Monday, November 03, 2014

zman's top 10 list

My initial reaction to rob's call for content was "This could be difficult." But then I decided to just sit down and come up with my top 10 list off the top of my head, an "off the top 10" if you will. These are ten songs that I love. It seems odd that I don't have a Beatles song because I grew up listening to them, but nostalgia isn't the point here. If it were I'd go with Norwegian Wood for sentimental reasons (Rubber Soul was the first album that made me think about different tempos and meters), although Tomorrow Never Knows is probably my favorite Beatles song (it still sounds modern almost 50 years later). It also seems odd that I don't have a Beastie Boys song on the list, but they honestly don't have one standout song that beats out the others on my list (but if I had to pick one favorite it would be High Plains Drifter, just a badass story with a doooooope video).

I also sought to avoid a "sly declaration of new classic-status slipped into a list of old classics":

Upon assembling my list I realized that almost all of the best music ever was made during the 10-11 year span between my freshman year of high school and my 26th birthday. Funny how that happened.

With all that hedging complete, here's my top 10 in alphabetical order:

Build and Destroy, Boogie Down Productions

Woooo! Those three different base lines with that spooky organ? It's like a stripped down RZA production. And those lyrics? No one has anything on their mind like this anymore. Classic boom bap. This is why KRS-ONE is an all-time great. If you like this then also check out Gimme Dat and Slap Them Up (which contains one of my all-time favorite lines: "Yo I'm the best g, don't try to test me, you'll get jacked son even if your name's not Jesse").

Can I Kick It, A Tribe Called Quest

The first song I wrote down when I drafted my list. Probably my favorite song ever. The video isn't that exciting but the guy in the Swarthmore hoodie kills me--just a regular bunch of middle class kids hanging out and making music.

Feelin' Alright, Jungle Brothers

Everybody likes this song. Seriously, listen to it and tell me you don't enjoy it. This gets the party started every time. The greatest achievement of my four year college career was getting a bunch of white Virginian sorority girls wearing pearl earring/necklace sets and cardigans buttoned only at the top button to throw their hands up and shake their asses to this song at a frat party, despite the fact that they never heard the song before and it involves a black man rapping (i.e., general anathema to white Virginian sorority girls wearing pearl earring/necklace sets and cardigans buttoned only at the top button circa the mid-1990s because they only danced to songs they knew, and they only knew songs performed by white people who didn't rap).

Gin House Blues, Nina Simone

I love Nina Simone's music so much that I named my cat after her (full disclosure, it wasn't premeditated--I picked out the cat at the pound and they demanded that I name it right there on the spot for their paperwork, and I was listening to Nina Simone in the car on the way over and I was about to say "Nina" but then I remembered that my friend just had a daughter and named her Nina, so I went with Simone). The "right" "best" Nina Simone song is probably My Baby Just Cares for Me, but I love this live version of Gin House Blues. It's a swinging rocking drunken bender looking for a fistfight or, more preferably, some gin. And the asides to the audience and the band are fun.

Holland, 1945, Neutral Milk Hotel

The power of music and poetry! Mangum's lyrics are abstract and whimsical, but they also deliver a spine tingling stomach punch that make my eyes water when I think about the inspiration.

Jessica, The Allman Brothers

What's not to like? Sure it's old and over-played, but it really cooks. It makes my head bob AND my toe tap.

Mighty Healthy, Ghostface Killah

I can't say enough good things about this song--I like it so much that my iPod is named "Mighty Healthy." Supreme Clientele was like a slap to the face (Jack Urbont would agree). Just when I thought hiphop had stagnated and wouldn't or couldn't do something completely new, Ghostface dropped this masterwork. The lyrics were unlike anything I had ever heard before. "Pretty soloette velvet nice DNA scroll genetics"?!? Mighty Healthy is my favorite track on this album. Nutmeg has some insane lyrics too. Give it a listen.

