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Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Most Overlooked Songs of Our Lifetimes

I thought this could be an interesting post, but everyone needs to participate. I thought we could come up with a list of songs (or albums, if you like) that have, for whatever reason, been impossibly great and equally impossibly slept on.

I came up with this idea while driving to Omaha after tending bar last night. I was listening to the song that inspired this idea: "I Need More Love," by Robert Randolph and the Family Band. This is such an incredibly great song, but unless you've been to a Dave Matthews Band concert, you've probably not even heard of Robert Randolph (not referring to contributors here; I'm pretty sure everyone here has listened to him at some point). He is, easily, one of the absolute greatest guitarists of our generation. And this song brings together so many elements, for me, of a great song. The driving slide guitar of Johnson, the gospel organ and chorus joyfully screaching behind Johnson, the march of a drumbeat, and the positive lyrics are the backbone and make it a really good song. However, what puts it into "great" territory for me is something that cannot be quantified--there is just so much soul behind it. I love about any song that sounds like there are at least 50 people in the studio singing, clapping and playing their hearts out, and that is exactly what this song sounds like. If you finish listening to this song, and you don't want to stand up and shout, you simply do not have a soul (meaning Big Boi probably hates this song). Here are a few others:

--"Answering Bell," Ryan Adams. This is the best song that the Counting Crows never did. Wait, who's that singing backup? Adam Duritz? Well, Adam, I guess you can say that you were at least part of the best song the Crows never did. And is there a weirder musical pairing than the world's biggest music snob, Ryan Adams, and the world's worst dreads/dork who painfully remade "Big Yellow Taxi?" I didn't think so, either.

--"Sister Havana," Urge Overkill. OK, this was a slightly popular song when it was released in 1993 (I believe). However, this song kicked so much ass, and no one ever mentions it as one of the best "alternative" songs of the 1990's. Why? Great rhythm guitar and solo, the lead singer's voice is awesome, and it is catchy as hell. What else do you want out of a song?

--"What's The World Got In Store," Wilco. OMG. Soul-bearing, desparate love song. Sweet banjo. Great Hammond organ wailing in the background. Beautiful. This is another head-shaker, to say the least. I think if you played this song for 10 people, 8 would love it. However, maybe 1 of those 10 would actually have heard of it (or Wilco, for that matter). I don't know what else Wilco can do to get noticed. All they do is churn out classic song after classic song. Remember when that was more important than hiring Kanye West to produce your single to get on the radio?

--"Flashback," Gift of Gab. Here's another one to file under the same thing said about Wilco above, but how does a guy put out one of the best rap albums in the history of the genre and not get ANY play (well, minus in the background of Diet Coke and Saturn commercials)??? His flow is impeccible, and it goes perfect with his soul-drenched samples. I really could have picked any song of 4th Dementional Rocketships Going Up, but this one gets the nod because no one since DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince in "Summertime" does a better job of painting a vivid, lyrical picture of being young and innocent. Sample lyric: "Way before you ever had a sip of your first booze/Drunk off life/The simple things kept you amused." He then goes on to rattle off basically anything a kid growing up in the 1980s would have done. Just great storytelling.

Anyways, feel free to add on to this post, or throw up your ideas in the comments.

I already thought of another one--"Sit Down," by James. Just a great fucking pop song.
Here are few that I am thinking of:

Pavement "Father to a sister of thought" Typical Pavement sound made better with some awesome slide guitar work.

Dinosaur Jr. "Feel the Pain" Enough said.

Duran Duran "Rio" It is not exactly overlooked, but I think this song (as well as many other Duran Duran songs) kicks ass.

Fleetwood Mac "Bleed to Love her" A nicely written "love" song written by a band not really given any credit by our generation.

Janes Addiction - any song that isn't "Been caught stealing" which might just one of the most overrated songs of our lifetime. Good overlooked Jane's songs are "Mountain Song" and "Three Days" Basically anything from Ritual de lo Habitual kicks ass.
Off topic, but since you mentioned Adam Duritz, I think something needs to be mentioned about him dating both Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston--consecutively. That is all.

-The Rod
"Kinder Words" by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

"Supersonic" by Oasis

"Juicy" by Notorious B.I.G.

"Summer Babe" by Pavement

"The Cutter" by Echo and the Bunnymen

"The Ghost in You" by The Psychadelic Furs

"Behind Blue Eyes" by The Who, not Fred Durst. Actually strike that one because it has been fucking ruined for me because of Fred Durst.
GREAT call on Dinosaur Jr Anything by Dinosaur Jr can be thrown up on this post.

"Kinder Words" is also a great call. Ahhhh...to be young again. Anytime I hear the Bosstones, I think of 8th/9th grade. That was some fun, kick ass music.

The Rod--didn't Duritz just hook up with someone impossibly hot again recently? I'm totally drawing a blank on who it was.
"Globe" Big Audio Dynamite

"Indifferance" Pearl Jam

"By My Side" Ben Harper

and my most overlooked song of our lifetime is......"In a Big Country," which as coincidence would have it was performed by the band Big Country. A Scotch band with, and I haven't researched this one fully yet, the only black Scottish bass player in the history of the planet. I don't even know if they had any other songs at all.

Honorable Mention:

"Just Got Lucky" I don't have a clue. A Costelloesque jam from the early 80's that haunts me at work as it softly coos its New Wave saccharine through the modern marvel that is Muzak. I think I found it on a compilation once at Barnes and Noble, but I forgot it. A little help would be appreciated.

"Stars," Hum. From the album I'd prefer an astronaut. Cool guitars from the Champaign, IL band that sounded really cool during the cusp of grunge.
Can "Kiss" by Prince be considered as overlooked? If so, I want that one on my list as well. I don't care if it wasn't overlooked, I just can't get enough.
Nice call on Hum. And I think that we can chalk up "Kiss" as underappreciated, but probably not overlooked. Just my humble opinion.
That's really weird.

I just heard who sang "Just Got Lucky" the other day and now I can't remember again. This will drive me insane.

Anyway, the Hum album is You'd Prefer an Astronaut.
Wasn't that album cover green with a zebra wearing a space helmet on?
If I can throw a band rather than just a song out there -- Sunny Day Real Estate was really overlooked.

Also, Operation Ivy was tremendously influential in the early punk days. The song "Sound System" is the first song that comes to mind.
Sunny Day Real Estate just put out an album in the last year or two, didn't they?

That album of theirs that you had, Napa, kicked ass.
I thought of another one--this really hasn't had time to be slept on, as the album just came out this month, but the hidden track on Late Registration by Kanye, called "Late," is one of my favorite songs released in the last 5 years.
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Crystal by Stevie Nicks.
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