John’s 300 favorite songs: 140-131

140. Bob Dylan — “Hurricane” — A good song by a good man doing his part to help out another good man. Songs like this just don’t come along too often.

139. Suzy Bogguss — cover of Tom Russell and Nanci Griffith’s “Outbound Plane” — A little extra production isn’t always a bad thing. Here, it helps a strong folk song soar to the next level.

138. Traveling Wilburys — “Not Alone Anymore” — A wonderful Roy Orbison track from his all-too-brief time with the Wilburys.

137. Weird Al Yankovic — “The Saga Begins” — Parodies work best when the comic likes the source material, and there are enough details here to make me suspect that Weird Al kinda likes “The Phantom Menace” (or at least “Star Wars”).

136. Marvelous 3 — “Every Monday” — Butch Walker is one of the few artists who can write lyrics that break your heart and make you laugh at the same time. “I was f***** up by 5/ Talkin’ nothin’ but jive/ Told the bartender he’d never take me alive/ All of this because my favorite show got canceled last night on TV.”

135. The Moffatts — “Misery” — For a song about being let down, it has a heckuva buildup to the chorus.

134. Matchbox 20 — “Back 2 Good” — MB20 encapsulates the feeling of being sad in a supposedly happy place, like at a party with friends: “‘Cause everyone here/ Knows everyone here is thinkin’ ’bout somebody else.”

133. Ray LaMontagne — “Hold You in My Arms” — Ray’s music seems out of place in the 21st century. In a good way.

132. Garbage — “I’m Only Happy When it Rains” — One of my most depressed high school friends loved this song. Depressed people tend to have good taste in music.

131. P.J. Olsson — “Ready for a Fall” — It’s obvious that P.J. has known both love and the crushing fall that comes afterward.

chance's Gravatar140, 138, 133
# Posted By chance | 7/19/10 5:55 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 150-141

150. Ben Folds — “Still Fighting It” — Only Ben Folds could make “The roast beef combo’s only $9.95” sound so poignant. But that’s just the beginning, as the song turns into an ageless epic about how it sucks to grow up.

149. The Darkness — “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” — For one hair-metal-on-steroids throwback song, we believed in a band called The Darkness.

148. Spacehog — “In the Meantime” — Sometimes “Ooooh-ooooh-ooooh-ooooh-ooooh” is all the lyric you need.

147. Bruce Springsteen — “Glory Days” — Wistful, melancholy lyrics, but the music is so upbeat that it kind of makes me smile anyway (wistfully, though).

146. ‘Til Tuesday — “(Believed You Were) Lucky” — Sure, Aimee Mann’s voice sounds great on her folkier stuff, but it goes to another level with her backing band, which sounds so ’80s, but not in a bad way.

145. The Verve Pipe — “The Freshmen” — This song about immature-but-innocent kids sounded epically poignant to my ear in 1996. Still does.

144. Cat Power — “Islands” — A pretty little tune about giving up on love: “I want to rule the islands/ And I want to rule the sea/ But if you’re not coming back/ I will sleep eternally.”

143. Our Lady Peace — “Innocent” — Sometimes it’s good to drop the blame game and remember that none of us human beings really know what we’re doing. OLP captures that sentiment through a few nice anecdotes and the simple chorus.

142. The Shins — “New Slang” — I don’t know what it’s about, but it sounds pretty. Huge bonus points: It was the song on the headphones during the meet-cute between Sam and Large in “Garden State.”

141. Keane — “Somewhere Only We Know” — Again, Keane rocks the piano so effectively that you’ll wonder why other bands use guitars.

chance's Gravatar150, 142, 141
# Posted By chance | 7/19/10 5:55 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 160-151

160. Avril Lavigne — “Anything But Ordinary” — A rare pop song that — rather than reflecting on drama — asks for more drama: “Somebody rip my heart out/ And leave me here to bleed … I’d rather be anything but ordinary please.”

159. The Old 97s — “Question” — I can’t guarantee that playing this song will get her to say yes. But I can guarantee that it’s ridiculously pretty (so much so that Rhett Miller recorded it on two albums).

158. Vanilla Ice — “Ninja Rap” — It’s the only rap song to which I know every word (which I guess tells you something about my interest in the genre).

157. Guided by Voices — “Chasing Heather Crazy” — At first I thought Robert Pollard was “chasing after Daisy.” Regardless, it’s one of GBV’s prettiest songs.

156. Bruce Springsteen — “My Love Will Not Let You Down” — One of the best Boss songs when played live.

155. The Spinto Band — “Oh Mandy” — I wish I knew a girl named Mandy so this song could be about her. Cutest random lyric: “Show me a rerun on the W/ Show me a rerun on the WB.”

