Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#110: Gnarls Barkley-Crazy (Top 500 Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)

#110
(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "Crazy"
Artist: Gnarls Barkley
Release Date: March, 2006
From The Album: St. Elsewhere (2006)


Quick Take: "Crazy" is the debut single by Gnarls Barkley, a musical collaboration between Danger Mouse and CeeLo Green, taken from their 2006 debut album St. Elsewhere. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, and topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and other countries. The song was picked up by Downtown Records. Brian Burton's manager sent the song to Downtown's A&R Josh Deutsch because they were looking for an independent label with the same resources as a major. According an interview with Deutsch in HitQuarters, he heard the song and signed it after a single listen. By the time the record was signed to Downtown there was already a huge swell of anticipation, in part due to the established reputation of the two artists but even more as a result of the demo being played on BBC Radio One and sparking a profound online awareness. The record began to break even before the deals with Downtown Records were complete. On its release "Crazy" became the most downloaded song in the history of the UK music business, going to number one in the strength of downloads alone.This song was number one on Rolling Stone′s 2009 list of the 100 Best Songs of the Decade. They also placed it as the 100th greatest song of all time. When the album St. Elsewhere was released in the United States on 9 May 2006, the song had debuted at #91 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song reached the Top 40 on May 23, 2006. In the summer of 2006, "Crazy" spent seven consecutive weeks in the #2 spot, but because of the massive airplay and sales of Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous," it never reached #1. It became the year's first single to peak at #2 and never reach #1. The song also charted well on other charts, hitting #7 on the US Modern Rock chart and #53 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks.
Courtesy: Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#111: Weezer-Say It Ain't So (Top 500 Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)

#111
(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "Say It Ain't So"
Artist: Weezer
Release Date: July, 1995
From The Album: Weezer (Blue Album) (1994)




Quick Take: "Say It Ain't So" is one the finer tracks to be found on the record that launched a hundred emo bands, Weezer's stellar 1994 self-titled debut. The track has all the ingredients of a great song: crisp production, subtle verses, and head-smacking choruses that are both tuneful and poignant. Though singer/songwriter Rivers Cuomo's usually esoteric lyrics are in evidence here, one can sense that the song carries the emotional weight of bittersweet childhood memories. The quiet verses are tempered by clean backstroked guitars playing off a gently turning chord progression, while Cuomo adds soothing reassurance with a soft "Oh yeah, all right." Vague, mixed memories of sorrow and early childhood disappointment rise to the surface as the song progresses, triggered by the bubbling effervescence of a soda bottle ready to explode: "Flip on the telly/Wrestling with Jimmy/Something is bubbling/Behind my back/The bottle is ready to blow." In yet another brilliant use of musical dynamics, the calm of the verse gives the chorus its shattering authority as a mass of guitar distortion breaks the tension with fat syncopated jabs and thrashing cymbals, while Cuomo's vocal is likewise infused with emotion as he belts out the chorus in tight double-tracked harmony: "Say it ain't so!/Your drug is a heartbreaker/Say it ain't so!/My love is a life-taker." Things come to an emotional head in a middle bridge section of thick descending chords and muscled drums as he dictates a letter to an estranged father figure: "Dear Daddy, I write you in spite of years of silence/You've cleaned up, found Jesus, things are good or so I hear/This bottle of Steven's awakens ancient feelings/Like father, stepfather, the son is drowning in the flood!" His vocal rises with bitterness after each line, finally finding release in a rasping plea "Yeah-yeah! Yeah-yeah!" and a weeping guitar solo. This song was the last single released from the band's first album, but unlike the sly novelty of "Undone -- The Sweater Song" and the bubblegum power pop confection of "Buddy Holly," "Say It Ain't So" suggested that Weezer would have more to say in the future.

