Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Tramps Like Us and We Like Tramps": Top 100 Songs of the '00s, Part Seven #40 - #36

Nobody asked for it but here it is anyway: More frequent entries! Fewer songs per entry! Helvetica!

40. Secret Santa Cruz - Lifter Puller (2000)

"Cash advances and Jenny's back on campus."
And that's how the story begins. On this eve of the re-(digital)-release of Lifter Puller's entire catalog and accompanying coffee table book/oral history, let's think back to the 2002 release of their double CD Soft Rock, itself the band's entire catalog minus their final studio album and a few stray songs. I imagine Craig and Steve and the guys sitting on bar stools arguing about how to order the songs, immediately eschewing chronological presentation because why derail the party early with Lazy Eye and make the party-goers wait 'til chillout time for the fast stuff? So Tad said "why not start with the newest stuff, then hopscotch back and forth and back again, ending with the debut because I wasn't on it anyway, and we'll keep songs in the order on which they appear on their album of origin?" Craig said "cool but we'll throw them a few curveballs," secretly relishing the fact that only the sturdiest of those lazy listeners who insist on listening to albums in track order, never even reaching for the remote or the knob or the iPod buttons, will get rewarded/numbed by the 41st song: Mono (the Metal Machine Music of the 21st century).

What all this track order stuff means though is that the album starts with Secret Santa Cruz, which tells us the story of Jenny and the guy with the teeth and how you can get it on the porch, and most importantly, the tale of "some hedonistic rodeo, cowboys kissing cowboys, trading magazines for videos."

39. Daft Punk is Playing at My House - LCD Soundsystem (2005)

"The furniture is in the garage." James Murphy sings with glorious joy about a much-anticipated party that requires relocation of the house's furniture to the garage, thereby creating sufficient space for a dance floor where the furniture once sat. Sounds like a wild, plausibly enjoyable party. Everyone likes this song; most people love it. The Taco Bell/Pizza Hut song samples it. This song's ubiquity is surpassed by very few songs on this list, one of which should be arriving at #28 in the near future. (I am fully aware that many of you may never have heard this song. I humbly admit to you that I didn't hear it until 34 months had passed since its release. Enough analysis. Just play it.

38. Charlemagne in Sweatpants - The Hold Steady (2005)

I think I've seen this guy Charlemagne. Stevens Square park, Minneapolis, January 1990. I was visiting from California for winter break. I looked at out of my friend Other John's window, toward the park. A man in a fake down vest and baggy sweatpants paced with purpose on the dead hard cold dirt, wondering where it went wrong. What the hell happened back in San Francisco in '76... some nights he was the best in town. He retraces his steps, trying to figure out his reputation has been reduced to low rent Midwest pimping. He asked if there was gas in the car. He should have asked if there was enough gas in the car.

(this paragraph presumed you accept my contention that the Charlemagne in this song is the same as the one in Kid Charlemagne, Steely Dan's legendary 1976 song. I can't explain, however, how the Dan's Charlemagne is clearly an adult in late-hippie-era California and the Steady's Charlemagne is likely a teenager in 1990s Minnesota.)

And how did it take 30 years for someone to come up with this song's "tramps like us and we like tramps"? And how did it take me one year to discover the Separation Sunday 5-part Youtube "movie" which features this song in the first half of part 3 and allows you to pretty much hear that entire classic Hold Steady album:

37. Hellhole Ratrace - Girls (2009)

If I still required songs to inspire me and give my life meaning, this song would show up on inspirational mix CDs I make for myself and listen to as I drive for important events like big meetings and first dates. But, these days, I require songs and people to inspire me. It was easier when I just needed the songs. Maybe I'll switch from songs and people to songs and cats.

36. Gentle on My Mind - Mark Eitzel (2000)

Here, America's troubador covers a John Hartford song made famous by Glen Campbell. In it, a wayward soul shows appreciation for someone keeping him from straying too far, getting too lost. He covets more from that someone but holds back from asking for it, for fear of losing too much. Beautiful thoughts and sad-eyed melancholy emanate from our finest vocalist. In the end, neither beauty nor sadness can prevail. No, in this song, music wins.

