" and "Turn Into" easily could've been hits with more airplay.

Perhaps I should break here before going back to the start of the alphabet. Yes, I'm basically just going through my cd collection at this point. Eileen just came home, so it's time to make dinner (yes, I am whipped. She makes more money. You would be, too). Back later tonight, unless I run out of steam...


Lance Christian Johnson said...

Just a few comments.

#1. I like most of the music you listed, with the exception of The Killers, probably. I don't get the appeal to him.

#2. Regarding popular vs. quality, you pick good examples to make your points. However, I've heard a lot of really good music that was obscure and I've heard a lot of really crappy music that was popular. There's good stuff on both fronts. Personally, I think that popularity isn't a barometer as to the music's quality one way or the other. So, are your choices bad because they're popular? Of course not, and as I said, I like most of what you put down. (I think that STP's third album is brilliant, by the way - not a song on there that I don't like.) It's just that there is good stuff that isn't popular. Remember when I played that band Caviar for you? I don't know anybody else who likes them, but I'll be damned if their stuff isn't as good or better than a lot of quality stuff. If there was any way to prove it, I'd bet money that they'd be one of your favorite bands if only they got some more radio play.

#3. There's also a lot of good music out there that' know, older than when you first started listening to music. You shouldn't listen to it because people tell you it's good, but there's probably a lot of stuff that you'd really like if you'd branch out a little bit more. The Beatles don't continue to sell a lot of cds for no reason, for instance.

As I've said before, when discussing music, its popularity and/or age should not be a factor if you want to actually talk about MUSIC. (Same goes for discussing how good looking or not good looking the singer is.)

Oh, and I still think you're too rough on JT. He may not listen to a lot of new stuff, but what he does listen to constitutes a greater variety of musical styles and genres than what you listen to. (Don't get me wrong - you should listen to what you like. Listening to many genres just because you want to seem musically savvy is lame. I'm just saying that you're not the one who should be pointing fingers.)

Nolan said...

#1 The Killers is not a "him." It's a band. I don't know why you don't like them. They're awesome. Maybe you suck.

#2 I think in general, the cream rises to the top. That doesn't mean I don't like bands that are relatively unknown and hate some really popular "artists" (don't get me started on Nickleback or Doughtry). What I mostly hate is people who try to act like only liking obscure bands is cool and you're lame for liking popular stuff. I could have listed my favorite Less Than Jake and MxPx songs (of whom I have a combined 15 albums or so), but what would be the point? How would that be entertaining for anyone but me? I do not remember listening to this band Caviar, but I'd be willing to. I don't need them on the radio to like them; that's not my point.

3. What? There was music before 1988? And who are these "Beatles" you speak of? Look, I know and respect music that came out before I started buying cds. I even give props to it in part 2 (in stores NOW!). I just don't own all that much of it. I have a bunch of greatest hits albums, like The Clash, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, etc. But the point of this post was to single out some tunes that WEREN'T hits, so writing about older stuff I'm less familiar with would be pointless. Feel free to do your own list with those.
Re: JT, I didn't write anything new about him. In fact, I gave him props on one of my Weezer picks. And I'm not sure you're getting my criticism of him. I'm certainly not saying I know more about music than he does, because I don't. In fact, all you guys have a wider array of stuff you listen to than I do. But I will not waver in saying he has "grumpy old man" syndrome. He hears names of new bands he's not familiar with and turns up his nose at them. He may know music better than I do, but I'd cream him in knowledge from the past six or seven years.