Ranking: Interpersonal Billboard Top 100, Week of September 1st

Posted by Nick Curley

The only criteria for the list below was that I had to hear the song in full over the last seven days, and that it had to at least on some level captivate me.  They are numbered from best to worst for your convenience.  Please enjoy.

  1. The Embarrassment, “Celebrity Art Party”.  One of my favorite songs ever, I listen to it often and am always surprised by how fast and purdy the guitar lick is.  YouTube is the progressive cultural development of the last decade.
  2. Guided by Voices, “My Valuable Hunting Knife”.  There is always a GBV song-of-the-moment, and lately this is it.  I am truly floored by how much the riff buzzes: this sounds like it was recorded in a soup can and is all the better for it.  Important to note the Alien Lanes version is the keeper, not the weird cleaned up take from the Tigerbomb EP from which they made a weird video aping the Breeders and Dinosaur Jr.
  3. T. Rex, “Children of the Revolution”.
  4. Suicide, “96 Tears”.  First time I’ve much liked Suicide; now deeply in lust with Ghost Riders, the 1985 live album from whence my version came.  (A slightly different take from CBGB’s circa ’78 is linked here).
  5. George Jones, “Cup of Loneliness”.  Not the best recording, or the one they used to great satisfaction in the episode from the second season of Mad Men (“The Mountain King”).  Seek out the studio cut.  But this’ll do, pig, this’ll do.
  6. John Prine, “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore”.  Timely as it goddamned gets.
  7. The Misfits, “Where Eagles Dare”.  Precisely fast, precisely furious.
  8. Knight Action (ft. Sedenia), “Single Girl”. When people talk about Chicago house like it was a helluva thing, now you can know why.
  9. The Shivvers, “Teen Line”.  I’ve definitely had dreams about being in this band.  I put a track of theirs on almost every mix tape I make, and hype them like it’s my ever-loving job.
  10. John Cale, “All My Friends”.  Cover of the LCD Soundsystem track from its vinyl 12’’ release in 2007.  Cale’s old man bellowing colliding head on with one of the more justifiably acclaimed slow-burns of the decade.
  11. Leonard Cohen, “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On”.  The only Leonard Cohen I ever need to hear another word about is Wall of Sound infused Leonard Cohen.
  12. The MC5, “Miss X”.  I came away from Please Kill Me thinking these dudes to be pretty stupid, misguided drug addicts whose half-baked psuedo-activism was a huge turnoff.  Now years later, I’ve returned to this weirdly beautiful track from their third, best, and perhaps least loved album High Time, a record I listened to constantly from the ages of about 14-18.  This is “Tuesday’s Gone” for people who spent the Seventies in cities rather than the country, the last thing you hear at closing time on the river Styx’s disco.
  13. Devo, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.  Weird is best when it ain’t trying to be weird.  Astoundingly great video that sold a bunch of copies of the VHS collection of all of their MTV-or-earlier stuff.
  14. Alton Ellis, “Why Birds Follow Spring”.  Not totally fair as I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times over the last several years.
  15. Maitre Gazonga, “Les Jaloux Saboteurs”.  A nine minute shimmy about crocodiles from the stellar first volume of the Golden Afrique compilation, on the cryptically named Network Germany label.
  16. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “Do You Wanna Touch Me”.  Still uncharted water for Kristen Stewart: they had to save something for the sequel.  This video is as terrifying as it as curiously hot, and the song buries KISS’s entire catalog several miles underground.
  17. Irma Thomas, “Wish Someone Would Care”.  As heard on a recent episode of Treme, though this version’s a lot foxier than the one sung by that supermodel friend of Steve Zahn.  Eddie Ray’s production here, particularly at the climactic finish, shames Phil Spector and then some.
  18. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, “A Minor Place”.
  19. The Misfits, “Last Caress”.
  20. The Bartlebees, “Hollywood Holiday”.  We’ll settle for the video to “She Likes Monsters”, but you really want “Holiday”, the lesser known but far more exuberant cut from Urban Folk Legends.
  21. The Misfits, “Skulls”. As you can see from these links, there are a disproportionate number of people making Misfits videos out of old horror movies.  This one’s a lot more affecting in my book, a blurry chunk of chaos from shrunken head Glenn Danzig’s last show with the group.  A time capsule showing the official end of a band’s relevancy.
