Friday, September 19, 2014

Top Songs Of The 90s (Division 4)

Welcome to our fourth division of the Top Songs Of The 90s where a panel narrows down the Top Songs until we get to the #1 song of the decade. Ballots were sent out to the station to station panel and I got 15 back. 6 Points were given to #1, 5 points to #2, etc. and 3.5 points were given to lists that were in NO ORDER. Below are the results!

The Foos led the way. New Order nipped and tucked into the #9 hole along with "Grace" from Jeff Buckley for our first EVER tie where no tiebreakers help (#1 votes, #2 votes were exactly the same). Both songs will move on to the semis where one group of 12 will have 13 songs instead of 12.

You can follow along each Friday as another 9 songs catapult to the semi final stage. There will be 16 opening rounds, 12 semifinal rounds and then a tourney of head to head 64 songs in March-April. If you're interested in picking 6 songs a week, contact me! Thanks again!

A page with full results will be available in October.
_____________________________________________________________
THE TOP 9 (DIVISION 4)
(# Points And Votes)
1. Everlong (Foo Fighters) 40 (8)
2. So Waht 'cha Want (Beastie Boys) 32.5 (8)
3. Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam) 28.5 (8)
4. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins) 23 (5)
5. Suck My Kiss (Red Hot Chili Peppers) 19.5 (6)
6. Undone - The Sweater Song (Weezer) 18 (6)
7. The Fly (U2) 18 (5)
8. Cannonball (Breeders) 15 (6)
T9. Regret (New Order) 15 (3)
T9. Grace (Jeff Buckley) 15 (3)

Full Top 9 Playlist via YouTube:

______________________________________________________________
Songs that missed the cut  (#Points and Votes)
Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J) 14.5 (5)
Burden In My Hand (Soundgarden) 10 (3)
Vogue (Madonna) 9.5 (2)
Blue Sky Mine (Midnight Oil) 9 (2)
In The Meantime (Spacehog) 8 (4)
Set Adrift On Memory Bliss (PM Dawn) 6 (3)
What's My Name? (Snoop Doggy Dogg) 6 (2)
Killing Me Softly (Fugees) 5 (2)
Doll Parts (Hole) 5 (2)
This Is A Low (Blur) 4 (1)
Pretty Fly (For A White Guy (The Offspring) 3.5 (1)
E-Bow The Letter (R.E.M.) 3 (1)
Tears In Heaven (Eric Clapton) 3 (1)
Firestarter (The Prodigy) 2 (1)
Your Ghost (Kristin Hersch & Michael Stipe) 1 (1)
Waltz #2 (Elliot Smith) 1 (1)

90s songs that got NO LOVE on Division 4 ballot:
Game Of Pricks (Guided By Voices)
My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It (En Vogue)
Smokebelch II (The Sabres Of Paradise)
Summer Babe (Pavement)

Individual Ballots:
Ballot 1
1. Everlong (Beastie Boys)
2. So What' cha Want (Beastie Boys)
3. The Fly (U2)
4. Suck My Kiss (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
5. Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J)
6. Cannonball (The Breeders)

Ballot 2
1. Blue Sky Mine (Midnight Oil)
2. Everlong (Foo Fighters)
3. So What 'cha Want (Beastie Boys)
4. The Fly (U2)
5. Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam)
6. Undone - The Sweater Song (Weezer)

Ballot 3
1. Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam)
2. Everlong (Foo Fighters)
3. Grace (Jeff Buckley)
4. Suck My Kiss (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
5. The Fly (U2)
6. Burden In My Hand (Soundgarden)

Ballot 4
1. Regret (New Order)
2. Suck My Kiss (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
3. So What 'cha Want (Beastie Boys)
4. Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J)
5. Undone - The Sweater Song (Weezer)
6. Cannonball (The Breeders)

Ballot 5
1. Undone - The Sweater Song (Weezer)
2. What's My Name? (Snoop Doggy Dogg)
3. Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam)
4. Killing Me Softly (Fugees)
5. So What 'cha Want (Beastie Boys)
6. In The Meantime (Spacehog)

Ballot 6
NO ORDER
So What 'cha Want (Beastie Boys)
Suck My Kiss (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam)
Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J)
Vogue (Madonna)
Pretty Fly (For A White Guy (The Offspring)

