Monday, May 31, 2010

It started with the '25 songs' meme... and turned into this

In the previous post I introduced the topic of a Facebook meme about "25 songs you cannot live without" and how when eventually I sifted through over 26,000 tracks in my library I'd narrowed this list… to 225.

That seemed too lengthy for the keep-it-short paradigm implicit with Facebook and the blogosphere, so there'd need to be a second round of consideration given to the list, to further winnow it down at least a bit. I wasn't done.

So I went through and assigned rankings to those 225 songs, paring the crème de la crème (so to speak) down to… roughly 50.

Eh, close enough.


Here they are, presented alphabetically by song title (because it seems as good an order as any):
  • 13 - Shadowy Men On a Shadowy Planet
  • 225 - New Model Army
  • 67 East 2nd Street - Liquor Giants
  • Bleeder - Best Kissers in the World
  • Bored on Television - The Methadones
  • Buick City Complex - Old 97's
  • Eye In the Sky - Viva Voce (originally by Alan Parsons Project)
  • Foot - Love Battery
  • From a Whisper to a Scream - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
  • Gentlemen - The Afghan Whigs
  • Green Green - Young Fresh Fellows
  • Hangman In the Noose - Sand Rubies
  • Heart of the City - Nick Lowe
  • I Believe - Buzzcocks
  • I.O.U. - The Replacements
  • If You Go Away - Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians
  • I'm the Man - Joe Jackson
  • Interstate 5 - The Wedding Present
  • Julie Paradise - Screaming Trees
  • Make Your Mama Proud - Fastball
  • Mass Romantic - New Pornographers
  • Maureen - Beat Farmers
  • Merchandise - Fugazi
  • Mercury Blues - David Lindley
  • Modern Love Is Automatic - A Flock of Seagulls
  • Moon Over Marin - Les Thugs (originally by Dead Kennedys)
  • My Babe - Little Walter
  • My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) - Ramones
  • Never - Sand Rubies
  • Nights in White Satin - The Dickies (originally by Moody Blues)
  • Nothing To Fear - Oingo Boingo
  • Only - Anthrax
  • Pretty Please Me - The Dickies (originally by The Quick)
  • Public Image - Public Image Ltd.
  • Ring of Fire - Wall of Voodoo (originally by Johnny Cash)
  • Savage Earth Heart - The Waterboys
  • She's a Yo-Yo - The Jazz Butcher
  • Smash It Up - The Damned
  • Sunshine and Cockroaches - 3D Picnic
  • That's When I Reach for My Revolver - Mission of Burma
  • The Door Into Summer - The Monkees
  • The Fan and the Bellows - The Chameleons
  • The Hungry Wolf - X
  • The Hunt - New Model Army
  • The Ledge - The Replacements
  • Timebomb - Old 97's
  • Truly - Hazel
  • Twisted - Spiderbaby
  • Who Do You Love - The Doors (originally by Bo Diddley)
  • Without - Popdefect
  • Your Town - Deacon Blue

Aren't you glad I shared?


A few last thoughts on this, which I will remind you that you are under no obligation to read but which my brain compels me to include here:

Remember, the list here is songs that are not ones I've recently discovered and am still infatuated with, but are ones that have had at least many months (or more likely for many years) and where the initial novelty has worn off, but yet when they come up in a playlist I would be inclined to press the Back button on the iPod and listen to them again right away.

Part of my listening proclivities make it such that songs that were popular (ones that got played on the radio a lot) tend to have provided me with sufficient exposure that they don't tend to be ones I'd be inclined to immediately repeat; it's not that they aren't fine the first time through, but by the end of the song I'm sated and ready to move on. So that's why you may not recognize some (or all) of the ones that met that criterion and are listed above.

As I went through the library I found there were many artists whom I liked very much but where, if I was completely honest, had no must-repeat-right-away songs. The Beatles, for example, have many great songs, but none that make this top of the list. And Johnny Cash only appears by virtue of being covered.

That was part of the challenge: To be really frank about what I was selecting, not merely picking songs that seemed like they should be included. These ones that were making the list were not necessarily my absolute favorites, or even what I'd claim as the best songs by these artists. Despite the intellectual aspect I was applying to the task, these songs all operated on an emotional level—not that there was necessarily some specific emotional attachment I felt for each one; it was merely that they'd burrowed their way into my musical psyche without me really contemplating why. This was nothing more than acknowledging that they had done so, not a justification for whether they deserved to be there.

