Board 8 > CasanovaZelos's Top 250 Songs Project

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CasanovaZelos
05/28/21 1:02:00 PM
#101:


204. LCD Soundsystem How Do You Sleep? (2017)
from the album American Dream

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBLagwi_m2c

Key lyrics:
I must admit
I miss the laughing
But not so much you

James Murphy has captured dozens of emotions over his four albums as LCD Soundsystem, but How Do You Sleep? stands out as his sole track tackling outright anger. Lyrics which would typically be deployed as playful jests are pure vitriol here as Murphy tears down an old friend who betrayed him on numerous levels. Murphy is happy to reference his predecessors, the title an obvious homage to the John Lennon song of the same name. But on a sonic level, this is far from Lennon, instead taking its influence from only the darkest Joy Division and New Order songs.

The song opens with something like an accelerated tribal drum pattern, the synthesizers softly in the distance. For the first three and a half minutes, James Murphy sings over this sparse sound, almost as if shouting from a distance. This is a slow burn, leading into a cathartic synthesizer burst right at that three and a half minute mark. The song again shifts near the five minute mark, adding a more traditional rock percussion arrangement. Like the best LCD Soundsystem songs before it, How Do You Sleep? spends its massive length slowly transforming itself. This track in particular stands out through the extremeness of its shift, going from a minimalist piece to quite possibly their most expansive sound.

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CasanovaZelos
05/31/21 1:38:05 PM
#102:


203. Bruce Springsteen The River (1980)
from the album The River

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAB4vOkL6cE

Key lyrics:
Then I got Mary pregnant
And, man, that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday
I got a union card and a wedding coat

Bruce Springsteen started his career with albums that cast him as an eternal optimist even when times got tough, the lyrics and instrumentation suggested someone fighting back. He kicked off the 80s with two albums that saw him giving in. Where Born to Run is the anthem for escaping ones hometown, The River is the heart-wrenching story of those finding themselves trapped. Here, Springsteen takes more obvious inspiration from his folk influences, resulting in some of his strongest lyrics. This is a song dealing in specific imagery, establishing a central figure who realizes his earlier emotional escape ended up as his downfall.

The River starts with a stunning, wistful harmonica part before Springsteen begins singing. This first verse is sparse, finding Springsteen alone with the guitar, capturing the desolation of his subject matter. Even as the other instruments collectively drop in during the chorus, their downbeat sound heightens the loneliness as Springsteen sings with a desperate edge. Springsteen is central to the development of the Heartland rock movement, and The River established a melancholy side. In a way, The River fills in the negative space his earlier works merely acknowledged. With The River, Springsteen established himself as among the most mature and introspective voices in rock.

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CasanovaZelos
05/31/21 2:18:27 PM
#103:


202. Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
from the album Nevermind

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTWKbfoikeg

Key lyrics:
With the lights out, its less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us

Its impossible to deny the cultural significance of Smells Like Teen Spirit with this track, Nirvana brought not just grunge but alternative rock as a whole to the mainstream. As someone born in the 90s, the song itself is almost too monolithic. For me, this is the default track to which all other songs must be compared a song so key in the development of my musical knowledge that I struggle to appreciate it as its own thing. How does one judge something which feels as familiar as music itself?

The truth of the matter is that my listening habits trend toward new releases most of these favorite songs have become so entrenched in my being that I rarely revisit them. Its not that Ive become bored of their sound, but their imprints are strong enough that active listening adds little to my appreciation. But Smells Like Teen Spirit exists on an even higher level.

So, I could talk about how Cobains muttered vocals mask lyrics even harder to decipher. The muted guitar riff must have surely struck a chord with people. Kurt Cobain was a phenomenal vocalist, and the whole song is brimming with raw energy. There are a dozen little details about it I love, from Kathleen Hanna scrawling the future title on a wall to Cobains own dislike of the song causing several of the definitive elements. But all the elements that made this song so special are negated by my experience. From my perspective, this is the norm from which all else differentiates an important title, but one that also hinders my enjoyment.

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CasanovaZelos
05/31/21 3:36:26 PM
#104:


201. Courtney Barnett Avant Gardener (2013)
from the album The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcnIhzaDTd0

Key lyrics:
The paramedic thinks Im clever cause I play guitar
I think shes clever cause she stops people dying

The instrumentation of Avant Gardener is pretty simple. After a pounding drum intro, the guitar drones along somewhere between folk and psychedelic rock. A brief yet effective squealing guitar solo comes in around halfway through. Though the instrumentation is fine enough, this is a singer/songwriter track clearly relying on some stunning delivery to truly sell itself.

Luckily, Courtney Barnett kicked off her career with some truly phenomenal lyricism. She shirks off any idea of universal themes, instead penning a song about trying to garden and immediately having an asthma attack. Her sing-song delivery matches the droning of the guitars, suggesting a truly tiring and overwhelming experience. Her lyrics are clever in a dozen ways, painting such a finely detailed image that one must believe this all really happened. Yet she also relates this very singular moment to her life at large, a rare moment of inspiration shut down and forcing an immediate retreat to the safety of her mundane existence. Her wordplay is the truly mesmerizing element, managing to rhyme emphysem-ing with kerosene and while also tossing out words like pseudoephedrine like its nothing. The ramble of her voice adds to this delivery, simultaneously suggesting a dreamlike haze and absolute lucidity. This is the perfect example of a song stronger than the sum of its parts, with Barnett juggling several familiar sonic elements while crafting a whole that is uniquely her own.

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CasanovaZelos
05/31/21 3:40:04 PM
#105:


Here's the list so far; three artists in my top 100 had their highest song drop out in the last section

250. The The - This is the Day
249. Goldfrapp - Lovely Head
248. Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
247. Cerrone - Supernature
246. Jessie Ware - Spotlight
245. SOPHIE - Bipp
244. Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
243. The Beatles - Yesterday
242. The Walkmen - The Rat
241. Hank Williams - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
240. Wu-Tang Clan - Protect Ya Neck
239. Sigur Ros - Svefn-g-englar
238. The Clash - London Calling
237. Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
236. Fever Ray - If I Had a Heart
235. Bjork - Joga
234. Fleetwood Mac - The Chain
233. Stereolab - Cybele's Reverie
232. The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
231. Prince - When Doves Cry
230. New Order - True Faith
229. The Cure - Just Like Heaven
228. Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke
227. Vashti Bunyan - Diamond Day
226. The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby
225. Elliott Smith - Waltz #2
224. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt
223. Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
222. Amy Winehouse - Rehab
221. Charles Mingus - Track C - Group Dancers
220. Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name
219. Janelle Monae - Tightrope
218. M.I.A. - Paper Planes
217. Soft Cell - Tainted Love
216. Elliott Smith - Between the Bars
215. Tim Buckley - Song to the Siren
214. The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
213. M83 - Midnight City
212. Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
211. Arcade Fire - Wake Up
210. Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
209. Art Ensemble of Chicago - Theme de Yoyo
208. Missy Elliott - Work It
207. Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
206. Violent Femmes - Blister in the Sun
205. 808 State - Pacific State
204. LCD Soundsystem - How Do You Sleep?
203. Bruce Springsteen - The River
202. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
201. Courtney Barnett - Avant Gardener

