I'd like to dedicate this list to Tennessee and Texas A&M. Both lost by 1 point each yesterday, which means I now have to watch the rest of the NCAA tournament for the spirit of competition instead of the spirit of gambling. Always a sad day for me. Remember, kids: stay in school until you learn to make your freethrows. They’re extremely important in the NBA and when shooting for sides in pickup games.
On to the list:
1) “In the Street,” Big Star. Like Paul Westerberg, I never travel far without a little Big Star. This song has it all: a great ringing riff, throaty vocals, and plenty o' cowbell! It’s also the basis for the theme from That 70s Show. There is no finer value in CDs than the #1 Record/Radio City disc that combines their first two astounding albums.
2) “Here Comes the Sun Again,” M. Ward. I don’t know how he sounds as old as he does. Does he wear Depends when recording? Yell at kids to get off his lawn until his voice is hoarse? I mean, this song sounds so old it was used in a Cadillac commercial. Old person smell or no, it’s a warm, beautiful tune.
3) “Flexible Strategies,” The Police. Speaking of shitting your adult diapers, how about some flexible ticket pricing strategies, you codgers? I had my chance—the option to get two tickets for the Minneapolis show. Cost: $225 each, and the seats were off to the side. De do do do, de da da damn you greedy fuckers. Is Sting trying to make enough to construct a lute out of mithril? And speaking of geek references, here was the thought process for not buying them: I would never pay this much for Rush tickets. Anyway, this song is some wisely unreleased bullshit from the box set. Sounds like an instrumental remix of “Too Much Information” from Ghost in the Machine.
4) “21st Century Digital Boy,” Bad Religion. The best oohs and aahs in punk music and their best song. I would make a bigger deal out of the awkward “intellectual/ineffectual” couplet, but my language nerd side gets punched by my fist-pumping side.
5) “Unemployed Boyfriend,” Everclear. Sparkle and fade. They went from “Santa Monica” to Santa Maudlin in the span of three albums. This song has a Perry Ferrell reference that’s only slightly less awkward than seeing part of Ferrell’s paper mache penis on the cover of Ritual de lo Habitual. Unessential.
6) “I Am a Scientist,” Guided by Voices. Here’s a Cinderella story for March Madness: Middle school teacher in his mid-30s dreams of becoming a rock star. He assembles his drinking buddies into his basement to record some songs, and winds up making one of the best albums of the 1990s, Bee Thousand. This is the best song from that album. Mega-essential.
7) “Slack Motherfucker,” Superchunk. A dangerous song to listen to at work, because I want to sing the catchy, profane chorus out loud. And then people might think I’m singing about myself.
8) “One Thing Leads to Another,” The Fixx. A species from 80s musical genus Workmanus Likus, which includes bands like The Call and The Alarm, organisms that managed to spawn few successful ditties before becoming sterile or extinct. My best friend was a really big Fixx fan, which shows that, while very rare, they did exist in the wild.
9) “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” Paul Simon. Sad political comment of the day: this song provides better exit strategies from Iraq than anything the White House or Congress have proposed.
10) “One Tree Hill,” U2. Blue Girl recently mentioned how it’s uncool to say you like U2. Well, I like U2. In the words of Ozzy, it could be worse. I could be a Fixx fan.
11) “Know Your Onion,” The Shins. Funny this came up, because as I’m thinking of tags to label my posts, I thought of using “Know Your Onion” for the fake news posts where I