Ballot 7
1. So What 'cha Want (Beastie Boys)
2. The Fly (U2)
3. Regret (New Order)
4. Suck My Kiss (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
5. Undone -The Sweater Song (Weezer)
6. Everlong (Foo Fighters)

Ballot 8
1. Cannonball (The Breeders)
2. Grace (Jeff Buckley)
3. This Is A Low (Blur)
4. E-Bow The Letter (R.E.M.)
5. Firestarter (The Prodigy)
6. Your Ghost (Kristin Hersch & Michael Stipe)

Ballot 9
1. Vogue (Madonna)
2. Regret (New Oder)
3. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins)
4. Doll Parts (Hole)
5. Set Adrift On Memory Bliss (PM Dawn)
6. Cannonball (The Breeders)

Ballot 10
1. Everlong (Foo Fighters)
2. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins)
3. The Fly (U2)
4. Tears In Heaven (Eric Clapton)
5. Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam)
6. Set Adrift On Memory Bliss (PM Dawn)

Ballot 11
1. Everlong (Foo Fighters)
2. So What' cha Want (Beastie Boys)
3. Undone - The Sweater Song (Weezer)
4. Set Adrift On Memory Bliss (PM Dawn)
5. Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J)
6. In The Meantime (Spacehog)

Ballot 12
1. Burden In My Hand (Soundgarden)
2. Everlong (Foo Fighters)
3. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins)
4. Undone - The Sweater Song (Weezer)
5. Suck My Kiss (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
6. Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam)

Ballot 13
1. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins)
2. In The Meantime (Spacehog)
3. Cannonball (The Breeders)
4. Blue Sky Mine (Midnight Oil)
5. Killing Me Softly (Fugees)
6. Waltz #2 (Elliot Smith)

Ballot 14
1. Grace (Jeff Buckley)
2. Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam)
3. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins)
4. So What 'cha Want (Beastie Boys)
5. Cannonball (Breeders)
6. In The Meantime (Spacehog)

Ballot 15
1. Everlong (Foo Fighters)
2. Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam)
3. Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J)
4. Burden In My Hand (Soundgarden)
5. Doll Parts (Hole)
6. What's My Name? (Snoop Doggy Dogg)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ultimate Album #16 (David Bowie-Hunky Dory)


After 90 votes have been counted, we've come to the results of our 15th album to be included in the Ultimate Albums tournament here on station to station. Here's how the rundown on voting and eligibility goes. The albums included on this ballot were taken from our Top Albums Of All Time Polls that have been on station to station over the past couple of years. They're still in progress but over half way through now. So I figured, let's get the ball rolling as those polls continue (every 3 weeks there's a new one). Next, I took the albums that did well in those polls (the top 11-17 albums each year...sounded like a fair number of albums) and seeded them according to Acclaimed Music's Top Albums.

The Final Tally For 12 Albums Are Added From:
1) The panel here on station to station (10 ballots)
2) Sodahead Poll (17 Votes Total)
3) Rate Your Music Forum Poll (63 Votes Total)
(the tallies are at the bottom of this post)

The current album poll is for ALBUM # 18 on the side panel of the blog (Also on Rate Your Music Forum and Sodahead as well). Along with the year 1983!

Winning the overall vote is a fantastic and sometimes overlooked classic from David Bowie, his precursor to Ziggy..."Hunky Dory". Of course "Changes" is the often looked at classic from this album but I gave it a vote  (the only from our panelists this round) because it is simply no filler and the list of great songs is endless. "Oh! You Pretty Things", "Andy Warhol", "Quicksand", "Song For Bob Dylan" and "Queen Bitch" are sensational. And "Life On Mars?" is theatrically brilliant...maybe Bowie's finest moment.

Instead of writing a big synopsis on "Hunky Dory" and because of time constraints, I figure let's just leave it to an experts over at allmusic.com. With a track by track listing (excluding the two tracks that weren't reviewed), here's what Ned Raggett and Dave Thompson had to say about each of the songs on this fine, fine release. One of the best in the 70s in my book!