Top 100 artists (with no remaining songs; artists from the most recent batch bolded):
16. Kanye West: "Monster" (#309)
18. Tom Waits: "Time" (#790)
25. Charles Mingus: "Track C - Group Dancer" (#221)
26. Leonard Cohen: "Suzanne" (#588)
34. Arcade Fire: "Wake Up" (#211)
36. Fiona Apple: "Heavy Balloon" (#275)
38. Metallica: "Master of Puppets" (#348)
39. PJ Harvey: "Rid of Me" (#472)
40. Led Zeppelin: "Kashmir" (#619)
43. Animal Collective: "My Girls" (#307)
47. St. Vincent: "Digital Witness" (#334)
49. U2: "One" (#434)
50. Pink Floyd: "Wish You Were Here" (#514)
53. The Police: "Roxanne" (#285)
54. Beastie Boys: "Sabotage" (#261)
55. Portishead: "Sour Times" (#254)
58. The Chemical Brothers: "Hey Boy Hey Girl" (#271)
60. The Kinks: "Waterloo Sunset" (#355)
62. Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Fortunate Son" (#333)
64. Can: "Mother Sky" (#398)
65. Mogwai: "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong" (#399)
67. John Coltrane: "A Love Supreme, Part 1: Acknowledgement" (#661)
69. Bob Marley: "Redemption Song" (#506)
75. Madonna: "Like a Prayer" (#336)
76. Simon and Garfunkel: "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (#248)
77. The Clash: "London Calling" (#238)
80. Sigur Ros: "Svefn-g-englar" (#239)
81. M.I.A.: "Paper Planes" (#218)
82. Bon Iver: "Skinny Love" (#262)
85. Green Day: "Basket Case" (#371)
91. Elvis Presley: "Suspicious Minds" (#387)
92. Fever Ray: "If I Had a Heart" (#236)
93. Beyonce: "Countdown" (#615)

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CasanovaZelos
06/01/21 4:13:15 PM
#106:


200. Kendrick Lamar i (2014)
single, alternative version featured on the album To Pimp a Butterfly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aShfolR6w8

Key lyrics:
I love myself

Kendrick Lamar is among the most socially conscious artists working today. good kid, m.A.A.d. city and To Pimp a Butterfly especially paint powerful, sometimes overwhelming portraits of modern life as an African American. While many of his songs find him putting on a persona, i, as the title suggests, feels the most outwardly personal. It is also his most emotionally evocative. As Kendrick lists off all the forces trying to keep him down, the chorus bursts forth with a declaration of self-affirmation. No matter what the world throws his way, Kendrick will love himself.

Speaking of loving oneself is not a rare topic in hip hop boast raps have been a part of the culture since the beginning. What makes i different is its explicit reference to depression. This is not bragging but an act of defiance against his own inner demons. The production adds to the conflicting, ultimately positive sense of celebration. A sample of The Isley Brothers That Lady is perfectly retooled for this song. The bridge and third verse go off the deep end, Kendrick making perfect use of his love for vocal effects. His delivery during that final verse still blows me away, turning rapid-fire as he barrels over his own self-hatred, all building up to his final shout of I love myself.

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CasanovaZelos
06/01/21 11:54:57 PM
#107:


199. Bruce Springsteen Thunder Road (1975)
from the album Born to Run

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGBXnw86Mgc

Key lyrics:
You aint a beauty, but, hey, youre alright

Bruce Springsteen kicked off his breakthrough album with a song that so perfectly captures everything he represents, sonically and lyrically. Those opening notes are quintessential Springsteen, a pondering harmonica paired with a melancholy yet warm piano. This is signature heartland rock, a driving force perfect for speeding down the highway while searching for a place to belong. Springsteen captures a sense of ecstatic optimism that stops an inch short of sentimentality. While he is very much a rock star, this track exemplifies his distinct sound. Though the dominant instrument here is the piano, the frantic energy sets him apart from piano rockers like Elton John and Billy Joel.

At one point, Springsteen offers his hand. This is an introduction and an invitation his first two albums are classics in their own right, but this is an artist knowing he has found his true voice. He might not be able to find this promised land, but the instrumentation shows he believes himself capable. His lyrics here are remarkably humble, a man certain of only his feelings and all too aware of how little he has to offer. This is the key balance to a Bruce Springsteen classic - tales of ordinary life rocketed into space by an expanding, emotive soundscape.

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CasanovaZelos
06/02/21 12:45:02 AM
#108:


198. Nick Drake River Man (1969)
from the album Five Leaves Left

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ9JBwuO128

Key lyrics:
Betty said she prayed today
For the sky to blow away
Or maybe stay

Few artists of the 20th century feel as elusive as Nick Drake. After recording three albums to almost no commercial success, he died at age 26 of what may or may not have been suicide. Artists ending up in this position have a unique impact on popular culture instead of setting the music scene on fire like The Beatles or Ramones, Nick Drakes influence has slowly trickled throughout our culture. Though Drake operated firmly in the chamber folk scene for his first two albums, you can see shades of River Man in a diverse range of acts, from The Cure to Elliott Smith to Bon Iver.

On River Man, Drake sings with his typically fragile voice about the unbearable passing of seasons, at first backed largely by a guitar. Even in this pure folk section, theres an uneasy feeling caused by the 5/4 time signature. Then we reach the chorus and the strings begin to rise, drowning out Drakes voice until they briefly take center stage. Its a swelling, mesmerizing, despairing moment. As Drake returns, the strings remain, an ominous force at times threatening to snuff him out. This is a lush and altogether haunting arrangement, a sleeper hit that feels like the prototypical art rock piece.

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CasanovaZelos
06/03/21 5:13:12 PM
#109:


I'll hopefully get back to this tomorrow

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CasanovaZelos
06/04/21 12:42:18 PM
#110:


197. Lucy Dacus Night Shift (2017)
from the album Historian

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WDZdT04ls4

Key lyrics:
I feel no need to forgive, but I might as well

Some songs hit at the perfect moment. Night Shift came to my attention while in the midst of my divorce, and few breakup songs speak better to the messiness of the experience. Lucy Dacus hits so perfectly on a sense of not wanting anything to do with someone while simultaneously feeling incapable of moving beyond them. This particularly resonates due to its sense of an inescapable ex my ex-spouse and I agreed to finish out our lease together, which lasted for nearly a year. The idea of taking the night shift reminds me of heading straight from work to the houses of various friends just to have a space to regain my sense of self away from them.