Outfit, Drive-By Truckers

This song makes me realize how important it is to be a father. Jason Isbell wrote it when he was something like 21 years old, using real advice that his father gave him before he went on his first tour with the band. It makes me a little weepy, but in a happy way. Sands of Iwo Jima, another DBT gem, also makes me weepy, but in a sad way. Those of you who know me and my meager romantic history well likely expected to see Panties in Your Purse on this list.

Scenario, A Tribe Called Quest

I've written about this song before. I probably shouldn't have two songs from one band in my top ten list, but it's my list and they're both top ten without hesitation.

Welcome to the Terrordome, Public Enemy

The ultimate song to get my adrenaline going. From time to time I need to engage in extended verbal confrontation. For professional reasons only, of course. This is what I listen to in order to set the mood beforehand. Here's where I got the idea:

Let the record reflect that I have never taken a deposition wearing only a towel and satin shorts. Terminator X to the Edge of Panic achieves the same ends.

Wisdom, Brian Jonestown Massacre

I don't do drugs but if I did I would listen to this song on repeat with headphones for hours.

And here are my five least favorite songs of all time. I compiled this list with great relish (unlike Teedge who used ketchup).

Blue Bayou, Linda Ronstadt

The first song I ever hated. My mother played this record incessantly circa 1978, which is surprising given her otherwise decent taste in music (she's the one who exposed me to all those Beatles albums), and I quickly grew tired of Ronstadt's canine warbling of the word "biiii-yooooOOOOOO". It still sounds like nails on a chalkboard.

Movin' Out, Billy Joel

I detest Billy Joel's music because it's so fucking hokey. His overly clear staccato pronunciation, his reliance on the Marls Voice when he needs to dip into his lower register, his cheesy horns, the stilted piano riffs. I considered just saying "anything by Billy Joel" but that would be a cop out. Movin' Out crystallizes all of this and more into one song. It clearly rips off Layla. And it hits close to home. You know who wants a house out in Hackensack? zgreat-grandparents, zgrandparents, zmom, and zman, that's who, you short tubby prick. Four generations of my family grew up in Hackensack, myself included.

Make 'Em Say Uhh!

This song single-handedly destroyed hiphop. This is the track that made corny beats and ignorant meaningless lyrics lucrative.

Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

Some have preposterously suggested that this completely over-wrought self-aggrandizing dreck is NYC's new anthem, replacing Sinatra's New York, New York. Ridiculous. It can't hold a lyrical candle to Sinatra's song. "I made the Yankee hat more famous then a Yankee can". Really? "Who the hell are you?" asks Babe Ruth. "Beyonce is a good looking woman, but I fucked Marilyn Monroe" says Joe DiMaggio. "Is that line even grammatically correct?" asks Mickey Mantle. "Speaking of grammar, 'concrete jungle where dreams are made of' makes no sense" notes Lou Gehrig. "Maybe 'concrete jungle that dreams are made of' but that's not what she says."

All that bullshit you guys forced me to listen to in college

I realize I said I wouldn't do this when I shat on Billy Joel, but the list of music I endured in college is unfair. I never heard of Jimmy Buffet before I went to college. I (involuntarily) listened to Jimmy Buffet for four years in college. I have no idea why people buy his music.

Ants Marching and Tripping Billies are the same song and they both suck, as does most of DMB's music. I said this the first time I heard their music and I haven't changed positions on this matter.

Phish made one good song (Tweezer Reprise), the rest is all lyrical gibberish (e.g., "your hands and feet are mangoes, you'll be a genius anyway") and noodling melodies devoid of rhythm. I hope I never have to hear someone tell me "Dude, you have to hear my bootleg of Gamehenge" again. Seriously, what the hell is this?


rootsminer said...

Good work Z. At first glance I thought Billy Joel was on your top 10 list - which nearly gave me a hear attack-ack-ack-ack-ack.

Clarence said...

Interesting, Z. We've discussed "Outfit" before, it's a keeper. Some of your picks I could have predicted, others ("Jessica") not so much.