1. Changes
David Bowie once explained "Changes" like so: "[It] started out as a parody of a nightclub song, a kind of throwaway." Which is part of the fun joy of the track -- it manages to work completely straight-faced while also having some laughs as well. For all of the lyrical references to "these children that you spit on" and "how every time I'd got it made, the taste was not so sweet," "Changes" doesn't pretend to be the voice of a generation or rampant angst gone crazy. It's upbeat, entertaining, and, but of course, has that brilliant knack of Bowie's -- an absolutely wonderful chorus. With Rick Wakeman's piano providing the introduction and conclusion for the song, not to mention helping to form said chorus, Bowie leads the incipient Spiders From Mars in a sly romp mixing semi-spoken verse and his delicious delivery of the title, "Ch-ch-ch-changes!" The descending chords of the bass hint at that particular glam rock element's incipient dominance, while Ken Scott's production and Mick Ronson's excellent string arrangement -- not to mention Bowie's own winning sax part -- complete the package.  ~ Ned Raggett (allmusic.com)

2. Oh! You Pretty Things
While Ziggy Stardust hadn't fully yet come to life, there's no question that with Hunky Dory David Bowie had not only laid the groundwork for his work there, but confirmed that he was a singular talent. That "Oh! You Pretty Things" turns out to be one genius track of many from that record makes its singular qualities even more of a treat. The secret weapon of the album, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, begins the song with a jaunty, sprightly piano line, not quite honky tonk but not quite anything else, before settling back a touch for Bowie's warm vocal about waking up and getting ready to face the day. But then the imagery gets odder: "Look out the window, what do I see?/A crack in the sky and a hand reaching out to me." Sly and funny, Bowie then fully invokes the sexual scramble of glam on the great full-band chorus of descending guitar chords; a slow, strong beatl and the wickedly fun claim "Oh! You pretty things/Don't you know you're driving your mommas and poppas insane?" Not quite a sci-fi song per se, but still amusingly invoking concepts of the "homo superior" in a teasing, unquestionably gay tinged manner, it remains one of his best efforts. ~ Ned Raggett (allmusic.com)

3. Eight Line Poem
Something of a second part to "Oh! You Pretty Things" on Hunky Dory -- the two flow together without any separation -- "Eight Line Poem" is one of David Bowie's more obscure numbers. It's a bit unsurprising considering that "Life on Mars?" followed it on the album, but "Eight Line Poem" still has a certain something to recommend it, right from its gentle start of Mick Ronson's slightly country-tinged guitar and Rick Wakeman's calm but strong piano parts. Living up to the title of the song, Bowie himself only has the eight lines throughout the song, letting the two musicians lead the way with their moody, reflective contributions. The lyrics are among Bowie's most cryptic, which admittedly is saying something ("While the cacti find a home" doesn't trip off the tongue), but his performance is both enjoyable theatrical and, once or twice, almost soulful in parts. It's a bit of a diversion for Bowie and not a bona fide classic, but it works well on the album and rewards repeated listening. ~ Ned Raggett (allmusic.com)

4. Life On Mars?
One of David Bowie's most astonishing songs, a masterpiece of fragmented thought and displaced vision, "Life on Mars?" was originally released on 1971's Hunky Dory album, but came to greater attention when it was issued as a single in spring 1973 as the Zig-machine cruised toward its all time high. Featuring Bowie in deep reflective mode, with a pretty melody carried by Rick Wakeman's gossamer piano lines, the song has drawn covers from as far afield as ABBA's Annifrid Lyngstad, a cappella virtuosos the King Singers, and even Barbra Streisand, prompting some observers to describe it as Bowie's own "My Way." 

The irony is, it very nearly was. In 1968, Bowie was one of several writers invited to compose an English lyric to a rather lovely French composition, "Comme d'Habitude." The resultant "Even a Fool Learns to Love" was pleasant enough, but it was Paul Anka's "My Way" which eventually took the honors. Bowie didn't forget his own efforts, though, and it was while tinkering around with the chords that he stumbled upon "Life on Mars?" The Hunky Dory sleeve notation "inspired by Frankie" completes that story. 

"Life on Mars?" has figured sporadically in Bowie's live set over the years, although the only official release is included on the Santa Monica 72 album. There is also an excellent video in circulation, shot by photographer Mick Rock backstage at Bowie's May 1973 London Earls Court concert. ~ Dave Thompson (allmusic.com) 

5. Kooks
6. Quicksand
One of Bowie's most mystifying (and, thus, most over-analyzed) compositions, "Quicksand" originally appeared on 1971's Hunky Dory album, closing side one with a lengthy examination of the emotional mire of politics and religion. (An acoustic demo of the song also appeared on the album's 1990 reissue.

