BLENDER.COM: The 50 Worst Artists in Music History
50 IRON BUTTERFLY Everything bad about the ’60s, in one easy-to-avoid package Legend has it that this Los Angeles acid-rock quintet had consumed such massive amounts of marijuana during the 1968 sessions for “In the Garden of Eden” that keyboardist-singer Doug Ingle could only mumble the title. Hence, “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” was born, and its unexpurgated 17-minute version (including a two-and-a- half-minute drum solo) inaugurated the dubious era of free-form FM radio. Appalling fact In-a-Gadda-da-Vida was the first LP ever to be certified platinum. Worst CD Sun and Steel (MCA, 1975)
49 TOAD THE WET SPROCKET Very poor name. Even poorer band “We were together longer than we ever thought we’d be,” said Toad the Wet Sprocket singer Glenn Phillips when the band gave up in 1998. Longer than the rest of us had hoped, too. But the California four-piece defied the odds for 12 years, even piercing the Top 40 with their R.E.M. readymades. Appalling fact Toad decided to have another go this year, playing dates with Counting Crows. Run. Worst CD Pale (Columbia, 1990)
48 MASTER P The dumbest of the Dirty South In the late ’90s, rapper and label head Percy Miller copycatted G-funk, simplified it and launched a fleet of indistinguishable MCs wrapped in cheap-looking, jewel-riddled artwork. P’s worst offense was his solo work (his obnoxious breakout single, “Make Em Say Ugh,” consisted of little more than a repeated groan). Like a crawfish-suckin’ P. Diddy, he has, shockingly, earned millions from his No Limit imprint, which includes a clothing line, a publishing house — and even a phone company. Appalling fact Master P had a Ferrari custom-painted in a Gucci-logo pattern. Worst CD Only God Can Judge Me (No Limit, 1999)
47 GOO GOO DOLLS Mediocre band, woeful balladeers Buffalo, New York’s Goo Goo Dolls are former garage-rockers who, since their 1995 acoustic hit “Name,” have successfully flogged a pallid brand of Bon Jovi–lite “rock.” “Iris,” their smash 1998 weepie, gives power ballads a bad name. Worst CD Gutterflower (Warner Bros., 2002)
46 THE SPIN DOCTORS Beards. Extended “jams.” Oh dear, oh dear For a brief time (between 1992 and 1996), it seemed that any workaday bar band, if it was willing to gamely trek around the country for at least three years, had a chance at superstardom (cf. Hootie and the Blowfish, Blues Traveler). Blame the Spin Doctors, hairy New Yorkers who — thanks to the supremely annoying “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes” — momentarily opened a route between dive bars and the Billboard charts. Appalling fact The Doctors got together while they were students at New York’s New School of Jazz. Worst CD Homebelly Groove Live (Epic, 1992)
45 GIPSY KINGS The curse of many a late-’80s dinner party Having grown up on the French-Spanish border, the six cousins who formed Gipsy Kings craftily aspired to sell their mixture of flamenco, Eurotrash pop and questionable hairdos to a world desperate for something seemingly exotic. They seduced the über-rich at St. Tropez before hitching their wagon to the then-huge world-music boom, diluting the flamenco with drums, bass and even synthesizers. Soon, they became the Muzak in every bistro in the free world. Appalling fact Well-known groover George H.W. Bush was so fond of the Gipsy Kings that he asked them to perform at his inaugural presidential ball. For some reason, they declined. Worst CD Este Mundo (Elektra, 1991)
44 MANOWAR None more metal. None more gay An American answer to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, Rochester, New York’s Manowar embody every conceivable heavy-metal cliché: Bodybuilders all, the four wear leather and animal pelts onstage; singer Eric Adams shrieks only of death, warfare and the glory of metal; Joey DeMaio performs solo bass renditions of “The Flight of the Bumblebee.” They’re quite possibly the most ludicrous people in rock & roll history. Appalling fact In 1993, Russian youth voted Manowar above the Beatles and Michael Jackson as the act they would most like to see perform live. Worst CD Sign of the Hammer (EMI, 1985)
43 MIKE & THE MECHANICS “Every generation blames the one before,” they sang. So we will While Phil Collins was torturing the world with his archetypal ’80s soft-rock, his Genesis colleague Mike Rutherford unwisely decided to join in. Ergo the Mechanics, a trio built around Rutherford, former Squeeze vocalist-keyboardist Paul Carrack and the late Paul Young. As shown by the 1989 number 1 hit “The Living Years,” an unbearably sentimental ode to Rutherford’s deceased father, they made Collins sound like the MC5. Appalling fact Against significant odds, there is a U.K.-based Mike & the Mechanics tribute band, the Living Years. Worst CD Beggar on a Beach of Gold (Virgin, 1995)
