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Monday, October 30, 2006

The Fourth-To-Final Countdown

Here is the next installment of The Greatest Songs of the '80s as determined by the "experts" at VH1.

80. Rob Base - "It Takes Two"
Their Take: “it was the bomb”
My Take: As I said, I’m not a rap person, but it’s a nice inoffensive party song.

79. Human League - "Don’t You Want Me"
Their Take: “battle of the sexes synth jam”
My Take: I used to dislike this song, but now I really like it, especially the pre-chorus.

78. Blondie - " Call Me"
Their Take: “they sort of created new wave disco”
My Take: A very catchy and great song. You can’t help dancing to it unless you hate fun or are paralyzed.

77. New Edition - "Candy Girl"
Their Take: “one of the greatest groups of all time” Really?
My Take: Like NKOTB, a boy band that is very of its time but not of another. The voices are too high for me.

76. Thomas Dolby - "She Blinded Me With Science"
Their Take: “…Kevin Federline, who sampled ‘She Blinded Me With Science’ without permission”
My Take: It’s not my favorite, but I can’t hate a good nerdy novelty song.

75. Prince - "Little Red Corvette"
Their Take: “funky in every sense of the word”
My Take: As I said in the last installment, I’m not a Prince fan, but this is probably my favorite Prince song (if I had to pick one) because I could dance to it.

74. George Michael - "Faith"
Their Take: “a lot of butt in the video”
My Take On The Cover: I wish I could forget Limp Bizkit, but unfortunately we can’t forget the frightening past that Fred Durst made music and people bought it. The original is really great.

73. Nena - "99 Luftballons"
Their Take: “hairy armpits”
My Take: The catchiest song about war around until “Take Me Out”

72. The Fixx - "One Thing Leads To Another"
Their Take: “gets played at every Flashback Friday”
My Take: Never heard this song.

71. Rick James - "Super Freak"
Their Take: “serious funky tribute to some seriously funky ladies” Seriously, the announcer has said “funky” for every other song already.
My Take: He manages to be very manly in the video despite being covered in glitter.

70. Joan Jett - "I Love Rock'n'Roll"
Their Take: “she had attitude”
My Take on the Cover: Second song in the countdown that Britney has covered, and probably the last because her other covers are of older songs. Of course, the best cover of this song is the parody “I Love Rocky Road” because…I really love ice cream.

69. REM - "It’s The End of the World As We Know It"
Their Take: “rushing torrent of words”
My Take: You can sing very fast! Good for you!

68. Public Enemy - "Fight The Power"
Their Take: “you wanted to dance to it and you wanted to think to it”
My Take:I know this is an important song, but I have never actually heard it before.

67. REO Speedwagon - "Keep On Loving You"
Their Take: “kings of sensitive guy rock”
My Take: Above quote explains why I don’t like it.

66. Depeche Mode - "Just Can’t Get Enough"
Their Take: “there was nothing cooler at a time”
My Take: I really like this song, but I hope that this ranking leads to some Yazoo or Erasure higher up the list (probably not).

65. Foreigner - "I Want To Know What Love Is"
Their Take: “slow jam”
My Take: What? This is not a “slow jam”, it’s a “power ballad”. Get your casual music terms right, VH1. This is a very wimpy sounding song, even wimpier than that song with the line about cutting wrists and blacking eyes. It’s the chorus at the end.

64. Paula Abdul - "Straight Up"
Their Take: “…had star written all over her”
My Take: It’s a catchy song, but I don’t know why she is a judge on American Idol, because from this song I feel that she has a very generic voice.

63. Devo - "Whip It"
Their Take: “scary and confusing”
My Take: I don’t really like this song, but I admire their video concept, and it is a fun song to play in Donkey Konga.

62. Berlin - "Take My Breath Away"
Their Take: “had a sort of romantic feel to it”
My Take On The Cover: I don’t like this song, and actually prefer the Jessica Simpson cover to the original.