Of course, Im never the type to overvalue emotional resonance Night Shift is a truly excellent song in its own right. What starts as the sparsest of indie rock slowly builds into a cathartic explosion. While Lucy Dacus showcases some excellent lyricism here, the key moment comes with the repetition of the final lines, her voice rising each time until she lets loose with a shout after a stunning guitar solo. This finale is one of the greatest moments of pure rock during the last decade. Night Shift is a masterful slow burn.

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CasanovaZelos
06/04/21 2:18:42 PM
#111:


196. The Band The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (1969)
from the album The Band

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1JGWFcvAwU

Key lyrics:
Now I dont mind choppin wood
And I dont care if the moneys no good
Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest
But they should never have taken the very best

Every once in a while, Ill stumble upon a work of art that feels diametrically opposed to my own values, yet I cant help but be drawn in. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down is a perfect example, a song lamenting the fall of the South after the Civil War without ever acknowledging why the war happened. Southern whites painting themselves as victims is tiring if not outright aggravating in the current era. But part of what makes this particular song work is the right amount of distance. The opening line positions this as a song from the perspective of a man from the era, creating the sense of a sonic period piece.

Despite its ordinary length, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down feels like a soaring epic. Levon Helm has such a perfect voice for the part, singing as if on the verge of tears. The chorus rises into a beautiful harmony, and brief pauses on either end really heighten the emotion. The drumming is such a key part of this experience, drumrolls accentuating the transitions and each line of the chorus. This is a song that transports you to another time, capable of placing you in the shoes of someone you might otherwise oppose. Such experiences expose the sometimes terrifying power of music to unify.

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ChainLTTP
06/04/21 2:22:54 PM
#112:


CasanovaZelos posted...
while in the midst of my divorce
now I understand your undying love for LCD Soundsystem
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CasanovaZelos
06/04/21 2:43:39 PM
#113:


ChainLTTP posted...
now I understand your undying love for LCD Soundsystem


Like I said in the Sound of Silver thread, my love for LCD Soundsystem has existed since high school! I only got divorced a couple years back.

195. Buddy Holly Peggy Sue (1957)
from the album Buddy Holly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUesbTObC9A

Of all the rock acts of the 1950s, none have aged better to me than Buddy Holly. There is an energy to his music that feels several years ahead of its time to think how the music industry might have looked if we didnt lose him at age 22. Peggy Sue suggests a young man completely lost for words only a couple lines in this song neglect to mention the name, while several repeat it again and again. This is an obsessive, single-minded track typically seen in certain electronic genres, but Holly makes it work with his iconic delivery. His vocal hiccups suggest a verbal tic; in this heightened state, can his mind process anything beyond her name?

The opening gets me every time, the drum rolling like a stampede, one element fading in and out. This song has a pulsing quality rarely seen in music of its time, and the accelerated tempo adds to the sense of lovelorn panic. Every element seems to be warring for attention and then the guitar solo comes in, twice as loud as anything else. Despite Hollys gentle voice, this is a surprisingly aggressive song. Few songs emphasize the roll in rock and roll like Peggy Sue.

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ChainLTTP
06/04/21 2:49:23 PM
#114:


Buddy Holly was only 22??? Jesus Christ
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CasanovaZelos
06/04/21 2:53:33 PM
#115:


ChainLTTP posted...
Buddy Holly was only 22??? Jesus Christ


"That'll Be the Day," his first real single, was released May of 1957 - he died February of 1959, less than two years later. Everything we know by him is from that short time.

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CasanovaZelos
06/05/21 10:05:36 AM
#116:


194. Bob Dylan Hurricane (1975)
from the album Desire

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpZvg_FjL3Q

Key lyrics:
Put in a prison cell
But one time he could-a been
The champion of the world

Bob Dylan had been making expansive folk epics for well around a decade at this point the better parts of his late career are defined more by refinements than experimentation. Hurricane does, however, have one uncommon element for a Bob Dylan classic. The violin takes over as lead instrument here, the striking sound adding a melancholy edge to a song otherwise defined by fury. This is Dylan at his most impassioned. While plenty of Dylan songs are vitriolic, many are framed through cattiness but these eight and a half minutes fly by in righteous anger.

Bob Dylan is rightfully considered one of if not the greatest lyricists ever, and this is on full display here. Made in response to an unjust trial, Dylan runs us through the details of the investigation and questions every step. He never stumbles with this ambitious task, weaving a full narrative around the music. As a protest song, its among the most successful though Rubin Carters initial retrial did not work out, the attention brought by this song certainly impacted perception of the case. Decades later and well after the case was resolved, Hurricane sadly manages to hold up among Dylans most relevant songs. This is a damning portrait of racial injustice in America.

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CasanovaZelos
06/06/21 6:33:20 PM
#117:


193. Lou Reed Perfect Day (1972)
from the album Transformer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYEC4TZsy-Y

Key lyrics:
You made me forget myself
I thought I was someone else
Someone good

At this point in his career, Lou Reed had already made an ode to heroin with the aptly titled Heroin by the Velvet Underground. But where Heroin is defiant and almost joyful, Perfect Day is a lament not necessarily about addiction itself but those things which pushed him to using. This is a song from the perspective of someone who sees only one way out of his misery. On the surface, an oblivious listener might even mistake this for a love song and they might actually be right. Lou Reed perfectly blurs the line between love and addiction, taking whatever he can to fill the void that is the heart of this song.

Whatever the subject matter, Perfect Day perfectly captures the sense of someone who reassures themselves while everyone else can see them falling apart. Even the narrator seems aware, remarking that he will reap what he sowed by the end. This is another song defined by contrast, melancholy music matched with positive imagery. But even that sad music is strangely beautiful, those gentle piano notes rising to match Reeds forced optimism. Or maybe its not forced perhaps this is a moment of genuine happiness for someone otherwise trapped in a depressive state. There are many ways to interpret this song, but they all hit just as hard.

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CasanovaZelos
06/06/21 7:24:53 PM
#118:


192. The National Fake Empire (2007)
from the album Boxer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuZ4Zm3QcZk

Key lyrics:
Turn the light out, say goodnight
No thinking for a little while

There is something about Fake Empire I find strangely comforting. Matt Berningers voice is deeply soothing when used in the right way, and this might be The Nationals warmest song. Thats not to say Fake Empire is light in fact, quite the opposite. This is a song about finding comfort in a failing world, an idea reinforced by the peaceful music. The National are explicitly offering up this song as an escape, which in turn suggests the situation at hand is hopeless. We cant make it through this, Berninger seems to suggest, but at least we can pretend.