Churchill, Himmler, Crowley, Garbo, and Nietzsche all file through the "dream reality" of this gentle, but incredibly hard-hitting song, and its occasional appearances in Bowie's live set have always proven firm fan favorites. That said, Bowie only began performing the song in its entirety in 1997 -- hitherto, it featured in a 1973-era medley with "Life on Mars?" and "Memory of a Free Festival." 


However, he revived it for the 50th birthday celebrations; one version was included in the BBC's ChangesNowBowie broadcast, another -- a duet with the Cure's Robert Smith -- was aired at the Madison Square Garden birthday concert. The song then became the opening number throughout 1997's Earthling tour. ~ Dave Thompson (allmusic.com) 
7. Fill Your Heart

8. Andy Warhol
David Bowie's fascination with American pop artist Warhol was a matter of public record long before he portrayed his hero in 1996's Basquiat movie -- indeed, Bowie unearths an excellent impersonation of Warhol on the 1972 Santa Monica live album, during the introduction to this song, of course. 

An irrepressibly chirpy number, underpinned by some deceptively intriguing twin guitar lines, "Andy Warhol" was originally written for singer Dana Gillespie, whose own 1971 recording of the song eventually appeared on her 1974 album Weren't Born a Man -- a far more electric/electrifying interpretation than Bowie's own, it should be sought out by all students of the late Mick Ronson's guitar work. He has seldom sounded better. 

Gillespie also gave the song its first live airing, when she guested alongside Bowie on a 1971 BBC concert broadcast. Bowie's own version was recorded some months later for inclusion on the Hunky Dory album famously; it is preceded by an entertaining snatch of studio banter, as Bowie and producer Ken Scott wrestle with the correct pronunciation of the artist's name. The song was also lifted as the B-side to Bowie's first RCA single, "Changes," and was included on two of his BBC session appearances -- an excellent version surfaces on the At the BBC CD compilation. 

Live, the song was a stage regular during 1972, but was not revisited until 1995, when Bowie unleashed an extraordinary rearrangement during the Outside tour. ~ Dave Thompson (allmusic.com) 

9. Song For Bob Dylan
One of two biographical semi-sketches on the Hunky Dory album -- "Andy Warhol" being the other -- "Song for Bob Dylan" gives David Bowie the chance to engage directly with the towering musical icon (and admitted partial inspiration). Given how often Dylan songs were directly covered, it's interesting to hear someone tackle him on the grounds of being a public figure (obliquely addressing the origins of Dylan as myth by naming him throughout the song by his real name, Robert Zimmerman). It's a celebratory song to an extent, but more than once Bowie nails Dylan on the basis of his sometimes surprising fame -- noting, for his instance, his voice of "sand and glue" and how he was seen as something more than a singer/songwriter, for better or worse. The gentle acoustic/electric blend functions as its own form of tribute to the more country-leaning work of Dylan via Nashville Skyline and his collaborations with the Band, with a great singalong chorus that one could easily imagine Robbie Robertson and company writing on their own. ~ Ned Raggett (allmusic.com)

10. Queen Bitch
One thing not well-known about David Bowie is that he's probably the original British Velvet Underground fan, thanks to his manager getting a hold of acetates back in 1966 and sharing them with his young charge. He went on to actually record a cover of "Waiting for the Man" back then that's still remained unissued, but five years later he finally got his love for Lou Reed fully out in the open with the snarling, snappy glam classic "Queen Bitch." Even his friend and rival Marc Bolan hadn't come up with something so literally bitchy quite yet, as Bowie fused (to quote the Hunky Dory album sleeve) "some V.U. white light" with his own pop senses. Counted off and led into first Bowie's acoustic guitar, then a wonderfully recorded Mick Ronson riff that couldn't be any more gloriously trashy if it tried, "Queen Bitch" out-Reeds Reed, hard as that may be to believe. Or at least, if Reed could write the lines, it's doubtful he could sing them with such gleeful squeals as Bowie does when he goes "She's so swishy in her satin and tat" or "For she's a queen, and such are queens." Energy mixed with seediness and just the right amount of star power -- one couldn't ask for more. ~ Ned Raggett (allmusic.com)

