Like I said a couple weeks ago, I gotta break my blogging slump. Tried to get back in the groove a couple weeks ago, but work and life sometimes interfere with our true calling. Started a couple blogs on Trump and fucking Republicans, but that is just going to create controversy, and I certainly don’t need any more of that in my life. So here’s an easy one, and something we can all agree on—the Top Ten Greatest Songs EVER. Not exactly breaking new ground here, but since it is a list, in order, and covers the greatest songs EVER, it automatically qualifies for Premier Blog status. Can’t really argue with that logic.
Actually, although the Top 10 songs are pretty obvious, I suppose reasonable minds could differ on the ORDER of the Top Ten. And maybe there is some gray area as to the 10 spot. Hotel California really should be on the list, and I expect to catch holy hell for its exclusion. Oh well. That is what premier blogging is all about.
X. Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits
Ok, so maybe Brothers in Arms wasn’t an obvious choice. Fuck you. Go write your own blog.
Brothers in Arms makes the list because it is an awesome mellow song, that really sets a mood, and drags it all out for over 6 minutes so you have plenty of time to enjoy it. It came out in the mid 80’s, and I always thought it was about the Cold War and how the Russians were our really our brothers and we are fools to make war on our brothers in arms. If you read Wikipedia maybe that’s not what it is about, but that is what I always thought.
Brothers in Arms also makes the list because the song was used in an episode of Miami Vice in the mid-80’s, and for some reason, 30 years later, I have never been able to get that scene out of my head. Crockett and Tubs are driving through the night in Miami in their black convertible Ferrari Daytona with Brothers in Arms playing. The music montage thing is kind of overdone now, but it was cool back then when MTV invented music videos, and then Miami Vice incorporated the concept in a TV show. Plus the music was better back then. So Brothers in Arms gets the 10 spot.
IX. More Than a Feeling – Boston
A great song, and the only Power Ballad to make the list. A Power Ballad, of course, is a love song that starts out slow, and then turns into a raging rock tune by the end. So this song has it all. Plus the lyrics are incredible, about losing yourself in the music. And not just about losing yourself in the music, but in a familiar song, which are the best.
VIII. Thunder Road
Deciding whether to include Thunder Road or Born to Run in the 7 spot might have been one of the toughest decisions of my life. But I made the call, because that is what premier bloggers do. You’re welcome.
Remember that old game show where you had to bid on how many notes it would take you before you could guess the name of a song. I think was called Name that Tune, which would make sense because you had to try and, well, name that tune. Well, whatever, I could name Thunder Road in one note.
“You ain’t a beauty but, hey, you’re all right”
VII. Pink Houses – John Mellencamp
An American anthem, especially for a kid from Indiana. The song just rocks. “Ain’t that America, for you and me.”
VI. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
Don’t Stop Believin’ has kinda been ruined in the last ten years. The song was used in the last scene in the Soprano’s in 2007, which was perfect, and very cool. Before that Sopranos episode, after the early 80’s, you didn’t hear the song much. People forget that. But after it was used in the Soprano’s final episode, it got really popular, was on all the singing contest shows and you started hearing it absolutely everywhere. Don’t Stop Believin’ was a Top 40 song in 2009 and 2010, and the #1 downloaded song ever of songs originally released before the digital era.
The millennials basically stole our song. Well fuck ’em, I’m stealing it back.
From the awesome piano to start, that iconic chime, or whatever it is, to when the guitar starts up and continues to build, and then the drums blast into the chorus. Just a great song. “Some will win, some will lose, and some were born to sing the blues.” So true.
V. No Surrender – Bruce Springsteen
A classic rock anthem, that pretty much defines life in three stages. Starting with when we “busted out of class” to get away from those fools, to now, when the walls are closing in, even though there is a war outside still raging that “ain’t ours anymore to win.”
I want to sleep beneath
Peaceful skies in my lover’s bed
With a wide open country in my eyes
And these romantic dreams in my head
IV. Suspicious Minds – Elvis
Gotta have Elvis in the Top 10, of course, and Suspicious Minds is Elvis’ greatest song. Plus Trish really liked the song. A lot.
III. Imagine – John Lennon
A lot of people are out there saying that Imagine is the number 1 song of all time. Those people are wrong. It is not even number 2. It is number 3.
Not much to say about this song that hasn’t been said a thousand times. Everyone knows every line of the song, each more profound than the last. The lines are so well known, in fact, that Steve Carrell could make this line famous: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not.”
II. Let It Be – The Beatles
Gotta have the Beatles, of course, and these are McCartney’s most powerful vocals, in their most profound song.
