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.