A site where I get to complain about music I don't like.
Every so often, a song comes out that gets the whole internet talking. The most recent song to do this is Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s “Accidental Racist”, a song that attempts to be meaningful, but ends up falling flat on its face. So today, I’m writing:
The 10 Worst Things About Accidental Racist (in Chronological Order)
1.You have to be prepared for offending someone when you wear a Confederate Flag.
The song begins with Paisley explaining that he doesn’t mean to offend when he’s wearing a shirt with the Confederate Flag on it. Now I understand that he doesn’t mean to offend with the shirt, but then he gets offended when someone at a Starbucks calls him out on it. And I’ll have to stop you right there. If you’re wearing something with a history like that, you have to be prepared for people to be offended at it. You can’t just say that they’re misunderstanding you when you’re wearing a shirt with a flag for a land based on slavery on it. Speaking of his shirt…
2. You don’t have to wear a Lynyrd Skynyrd shirt with the Confederate Flag
At first, he uses the excuse that he’s just expressing his love for Skynyrd when he wears a shirt with the Confederate Flag on it. Well guess what? THEY HAVE OTHER KINDS OF SHIRTS. Not every Skynyrd shirt has the Confederate Flag blazing on the front. In fact, about 6 months ago, they explicitly denounced the Confederate Flag publicly. So guess what? His reasoning makes no sense, which is why he changes it right afterwards to Southern Pride. But to that…
3. Don’t get all defensive, just apologize!
After abandoning the Skynyrd argument, Paisley moves on to his next line of defense, saying that it’s just him taking pride from where he’s from. I have two problems with this. First off, why are you fighting? Just say you’re sorry and move on! All you’re doing at this moment is dragging the issue out. Just explain that you didn’t mean for it to be offensive, but you understand why they were offended, and move on. Simple as that. No need to drag it out by excusing yourself from what they have to say.
4. How the hell is this Southern Pride?
And secondly, what do you mean Southern Pride? There’s many ways to celebrate your southern heritage, and they’re all better than wearing a sign of oppression. What if the Germans celebrated their German Pride by wearing swastika armbands and jackboots? Oh right, they don’t because it was a dark point in German History that they never want to be reminded of. Maybe you could take a hint from that, hmm?
5. It’s SOMEHOW the Elephant in the Room for the Southern States.
Paisley then says that he feels that the Confederae Flag has SOMEHOW become the elephant in the room for the Southern States. You know. SOMEHOW. I mean for god’s sake. It’s a sign of oppression and slavery. And even outside of that, it’s a reminder to one of the worst wars we ever fault. So yeah, I guess there is a reason we don’t talk about it much anymore, alng with getting offended when we see it.
6. Really? Southern Blame?
During the chorus, at the end Paisley says that he’s caught between Southern Pride and Southern Blame. Seriously? Are you saying that the South is being blamed for what happened during the Civil War. Because, and this might surprise you, IT TOTALLY WAS THE SOUTH’S FAULT. And because of that, you can’t wear your Confederate Flag, so I guess you really do suffer the most, Mr. Christian Straight White Male.
7. Don’t Apologize, LL Cool J!
Suddenly, a wild LL Cool J appears. Seriously, what the hell are you doing here? Anyway, I have one major problem with this verse, and that’s the fact that he spends it apologizing for being so insensitive when he called him a racist for his Confederate Flag shirt. I’m sorry, but WHAT? This man just spent a good long while chastising you for being insensitive to him wearing a shirt with a flag that symbolizes hatred above all else, and you’re the one apologizing to his excuse-making ass? Bullshit. I think this verse would have best been handled by someone like Ice Cube, who would’vee told this man that he understands that he’s not trying to offend, but he still needs to understand the severity of what he’s unintentionally promoting. And speaking of this verse…
8. Dear Mr. White Man? Seriously?
LL Cool J opens his verse with the phrase “Dear Mr White Man”. Really? That’s how you open this conversation about race relations? Not only are you identifying him solely by his race, but taken out of its context, it sounds like you’re implying that only white men can be racist, which seems pretty racist itself.
9. A Doo-Rag Doesn’t Equal the Confederate Flag.
During the final repetitions of the chorus, LL Cool J shouts out two phrases, both of which I find really damn this song. First, he shouts “If you respect my doo-rag, I’ll respect your red flag”. This is not a fair comparison. A doo-rag is something used to cover hair after it was sprayed with chemicals that turned into a fashion. The Confederate Flag is a sign of oppression. But that pales in comparison to…
10. “If you don’t judge my Gold Chains, I’ll forgive the Iron Chains”
Are you god-damn serious. Are you implying that gold chains, a piece of jewelry, is in any way comparable to chains used for SLAVERY? This is beyond implications set by the Flag, this is outwardly invoking slavery, and saying that it’s not that big a deal, as long as you don’t judge the fashion he’s wearing. I don’t care what else you have to say, there’s nothing you can say after that.
One of my favorite things about Pop music is how it constantly changes. You can look at the top 10 a month after you last looked, and see completely new faces and sounds. So today, we’re looking at…
Billboard’s Top 10: 2/23/13
10. Beauty and a Beat- Justin Beiber ft. Nicki Minaj
I’ve already talked about this song at length before, so let’s just say it’s godawful and stupid.
9. When I Was Your Man- Bruno Mars
After “Locked Out of Heaven”, I was really excited to hear Bruno Mars’ next single, “When I Was Your Man”. Sadly, I was pretty disappointed with this song. Bruno has gone back to his standard of ballads with soaring vocals and lots of piano. And I’m not completely against songs like this. I’m still a big fan of his two big ballads from Doo-Wops and Hooligans, “Grenade” and “Just the Way You Are”, but the problem is that there just isn’t enough in this song. It just has no kick to hit, and limps to its ending the same as it begins. It’s mostly just mediocre.
8. Suit & Tie- Justin Timberlake ft. Jay-Z
I honestly can’t tell if this song is awful or fantastic. Based on drums, horns, and a harp sample, it’s almost too surreal to be real. It’s almost like if you asked an alien to write a pop song, using only two samples. But it also happens to be awesomely catchy, and the amount of swagger in Justin Timberlake’s vocals does boost the quality of the song. Than you get to the Jay-Z verse, the music gets slower and weirder, and I get confused. I guess what I can say right now is that I hope the new album is as good as Justified or Futuresex.