42 RICK WAKEMA Can play two synthesizers at once — but nothing that people want to hear Keyboard “wizard” and professional cape wearer Wakeman’s diabolical taste revealed itself early, when he elected to join prog-rockers Yes instead of David Bowie’s backing band, the Spiders From Mars. Not content with contributing to Yes’s inexcusably pompous albums, he also spent the mid-’70s releasing a series of baroquely awful solo theme records, including The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. For reasons that are still unclear, he opted to perform that one on ice. Appalling fact While playing Yes songs live, Wakeman would wolf down curry during sections in which he had little to do. Worst CD Lisztomania (A&M, 1975)
41 WHITESNAKE Dumb and dumberer Led by ex–Deep Purple frontman David Coverdale, Whitesnake’s ’80s success with their karaoke Led Zeppelin routine can be explained only by the public’s enduring love for the double entendre, as exemplified on such songs as “Slide It In,” “Slow Poke Music” and “Spit It Out.” Worst CD Slip of the Tongue (Geffen, 1989)
40 BLIND MELON A video made them; heroin undid them Led by Axl Rose’s mewling, drug-plagued pal Shannon Hoon, Blind Melon’s lightweight rock would have been forgotten completely were it not for the boundless charm of “Bee Girl” Heather DeLoach, whose hoofing in the video for “No Rain” made the tune the band’s lone hit. Worst CD Soup (Capitol, 1995)
39 BOB GELDOF Should have stuck to saving the planet He organized the Live Aid concerts, but “Saint” Bob Geldof is a less-than-godlike musical talent. In 1989, he released The Vegetarians of Love, a terrible quasi-Cajun album that was recorded in five days — and sounded like it. Thirteen years later came Sex, Age & Death, effectively a midlife crisis — replete with achingly embarrassing claims of undiminished sexual potency — set to music. Like most of his solo work, it stiffed. Appalling fact One recent Geldof song, “10:15,” features the line “She told me I was beautiful/And I made her come a lot.” Worst CD Sex, Age & Death (Koch, 2002)
37 THE DOORS He was the Lizard King. No, really… While in college, many young men still choose to immerse themselves in such ill-advised subjects as Nietzsche, black magic and Native American folklore. Most get over it; Jim Morrison, unfortunately, inflicted his terminally adolescent views on the wider world. The consequences included overblown screeds of nonsense such as “The End” and “The Crystal Ship,” plus, effectively, the invention of goth. Then he got fat and died. Appalling fact Morrison is widely believed to have suffered his fatal heart attack while masturbating in the bathtub. Worst CD The Soft Parade (Elektra, 1969)
36 98 DEGREES Well, their mothers must love them “I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll make an exception,” quipped Groucho Marx. He’d have been hard-pressed to remember this utterly unremarkable Ohio boy band, though he would have loved to have forgotten their music. Harmonies, schmaltzy urban soul and even more saccharine life philosophy (“Persevere, work hard, have faith and eventually you’ll reach your goal”) paid dividends in the late ’90s, as third-rate cheese such as “I Do (Cherish You)” and “Because of You” somehow became big hits. Appalling fact Buy the 98 Degrees official board game — and find out which band member once autographed a diaper! Worst CD This Christmas (Uptown/ Universal, 1999)
35 PAUL OAKENFOLD Hey, Mr. DJ: Keep your day job! As a remixer of note, “Oakey” is lauded for turning the guitar-loving masses into Ecstasy-aware, sodden-shirted neophytes of ’90s dance music. But 2002’s Bunkka, the Englishman’s first album of original material, was an abject exercise in marketing, not music. Ham-fisted and clichéd, lacking direction and sparkle, nothing Oakenfold created himself would have inspired any DJs worth a lick. Dreadful. Appalling fact Perry Farrell, Tricky, Ice Cube and Nelly Furtado all lined up to contribute to Bunkka. Presumably without hearing the music first. Worst CD Bunkka (Maverick/Warner Bros., 2002)