Some people think that the Mother Mary mentioned in the song is Mary, mother of Jesus. Those people are idiots. McCartney’s mother, who was named Mary, died of the cancer when he was 13. After her death, his mother Mary would come to him in his dreams, and one time came and told him “Everything will be all right, let it be.”
I. With or Without You – U2
The perfect song. I can’t explain what it is, even after looking it up on the Wikipedia machine, which sort of explains it, but I still don’t understand. See below. The bass kind of kicks in a few seconds into the song, and you can always feel it. The song builds, “with tension,” and “every section is unique and never repeats.” There is that eerie high vocal at the end, right before the guitar kicks in again towards the end.
And the lyrics sort of make sense, but not really. Still a mystery 30 years later. #1 song ever. Case closed.
See if this makes any sense to you, from the Wikipedia:
“With or Without You” is written in a 4/4 time signature and is played at a tempo of 110 beats per minute. Although certain stanzas of lyrics are repeated, the song does not follow a traditional verse-chorus form. Lanois says of it, “It has tension and builds like one of those great Roy Orbison songs, where every section is unique and never repeats. I like that kind of sophistication […].”
The song begins with a minimal drum beat of eighth notes played by Mullen, while a backing track—Eno’s synthesiser—plays a “rippling” triplet arpeggio of the chord D major. A high sustained guitar part (played by The Edge’s Infinite Guitar) enters, played “dry” in the left channel before reverberating on the right. At 0:09, Clayton’s bass guitar begins to play eighth notes in time with the kick drum, and the song’s four-bar sequence of the chord progression D–A–Bm–G, begins. This chord progression is never explicitly played but is “implied” by the root notes played by Clayton and the guitar parts of The Edge.
“Notes actually do mean something. They have power. I think of notes as being expensive. You don’t just throw them around. I find the ones that do the best job and that’s what I use. I suppose I’m a minimalist instinctively. I don’t like to be inefficient if I can get away with it. Like on the end of ‘With or Without You’. My instinct was to go with something very simple […]. I still think it’s sort of brave, because the end of “With or Without You” could have been so much bigger, so much more of a climax, but there’s this power to it which I think is even more potent because it’s held back.”
Bono’s vocals enter at 0:28 in a low register, a stark contrast from Bono’s typical singing style to that point in the group’s career. He stays below the middle C for the first two and a half stanzas, centering his melody on the mediant F♯. At the end of each of the first two stanzas, his vocals drop an octave, from A to A. Author Susan Fast called Bono’s vocals on “With or Without You” the first occasion on which he “extended his vocal range downward in an appreciable way”. At 0:58, an additional sustained guitar part joins the mix. The drums increase in intensity at 1:45, before The Edge begins playing the song’s signature guitar riff at 1:53. The riff, a perfect fifth opening to a sixth, features a prominent use of delay. When the riff is played, it is answered by Bono singing “And you give yourself away”, a line on which backing vocals appear at 2:06 and 2:32.
A stanza begins in which Bono sings the song’s title in a high, passionate voice as the drums get heavier. At 3:03, the song bursts out in emotion as Bono begins open-throated “Oh-oh-oh-ohh” vocals, which are double-tracked, and the rhythm increases to play sixteenth notes on the guitar, cymbals, and tambourine. After another stanza of Bono repeating the song’s title, the music dies down at 3:38 to a similar state as it was at the beginning of the song. Ten seconds later, Bono sings in a falsetto while a bass synthesiser doubles the bass guitar. After the vocals complete, The Edge begins a simple guitar figure. He explained that its understated nature was meant to resist the temptation to play an intricate guitar solo as an ending. The second time the figure is played, the signature guitar riff from earlier re-appears and the song regains some of its intensity. The song concludes with a fade-out.
The lyrics ostensibly describe a troubled relationship between two lovers, although the lyrics have been interpreted in religious contexts. The Washington Post interpreted the song as both an acerbic love song and a tune lamenting the moral contradictions one faces with their religious faith. Toby Creswell echoed these sentiments, saying it “can be read as a song about either marital romance or spiritual need”. Bono explained that the lyrics had romantic intentions, saying, “there’s nothing more revolutionary than two people loving each other. One, ’cause it’s so uncommon these days, and two, ’cause it’s so difficult to do.” In 1987, Bono explained that “And you give yourself away” lyric refers to how he sometimes feels exposed being in U2, and that his openness, both to the public and music press, can do damage to the group. Author Niall Stokes interpreted the line as encompassing the theme of “surrendering the ego” to one’s love and spiritual faith.