So what is this list then? It doesn't necessarily include my favorite absolute songs (i.e., the ones I'd pick if I were to sit and ruminate on what was deserving of that status); certainly some here would be, but that wasn't what had been the direction I'd taken when assembling even the first round of selections. Heck, among the 225 there were a few songs that, technically, were the only song by that artist I really liked (the hook of that track had no manifested itself in an appreciation of the rest of the artist's oeuvre); those did not offer insight in to a larger view of my music tastes. Or did they? Perhaps a list of one's favorite artists (the ones that can be tracked by what one enters in that field on one's Facebook profile, or by joining the page for that artist) can offer a composite of one's tastes that's limited to only those artists who have produced a breadth of material one appreciates, but which is very general; others can look at such a list and impose their take on those artists, and there is the presumption that their take on an artist is the same as the one who made the list, but all that can be said with any certainty is that the artist is on the list, not why. A list of individual songs gets more particular; it's a specific rhythm and melody, perhaps some lyrics, and is an individual unit that perhaps suggests more commonality about those who share that appreciation that would listing the artist in general.

Or the liking of the same track by two different people may mean ultimately nothing, revealing mere coincidence.

So what is expected of those who choose to look at my list? Nothing. It's there for people to make of it what they will, or not.

What do we learn from this rambling rumination of the process and the thought process that went into it? That's much simpler. Doug is a freak. (Heck, that's the tacit theme of everything I've ever composed. A careful analysis of these entries can lead to no other conclusion.)

Not that we aren't all freaks in our own ways. All I'm saying is: This is my brand of freakishness. Is there any justifying spending some hours on this utterly pointless tasks? Would my time not have been better spent in pursuit of some nobler or more lucrative goal? Certainly. However, as we've established: That's not how I roll.

Now let us hope I don't get "tagged" anymore. We all can't handle this again.


For those who really have way too much time on their hands, and to get more songs in this post people may have heard, here's some more of those tracks that didn't make the cut for the list above:

Ace of Spades - Motorhead
Are 'Friends' Electric? - Tubeway Army
Baby You Gotta Change Your Mind - Blind Boy Fuller
Barrel of a Gun - Guster
Be All, End All - Anthrax
Beats So Lonely - Charlie Sexton
Bleed American - Jimmy Eat World
Boredom Is the Reason - M.I.A.
Box of Rain - Grateful Dead
Brave New World 2 - New Model Army
Breakin' the Law - Judas Priest
Bring It On Down - Oasis
Caribou - Pixies
Cartoon - Soul Asylum
Chinese Bones - Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians
Clichés of the World (B Movie) - The Kinks
Clumsy Sky - Girl in a Coma
Crocodiles - Echo and the Bunnymen
Cum On Feel the Noise - Quiet Riot (originally by Slade)
Daddy's Gone to California - The Meices
Deal - The Psyclone Rangers
Die, Die My Darling - Metallica (originally by Misfits)
Dizzy Miss Lizzy - The Beatles (originally by Larry Williams)
Don't Believe a Word - Thin Lizzy
Drive She Said - Stan Ridgway
Eminence Front - The Who
Etc. - Dramarama
Everybody's Happy Nowadays - Buzzcocks
Goin' Richter - The Ziggens
Gut Feeling/Slap Your Momma - Devo
Heaven - Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians
Hold on to Your Genre - Les Savy Fav
Hollywood Hills - Beat Farmers
Human Cannonball - Butthole Surfers
I Against I - Bad Brains
I Believe - R.E.M.
I Can See Clearly - Screeching Weasel (originally by Johnny Nash)
I Don't Know - Naked Raygun
I Wanna Destroy You - Uncle Tupelo (originally by the Soft Boys)
I'm Not Like Everybody Else - The Kinks
I'm Ready - Muddy Waters
I'm the Man Who Murdered Love - XTC
It's Tricky - Run-D.M.C.
John, I'm Only Dancing - David Bowie
Kids in America - Kim Wilde
Left of the Dial - The Replacements
Life Goes On - The Damned
Like a Hurricane - Neil Young
Love Is the Law - The Suburbs
Me and the Boys - Dave Edmunds
Mecca - Gene Pitney
Mighty K.C. - For Squirrels
Miles Iz Dead - The Afghan Whigs
MPLS - Grandpaboy
Munich - Editors
Old Brown Shoe - The Beatles
On Interstate 15 - Wall of Voodoo
On Mercury - Red Hot Chili Peppers
On The Ropes - The Wonder Stuff
One of These Days - Camper Van Beethoven
Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
Paradise By the Dashboard Light - Meatloaf
Pass Me the Gun - House of Freaks
Pigs In Zen - Jane's Addiction
Politicians In My Eyes - Death
Pretty Vacant - Sex Pistols
Prophecy - Remy Zero
Rags - The Waterboys
Shoehorn With Teeth - They Might Be Giants
Slit Skirts - Pete Townshend
Souvenirs - Midnight Movies
Stain Yer Blood - Paul Westerberg
Straight To Hell - The Clash
Teenagers From Mars - Misfits
The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead - XTC
The Farther I Go - Mudhoney
The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths
Verse Chorus Verse - Nirvana
Vibrator - The Vibrators (originally by Motorhead)
Viva Las Vegas - Dead Kennedys
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) - Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble (originally by Jimi Hendrix Experience)
What She Said - The Sidewinders
What'd I Say (part 1 & 2) - Ray Charles
When I Win the Lottery - Camper Van Beethoven
Y Control - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
You Make Me Feel Cheap - Channel 3