11. The Belway Brothers
The closing track on Bowie's 1971 Hunky Dory album, for anybody who gets their kicks psychoanalyzing his songs, this is it. Year Zero. Alpha and Omega. Quite simply (if somewhat obsessively) every theory about the state of Bowie's sexual, mental, religious, intellectual, and social status can find at least an echo within the convoluted labyrinths of this song -- even his apparently compulsive chain-smoking has been laid at the door of the Bewlay Brothers; the song is named for a tobacconist store around the corner from his childhood home in Brixton, London. 

Whether or not there is any substance to the theorizing, of course, is another matter entirely. Bowie himself certainly isn't saying, although his constant invocations of the song at least suggest a mischievous appreciation of its potency. Although he has never performed it live in its entirety, it christened his publishing company, it was remixed for the Rykodisc reissue of Hunky Dory, and it appeared as a guitar tease during his 1997 tour. ~ Dave Thompson (allmusic.com)
 
___________________________________________________________________
Final Tallies (90 Votes Total):
 David Bowie-Hunky Dory (1971) 18 points (20.0%)
Black Sabbath-Master Of Reality (1971) 16 points (17.8%)
Metallica-Metallica (The Black Album) (1991) 14 points (15.6%)
Ramones-Ramones (1976) 14 Points (15.6%) 
 Aerosmith-Toys In The Attic (1975) 9 points (10.0%)
Garbage-Garbage (1995) 7 points (7.8%)
Radiohead-Amnesiac (2001) 4 points (4.4%)
The Byrds-Sweetheart Of The Radio (1968) 3 points (3.3%)  
Elton John-Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975) 3 points (3.3%) 
Modest Mouse-The Lonesome Crowded West (1997) 2 points (2.2%)
Drive-By Truckers-Brighter Than Creation's Dark (2008) 0 points (0.0%)
John Cougar Mellencamp-American Fool (1982) 0 points (0.0%)

Emailed Ballots from station to station Panel:
JHO: David Bowie-Hunky Dory (Vote on Sodahead)
Scott B: Ramones-Ramones
Chops: Ramones-Ramones
Jon B: Radiohead-Amnesiac
Bill: Ramones-Ramones
Charlie: Ramones-Ramones
Brian: Metallica-Metallica (The Black Album)
Jack: Metallica-Metallica (The Black Album) (Vote On Sodahead)
Doug: Metallica-Metallica (The Black Album)
JPOP: Garbage-Garbage
Metallica-Metallica (The Black Album) 7 votes
 Aerosmith-Toys In The Attic 3 votes
David Bowie-Hunky Dory 3 votes
Ramones-Ramones 2 votes 
Black Sabbath-Master Of Reality 1 votes
Garbage-Garbage 1 votes

 (TIE ON RYM WENT BLACK SABBATH)
David Bowie-Hunky Dory 15 votes
Black Sabbath-Master Of Reality 15 votes
Ramones-Ramones 8 votes  
Garbage-Garbage 6 votes
Aeromsith-Toys In The Attic 6 votes
Metallica-Metallica (The Black Album) 4 votes
Elton John-Captain Fantastic And The Dirt Brown Cowboy 3 votes
Radiohead-Amnesiac 3 votes
The Byrds-Sweetheart Of The Radio 3 votes
Modest Mouse-The Lonesome Crowded West 2 votes

#78: Talking Heads (Top 500 Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)

#78
(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "Burning Down The House"
Artist: Talking Heads
Release Date: May, 1983
From The Album: Speaking In Tongues(1983)