But what truly impresses be about Fake Empire is the way it builds. The song begins with a piano in an unusual time signature, sparse instrumentation backing Berningers voice. After the second verse, the other instruments subtly join in, only for the drums to go rocketing off with the third verse. Suddenly, this quiet song has a propulsive force. Not happy to stop there, the song descends into a chaotic horn section. Through all these changes, Fake Empire never loses its core sound or warmth. While most songs by The National have a signature sound, these little nuances ensure nothing comes across as too similar. Fake Empire stands tall by maintaining an uncharacteristically soothing atmosphere for rock as a whole.

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CasanovaZelos
06/06/21 7:50:20 PM
#119:


191. Nina Simone Feeling Good (1965)
from the album I Put a Spell on You

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5Y11hwjMNs

Key lyrics:
Oh, freedom is mine
And I know how I feel

Though Nina Simone did not write Feeling Good herself, she certainly managed to claim it as her own. Simone is a vocal powerhouse, and this song is the perfect showcase. The lyrics are straightforward, a rather simple show tune but she sings with such passion to fill every word with grander meaning. Even without any explicit lyrics, it is easy to take Simones performance as one standing for black liberation. In every part of the natural world, she finds joy and solidarity. Theres no need for specifics; Feeling Good is a celebration of the universal value of freedom.

The song structure is fittingly grandiose for a show tune. For the first forty seconds, Nina Simone sings a capella. The instruments drop in with great force, at first rivalling Simone for the spotlight. During the next verse, she is given more room to breathe, the instrumental focus shifting to a quieter piano. The instruments then return to their full force, but Simone pushes herself beyond them, exploding into a barrage of scatting before giving one last powerful shout of Im feeling good as the song closes. Few singers have ever sounded this powerful and self-assured. Feeling Good is a blast of pure optimism.

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CasanovaZelos
06/07/21 10:51:16 AM
#120:


190. Roy Orbison In Dreams (1963)
from the album In Dreams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSeIh9rmEUs

Key lyrics:
A candy-colored clown they call the sandman
Tiptoes to my room every night

The early 1960s were an awkward era for rock music. With a plane crash taking out three of the rising stars, Chuck Berry being arrested for sex with a minor, and Elvis Presley being drafted and losing much of his drive, the late-50s left a gap quickly filled by pop and soul acts. Roy Orbison serves as the perfect transitional figure leading into the British Invasion, a traditional pop artist with enough of a rock tinge to fill the void. The lovelorn themes of songs like In Dreams were common at the time, but Roy Orbison belted it out like no other even through the present day, few artists have dared to sing in his style.

For better or worse, popular music is partially tied to image. Roy Orbison stands out among the pack by blurring the lines his masculine demeanor is contrasted by his emotionally vulnerable subject matter. In Dreams is particularly resonant, finding the singer incapable of moving on because his dreams keep circling back to a lost love. The intro stands out among his repertoire, giving room for Orbisons voice to shine while backed by a few distant strums before the song hits its full stride. This is a lush production defined by an unforgettable voice.

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CasanovaZelos
06/07/21 11:18:26 AM
#121:


189. Sufjan Stevens Should Have Known Better (2015)
from the album Carrie & Lowell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJJT00wqlOo

Key lyrics:
When I was three, three, maybe four
She left us at that video store

Few albums capture the grieving process like Carrie & Lowell, which finds Sufjan Stevens coping with the death of his estranged, schizophrenic mother. Should Have Known Better is the second track, serving as a calm before a messy emotional storm. This is the denial track, not of her death but the idea her death should have any power over him after her abandonment. A line about being left behind at a video store hits particularly hard when this is among someones defining childhood memories, its easy to understand their emotional distance. But like any abandoned child, Sufjan wishes for those wounds to be healed. Carries death put an end to those fantasies.

The song shifts gears halfway through, bringing in a keyboard and percussive patter as Stevens shifts his attention to the positives which remains in his life. The death of his mother is contrasted with the birth of a niece, someone who will hopefully be a bigger part of his life. Even as the album continues into the darkest places, Should Have Known Better serves as a beacon of hope, a reminder that better things exist on the other side of his grief. Alone, it is a disarmingly bittersweet reflection.

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CasanovaZelos
06/07/21 11:48:24 AM
#122:


188. Caribou Cant Do Without You (2014)
from the album Our Love

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI2Et19vDCM

Key lyrics:
Cant do without
Cant do without
Cant do without-

House music has a habit of building entire tracks around short phrases repeated ad infinitum. Cant Do Without You oscillates between two phrases, one shifted to a low pitch, the other in Caribous distinct falsetto. The deeper vocals drop the subject and object from I cant do without you, a simple change which modifies the focus. With the shorter phrase and desperate vocals, Caribou is fixated on how loss would affect him personally the full phrase shifts attention to the relationship. The song ends with Caribou breaking free from the repetition, finally finding the words to express himself.

In house music, getting the right phrase mainly serves an ambient purpose the vocals might as well be just another instrument. Here, the warring delivery serves as a backbone. The opening is sparse, more attention on the vocals than the instrumentation. As Caribou nears the end of the first falsetto section, the instrumentation roars to the surface, only growing louder and more chaotic with each shift. What started simple and clean becomes a wall of noise as Caribou loses himself in the emotion. Everything settles down once Caribou breaks the repetitive cycle. With little more than a stock phrase, Caribou crafted a marvelous ode to the self-inflicted torment of imagining a loved one leaving.

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CasanovaZelos
06/07/21 1:55:02 PM
#123:


On the other forum I frequent, I seem to have the most generic tastes - but going through this project, I'm realizing that particular forum is simply a collection of rather intense listeners.

I'm realizing I am in a weird place where my choices for each artist is rather predictable, but which artists are actually being featured is the unique element. Jumping from Roy Orbison to Sufjan Stevens to Caribou is probably uncommon? I feel like something I should make clear is that I get a comparable amount of enjoyment from every song in my top 3000 or so - to actually differentiate between them requires looking at other factors. Thus, I might overvalue the 'gateway' songs for certain artists. There are a dozen songs by M.I.A. I enjoy as much as "Paper Planes," but it gets the edge for being my introduction and getting me to care enough to check out the rest.

So this isn't quite a 'favorite songs' list as much as a 'songs that most influenced my taste' list - I would have no idea how to begin ranking things if I was attempting the first option. There's overlap, but...

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Snake5555555555
06/07/21 2:07:07 PM
#124:


I'm pretty much the same way with ranking music, like I almost find it impossible to do. I value that gateway factor myself.