  1. And if you're really, really interested, when you've returned from seeking professional help, here's some more songs from a third and final tier of tracks from that original 225:

    A.C.D.C. - Sweet
    All the King's Friends - Soul Asylum
    America - Neil Diamond
    Atomic - Blondie
    Back In Flesh - Wall of Voodoo
    Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker
    Born to Lose - Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers
    Brand New Cadillac - The Clash
    Bring the Noise - Public Enemy
    Calling Hong Kong - Supernova
    Can't Stand It - Wilco
    Cortez the Killer - Neil Young
    Dare To Be Stupid - Weird Al Yankovic
    Dear Employer (The Reason I Quit) - Minus 5
    Doubt - Stereolab
    Exhuming McCarthy - R.E.M.
    Freak Momma - Mudhoney/Sir Mix-a-lot
    Fugitive Kind - Paul Westerberg
    Get Up (Sex Machine) - James Brown
    Goodbye Stranger - Supertramp
    Heliotrope - Robyn Hitchcock
    Hotel Yorba - The White Stripes
    I, Me, We, Us, Them - Chris Mars
    It Could Be Sunshine - Love and Rockets
    James Bond Lives Down Our Street - Toy Dolls
    Kill Your Television - Ned's Atomic Dustbin
    King Electric - Mike Scott
    Kool Thing - Sonic Youth
    La La La - The Cavedogs
    Lonely Me Lonely You - Naked Soul
    Love Gun - KISS
    Maneater - Hall & Oates
    Master of Puppets - Metallica
    Movin' Right Along - The Muppets
    N.I.B. - Black Sabbath
    Night Boat to Cairo - Madness
    Oh - Sleater-Kinney
    Oh! Bondage, Up Yours! - X-Ray Spex
    Operator (That's Not How It Feels) - Jim Croce
    Peaches - The Stranglers
    Precious Things - Tori Amos
    Private Hell - The Jam
    Redemption Song - Johnny Cash/Joe Strummer (originally by Bob Marley)
    Reptile - The Church
    Roll 'Em Pete - Big Joe Turner
    Seven - James
    Shadows in the Rain - Sting
    She Sells Sanctuary - The Cult
    Sister Havana - Urge Overkill
    Southern Girls - Cheap Trick
    St. James Infirmary - Cab Calloway
    Still in Love Song - The Stills
    Tapioca Tundra - The Monkees
    The KKK Took My Baby Away - Ramones
    This Is What I Do - Rhett Miller
    Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World - Ramones
    Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler
    Trampled Under Foot - Led Zeppelin
    Twist - Tones on Tail
    Uncorrected Personality Traits - Robyn Hitchcock
    Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
    You're Not Supposed to Laugh - Young Fresh Fellows

  2. I am not worthy to be in the presence of such a music connoisseur [bowing]. It would take me a year to peruse all of those. Amazing.

  3. I'll try to make sure this post stays up for another 364, Marvin. Come back whenever you have some free time.


So, what do you think?