I dig Billy Joel, and I especially like "Movin' Out." I won't bother to argue the points, he's just a bar singer gone big a la Hootie and the Blowfish (whom people love to hate) and it's a good American story. And I like the music. The documentary Last Play at Shea catered to two of my tastes that I can't justify very well.

Buffett (with two T's, as opposed to Shoney's breakfast bar or Wendy's Superbar)... I have incredibly strong opinions on JB, as waxed upon here. The difference between the country-twinged beach bum of 1975 and the dorky Caribbean calypso 5th grade rhymer mega corporate music machine of now is beyond disappointing. Check out A1A for something that has nothing to do with cheeseburgers and margaritas and fins.

TR said...

Unrelated, but I think Zman will approve my rant.

There are a lot of random folks here in midtown NY rocking their marathon finisher medals over their clothes like they're Bruce Jenner (before he became a tranny).

It's good to be proud folks, but let's keep it in check. If wearing a finisher's medal is now (or soon will be) a thing, I want the meds scaled for your time.

And by a lot, I mean three that I've seen in the last ten minutes.

zman said...

I rock guerilla medallions like Flavor Flav's clock yo.

zman said...

So long as no one comes to Linda Ronstadt's defense I welcome all criticism.

T.J. said...

we finished Breaking Bad last night. those final eight episodes were intense and exhausting

zman said...

We finished BB a few weeks ago. Now everything else I watch seems like crap.

Dave said...

great job zman, love the high fidelity clip and dave matthews bashing. i was going to do holland 1945 on mine but now i'll have to scratch it . . .

i have weird mixed feelings about billy joel, i feel i should hate him for his cheesy corniness but that chuck klosterman essay made me find some new darkness and weirdness in his songs.

mayhugh said...

There is a different Ronstadt song that I hate more than Blue Bayou, and that is Queen of Hearts. Just a country bumpkin song, with lyrics far less sophisticated than Cleetus the Slack Jawed Yokal.

Clarence said...

Queen of Hearts is Juice Newton, not Linda Ronstadt!

Juice is from Virginia Beach. Local talent.

Marls said...

Finisher medals are for schmucks, with the possible exception of Ironman distance or further.

If you actually placed, overall or age group, you should get an award. Otherwise, not so much. This is coming from somebody who will likely never place in an enduance event.

If you have any medals lying around, I might suggest this:

zman said...

Since when can Dave watch embedded videos?

Clarence said...

SiriusXM Channel 30 right now: Blue Bayou by Linda Ronstadt. Haven't heard this song in ages, find myself listening to it just to imagine the Zman annoyance.

T.J. said...

no Juice Newton slander, people

Marls said...

The Teej is a fan of all things Juice, even the 1992 Tupac vehicle.

zman said...

Know the ledge.

zman said...

Can't believe Make 'Em Say Uhh! has gone all day unscathed. No one else hates that song?

Danimal said...

medals are nice for many including first-timers and especially those that overcome something significant to take part in their race whether it be weight loss, a handicap, or serious ailment. but I've never heard of wearing said medal the day after event. it's a move I'd give the "ok" to if you're one of the aforementioned, and you can only wear it the day after. for anyone else, they should be stoned to death.

Danimal said...

I guess you don't overcome weight loss, but obesity.

zman said...

I work with a woman who has a bunch of those medals framed in her office. I don't have a problem with it, but I think it's a pretty aggressive way of advertising that you're a type A nutjob.

Marls said...

Danimal said...

I should get a medal for getting through the last few days without abusing any of my children, seriously. I almost had to shoot the half (Nelson) on the youngest at bath time last night.

Danimal said...

it annoys me when going to a race registration and the great majority, say 90%, feel they must don the latest event participant t-shirt and hat from event prior to that so as to let everyone know they belong. ya never just see a guy in jeans and regular t-shirt or polo. and of course there are the guys/gals that go a little nutty with an IM tattoo though they will never do another one.