7. Daylight- Maroon 5
Wow, is this really Maroon 5? I just can’t get over how much they’ve sold out in these last few years, even if they were always a Pop group.I know I’m just saying what every other reviewer has said, but this might as well be a Coldplay single, and not even a good Coldplay song. It sounds like a remix of “Viva La Vida” that took out everything that made that song good. I honestly wish they went back to the Songs About Jane era. At least it’s not as bad as “One More Night” or “Payphone”.
6. Don’t You Worry Child- Swedish House Mafia ft. John Martin
I admit, I don’t know as much about Electronica as I do about Pop music. And in Electronica, artists like Swedish House Mafia aren’t what I listen to; I listen more to artists like Aphex Twin or Les Rhythmes Digitales. But I have a friend who said they were good so I’m using this as an introduction. And honestly, I didn’t really mind it. It’s upbeat and catchy, and it definitely does serve as a good dance track. It’s not mind blowing or anything, and it’s no “Windowlicker”, which is still my high mark in terms of Electronica, but it’s inoffensive and catchy enough for it to get a pass from me.
5. I Knew You Were Trouble- Taylor Swift
Remember when Taylor Swift could be considered a Country artist? Yeah, funny how that ended up. The fact that the chorus of this song features bass drops and voice distortion already shows the massive change. Plus there’s the verses, which is just quick guitar and drumming. Yeah, if this was any farther from country, it would be Skrillex. And it’s not just that this is even more of a sell-out than “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, it’s also not nearly as good. It’s just this awful mess of faux-electro and the lyrics Taylor Swift has used in every song ever. Just terrible.
4. Ho Hey- Lumineers
I know some people are tired of this song, but I must say that I still think this song is great. I love the fact that we’re hearing folk music on the radio, and that it’s not coming from Mumford & Sons, one of the most boring bands in existence. It’s warm and charming, not to mention delightfully understated for a song in the top 10. It’s a very small song, consisting of a guitar, one drum, some banjo, and a vocal hook. And the fact that they get so much out of that is pretty great. So yeah, I really enjoy this song.
3.Scream and Shout- Will.i.am ft. Britney Spears
Also already talked about. And once again, stupidly enjoyable.
2. Locked Out of Heaven- Bruno Mars
Yeah, I absolutely adore this song. Bruno Mar’s first single off of Unorthodox jukebox was everything a Pop song needed to be. It’s fun, it’s catchy, it’s bouncy, and it sounds exactly like a Police song. Is there anything wrong with that equation? I just hope that in the future, he makes more of this instead of cheesy pop ballads OH WAIT DAMMIT.
1. Thrift Shop- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz
You thought gotye was a weird hit? Well how about an independent rap single by three complete unknowns about shopping at a thrift store? Somehow, the 2nd independent song ever to peak at no. 1, after “Stay (I Missed You) by Lisa Loeb, has become the biggest hit of the year so far. I can definitely see Macklemore and co. becoming one-hit wonders, but I do enjoy the song for being goofy and fun to jam to. It’s undeniably silly, yes, but it’s a damn good party song. And also, all of you should listen to the full album The Heist, which is one of the best rap albums in years. So in short, THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME.
Aerosmith is one of the most popular rock bands ever to have existed. With 15 albums, dozens of classic songs, and the distinction of being the only comeback band that didn’t rely on their older material, it’s hard to denounce them as the derivative Rollings Stones knockoffs they started off as anymore. But what are their best songs? Well, fore my opinion, here is…
Top 10 Aerosmith Songs
10. Same Old Song and Dance
For their first two albums, Aerosmith really was a replica of the Stones, right down to the crippling drug and sex addiction. And overall, these albums haven’t really stood the test of time. However, two of the songs remain classics, with “Same Old Song and Dance” standing as their best tribute to old Blues. Very much in the style of the Blues Rock of old, the song has the perfect amount of sleaze and swagger that would define their next three albums. Likely their 2nd masterpiece, it’s a great way to start off with Aerosmith.
9. Love in an Elevator
In my opinion, Aerosmith has three albums that are awesome from front to back; Toys in the Attic, Rocks, and Pump, their last album before the spiral of mediocrity starting with Get a Grip. And no song cemented that album as Aerosmith’s return to rocking out as much as “Love in an Elevator . No song on the album was quite as, with lack of a better term, audaciously sleazy and fun as this gem to, well look at the title. The song is remarkably stupid, but it’s wonderfully stupid, a song that was meant to be the soundtrack to a Teen sex romp. Sometimes, you just don’t have to think at all to enjoy something.
Normally, I absolutely despise ballads.I find that they’re pointless, vapid, and uninteresting, usually only breaking the flow of an album. But somehow, the best song on Aerosmith’s comeback Permanent Vacation wasn’t “(Dude) Looks Like a Lady” or “Rag Doll”, but the ballad “Angel”. An utterly ridiculous and overbearing attempt at earnest, it had no reason to be good. But somehow, it just works. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t trudge along for two minutes before kicking in, maybe it’s the musicianship, but somehow, it exceeds the sum of its parts.
7. Toys in the Attic
Toys in the Attic is one of my favorite rock albums of all time, up there with Led Zeppelin II and Back in Black. And right off the bat, you know what you’re in for with the title track, which immediately jumps out at you. Everything is blazing past you as fast as it can, with Steven Tyler settling you in for the next 37 minutes. Really, it almost seems like the opening to a film credits song, designed to get you directly ready for everything coming up. It’s a song that gets you ready, and is likely the heaviest they ever got, while not at all difficult to listen to. A perfect opener.
This may seem like a weird choice at first. Nine Lives is a pretty bad album overall, and is usually forgotten about in the Aerosmith canon. However, one song, “Pink”, makes it completely worth it. This is the definition of a plain fun song. While “Love in a Elevator” sometimes got stuck in its own sleaziness, “Pink” never does, and remains loose and free for its whole duration. It never gets annoying, remaining one of the best examples of how Aerosmith could still be good in their later years, instead of just writing garbage like “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”. Just an excellent reminder of the past.
5. Janie’s Got a Gun
Remember how we were talking about fun a little bit ago? Well get ready to have that all thrown out the window. “Janie’s Got a Gun” is likely the most serious song Aerosmith has ever done, telling the story of a girl shooting her sexually abusive dad. While the music is upbeat, the lyrics are anything but, and it’s probably Steven Tyler’s best moment as a writer. The rest of the music is great as well, including one of Joe Perry’s best solos ever. It’s definitely a dark song, but hell if it isn’t great.