Quick Take: Two achievements were gained with the release of 1983's Speaking in Tongues album. It became the band's highest charting album, going all the way to the number 15 spot in the United States, and it also gave them their first and only Top Ten hit with "Burning Down the House," peaking at #9 in September of 1983. The idea for the song came to drummer Chris Frantz after seeing a Parliament/Funkadelic concert in New York. While he was there, the audience kept yelling at the band to "burn down the house." After passing the story on to David Byrne, Byrne changed the line and turned the chant into a single. One of the most recognizable features of the song is Frantz's resounding drum work. Bombastic and accentuated, his lone tom-tom hits give it a novel characteristic right from the get go. From there, the percussion work dictates the rhythm and leads the song with bottom-heavy acuteness. With eerie keyboard wafts in the background, David Byrne's one-syllable-at-a-time vocals that creep up to the chorus make for an effective alternative-like feel which in time envelops the entire song. While the synthesizer tones shimmer and gleam (reminiscent of flames), the rigid flow to the rest of the song is wonderfully novel and slightly left-of-center, as is the anxious fritter of Byrne's singing. "Burning Down the House" helped the band keep its distinct profile amongst the rest of the radio pop that was emerging at the start of the decade, but, more importantly, it proved that the band could still produce excellent material beyond their commencement as a new wave/punk band.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#79: Smashing Pumpkins-1979 (Top 500 Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)

#79
(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "1979"
Artist: Smashing Pumpkins
Release Date: January, 1996
From The Album: Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (1995)




Quick Take: Light, bright and just slightly off-kilter, ”1979” was a somewhat surprising hit for the Smashing Pumpkins in February 1996. With James Iha’s guitars conjuring up just a hint of down-tuned drone a la My Bloody Valentine, and Corgan winding a clear vocal through a mid-tempo melody with nary a shout or wrenching outburst in sight, the song was the perfect winter wonder. Disaster was lurking around the edges though, as a key portion of the accompanying video was lost when a production crew associate left the only copy on top of his car like the proverbial cup of coffee, or wallet, or important files, and drove away, effectively driving the images into nowhere. Never recovered, a frustrated band managed to recreate the moment, and duly dispatched it to MTV, where it became a heavy hitter. Although this wobble would become one of the earliest in a string of disasters that would eventually unhinge the band, before hindsight shook out its mane, the beauty and tenderness of ”1979”, with the pure poetry in lyrics like “you and I should meet, junebug skipping like a stone” did more to erase the angst and anger of a generation of X-ers with its nostalgia tripping than just about anything else.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#80: Sonic Youth-Teen Age Riot (Top 500 Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)

#80
(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "Teen Age Riot"
Artist: Sonic Youth
Release Date: October, 1988
From The Album: Daydream Nation (1988) 


Quick Take: "Teenage Riot" is the pivotal song in Sonic Youth's career. The opening track on 1988's breakthrough Daydream Nation, it's the first song to combine the quartet's trademark Glenn Branca-inspired sonic assaults with a genuinely catchy melody, hummable guitar riffs and witty lyrics that look askance at the mainstream popular culture of the late '80s and imagine Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis as President of the United States. (The inventive video suggests an alternate pantheon of heroes, incorporating clips of Sonic Youth faves ranging from Pee-Wee Herman to Neil Young to Black Flag to Sun Ra.) The seven-minute-plus song opens with a characteristic extended wash of sound, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo's guitars pealing out overtones and note clusters under Kim Gordon's mumbled chanting of phrases like "Spirit desire" and "We will fall" (not to mention the playground diss "Say it, don't spray it," evidence of the group's quirky sense of humor), all of which slowly build and coalesce until an actual hook appears, ushering in the first honest-to-goodness pop song of Sonic Youth's by then six-year-old career. It was an enormous college radio hit, which combined with Daydream Nation's uniformly ecstatic reviews to get Sonic Youth signed to a major label within a year, indirectly ushering in the early '90s alternative explosion.
Courtesy: Stewart Mason (allmusic.com)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ultimate Album #15 (Pink Floyd-The Wall)


After 96 votes have been counted, we've come to the results of our 15th album to be included in the Ultimate Albums tournament here on station to station. Here's how the rundown on voting and eligibility goes. The albums included on this ballot were taken from our Top Albums Of All Time Polls that have been on station to station over the past couple of years. They're still in progress but over half way through now. So I figured, let's get the ball rolling as those polls continue (every 3 weeks there's a new one). Next, I took the albums that did well in those polls (the top 11-17 albums each year...sounded like a fair number of albums) and seeded them according to Acclaimed Music's Top Albums.

The Final Tally For 12 Albums Are Added From:
1) The panel here on station to station (12 ballots)
2) Sodahead Poll (17 Votes Total)
3) Rate Your Music Forum Poll (67 Votes Total)
(the tallies are at the bottom of this post)

The current album poll is for Ultimate Album #18 on the side panel of the blog (Also on Rate Your Music Forum and Sodahead as well). Along with the year 1983!