  22. Kim Weston, “Eleanor Rigby”.  About a hundred times better and scarier than the original, this is the greatest James Bond end theme that never was.
  23. The Dwarves, “Don’t Feel Alright”.  Both this and the aforementioned Suicide record were recommended by Sam Lipsyte.  To the world at large, not to me personally.  Something about his metro punk and “children of Velvets” taste was really refreshing and made me want to read The Ask after the other nineteen books I need to read before I get to have any fun.  I wasn’t crazy about the passage read on Bookworm but everything read on that show ends up sounding like Benadryl, and the rep it has deserves a fair shake.  This song inspired me to write a short story about disgruntled twenty year olds going to a no-wave show.  Not sure if the world needs another one of those, but it’s here if you do!
  24. The Notorious B.I.G., “Everyday Struggle”.  “I know how it feel to wake up fucked up / pockets broke as hell / another rock to sell… that’s why you drink Tanqueray/So you can reminisce, and wish/You wasn’t living so devilish.”  How does he know the copywriting game so well?
  25. Roky Erickson and the Aliens, “Mine Mine Mind”.  Patton Oswalt is a fan, and would actually do really well playing Erickson in a movie someday.
  26. The Chain Gang, “Interview with the Chain Gang”.  Best Ian Svenonious side project since the last one.
  27. Black Flag, “TV Party”.  Rollins’ enraged music video acting does not disappoint.
  28. The Embarrassment, “Special Eyes”.
  29. The Zombies, “She’s Not There”.  People talk about the breathy Brit babble and the organ solo, but I’m telling you, Jeeves: it’s all about the snare drum.  Mike Myers, William Shatner, and Crispin Glover all cribbed notes from Colin Blunstone’s dramatic interpretation cited here.
  30. Fire, Inc., “Nowhere Fast”.  From the Streets of Fire soundtrack: an outstanding number to the movie musical I still haven’t seen.  Fraudulent!  Bonus: young Diane Lane.
  31. Titus Andronicus, “Titus Andronicus”.  For being the best track on their debut album, and for bringing back the time honored punk manifesto tradition of naming a track on your first record after the band itself, we give thanks.
  32. Rakim, “When I B on Tha Mic”.  He likes it with the lights on.
  33. Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”.
  34. Fleetwood Mac, “Rhiannon”.  An undeniable hook draped in some thoroughly deniable hairstyles.  But Lindsay Buckingham’s cow-print muumuu can’t be stopped.
  35. Bob Dylan, “Sooner or Later (One of Us Must Know)”.  The AV Club recently did a feature on art that should have been a bigger deal that it was, the stuff that should have entered legend status but didn’t.  I don’t know if this is that for me, but it is probably one of the best tracks from a guy who wrote about a hundred good songs.
  36. The-Dream, “Rockin’ That Thang”.  Ridiculously effective in its simplicity on both the audio and visual tip.  Now can we do something about the superfluous hyphen?
  37. Flower-Corsano Duo, “Earth”.  Free jazz can get eat its own tail when recorded, but these dudes play with too much power to go down swinging.  I’ve seen both of ’em live separately, and remarkably this team-up is more than the some of its parts.
  38. Big L & Jay-Z, “Freestyle”.  The legitimacy of how off the cuff this was has been called into question for years, particularly Jigga’s section: like Fox News, we report and you decide.  From Bobbito’s show in I believe either ’94 or ’95.
  39. Stacey Q, “Two of Hearts”.  DJ Leblanc turned me on to this: get tuned in at Crosswave III: Hot for Teacher, dropping September 24th.  The more scattershot of the two “I need you” hooks could have been recorded by Tim and Eric.
  40. Madcon, “Beggin’”.  One of the best things about working a Williamsburg coat check in April was that this song would come on at the same time every week, and I could always listen to it in peace.
  41. The Embarrassment, “Picture Women”.
  42. The Game, “Dreams”.  From January of 2005, when Kanye was still (kind of) a producer and his new baby Twitter was but sperm in search of the egg.
  43. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Y Control”.  Children are the future, and the future is creepy.  If you haven’t heard it in a while, watch this.
  44. Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, “Sweet and Lovely”.  Prevailing trend of late is that we should all admit jazz stinks.  While I’m afraid having a mix of Coltrane, rocksteady, proto-punk, and crust-country makes me read like some dusty-fingered record store cretin, I’ll try to save it by saying this is a good track to have running through your head while doing a little jig through Central Park.  I could also pay the electric bill or shine my own shoes to this and have a pretty good time.