4. Dream On
And here we have Aerosmith’s most acclaimed song, and likely the most acclaimed ballad in history. “Dream On” was Aerosmith’s first masterpiece, and likely is still their best in the public eye. Do I even need to say anything about this song? Everyone knows it, even if they don’t think they do. Everyone knows that opening riff, that electric riff right at the end of the opening, the first verse, the bridge, the chorus, the screaming at the end, that bit where it’s just guitar, everyone knows this song. So I’m just gonna say this song is fantastic.
3. Walk This Way
Admittedly, I still prefer Run-DMC’s version of this, but I can’t deny that the original is a complete classic either. I’ve always felt that Joe Perry was a far better riff player than a solo player, but I can’t deny that the three solos here are some of the best in rock history. Everything from the barely-innuendo lyrics to the opening drum is perfect, and shows exactly what Aerosmith was at their peak. And really, you can’t deny that riff. I’ll probably do a top 10 riffs list at some point, and trust me that this will likely be in the top 10. Just a great god damn song.
2. Back in the Saddle
Remember when I said “Toys in the Attic” was the perfect album opener? Yeah, I lied, this is. The opener for Rocks, “Back in the Saddle” was likely Aerosmith’s darkest song up to that point, and man did it make that work. From the ominous opening to the dark main riff, it lets out this crushing atmosphere, before unleashing into one of its verses. It’s a perfect example of tension used in Rock, and it works beautifully. Not to mention the fantastic solo near the end. It’s so great, I could’ve put it at #1. But there’s only one Aerosmith song I could call the best, and that is…
1. Sweet Emotion
Just… just this song. There are very few songs I’d describe as perfect, and this is one of those. The bass line, the talk box, the drum fill at the start, the chorus, it’s all just perfect in every single way. I could go on and on about how good this song is. Every single member of the band has never done a better job than on this song, Steven Tyler has never been a better singer, and Joe Perry never wrote a solo as good. This is just a marvelous song from beginning to end, and the centerpiece to a fantastic album.
Well that concludes this article, and hey look, the next article is gonna be article #100. Oh boy…
Hi everybody, before we start with today’s article, I’d like to apologize on two points. First, I’m sorry there was no article on Sunday, schoolwork happened. And secondly, I’d like to make an amendment to my last list. After researching “50 Ways to Say Goodbye”, I found the true meaning of the song, where it’s him coming up with lies to tell his friends about where his girlfriend is after she broke up with him. This invalidated by criticism of the song, so replace it with one of Chris Brown’s hits last year or something. Now, on to the list…
Top 10 Best Hit Songs of the Year
10. Domino- Jessie J
I wasn’t originally a fan of Jessie J. Her first two singles, “Do It Like A Dude” and “Price Tag”, weren’t terrible, but they were largely forgettable. Her new single “Domino”, however, instantly grabbed me. It might not be as interesting lyrically as either of her earlier songs, but it makes up for it through its level of pure fun. This is a song meant to be pure ear worm, a song designed to get in your head and stay there. And in this regards, it succeeds with flying colors. I can’t wait to see what we get from her in the new year.
9. Everybody Talks- Neon Trees
Now no one was expecting this. Neon Trees were pretty easily labeled as a one-hit wonder, with the super hit “Animal” about 2 years ago. But to have a song not only match, but succeed their previous hit is pretty surprising. They still sound like a 80s retro band they are, but they make it work through the bounciness of the finished project, instead of the forced anthem sound of “Animal”, which didn’t really benefit it at all. I doubt they’ll ever have another hit, but its good to see a band like this get another hit, not to mention a Killers ripoff that’s better than the new Killers album.
8. It Will Rain- Bruno Mars
After “Lazy Song”, I gave up on Bruno Mars for a while, thinking he had run his course and was just throwing out any song he could for quick money. That changed this year, however, where he released two of my favorite songs of the year, “It Will Rain” and “Locked Out of Heaven”, which would’ve made the top 5 of this list had it came out in time to make it. But anyway, “It Will Rain” is everything a break-up song should be, sad and mournful, but actually relatable, unlike songs like “Give Your Heart a Break” from the last list. It’s a damn good song, and probably the best thing ever connected to Twilight.
7. Ho Hey- Lumineers
I admit, this caught me by surprise. Sure, this is the year Mumford & Sons became massive despite being as boring as tapioca, but the fact that the biggest Indie Folk hit came from a band that no one ever heard of, and it was their first single, shows some pretty great things. The song is simple, heartwarming, and it’s short enough to not overstay its weekend. It’s a perfect campfire song, and immediately grabbing. I wish the best for the Lumineers, so let’s hope they don’t run into the ground.
6. Set Fire to the Rain- Adele
Despite not being quite as big as “Someone Like You” or “Rolling in the Deep”, “Set Fire to the Rain” is just as perfect as they were. Adele is still the strongest pop singer working today, and it’s pretty clear that she’s a complete force for good in the pop world, showing the clear switch from stupid club songs to the “Ho Hey”s and “It Will Rain”s of music. The song is everything “Rolling in the Deep” was; grandiose, emotional, and immediate. I can’t wait for what her next album has in store.
5. Feel So Close- Calvin Harris
After “We Found Love”, Calvin Harris quickly became a pretty big name in the producing world. And with this and “Let’s Go”, which I haven’t heard yet, he became a full pop artist of his own. It’s hard to think that the first club song that actually creates emotion inside me would be from the guy who wrote “It Was Acceptable in the 80s”, but that’s what happened. From the intro with the piano to the club-ready chorus, this is a song that hasn’t aged on me one bit.
4. Some Nights- fun.
Unlike most people, “We Are Young” never got annoying for me, mostly because I don’t go to a lot of social gatherings. Like most people, however, I thought “Some Nights” was an improvement in every way. While still having an anthem-sound to it, the song has far more energy, sounding like a mix between “Cecilia” by Simon & Garfunkel and a soldier march. Simply put, it’s a song that gets you ready, and it’s sad that it never got to peak at #1, since it did deserve the spot at some point. I look forward to more fun., especially since “Carry On” is likely to be a big hit this year.
3. Climax- Usher
I like Usher, for the most part. Sure, “OMG” was a giant dud, but songs like “Yeah”, “More”, and especially “The DJ’s Got Us Falling In Love” show he’s earned his place in Pop music. And with “Climax”, he’s topped himself with the year’s biggest sleeper hit. With its amazing production and Usher’s falsetto, it’s an amazing slow-burn, taking its time to truly peak. It’s a fantastic ballad, and one that many critics called the best hit of 2012. But my list is different, where I chose two of the most recognizable songs of the year. I think you know what they are.