It only won by one vote but in many eyes Pink Floyd's "The Wall" is the ultimate of ultimate albums. With so many good albums in this batch (I rank them according to Acclaimed Music's current album rankings, but man, this one was a toughie) it isn't shocking that "The Wall" won as much as the competition it took down in becoming Ultimate Album #15. What may be more shocking is that in our little group of station to station panelists only ONE person chose "The Wall" as the premiere ultimate album of this batch.

That one person in Jon B. Former Steubenville hockey assist machine and all around good guy with a ton of music knowledge especially when it comes to stuff in the 70s, 80s and 90s. I always marveled at his CD collection back in college days. Crates and crates of the great, the necessary, the ultimate and the ugly. 

Jon did the great pleasure of pitting "The Wall" against every other album in this round and demonstrates why each album doesn't hold up to Pink Floyd's double album opus in the long run. It's a great read! Thanks to Jon for doing this!

Jon B:

"Look i was never a big Pink Floyd fan, in fact during their 80s feud I was solely on the side of Waters and wished the band dead--I hated Brick as a 8 yr old when I thought school still had some magic to it and was disturbed kids DID NEED EDUCATION.  With age and experience i grew more and more into a fan of The Wall but never falling under it's spell.  Until i saw it LIVE and it blew me away!  The emotion and pain that comes through live and what it brings out of the audience was AMAZING.  i understood The Wall but didn't 'get it' until the LIVE show.  I don't expect any who has seen it performed to totally buy that - you'll just have to take my word for it at this point.  I entered the show thinking that it was a great album and left thinking it was one of the most socially relevant piece of art of the 20th century--life changing kinda of thing. So you may see a loose Brick (weak track) and think it is a weak spot but the cohesiveness of the whole piece of work is strong and sturdy. For the Gauntlet Songs-i tried to make the song relevant to the defeated artist at least a smudge but...Try as they might none could BRING DOWN THE WALL--"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Morrissey-You Are The Quarry: 0
 
Game Summary:
Morrissey Vs Floyd?  Odd that both singers went nuts without their respective guitarists but Waters has his crew here and Marr is NO WHERE to be found in The Quarry.  (I'll leave it at that)

The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up: 
The Thin Ice
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Peter Gabriel-Us: 1
 
Game Summary:
I remember thinking that Peter Gabriel was getting so into being 'out there' that he almost dared people to listen to his full records, it was worth it for listeners but he seemed to push the envelope possible just to bug the record company guys--  oddly that could be describing Mr Waters, as well. Us is a very good record (i like So) but it is completely over powered here

The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up:
Brick (I II or III)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Pearl Jam-Yield: 1
 
Game Summary: 
I remember thinking that though strong at the top that Yield was as solid from start to finish as I had come to expect from PJ and started them on a small slide from their first 3 releases that I'm not sure they ever recovered from completely but it is still a good LP.  Not good enough to be a top 3 PJ release and certainly NOT strong enough for this competition.

The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up:
Run Like Hell
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Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Tori Amos-Little Earthquakes: 2
 
Game Summary:
So sure I have the complete Tori Amos catalog and if forced to pick one to listen to multiple times, then i think Little Earthquakes is her best effort.  The Wall doesn't even flinch at this challenge.

The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up: 
The Trial
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Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Michael Jackson-Bad: 5
 
Game Summary:
Either Bad or The Bends comes the closest to an upset here in my book.  Bad is extremely well done-- song by song it will hold up to anything out there, ever. BUT it comes down to a pop masterpiece vs a masterpiece of the ages.  Close but no cigar!

The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up:
Goodbye Cruel World
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Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Husker Du-Warehouse: Songs and Stories: 7
 
Game Summary:
Well, full disclosure: I did not have Warehouse and have only heard it through maybe twice, but it is a double LP.  Well it seems it may have been better suited for a Single Disc release as it seems to have some filler. Though I felt differently before there is NO FILLER on The Wall, musically you may disagree but they all hold their places as The Wall builds itself and all are needed.  I will out of respect to Bob and his band mates leave this one at that!
 
