The Thinnest Gruel Yet: Top Ten Songs at 2:10


Fev 2 2010, 6h04

(No, the title does not refer to the songs in the list below, it refers to my limp intro and weak song comments. I hope to return to the usual thick, gristly gruel next time.)

Too Much Consensus
Last time we talked about how the the fragmentation of contemporary audience has made critical consensus difficult. Not so fast, says the Village Voice's Chuck Eddy in his comments about this year's Pazz and Jop Poll. Look how closely our poll tracks with the Pitchfork list, says he. These new bands are horrible, and poll voters are both young and lazy, says he.

Ha ha ha! Laugh at the old man with me. Except...well, I almost agree with him. This is the first year I can remember that I've been almost uniformly unenthusiastic about the new music that most critics agree is great. From the short list of new critical darlings, The Antlers and Atlas Sound are the only ones (yet) that have gotten stuck in my regular rotation. Most everything else (Girls, Animal Collective, Phoenix, Dirty Projectors, etc.) is "Cum On Feel the Ambivalence." In most cases, I haven't given these bands much of a chance, but they certainly haven't grabbed me either.

Of course there is always a chance. It only took me thirty years to understand Captain Beefheart, so perhaps some of these darlings will just take time for me to assimilate. At the moment, however, I'm feeling like everybody else can see clothes, when to me it looks like these bands are naked. And that makes me feel old.

You Believe in Things that You Don't Understand, And You Suffer
I have some weird superstitions about my play count. I never stop on a number ending in "13" or "66," and I only stop on "99" when I'm feeling like taking insane risks. I know, I know: that's crazy. To stop on "99" like that.

Well, there is more. Three weeks ago, when the New Orleans Saints were about to play their first playoff game, I stopped on "37777" (that's FOUR sevens!) and ended with Louis Prima's When The Saints Go Marching in. That totally worked, as the Saints beat the Arizona Cardinals 45-14. Four sevens is obviously some powerful voodoo. A week later, the best I could manage was two sevens; again I stopped with the Prima track, and the Saints had to sweat out a dramatic overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings, 31-28. So, before the Super Bowl kicks off this Sunday, you will see my play count stopped at "38777" with the Prima song at the top of the recently played tracks. I hope three sevens is enough.

By the way, apropos of last year's discussion about Super Bowl halftime entertainment: The Who. Eh. Safe choice, and proof that the NFL hasn't run out of elderly musically inclined gentlemen for its big event.

Project Index

The Top Ten Songs at 2:10

1) Brand New Cadillac--The Clash
So completely badass, it could be a soundtrack for a cartoon villain. Also, a cover that resurrected a great forgotten song, which is perhaps the greatest service that a cover can provide.

2) Long Tall Sally--Little Richard
Supposedly Little Richard wanted to write a song too fast for Pat Boone to sing. Boone was not deterred, although it is unknown whether he personally verified Sally’s built-for-speed construction, and if it was true that she had everything that Uncle John needed.

3) Blue Spark--X
Batting second on the incomparable side 2 of Under the Big Black Sun, which, if I were still in the business of ranking albums, would be on the short list for some prestigious top tens. Curious: for those who only know this or other classic records on CD, are the sides obvious? They seem so to me, but then I was deeply conditioned by the vinyl.

4) Song of the Chief Musician (Part 2)--The Sadies
The Sadies are obviously Byrds disciples, but I think they have surpassed their mentors. They share a lot of the same stylistic traits, but The Sadies' sound is richer and they write consistently better songs. Blasphemy, I know.

5) Mama Tried--Merle Haggard
"Mama Tried" may be the least emo song in existence: "I am a very bad man, and that is completely my fault, and I am pretty much OK with that."

6) Black Out--Pavement
An excellent example of one of Pavement’s favorite tricks, that of the lead guitar playing a swooping countermelody to the lead vocal.

7) Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World--Ramones
The only time I saw the Ramones play live—at a little club in Delaware with sweating walls—three or four nimrods with Nazi accoutrements dominated the pit. They seemed to have taken songs like this one a little too seriously.

8) Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)--The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Bliss, as Jimi channels Marvin Gaye with the same narcotic feel that would later characterize What’s Goin' On.

9) Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)--Loretta Lynn
Imagine the song fights if Loretta Lynn had gotten married to Merle Haggard or George Jones.

10) Comanche--The Revels
Red light district gutter saxophone music.

Tell me about your superstitions, if you have any. If you don't, you can ridicule mine from your rationalist/materialist perspective, and then I'll sacrifice a chicken and kill you. Ha! Just kidding. I would never sacrifice a chicken.
Envios aceitos
Real Journal Entries


  • moik

    There are a zillion songs @ 2:10! Buck Hill The Replacements Highest Trails Above Ramones Perfume-V Pavement Crocodile Tears The Mumps I Walk The Thinnest Line The Dead Milkmen Broken Man The Von Bondies Black Out Pavement Mr. Spaceman The Byrds Circle Of Power Soundgarden Narrow View Big Boys Medley of Irish Fiddle Tunes David Bromberg Outcome Beck Beck Hansen One Foot In The Grave And some good songs,as well!

    Fev 2 2010, 15h34
  • Auto_Da_Fe

    1) The Ramones - Swallow My Pride. 2) Fire Engines - Get Up and Use Me. 3) Pere Ubu - The Modern Dance. 4) Susan Jacks - I Thought Of You Again. 5) The Clash - Janie Jones. Brand New Cadillac having been spoken for already. 6) Charlie Rich - Mohair Sam. 7) Iron & Wine - Ab's Song. 8) John Cale - Rise, Sam And Rimsky Korsakov. 9) The Buzzcocks - Love Battery. 10) The Passions - Pedal Fury Not a superstition, but I do try to keep Rinaldo Alessandrini/Concerto Italiano out of my top artist list..

    Fev 2 2010, 17h44
  • masto65

    "Blue Spark" 2nd on side 2. I can go along with you there. But if "The Have Nots" is not your first choice on side 2 I am afraid we can no longer be friends. So long to you sir.

    Fev 3 2010, 0h57
  • rockrobster23

    Ack, what recent country stuff has delighted you? Some anachronics on moik's and James's lists which would certainly have made this list: "Perfume-V" and "Swallow My Pride" are both better than the songs by those bands I have on my list. Masto, I meant "Blue Spark" comes 2nd in the running order. No way does it come in 2nd on the side in order of preference. That is way too difficult a choice to get into, but if I had to rank them against each other--which I won't!!--"Blue Spark" comes in 5th or 6th. That's one of the best album sides I can think of, in any genre.

    Fev 3 2010, 1h41
  • rockrobster23

    For illustrative purposes: "Blue Spark" came in 3rd on this list, and "Dancing With Tears in My Eyes" came in 4th on its list. I haven't done the other times yet, but the other four songs on that side ("Because I Do," "Real Child of Hell," "How I (Learned My Lesson)," and "The Have Nots") are all potential number ones. Depends on what they are up against, but I'd feel comfortable putting any of those four at #1 on a list. Speaking of other lists, this afternoon I went ahead and plotted out what I need to do to complete this project. It's daunting. The whole thing encompasses 208 lists, of which I have completed 33.

    Fev 3 2010, 1h50
  • masto65

    Doh! Read that wrong. God what a chump. I read it as 2nd ... you get it. I agree it's one of the best sides ever. That's why if you wanted to call "Blue Spark" 2nd... I can dig it. It's almost too close a race to care about. But I will maintain that "The Have Nots" is the best song on that side. That song is damn near flawless. And if I had to pick a number 1 on the first side I think I would have to go "Motel Room in my Bed". Come on make your stand.