154. She & Him — “In the Sun” — Zooey Deschanel could read a phone book and I’d find it beautiful, but it’s nice when the song itself is pretty too.

153. Everclear — “Normal Like You” — An anthem for people who struggle to be normal like everyone else.

152. Alanis Morissette — “Wake Up” — From the ubiquitous “Jagged Little Pill” album, this was the only track that really connected with me. Memorable lyric: “‘Cause it’s easy not to/ So much easier not to/ And what goes around never comes around to you.”

151. Shakira — “Don’t Bother” — Shakira is more of a music video dancer than a singer, but this song sounds good even without the visuals.

chance's Gravatar154!!!!!!!!!!
# Posted By chance | 7/18/10 12:23 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 170-161

170. Soul Asylum — “Oxygen” — Only the die-hards noticed, but Soul Asylum actually put out one of its best songs just a few years ago.

169. Kelly Clarkson — “Since U Been Gone” — Clarkson and this song are Exhibit A for why “American Idol” can’t be dismissed out of hand as a talent source.

168. 3 Doors Down — “So I Need You” — I don’t even notice anymore when 3DD puts out a new album, but in 2000 I was all about this song from Escatawpa, Mississippi’s finest.

167. matchbox twenty — “Last Beautiful Girl” — A cool roller coaster of a pop song with bitingly bitter lyrics by Rob Thomas.

166. The Rolling Stones — “Wild Horses” — I also like the Sundays’ cover, but not enough to snub the original.

165. Primitive Radio Gods — “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” — Tip to avoid becoming a one-hit wonder: Don’t make your first song this good; everything else will pale in comparison.

164. Sophie Zelmani — “I’ll Remember You” — This was Xander’s heartbreak song after Buffy turned down his offer of a date in Season 1, but it’s versatile enough that it works for anyone’s broken heart.

163. Johnny Cash — cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” — Even people who are rabidly anti-covers make an exception for this song, where Cash’s legendary voice really does sound hurt.

162. Brooks West — “Think About You” — Brooks was a folkie in the Fargo-Moorhead scene at the turn of the century who has since moved on to Nashville, and hopefully a lot of success is ahead for him. When I think of songs that sound great in a coffee shop, this gem about gone-but-not-forgotten love is at the top of my list.

161. Bon Jovi — “It’s My Life” — One of my favorite rebellious rock anthems.

chance's Gravatar163. is terrific!
# Posted By chance | 7/17/10 4:41 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 180-171

180. The Beatles — “Here Comes the Sun” — This right here is the reason George is my favorite Beatle.

179. Beyonce featuring Jay-Z — “Crazy in Love” — Normally I’m not a fan of sampling. The exception is when you take an old riff and put it to better use, like with Beyonce’s catchiest song.

178. Better Than Ezra — “Good” — Wah-ah, this song is good. Awah-awah-ah-wahah, yeah it’s good.

177. Aerosmith — “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” — The perfect over-the-top ballad for an awesomely over-the-top movie.

176. matchbox twenty — “All I Need” — Yeah, MB20 started to get overproduced on their later albums, but on this track, the songwriting overpowers the production. (And, frankly, the riff ain’t too shabby, either.)

175. Hilary Duff — “Wake Up” — It’s Saturday night, and anything seems possible in this little pop gem.

174. Belle and Sebastian — “White Collar Boy” — Some songs are great because they mirror the listener’s emotion. This one is great because it creates the feeling of longing after a girl, regardless of what you were thinking about when it started playing. Best lyric: “She said ‘You ain’t ugly, you can kiss me if you like’/ Go ahead and kiss her, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

173. Dido — “White Flag” — Traditional social standards say Dido’s behavior in this narrative is pathetic, but I find it rather admirable that she opts to go down with the ship of this relationship. After all, she’s in love, and always will be.

172. Bruce Springsteen — “I’m Goin’ Down” — Not getting the girl never before sounded so sweet. Everyone can relate to lyrics like “I’m sick and tired of ya setting me up/ Just ta knocka knocka knocka me down.”

171. Rihanna featuring Jay-Z — “Umbrella” — No one tells Rihanna that “umbrella” only has three syllables. No one. When you think outside the grammatical box, an irresistible pop hook can result.