This song is off of Eitzel's award-winning 2000 covers album Music for Courage and Confidence. Which award did it win? I gave it an award for "having an idea for a covers album and then setting out to find the perfect songs to cover and then nailing it in the studio, to the point that a young man in Minneapolis doesn't drive straight home from work one day, just so he can listen to the Snowbird / Help Me Make it Through the Night / Gentle on My Mind troika before pulling into the driveway and walking into the house so he can play Scrabble and plan a wedding when in reality he should have played Scrabble and planned a marriage." There were no other nominees for this award.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Filtered Water and Pictures of You": Top 100 Songs of the '00s, Part Six #50 - #41

I've finally decided on the #1 song. It will be revealed in the final post of this series. Your patience will be rewarded. I can say the following about the decade's best song:
-It was not released in a traditional manner. More precisely, it was not first released as a song on an album of songs by the particular artist or band.

-It was released in the first half of the decade
-I first heard it in the second half of the decade
-It is a song performed in a particular genre by a band or artist not known for performing in this particular genre.
-Its lyrics include the following words:
  • and
  • a
  • smart
  • me
  • you
  • toilet
And now let's move on down/up the list:

50. Morning Glory - Ike Reilly (2009)
Proof of the immediacy of the internet: I just heard this song for the first time 20 minutes ago. From today until Nov. 29, you can hear the whole album for free here.
This song is track #1. Tracks #3, #5, and #8 are also awesome. You may need to manipulate the arrows on the right and left before you get to this particular album. I would also like to note that I have never ever before championed a song by anyone named "Ike" or "Reilly."

49. Deceptacon (DFA Remix) - Le Tigre (2001)

If you do not smile and dance and wiggle and shake and go crazy when you hear this song, you are:
A. Soulless
B. Shy in public settings and you're in a public setting now, explaining your lack of movement
C. Above it all

48. For Reverend Green – Animal Collective (2007)
I used to play this song in my car when I needed good luck. It would inspire me, fill me with vigor and anticipatory positivity. In the end, I must admit the truth: Without fail, this song gave me nothing but bad luck. Oh well, not all plans work out. Not all dreams come true. Still an awesome song.

47. A Down and Dusky Blonde – God Help the Girl (2009)

2009 is getting to be an amazing year for music, one of the best I can remember. Here, Stuart Murdoch from Belle & Sebastian enlists various female vocalists in a wholly successful attempt to express some other aspect of his multifaceted personality. Or something like that. One of my favorite albums of the year.

(Afterword: I just listened to this song again and shivers ran up my spine. I read the lyrics and emotions pushed themselves up to my heart valves and tear ducts. God, what a perfect song. I considered moving it higher. But I will leave it at #47 because #47 is where it belongs, #47 is where I had the reaction:
"Your torso crushing me / Into the country and the tunnels and the fields")

46. Paw Paw Tree - Fiery Furnaces
2005. I remember it well. This blog was born that year. This song was played that year.

45. Cavity - Stew (2000)
There is no "5th and Alvarado" in Los Angeles. I learned this the hard way. In wintry Minnesota in the early 2000s, this song about Los Angeles sustained me as I approached the (dreaded / inevitable / joyous) impending move from MN to CA. I didn't want to go. Or I wanted to go. Or something like that. But Stew kept me warm, kept me hopeful:
Brother Lazarus can you explain to me your return to city of the dead?
He said "On Fifth and Alvarado I feel no pain

Nobody even noticed when I floated down Main
And they say that I'm insane
Out here in the rain"
But look here. Look at the map:

You see the corner of 6th and Alvarado. You see a bit of the park where someone left a cake out in the rain. You see the corner of 3rd and Alvarado. You see 5th Street come to a complete END a little east of Alvarado. THERE IS NO 5TH AND ALVARADO. Yes, 5th begins again in earnest, a little bit to the left of the map, right off of Park View. But there it's just a block long. It begins again in more earnest earnest at Hoover, even more to the left of the map, lasting a few blocks before expiring at Shatto (where I once had a job interview on a cold rainy morning). Then, at Vermont, 5th thrives, bounding all the way to Muirfield (just pass Rossmore, almost to La Brea). But there is no intersection of 5th and Alvarado.

So what did Stew mean when he said "On 5th and Alvarado I feel no pain"?
A. Because this intersection does not exist, there is nowhere that he feels "no pain." Thus, the narrator always feels pain.