    Fev 3 2010, 4h33
  • LisaV

    "Janie Jones" is in my Top 5 Clash songs of all time but not at this length in my library. Other repeats that would have made my list were "Brand New Cadillac", "Long Tall Sally" and "Swallow My Pride"... [b]Shame, Shame - The Mighty Hannibal[/b] Hannibalism! There's probably a lot of great New Orleans artists I'm not aware of, but I do love this guy, Professor Longhair, etc. etc. [b]Lie to Me - Tom Waits[/b] I only own a couple of tracks from "Orphans"...this is one of my favorites...the lyrics are not anything groundbreaking...but Tom delivers 2:10 minutes of perfect characteristic dirtyness, in my opinion..."Slap me baby, give me all of your grief...I have no use for the truth" [b]Believer - Richard Buckner[/b] Awesome songwriter, awesome unique voice..."Since" is magnificent and my favorite album of his. [b]What Can I Say - Yo La Tengo[/b] "Fakebook"...another one of my most played least on gets old...Georgia Hubley's vocals are low-key and lovely [b]Sissy Blues - The Deadly Snakes[/b] After not having been sold initially on The White Stripes, The Deadly Snakes "Porcella" was among the first 00's garage rock records I came across that turned me on to a lot of other stuff. [b]Boulevard Trash - The Exploding Hearts[/b] Reminiscent of 70's UK punk [b]I'm Gonna Love You Too - Blondie[/b] Not too much to say about song, good beat... [b]The Soul Beat - The Gaylads[/b] I find it difficult to leave a good rocksteady number off the list if it comes up at the right time. [b]Funnel of Love - Wanda Jackson[/b] Ditto on a good percentage of the songs on this Wanda Jackson collection... [b]Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin') - The Rolling Stones[/b] After burning out on heavy rotations of later 60's-70's Stones' albums, I am digging the earlier 60's stuff recently. [b]Hotel Yorba - The White Stripes[/b] This is one of the few White Stripes songs I really like...and I've actually kind of gotten sick of it...but it's still making the list...

    Fev 3 2010, 5h02
  • LisaV

    Actually, I guess I have proven my Yankee-ness because The Mighty Hannibal is from Atlanta - I was thinking New Orleans but I felt wrong about that and consulted allmusic :)

    Fev 3 2010, 5h06
  • masto65

    Down and dirty. This Will Be Our Year • The Zombies Another beauitiful slice of pop from the Zombies. The Shins drool over this cut I am sure. Depression • Black Flag One of the early recordings with Keith Morris still in the band. I happen to like this version better than the Rollins version on "Damaged". 32 years old and still has teeth. These early tracks pushed Punk towards hardcore probably more than anyhting else. It's Not Funny Anymore • Hüsker Dü The first Huskers track that made you realise these guys weren't just a hardcore band. Believer • Richard Buckner In my top 20 of opening tracks that kick off great albums. Ghosts • The Jam In my mind this is right up there with "That's Entertainment" as far as Weller lyrics are concerned. Skeleton • Elf Power I wish all their tracks were this damn cool sounding. The Poisoned Well • Quasi One of my fave opening lyrics "You only hurt the one you love. That maybe true. But better said you only hurt the one who loves you". Supposedly written about their friend Elliot Smith. Boulevard Trash • The Exploding Hearts Terrific throw back rock and roll from a bunch of kids who shouldnt have known better. Unfortunately killed before we will know what they could have become. You Stupid Asshole • Angry Samoans Good ol' early years SoCal punk. Firmly toungue in check. Fall In • Adam & the Ants Some early single that I have no idea where it came from. James might be able to enlighten us. Straight up rocker that I love. Simple and no frills it works. I went for fast and furious to beat the crowds. But in my haste I have some runner ups, which I never do. Here goes. For Pete's Sake • The Monkees I dig this song. They used it for the closing credits in the 2nd and 3rd seasons. It's just a really good song. Getting Me Down • The Rezillos Late 70's Scottish New Wave. Just too fun. That Little Sports Car • The Shaggs This whole album can put me in fits of hysterics. If you know nothing about it or haven't heard it do your self a favor and check it out. Classic. Masto.

