I swear i'll be writing more in 2014

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Top 80 Songs of 1996

I finally have to give in and separate British music from ‘Merican.  They really got their own thing going for the most part, and it needs to be recognized.  Those lovable Brits had some kind of Madchester thing, and then there's Britpop.  Some of it is really very nice and good, so I've combined them into a lovable term called "Britchester", which sounds like a gun from the American Revolution.  Other than that, '96 was the first year for Modest Mouse and Neutral Milk Hotel, so you'll see a lot of them on this list.  Beck's Odelay is the best album from the year, so you'll see a lot of that raggedy guy too. 

80.  Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews (Smooth Rock)96

It’s like Kenny G started a rock’n roll band.  These guys took a step back here and would never take a step forward ever again.  I do dig the smoothness though and if I were wooing sorority girls in the late 90s, this may be my go to song.   

79.  Again – Alice in Chains (Grunge)96

Still grungin along. 

78.  Talk – Phish (Folk Rock)96

Obviously I'm not there and have no clue, but if I were a betting man, I'd say 1996 is the year Trey got hooked on the junk. 

77.  I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone – Sleater-Kinney (Punk)96
76.  I Got You (At the End of the Century) – Wilco (Rock)96
75.  E-Bow the Letter – REM (Alternative)96
74.  Jack-Ass – Beck (Slow Rock)96
73.  Is There Anybody Here That Loves My Jesus – Medeski, Martin & Wood (Instrumental)96
72.  Help Me Scrape the Mucus off my Brain – Ween (Country)96
71.  All Night Diner – Modest Mouse (Indie)96

Have I told you, you can really get it on? 

70.  Taste – Phish (Jam Rock)96
69.  Everything You Touch Becomes a Crutch – Smog (Indie)96
68.  I’m Holding You – Ween (Country)96

12 Country Greats is one of Ween's best album's somehow. 

67.  Far, Far Away – Wilco (Alt-Country)96
66.  Sleepwalking – Modest Mouse (Indie)96
65.  Novacaine For the Soul – The Eels (Indie)96
64.  Idiot Driver – Spoon (Indie)96

Spoon is not the same band they were in 1996, and Telephone sounds closer to an outtakes album than a regular one, but it’s good.  Here’s a song we can all relate to. 

63.  Night Marchers – Medeski, Martin & Wood (Instrumental)96
62.  Mister Richard Smoker – Ween (Country)96

It’s a little silly, but much like Phish’s “Poor Heart”, the soloing makes it fun. 

61.  Billy Breathes – Phish (Slow Rock)96
60.  Ready or Not – The Fugees (Rap)96

This is apparently Barack Obama’s favorite song, which is further proof he’s a secret Muslim terrorist because by enjoying the Fugees, he’s not denouncing the Fugee song in which they say they want to kill kill kill the white man. 

59.  What’s the World Got in Store – Wilco (Alt-Country)96
58.  Trash – Suede (Indie)96
57.  Lounge – Modest Mouse (Indie)96
56.  A Design For Life – Manic Street Preachers (Britchester)96

These guys are a band that doesn’t do anything spectacular but writes good rock songs.  They’re almost like the across the pond version of Weezer.  I would’ve said an English version, but they’re from Wales and something tells me Welsh people are probably pretty grumpy when they’re referred to as English. 

55.  Daytona 500 – Ghostface Killah (Rap)95

I really want to rank Wu-Tang rappers, but I just don’t know their solo projects, or hell, even most Wu-Tang albums that well.  

54.  Woman – Nenah Cherry (Trance)96

Does anyone know that she had a career after “Buffalo Stance?”  I never did. 

53.  Don’t Speak – No Doubt (Pop Rock)96

The chorus is quite catchy, but I ask, who was the first band to come up with that melody?  I swear I’ve heard it a million times before and after. 

52.  You Were the Fool – Ween (Alt-Country)96

I love Ween’s serious side nearly as much as their comedic side. 

51.  Dracula – Medeski, Martin & Wood (Trance)96
50.  Kingpin – Wilco (Rock)96
49.  The Man Don’t Give a Fuck – Super Furry Animals (Distorted)96
48.  Where You’ll Find Me Now – Neutral Milk Hotel (Indie)96
47.  Santeria – Sublime (Reggae)96

Now, I’d never make fun of Mac’n Cheese, but making fun of Sublime seems like doing the same thing.  These guys (and I know they’re much better than their pop songs) sound like they get reggae which is good, but it also sounds like they get the Chili Peppers and maybe that’s why I never liked them. 

46.  Criminal – Fiona Apple (Alternative)96
45.  Novacane – Beck (Rap Metal)96
44.  Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone – Neutral Milk Hotel (Indie)96
43.  Train Song – Phish (Bluegrass)96
42.  El Scorcho – Weezer (Distorted)96

I had never heard this song before and when I did, I heard a great PE reference and they have a Green Day lyric very similar to one of my own songs (though they probably weren’t making fun as I was), so I guess they’re a band after my own heart. 

41.  Monday – Wilco (Rock)96
40.  Heaven Beside You – Alice in Chains (Grunge)96
39.  Tundra/Desert – Modest Mouse (Indie)96

Every planned occupation, sure fire disappointment up ahead. 

