John’s 300 favorite songs: 280-271

280. Everclear (pictured) — “Wonderful” — It’s nostalgic (the ‘Star Wars’ poster on Art Alexakis’ bedroom door) and upbeat at first glance, but it soon becomes clear that it’s sarcastic and negative.

279. The Ramones — “I Wanna Be Sedated” — I thought about using The Offspring’s cover from the “Idle Hands” soundtrack, but then realized that would be ridiculous because it merely mimics the excellent original.

278. Oleander — “I Walk Alone” — Out of the batch of heavy-ish rock bands from the late ’90s, I always connected most with this Sacramento outfit because of its pop sensibility and Tom Flowers’ distinctive voice.

277. Bruce Springsteen — “Darlington County” — It might have the most quotable lyrics of the “Born in the USA” tracks. For example: “Our pas each own one of the World Trade Centers/ For a kiss and a smile I’d give mine all to you.” And later: “I see Wayne handcuffed to the bumper of a state trooper’s Ford.”

276. Marvelous 3 — “This Time” — Butch Walker’s roommate wears dirty sweatpants and drinks all his booze, but Butch is ready to put his foot down about that and other issues in his life: “This time will be the last time …”

275. Kings of Leon — “Use Somebody” — Lead singer Anthony Followill has a gift for communicating his feelings entirely through the inflection of his voice. The lyrics fit, but they are almost superfluous.

274. Regina Spektor — “Fidelity” — Regina is generally a bit too quirky for my tastes, but her breakthrough tune has the right mix of hookiness to go with the quirkiness.

273. Beach Boys — “Feel Flows” — Not many songs sounded like this when it came out. It influenced a lot of future pop-rockers, and it also stands the test of time.

272. Avril Lavigne — “Girlfriend” — Just a straightforward pop tune that communicates a common feeling: Wanting what you can’t have and imagining what it would be like to do something about it.

271. The Beatles — “I Want to Hold Your Hand” — No, this isn’t a song that I go out of my way to listen to. However, when I consider that none of the other 299 songs on this list would exist without it, I figured I had better give it a nod.

chance's Gravatargood choice with the ramones.
although regspek and the beatles are top 10 all time for me…
i’m not big on either of those tracks 🙁
that being said, i appreciate your commentary for 271!
# Posted By chance | 7/5/10 2:49 PM
John Hansen's GravatarIndeed, the “Hold Your Hand” selection is more for what the song means to everyone who likes pop music, rather than for the song itself. Plus, I love how they used it in “American Dreams.” It seems like when that song came out, everyone realized music was changed forever.

“Fidelity” is a cute song. That’s how I know you are a huge Regina fan; you dismiss her most famous song in favor of the deeper album tracks.

# Posted By John Hansen | 7/5/10 5:59 PM
Matt's GravatarI have to admit I’ve listened to that Everclear record a million times. There are a few clunkers on it like an unecessary cover of Brown Eyed Girl but its a really solid break-up disc. You should check out the song Learning How to Smile. Art used to write some really good songs. Too bad he’s a huge douche. Good call on Regina even if it isnt her best song. Love, love, love the Beach Boys and Feel Flows is a great song. Cameron Crowe made good use of that in Almost Famous. They’re mostly lauded for the Pet Sound album which is brilliant but they recorded a few great ones after that when they all grew their hair
out and took a lot of drugs. Feel Flows is on Surfs Up which is a pretty dark album. You can buy it together with the Sunflower album now which is excellent as well
# Posted By Matt | 7/11/10 12:37 PM
John Hansen's GravatarI am not a fan of the “Songs from an American Movie” volumes. Compared to “So Much for the Afterglow,” I find them hard to listen to. Indeed, no one understands Art’s obsession with covering “Brown Eyed Girl” all the time. It’s not like that song had to be rescued from obscurity. I’ve been told by multiple sources that Regina has better tunes than “Fidelity”; I just haven’t heard ’em myself. “Feel Flows” is totally on here because of it’s use in “Almost Famous.” I might have another song coming up on my list that was also put to good use in that movie; you can probably guess what it is. And I might have more Beach Boys coming up as well. We shall see.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/11/10 2:16 PM
Matt's GravatarI still really like the first Songs from an American Movie, but Sparkle and Fade is still my favorite Everclear disc. And as much as I love Van Morrisson, Brown Eyed Girl needs to die. That guy wrote some of the best songs ever and all oldies radio and bad wedding DJ’s can find to play is that song? Is your other Almost Famous song American? Or Tiny Dancer? Those are the ones that stick out to me
# Posted By Matt | 7/11/10 4:16 PM
John Hansen's GravatarI’ve heard from multiple people that there are other good Van Morrison songs. I will have to look for them someday. What will the other “Almost Famous” song be? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/12/10 2:13 AM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 290-281

290. Gin Blossoms — “Hey Jealousy” — The Gin Blossoms knew the ’90s were here before a lot of their contemporaries did, as this 1992 song demonstrates.