B. He is not singing about Los Angeles. My Los Angeles-focused xenophobia has been exposed for all to see. But you see... by my count, over 70% of Stew's songs are about Los Angeles. He's even recorded a cover of Macarthur Park (pictured above), for god's sake (though in his version, it's "crack" not "cake" that gets left out in the rain.)

And, just to be thorough, I used Google maps to research every other Alvarado (Street, Road, Avenue, etc.) in the world. Or at least those in North America. There is only one place where 5th and Alvarado intersect and it's in the town of Belle, Missouri, in the central rural part of the state. That's it. He's not singing about the Alvarado in San Francisco or the one in Oceanside or the one in Lake Elsinore; none intersects with 5th. He's singing about L.A. or Belle. I'll take my chances with L.A.

C. He made a mistake. He meant to say "6th."

D. It's a song, dude. Not everything in song needs to be real.

E. He's not singing about an intersection. He's singing about two separate streets. Someone who read an early draft of this entry and whose first and middle names contain the same number of letters as my first and last name suggested this theory. It's a good one. It's entirely plausible.
I don't know the answer, I really don't. But C is most likely. And E is most poetic.

44. LDN - Lily Allen (2006)
I wrote about this song before. Read. Embedding disabled but you can listen/watch here.

43. We Will Become Silhouettes - Postal Service (2005)

I could be an anti-Postal Service snob and put the Shins cover version here instead. But I will not. The plinky electro-pop original deserves to be here. (And you guessed right - this is where the this entry's title quote originates.)

42. Ask Her For Adderall – The Hold Steady (2008)
I will not go 10 songs without a Hold Steady / Lifter Puller song. I am sorry to disappoint you. Sometimes it's not so much about the music (which in this song is pretty cool)... sometimes it's about the words. Being that this is a "bonus track" which does not really exist, I cannot link to it. But I've heard it. Many times.

41. She Wants to Move – N.E.R.D. (2005)

Yes, it's true. Look at your girl. She truly wants to move. Never before and never since has one man sung to another in such a belittling, cuckolding way. It's not an easy act to pull off. Sure, men can easily belittle women in song, as t h e s e songs of the sixties and seventies prove. But man-to-man woman-related putdown? A rare feat. Here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Catching Up

In retrospect, the near-mugging blog entry from the other day wasn't as fun/irreverent as I had hoped. People seem to be showing actual concern. I guess it really was kind of scary. Anyway, the number of typos and mishandled footnotes and inconsistencies have led me to pull it off the blog for now. I can do better. I WILL do better.

A few non-near-mugging, non-music-list observations:
  • The 2009-2010 edition of my beloved Minnesota Timberwolves may be the worst team in the history of the NBA. Ryan Hollins and Damien Wilkins playing big minutes? Ramon Sessions being our big free agent addition? Sasha and Olek? Jesus. Don't make me switch to the Lakers. Or the Blazers.
  • My summer 2009 gummi bear obsession has run its course. I've traded in the sweet for the salty.
  • If a cat lovingly head-butts a human enough times, that human will grow to love the cat even more.
  • A poem about bags - here.
  • Long Beach, I'm still not sure if you're my final answer or if I choose the path of darkness that is L.A. You haven't really come through and the gasoline costs are starting to annoy me.
  • I will now stand up from my chair and walk one-quarter mile to the east. I will cross Figueroa. I will eat pizza. I will leave a tip. I will be sated.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"And the shrieking of innumerable gibbons": Top 100 Songs of the '00s, Part Five #60 - #51

A strange November reaches its halfway point. I find myself in more strange situations than I ever thought possible. Let's just say that there was no reason for me to be watching the sunset from Ball Road in Anaheim - a road I hadn't been on in nearly 20 years while listening to a prophetic song from 1991. I should have been inspired by that set of strange circumstances. One wrong turn led to another. I should have been shocked by that movie. But those stories do exist. It's all not so surprising but still so important. I'm sorry for being mysterious. Let's get to the songs.

60. Big Friday – Bonnie “Prince” Billy (2006)
It doesn't take a lot for me to like your song. All it really takes is words as perfect as these:
You had light in your hands and your eyes closed
You had movement out of my sight
You wore no shoes and ate like a leopard
And slept with your legs apart every night
If BPB (same initials as this blog) sleeps alone every night, it's not for lack of effort.

