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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Top 95 Songs of 1988

I just couldn't reach 100.  Sonic Youth and Jane’s Addiction come pretty strong though, so times are definitely getting better and I’m pretty sure they’ve bottomed out by now.  No double-dip crappy music era's here.  The early 80s is by far the worst era of music ever.   I highly doubt the mid-90s crappiness will even be close.  

95.  Used to Love Her – Guns N Roses (Butt Rock)88
94.  Under the Milky Way – The Church (Alternative)88
93.  Gypsy Road – Cinderella (Butt Rock)88
92.  Father Figure – George Michael (Rhythm & Blues)88

This song is kind of creepy nowadays, but what’s the deal with these 80’s male singer types that breathe excessively while singing their songs?  Between this guy, Bono, and Michael Hutchence you could fill a balloon until you … POP THE BALLOON! POP POP THE BALLOON!

91.  End of the Line – Traveling Wilburys (Pop Rock)88

Tom Petty to the Traveling Wilburys is like Bill Murray to the Ghostbusters. 

90.  Holden Oversoul – Widespread Panic (Jam Rock)88
89.  Good Love – Poison (Butt Rock)88

I probably like this song more than anyone you’ve ever met, even if you’ve met a member of Poison or one of their former girlfriends.

88.  Freak Scene – Dinosaur Jr. (Alternative)88
87.  L’amourir – Young Gods (Industrial)88

Too show you how little I know about industrial music, Wiki is saying this is “Post-Industrial”, so naturally I’m asking myself, has Industrial even happened yet?  Well, apparently it has … by a lot of loser bands in the late 70s that absolutely no one cares about. 

86.  Destroy the Heart – The House of Love (Alternative)88
85.  Nothin’ But a Good Time – Poison (Butt Rock)88
84.  First We Take Manhattan – Leonard Cohen (Pop Rock)88

This song starts our great.  Cohen kicks in his vocals, even better … but then the “gospel choir” or whatever is going on in that chorus enters.  Ugh.  I won’t blame Cohen, I’ll blame the music producers of the 80s.  These people should’ve all been fired. 

83.  Express Yourself – NWA (Rap)88

Here’s a pretty overrated rap tune.  Aside from that, I can’t handle Dr. Dre being against pot on this album, which makes his sudden love of pot a few years later seem Easy E phony. 

82.  Gigantic – The Pixies (Alternative)88
81.  Tweeter and the Monkey Man – Traveling WIlburys (Rock)88
80.  Play With Me – Extreme (Butt Rock)88

This is completely for Nuno, the name of my __ fish. 

79.  I Don’t Believe in Love – Queensryche (Butt Rock)88

These guys try so hard to be classier than the hair bands of their time, but it doesn’t work and almost takes away from what they do. 

78.  Mary, Mary – Run DMC (Rap)88
77.  Anti-Social – Anthrax (Heavy Metal)88
76.  8-Ball – NWA (Rap)88
75.  Wild Thing – Tone Loc (Rap)88

I saw this guy in concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee in 1994.  Yes, he was still performing live in 1994 … Club MTV Tour of course with Paula Abdul and Lisa Lisa with her Cult Jam. 

74.  Colors – Ice-T (Rap)88

Have you noticed that Ice-T’s rap career is irrelevant 20 years after the fact?  The good news is he’s done quite well for himself, just not in the world of hip-hop. 

73.  Way Cool Jr. – Ratt (Butt Rock)88
72.  I’m Your Man – Leonard Cohen (Folk Rock)88
71.  Standin’ in the Shower Thinking – Jane’s Addiction (Alternative)88
70.  Ana Ng – They Might Be Giants (Alternative)88

I’d enjoy this song more if it wasn’t so broken up.  Let it flow fellas. 

69.  Ain’t No Half Steppin – Big Daddy Kane (Rap)88

Rap names are great.  It’s almost like they’re 1920’s blues musicians.  The only difference is the old time blues guys didn’t tell you their name a hundred times during the song. 

68.  Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction (Rock)88

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been confronted with “jamming” this song with an acquaintance on an acoustic guitar due to the fact that it’s only two chords, WAY too many times.  That’s probably bad. 

67.  Bad Medicine – Bon Jovi (Butt Rock)88
66.  Stop Go – Widespread Panic (Jam Rock)88
65.  Rain King – Sonic Youth (Alternative)88
64.  Cold Lampin’ With Flavor – Public Enemy (Rap)88

Urban Dictionary for "Lampin": Tapping into the electrical wires of a street light to power DJ and MC equipment, and sound system, for the use of underground hip-hop performances and battles. 