2. Somebody That I Used to Know- Gotye
The year’s biggest hit, reigning at #1 for eight weeks, we have the most surprising hit of the year, a Psychadelic Furs song by a Belgian-Australian artist and a singer from New Zealand, with a video featuring them naked and painted. This was a weird hit, and it still amazes me that this was the biggest song of the year. But it absolutely deserved it. Gotye is one of the best artists working now, and he made a perfect breakup ballad. I love this song to death, and I highly recommend you buy Making Mirrors, the album it’s from. But this is a list of the best POP songs of the year, so I really can’t give it to anything but…
1. Gangnam Style- PSY
Hell yes. Simply put. This is what a party song should be. There’s many achievements from this one video, and it deserved all of them. It’s the only Korean song to ever break the billboard top 40, it’s the first Youtube video to break a billion views, and it was the biggest song in the world. Everyone knew it, everyone was doing the horse dance, and it was a perfect end of 2012. It’s infectious, it’s catchy, it’s funny, and I don’t feel stupider for listening to it. And with that, I name it the best hit song of 2012. God speed, PSY.
It’s that time of year again. The time where we look at the past year of pop music, and decide which 10 songs were the most abysmal and offensive songs of the past 12 months. So let’s get started with…
The Top 10 Worst Hit Songs of 2012
10. Call Me Maybe- Carley Ray Jepsen
OK, so this song isn’t really awful. But I haven’t heard a song wear out its welcome quite like this. “Call Me Maybe” went beyond overplayed, it became unavoidable. Clubs, car rides, school pep rallies, Rock Band, it was everywhere. And it drove me over the edge. This song used to make me nod my head a bit and maybe do a little dance in my chair. Now all it does is fill me with rage. Luckily, the plague is over, so we can move on from this period, and listen to music with actual work put into it.
9. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye- Train
I have heard four Train songs in my life. Out of those, I’d say “Drops of Jupiter” is the only actual good song, with “Hey Soul Sister” being absolutely dreadful. This, however, is not terrible, at least musically. It’s got a fun sounding chorus, and the horns are a nice touch. But two things make this song dreadful. First, Pat Monahan is one of the worst singers around, with a voice that sounds like he’s being strangled. But more importantly, there are the lyrics. This song isn’t awful at first, but soon you realize that this song is basically fantasizing on how your girlfriend could die. That’s just disturbing, and it just ruins the rest of the song. Still, not the worst song they put out this year. We’ll get to that later.
8. The Motto- Drake ft. Lil Wayne
Normally, I like Drake. He’s a decent rapper, he actually sings, he’s a lot better with love songs than most other rappers and R ‘n’ B singers, and he seems like a nice enough guy. But he also created YOLO, this generation’s “radical” or “groovy”, a phrase that later generations will use as joke fodder in bad sitcoms about out of date parents, along with “swag” and “epic fail”. It doesn’t help that the rest of “The Motto”, which made the phrase popular, is so boring and lifeless. Drake and Wayne simply don’t give a shit, mumbling their verses like their reading off a script. It’s easily Drake’s worst song, and I hope it stays that way. Though it does have the best line of any rap song ever, “Nearly drowned in her pussy so I swam to her butt.”
7. Give Your Heart a Break- Demi Lovato
I am not a fan of teenage singers, since I feel that most of them aren’t mature enough to be this famous already, but Demi Lovato’s biggest single this year, “Give Your Heart a Break”, really was the worst of this year’s lot of teen singles. Listen to those fake strings trying to make the song sound deeper than it actually is. She over sings every line of the song, when she really can’t. I’m also really tired of female singers, teenage or otherwise, writing breakup songs that critics describe as “deep” and “meaningful” when it’s really just diary scribbling that displays that they’re really not over it at all. These singers need to take some notes from Beyonce, who sounds genuine when she disses a man, or Adele, who’s songs really do reflect her feelings. Not this fake ass bullshit. Enough with this. This goes for you too, Taylor Swift.
6. Pound the Alarm- Nicki Minaj
Yeah, this won’t get me any hate mail. Nicki Minaj is the internet’s new laughing stock, and I can’t argue. Frankly, Nicki has simply stopped trying.She used to be interesting, weird enough to be different, but catchy enough to be fun. Now, all she does is babble incoherently over annoying techno beats, with no school or thought put into any of it. It’s hard to believe that she dropped this far from her verse in “Monster”, which was only two years ago. I would’ve put “Beez in the Trap” or “Stupid Hoe” in this place instead, but they didn’t chart that well, so this’ll have to do. With generic rapping with inane lyrics, and one of the worst choruses I’ve ever heard, full of pounding faux-dubstep. I hope someday, she’ll go back to how she used to be, but I really doubt it. So I guess we’re stuck like this for the next year or so until her fifteen minutes of fame are over with.
5. Rack City- Tyga
You wanna know what’s worse than being insufferably obnoxious? Being flat out boring. And I haven’t heard a rap song this criminally boring in my life. Tyga already made a terrible name for itself by having the worst verse in “Bedrock”, one of the worst songs ever written, and being involved in “Deuces”, Chris Brown’s crowning moment of douche. Now, he has his own hit song, where he raps about what every other rapper raps about these days (hoes, money, and bitches), over a beat that literally never changes throughout the whole song. Let’s hope the swag era of rap is coming to an end, and people like Common and Kendrick Lamar can have real hits, and people like Tyga are thrown onto the curb.
4. Birthday Cake- Rihanna ft. Chris Brown
So I already did a review of this song, but I felt that it was worth talking about again. First of all, Rihanna and Chris Brown doing a song together offends me. But more importantly, this song demonstrates exactly what’s wrong with both of their careers ever since “the incident”. Rihanna has been going more and more sexual ever since, culminating in this and “S & M”, which I put on last year’s list, though songs like “Diamonds” and “Where Have You Been” show her moving into absolutely boring, while Chris Brown has gotten douchier and douchier. I miss the Chris Brown of “Forever”, the sweetheart boyfriend who’s there for you, instead of the abusive asshole who uses you for sex. I guess what I have to say is this. Rihanna, go back to making songs as good as “Umbrella”. Chris Brown, go away forever.
3. Drive By - Train
I told you they were coming back on this list. Yes, Train had two hits this year, one of them much worse than the other. Simply, the same problems remain, but with none of the good parts of “50 Ways to Say Goodbye”. Monahan is exactly as annoying as a singer and a lyricist, but the song doesn’t have anything interesting at all, with an absolutely abysmal chorus and generic instrumentation. That and the lyrics are disgusting, particularly with him comparing his love to a hefty bag. Monahan, please stop. We already have The Script, and we don’t need another boring Adult-Alternative band.