59. Tribute - Tenacious D (2001)

It's been a long decade. I mean it's been a looooooong decade. It's easy to forget the early years. The prehistoric times. I made a point of making a point not to neglect anything from 2000-2001-2002. I scoured the old pre-blog mass emails in which I would praise and love. And there can be no forgetting this "tribute" to the "greatest song in the world." Full song available here (no embedding unless you want to see one of the many "tributes" to Tribute.)

58. Bro’s – Panda Bear (2007)

Let's figure this out. Is it Bros? Or is it Bro's? On my iPod it's Bros. On wikipedia, it's Bro's, perhaps determined by the song's actual CD/record cover from that linked page. But is that really an apostrophe? Or a symbol of movement from that guy's foot? One thing that is certain is that no song this decade has managed to sound so brilliant, so lush, so imacculately/richly produced, so warmly and lovingly performed AND so lyrically inane and high-school-yearbook-ish:
hey man what's your problem
don't you know that i don't belong to you
it's hard and hard enough
to keep it up when everything is so new
Luckily, the lyrics are impenetrable and impossible to discern. Enjoy all 9 minutes, 53 seconds:

57. Watch Out For the Man – King of France (2005)

They say this song came out in 2005, on an album by King of France that is nowhere to be found these days. They say the song whooshed in out over the prairies and toward the coasts, watching out for its own self and cursing the world for the bad timing that rendered almost non-listened. This is the John From Cincinnati of songs: Immediately memorable, infinitely cool, forever missed. So why is such a pivotal "lost" song ranked all the way down at 57? Like I said, it was a good decade. Also: this song once caused me emotional pain.

(Full disclosure: One member of KoF (Tom Siler) produced the first recording by Lock Up Your Daughters, the Minneapolis twee-pop-core-corn-post-samba band for which I was videographer/friend/temporary husband.) No link available. You will not find it. Do not bother looking. You will throw up your hands. Watch out for the man

56. Wave and Water – Gordon Gano and the Ryan Brothers (2009)

In the summer of 1985, I attended my very first ever "club" concert - the Violent Femmes at First Avenue in Minneapolis. I had been to a bunch of arena shows - Yes, Springsteen, Joel, The Jacksons (yep), Madness, Speedwagon, etc. But I'd never been to a major show at a small club by an important band like the Violent Femmes (yeah they really were important; they invented punk rock.. six years after the first inventors didn't quote get it right.) It was an awesome show. Gordon Gano, the band's lead singer, held court in that club like a mafioso Woody Allen. He made us all laugh when he introduced Girl Trouble (Up My Ass). After the show, my friend John and I were invited to go skinny-dipping on Lake Harriet by our friends Kaari S. and Sara(h) S. John and I declined. This is still considered the greatest mistake of our lives. What were we afraid of?

In the hot spring of 2008, I attended my last (as of now) "club" concert: American Music Club at The Echo in Los Angeles. Gordon Gano and the Ryan Brothers were the opening act. I remember spotting Gano standing alone to the side of the nightclub before the show started. I felt a little bad for him; the crowd was sparse on this hot HOT May night. Then, he disappeared. Ten minutes later he was up on that tiny stage with a bunch of guys half to twho-thirds his age and he nailed song after song after song after song. He was awesome. The songs were new. The songs were fresh. This is the second best one:

55. Forest Whitiker - Brother Ali (2003)

We share a name, yes. We share a some-time hometown, yes. (Yeah it's that goddamn magical place of infinite music - Minneapolis - where the kindergartens spawn songwriters and the water fountains spurt guitarist fingers... where the women wombs are equipped with equalizers and the heating ducts imbued with the spirits of young Dylan, young Prince, young Slug, young Finn, and young Matt Wilson (young Westerberg is an arrogant punk and needs to not rest on his laurels)). I'm losing control of my analogy. I will stop. I will start over.

He's albino and proud of it. He compares his looks to Forest Whitiker (sic). He knows he's "pink and pale... hairy as hell everywhere but fingernails." But I love this song mostly for these two reasons:
Reason 1: Opening lyrics: "Depending on the time of day, depending on what I ate, I'm anywhere between 20 and 35 pounds overweight." How precise! Not "between 20 and 30" or between "25 and "35." No, he gives himelf a 15-lb pound range and makes it flow so sweet.
Reason 2: Most songs employ the verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus structure or something close to it. This song? ONE verse and ONE chorus. That's all. goodbye.