289. Natalie Imbruglia — “Torn” — Natalie is all torn up by a recent breakup, and her emotions come through in this song that was overplayed even as the singer herself managed to disappear from the pop charts.

288. Mariah Carey — “Always Be My Baby” — Although Mariah and her boyfriend have broken up, she knows that at some point they’ll get back together because he will always be her baby. Or will they? That’s the heart-wrenching question that lurks underneath this delicately catchy tune.

287. Courtney Love — “Sunset Strip” — A well-written song that becomes more powerful because of who is singing it, especially when Love croaks out “Look at me for the very last time …”

286. “Team America: World Police” theme song — Due to the explicit lyrics, I’ll let my readers find this clip on their own. Suffice it to say that it’s a great track to blast on Independence Day, but you’ll probably want to do so in your home or car rather than at a park or your workplace.

285. John Fogerty — “Centerfield” — In addition to being about baseball, this song sounds like what baseball would sound like if the sport was transformed into music. A ballpark classic.

284. Bruce Springsteen — “My Hometown” — A powerful song that sounds the death knell of small towns. It’s easy to toss this aside if you’re looking for a more rocking Boss cut, but I’m always surprised by how the riff catches my attention along with the message.

283. Smashing Pumpkins — “Believe” — I believe Billy Corgan let James Iha record this rough-but-beautiful track as a B-side to the band’s “1979” single.

282. The Killers — “All These Things That I’ve Done” — There are dozens of catchy moments that got people to run out and buy the band’s breakthrough “Hot Fuss” album. For a friend of mine, it was the part where Brandon Flowers repeats “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier.” Amen.

281. Rilo Kiley — “The Frug” — Little Jenny Lewis from “The Wizard” tells us that she will do the Frug and various other dances, but she will not do the Smurf. Of course, the ridiculousness of the topic is part of the song’s charm.

Chance's Gravatari can’t begin to tell you how much i LOVE 282!
also, i’m impressed that someone else around here also listens to rilo kiley.
guess what. j. lewis sings vocals on two songs on the b. flowers solo album that comes out in sept.
they’re both from Vegas if you didn’t know. 🙂
# Posted By Chance | 7/5/10 2:42 PM
John Hansen's GravatarThere might be more Killers and Rilo Kiley coming up on the list. We shall see. That will be an awesome collaboration between Brandon and Jenny. Didn’t even realize they were both from the Vegas scene. Looking forward to it.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/5/10 5:55 PM
Matt's GravatarThere are a few really good tracks on that Courtney Love disc. The first single “Mono” should have been a big hit for her. It’s a messy disc though. I like Centerfield just because its the title track from an album that holds one of the more interesting music stories of the last 30 years. And the Gin Blossoms are way underrated. They recorded a bunch of Big Star sounding singles in the 90’s and should be looked on better
# Posted By Matt | 7/11/10 10:41 AM
John Hansen's GravatarYou introduced me to that Courtney track via one of your mix discs. The depth of the lyrics is somewhat Butch Walker-esque. Interesting; I always thought the Gin Blossoms were somewhat overrated since they had three hit songs that all sounded identical. I kind of have a soft spot for them since they are one of “my” bands from the ’90s. Maybe I should try more of their stuff.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/11/10 2:11 PM

John’s 300 favorite songs: 300-291

My friend Chance recently cranked out his 300 favorite songs on his Facebook page, and that inspired me to create my own list. I’ll post 10 songs a day over the next 30 days.

Feel free to share your reminiscences of these songs and comment on whether you love ’em, hate ’em or are indifferent. The really great ones will be higher up on the list, of course. But I can say that at one point or another, I liked all 300 of these songs.

300. Green Day — “Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)” — It was the soundtrack to all the poignant moments of the late ’90s, most notably the “Seinfeld” finale.

299. Rick Springfield — “Jesse’s Girl” — There are a lot of horrible, overplayed songs on the cover-band circuit, but this one always gets my feet tapping. It still holds up a billion plays later.

298. AC/DC — “Hard as a Rock” — My favorite AC/DC song is a somewhat obscure choice, but to me, nothing else competes with this riff.

297. Dido — “Here with Me” — Being the “Roswell” theme song bumps this one up a notch, but it’s not a bad tune to begin with.

296. Crash Test Dummies — “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” — The deep voice and the simple-as-it-gets chorus give this entry oddity value, but it’s also a powerful little number.

295. Remy Zero — “Perfect Memory” — One of those classic farewell songs, with the obvious but effective “I’ll remember you” lyric.