Matt's Gravatari didnt realize you were such a big matchbox 20 fan
# Posted By Matt | 7/17/10 12:24 AM
chance's Gravatar180. and 174. are awesome!
George is my favorite Beatle too… you have redeemed yourself
# Posted By chance | 7/17/10 4:39 AM
John Hansen's GravatarA lot of my list is ’90s stuff — which I know you don’t care for — but it’s front-loaded with 2000s and pre-’90s stuff, so I think you’ll like the direction it’s headed in.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/17/10 9:24 AM
John Hansen's GravatarMB20 is good for a gem or two off of each album. I like their earlier stuff better. I pretty much dismiss Thomas’ solo work out of hand; it’s popular, but not as interesting as his early MB20 work.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/17/10 1:20 PM
chance's Gravataroh good… when it comes to ’90s i only care about radiohead and belle & sebastian! that’s not good… i know
# Posted By chance | 7/18/10 12:25 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 190-181

190. The Jayhawks — “Angelyne” — Has self-pity ever before sounded so gorgeous? I think not.

189. Brenda Weiler — “California” — My favorite song from the most talented musician from my graduating class (Fargo South High School, 1996).

188. Live — “Run to the Water” — This powerful epic proves that it’s possible to build up to a big finale without sacrificing the overall rockingness of the song.

187. Soul Asylum — “Without a Trace” — The classic “Eat my dust” song to blast in your vehicle as you depart a place you’d rather not return to anytime soon.

186. Angie Stevens — “This Soul, These Hands” — My favorite song from the best musician to come out of Brainerd, Minn., in the early 21st century. I’m glad to see she’s finding lots of new fans in Denver.

185. Lifehouse — “Hanging by a Moment” — Considering how clichéd this band has become, it’s interesting to recall how cool and original this song sounded when it came out.

184. Bruce Springsteen — “Brilliant Disguise” — Bruce makes “disguise” into a five-syllable word; one of many reasons I dig this entry from his underappreciated “I don’t need the E-Street Band” phase.

183. davis? — “The Afterthought” — I thought this seven-minute epic from my all-time favorite Fargo, N.D., band sounded awesome, so I asked lead singer Ike Morsch what the song meant. He said he didn’t want to talk about it because he had become embarrassed by the song since he wrote it. That’s when I knew these guys were rock stars in the making. (Sadly, they have since fallen off the face of the Earth, and the Internet; hence no linkage).

182. Talk Show — “Hello Hello” — I saw Talk Show open for the Foo Fighters in 1997 and they left the stage angrily when some morons in the crowd started chanting “STP” (Talk Show spun off from Stone Temple Pilots). At least they played this song before that happened.

181. The Police — “Every Breath You Take” — The most beautiful song ever written from the point of view of a stalker.

chance's Gravatari agree 100% w/ your comment on 185.
# Posted By chance | 7/14/10 11:15 PM
John Hansen's GravatarI’m glad we agree on something. I’m sorry you’re not digging this list so far. I’ve got some good stuff coming up, though. I know you’ll like my top 10 at least.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/15/10 1:04 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 200-191

200. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers — “Walls” — Whether played in the “happy” or “sad” tempo, this is a great Petty tune.

199. Epic Hero — “One Fine Day” — The best track by the best band to come out of the Twin Cities that no one has heard of. (They’re also really nice guys who deserve tons of music success.) This tune was part of an album produced by Dan Wilson soon after he called it quits with Semisonic.

198. Fuel — “Bad Day” — Brett Scallions’ sheer vocal passion pushes this downer rocker from anemic to anthemic.

197. Sophie B. Hawkins — “As I Lay Me Down” — Even though the narrator’s travails probably won’t have a happy ending, the soundscape alone is enough to drag a listener out of a funk.

196. Buffalo Tom — “Anything That Way” — It makes me think of a girl I used to like who loved this song and introduced me to the music of Buffalo Tom. I don’t know if that makes me happy or sad, but I knew the song had to be somewhere in my top 300.

195. Hootie and the Blowfish — “Only Wanna Be With You” — The first great song from a band so uncool that they were actually kinda cool. I always liked ’em, and now that their mega-popularity is long past, the mass disapproval has passed too, and we can just appreciate Hootie’s songs because they sound nice.

194. Hilary and Haylie Duff — cover of the Go-Go’s “Our Lips are Sealed” — The already energetic Go-Go’s classic gets cranked up another notch by the Duff sisters.

193. The Perishers — “Sway” — A song that makes you feel unashamed about being a dreamer.

192. Camera Obscura — “Suspended from Class” — If you do get suspended from class, pop in this transcendent tune and you probably won’t want to go back to school anyway.

