Monday, December 22, 2008
20 Favorite Songs of 2008
It's almost the end of the year so it's time to join the pack and bust out the "Best of the Year" lists. It could have been Guitar Hero, could have been Rock Band or just plain nostalgia but 2008 was a watershed year for Classic Rock. A slew of artists who I spent my high school years jamming to decided to reunite or reconfigure in some way to create new music. I normally pick just Ten favorite songs but this year I have enough for Twenty (I even had more than Twenty)! Most years I struggle just to find four songs to list so this just goes to show what a banner year it was for aging rock stars. Even Chinese Democracy came out (not that I care about the actual disc). So on with the countdown!
20. Lenny Kravitz - It Is Time For A Love Revolution
A brief marching blast of hippie Peace and Love with the reach to call for a cultural shift in values and sell department store clothing at the same time.
19. Chicago - Let's Take A Lifetime
The famed balladeers dial down the bombast and let the gooey syrup flow like Mrs. Butterworth colliding into Aunt Jemima in slow motion.
18. Def Leppard - Hallucinate
Sometimes self reverence pays as the Lep go full on "Photograph" mode with the hooky excess of multitracked vocals and revved up guitars that made them great.
17. The Bridges - Pieces
Matthew Sweet's protege's revive wholesome family oriented 70's AM Gold under a pillow of harmony vocals.
16. Flight of the Conchords - The Most Beautiful Girl In The Room
Pure love poetry: "You're so beautiful...you could be a part time model. Or a high class prostitute."
15. Alicia Keys - Like You'll Never See Me Again
Like a great lost Prince song, Alicia Keys pumps up the melodrama amid circling keyboards and a slow stepping groove.
14. Metallica - The Day That Never Comes
Time to stop guessing which other Metallica song this sounds like and just enjoy the ride. This I Swear!
13. The Lonely Island - Jizz In My Pants
Saturday Night Live wraps up their funniest year since I-can't-remember-when with the novelty tune of '08.
12. Rick Springfield - What's Victoria's Secret
Catchy ad campaign baiting pop rock awesomeness from The Genius.
11. Sheryl Crow - Gasoline
The theme song for a year that at its peak saw fuel prices skyrocket to the point people couldn't afford to drive to the next town while oil companies recorded record profits.
10. Death Cab For Cutie - Your New Twin Sized Bed
For anyone who at some point in their life wondered if there was another person out there for them, this song captures that feeling perfectly (fortunately I no longer have moments like these :)
9. Van Morrison - Soul
There's no way for me to describe Van the Man's butter smooth soulfulness in a way that hasn't been done before. But I'll try anyway. Van Morrison's voice is as smooth as C3P0's bronze ass. How's that? Oh, and this is a great song about how soul comes from within you, not what's outside of you.
8. The Ting Tings - Shut Up And Let Me Go
The New Wave revival has died off a bit though that hasn't stopped this duo from pushing this bit of IPOD worthy froth. The beat sticks in my head for days on end after I hear it.
7. Asia - Never Again
The Fab Four of my generation (not really, I just like saying that) regrouped and recaptured some Pomp Rock glory. Steve Howe shines with his most aggressive playing in ages. Never Again did I think I would hear these four guys play together, but here they are kicking ass like it's 1985.
6. Snoop Dogg - Sensual Seduction
I'm not big on rap music and not really a fan of Snoop Dogg so it was a shock to me that I like a song of his now. This jam is reminiscent of those old Zapp songs with the mechanized voices. Is it too late for me to learn the Running Man? Yes, yes it is. But not too late for me to like this song.
5. AC / DC - Big Jack
Barrelling down the freeway at 100 mph, AC/DC cranks up their trademark rumble and screech into a frenzy of Hard Rock ecstasy. I don't know who Big Jack is, but like most AC/DC songs it makes me want to drink till I fall down and yell loudly in the face of the nearest person available. Yeah!
4. Bruce Springsteen - Girls In Their Summer Clothes
Technically a 2007 song though it was released as a single this year so I'm including it. A touch of Brian Wilson enhances the reverie of this melodic masterpiece. The feeling of being too young to settle down yet too old to run with the kids paints a sharp picture of middle age. And it has Springsteen doing one of his best Orbison style dark crooning.
3. Journey - Never Walk Away
The 80's Arena Rockers put their new frontman Arnel Pineda straight in the line of fire by opening up with this soaring anthem. Energized by the new blood, Journey takes flight again with the power and grace that made them Platinum selling rock stars.
2. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
A song so good that everyone and their mother are convinced they wrote it, Coldplay brings in a sweeping orchestral sound I haven't heard since the hey day of the Moody Blues. Cold hearted orb that rules the night, steals the Sun from our sight...oops, wrong song. It may have just as well been the lyrics to "Viva la Vida" because I don't know what Chris Martin is going on about, something regarding bells ringing and St Peter or ruling the world. None of the words really matter, it's all about the symphonic groove struck here.
1. Dragonforce - Heroes Of Our Time
Well, let's get the disclaimers out of the way first. Yes, their recordings are said to be faked and sped up. Yes, every song they write sounds exactly the same as the song before it. Yes, their claim to fame is being a difficult level on a video game. So why can't I get enough of this cheese fest? Because I love me some cheese, especially with a little ham. And Dragonforce has got all that, Viking vocals, shred on top of shred guitar and ridiculous drum beats. I played this song more than any other song this year, so it deserves being named my favorite song of 2008. On the few occasions where I exercise, I love working out to this.
That's my Top 20 songs of the year, feel free to share your favorite songs of this year if you like because I enjoy reading about other people's faves. Oh yeah, I later realized Flight of the Conchords came from 2007 but I'm too lazy to redo this. I probably would have ranked Matthew Sweet's "Feel Fear" if I knew that. Next up, my Top 10 Favorite Albums of '08.