38.  Pepper – Butthole Surfers (Psychedelic Rock)96
37.  Marching Theme – Neutral Milk Hotel (Instrumental)96
36.  Hotwax – Beck (Distorted)96
35.  The Fix Is In – Heatmiser (Indie)96
34.  Fu-Gee-La – The Fugees (Rap)96

Is a member of the Fugees a “Fugee?” 

33.  Organ Donor – DJ Shadow (Instrumental)96

Shadow’s Endtroducing has a lot of cred for being one of the biggest albums of the era but seeing I’m racist against DJ’s, I can’t give it it’s full props.  Seeing this short little ditty is my favorite song off the album, I obviously don’t understand it. 

32.  A Baby for Pree – Neutral Milk Hotel (Indie)96
31.  Lord Only Knows – Beck (Distorted)96
30.  I Got It – Pearl Jam (Grunge)96

This is Pearl Jam’s last gasp at recapturing their desperate sound which they do well, but let’s face it, they’re doing fine so pulling off desperate isn't going to happen …

29.  Broke – Modest Mouse (Indie)96

… here's the best desperate sound of the era. 

28.  Someone Else’s Song – Wilco (Alt-Country)96
27.  One to Another – The Charlatans (Britchester)96
26.  Japanese Cowboy – Ween (Country)96
25.  Blue Flowers – Dr. Octagon (Rap)96

Where did this guy come from?  It’s funny. I didn’t know people were allowed to rap and not talk about how gangsta they were in 1996. 

24.  What I Got – Sublime (Rock)96
23.  Exit Does Not Exist – Modest Mouse (Indie)96
22.  Red Eyed and Blue – Wilco (Alt-Country)96

I love when Tweedy used to have his “I don’t need drums” moments.  I’m not sure if he has those anymore.

21.  Two Step – Dave Matthews Band (Jam Rock)96
20.  Going Out – Supergrass (Britchester)96

Here’s another band I obviously have to listen to more.  These guys are fantastic. 

19.  Custom Concern – Modest Mouse (Indie)96

Losing all touch, losing all touch, building a desert

18.  Forget the Flowers – Wilco (Alt-Country)96

It’s almost as if Wilco is forgetting the Stone’s “Dead Flowers” on this one. 

17.  The New Pollution – Beck (Distorted)96
16.  California Love – Tupac Shakur (Rap)96

This will be the only time Tupac will make my list unless you count his time with the Digital Underground.

15.  Tattva – Kula Shaker (Britchester)96
14.  Piss Up A Rope – Ween (Country)96

This is some good shit-kickin’ honk here, and another example of Ween being able to do whatever the hell they want.

13.  Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset – Modest Mouse (Indie)96

By the time I get it figured out, I’ve changed the whole damn plan. 

12.  Devil’s Haircut – Beck (Distorted)96
11.  Dramamine – Modest Mouse (Indie)96
10.  Song Against Sex – Neutral Milk Hotel (Indie)96

I heard On Avery Island for my first time well after I had heard In An Aeroplane Over the Sea.  When I hear this song, I always feel like it’s a great precursor to what will be coming with what is one of America’s great albums. 

9.  Bubblehouse – Medeski, Martin & Wood (Instrumental)96

Here’s another classic Toast cover. 

8.  Sunken Treasure – Wilco (Alt-Country)96

I was maimed by rock ‘n roll.  I was tamed by rock ‘n roll.  I got my name from rock ‘n roll. 

7.  Positive/Negative – Modest Mouse (Indie)96

When I’m emotionally empty, there’s no song more perfect for me. 

6.  Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth … - Primitive Radio Gods (Alternative)96

If there’s such a thing as alternative one hit wonders (meaning the song wouldn’t be a pop hit), here’s your pony to bet on to win the race. 

5.  Free – Phish (Hard Rock)96

Even though the album version of this song doesn’t compare to the live version they were playing at the time, this is probably the closest Phish has ever come to writing a great hard rock song, though “Wilson” may be up there (even though it’s way too silly) and “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan” should be considered even though it was written well past the time Phish was making good music. 

4.  You’ve Passed/Someone Is Waiting – Neutral Milk Hotel (Indie)96

You need these two songs together.  I can’t believe they even had the gall to separate them on the album. 

3.  Where It’s At – Beck (Distorted)96

Whatever Beck started with his previous work, he quickly became the artist we all thought he could be with Odelay.  In a time where very few acts were making all-star music, Beck was continuing a Hall of Fame career. 

2.  Misunderstood – Wilco (Slow Rock)96

One tour a few years ago, they were pretty much rotating this song with “Kingpin” nearly every night so I knew when I saw them, I’d have a nearly a 50/50 chance.  I got “Kingpin”, and well, it’s not even close to being as elatable. 

1.  Interstate 8 – Modest Mouse (Indie)96

It can be argued that this is Modest Mouse’s first song, and to this day their very best.   When I moved back to Tampa from Phoenix, my buddy Joe made me a mix tape containing three Modest Mouse songs (and yes, mix-tapes were still a possibility in the year 2000).  The other two were “Polar Opposites” and “Positive Negative”.  It’s no wonder this became my favorite band as I heard these songs after a divorce, well, fortunately a divorce that required no paperwork because there was never a marriage.  Best way to ensure you never get divorced is to never get married.  

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