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I've decided to put my fears behind me. I'm not going back.
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Jesse_Custer
06/07/21 5:17:27 PM
#125:


Sufjan Stevens is great, but for whatever reason, Carrie & Lowell never really clicked with me. Of course, Im probably the only person whose favorite Sufjan album is Age of Adz, so I guess I have weird taste.
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CasanovaZelos
06/07/21 5:34:41 PM
#126:


Both Illinois and Carrie & Lowell are in my top 20 albums, but Age of Adz (and Michigan) are also in my top 200, and I think the sound is distinct enough that I could easily see someone preferring Age of Adz. The one issue I have with Age of Adz is that I find the middle a bit weak - no matter how many times I listen, I can't bring myself to care about Get Real Get Right and Bad Communication. Which, it's not too long of a stretch, but I like every second on Illinois and Carrie & Lowell.

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RyoCaliente
06/07/21 6:44:48 PM
#127:


Hurricane is a great, I love the "swing" there is to the music, although lyrically I might prefer The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (talking protest songs).

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CasanovaZelos
06/07/21 6:54:31 PM
#128:


187. The xx Crystalized (2009)
from the album xx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pib8eYDSFEI

Key lyrics:
So dont think that Im pushing you away
When youre the one that Ive kept closest

The xxs self-titled debut at first appeared rather unassuming they made minimalist pop with a moody post-punk edge. In an off year seemingly defined by Animal Collectives bizarro turn to pop - an album which seemed to promise the next step in music before ultimately fizzling out as a singular moment - and Lady Gaga breaking through with a larger than life persona, the 2010s promised to be bigger and louder than any era which came before. At the time, The xx came off as one of many strong indie bands. A decade on, however, they appear to be trendsetters with mainstream pop and even hip hop taking a minimalist, sometimes melancholy tone, The xx were unexpectedly ahead of their time.

Crystalised is the signature song from this release. The music has an aggressive force, with an ominous wail underlining the otherwise simple instrumentation. The highlight here, as with many xx songs, is the way Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft come into conflict as vocalists. This is a dueling love song, with one suggesting the other is moving too quickly. The song begins by giving both their own lines, coming together in harmony during the chorus. But its during the finale when things really take off the two repeat their lines, but now layered on top of each other. Their words mix together; they are now too close, forming perfect disharmony. What sounds like a mess on paper is flawlessly executed.

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CasanovaZelos
06/08/21 3:28:07 PM
#129:


186. Beck Where Its At (1996)
from the album Odelay

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OnuOgJpa0U

Key lyrics:
I got two turntables and a microphone

Nonsense lyrics have been a staple in alternative rock since the beginning, but Beck brings a strangely organic quality. Oddity is in his nature, and Where Its At is a signature example of his mesmerizing wordplay. Its not that his lyrics mean anything, but his seemingly random choices have perfect cadence. Jigsaw jazz, jamboree handouts, hirsute, with your parachute fruits these are phrases signifying nothing, yet I always find myself singing along. Surrealism does not imply throwing random concepts in a blender, but finding a unique connection from one to the other. Many struggle with this concept, but Beck somehow suggests the coolest party in the world with Where Its At.

The structure is suitably chaotic. A funky rhythm serves as the backbone, but little moments scatter it in a hundred different directions. The end of the first chorus inexplicably replaces Beck with a robot voice. This is followed by a short drum break, which a sample then comments upon. Little samples from a sex education video are sprinkled out, and theres an extended bridge including a scarier robotic shout as it really kicks off. Beck throws in whatever stray elements he can think of, yet it all comes together as a cohesive whole.

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Jesse_Custer
06/08/21 4:01:05 PM
#130:


Where Its At is a great song. Im not quite as into it as I used to be, but its held up pretty well over time. And its a tough call, but Id say Odelay is probably my favorite of his albums.
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CasanovaZelos
06/09/21 1:57:44 PM
#131:


185. Depeche Mode Enjoy the Silence (1990)
from the album Violator

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6QLkCZp2n4

Key lyrics:
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Few love songs are as ominous as Enjoy the Silence, both lyrically and in the music itself. Supporting the theme, the words can be taken in several conflicting ways is this a testament to quiet intimacy, or is there something bubbling under the narrator is giving every excuse not to say? It must be better not to say anything at all.

The music matches this conflict. Gloomy instrumentation is pushed with a propulsive force, resulting in something between a synth-pop club track and a gothic lament. The line between sad and serene is expertly blurred, much like lying in the arms of a lover who has been rather quiet lately.

Though dealing with emotionally heightened subject matter and carrying a depressing tune, Enjoy the Silence is surprisingly easy to digest. This is perfectly crafted synth-pop at its most mature, showing a song can convince you to dance while also contemplating your personal connections. Theres no sense of irony here like many synth-pop classics Depeche Mode found a way to make the mood match the sound. There are tiny details that add to the complexity as the song continues, but the mix chooses not to draw our attention to their presence. Instead, Gahans powerful yet anxious vocals remain centered.

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CasanovaZelos
06/09/21 2:24:17 PM
#132:


Perfect timing with this one

184. Pixies Debaser (1989)
from the album Doolittle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVyS9JwtFoQ

Key lyrics:
Got me a movie, ha ha ha ho!
Slicing up eyeballs, ha ha ha ho!

Released in 1989, Pixies Doolittle helped shape rock during the decade that followed Nirvana have cited it as a direct influence, and the dominoes fall from there. As the first song, Debaser acts as a manifesto of sorts. Black Francis kicks the album off by paying homage to one of his own influences, the short film Un chien andalou directed by Luis Buuel. The violent, surrealist imagery of that silent film perfectly match the emotional roulette that is listening to a Pixies album. The perfect part about these lyrics is they really do sound like nonsense without context; theres something deeper to be discovered beneath all this shouting.

Debaser feels like a chill surf rock track played at breakneck speeds. Black Francis and Kim Deal have their vocals perfectly juxtaposed, his aggression played against her straightforwardly pretty singing. The second verse is the same as the first, except the back half of each phrase is replaced with a forced laugh. Debaser might actually be among the more traditional tunes on Doolittle at this point, but that is only due to it so perfectly capturing the spirit of alternative rock. This laid a template for so many bands to sing about nothing with great force.

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CasanovaZelos
06/10/21 4:07:36 PM
#133:


183. Smashing Pumpkins Tonight, Tonight (1995)
from the album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOG3eus4ZSo

Key lyrics:
Well crucify the insincere tonight, tonight

Few acts in the 90s alternative scene had a sound as expansive as the Smashing Pumpkins, and Tonight, Tonight just might be their biggest. Being the first lyrical piece on the epic Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, it is clear Billy Corgan wanted a singularly sweeping piece to set the scene. Including a 30-piece string section, this is a truly symphonic work. Though they have a tendency toward brooding (just look at that obnoxious album title), Smashing Pumpkins created a truly uplifting piece with Tonight, Tonight, a song which can easily carry the listener through the dark turns that follow. This is Billy Corgan reaching out a hand, welcoming the disillusioned to a musical journey.