61. Styx - "Mr. Roboto"
Their Take: “techno epic”
My Take: First of all, it is about a robot, which makes it great. Second, it is featured in the first episode of the live action version of “Densha Otoko” which I have thought about watching but have not had the time. Third, “modern man?” You have to be pretty cool to get away with mispronouncing words on purpose.
My Ranking: Top 30

I looked at VH1’s site and the have listed the 10 songs that didn’t make it, which includes “The Final Countdown”. How did that not make it? The synth line is amazing and is is both hair metal and tolerable, making it an oddity.

Tomorrow is Halloween, and I'll be too busy to watch, but sometime this week I should have the next 3 installments.

Seriously, "Down Under" is brilliant!

Here I go, commenting on a commentary...maybe in a couple of months I'll revisit this and write a commentary on a commentary on a commentary...and a few months after that I could write a commentary on a commentary con a commentary on a commentary....

Today I will look at the lower fifth VH1's list of the "Greatest Songs of the '80s". I will state the title and artist, the show's collective opinion on the song, my opinion on the song, my ranking if I were writing the list, or where it applies, a comment on the cover. I apologize for the long post but until someone tells me how to but it behind a cut, you'll have to bear with me. I also apologize if I get titles/artists/important facts wrong; remember, I was not there the first time around.

100. Loverboy - "Working For the Weekend"
Their Take: "leather pants"
My Take: The most memorable appearance of this song for me was in the movie Zoolander. Ah, that was a great movie.

99. Wang Chung - "Everybody Have Fun Tonight"
Their Take: "I think you have to be a guy to wang chung"
My Take: I kind of like this song. According to the announcer the video was banned in England for giving kids seizures. Like Pokemon.

98. Bobby Brown - "My Prerogative"
Their Take: "the king of R&B badassery", "inspired air humping"
My Take On The Cover: Maybe in 10 years we can look forward to Bravo airing "Being Britney Spears" even if it would mean that Kevin Federline would be in the Whitney role (and, ugh, have a music career).

The Romantics - "What I Like About You"
My Take: Oh, I hate this song! I only know it from commercials, but commercials have a way of ruining songs.
My Ranking: Off the list.

96. Men At Work - "Down Under"
Their Take: "He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich" Okay, that's from the song and not the commentary, but it deserves a mention.
My Take: One of many BEST SONG(s) EVER! for me. The lyrics are genius. A man from Brussels? Six foot four and full of muscles? That's just gold!
My Ranking: Top 20

95. Debbie Gibson - "Only In My Dreams"
Their Take: "set the standard for teen pop"
My Take: Don't really know the song, but I do know that she goes by Deborah now, which is pointless. It's okay to have a nickname when you are a grown-up. And I don't think she set the standard for teen pop because arguably it was around before she came around.

94. The Rolling Stones - "Start Me Up"
Their Take: "okay, here they are again. The bad boys of rock'n'roll"
My Take: I am not a fan of the Stones, and I am not a fan of the video. I'd rather not see Mick Jagger make faces at the camera at any age. I guess you have to give them a hand for their longevity.

93. Gary Numan - "Cars"
Their Take: "freaky and futuristic"
My Take: Unlike "What I Like About You", I'm sure I heard this in a commercial but I'm sure I didn't hate it. I'm really kind of indifferent. I agree with the futuristic comment, but I've heard much freakier futuristic-sounding songs.

92. New Kids on the Block - "You Got It (The Right Stuff)"
Their Take: "oh, oh, oh oh oh"
My Take: Boy bands can only be accurately judged in their time period. How can I make an unbiased comment on a late-80's boy band when I grew up with late-90's boy bands? I mean, my first exposure to Jordan Knight was his return to pop music with "Give It To You" in '99!

91. Katrina & The Waves - "Walking on Sunshine"
Their Take: "you hear it on the radio, you sing with it off key"
My Take: Not really a fan of it, and not really a fan of their other song either.

90. Tone-Loc - "Wild Thing"
Their Take: "make girls act like wild things"
My Take: Not a big fan of the song, but it's not bad.

89. Prentenders - "Brass In Pocket"
Their Take: "really sharp tune"
My Take: I like the singer's voice, but not really this song.

