Thursday, September 15, 2016

Favorite Music: I Am Old and Mainstream

I have not come up with a favorite bands/musical acts list, which is strange given all the other stuff I have ranked/listed over the years.  A friend pushed me to do so on twitter so that she could comprehend how I could possibly like Rush so much. Yes, many Canadians don't like the best band their country produced.  I don't get it at all.  Canadians, as demonstrated last month, love the Tragically Hip, and I will just say that I don't get that.

My musical tastes run very mainstream, so I am prepared to be mocked by my friends who are far more hip than I am.  I have not listened to much new music lately partly because my kid is away and partly because I tend to listen to podcasts these days.

The other caveat before getting going is this: I like music, more than movies or tv shows, by how they make me feel, mostly by whether I feel propelled off my couch to sing or dance (and I do both badly).  I really have no clue about what counts for quality music, whereas I can understand what makes for a great TV show or a great movie even if they don't move me much. The feeling various songs and artists induce have a lot more to do with the time I first heard them than tv shows or movies (although Mrs. Spew thinks my relative distaste for Voyager is because it didn't hit me at the right age).  As a result, most of the music listed below is pretty old.  For a post that lists my faves of the 2000's, go here.

I am going to go from easiest list to hardest list, packing a bunch of lists into one post since I have not written much about music.

I don't like musicals much, but a few stand out
5.  Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  Because it was funny. Oh, and the girl who played the lead role at camp was very cute. 
4. Grease.  I was 12 when the movie came out, the music had some dirty stuff, and Olivia Newton-John was, um, wow. Hmm. I sense a theme. Since then, it has gained additional resonance thanks to it being eminently karaoke-able with the right people. 

3. 1776.  Some of my friends were in the Oberlin version of it, and I loved it for its humor and its politics.
2.  Fiddler.  Because it is the only musical I have ever been in.  My drama instincts were largely denied in high school and summer camp because I can't sing, so I dodged the various musicals.   But I got drafted by friends, and I had much fun playing multiple roles.  I got lots of different one or two line parts that got cobbled together.  I also danced with a bottle on my head.  Well, mostly.
1.  Avenue Q.  Too much fun.

Favorite One Hits: these are songs by bands that might not have been one hit wonders, but they produced a single song that I really, really like.
  • My Sharona, The Knack,
  • The Breakup Song, Greg Kihn,
  • Twilight Song, Golden Earring
  • Blinded by the Light, Manfred Mann (tis better than Bruce's version)
  • Lamer than Lame, Nerf Herder. Silly song by a band named after Star Wars reference
  • What I Like About You, The Romantics
  • 867-5309, Tommy Tutone
  • I Was a Teenage Anarchist, Against Me!
  • Damned If I Do Ya!, All time Low
  • The Geeks Get the Girls, American Hi-Fi 
  • Sometimes When We Touch, Dan Hill
  • Happenstance, the dB's

Favorite Songs--this, of course, changes a lot of time, depending on how I am feeling, but the current top twenty-five are:

  • Almost, Bowling for Soup. 
  • Eight Days a Week, Beatles 
  • All the Small Things, Blink-182
  • Somebody's Baby, Jackson Browne.  From Fast Times, one of my favorite movies and because a running theme here will be crushes and broken hearts
  • One Way or Another, Blondie.  I heard Blondie the first time at my first rock concert (Graham Parker).  They were not there, but their music played before the start of the concert.  
  • Born to Run, Bruce.  Just gets me up and moving.
  • Hard to Say I am Sorry, Chicago.  Hit me square in my broken heart. 
  • Tusk, Fleetwood Mac.  Marching band FTW!
  • Baker Street, Geoffrey Raferty and covered nicely by Foo Fighters
  • Stalker, Goldfinger.  Just too much fun. "I want to marry my stalker."
  • Good Riddance, Green Day.  I am so easily jerked by a moving song.
  • Don't Stop Believin, Journey.  I needed this desperately when I was in high school.
  • Favorite, Liz Phair.  We overlapped at Oberlin, but I never met her.  This song is just fun, comparing men to favorite underwear essentially.
  • Rock and Roll Dreams, Meatloaf.  I swear this song came out when I was a teenager, but seems to be only on Meatloaf's later album.
  • Welcome to the Black Parade, My Chemical Romance.  Like most of my favorite songs, when it comes on, I feel like I just got injected with caffeine.
  • Don't Stop Me Now, Queen.  Lots of Queen can go here, but this one gets me going these days.  Bohemian Rhapsody, Under Pressure, and Somebody To Love come real close.
  • Heartbreaker, Pat Benatar
  • Teenage Lobotomy, The Ramones
  • Freewill, Rush.  Mostly these days because I love quoting a key passage, but it has the usual Rush stuff--sharp guitars, heaps of drums.
  • While You See A Chance, Steve Winwood
  • The Kids Aren't Alright, The Offspring 
  • MakeDamnSure, Taking Back Sunday
  • Dreaming, Weezer.  So hard to choose. 
  • The Boys are Back in Town, Thin Lizzy 
  • Twisted Sister, We're Not Gonna Take It 
  • Is She Really Going Out With Him, Joe Jackson

Fave Canadians
  1. Rush
  2. Neil Young
  3. Arcade Fire
  4. Triumph
  5. Bryan Adams
  6. Feist
  7. Alanis Morissette
  8. Bare Naked Ladies
  9. Tegan and Sara, if only for Everything is Awesome! 
  10. Robin Sparkles

Honorable Mention for Fave Musical Acts (Bands/Singers/etc)

Bon Jovi, Simple Plan, Sum 41, Blink 182, Kansas, Van Halen, Fountains of Wayne, Supertramp, Graham Parker, Beyonce, Heart, Prince, Aerosmith, The Who, Jimmy Eat World, Bowling for Soup, Cheap Trick, Green Day, Steve Miller, Amy Grant, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Devo, B-52's, REM, Foreigner, Linkin Park, The Offspring, Talking Heads

Top Ten
10. John Williams. I am not a fan of classical music.  His stuff is the only thing I have played by orchestras, but the music that has been married to my favorite movies is among my favorites, I cannot deny.
9. Journey.  Really.  Used to be higher up on the list.  How un-cool!
8. Rush.  There it is.  Not at the very top, but I like a lot of their music.  .
7. Blondie.  I didn't love everything they did, but what I liked, I liked a lot.
6. Pat Benatar.  She did hit me with her best shots again and again.  Her videos were also fun.
5. Eagles.  The soundtrack of my youth.  It took me far longer than it should have to realize how many songs I liked were by the same band.  Steve Miller-esque in that way.
4. Bruce.  So good for so long.
3. Weezer.  I just love damn near everything.  Makes me laugh and jump.
2. The Beatles.  First band I listened seriously to, and it was at a pivotal summer. 
1. Billy Joel.  I have more of his music than anyone else.  His music evolved, and it seemed to always catch me at the right time (see this post about his Kennedy Center honor).  Also, I have only seen two acts twice--Billy and Graham Parker.  And I like so much more of Billy's music.  This makes me cheezy and conventional, but I like what I like.

That was harder than I thought it would be.  But the answer to the original question: I like Rush both because the music is fun--heaps of guitar, heaps of drums--and the lyrics are fun.  A song about trees...


Anonymous said...

No Hip? For shame.

Steve Saideman said...

Tis a good indicator that I was not born in Canada, but, no, very much not a fan. I will not speak ill of the band given the plight of their lead singer.