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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Top 85 Songs of 1989

This is a pretty tough year for me to be unbiased towards because two of its albums, Paul's Boutique and Junta are on my "deserted island" albums list.  If you review all these critic's lists, the Beastie Boys album does pretty well usually, but Phish naturally is nowhere to be seen.   So I'll make sure they're seen at least.  Other great things that happen this year is Tom Petty comes back from the dead, De La Soul starts creating attitude free rap and a heavy metal band out of Seattle changes everything or at least kills butt rock.   

85.  Punk Rock Girl – Dead Milkmen (Punk)89

They declared war on Poison when they folded over the Look What the Cat Dragged In album in the video.   By today's standards, I'd consider them Avril Lavigne punk. 

84.  So Damn Pretty (Should Be Against the Law) – Warrant (Butt Rock)89

Warrant’s kind of like a Poison ripoff, if you can believe that.  I’ve noticed my favorite butt rock songs are those that usually revolve around cheap sex. 

83.  Heaven’s Trail – Tesla (Butt Rock)89
82.  Love Shack – B-52s (Pop)89
81.  You Had Too Much to Drink – EPMD (Rap)89

Remember when rap had “Just Say No” kinds of messages? 

80.  Youth Gone Wild – Skid Row (Butt Rock)89
79.  Bust a Move – Young MC (Rap)89
78.  Never Enough – L.A. Guns (Butt Rock)89
77.  I’ll Be You – The Replacements (Alternative)89
76.  Just a Friend – Biz Markie (Rap)89

Did the Biz coin the phrase, “Oh, snap!”?

75.  So Alive – Love and Rockets (Alternative)89
74.  Veronica – Elvis Costello (Alternative)89
73.  Lovesong – The Cure (Gothic)89

I’m full of shit if I can tell you the true difference between Gothic and Alternative and Post Punk, but this song does pass my “Someone dancing alone with a cigarette in their hand” test. 

72.  Can’t Be Sure – The Sundays (Alternative)89
71.  Hangin on a Limb – Neil Young (Folk)89
70.  Blew – Nirvana (Grunge)89
69.  3-Minute Rule – Beastie Boys (Rap)89
68.  Lullaby – The Cure (Alternative)89
67.  F.I.N.E. – Aerosmith (Butt Rock)89

I was 14 for the majority of 1989, and when Pump and Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood came out, I was angered that Hartford Courant rock critic gave the Aerosmith album a great review and he shat all over Motley Crue.  In anger, after the Crue debuted at #1 while Aerosmith’s initial chart position wasn’t even close, I wrote him a letter.  This was the first time I was published, and Roger’s witty retort was written blow, but good job guy, you just looked soooo big versus a 14-year-old who was probably wearing a Ratt shirt at the time.   It must be tough being a critic. 

66.  Love Is a Long Road – Tom Petty (Rock)89

Full Moon Fever is one of those bizarre phenomena where an artist starts peaking more than 10 years after the artist breaks. 

65.  Freedom Train – Lenny Kravitz (Rock)89
64.  Jack of Spades – Boogie Down Productions (Rap)89
63.  Heaven – Warrant (Power Ballad)89

If you asked me what my favorite song of 1989 was in 1990, this would’ve been your answer. 

62.  Something I Can Never Have – Nine Inch Nails (Industrial)89
61.  Janie’s Got a Gun – Aerosmith (Alternative)89

I don’t understand how a band like Aerosmith gets this outside of their box.  I know this isn’t the most groundbreaking song ever, but for its time, and all these sex crazed hair bands which Aerosmith was a part of, it’s impressive that they could take this much of a break from that.  Over 20 years later, Pump probably is better than Dr. Feelgood … not that either is really worth owning. 

60.  Esther – Phish (Jam Rock)89
59.  I’m The Type of Guy – LL Cool J (Rap)89
58.  Mr. Moustache – Nirvana (Grunge)89

This has that beautifully dirty heavy metal guitar sound which is 100% pure Seattle grade grunge. 

57.  Debaser – The Pixies (Alternative)89
56.  Dr. Feelgood – Motley Crue (Butt Rock)89
55.  Say No Go – De La Soul (Rap)89
54.  Big Ole Butt – LL Cool J (Rap)89

This song is about Red Lobster and leaving women due to their butt size.  This is what’s so much fun about rap. 

53.  David Bowie – Phish (Jam Rock)89

Another orgasm song!!!!

52.  I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty (RocK)89
51.  Little Fighter – White Lion (Butt Rock)89

This may be White Lion’s best song, that is, if that’s something that can possibly happen. 

50.  Made of Stone – Stone Roses (Alternative)89
49.  Eye Know – De La Soul (Rap)89
48.  Closer to Fine – Indigo Girls (Folk)89

Of all the concerts I’ve been too in my life, this is the one I’m most shocked I was at. 

47.  You Must Learn – Boogie Down Productions (Rap)89

In high school, a few of us went to see KRS-One speak at the University of Hartford.  He was a couple hours late, which sucked and talked government paranoia for a couple hours.  When questions were allowed to be asked at the end, it was a bunch of groupies talking about how much they loved him.  I should’ve gotten out of rap as a form of “edutainment” right then and there. 

46.  Doowutchyalike – Digital Underground (Rap)89

It’s incredible how far a fake plastic nose took Tupac. 

45.  She Bangs the Drums – Stone Roses (Alternative)89
44.  Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode (Industrial)89

I have a tough time labeling things synthpop now that the 80s are pretty much over. 

43.  Mr. Cab Driver – Lenny Kravitz (Rock)89

Here’s another great protest song.  I’ve always had similar problems with cabbies as Mr. Kravitz has.