191. The Wallflowers — “How Good It Can Get” — Sometimes a song is decent until it gets to a certain lyric and then it achieves greatness. On this one, it’s when Jakob sings “But I wish you’d stay/ And just let me in/ ‘Cause everything can change/ But you gotta be ready ’cause you won’t know when.”

chance's Gravatarboring
# Posted By chance | 7/14/10 11:12 PM
John Hansen's GravatarNow wait a second. I hit you up with a great Tom Petty tune and Camera Obscura’s first hit. Those are at least worth a nod.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/15/10 1:01 AM
Matt's GravatarBuffalo Toms “Big Red Letter Day” is one of my favorite 90’s discs. The record after that “Sleepy Eyed” is right up there too. They put out a record a few years ago too thats pretty good
# Posted By Matt | 7/17/10 12:28 AM
John Hansen's GravatarReally, you can’t go wrong with any Buffalo Tom disc. Very accessible. I haven’t checked out their latest disc yet; I was pleasantly surprised to see that they are still making music.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/17/10 9:22 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 210-201

210. Foo Fighters — “Long Road to Ruin” — The Foo Fighters have a knack for writing songs that you feel should’ve been written already. It’s like they fill in the obvious gaps of rock history.

209. Michael Jackson — “Stranger in Moscow” — It takes a while to get going, but it’s worth the wait. In the subgenre of songs where the singer just repeats “How does it feel?” over and over, this is my favorite.

208. Bruce Springsteen — “Born to Run” — This song should’ve been overplayed right out of my top 300. But it’s just too much of a masterpiece to leave it off, even if I don’t need to hear it ever again.

207. Velvet Chain — “Strong” — This song, best known for being on the “Buffy” soundtrack, transports me to an imaginary small-town club that exclusively plays good music by up-and-coming bands and draws large, passionate music-loving crowds every night. Like I said, it’s imaginary.

206. Tabitha’s Secret — “Forever December” — An all-over-the-place, atmospheric epic from before Rob Thomas started over-enunciating his words with Matchbox 20/matchbox twenty/his solo work.

205. Janis Ian — “At Seventeen” — It captures that moment when a young, happy person realizes how cruel the world is. It’s a necessary lesson, but that doesn’t make it any less melancholy.

204. Carole King — “Where You Lead” — This song was made for “Gilmore Girls,” one of my all-time favorite shows. I know it came out 30 years before “Gilmore Girls,” but it was still made for it, if you know what I mean.

203. Britney Spears — “Lucky” — Think it’d be awesome to be a celebrity? Then consider the story of (the entirely fictional) Lucky, who wonders “If there’s nothing missing in my life/ Then why do these tears come at night?”

202. Vanessa Carlton — “White Houses” — A great coming-of-age story song, delivered by the ideal-sounding voice for the story.

201. Stiff Dylans — “Ultraviolet” — A whiny-sounding modern punk song that I would dismiss except for the fact that it’s ridiculously awesome.

chance's GravatarBorn to Run… yuck
# Posted By chance | 7/12/10 2:16 AM
John Hansen's GravatarI understand where you’re coming from, but I couldn’t say with a straight face that “Born to Run” isn’t one of the top 300 songs of all time. Plus, it’s the entry point to Bruce’s entire catalogue of “let’s break out of here and get a better life” songs, which I celebrate.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/12/10 2:26 AM
Shaune's GravatarI love the mention of ‘Forever December’. One of my favorite unknown songs as well. Not sure I was suprised to see you knew of it considering how big of a Matchbox 20 fan you were..
# Posted By Shaune | 7/15/10 3:16 PM
John Hansen's GravatarShaune —

You were the one who introduced me to Tabitha’s Secret! That was back in the day when we learned about music just by talking to our friends. I’m glad to see you still dig them; I thought maybe you had moved on. Oddly, I lost my Tabitha’s Secret CD at some point (it might’ve been in a batch of CDs that got stolen a few years back), so I’m glad they popped into my head as I was compiling this list.

# Posted By John Hansen | 7/16/10 1:09 AM
Matt's GravatarBorn to Run would have been much higher for me. And good to see some Carole King on your list. I have a framed copy of Tapestry hanging on one of the walls in my house thats how much I love that record. The Janis Ian track is nice as well
# Posted By Matt | 7/17/10 12:23 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 220-211

220. Jewel — “Intuition” — I admit it; I think this song is catchy. I also like how Jewel was doing a parody of sell-outs and got wrongly criticized by people who didn’t understand that it was a parody, but then later sold out by selling this song to a ladies’ razor commercial.

219. Michelle Branch — “Sweet Misery” — Heartbreak has rarely sounded so pretty.

218. Tonic — “Mean to Me” — Whiny or awesome? I’ll go with the latter.

217. Camera Obscura — “My Maudlin Career” — Most bands get self-referential on their second album; CO waited till their fourth. And in typical Tracyanne fashion, even though the lyrics are maudlin, the song is flat-out beautiful.

216. Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson — “Say Say Say” — Sorry, “The Girl is Mine” fans. This catchy number gets my vote as the superior Mac-and-Jack collaboration.

215. The Wallflowers — cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” — It gets the nod over the original due to a more muscular bass line and the creative use of Godzilla roars among the backing instrumentation.

214. Modest Mouse — “Float On” — Most songs on this list are about things going wrong, but this song nicely captures that feeling when things are going OK.

213. Marvelous 3 — “Grant Park” — Part of Butch Walker’s continuing effort to rewrite ’80s rock history as being even cooler than we remember.

212. Bruce Springsteen — “Long Walk Home” — You can find new meanings on each listen. My favorite line is the Lennon-esque “No flag flying over the courthouse/ No certain things are set in stone.”

211. Keane — “This is the Last Time” — “This is the last time you fall on me for anything you like/ You one last line/ You fall on me for anything you like/ And yes, make everything all right/ You fall on me for anything you like/ And I know I don’t mind.” It doesn’t make literal sense, but I get what Tom Chaplin is saying. And I know I’m probably hearing the lyrics wrong, but whatever.

chance's Gravatarmore CO i see. very nice…
i knew that you would pick the wrong Paul/MJ collabo.
how dare you not choose Bowie. i’m disgusted w/ you… seriously
Keane. nice. Tim RIce-Oxley (the writer) has a new band. “Mt. Desolation”. you should check it out…
# Posted By chance | 7/12/10 2:15 AM
John Hansen's GravatarI knew you’d be disgusted with me, so I made sure to look up the Bowie version on YouTube before I posted this chunk of songs. Played it back-to-back with the Wallflowers’ version. Jakob and the boys just brought it to a new level. That’s not a slight against Bowie, it’s a compliment to the Wallflowers. On “The Girl is Mine,” they just tell each other “the girl is mine” over and over. It’s kind of cute, but “Say Say Say” has more depth to it. It was a close call, though. I’m kind of surprised you support the one from the MJ album over the one from the McCartney album, since you are a big Beatles fan.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/12/10 2:23 AM
Matt's GravatarI’m going to agree with you John on the Macca/MJ duet. I think its the better song plus the video was funny. Very 80’s MTV. Another Tonic song?
# Posted By Matt | 7/17/10 12:18 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 230-221

230. Hootie and the Blowfish — “Tucker’s Town” — The first time I heard the transcendent opening chords, I wanted to go to Tucker’s Town, wherever that might be.

229. Doves — “Pounding” — As the name suggests, it has a pounding beat, but that’s just the starting point for a band that knows how to layer sounds in the catchiest possible way.

228. Katy Perry — “I Kissed a Girl” — A pseudo-controversial piece of yummy bubblegum.

227. Collective Soul — “Goodnight Good Guy” — With its quick-hitting chorus (“Who’s gonna lift you up …”), this was/is my favorite track off the band’s hook-laden debut, even if I now realize it might have religious undertones.

226. Ivy — “Edge of the Ocean” — What would a song about the edge of the ocean sound like? Exactly as pretty as this.

225. The Polyphonic Spree — “Hold Me Now” — If you aren’t perked up a bit by this song, you’re pretty down.

224. Third Eye Blind — “Never Let You Go” — 3eb tailed off quite a bit after their first album, but at least they still had this stadium gem up their sleeves.

223. Dan Wilson and Bic Runga — “Good Morning Baby” — Everyone’s thought “I hope I’m gonna make it through another day” at some point, and this is a nice companion piece for that feeling.

222. The Thorns — “I Can’t Remember” — This supergroup could’ve been the next Traveling Wilburys, but wasn’t. They gave us one great tune, though.

221. The Lonely Island — “J*** in My Pants” — “Saturday Night Live’s” Andy Samberg and his band deliver the funniest song you’ll find on YouTube. To protect the easily offended, I won’t link to it. But if you’re not offended, seek out the fan-made nerd remix also.

chance's Gravatar221.!
i love the lonely island
my favourite track of theirs is “boombox” w/ julian casablancas
# Posted By chance | 7/10/10 12:14 PM
Matt's GravatarThat Thorns record is frustrating but then again Matthew Sweet is a pretty frustrating artist. I have a ton of his discs to prove it. It’s funny because the songs were suppose to be independent of the other artists but also in harmony but they all just sound like Sweet triple tracked his vocals.
# Posted By Matt | 7/17/10 12:13 AM