34 LIVE These U2 sound-alikes never did find what they were looking for Blessed with the same spiritual longing as U2 — but, sadly, none of the musical cunning — this Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, quartet made a brief but insignificant splash in the early ’90s as purveyors of grandiose, vaguely uplifting alt-rock. Although their hold on the mainstream had evaporated by the end of the decade, their blend of loud guitars and portentous lyrics helped pave the way for crypto-Christian rockers Creed. Nice one, Live. Appalling fact The album title Secret Samadhi derives from a form of Hindu meditation. Worst CD Secret Samadhi (MCA, 1997)
33 JAPAN An uncontestable argument against the ’80s Japan formed in 1974 and soon discovered that their mixture of washed-out glam-rock, vaguely literary pretensions and bucketloads of makeup prompted little more than cruel laughter. The dawn of the ’80s, however, found things moving their way, and by 1981, plenty of easily distracted teens were wobbling enigmatically to “Voices Raised in Welcome, Hands Held in Prayer,” “The Art of Parties” and “Still Life in Mobile Homes” (the titles say it all). Appalling fact Their version of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “I Second That Emotion” might be the worst Motown cover of all time. Worst CD Gentlemen Take Polaroids (Virgin, 1980)
32 THE HOOTERS The great folk-rock scare Philadelphians Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian assembled a quintet that specialized in a vile blend of folk-rock and New Wave, in the process proving that the mandolin is more irritating than the synthesizer. Worst CD Zig Zag (Columbia, 1989)
31 ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Too positive for their own good Their 1992 debut, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of…, sold 5 million copies despite containing some of the preachiest, most contrived “wisdom” ever laid down. Their studio follow-up, Zingalamundi, sank without a trace. Worst CD Unplugged (Chrysalis, 1993)
30 RICHARD MARX The devil-king of MOR When it comes to the dreaded genre of adult contemporary, few were as archetypal as Winnetka, Illinois–born Richard Marx. The unbearably syrupy “Right Here Waiting,” from 1989, remains his most far-reaching hit, but it shows the extent to which America fell for his combination of mullet, Wedding Singer apparel and softer-than-soft rock that it was his third consecutive number 1 single. Appalling fact Before his brief burst of stardom, Marx honed his painfully bland art as a backing singer for Lionel Richie. Worst CD Repeat Offender (Capitol, 1989)
29 SKINNY PUPPY The audience rarely sang along to “Dogshit” And so it came to pass in the 1980s that two Canadian Kevins changed their names to cEvin and Nivek in order to make themselves more interesting, hired a singer named Dwayne (who would die of a heroin overdose) and spent almost a decade making ear-torturing industrial music. The sound of whiny students on drugs sampling Timothy Leary — as scary as Mannheim Steamroller. Appalling fact On the Head Trauma tour, cEvin sliced open his stomach with broken glass and performed a vivisection. Relax, everyone — he was only pretending. Worst CD Too Dark Park (Nettwerk, 1990)
28 CRASH TEST DUMMIES They said Brad Roberts’s voice was so deep it could be heard only by whales. Not true, sadly If you want to be recognized as serious recording artists with a whimsical, folksy bent, it’s probably best not to notch your only hit with a daft novelty song based around the world’s silliest lead vocal and title it “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm.” The remainder of God Shuffled His Feet, this Canadian band’s second album, was much worse. They released I Don’t Care That You Don’t Mind in 2001. No one cared. Appalling fact They’re Canadian. Worst CD A Worm’s Life (Arista, 1996)
27 COLOR ME BADD These Oklahomans sang about sex. But they couldn’t keep it up Oklahoma City’s gain was New York’s loss when these four high-school friends left their hometown and headed east in search of fame. They found it in 1991 with the double-platinum single “I Wanna Sex You Up,” a literally unbelievable slice of lasciviousness from such inoffensive boys. Diluted hit followed diluted hit, but three watery albums later, CMB suddenly found themselves all washed up. Appalling fact As kids, CMB regularly buttonholed such touring acts as Huey Lewis & the News and Bon Jovi for impromptu a cappella auditions. Worst CD Now & Forever (Giant, 1996)