42.  What It Takes – Aerosmith (Power Ballad)89
41.  Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue (Butt Rock)89

It’s not the classiest of music, but the Crue always seems to find a way to create the perfect butt rock songs. 

40.  Love Song – Tesla (Power Ballad)89

I’ve liked this song for too many years to turn my back on it now. 

39.  Shadrach – Beastie Boys (Rap)89
38.  Head Like a Hole – Nine Inch Nails (Industrial)89

After spending the past few weeks listening to bands like Depeche Mode, New Order, Joy Division et al, I see what Trent was listening to in the 80s. 

37.  Here Comes Your Man – The Pixies (Alternative)89
36.  Let Love Rule – Lenny Kravitz (Rock)89
35.  Warm It Up Kane – Big Daddy Kane (Rap)89
34.  Contact – Phish (Jam Rock)89

You have to be pretty uptight to not like this song. 

33.  Sittin On Top of the World – Lenny Kravitz (Rock)89

Before he turned into a wanna-be fashion model with an electric guitar in his hand, he did write some good hippie jams. 

32.  What Comes Around – Beastie Boys (Rap)89
31.  Egg Man – Beastie Boys (Rap)89
30.  Fee – Phish (Jam Rock)89

The Phish conundrum starts right away as the music to this song is incredible, but listening to this song about a weasel is kind of silly and hard to get any true emotional attachment from. 

29.  Yer So Bad – Tom Petty (Rock)89
28.  Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun – Beastie Boys (Rap)89
27.  Wicked Game – Chris Isaak (Slow Rock)89
26.  Me So Horny – 2 Live Crew (Rap)89

This is the band we went to war with as minors when we were concerned the PMRC was taking away our rights, when all they were in fact trying to do was spare us from Luke Campbell, who coincidentally, is now running for mayor of Miami. 

25.  Love Buzz – Nirvana (Grunge)89

This cover of a late 60’s song is actually Nirvana’s debut single.  You ever wonder how the Sub Pop label got popular, well, they signed these guys.  Good idea.

24.  From Out of Nowhere – Faith No More (Hard Rock)89
23.  I Wanna Be Adored – Stone Roses (Alternative)89

A lot of the rock bands from the era sound pretty dated, whereas these guys sound like they could still be making records. 

22.  Epic – Faith No More (Rap Metal)89

Why the hockey gloves?  I never understood. 

21.  High Plains Drifter – Beastie Boys (Rap)89
20.  Buddy – De La Soul (Rap)89

De La + Q-Tip is always a good idea. 

19.  B-Boy Bouillabaisse – Beastie Boys (Rap)89

As a collective medley, this is the perfect way to end a perfect album. 

18.  Monkey Gone to Heaven – The Pixies (Alternative)89

I love how much this sounds like Modest Mouse. Every time I doubt how great the Pixies are, I just remember we wouldn’t have the Mouse without them. 

17.  Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World – Neil Young (Hard Rock)89

It’s very hard not to love this Neil Young anthem.  It’s almost like he has as much to do with grunge as the Seattle people because he’s one grungy lookin’ mouwafucka. 

16.  About a Girl – Nirvana (Alternative)89

I have a feeling “true” Nirvana fans don’t like this song too much because it’s not grungy enough for their dirty horizontal-striped shirts.  I'll have to check with my grunge expert, OHM. 

15.  Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty (Rock)89

I’m still baffled how TP mounted this huge comeback. 

14.  Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith (Butt Rock)89

Joe Perry is nails on this one.  This is one of their few post 70’s songs that rivals some of their best 70s stuff. 

13.  Sounds of Science – Beastie Boys (Rap)89

Imagine someone trying to sample the Beatles now, and how much it would cost. 

12.  Johnny Ryall – Beastie Boys (Rap)89
11.  Me, Myself and I – De La Soul (Rap)89

Ultimately, these guys brought a gorgeous hippie mellowness to rap.  De La is the first attitude free rap, which I know entirely contradicts the genre, but it’s really refreshing. 

10.  Running Down a Dream – Tom Petty (Rock)89

This didn’t even need the cartoon video to be a classic. 

9.  I Am the Resurrection – Stone Roses (Jam Rock)89

I’m apparently going to have to listen to these guys more.  I knew they were good.  I didn’t know they were good and could jam.  Not everyone can jam ya know. 

8.  Divided Sky – Phish (Jam Rock)89

I’m really not sure how to handle Phish songs.  Most of them from 89-93 are very wonderful. 

7.  Car Thief – Beastie Boys (Rap)89

This song sounds like it was written about 20 years later than the rest of the rap songs of this era. 

6.  Golgi Apparatus – Phish (Jam Rock)89

I saw you with a taste of your hair. 

5.  Shake Your Rump – Beastie Boys (Rap)89

So this past year was the first year they were eligible for the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.  I’ve gotten over the fact that the Hall has nothing to do with creating rock ‘n roll, and really, they should’ve been First Ballot. 

4.  Fluffhead – Phish (Jam Rock)89

What they’re doing is really different that what the Dead did because it’s so much more jazz based.  It’s definitely way different than anything else going on in 1989.  I see why it took them several years to gain a following. 

3.  You Enjoy Myself – Phish (Jam Rock)89

This may be the greatest song ever, but that’s mostly due to seeing it played live.  It was a sad day to see Trey give the trampolines away. 

2.  Hey Ladies – Beastie Boys (Rap)89

There was a lot of anticipation for Paul’s Boutique and though maybe a critical success of the time, it lacked that commercial whomp that Licensed to Ill had and they almost were forgotten.  This was the comeback song for the album, and along with its video, they were fantastic, but it never brought them the fame they had just a couple years earlier.   

1.  Fight the Power – Public Enemy (Rap)89

There’s a reason this is the only song Radio Raheem listened to.  PE in full mickey-fickey effect boyee!

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