  45. The Electric Prunes, “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)”.
  46. Sweet, “Fox on the Run”.
  47. Cru, “Just Another Case”.  The actual video/song starts about twenty seconds in.  These is one of the only memorable Boston rap groups, and the video definitely looks like it could have been filmed in one of those weird puritan houses out of Allston-Brighton.  Plus an incredible Phil Collins reference.
  48. Yabby You, “Conquering Lion”.
  49. Legsweeper, “My Face Hurts”.  “My face hurts / I need medicine / But fuck that / Let’s do it again” is the great punk sentiment of the year to date.  See them live if possible.
  50. David Bowie, “Speed of Life”.  Criminally underrated instrumental from Low, to be played during the closing credits at the end of the world.
  51. The Queen Haters, “I Hate the Bloody Queen”.  Martin Short had a tough week: respect knuckles.
  52. Robyn Hitchcock, “If You Know Time”.  Tangentially related to recurring, irrational daydreams about living in the movie Rachel Getting Married, a life I would never want unless it meant hugs from Rosemarie Dewitt.
  53. Alton Ellis, “Massachusetts”.
  54. Killer Mike, “God in the Building”.  This video, like so many on the Tube, is homemade, semi-weird, but also has some pretty affecting photography and is entirely engrossing.  Behold.
  55. Ann Peebles, “A Love Vibration”.
  56. Herman’s Hermits, “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”.  I used to think this was an American band making fun of British accents, but these dudes were actually from Manchester.  And legitimate enough to make Ed Sullivan at the age of roughly twelve.
  57. Neu!, “Isi”.  Their best song: had it come up a few years earlier it could have beautifully accompanied Laika the dog into space.
  58. The The, “This is the Day”.
  59. Ike Turner, “Gimme Back My Wig”.  I wanted the Hound Dog Taylor version but couldn’t find it by press time.  Weird how much the backing track to this linked version sounds like the Seinfeld theme.  Plus this cut invites the fun, vengeful image of a balding wife beater frantically searching an arena dressing room for a hairpiece that’s been hidden on him by his smarter, more talented old lady.
  60. Michael Jackson, “Bad”.  I don’t own the record, but it was blaring out of a bar on N. 6th in Williamsburg on Saturday afternoon and I did technically hear it from start to finish.
  61. T-Pain (ft. Young Joc), “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)”.  Am I supposed to apologize for this?  It’s still borderline great, and sometimes you listen to something that’s just fallen out of public favor that turns out to still be rewarding.  This is the awkward, soft-spoken yet sporadically gregarious little brother of “Love in This Club”.
  62. The Plastics, “Top Secret Man”.  Following what has to be the most (and possibly first?) offensive skit ever done on SCTV.
  63. Sunn O))), “It Took the Night to Believe”.  Dylan Carlson will always be the frightened tweaked out chimp from Nick Broomfield’s brilliant tabloid documentary Kurt and Courtney.
  64. Statik Selectah (ft. Big Shug), “Punch Out”.
  65. Beth Orton, “Stolen Car”.  Until last week I hadn’t heard this in almost ten years, and even then I only checked it out cause Entertainment Weekly told me to.  Like many of the week’s selections, I listened to this because it was recommended by someone in Book Notes, which Jason wrote about last week.  I’m amazed a video was made for this, and a funny, enjoyable one at that.
  66. Joy Division, “Warsaw”.
  67. Van Dyke Parks, “FDR in Trinidad”.  Here’s the concert that the other plump crazy guy who wrote Smile gets to have in 2010.
  68. Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles, “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman”.  Unreleased stereo version, from before we all went back to mono.
  69. The Fall, “Couldn’t Get Ahead”.  “Good evening.  We’re the Fall, and we’re from the First World.”
  70. Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, “Love Come Down”.  1982 was a glass coffee table shattered by high notes.
  71. Ty Segall, “Alone”.
  72. The Strokes, “Under Control”.  Downloaded after listening to “A Love Vibration”, which starts with a similar snare riff.  It’s live from the House of Blues, so you know they’re keeping it real.
  73. ABBA, “Take a Chance on Me”.  I love, love, love music videos from the era before people had preconceptions of what they were supposed to be.  Like there’s tons of arbitrary jumping up and down in this.  For no particular reason.  Don’t be alarmed when the Agnetha Fältskog close-ups transition into shots of the two Hobbit looking dudes.