Monday, July 21, 2014

#112: Pulp-Common People (Top 500 Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)


#112
(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "Common People"
Artist: Pulp
Release Date: May, 1995
From The Album: Different Class (1995)



Quick Take: "Common People" is a song by English alternative rock band Pulp. It was released as a single in May 1995, reaching number two on the UK singles chart. It also appears on the band's 1995 album Different Class. The song is about those who were perceived by the songwriter as wanting to be "like common people" and who ascribe glamour to poverty. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as slumming or "class tourism". The idea for the song's lyrics came from a Greek art student whom Pulp singer/songwriter Jarvis Cocker met while he was studying at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Cocker had enrolled on a film studies course at the college in September 1988 while taking a break from Pulp. He spoke about the song's inspiration in NME in 2013: "I'd met the girl from the song many years before, when I was at St Martin's College. I'd met her on a sculpture course, but at St Martin's you had a thing called Crossover Fortnight, where you had to do another discipline for a couple of weeks. I was studying film, and she might've been doing painting, but we both decided to do sculpture for two weeks. I don't know her name. It would've been around 1988, so it was already ancient history when I wrote about her."
Courtesy: Wikipedia

Friday, July 18, 2014

#113: The Cure-In Between Days (Top 500 Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)

#113
(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "In Between Days"
Artist: The Cure
Release Date: July, 1985
From The Album: The Head On The Door (1985)


Cure - In Between Days by jpdc11


Quick Take: One of the great pop songs from the 1980s, "In Between Days" has the Cure concocting an irresistible combination of musical elements for an undeniably energetic single: danceability and emotion, organic and acoustic instruments with synthesized textures, ebullience, love, desperation, and regret. The beat is insistent, the bass and guitar lines slinky, the melody infectious, hummable, and a bit sad. The song is for those who like the bitter with the sweet and who are capable of dancing, feeling, thinking, and singing at the same time. At the time -- 1985 -- "In Between Days" was at once comfort food for the soul and a challenging new sound that made sense of a myriad of disparate influences. To be sure, the rubbery lead bass line was almost straight out of New Order bassist Peter Hook's playbook. And the grounding in warm, human, and friendly acoustic sounds of techno-synth also represents a give and take between the Cure and such colleagues. The driving beat -- all overdubbed layers of drums and nonstop 16th-note guitar strumming -- can have its source traced to Spanish and Brazilian (and subsequently African) roots. The beat is so danceable that there is no need for sequencers, samples, or beat boxes -- though "In Between Days" was successfully remixed for the 1990 collection Mixed Up.
Robert Smith wisely allows the arrangement to go around one full time, establishing the various musical hooks and themes, before entering with the song's beautiful melody and harmony. He offers a poignant, vulnerable, almost Dylanesque lyric of regret and plea for forgiveness: "Yesterday I got so old I felt like I could die/Yesterday I got so old it made me want to cry/Go on, go on, just walk away/Go on, go on, your choice is made/Go on, go on, and disappear/Go on, go on, away from here/And I know I was wrong when I said it was true/That it couldn't be me/And be her in between without you."Though the song and the LP Head on the Door were the biggest commercial breakthrough in America for the band, the record oddly failed to crack the Top 40, a lack of commercial success that belied their status as pop stars overseas and the impressive and ever-increasing cult-sized audience they had cultivated in the States. 
Courtesy: Bill Janovitz (allmusic.com)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

#114: Echo & The Bunnymen-Lips Like Sugar (Top 500 Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)


#114
(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "Lips Like Sugar"
Artist: Echo & The Bunnymen
Release Date: September, 1987
From The Album: Echo & The Bunnymen (1987)



Quick Take: The second single from Echo & the Bunnymen's self-titled 1987 album, "Lips Like Sugar" is the point at which the group drops the pretense. The album as a whole is clearly aimed at breaking the band in America, stripping out all of the post-punk haziness and drifting psychedelia of their earliest work in favor of crisply recorded "modern rock" as that term was understood in the mid-'80s, and the punchy, poppy "Lips Like Sugar" is clearly meant to be the track that seals the deal. Laurie Latham's production sounds somewhat gimmicky and dated now, but less so than the albums he did with Squeeze and Paul Young during the same period; the overall sound, actually, is closer to the epic alt-rock that Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno were crafting with U2 around this time, particularly on the straining chorus. It's not a bad song, but it's pedestrian in a way that Echo & the Bunnymen's earlier singles most definitely were not, and it sounds disconcertingly faceless. Clearly, Ian McCulloch wasn't happy with how things were turning out either; he left for a solo career within a year.
Courtesy: Stewart Mason (allmusic.com)