There is something I find gripping about artists with unusual voices, and Corgan is undeniably among the strangest singers to achieve mainstream success. He inflects every word with a nasally quality, one that borders on grating at times. But as a songwriter, he knows how to write for his voice. It is hard to imagine Tonight, Tonight having the same effect if those lengthy notes didnt carry his rough edge. But through all the strings and Corgans unique voice, the part that defines this song to me is Jimmy Chamberlins drumming. Chamberlin accomplishes the seemingly contradictory task of generating a tranquil forcefulness, perfectly bridging the lofty symphonic sound and the bands alt rock roots.

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CasanovaZelos
06/10/21 4:41:40 PM
#134:


182. Solange Cranes in the Sky (2016)
from the album A Seat at the Table

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0qrinhNnOM

Key lyrics:
I traveled 70 states
Thought moving round make me feel better

Imagine being Beyoncs little sister releasing an album only months after Lemonade shot the superstar to impossible new heights. Solange had no reason to be intimidated A Seat at the Table matched her sisters masterpiece in excellence. Instead of dabbling in pop like her sister, Solange explored a style of soul that had gone largely ignored for the better part of a decade. The lead single, Cranes in the Sky, was an instant soul classic, showing Solange to have a truly powerful voice.

Cranes in the Sky has a transcendental quality. The lyrics show someone struggling with their personal life, listing off all the ways she has attempted to escape her negative thoughts. This is a slow song, giving every drum beat impact. Extended string notes suggest a meditative quality though she focuses on the difficult moments, it is clear Solange is trying her best to move on. All of this builds toward the refrain, where Solange repeats the word away over and over, growing louder with each repetition, more and more voices coming in to give her support. Though the lyrical content never reaches a point of relief, the song as a whole captures a feeling of forward-thinking hope.

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Jesse_Custer
06/10/21 6:00:18 PM
#135:


CasanovaZelos posted...
There is something I find gripping about artists with unusual voices, and Corgan is undeniably among the strangest singers to achieve mainstream success. He inflects every word with a nasally quality, one that borders on grating at times. But as a songwriter, he knows how to write for his voice.

I also find myself sometimes wanting to listen to a song just because the singer sounds so unique. I remember getting a lot of grief from a roommate in college whenever I played Smashing Pumpkins because he couldnt stand Corgans voice, but as you said, it works for his songs.
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Seanchan
06/11/21 11:35:25 AM
#136:


CasanovaZelos posted... 206. Violent Femmes Blister in the Sun (1983)
from the album Violent Femmes

Oh man, this is a great song; haven't heard it in forever! I had no idea this song was this old! I used to hear this on the rock station all the time in the late 90s and it was so oddly different than everything else but I would always stop to listen. "LET ME GO OOOOOOOOoooooooooooooN"

CasanovaZelos posted...
205. 808 State Pacific State (1989)
from the album 90

I like this one. Definitely has a certain "videogame-y" sound.

CasanovaZelos posted...
204. LCD Soundsystem How Do You Sleep? (2017)
from the album American Dream

Interesting one. Shows again I need to listen to more LCD Soundsystem.

CasanovaZelos posted...
203. Bruce Springsteen The River (1980)
from the album The River

This is a good song. I love the harmonica.

CasanovaZelos posted...
202. Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
from the album Nevermind

A stone cold classic.
CasanovaZelos posted...
201. Courtney Barnett Avant Gardener (2013)
from the album The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas

Not usually my type of song but this is pretty good. I think the video helps.


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"That was unnecessarily dramatic". - NY Mets motto (courtesy of InnerTubeHero)
Congratulations to azuarc, the guru of gurus and winner of GotD 2020!
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Seanchan
06/11/21 2:44:35 PM
#137:


CasanovaZelos posted...
200. Kendrick Lamar i (2014)
single, alternative version featured on the album To Pimp a Butterfly

Not sure if I've actually heard a song by Kendrick Lamar before this. I know the name obviously but I don't think I could have named a song. Excited to be ranking one of his albums later in the year.

CasanovaZelos posted...
199. Bruce Springsteen Thunder Road (1975)
from the album Born to Run

Whenever this song starts I think "ehhh", then by the middle I think "you ain't a favorite, but, hey, you're alright" and then I kinda love the last 45 seconds or so when the sax kicks in.

CasanovaZelos posted...
197. Lucy Dacus Night Shift (2017)
from the album Historian

I liked this more than I expected. I love the buildup of the song. Might have to listen to more Lucy Dacus...

CasanovaZelos posted...
194. Bob Dylan Hurricane (1975)
from the album Desire

I feel like I don't typically like Dylan but I very much liked this one. Crazy to think it's based on a true story and even crazier (but kinda not really unfortunately) that this same type of song could still be written today.

CasanovaZelos posted...
183. Smashing Pumpkins Tonight, Tonight (1995)
from the album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOG3eus4ZSo

Just echoing people's thoughts on Corgan. I can definitely find his singing very grating at times.

---
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Congratulations to azuarc, the guru of gurus and winner of GotD 2020!
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CasanovaZelos
06/13/21 11:46:28 AM
#138:


181. The Specials Ghost Town (1981)
non-album single

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqZ8428GSrI

Key lyrics:
Too much fighting on the dance floor

Of the many terms I associate with ska, ominous would not be one. Yet Ghost Town thrives in that apocalyptic tone, an all-time classic within its genre due to its blunt reimagining of what ska could be. All the elements are there, but they have been reconstituted to paint a picture of urban distress. There are plenty of works that try to deconstruct a genre, but that is not what is happening here. This is earnestly ska (of the two-tone variety) in a distinct form; like Blister in the Sun, it succeeds by going somewhere so unexpected that anyone attempting the same unfortunately come across as imitators. Ghost Town could have signaled the dawning of a new genre entirely but instead stands as a singular hit.

The spine-chilling opening is an all-time classic. The instrumentation is familiar, but simply being played at a slower pace creates such a suffocating atmosphere compared to skas typically (perhaps gratingly) cheerful mood. But its not all despair an important bridge briefly switches up the pace, reflecting on better times. This is a band that wants to celebrate, finding themselves in a world with no reason for joy. The verses cycle through several vocalists instead of having a lead, expertly suggesting the societal level of the bands grievances.

