Description: It goes on
Publication Date: 24 January 2004
35. "Pale Blue Eyes," Velvet Underground (1969): The best record of the "summer of love," The Velvet Underground and Nico (which doesn't include this song) was its opposite: NYC not SF, cynical not optimistic, Warhol not Shankar. Two years later VU recorded probably the tenderest love song of the decade. Alternate: the amazing version "Heroin" by Lou Reed's band featuring Don Cherry.
34. "Ace of Spades," Motorhead (1980). Oh yeah. I've noticed (and whole-heartedly embrace) hard rock trickling into the canon of rock snobbery lately. Lemmy and co. certainly have the punk cred to back it up. Alternate? No. There is no alternative.
33. "Walking to You," Everything but the Girl (1994). Seems too sophisticated for me, I know, though I did have some pointy-toed shoes at the time.
32. "Enjoy the Silence," Tori Amos (2001). The question of representation. Is it appropriate to use a cover song to represent a favorite singer with a formidable body of work? I'm saying yes at this time, because this song invokes Amos's complexities of gender dynamics and features a great vocal and piano sound (I tested my last CD player with it), and Also, Martin Gore knew better than to ever start a song with "Father I killed my monkey." Why have I not written at length on Tori Amos yet? Hmm. Check back after I kill the present monkey. Alternate: "Raspberry Swirl."
31. "I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times," Beach Boys (1966). Sometimes, when I'm feeling like a precious adolescent, I adopt this as my personal theme song. Other times, it's "Hair of the Dog." Alternate: "Brian Wilson" by Barenaked Ladies.
30. "It’s Tricky," Run DMC (1986). "Run DMC first said a DJ could be a band." Somewhere I read about Jam Master Jay hiding the labels of his rock records so other DJ's wouldn't "bite his shit" (I really don't know if I'm using that term correctly). Rock and rap were more decisively united on "Walk this Way," but I like this song more. Alternate: "Sweet Emotion." (Aerosmith was funky).
29. "Suspicious Minds," Elvis Presley (1966). The corniest song on the list (excepting "Patches" of course). Listen to the version on the 60s box, which doesn't stupidly fade out in the middle like the single version. Alternate: "Blue Moon."
28. "By the Marks," Gillian Welch (1996). See my Gillian Welch commentary
27. "Born for Me," Paul Westerberg (2002). Jack Kerouac used to run around calling every beautiful drunk he met a saint or a buddha. I'd nominate Westerberg, citing this song as one of many attendant miracles. Alternate: "The Swinging Party Down the Line" from the Replacements days.
26. "If I had Possession over Judgment Day," Robert Johnson (1928). Read Albert Murray on the blues, not me. Alternate: "Come on in my kitchen."
25. "I Can’t Stand the Rain, Ann Peebles (197x). Rain's something I know about: it's beautiful in a sad kind of way, overwhelms your senses and mood. Just like this song. Knowing that Ann Peebles is from St Louis makes me want to live there. Alternate: "Hunger Strike" by Temple of the Dog has an obscure relationship in my mind.
read: Oedipus Rex, Something Said (G Sorrentino),The Effect of Living Backwards (Julavits), McSweeney's 12, Huet's Combray, David Boring
watched: Buffy 5, The Cooler, All the Real Girls, Etre et Avoir
"The Rock" 14
"Rhythm and Blues" 3
"Blues/Country Blues of Days of Yore" 3