88. Rufus + Chaka Khan - "Ain't Nobody"
Their Take: "she had it all"
My Take: This is the first song I hadn't heard before, but it seems like a good song.

87. Falco - "Rock Me Amadeus"
Their Take: "classically trained, heavily pomaded Austrian"
My Take: Another BEST SONG EVER! It's a theatrical song about a composer, and though in German it was big in the U.S. People who dislike this song probably also dislike having fun.

86. Bow Wow Wow - "I Want Candy"
Their Take: "instant pop song"
My Take On The Cover: I think it's best that we forget Aaron Carter's music career, this song included.

85. Robert Palmer - "Addicted To Love"
Their Take: "slick soul song and gaggle of lovely ladies"
My Take: Not a big fan of this song, but I like the part in Weird Al's video for "UHF" where he parodies the memorable video.

84. Lionel Richie - "All Night Long"
Their Take: "the laid back life of the party"
My Take: This song is one of those songs that they play on adult contemporary (or is it Jack?) radio that is tolerable but I wouldn't listen to it on my own. I think it's hilarious that his old music is big in Iraq. If there's one thing that the US military did not have to force on the Iraqi people, it is nostalgia for the '80s, because they already got it!

83. Prince - "Kiss"
Their Take: "he just got the groove on"
My Take: I never really got Prince, and thus don't really like the song.

82. Squeeze - "Tempted"
Their Take: "made infidelity sound downright delighful"
My Take:I'm pretty sure I've heard this song, but I can't recall when or in what context. If I heard the entire thing I might like it.

81. Cameo - "Word Up"
Their Take: "gave the eighties a much needed funk injection"
My Take: No, just no. It's the funk, it's the "word aaaaaaaahp!" that makes me hate it.
My Ranking: 1000

So what have we learned? A)I love novelty songs, B)I'm not a big fan of rap & R&B, and C)Zoolander is a great movie! Expect songs 80-61 by tomorrow evening.

100 Greatest? Really?

This week VH1 is showing one of those countdown nostalgia series that they love to do, called "100 Greatest Songs of the '80s". I am sure I will agree with them on some songs and disagree with them on others. I've decided to rate the songs and their rankings in the style that I ranked the Eurovision songs this past spring. And since I have spent more time in the '80s (a little over a year) than in Europe (a little over a month), I am probably more qualified to rate this program, and you can take my critique more seriously. While I certainly never heard any of these songs on their first run on radio/TV, I say that it makes me unbiased and an accurate judge of how a song has stood the test of time, and I'm probably familiar with them all anyway through - surprise, surprise - VH1 and their countdowns. Of course, none of this "qualified" and "unbiased" stuff applies when discussing metal. I am of the opinion that it just sucks*

If Stereogum is right about the Top 5, it is a sad day when the greatest piece of music from a span of ten years is by Bon Jovi.

* - Except Lordi, because they're awesome!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mp3 Monday: Tokio Hotel

These guys are the new meme over at Oh No They Didn't. Tokio Hotel is a German pop-rock band made up of teenagers, including a set of twins who are a year younger than me, making me feel old. Most of the discussion (and the joke) is about one of the twins, Bill, and his hilariously feminine appearance. Even though this is the stuff my younger brother would listen to [Edit: I told him about them and now not only does he like them, but he has reccommended them to his friends. What have I done?], despite the majority of the band's fans being teenage girls, they've found their way into my heart. Today's mp3 is of "Der Letzte Tag" which means "The Last Day" and is their most recent single. The mp3 is of the old version of the song, the YouTube video is of the new version.

Download Tokio Hotel - "Der Letzte Tag"

Friday, October 13, 2006

Great Fighting Game Moments In Music

Today PopJustice has a post about a band called Hadouken! at the top of the page. This is the first time in a while that there has been a fighting game reference in pop music, and is probably the latest band since Final Fantasy (who I have not listened to, and really don't want to) to be named after something videogame related. Of course, my favorite, though not necessarily true, reference is

"Tekken is too easy, but that's the way it is"

Please tell me I'm not the only one who hears that.