63.  Tower of Song – Leonard Blues (Folk Rock)88
62.  Handle With Care – Traveling Wilburys (Rock)88
61.  She Watch Channel Zero – Public Enemy (Rap)88

Chuck D doesn’t strike me as someone who’s good with the ladies.  Kinda like Robert DeNiro. 

60.  Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby (Rhythm & Blues)88
59.  Crash – The Primitives (Alternative)88
58.  My Prerogative – Bobby Brown (Pop)88
57.  My Philosophy – Boogie Down Productions (Rap)88
56.  Electric Gypsy – L.A. Guns (Butt Rock)88

These Guns are probably sleazier than Ratt if we were to have a “Sleaziest Band of All-Time” competition. 

55.  In Your Room – Bangles (Pop Rock)88
54.  Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry (Rap)88

In 1988, rap is starting to become so popular that simply labeling a song “rap” is unfair, and this song is a prime example of that. 

53.  Fisherman’s Blues – The Waterboys (Folk Rock)88
52.  Alphabet St. – Prince (Funk)88

In a classic moment of Zach self-delusion, I always feel like they’re saying “Zach, we need you to rap” at the end of this one.  Fortunately, at 36, I know no one wants me to rap, but I may go Amy Poehler on yo’ ass (this would be a great time for a link, but I can’t find it).  Insert link of Amy rapping "Parent's Just Don't Understand" here. 

51.  Waiting Room – Fugazi (Punk)88
50.  Ted, Just Admit It – Jane’s Addiction (Alternative)88
49.  Kissability – Sonic Youth (Alternative)88
48.  It Takes Two – Rob Base (Rap)88
47.  Gangsta Gangsta – NWA (Rap)88

“To all the kids, looking up to me
Life ain’t nothin’ but bitches and money.”
-           -  Ice Cube

46.  Fallen Angel – Poison (Butt Rock)88

Granted, I’m a fan, but this song has aged better than most Poison songs, if that's even possible. 

45.  Mountain Song – Jane’s Addiction (Hard Rock)88

How do I know this is hard rock and not alternative?  Let me count the ways:
  • ·         Covered by Sepultra
  • ·         Appears in Rock Band 2
  • ·         Appears in an episode of “Beavis and Butthead”
  • ·         Appears in Guitar Hero: World Tour
  • ·         Listed as #71 on VH1’s “Best Hard Rock Songs of All-Time”

44.  W.F.L. – Happy Mondays (Electronic)88
43.  Sidewalking – The Jesus and Mary Chain (Alternative)88
42.  Party For Your Right to Fight – Public Enemy (Rap)88

Aside from the Elijah Mohammed worship, this song is a phenomenal protest song. 

41.  You Gots to Chill – EPMD (Rap)88
40.  Run’s House – Run DMC (Rap)88

Run’s house is a cardboard box or …

39.  Terminator X To the Edge of Panic – Public Enemy (Rap)88

Flavor Flav saying “Who gives a fuck about a god damned Grammy” was once great, but then he got nominated for a Grammy.  Also, his “Kill my dog, I’m gonna slay your cat” line is like saying if you steal 100 dollars from me, I’ll get you back by stealing 50 from you.  Chuck and X show up though. 

38.  Desire – U2 (Rock ‘n Roll)88

Its nice hearing the Bo Diddley beat again. 

37.  Total Trash – Sonic Youth (Alternative)88

These guys are fucking crazy, but I dig it in small doses. 

36.  Go On Girl – Roxanne Shante (House)88

I can’t really tolerate that house techno rave stuff or whatever, but when she starts rapping over it, giving it actual lyric, it not only makes it tolerable, but quite good. 

35.  Touch Me I’m Sick – Mudhoney (Grunge)88
34.  Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos – Public Enemy (Rap)88
33.  Eye of the Beholder – Metallica (Heavy Metal)88
32.  Follow The Leader – Eric B. and Rakim (Rap)88

I don’t know the follow up to Paid in Full, but if it’s half as good as this song, I should probably procure myself a copy. 

31.  Fast Car – Tracy Chapman (Folk Rock)88

Between her and Suzanne Vega, one gets their first taste of what the “Roaring Women of the 90s” will be like.   

30.  Travelin’ Light – Widespread Panic (Rock)88
29.  Louder than a Bomb – Public Enemy (Rap)88

One of the reasons Hot Tub Time Machine works is that they choose this song to be played when the Hot Tub Time Machine starts working. 