    Fev 3 2010, 5h47
  • masto65

    Hi Lisa and damn you :-) Here I thought I was getting a jump before it got too crowded and while I was working on my list you swiped 2 of my tracks. *mutters to self "Must be faster next time. must beat Lisa"*

    Fev 3 2010, 5h50
  • masto65

    And 2 tracks I felt fairly safe in being able to scoop the crowd on. Well played Lisa from the windy city, well played.

    Fev 3 2010, 5h54
  • Auto_Da_Fe

    Regarding The Shaggs - I once had a cat called Jesus. He once (and only once) deliberately scratched a record I was playing.. put a claw through "We All have a Saviour" from The Shaggs - Philosophy of the World. (It's an album I bought because when working in a record store, the distributor's catalogue described it simply as "Frank Zappa's favourite album")

    Fev 3 2010, 8h53
  • masto65

    I played it for a buddy of mine a couple years ago. He commented that "The only way this record could be better is if they had taped the instruments to themselves and fell down a couple flights of stairs."

    Fev 3 2010, 19h37
  • Auto_Da_Fe

    "taped the instruments to themselves and fell down a couple flights of stairs" - I highly recommend Yoel at the Fab Mab from this album: for this effect. Sounds like rolling down several flights of stairs with a drum kit. Must rip the vinyl (more for the Pablums. Yvonnes and Fine Arts Dumpsters tracks)

    Fev 4 2010, 0h12
  • masto65

    Cool. When you rip it let me know. Only The Yvonnes rang a bell out of the artists on this. Not sure why maybe it's the Rob Ritter connection thru Gun Club and 45 Grave.

    Fev 4 2010, 4h37
  • rockrobster23

    Wow! I step away for a day to read, and look at all of this jibber jabber! Kick ass. 1) Best song on side one is probably "Motel Room," but "Hungry Wolf" is right up there. 2) Re: The Mighty Hannibal, yeah, I was wondering about this guy with the distinctive name from New Orleans that I'd never heard of. The tracks that are playable here are pretty hot, though. 3) Richard Buckner, huh? I know next to nothing about him. I like the track that ya'll suggested, though. 4) "Funnel of Love" is an anachronic for me, but it's hard to imagine it falling off the 2:09 list, whenever that comes up. And I strongly considered "It's Not Funny Anymore" for this list. 5) James, that is a great story. I guess he found that track blasphemous. Thou shalt have no other Shaggs before me, etc. I have been meaning to check out the Shaggs for years, but have never gotten around to doing it. My impression (formed from just reading about them) is that they are laughably bad--in a good way, but perhaps there is more to it than that.

    Fev 4 2010, 5h56
  • masto65

    You are being elusive about your first pick of side 2. Are we gonna have to throw down? Side note James. Any info on the Ants track. I can only find it showing on b-side comps from the 90's. I remember hearing it in 80 or 81 and digging it but not being able to find the import single. Your our man in the UK any ideas what single it's from? And Rob I like the idea of a best side list. It means you have to be familiar with it on vinyl and the context is very different from a CD release. I will throwh out side 2 of "On the Beach" by Neil Young. It's a personal fave. And of course side 2 of "Under the Big Black Sun" would have to make the cut also.

    Fev 4 2010, 7h36
  • rockrobster23

    You may as well ask me, "What's the best song on [i]Slanted and Enchanted[/i]?" Side one is a little easier than side two, which is completely impossible, but still...these kinds of comparisons are too hard. Hence my abandonment of the overarching "best of everything" type of list. I don't have the url handy, but I ran across a site a while back that is a ranking of every Beatles song. Admittedly, I say this from behind the walls of a glass house, but such a thing strikes me as amazingly quixotic. And I can't figure out how a person would do such a thing. If you are that big a fan of a band, wouldn't you find it too difficult to choose? I could only do that with a band that I liked a lot, but didn't adore, because the defining quality of a band I adore is having so many great songs that it's too hard to rank them. And why would you bother doing something like that for a band you didn't adore? I haven't thought about album sides in a very long time. It has been ten years now since I unloaded most of my vinyl...haven't actually listened to a record in a very long time.