54. Nights of the Living Dead – Tilly and the Wall (2003)

If you were one of the 3 or 4 or 12 young women that I dated during the crazy post-separation year of 2006, you may have received a mix CD from me. If so, this song was on it, as was the previous song on this list. The other possibility is that I made you a CD but never gave it to you because you:
A. Not-so-secretly pined for my good friend and writing partner and I knew deep down that I couldn't compete with your pining perception of him.
B. Expected me to cut all ties off from my past and I just couldn't do that yet. And hey I'm sorry I kept those DVDs for so long. I avoid conflict sometimes. Good to see you on Facebook.
C. Created a persona for me that was close to being who I was but wasn't exactly who I am. Actually, you got your CD. In fact, you got two of them.
D. Brilliantly told me to never give you any mix CDs because you knew we'd break up eventually and you didn't want the memory of "us" to sully any songs you might like.
E. Refused to ever speak to me again simply because I broke up with you in close proximity to both Christmas and your birthday. Again, I'm sorry. Could I please borrow your Zombies box set?

53. Certain Songs - The Hold Steady (2004)
Really - are they this good? Is Craig Finn this prescient, this brilliant? He nails east coast sensibilities with the line "coaxed out by a certain perfect ratio... of the Meat Loaf to the Billy Joel." And he's not even from there, the Edina bastard. Sublime.

52. Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – Das Racist (Wallpaper Remix) (2009)

Wait, if this song saved my soul as I claimed this past June, shouldn't it be ranked higher? No. The soul-saving didn't really take.

51. Idylls of the King – Mountain Goats (2002)
And we reach our halfway point. Beautiful (sad) song.

Huge crows loitering by the curb
Our shared paths unraveling behind us like ribbons
And I dreamed of vultures
In the trees around our house
And cicadas and locusts
And the shrieking of innumerable gibbons

Friday, November 06, 2009

"Get Your Punk Ass Back to the Dog Show": Top 100 Songs of the '00s, Part Four #70 - #61

When I started this list, I expected it to generate whispery insightful commentary AND full-throated excitable buzzzz. What I did not expect was, save for a stray comment here and there, nearly complete silence. That's okay. I will march on. I will break my own rules. I will whisper and buzzz.

70. The Ballad of Bjorn Borg - Pernice Brothers (2006)
I am a Swedgyptian, my mother from the Sodermanlands of Sweden, my father from the northeastern Mediterranean coastline of Egypt. It may seem like they came from different worlds but the distance in miles from Eskilstuna to to Alexandria is 2,045, about 400 miles less than the distance between my first American home (hometown of the Isley Brothers and the Jonas Brothers) and my current American home (hometown of Snoop Dogg and Billie Jean King). Though we were raised definitively American, my parents still had their idols and gods from the homeland: Umm Kulthum, ABBA, King Tutankhamun, IKEA, etc. But the Big Two were the late Egyptian president and war hero Gamal Abdel Nasser and the swarthy-yet-Swedish leering tennis legend Bjorn Borg. No one, to my knowledge, has written a song about Nasser, who was always photographed as if the photo would some day appear on a postage stamp. Someone has written one about Borg and it's a nice one.

69. Chocolate Rain - Tay Zonday (2007)

I'll let Tay (a fellow former Golden Gopher) explain everything:

68. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - Vampire Weekend (2008)

I wanted to them to say more about Peter Gabriel and his evil reign on the sensibilities and broken heartstrings of American smart women. I wanted them to say so much more but at least we know Peter Gabriel is, as I've always maintained, "unnatural."

67. L.A. Arteest Cafe - Stew (2003)
favorite songwriter from the glorious turn of the century, Stew has slowed down his musical output, preferring to hobnob with theater folks and Spike Lee. Well, whatever, as I wait for the next release from Stew or his band The Negro Problem, I'll listen to the old stuff, like this final (unhidden) track from his most recent (un-soundtrack) solo album. "And the lullaby flight attendants passing magazines." Oh and one more thing, Stew: Come back to L.A. New York doesn't understand you. We promise to give you the space you need. That one time I saw you and Heidi in the Grove parking garage, I didn't bother you and hound you for autographs and rough mixes, did I?