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CasanovaZelos
06/13/21 12:16:43 PM
#139:


180. Todd Terje Inspector Norse (2012)
from the EP Its the Arps, later featured on the album Its Album Time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebjXsc0UjdQ

To me, Inspector Norse is pure ecstasy. Released near the beginning of my college days, I cant listen without thinking of walking through campus while blasting this from my iPod Nano. Every time it came on shuffle, I wanted to dance like an idiot down the sidewalk its the perfect tune for getting from one place to another. Todd Terje created disco for a new era, capturing a sense of motion like few others. Many songs create a feeling of forward momentum, but Inspector Norse is different in a way that is hard to define in words.

From the beginning, theres a bounciness to its rhythm few songs try to capture. Little synth sounds whiz by, unpredictable in their pattern but amplifying the shockingly expressive energy of this instrumental piece. A little over a minute in, a comparatively mellow synth line joins in, itself bouncy but with its own distinct pattern. Bounce is played against bounce, the initial beat serving as a familiar backbone while the other elements shoot for the sky. This is the best kind of electronic music, perfect for the dancefloor while pulling out enough stops to remain a thoroughly engaging listening experience. Whatever mood I find myself in, Inspector Norse gets me on my feet.

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CasanovaZelos
06/13/21 12:44:16 PM
#140:


179. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Into My Arms (1997)
from the album The Boatmans Call

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnHoqHscTKE

Key lyrics:
And I dont believe in the existence of angels
But looking at you, I wonder if thats true

Into My Arms is far from a standard Nick Cave song. Better known for the gothic rock of his early era or his more experimental works during the 21st century, this song is disarmingly simple. Here, Nick Cave uses nothing but a piano and electric bass for a touching love ballad. Much like The Cure and their pop ditties, these deep emotions have an extra air of authenticity when coming from someone who usually sings from a darker place. The key element here is how specific Cave gets in the descriptions of his love.

With the sparse instrumentation, the focus is entirely on Caves lyrics, where he has always excelled but hits a high note here. Nick Cave frames his love in religious terms. While this is a common lens for many love songs, the distinction here is that Nick Cave sings from an atheistic perspective. While starting every verse by noting his lack of belief, he then meets his religious lover halfway he might not believe, but he will speak in the terms she finds soothing. While so much media portrays atheists with condescending attitudes toward religious folk, Cave expresses something genuine and humanist about that divide. He might not believe, but he recognizes the spiritual significance of these ideas and uses a unifying element to express his love.

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CasanovaZelos
06/13/21 12:53:52 PM
#141:


Failed marriage fun fact: "Into My Arms" was the last dance at my wedding.

We walked down the aisle to "Hoppipolla," which narrowly missed the top 250. The first dance is still hanging in there at #95.

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CasanovaZelos
06/15/21 5:00:58 PM
#142:


178. Neil Young Heart of Gold (1972)
from the album Harvest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V51Itpvc1Pw

Key lyrics:
You keep me searchin and Im growing old

A large part of my musical journey has been defined by a desire to understand the perspective of others. Whenever I come across a classic artist who fails to click with me, I have a tendency to give them more attention than those I immediately enjoy. This may seem counterintuitive, but I am as drawn to music for its cultural impact as I am for my own enjoyment. Though Im still puzzled by certain acts (the whole hair metal era feels like a practical joke), I have discovered several of my favorites through this strange determination Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Brian Eno, just to name a few. Few overcame a larger barrier than Neil Young.

The obvious difficulty is his voice. There are plenty of major artists with questionable vocal abilities, but Neil Youngs higher pitch felt particularly grating when I first listened. Many of his more approachable songs largely hide his voice away, sprawling guitar epics with little need for words. Hearing Heart of Gold numerous times was the turning point. Young might not have a pretty voice, but he knows how to write a song to benefit from his apparent weakness. On Heart of Gold, he sounds as vulnerable as a man can be. Young is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, and once you adjust to his unique style, his truly masterful songwriting makes itself apparent. The harmonica is among the best this side of Bob Dylan, while his impassioned vocals are joined by a chorus of others for a cathartic payoff. Not in spite of but because of Youngs rough vocals, Heart of Gold is among the most moving songs I know.

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Snake5555555555
06/15/21 6:59:24 PM
#143:


My parents always listened to Neil Young when I was growing up so I never found his voice annoying. Beautiful song there though I definitely like Young's harder songs a lot better.

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I've decided to put my fears behind me. I'm not going back.
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CasanovaZelos
06/16/21 3:44:19 PM
#144:


GameFAQs is making me censor Ezra Koenig's last name below and I'm not sure why (or which specific iteration is causing the problem since this one worked)?

177. Vampire Weekend Hannah Hunt (2013)
From the album Modern Vampires of the City

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDwVMcEHG70

Key lyrics:
Though we live on the US dollar
You and me, we got our own sense of time

From the beginning, Ezra ****** was a brilliant lyricist. Vampire Weekends first two albums paired this with a twee sound that balanced a strange line between prime hipsterdom and mainstream appeal. Their self-titled debut is itself a modern classic, but a strong yet familiar follow-up in Contra suggested they might have a limited range. Developing a mature sound as complex as ******s lyrics, Vampire Weekend proved themselves all-time greats with Modern Vampires of the City. Few songs showcase this as well as Hannah Hunt, a gentle song that explodes into a passionate plea during its finale.

The first verse has wonderful imagery, ****** quick on the wordplay. The narrator appears baffled by a claim of moving plants, only to cite two stationary plants with moving names as proof. ****** continues to describe a couple travelling all across the United States, literal imagery implying growing conflict as the girl grows frustrated with their travels. The song closes with two repetitions of the chorus, the first dropping out much of the instrumentation. Shortly after, the song spontaneously bursts with energy, ****** shouting his anger. The general downtempo sound through much of the song forms a perfect contrast for its cathartic release. Few songs capture the dawning horror of a relationship ending like Hannah Hunt.

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Menji
06/16/21 3:54:27 PM
#145:


CasanovaZelos posted...
GameFAQs is making me censor Ezra Koenig's last name below and I'm not sure why (or which specific iteration is causing the problem since this one worked)?

part of his name could be short for the n word

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CasanovaZelos
06/16/21 4:03:25 PM
#146:


I know that part, but I'm not sure which usage is causing the censor bot to be triggered - and now its contextual failing is only drawing more attention to the thing it is trying to censor. Great.

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ChainLTTP
06/16/21 4:19:06 PM
#147:


That's really odd...it's not just those three letters though because "night" is perfectly fine.
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Menji
06/16/21 4:24:47 PM
#149:


it's usually when the word following can continue the word

something like if "gris" is banned. "song rise" might also be banned

Following up Yoshi with any t-word used to cause issues too.