294. Motley Crue — “Girls Girls Girls” — If you’re looking for an obnoxiously great hair band rocker, look no further than this ditty about “long legs and burgundy lips.”

293. Presidents of the United States of America — “Peaches” — The best song ever written about fruit paved the way for other semi-jokey pop bands at the turn of the century.

292. Everlast and Santana — “Put Your Lights On” — A steamy, sultry summer song that shows off Santana’s talent while still being an Everlast song.

291. Treble Charger — “Ever She Flows” — Katie Holmes danced on a truck bed to this tune in “Disturbing Behavior” and thus I discovered one of the many talented Canadian pop bands to emerge in the ’90s.

chance's GravatarPEACHES! I had totally forgotten about that song!
# Posted By chance | 7/3/10 1:00 AM
Neal's GravatarAhhh…some classics on here. Girls, Girls Girls is an epic! Who doesn’t hear the motorcycles revving and doesn’t get fired up to do whatever they’re doing??

Some of Tommy’s best drumming to boot.

# Posted By Neal | 7/3/10 10:51 AM
John Hansen's GravatarGlad you guys liked the choices. Hopefully I’ll have more “Hey, I remember that song!” responses as I go through the list. Yeah, “Girls Girls Girls” is a song where you know you are supposed to dismiss it as a stupid hair band song, and yet it is impossible to deny that it is awesome once that opening lick kicks in.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/3/10 1:48 PM
Matt's GravatarGirls Girls Girls is amazing. I’m not afraid of my butt-rock past. Jesse’s girl is classic but the only thing I can think of when I hear it is that classic scene in Boogie Nights. For those two songs I’ll let you slide for picking a terrible AC/DC song
# Posted By Matt | 7/11/10 10:34 AM
John Hansen's GravatarThere’s no shame in liking good butt-rock. The problem is with bad butt-rock, and unfortunately it’s the bad butt-rock that gets most of the attention. C’mon, that AC/DC tune has an epic riff to it. I bet it sounds great in an arena. All their other good songs are too overplayed for me to enjoy them anymore.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/11/10 2:09 PM
Matt's GravatarI dig the Crue. I’ve seen them in concert numerous times and have met them. Rock music and the world would be a lesser place without them.The problem I have with that AC/DC tune is its the same song as every other song they’ve written since Brian Johnson joined the band. They’ve made a career out of writing the same song 100 times and changing the lyrics slightly. The Bon Scott era is much better. Give me Let There Be Rock or Whole Lotta Rosie anyday. Oh, and I especially hate the way the chorus of all their songs is just the song title repeated over and over
# Posted By Matt | 7/11/10 4:08 PM
John Hansen's GravatarNot exactly. The chorus is “Hard as a rock/ Well it’s harder than a rock.” So there.
# Posted By John Hansen | 7/12/10 2:10 AM

One more day until ‘Futurama’ returns and all is right with the world again (TV commentary)


“Futurama” made a habit of exposing — in a funny way — all that was wrong with the world when it ran from 1999-2003 on Fox. But for me and many other “Futurama” fans, all will seem right with the world when the show returns with its two-episode season premiere at 9 p.m. Central Thursday on Comedy Central.

Continue reading “One more day until ‘Futurama’ returns and all is right with the world again (TV commentary)”

‘Pandorum,’ ‘Daybreakers,’ ‘Youth in Revolt,’ ‘Kick-Ass’ (Movie reviews)

When you’re hanging out with old friends, watching a movie is often the last resort when looking for something to do. After all, you can’t talk during a movie anyway (at least not too much), and you could always watch a movie on your own and get equal enjoyment from it.

Continue reading “‘Pandorum,’ ‘Daybreakers,’ ‘Youth in Revolt,’ ‘Kick-Ass’ (Movie reviews)”

State of Television Address: New fall shows (Commentary)

Here’s a look at the noteworthy premieres of the fall season. I’m skipping over the bland sitcoms (even if they’re based on a clever Twitter feed or star Joanna Garcia) and the procedural remakes (“Hawaii Five-O”) and spinoffs (like the one for “Criminal Minds”). But I encourage you to check out Zap2It’s guide for a more comprehensive look at the fall lineup, as well as the primetime grid.

Continue reading “State of Television Address: New fall shows (Commentary)”

The inevitable ‘Glee’ backlash: Is it here already? (TV commentary)

A friend of mine recently said he hates “Glee” (the first-season finale will air at 7:59 p.m. Central Tuesday on Fox). He shared his opinion after the episode that featured two KISS songs, and he’s a big KISS fan, and I think it might have been the first episode he watched, but still, he makes a valid point: Why perform songs if they are going to be inferior to the original version?

Continue reading “The inevitable ‘Glee’ backlash: Is it here already? (TV commentary)”