June 12th, 2008

bending the strings

A Music Post, Imagine Ye That

Thanks to hipsterdetritus, my guide to all that is sub-optimal in music fandom, for alerting me to this: sometimes people will ax, who killed hip-hop? Or, as Anti-Pop put it, who popped the stripper? The answer: it was the Internet. I pretty much want to punch everyone involved in this post right in the face.

Let's move on to THREE SONGS FROM 1983 THAT I ONCE SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED AS CANDIDATES FOR THE BEST SONG EVER WRITTEN, shall we?

The Song: "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" by X, from More Fun in the New World
Qualities It Possessed That Made It a Candidate for Best Song Ever: Simple yet instantly memorable riff. Clever fusion of L.A. punk sound with cool jazz elements. One of the best-ever examples of John Doe & Exene Cervenka's vocal compatibility. Amazingly smooth, almost imperceptible build from a quiet beginning to a furious ending. Profoundly political lyrics filtered through a deeply personal sensibility. Funny background dialogue at the end. John Doe whistling a variant on the main melody as the song winds down. DJ's drumming.
Then Again, Maybe Not: Dated lyrical reference to "British Invasion" synth-pop.

The Song: "Holiday Road" by Lindsay Buckingham, from the soundtrack to National Lampoon's Vacation
Qualities It Possessed That Made It a Candidate for Best Song Ever: Unbelievably catchy hook. Excellent guitar playing, all done by the underrated Buckingham. Propulsive, bouncy rhythm track. Sunny, breezy feel: perfect pop. Rare use of handclap percussion that is not instantly annoying. Terrific guitar solo. Presence on soundtrack to movie that reminds us of the very last moment in world history when Chevy Chase was funny, as opposed to a laughingstock. Just-right use of backup singers. Status as undisputed classic car music for driving with the windows down.
Then Again, Maybe Not: Sample of barking dog at end of song is unsettling.

The Song: "Metal Health" by Quiet Riot, from Metal Health
Qualities It Possessed That Made It a Candidate for Best Song Ever: Staggeringly great monster guitar chord to open song, immediately followed by one of the all-time great hard rock screams from Kevin DuBrow. Nice choogling guitar riffs in verses followed by killer chord licks in choruses. Song actually does make you want to bang your head, fulfilling most urgent requirement of metal while adding fun self-referential aspect. Presence of evil chuckle. Amazingly great trashy lyrics, culminating in transcendently awesome moment when DuBrown says "I'm not a loser and I ain't no weeper".
Then Again, Maybe Not: Second guitar solo makes the song go on a tad too long.