66. The Group Who Couldn't Say - Grandaddy (2003)

Get away from the computer. Go outside! The weather is beautiful. It's team-building time!

65. The Laws Have Changed – New Pornographers (2003)
The second best mix CD/tape anyone has made for me was from my friend Rebecca. She made two of them actually; the one I'm talking about is the second CD. One of the songs was by the New Pornographers. It wasn't this song, however. Rebecca, if you had chosen The Laws Have Changed instead of July Jones (admittedly, a nice song), you would have made the BEST mix CD/tape anyone has ever made for me. You came close though. And what's up with the Facebook silence? Say hello once in a while.

64. Seven Nation Army - White Stripes (2003)
What is this now - FOUR straight songs from 2003? Could '03 be the year I was referring to when I wrote in my 100-to-91 post
"stare in gape-jawed disbelief at the over-representation of one particular year (it was a year of transition)"? Maybe. Maybe not. But ask yourself this: Was 2003 a year of transition? Was it? ... ... (waiting for your response) ... ... Exactly! And how about we just say what we all have meaning to say for years? Jack White is a multitalented can-do-no-wrong badass genius who puts most rockers to shame. And Meg is nice too.

63. Chocolate Town - Ween (2003)
Ween aren't going anywhere. No. They're here forever. I imagine these two retiring on a Delaware River houseboat (on the PA side of course), having massive house parties with monster amps and home-brewed kegs, grandchildren dancing with uncles, aunts dancing with milkmen. This song happens to have the best and most succinct insult put to post-milennial song: "get your punk ass back to the dog show." I think it works well for various reasons:
  1. The person is being called a "punk ass." Timeless and always effective.
  2. They go to dog shows. (Yes, I know, I've been to a cat show. Whatever. I liked it.)
  3. They're not just going to the dog show; they're going back to the dog show.
  4. The insult has nine words of one syllable each. It can be uttered in quick, pointed bursts. Try substituting a multi-syllable word in there, it just doesn't work: "get your punk ass back to the dog convention..." "get your punk ass on its return trip to the dog show." See, nowhere near as good?
The video below has two songs actually; Chocolate Town is the first song but I Don't Want It is nice too. (And this concludes the 2003 invasion.)

62. The End Is Near – Fiery Furnaces (2009)
I think I'm ranking this song too low. I think I will regret this.

61. How a Resurrection Really Feels - The Hold Steady (2005)
Nope, you're not escaping without some Craig Finn. So you don't like his voice? (And I'm assuming this because everyone I've ever made listen to The Hold Steady or Lifter Puller says the same damn thing and how could you NOT like that voice?) Forget about the voice. Concentrate on the guitar. Still can't tune out the voice? Okay, just read the words:
They wrote her name in magic marks
On stopsigns and subway cars
They got a mural up on East 13th
That said "Halleluiah rest in peace"
Halleluiah was a hoodrat
And now you finally know that
She's been disappeared for years.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

"Become something strange and beautiful": Top 100 Songs of the '00s, Part Three: #80 - #71

Your initial thirst was quenched with #100 to #91. You started to cry a little when you realized that #90 to #81 was all you would be getting for the weekend. And then another work week passed and all of the sudden you're concerned for my welfare. Fear not. Sunday is a perfect day (night) to fall (rise) from #80 to #71.

80. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 - Flaming Lips (2002)
Sure the story is preposterous - robots, karate, evil machines, Yoshimi (we crucified Styx for the same
crimes we celebrate the Flaming Lips for) - but the song is pretty and well-played.

79. I’m a Cuckoo – Belle & Sebastian (Avalanches Remix) (2004)

Good song. Amazing remix. I'll save for later my long drawn-out argument that Belle and Sebastian's long and brilliant career is marked by a consistency surpassed only by Ween.

78. Trouble - Pink (2003)

If I've boasted to any of you that Pink is the most famous graduate of my high school, Central Bucks-East in Buckingham, PA, I apologize. This is incorrect. She is the most famous graduate of our rival high school, Central Bucks-West in Doylestown, PA. She is also a badass. She's a manufactured badass perhaps but we're still waiting for P.J. Harvey to write a song this solid. Anyway, with Pink never actually attending C.B. East (Go Patriots!), who is the most famous alumnus? Buffalo Bill safety Bryan Scott? American Idol Season 1 runner-up Justin Guarini? Me? I'll let time answer that question.