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CasanovaZelos
06/16/21 4:42:10 PM
#150:


176. Lorde Royals (2013)
from the album Pure Heroine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlcIKh6sBtc

Key lyrics:
Ive never seen a diamond in the flesh

Growing up, I was never the biggest fan of pop music. A genre designed to be as catchy as possible, I found much of it to be literally headache-inducing. It takes true talent to craft a pop song that stops just short of being annoying. At age sixteen, Lorde seemed to be just as annoyed when she penned Royals. Both lyrically and sonically, this was an assault on mainstream pop that nevertheless achieved unlikely success. Several teen pop stars have shot into the spotlight over the years, but few felt so convincingly dismissive of her contemporaries Lorde stepped onto the scene to show us how to do pop music right.

While The xx set the stage for a minimalist movement in the indie scene four years earlier, Lorde proved mainstream viability with Royals. The instrumentation is sparse, enough to be catchy in the moment but never linger like so many unwanted ear worms. Her vocals are strong but avoid extravagance. Like Amy Winehouse before her, Lorde comes across with an air of authenticity in a medium largely defined by excessive glamour. Few songs have had such an immediate impact the best pop hits became a lot mellower as the decade continued. I listen to quite a bit more pop these days, and not due to a personal change of heart. Pop changed, and Royals is the clearest turning point.

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CasanovaZelos
06/16/21 4:58:14 PM
#151:


Perfect timing for an update on the artist list. 5 more fell, including my #3 artist! It might seem odd that Nick Cave is my #3 artist with only one song in my top 250 - but he also has 15 albums in my top 1000, when the next artist only has 9. He's simply better at creating atmospheres over a full album than individual songs.

I should also point out that the artist list I'm revealing is based off a score assigned to my song and album rankings; my 'favorite' artist is only #7 on this list because they haven't released as much as others - though Nick Cave might actually be my favorite artist these days? He already had an all-time great career by the beginning of the 2010s, and then somehow achieved a late career peak. Either way, if I actually did a favorite artist ranking, things would be moved around, especially in favor of artists who weren't around as long.

The list so far:
250. The The - This is the Day
249. Goldfrapp - Lovely Head
248. Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
247. Cerrone - Supernature
246. Jessie Ware - Spotlight
245. SOPHIE - Bipp
244. Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
243. The Beatles - Yesterday
242. The Walkmen - The Rat
241. Hank Williams - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
240. Wu-Tang Clan - Protect Ya Neck
239. Sigur Ros - Svefn-g-englar
238. The Clash - London Calling
237. Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
236. Fever Ray - If I Had a Heart
235. Bjork - Joga
234. Fleetwood Mac - The Chain
233. Stereolab - Cybele's Reverie
232. The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
231. Prince - When Doves Cry
230. New Order - True Faith
229. The Cure - Just Like Heaven
228. Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke
227. Vashti Bunyan - Diamond Day
226. The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby
225. Elliott Smith - Waltz #2
224. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt
223. Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
222. Amy Winehouse - Rehab
221. Charles Mingus - Track C - Group Dancers
220. Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name
219. Janelle Monae - Tightrope
218. M.I.A. - Paper Planes
217. Soft Cell - Tainted Love
216. Elliott Smith - Between the Bars
215. Tim Buckley - Song to the Siren
214. The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
213. M83 - Midnight City
212. Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
211. Arcade Fire - Wake Up
210. Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
209. Art Ensemble of Chicago - Theme de Yoyo
208. Missy Elliott - Work It
207. Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
206. Violent Femmes - Blister in the Sun
205. 808 State - Pacific State
204. LCD Soundsystem - How Do You Sleep?
203. Bruce Springsteen - The River
202. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
201. Courtney Barnett - Avant Gardener
200. Kendrick Lamar - i
199. Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road
198. Nick Drake - River Man
197. Lucy Dacus - Night Shift
196. The Band - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
195. Buddy Holly & The Crickets - Peggy Sue
194. Bob Dylan - Hurricane
193. Lou Reed - Perfect Day
192. The National - Fake Empire
191. Nina Simone - Feeling Good
190. Roy Orbison - In Dreams
189. Sufjan Stevens - Should Have Known Better
188. Caribou - Can't Do Without You
187. The xx - Crystalised
186. Beck - Where It's At
185. Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence
184. Pixies - Debaser
183. Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight
182. Solange - Cranes in the Sky
181. The Specials - Ghost Town
180. Todd Terje - Inspector Norse
179. Nick Cave - Into My Arms
178. Neil Young - Heart of Gold
177. Vampire Weekend - Hannah Hunt
176. Lorde - Royals

Top 100 artists (with no remaining songs; artists from the most recent batch bolded):
3. Nick Cave: "Into My Arms" (#179)
14. Neil Young: "Heart of Gold" (#178)
16. Kanye West: "Monster" (#309)
18. Tom Waits: "Time" (#790)
25. Charles Mingus: "Track C - Group Dancer" (#221)
26. Leonard Cohen: "Suzanne" (#588)
34. Arcade Fire: "Wake Up" (#211)
36. Fiona Apple: "Heavy Balloon" (#275)
38. Metallica: "Master of Puppets" (#348)
39. PJ Harvey: "Rid of Me" (#472)
40. Led Zeppelin: "Kashmir" (#619)
43. Animal Collective: "My Girls" (#307)
45. The National: "Fake Empire" (#192)
47. St. Vincent: "Digital Witness" (#334)
49. U2: "One" (#434)
50. Pink Floyd: "Wish You Were Here" (#514)
51. Vampire Weekend: "Hannah Hunt" (#177)
53. The Police: "Roxanne" (#285)
54. Beastie Boys: "Sabotage" (#261)
55. Portishead: "Sour Times" (#254)
56. The xx: "Crystalised" (#187)
58. The Chemical Brothers: "Hey Boy Hey Girl" (#271)
60. The Kinks: "Waterloo Sunset" (#355)
62. Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Fortunate Son" (#333)
64. Can: "Mother Sky" (#398)
65. Mogwai: "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong" (#399)
67. John Coltrane: "A Love Supreme, Part 1: Acknowledgement" (#661)
69. Bob Marley: "Redemption Song" (#506)
75. Madonna: "Like a Prayer" (#336)
76. Simon and Garfunkel: "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (#248)
77. The Clash: "London Calling" (#238)
80. Sigur Ros: "Svefn-g-englar" (#239)
81. M.I.A.: "Paper Planes" (#218)
82. Bon Iver: "Skinny Love" (#262)
85. Green Day: "Basket Case" (#371)
91. Elvis Presley: "Suspicious Minds" (#387)
92. Fever Ray: "If I Had a Heart" (#236)
93. Beyonce: "Countdown" (#615)

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