2. A$$- Big Sean
I already reviewed this, which I’ll link to right here, so I’ll just say this song is ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS
1. Want U Back- Cher Lloyd
Another song I already reviewed, but this one, I really wanna talk about a little more in depth about. Simply put, this song is atrocious in every single way. From her “URGH” at the beginning, to her self-obsessed lyrics, to its obnoxious instrumentation, to how overly teenage it is, even more son than Taylor Swift, to its obnoxious chorus, to her beyond stupid helicopter impersonation at the end. Cher Lloyd is one of the most obnoxious musicians working today, and with “Swagger Jagger” and this under her belt, I hope she leaves as soon as possible. This song provokes nothing but bile, and I want it to die. Thoroughly.
But not all is wrong, so join me next week for the Top 10 Best Hit Songs of 2012.
10. Portal of I- Ne Obliviscaris
And here we have easily the most obscure band on this list. Ne Obliviscaris is a Progressive Death band, and while it is a little alienating the first time you hear it, I found this easily the best metal album of the last several years. Every single member is extremely talented, and unlike most metal bands, they use this to create a wonderfully melodic album, instead of clashing instruments. It’s definitely a niche release, since most people aren’t metal fans, but if you are, definitely check it out some time.
Key Track: Xenoflux
9. Clockwork Angels- Rush
Well it took about 25 years, but Rush has finally put out another great album. During the 90s and 2000s, Rush had a bit of a steep decline, playing generic rock songs with none of the energy from before. Until this year, when they released this album. Every song is extremely focused and tight, never getting overly long and annoying. Every member is playing like they’re at their peak, and it’s just refreshing to hear a Prog band release an album this good in 2012. Not to mention “Headlong Flight”, easily one of Rush’s best songs ever. Definitely a listen for Prog fans.
Key Track: Headlong Flight
8. Theatre is Evil- Amanda Palmer
So how about a break from Prog rock with some quirky alternative? The most theatrical album of this year, just like Jukebox the Ghost, this album is a straight dosage of happiness straight to your skull. With jaunty piano and synthesizers, lovely melodies, great musicianship, off-kilter lyrics, and Palmer’s bizarre charm, what’s not to like? The album is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, and if we’re lucky, she’ll continue with this trend.
Key Track: Want it Back
7. Psychedelic Pill- Neil Young
Neil Young released two albums this year, and honestly, this was way better than Americana, back in the summer. Going back to his 70s heyday, there is no way to describe this album other than “jamming”. One of the few albums I’ve seen requiring two CDs for its length, every second its playing, you’re just transported to another world, full of noise and chaos. Neil young is as talented at the guitar as always, and with Crazy Horse at his side, he’s got one of the best backup bands in the business. It may be a long album, but its worth all the time in the world.
Key Track: She’s Always Dancing
6. Good Kid M.A.A.D. City- Kendrick Lamarr
Kendrick Lamarr is simply the shit. One of the most talented young faces in music, it’s refreshing to see him in this world of generic party rap, delivering a straight-cut, no bullshit album. In a time where the charts’ views on Rap are artists like Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne, it’s awesome to see a song like “Swimming Pools” to get in the top 40. Boasting strong beats, the album is an excellent-sounding album, but more importantly, Lamarr’s lyrics are some of the best around, never reaching into either corny sincerity or obnoxious punchlines. Simply put, if you hate rap, this is the album to change that.
Key Track: Swimming Pools (Drank)
5. Channel Orange- Frank Ocean
It’s been a while since there’s been a soul album this good. As the resident Soul Singer of Odd Future, primarily a collection of rappers, Ocean’s going to have to stand out, and sure enough, he does. Unlike most overly macho soul singers around night now like Miguel and Trey Songz, Ocean isn’t afraid to show a genuine sensitive side, and not one made by an executive to earn female fans. Each song is packed with strong music, great lyrics, and Ocean’s beautiful voice, echoing such classic singers as Stevie Wonder, creating a beautiful package. And while the album may have have been overshadowed by his coming out, and that will certainly win him a few grammys, this is still a damn good album that no one should miss.
Key Track: Pyramids
4. Transcendental Youth- Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats are probably one of my favorite bands ever, with albums like Tallahassee, The Sunset Tree, and We Shall All Be Healed boasting some of the best Indie Rock songs ever. And with this album, John Darnielle and company has released one of their most solid releases yet. Darnielle is one of the greatest lyricists working today, but it’s the music that really steals the show. with songs like “Cry for Judas” and “Lake Side View Apartment Suite”, there’s more of a full band, but the honesty of the songs still remain. A definite.
Key Track: Lake Side View Apartment Suite
3. Neck of the Woods- Silversun Pickups
One of the most interesting Indie bands working today, Silversun Pickups is what would happen if you took My Bloody Valentine and made Kevin Shields less insane. And after releasing two of my favorite albums of the 00s, Carnavas and Swoon, the triumph again with Neck of the Woods. While less harsh than the other two albums, it makes up for it with great melodies and playing, creating an enrapturing package that just sweeps into your head with its musicianship. Is it as good as their last two? I’d say no, but it’s still a damn fine release.
Key Track: Skin Graph
2. Wrecking Ball- Bruce Springsteen
With Occupy Wall St being the biggest news story of the year, it was obvious that Bruce Springsteen, the millionaire of the people, would make an album about it. But what was more unexpected was that it would be one of his all-time best. With his strongest lyrics since “The Rising”, you really do believe Bruce Springsteen as a working class hero singing for the everyman’s plight. Combine that with tremendous performances by the E Street band, and you got yourself a winner. Now we just wait for his album about Hurricane Sandy.
Key Track: Death to my Hometown
1. Celebration Rock- Japandroids
Holy crap. I admit, when I first heard the name, I thought it would be another crappy 80s nostalgia act aiming for kitsch. What I got what completely the opposite. One of the purest displays of no-bullshit “this is how we play” energy around, every song is furious and compact, always lasting exactly as long as it should. And the fact that its all coming out of two people without overdubs or editing is astonishing. One of the purest rock albums of the last ten years, this is a must hear. And thank you to Josh Cagan for the suggestion. You’re the man, Josh.