    Fev 4 2010, 8h01
  • Auto_Da_Fe

    An inspection of my Andy Ant singles shows up Fall In as the B side to Antmusic.

    Fev 4 2010, 10h16
  • rockrobster23

    Been thinking about this. The question of best album sides is interesting in that, to qualify, one side should stand out over the other(s), because otherwise, why wouldn't you just be talking about the album as a whole? This idea occurred to me as I was looking through my library at great albums, thinking, "surely one of the four sides on [i]Exile on Main St.[/i] or [i]London Calling[/i] (for example) would qualify." But those albums (to me, anyway) don't have a single side that stands out above the others. And, as strong as side 1 of [i]Under the Big Black Sun[/i] is, side 2 seems to me to be clearly better--which is why we're talking about it. But here are a few I found that, to me, would qualify: Ramones--[i]Leave Home[/i], side 2 [i]Led Zeppelin IV[/i], side 1 Talking Heads--[i]Fear of Music[/i], side 1

    Fev 4 2010, 10h26
  • masto65

    Thanks for the info James. I don't know why I couldn't find this anywhere. That answer makes sense too. Okay Rob I am busting your nuts a little bit on the song selection. For grins. And I agree for the most part about what your saying. But... I also think that in your gut you kind of have one that stands just a tad above the rest. Even with bands I absolutely cherish if pressed my gut will select one. It might change next week. Sometimes it depends on the mood. I love the Beatles immensely and there are more outstanding songs there than I want to sort through to make a choice. But if pressed I would have to go with "Paperback Writer" are there maybe better written songs? sure maybe better arranged? sure. But it just sticks for me. "Slanted and Enchanted as much as I love that disc I got to go "Trigger Cut" now this does not take away from any other song on the album. That track just has that hair margin of having a little bit more "it" what ever "it" is. As far as sides. It doesn't necessarily have to stand out more it just has to have that certain something. Could be just the track flow. It just has to work as a unit. Thats why I picked "On the Beach". Side 2 is just 3 songs but they work almost seamlessly together. In my head at least. some others: side 1 Pretenders "Pretenders" side 1 The Jam "Sound Effects" maybe side 1 of The Clash "Give 'Em Enough Rope" but this last one might be getting confused from being on the list for best opening track on an album Just being goofy now. Masto.

    Fev 4 2010, 18h19
  • Auto_Da_Fe

    Rob: "one side should stand out over the other(s), because otherwise, why wouldn't you just be talking about the album as a whole?" That's what I was thinking in regard to this question - which is why the two Love albums "Forever Changes" and "Da Capo" came to mind. Sublime first sides, unnecessary second sides.

    Fev 4 2010, 18h32
  • rockrobster23

    Note that none of these records came out after the 80s. Is that because after the CD format, we no longer think in terms of sides, or do the artists no longer sequence their records with that in mind? Probably both, I think. The Shaggs = Vivian Girls after traumatic brain injury impairs their motor skills.

    Fev 4 2010, 22h54
  • masto65

    Agree completely with your above comments. As far as the Shaggs and the context of format. As for James and your comments on "why wouldn't you talk about the album as a whole" I see what your saying and the selections I chose are on albums that are stellar albums. But I still think you can have a great album and still have a side that just works for you on a level apart from the album as a whole. It sounds like you guys are looking for a side that works great on an album that maybe on the whole is not that great. Maybe I misunderstand. That was one of the things about vinyl. Sometimes you would get into a groove with one side for a while then maybe the other you didn't always listen to it as a whole. Anyways my 2 cents. Or for James my 2 Pence. Also last thought, the album context thing works both ways. I can't imagine listening to Hold Steady's "Separation Sunday" on album. As a matter of fact I don't like it on my iPod either. It works best listened from beginning to end with no separation. But thats just me.

    Fev 5 2010, 5h42
  • rockrobster23

    For me, it's just a clear distinction between one side and the other(s). It doesn't necessarily have to be "good side/bad side," although that would certainly qualify.

    Fev 5 2010, 20h09
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