This is my first Friday Night Relaxer for a while… since June 2011 to be exact. They used to be among my favourite blog posts to write and to be honest since stopping writing them I have never really felt like a “blogger”. A blog has to have that personal element to lift it from just a collection of columns (or in my case, graphs).
So I’m going to try and get back into the swing. I’m also going to try and restart my “Flick of the Week” Posts, because the last one I did of those was .. ahem… 108 weeks ago.
This weekend Triple J is doing its hottest 100 of the past 20 years.
It’s kind of an odd music period for me. For the first 10 of those years I was fairly well invested in music, but the past 10 years old-cootdom fairly well mugged me and had me switching over from Triple J to your more easy listening stations. To be honest I was probably in that potion well before then, but that was the time I stopped even trying to resist.
Oddly, because my daughters like music and my wife still refuses to settle into the rut which I have so nicely made, I probably know more music now than I did 5-10 years ago. Most weekends we have V on listening to the Top 40. The good things is V is guaranteed to have a top 500 of the 80s and 90s running most weekends, so I’m fairly safe from the dangers of knowing too many of the lyrics of the top 10.
When I did my first draft of this list I realised I am terribly middle of the road, even when I am trying to be edgy. I re-did the list to try and pretend to be more edgy. I ended up with the same list, but with one more U2 song. So, yeah that was a fail.
And with that here’s my list. Mostly I came up with by looking at the Hottest 100’s of the past 20 years, and a few others that I just like. I left out a few that I nearly put in to look coolish – like Amy Winehouse, “Rehab”, and I left out Powderfinger's “My Happiness” because I guess I felt it was a bit too middle of the road and I already had enough of that in there.
There’s nothing from Oasis, which back in 1995 would have seemed impossible. No Smashing Pumpkins or Nine Inch Nails. No Jeff Buckley either, because I couldn’t chose a cover version to be one of the best songs. Nick Cave’s “Into my Arms” was in the list, then out. I’d probably change the list next week, but oh well here it is (no particular order… I think)
1. Pulp – Common People
Look, just don’t even argue with me. This is the song of the 1990s. It just is.
Sure Smells Like Teen Spirit might be the song of the early 1990s, or perhaps Losing My Religion, or perhaps Creep, or maybe… look. Forget it, none of them are as atypical 1990s as this. The only one that comes close is Pulp’s Disco 2000. This song is the most listened song on my itunes playlist. Mostly I think that is because when I go grocery shopping I put my iphone on and this song invariably is in the genius mix of any song I choose (the same applies to The Smiths “This Charming Man”).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this song.
2. Hole – Doll Parts
I don’t particularly like Courtney Love, I never bought a Hole album. In fact if I was forced at gun point to even hum another of their songs I’d be in strife; maybe “Miss World”. Probably I’d start out humming it and end up humming this song.
I don’t care that this song was written and recorded before Kurt Cobain died, the lyrics are brilliant and to me they capture the grunge era as good as any song.
I love a song that seems to wear its heart, spleen and lungs on its sleeve and yet also contains the line “I fake it so real, I am beyond fake”,
And when she absolutely howls, “And someday, you will ache like I ache/Someday, you will ache like I ache”, then Love is either finding as much deep pain to reach that sound as any singer before her, or is she one of the best signers at faking it. Either way I don’t care.
3. Radiohead – Paranoid Android
Part of me really wanted to hate this song. When it came out I read so many over the top orgiastic mentions of it in Q and other music mags that really. Vomit. Please.
I am not really a Radiohead fan. I didn’t even try too hard to like Kid A. And well after that I tried even less.
But geebus this song has it all. Given in my view the greatest song of all time is The Beatles, “A Day in the Life”, it’s little wonder I love this song. It feels about 3 songs slammed together with no sense of care that they fit, and yet fit they do in a glorious amalgam of pain and joy.
And geez, “When I am king you will be first up against the wall” is a line that wins me over with every listen.
4. Greenday - Good Riddance (Time of your life)
For crying out loud, really Greg? This 2:30 min piece of treacly pap?
Yes. Maybe because it reminds me of the last episode of Seinfeld. Maybe because it also reminds me of the last episode of the first season of The Panel. It’s a song that make you want to go through your photos and make a movie with this as the backing track. Who gives a stuff that it’s about a break up.
This isn’t a song I search for on my playlist. But when it comes on I never give it a skip. And at 2:30 min it doesn’t wear out its welcome either.
5. Arcade Fire – Wake Up.
I won’t lie. I had no idea about this song until I heard it on the trailer for “Where the Wild Things Are”. Maybe I’m including it just to prove I have listened to at least one new song in the past 10 years. There’s not much rock music anymore that deserves to be put along side anything written before 2000, but this one has a great rhythm to it.
6. The Shins – New Slang
Yep, I came to this through “Garden State” – a not very good film with a very good soundtrack.
Do the lyrics mean anything? Probably not. I’m pretty sure I’ve been singing them wrong these past 5 years. I’m not a big one for getting the lyrics right. I still sing the wrong lyrics to Kids in the Kitchen “Current Stand” and I got that on a tape for Christmas 1985.
But this song just is a wonderful, lazy, languid, easy sound. It reminds me of when I was at university, and that’s pretty impressive given I left university 8 years before this song was released.
7. U2 - Beautiful Day
Yes it’s U2 and you all hate U2. Stuff you. I don’t. I threw in my lot with them back in 1986 and I’m not about to change now. When this song comes on the radio I turn it up and I start smiling.
Look I could keep going, but there’s no way I’m convincing anyone. This is my list so get your own.
8. The White Stripes – The Hardest Button to Button
Was a toss up between this and 7 Nation Army, but I like the beat on this better. And the video. Maybe I also like that The Simpsons parodied it. Maybe it’s here because I don’t want to appear as old as I really am. This or the Arcade Fire would probably be the first one to drop.
9. James – Laid
This came out in my final year at uni, and it’s about the most fun song ever written. Is it a “great” song? Nah. But it was a great one to dance to and sing loudly with your friends when you’re up late, young and have had just enough to drink to make you think life will always be this fun.
10. Augie March – One Crowded Hour
Like Bolero it just keeps building that same rhythm over and over. The intensity of the song continues to build and by the end all the emotion of the song is laid bare. Love it.
And so there you go. That’s my 10… I think…