Tuesday, May 1, 2007

We are a generation defined by cable TV and Internet; these are our anthems

I thought I would take this post to jump on the bandwagon of ‘Greatest Ever’ and ‘Top’ lists to bring readers up to speed on the music I cover. But before we can jump into the world of today’s newest music we must fully appreciate that which came before it. With that in mind I give you the 12 Essential songs of our generation: (Era mid 80’s to mid 90’s)

1. Smells Like Teen SpiritNirvana
It may be the most cliché song to discuss, but it’s impossible to deny. Teen Spirit is a defining cry of a generation with a lost identity. Immersed in a world with more immediate access to any and everything all at once than any generation had ever known and our complete and udder complacency towards this spawned the angst of this song. “Here we are now, entertain us.”

Made it safe for: Grunge, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, SUBPOP and the second coming of punk

2. Nuthin’ but a “G” ThangDr. Dre
Until this song white/middle America pictured Hip Hop in terms of RUN-DMC, gold chains and jumpsuits. Dre brought the hardships and the game of the streets to virgin ears and soon the overwhelming success and backlash of the Rap Culture would be headline news. Violence, obscenities, racism, sexism, drugs and poverty had found a new form of expression and the music world is forever changed.

Made it safe for: Gansta Rap, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kanye, Jay Z etc.

3. Paradise CityGuns ‘n Roses
From Slash’s first lick to Axl’s final yelp it was obvious Rock had been saved. Heard everywhere from nightclubs and biker bars, to rebellious teen’s rooms, late night parties, football stadiums, classic rock stations etc. etc. this song is inescapable.

In one fell swoop, GNR said ‘Fuck You’ to make-up wearing rock bands and at the same time made it OK for heavy metal have real thought.

Made it safe for: Every worthwhile rock band since as well as all the awful ones

4. Hangin’ Tough - New Kids on the Block
To avoid the boy bands would only be dishonest to our generation, embarrassing or not. The onslaught of N’Sync’s and Britney Spears' that would come of this are countless yet unrelenting. NKOTB made record producers realize that bands could be assembled, bought and sold; making millions in the process.

Made it safe for: Kids who can dance, American Idol and some worthwhile performers like JT, Usher and Beyonce

5. Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks
One drunken sing along and soon every red blooded American had cause to make Country one of the most important and profitable genres in music.

Garth Brooks made country acts into rock stars; packing arenas and selling millions of albums to music listeners across the spectrum, not just folks in cowboy hats.

Made it safe for: Modern Country music, Billy Ray Cyrus, Toby Keith etc.

6. It’s the End of the World as we Know it (and I feel fine)REM
Brought underground college indie rock to the public consciousness and made every garage band in America take their hobby and little more seriously.

Made it safe for: College rock/Indie rock, Pavement, Sonic Youth, Pixies and every indie band that has followed

7. Been Caught Stealin’ - Jane’s Addiction
Funky perverted freaks finally make it big. Song breaks new ground, band pays back success and starts a cultural phenomenon and music launch pad with Lollapalooza.

Made it safe for: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus, Beck, Flaming Lips, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.

8. Fight the PowerPublic Enemy
While Dre helped to bring rise to gansta rap, these fearless men brought rise to rap with a cause and some power. This song single handedly brought about the Parental Advisory label and inspired a new nation of black youths to fight for equality.

Made it safe for: NWA, Tupac, Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill, Oynx, Rage Against the Machine etc.

9. Head Like a HoleNine Inch Nails
Now the voiceless angry teens have their Emo dark leader. This song introduced us to Industrial rock and made it cool to wear black and play guitar with techno.

Made it safe for: Hating your parents, Tool, Marylin Manson, Korn, Limp Bizkit etc.

10. Fight For Your Right (To Party)Beastie Boys
America already knew what hip hop was, but they didn’t know white jewish boys could do it, and they certainly didn’t know they could do it with a guitar riff. This college/frat anthem did more than become a party song, it started a hip hop~rock coexistence.

Made it safe for: Rock/Rap stretching boundaries, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, 311 etc.

11. Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead
The first single from the bands second album marked the return of the Brits in American rock. The song proved the band was no one hit wonder and forced listeners to try new sounds, arrangements and direction to what rock was classified as.

Made it safe for: Oasis, Travis, Coldplay, Arcade Fire, bands that take a risk etc.

12. FeePhish
After Garcia passed the jam band world found new life in Phish and the American music scene would discover cult fans once again. Considered the ‘gateway’ song for many, this opened the doors to a whole new generation.

Made it safe for: String Cheese Incident, moe., American Festivals and every band that has been tagged as a Jam band


Anonymous said...

I disagree with Pubic Enemy and would put a different Phish song in there...

Maybe some PM Dawn...

Anonymous said...

Are you seriously conflating emo with industrial rock? Idiot. No wonder you don't get paid to write this shit.