The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up: 
Nobody Home
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Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Soundgarden-Superunknown: 8
 
Game Summary:
SuperUnknown is a great record but all of these are, single by single it holds up well. Even IF the highs are as high (IF) the lows are lower and it sounds dated in the weak spots--2 great records but not really THAT close.

The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up: 
Young Lust
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Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Radiohead-The Bends: 9
 
Game Summary:
This one really rips me up inside--I LOVE The Bends it may be the best LP of the 90s. On a personal level it is probably a more important LP to me, simply because of the timing of release BUT at the peak of my Bendys- I think The Wall still woulda won my vote... It isn't easy to explain because both ops have a violent emotional core but The Wall just wins-- there is an attachment running from song to song that eclipses most other records.
 
The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up: 
Comfortably Numb
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Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Dead Kennedys-Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables: 10
 
Game Summary: 
These are very very different records and I hesitate to say terrible things about The Dead Kennedys for fear of The Frank BUT i have long felt that the Kennedys were the most overrated bands (and Politicians) who became more about the philosophy of non mainstream punk than their music--When it comes to the Dead- I prefer mine Milkmen

The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up:
Hey You
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Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Tool-Lateralus: 12
 
Game Summary:
I don't have anything against Tool and own a few of their CDs. This one i acquired for this project-I listened through it twice--it very well may be the best Tool record but it is NOT THE WALL.

The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up:
In the Flesh?
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Box Score:
The Wall: 21
Bruce Springsteen-Born To Run: 20
 
Game Summary:
I have always held that Bruce is too derivative of Dylan at the start and I am not even sure that Born to Run is his best record (I always liked Tunnel Of Love). Not to tweak the Bruce peeps out there (I have all his CDs) but this isn't very close for me after 3-4 songs The Wall pulls away from The Boss!

The Wall song that runs the gauntlet in this match-up:
Mother
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Final Tallies (96 Votes Total):
Pink Floyd-The Wall (1979) 21 points (16.0%)
Bruce Springsteen-Born To Run (1975) 20 points (18.9%)
Tool-Lateralus (2001) 12 Points (10.4%) 
 Dead Kennedys-Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (1980) 10 points (13.2%)
Radiohead-The Bends (1995) 9 points (12.2%)
Soudngraden-Superunkown (1994) 8 points (9.4%)
Husker Du-Warehouse: Songs and Stories (1987) 7 points (6.6%)
Michael Jackson-Bad (1987) 5 points (4.7%)
Tori Amos-Little Earthquakes (1992) 2 points (0.1%)  
Pearl Jam-Yield (1998) 1 points (4.7%)
Peter Gabriel-Us (1992) 1 points (2.8%)
Morrissey-You Are The Quarry (2004) 0 points (0.0%)

Emailed Ballots from station to station Panel:
JHO: Radiohead-The Bends (Vote on Sodahead)
Scott B: Bruce Springsteen-Born To Run
Chops: Radiohead-The Bends
Jon B: Pink Floyd-The Wall
Bill: Radiohead-The Bends
Charlie: Bruce Springsteen-Born To Run
James T: Husker Du-Warehouse: Songs and Stories
Brian: Soundgarden-Superunknown
Jack: Dead Kennedys-Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (Vote On Sodahead)
Doug: Bruce Springsteen-Born To Run
Dave: Bruce Springsteen-Born To Run
JPOP: Tori Amos-Little Earthquakes
Pink Floyd-The Wall 7 votes
Dead Kennedys-Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables 2 votes
Bruce Springsteen-Born To Run 2 votes
Husker Du-Warehouse: Songs and Stories 1 votes
Michael Jackson-Bad 1 votes 
Pearl Jam-Yield 1 votes
Radiohead-The Bends 1 votes
Soundgarden-Superunknown 1 votes
Tool-Lateralus 1 votes

Bruce Springsteen-Born To Run 14 votes
Pink Floyd-The Wall 13 votes 
Dead Kennedys-Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables 8 votes
Tool-Lateralus 11 votes
Soundgarden-Superunknown 6 votes
Husker Du-Warehouse: Songs and Stories 5 votes
Radiohead-The Bends 5 votes
Michael Jackson-Bad 4 votes
Tori Amos-Little Earthquakes 1 votes
Peter Gabriel-Us 1 votes