Key Track: Night of Wine and Rose
And now, albums that are getting high acclaim, but I didn’t listen to:
The Idler Wheel is Wiser- Fiona Apple
Here- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
Old Ideas- Leonard Cohen
Attack on Memories- Cloud Nothings
Bloom- Beach House
Django Django- Django Django
Hello, and welcome to that time of year again. The time where I have to decide what were the best albums of the year, so that you can buy them for Christmas, most likely. So, without further stalling, here is…
The Top 20 Albums of the Year (20-11)
20. The Odd Future Mixtape Vol. 2- Odd Future
I was too late on the Odd Future bandwagon to put Goblin on this list last year, so I’m glad I can put its successor now. Odd Future is a great breath of fresh air in the stagnant world of Hip-Hop, and this album shows the best of every member. Tyler the Creator is probably the most interesting producer around right now, and every song is unique and bizarre in its own way. It’s not the best rap album of the year, or even the best Odd Future album (that’s coming later), but hell if it ain’t a damn fine listen.
Key Track: Oldie
19. R.A.P. Music- Killer Mike
And on the flip side to Odd Future, here’s an album that breaks no new ground, but is still one of the most captivating listens of the year. Sure, R.A.P. Music might be your typical Political Rap album, but what matters is that it’s done well. It’s a completely captivating listen, and Killer Mike simply kills the mic. So while you know you’ve heard the whole thing before somewhere, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s exceptionally done. Definitely check it out to hear Southern Rap done right.
Key Track: Don’t Die
18. Tempest- Bob Dylan
HERESY, I hear you cry out. How can an Bob Dylan album be this low? Well simply, I’ve heard Dylan do better. But remember, this is Dylan we’re talking about, and the album is still head & shoulders above most other artists. Dylan doesn’t have the same voice, but the power of his lyricism is still there, along with an excellent band behind him pumping out some of his best songs in decades, such as “Pay in Blood” and “Tempest”. Is it his best? Personally, I wouldn’t even put it in his top 10. But it’s still an excellent album that deserves to be heard.
Key Track: Pay in Blood
17. Sun- Cat Power
As Cat Power’s first album since The Greatest, I can’t compare, since I’ve never heard The Greatest or You Are Free. But what I can say is that this is still a damn fine record made of damn fine Indie Pop. It’s just as bizarre as the performer who created it, but the use of gentle melodies and abrasive instruments at points makes it undeniably interesting. From what I’ve heard, it’s more dance-oriented than her other stuff, and she does it surprisingly well. It definitely makes me want to check out the rest of her library, even if it suffers from brickwalling at times.
Key Track: Always on My Own
16. Kids in the Street- All-Amercan Rejects
I know,I was surprised too. I couldn’t stand any of what All-American Rejects had put out before, coming off as Fall Out Boy without the sense of humor. But on this album, they got me. Switching from Emo to 80s-influenced Pop Punk, it’s a bizarre switch, but it works beautifully. They’re still overly sincere about their music, but the music definitely makes up for it now, instead of use coming across as whiny. Here’s hoping they stay on this path from now on.
Key Track: Beekeeper’s Daughter
15. Blunderbuss- Jack White
The White Stripes are on of my favorite bands ever, so it was sad to see them go last year. But luckily, Jack White is back, and he’s brought his best qualities as a songwriter. White is one of the best guitar players working today, and this album is a great display of his talents, from the country tinge of “Love Interruption” to the garage rock of “Sixteen Saltines”. And without Meg White, he even has a decent rhythm section for once! A definite listen for a White Stripes fan looking for more.
Key Track: Sixteen Saltines
14. The Afterman- Ascension- Coheed and Cambria
Coheed and Cambria is one of my favorites of the “new-prog” scene. Both they and Mars Volta put out albums this year, but I felt this was a lot better than Noctourniquet, which I felt was average. But this album is fantastic, and their best since No World For Tomorrow. There’s no song as immediate as “Welcome Home” or “The Broken”, but the album as a whole is remarkably strong, mixing together tight musicianship with excellent song writing and some excellent singing. If you like Prog, pick it up.
Key Track: Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute
13. All We Love We Leave Behind- Converge
One of the most consistently interesting Hardcore bands working today, Converge’s new release is easily their best since their masterpiece, Jane Doe. With their usual mix of fanatic and complex playing with vocals best described as a pterodactyl that just had its balls stepped on, the album has a higher level of melody than previous releases, and is completely devoid of filler in its 45 minute run. A Hardcore classic.
Key Track: Sadness Comes Home
12. Safe Travels- Jukebox the Ghost
Well that last record was intense, wasn’t it? Well how about some quirk synth-pop. Jukebox the Ghost is probably the second most obscure band on this list, so I’m glad that I can promote them to all of you, since this is a band that anyone can love. This band is pure fun, and is an absolute joy to listen to, especially mixed in with all the morose indie-pop surrounding it. As much a break from its time and place as Weezer’s debut was from Grunge, this is an album that could brighten up anyone’s day.
Key Track: Somebody
11. Koi no Yokan- Deftones
I adore the Deftones. Personally, outside of the mediocre self-titled from 2003, every album they’ve done is an absolute classic. And this is likely their best since the timeless White Pony back in 2000. The band’s writing is still unbelievably tight, serving as a perfect mix of Dream Pop and Alt Metal, and Chino Moreno is still the best singer Metal has to offer. There aren’t any individual songs as good as “Hole in the Earth” or “My Own Summer”, but it’s a remarkably tight complete package.
Key Track: Romantic Dreams
Stay tuned for the top 10 on Wednesday!
To the general public’s eyes, a band mostly consists of a singer and a guitarist, and that’s it. Far too often is the rhythm section overshadowed by the two battling egos in front. So today, this article is for all the bands who are made by the guys in the back. This is…
Top 10 Rhythm Sections
10. The Roots
Outside of the Beastie Boys from Check Your Head onward, I can’t think of any real Rap Band other than the Roots, and they so exactly why this should happen more often. It goes beyond Questlove and being one of the best drummers working today, it’s the fact that the whole band works together as a cohesive unit. No one ever outshines each other, allowing the song to work perfectly, even if you remove everything but one or two instruments. And as the band for Jimmy Fallon, they can definitely have a way to show their talent.
9. Green Day
Yeah, I was surprised when I realized this. When you get past Billie Joe Armstrong’s chunky chords and public rants, it becomes far easier to realize how talented the rest of the band is. Mike Dirnt is easily one of the best Punk Bassists around, most visible in riffs like “Longview” and the bridge for “Welcome to Paradise”. And Tré Cool is simply an excellent drummer, giving every song way more peer than they would without him, most evident in the entirety of Dookie. It’s sad that they’ll never be recognized behind Billie Joe’s
sexiness guitar playing.
8. Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine really wouldn’t be the same without Zach De La Rocha’s barking and Tom Morello’s guitar playing, but I can argue that they wouldn’t be as good without Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk playing the shit out of their instruments. Commerford’s Bass is really what makes songs like “Bombtrack” and “Sleep Now in the Fire” some of the best songs of the 90s. And it’s hard to see at first, but as soon as you get to the drumming for the entire 2nd half of “Killing in the Name”, you can really see why the song is a complete classic. Tom Morello may be one of the all time greats, but you can’t deny these two of their talents.
7. Fleetwood Mac
When I think of Fleetwood Mac, I usually think of either complete radio-pandering soft rock, or really awesome Rocking tracks. And the second choice here wouldn’t be possible without John McVie and Mick Fleetwood holding together an otherwise constantly crumbling band. And if I need to give one song as evidence for these two, it would simply be “The Chain”. Listen as to how the bass work and drumming completely make that song take off like a racing car. Without these two, Fleetwood Mac would be nowhere near as good. Now imaging how good i could’ve been without Stevie Nicks.
6. Talking Heads
Honestly, for this one, I’m just presenting the whole band. It’s hard to think of a band more inclined to pure groove than the Talking Heads without going into George Clinton territory. Neither guitarist was really one for solos simply playing for the melody, and Tina Weymouth was simply a perfect Bass player, meshing into Funk and New Wave and everything in between. Not to mention Chris Frantz, who is essentially a human drum machine, never once losing the rhythm in a single song. A great band full of great players.
5. The Who
It’s funny how you get both the most acclaimed drummer ever and the most underrated Bass player ever in the same band. Much has been said on Keith Moon’s status as the greatest drummer in rock history, and it’s well deserved. But John Entwistle is simply one of the all time greats in his field as well. With every other member of the band giving their best rowdiness for the show, John would simply stay in the background, keeping the beat for everyone else. Without him, Who shows would probably have just become a mess without any organization. So let’s thank him for keeping one of the best bands ever one of the best bands ever.
Soundgarden is up there with The Who as one of the most overall talented bands out there. Sure you got Chris Cornell and Kim Thayil in the front making their noise, but even behind them, their bandmates are incredible at what they do. Just look at “Spoonman”. Matt Cameron gives it his all for the drum solo, and Ben Sheperd really does make the song, simply through the bridge of that song, consisting of his bass riff and spoons. It’s incredible playing, and the tightness is really what makes it. Just fantastic playing all together.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Yeah, you knew this was coming. Flea is probably the most famous bass player ever, and for good reason. But in the reverse of The Who, this time, it’s the drummer, Chad Smith, who gets overshadowed. Simply one of the best drummers around, the man is incredibly talented, and sadly gets overshadowed by every single other member. And all together, you get musicianship that makes even Anthony Kiedis listenable, which is no mean feat.
I don’t even know if you can call this a rhythm section. Every single member of Rush is pretty much the star at any given time, leading to remarkably tight playing across the board. First, you got Alex Lifeson, who always knows when to shred and when to riff, never letting either get in the way of the other. Then, you got Geddy Lee, who’s’ bass playing on songs like “Red Barchetta” is really the stuff of legend. And last, but definitely not least, you got Neal Peart, likely the best drummer who’s ever lived. And together, you get pure excellence.
1. Led Zeppelin
There really is no other #1 choice but this. True, every member (except Robert Plant) is a complete musical genius, and Bonham can sure as hell play the drums loud and hard, but I’m going to take this time to talk about John Paul Jones. John Paul Jones, quite simply, is one of the most talented musicians still working. He never got big solos like Bonham or Page, but what he played, even on the keyboards, was pure technical skill. Even if I think “No Quarter” is heavily overrated, I can’t deny the skill there. And since he’s still playing with Them Crooked Vultures, it shows he’s got a lot left to do. God Speed, Mr. Jones.
Oh, and Wednesday’s the one-year anniversary of the blog. Hooray.
So. A week ago, I gave you a list of the 10 best covers ever, in my opinion. So, to complete this, here’s the worst covers of all time. And remember, if you like any of these songs, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It just means I disagree with you on this point. So, to begin…
The Top 10 Worst Covers of All Time
10. Jack’s Obsession- Sparklehorse
I like Sparklehorse, I really do. They make great emotional music, and it’s sad that Mark Linkous died the way he did. But by god is this cover a mess. Off the interesting but ultimately uneven Nightmare Revisited, a collection of Nightmare Before Christmas, the cover of one of the movie’s best songs doesn’t match the original in any way, filled with lazy guitar playing and a voice that would remind anyone of the worst character of Family Guy, Herbert the Pedophile. There could have been a great cover of this song, bur instead, we get this. How unfortunate.
9. Come On Eileen- Save Ferris
90s Ska had a terrible tendency of covering classic songs without ever really improving on them. Some were tolerable, like Reel Big Fish’s cover of “Take On Me”, while others… weren’t. This was one that didn’t. I doesn’t help that the original is classic, but when you combine the worst aspects of ska with what sounds like a poor man’s Gwen Stefani, you’re stuck with the worst 90s ska has to offer, outside of ska puns. Who thought a combination of Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Ferris Bueller could end up so bad.
8. Funkytown- Pseudo Echo
“Funkytown” is basically the disco song that you still un-ironically like. From the great singing, to the rather restrained melody, to the biggest ear worm hook this side of Michael Jackson, you just get a great dance song. The Pseudo Echo rock cover, on the other hand, plain sucks. The restraint and fun of the original is gone, replaced by blaring guitar, terrible synth settings, and no simple restraint. Simply, disco may be dead, but this was no way to honor it.
7. Faith- Limp Bizkit
Dear god, Limp Bizkit. George Michael isn’t a personal favorite, but it’s easy to see that this is a complete disrespect to what was originally a serviceable pop song. You take the fun acoustic guitar and singing of the original, and replace it with all the worst aspects of Nu-Metal, up to a record scratching break , and all you get is what is best described as a shit-pile. All I can say is that this still isn’t the worst cover they ever made.
6. Smells Like Teen Spirit- Miley Cyrus
What’s worse than simply being a terrible cover? Missing the entire point. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” may be one of the most overplayed songs ever, but it’s still a damn good song, and one that earned its place in history. This cover, on the other hand… just shit. The instrumentation may be good, but Miley Cyrus is a god-awful singer, and not even in a cool way like Kurt Cobain. And to take the anthem for disgruntled teenage boys, written by the king of teenage boys, and give it to a pre-made pop princess, is just disgusting. Fuck this mess.
5. Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay- Michael Bolton
At first, I wasn’t going to include this. It feels stupid to make fun of Michael Bolton now, plus “Jack Sparrow”, man. But upon re-listening, oh god is this awful. The original is easily a masterpiece, and the best swan song Otis Redding could have possibly had, so to piss all over that with Bolton’s schmaltz is disgusting. It’s a masterpiece in pissing on someone’s grave, only beaten by my next choice.