77. Firewalker - Liz Phair (2003)
Her big mistake was the album cover for the self-titled Liz Phair album: the guitar soaring out of her vagina, comet-like; the hairstyle way too glamorous for a girl like Liz (short, mousy, ill-dressed for the most part, no concept of how to work or not work make-up into her overall look); and the lack of a album title that could push the bad taste of the bad reviews a few steps away from the names Liz and Phair. But hidden on that album - one of only 12 to ever receive a 0.0 review on Pitchfork - are some gems, this being one of them. It should also be noted that Liz is a genius and there is not one bad song on Liz Phair or on anything she's ever put out. Yep, even Ant in Alaska. (And Liz gets the credit for this entry's title lyric.) Go here to hear the song and look at a graphically reprehensible blurry still photo.

76. Tremendous Brunettes - Mike Doughty (2005)
In the 1990s, I attended an absurdly large number of Soul Coughing concerts in Minneapolis, five to be exact. At the beginning, I was skeptical of the New York band's larger-than-expected Upper Midwestern fan base. Even Mike Doughty, the band's lead singer, always seemed bemused by the Beatlemania-like reaction to
Janine, of all songs. Then, the 90s ended and Doughty went solo and - aided by a seeming recovery to seeming substance abuse problems - put out some awesome solo albums. This song pretty much sums up my pre- and post-marriage dating career. Yes, there was that one redhead and that other redhead but they're probably both brunettes really. I can't seem to find a link for this one. Sorry. Wait, I found this. Let's see if it works:

75. All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem (2008)
I have this song at #75? Wow, this was a good ten years for music.

74. The Old Days - Dr. Dog (2008)

I associate certain songs with certain times and certain places. This certain song? That late-Hollywood period in which I could see the great change on the horizon, in which I couldn't see the meaning of the past. I first heard it on a late-night talk show. I then heard it in a chain book store. I then chose it as my first legal download on my first Macbook.

73. Sweetheart in the Summer - Ween (2008)

Not only did I not go to the same high school as Pink, I missed out on hanging out with Dean and Gene Ween by a couple of years (they're younger) and a couple of miles (they lived in the next town to the north).
I'll save for later my long drawn-out argument that Ween's long and brilliant career is marked by a consistency surpassed by no one. Oh and this might only be the 73rd best song but it may be the best video. Haunting.

72. Manpark - Lifter Puller (2000)

My favorite band of 2009 is a band that released only one official album in the 2000s and they released it 39 days into the decade. That album, Fiestas and Fiascos, is a masterpiece rich with the folklore that Craig Finn and co. worked so hard to put in place with their previous albums and E.P.s and singles. Finn continued the storytelling with a few stray Lifter Puller singles and compilation appearances and the whole output of The Hold Steady. I could put it all together myself but the opening paragraph of the Lifter Puller folklore wikipedia page says it best:
"Lifter Puller folklore consists of a number of stories about the nightlife in a fictional American town as chronicled by the lyrics of the Minnesota indie rock band Lifter Puller. These lyrics are primarily concerned with the activities and interactions of a few principal characters, primarily Craig (the narrator), Nightclub Dwight, Katrina, Juanita, and The Eye-Patch Guy. The songsare typically rife with dubious sexual encounters and the use and sale of drugs. The Nice Nice, a nightclub won by Nightclub Dwight in a game of dice, serves as the setting for many of the songs. At the end of Fiestas and Fiascos, Lifter Puller's final album, Juanita is hired by Eye-Patch Guy to burn down the Nice Nice. The fire is referenced in the song Star Wars Hips on the first Lifter Puller LP."
(No video or audio link exists; the album is out of print. You have no chance of ever hearing this song. Ever. Unless that anthology ever comes out. Or... unless you go here or if you don't want to spend anything, here.) And though I'm wary of embedding Lala links because they will eventually want your money, here you go:

71. Ms. Jackson - Outkast (2001)
During our marriage, Laurel and I would make up fake lyrics for this song. Like: "I'm sorry Ms. Jackson, I don't eat veal; don't feed me no baby cow oh no..." So, at least something was accomplished during those 4+ years. (No embedding allowed. Go here.)