  74. Tom Waits, “Your Late Night Evening Prostitute”.  One of two good tracks (the other “Ice Cream Man”) on the first volume of Waits premature compilation The Early Years, in which his patented growl was still many years of chain smoking and whiskey swabbing away from reaching the mountaintop.  Here he sounds like Jim Croce, or (despite the title) one of those songs that used to be overlaid onto Sesame Street video interludes.
  75. Rodd Keith, “Do the Pig”.
  76. Smog, “Blood Red Bird”.
  77. Smog, “To Be of Use”.  Bill Callahan is my pick for Jason’s list of musicians who could write good books.
  78. Robbie Fulks, “Fuck This Town”.  Good for a ’90s country song, but that’s a slippery slope.  Hearing the lyrics, I’m reminded of Tom Scharpling asking Ghostface to stop using the word “faggot” on records, reminding him that statistically, odds are that at least one member of the Wu-Tang Clan is gay.
  79. Junior Murvin, “Police and Thieves”.
  80. King Floyd, “Woman Don’t Go Astray”.
  81. Kings Go Forth, “I Don’t Love You No More”.  From the insane new Luaka Bop release of their treasure map record The Outsiders are Back.
  82. Death, “Freaking Out”.  1975 wasn’t that long ago after all.
  83. Statik Selectah (ft. Styles, Termanology, & Q-Tip), “Stop, Look, Listen”.
  84. Aimee Mann, “Red Vines”.  Live at Warsaw three years ago.  I so was not there.
  85. 2 Many DJs, “No Fun/Push It”.
  86. Vince McMahon, “Stand Back”.  A live, undoubtedly coke-addled performance from future First Lady Vincent Kennedy McMahon, featuring Hulk Hogan on fake guitar and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage on fake trumpet.  Wow.  Just wow.
  87. Loretta Lynn, “Harper Valley P.T.A.”  I love how lax Lynn is on all of her live performance videos, on one hand totally calling out this kind of pseudo lip-synch junk as B.S. while remaining classy as all get up.  Cutaway of the guy holding her cue cards was golden.  Sort of amazing to what degree this breaks down at the end.
  88. David Bowie, “Let’s Dance”.  Just heard this covered at Trash Bar by a friend’s band.  I’m in it mainly for the bridge (“If you say run, I’ll run with you / If you say hide, we’ll hide”), which cryptically seems totally appropriate for this moment in my life.
  89. Chicago, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”.  Returned in download search for Robyn Hitchcock’s “If You Know Time”.  And yet, I kept listening.
  90. Gucci Mane (ft. Fabolous, Trey Songz & Nicki Minaj), “Lemonade (Remix)”.  Not his best, by a country mile, but the lady-hook works.
  91. Cee-Lo, “Fuck You”.  It may be wacky, but it’s not “Crazy”, you know?
  92. Psychedelic Horseshit, “Portals”.  “This song’s about going through portals.”  Touché.
  93. Aimee Mann, “Freeway”.  Studio version; not what it was when she played it live a year and a half ago on The Best Show on WFMU’s pledge drive show as I drove over the George Washington Bridge from Leonia, New Jersey into midtown Manhattan.
  94. Haunted George, “Swamp Witch”.
  95. Donovan, “Sunshine Superman”.  I didn’t choose to hear this; it was playing at Blue Bottle on Berry St.  It’s a fine song, and I got a really amazing (four dollar) “New Orleans” style iced coffee out of the deal.  Cool to later read that this song was written about the experience of dosing Sue Lyon though.
  96. Truman Peyote, “New Life, New Wife”.
  97. Fleetwood Mac, “Over and Over”.  I’ve only heard half of Tusk, but so far it’s not going well.
  98. The Harlem Shakes, “Strictly Game”.  Pretty good band, I don’t know what happened here but recommend their songs “Carpetbaggers” and “Sickos” in place of this.
  99. King Floyd, “Movin’ on Strong”.
  100. King Diamond, “Abigail”.  I’m trying to listen to more old metal but this did almost nothing for me, aside from showing us this massive San Paulo arena.  His voice is impressive but the backing track on the studio recording sounds like it could have been recorded on a Casio in an 80s teen movie by Anthony Michael Hall’s erect junk.

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