4. Them Bones- Suicide Silence
I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of Deathcore. In fact, I mostly hate it, due to basically being the more “br00tal” version of Metalcore, which in itself isn’t very good. But this is beyond horrendous, this is downright disgusting. The original Alice in Chains version is probably their best song, a Grunge song that manages to be both subtle and in-your-face. Here, they remove all subtlety, or even songwriting basics. Gone are the haunting harmonies, the great guitar, or depth. Instead, all you get is annoying screeching and walls of noise. It’s not just bad, it’s ugly.
3. Sweet Child O’ Mine- Sheryl Crow
Normally, I hate ballads. But I’ve never seen anyone who didn’t like “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. It’s a perfect love song, written by a douchebag who would later beat the woman the song was written for. Heartwarming. But I hate Sheryl Crow. “All I Wanna Do” is one of my most hated songs, but this is some good competition. For god’s sake, it doesn’t even have the main riff! Pile that with godawful singing, though that’s not surprising, and some terrible guitar playing, and you get the worst schmaltz has to offer.
2. American Pie- Madonna
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Madonna used to be queen of music, but with this song, she just sunk for four years, until she returned with “Hung Up”. Madonna was never a great singer, and when combined with this annoying keyboard melody, she shows a massive decline from Ray of Light. It says something that one Pop’s great legends’ worst song isn’t the song they did with Nicki Minaj.
1. Behind Blue Eyes- Limp Bizkit
FUCK THIS SONG, AND THAT IS ALL I HAVE TO SAY. This is a song so bad, I have to do a review of it. And I will, someday, so wait for that.
Covers often go one of two ways. Some covers go and become notorious, seemingly designed just to disrespect the original. Others exceed the original, put their own unique take on it, or completely change the meaning. This list is for those, with the next article being for the former. Two rules before we begin:
1. I tried to avoid songs that were to obvious, since I felt they were unnecessary. This includes “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Walk this Way” by Run DMC, and “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix.
2. No Motown, due to songs being passed around, so many great songs from there are actually covers.
Top 10 Covers
10. Get Ur Freak On-Eels
What happens when you take an already weird pop song and give it to a band with no limit like pop music? Bizarre brilliance. Making the original sound tame in comparison, The Eels’ “Get Ur Freak On” is a clashing mix of every possible noise, the lyrics being shouted at the listener, and the greatest line ever in a song, “Who’s that BUTCH?”, as said by a giant drummer in a cowboy hat. It shouldn’t work, but it does, and sublimely at that.
9. Umbrella-Manic Street Preachers
Just like “Get Ur Freak On”, it’s hard to deny that “Umbrella” is a fantastic pop song. And once again, it’s made even better by a bunch of weirdos. First off, the song is improved a lot without Jay-Z’s pointless opening verse. Secondly, Rihanna is honestly a pretty mediocre singer, and can’t hold a candle to James Bradfield, the lead singer of the Preachers. And unlike most pop covers, it doesn’t come off as self-obsessively ironic. Just excellent.
8. I Fought the Law-The Clash
Usually a cover is better through its music. But occasionally, it’s for working better with the lyrics. “I Fought the Law” is one of the latter. Simply put, this is a song that needs a harder edge, and who better to give it a harder edge than the best punk band of all time. With a great guitar hook, fantastic drumming, and the snarl of early Joe Strummer, it’s perfect. Special mention to the Dead Kennedy’s cover, which changes half the lyrics to be about Dan White escaping the law.
7. You Really Got Me-Van Halen
And once again, the cover just gets the meaning down far better than the original ever could. At this point, while the Kinks’ original is still a classic, it’s kind of flat and lifeless now. So why not get Van Halen to shove life straight up its ass? The energy is sky high, and with Diamond Dave’s vocals, it’s not exactly something to bore you. A quick mention to Oingo Boingo’s cover, which is also phenomenal.
6. One-Aimee Mann
Written by Harry Nilsson and made famous by Three Dog Night, “One” was already well worn when Aimee Mann covered it for Magnolia. SO it’s good that it’s easily the best version. The song simply sounds more real coming from someone like Aimee, and not Chuck Negron, a man who’s penis exploded from too much sex. I can’t think of a reason why, this simply IS a better version of the song than the original or the more famous cover. Simple as that.
5. One-Johnny Cash
And for another cover of a song named “One”, let’s look at Johnny Cash. While he recorded what is pretty definitively the best cover ever, with “Hurt”, “One” is an underrated gem from only one album before. U2’s original may be their best song, but it can’t hold against the emotion that Cash brought on every single song of the American series. Sometimes it’s far easier to speak volumes with nothing but a voice and an acoustic guitar than a full band.
4.True Love Will Find You in the End-Beck
Daniel Johnston is his generation’s Bob Dylan, in that his songs an excellent source of covers. With one of the best covers albums ever, The Late Great Daniel Johnston, here we have its masterpiece. Beck really highlights the mood of the song, bringing the sad folk nature of the original to the front, going back to Beck’s early roots as a homeless folk singer. Along with that is one of Beck’s best vocal performances of his career, making an incredible highlight to an incredible album.
The Misfits have not aged well. What has aged well? The cover of a Misfits song by the guys who covered “Mrs. Robinson”. Taking away the loud guitars, the song is traded in for an acoustic arrangement, which actually makes the song way creepier than the original loud arrangement. It feels like a guy is singing it in the middle of the woods in a log cabin, while the original just sounds like a bunch of guys who think they’re scarier than they are. So it works better with the lyrics. Simple as that.
2. Killing Me Softly-Fugees
OK, sure. The original “Killing Me Softly” is a classic. But The Score, the Fugees’ biggest album, is an even bigger classic. And from that, you get “Killing Me Softly”, the highlight of the album, and possibly Lauryn Hill’s career. With Hill’s incredible singing, surrounded by a top-notch hip-hop beat, it shows how you can make a timeless song fresh and new. Also worth mentioning is “No Woman No Cry”, another fantastic cover, though not as good. Hopefully someday Lauryn will actually record a new album.
1. Fix You-Young@Art
You know what? Nothing I can say can give this cover justice. So here’s some context. In the film Young@ Heart, about a group of seniors performing contemporary songs, two members, Kred Kittle and Bob Salvini, were set to play “Fix You”. However, before they could perform, Salvini passed away. What follows is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my life. Go listen to it. Now.