28.  ‘Cross the Breeze – Sonic Youth (Alternative)88
27.  Parents Just Don’t Understand – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (Rap)88
26.  Talkin’ All that Jazz – Stetsasonic (Rap)88

I can’t believe I’ve never heard this song before.  Incredible. 

25.  Stop the Violence – Boogie Down Productions (Rap)88

I enjoy how KRS-One and the crew have a dance hall influence. 

24.  Children’s Story – Slick Rick (Rap)88

This was close to being covered by Toast … close …

23.  Patience – Guns N Roses (Power Ballad)88
22.  Space Wrangler – Widespread Panic (Jam Rock)88

It’s very hard for me to believe sometime how little respect Space Wrangler gets as an album.  It rivals whatever rap or tattoed freak shows are coming out of the “alternative” section of the record store … well, except for Public Enemy and Sonic Youth. 

21.  Treat Her Like a Prostitute – Slick Rick (Rap)88

This advice from Slick Rick kept me single for quite awhile. 

20.  Strictly Business – EPMD (Rap)88

I was listening to so much Public Enemy and butt rock, that I missed out on these guys.  Dag nab it. 

19.  Everybody Knows – Leonard Cohen (Synthpop)88

I’m sure this song was great before it reminded me of the coward Billy Mitchell squaring off against the newcomer Steve Wiebe in a game of Donkey Kong, but now it’s a classic.  Basically, anything that reminds you of the douchebaggery cowardice of Billy Mitchell is a good thing, and Leonard Cohen’s apocalyptic vision (THIS SATURDAY!!!) helps it even more. 

18.  Night of the Living Baseheads – Public Enemy (Rap)88

I know the lyrics to this album nearly as much as I do a Beastie Boys album.  Run a power move on’em Chuck.  I think after I get to tour with Poison while filling in for an OD’d CC, my next tour would be being Chuck D’s guy that keeps telling him how he needs to kick it a la Flavor Flav. 

17.  What I Am – Edie Birkell (Smooth Rock)88
16.  Blackened – Metallica (Heavy Metal)88

I’m a first side of the album guy when it comes to … And Justice For All.

15.  Going Back to Cali – LL Cool J (Rap)88

This song is the perfect blend of bass, record scratching, sex and a repetitive chorus … AND anti-having sex with a whore, although I don’t know why it needs to be explained to Brutus that he feels that way. 

14.  Don’t Believe the Hype – Public Enemy (Rap)88
13.  Cult of Personality – Living Colour (Hard Rock)88

Corey Glover appeared in Platoon and got to be in a band with Vernon Reid, which has to be a good life.  Of course, Vernon Reid got to be Vernon Reid. 

12.  Fuck tha Police – NWA (Rap)88

It’s very interesting the vast difference between the ways NWA and Public Enemy write protest music.

11.  Teen Age Riot – Sonic Youth (Alternative)88
10.  Driving Song – Widespread Panic (Jam Rock)88

Widespread brings southern rock back in a wonderful way.  Discovering this album during the years I was deeply immersed in Phish was a wonderful find.  This song reminds me of some tough days. 

9.  Every Rose Has It’s Thorn – Poison (Power Ballad)88

Ignore all the clichés.  You can pick up an acoustic guitar at just about any party and play this and everyone will sing along.  That’s quite an accomplishment as a song-writer. 

8.  Porch Song – Widespread Panic (Rock)88
7.  Rebel Without A Pause – Public Enemy (Rap)88

I love the screeching.  I bet most people don’t.  Terminator X in the muthafuckin’ house. 

6.  You Made Me Realise – My Bloody Valentine (Alternative)88

Every now and then a song comes along that you missed out on, and when you finally hear it you say, “Oh shit.” 

5.  Silver Rocket – Sonic Youth (Punk)88

This a great way to reinvent punk.  Between these guys and My Bloody Valentine, you can tell music is heading the right direction again. 

4.  Where Is My Mind? – The Pixies (Alternative)88

All this song needs is that fabulous guitar riff. 

3.  Straight Outta Compton – NWA (Rap)88

George Bush Sr. invited Easy E to the White House.  

2.  Bring the Noise – Public Enemy (Rap)88

Chuck D is like all of NWA’s rappers combined with a little bit of class, or at least self-respect. 

1.  One – Metallica (Heavy Metal) 88

Metallica didn’t write this to “sell out” they just wrote it, and it turned out incredible.  That’s the difference between selling out and perfect pop art that some people don’t notice.  It’s selling out when you’re trying to write something for profit and commercial value.  It’s incredible art when you do your thing and it just happens to accomplish the same.  

1 comment:

  1. One was released in January 1989...