Clarence said...

I don't have a problem with those tattoo people. I tattooed a girl's name on my groin in 1990 and there's a 96% chance I will never have sex with her again.

TR said...

Along the same lines as D-Money's gripe, how about the folks who have to put a "13.1" or "26.2" sticker on their car.


I do agree that an Ironman is a special event.

I have done an occasional race, but I'll always have a problem with them until they sort by weight, not age. Let me compete in the 90-100 K bracket to feel good about myself.

zman said...

I those stickers reflect penis length in mm?

Clarence said...

Billy Karn has a 0.0 sticker on his car. I chuckled.

Dave said...

correction clarence, you tattooed a DUDE's name on your groin in 1990 (and there's a 100% chance you'll be having sex with him).

the dude will remain nameless to protect all parties involved but i will say that if this dude got to first base, then he was getting to second, no problem.

rob said...

26.2 miles is a long motherfucking way to run. you'd better damn give me a medal when i'm done, even if there's no chance in hell i'm ever putting that thing around my neck after the day of the race.

Mark said...

Make 'Em Say Uhhh is awful. The video is garbage too but does at least provide unintentional comedic value. I'd guess Derek Fisher is the only current or former NBA head coach to appear in a No Limit video.

No Limit is general was pretty terrible. Though Ill always turn up Bout It Bout It when it comes on.

As for wearing a race medal...I wouldn't do it but I think you can be excused for doing so the day of the race. The day after? Fuck. No.

Says the guy who will never, ever compete in a marathon, half marathon or triathlon.

zman said...

FOGTB Potchie ran the Chicago marathon in 2007 or 2008. I went out there with him to root him on and hang with FOGTB Derek. We all went out the night before. Potch went to bed early, I did not and slept in the next day. I had to hustle to the finish line to see Potchie cross. It was over 80 degrees that day so Potchie cramped up and ran the last six or nine miles like Terry Fox. So Derek and I ended up at the finish line way early. By the time he crossed we were drinking our fifth beers and smoking Marlboro lights. Potch drank a beer and said "I'm freezing. I need a sausage and peppiz." If anyone ever deserved a medal it was Potchie at that moment.

TR said...

Just now watching Prince on SNL. HDTV and his face are not a good match.

Clarence said...

I watched Squirrel run a full marathon in nasty cold March weather. He earned the cheeseburger and beers and Dumb and Dumber viewing afterwards plus a medal.

zman said...

Hyoooodge day at GTB.

Clarence said...

Maximum big surprise
Your smile is something new
I pull my shirt off and pray
We're sacred and bound
To suffer the heatwave
Pull off my shirt and pray
We're coming up on re-election day

Election Day by Arcadia (video)

TR said...

Would it be inappropriate to make an Asian adult film, loosely base the plot around politics, and then call it Erection Day?

Danimal said...

Starring: Long Dong

zman said...

Pick Frick!

TR said...

There is a channel called Fox Soccer Plus showing all the Champ matches in a Red Zone style. Enjoyable during my 30 min escape from the peanut factory.

Danimal said...

here is some additional time away from the peanut factory viewing, starring mike tyson - bad language - have volume down

Danimal said...

No erection day talk here this evening? Or are you Virginians awaiting official word on your results?

rob said...

was just at a gop election night party because i needed to talk to a customer. you can imagine how fun that was for me. not gonna hear a lot of election talk from me - my team's gonna get bludgeoned. gop gets a chance to actually govern after actively seeking not to do so for 6 years.

Danimal said...

Ahhh little buddy. Come over here and hug it out.

rob said...

legalization of recreational pot wins big in dc, but alleged small government fans in the gop will almost certainly bar the district from implementing the new law.

Clarence said...

This Mark Warner race has me perplexed.

TR said...

I have to admit that the HD technology for the news channels is pretty cool. Keeps me engaged. And almost makes up for having to see Newt's face.

zman said...

Marion Barry run the trap!