26 CÉLINE DION One more reason to hate the French? Seemingly hellbent from birth on proving that Michael Bolton isn’t the cheesiest balladeer on the face of the planet, the French-Canadian singer first secured a manager at age 12 — creepily, she later married him. But far more terrifying is her endless string of shrieking über-hits, particularly the Titanic theme, “My Heart Will Go On” — which, if it had been played on the ship itself, would surely have made passengers leap to their doom long before the iceberg did its dastardly deed. Appalling fact You might want to stay clear of Nevada until 2006: Dion recently began a three-year engagement at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Worst CD Céline Dion (Epic, 1992)
25 JAMIROQUAI The white, talentless Stevie Wonder Where to start — the ludicrous headgear? The atrocious dancing? No, let us start, and finish, with the fact that Stevie Wonder has more talent in his dark glasses than Jay Kay has in his entire body. Worst CD A Funk Odyssey (Epic, 2001)
24 BAD ENGLISH With ex-members of Journey! Suck-cheeked soft-rocker John Waite had scored big in 1984 with the ballad “Missing You.” But with his solo career stalling, and half of Journey toilet-bound without a singer, they forged an unholy late-’80s alliance. Bad English retailed puffed-up power ballads, while Waite cast himself as a doomed romantic hero. Worst CD Backlash (Epic, 1991)
23 CREED Whoever said the devil has all the best tunes was probably listening to Creed at the time It’s doubtful there’s a more irritating sight in videodom than Creed’s Scott Stapp pulling one of his crucifixion poses while a wind machine blows his hair in the appropriate direction. But the Florida group’s real crime is its music, an overblown distillation of grunge’s most obviously commercial elements every inch as vapid as the music Nirvana and company were rebelling against. Appalling fact This April, a fan sued the band following a show at which, it was alleged, Stapp was so incapacitated he was “unable to sing a single song.” Worst CD Weathered (Wind-Up, 2001)
22 PRIMUS “Care for some prog-rock with cartoon-character vocals on the side?” “No, thanks!” Perhaps the most tune-free act ever to chart an album in the Top 10 (Pork Soda hit number 7 in 1993), Oakland, California’s Primus were led by Les Claypool, a bass virtuoso and startlingly nasal vocalist. Musicians and the terminally nerdy gaped in wide wonder at the trio’s prodigious instrumental “chops”; everyone else was repulsed by the band’s combination of the worst aspects of Frank Zappa and Rush. Appalling fact The rallying cry for Primus’s misguided fans was “Primus sucks!” — intended as sarcasm yet all too true. Worst CD Pork Soda (Interscope, 1993)
21 THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT The sound inside the head of Pink Floyd’s engineer. Zzzzzz… Having conquered the Dark Side of the Moon, EMI Records’ beardy staff engineer Alan Parsons decided that what the universe really needed was a prog-rock concept album based on the work of nineteenth-century horror novelist Edgar Allan Poe, narrated by Orson Welles. It didn’t, of course, but an undeterred Parsons soldiered on, swapping prog-rock for vapid AOR in the ’80s. Finally bundled off to play guitar in Ringo Starr’s backing band, he was never seen again. Appalling fact In the ’90s, the world-champion Chicago Bulls took the court to the pretentious swells of Parsons’s “Sirius.” Worst CD Pyramid (Arista, 1978)
20 HOWARD JONES He came from England. Thanks, England In the mid-’80s, it was difficult to avoid synth-wielding Brits. The sprig-haired, perma-grinning Howard Jones was the most irritating, seemingly convinced that he had something very important to tell the world — his 1984 debut was grandly titled Human’s Lib — but unclear exactly what it was. Appalling fact Early in his career, Jones was accompanied by “improvisational dance” expert Jed Hoile, who, in keeping with the lyrics to “New Song,” mimed throwing off his “mental chains.” Worst CD Live Acoustic America (Plump, 1996)
19 DAN FOGELBERG Giving male sensitivity a bad name — one song at a time A graduate of the coffeehouse circuit around the University of Illinois, Fogelberg came to epitomize the most emetic qualities of the ’70s singer-songwriter: the high, quavering voice, the knee-jerk sentimentality, the earnestly strummed acoustic guitar. He was blessed with a gift for vacuously pretty melodies, and his work also anticipated the vapidity of New Age music — although with the added annoyance of bad lyrics. Appalling fact His 1982 hit “Run for the Roses” smelled of horse manure, and it was in fact about the Kentucky Derby. Worst CD Twin Sons of Different Mothers (with Tim Weisberg) (Full Moon/Epic, 1978)
18 PAT BOONE With his clean white bucks, he made rock & roll safe for ’50s nerds Back before blue-eyed soul, Pat Boone made a career out of watering down ’50s R&B hits. Appealing to an audience who considered “race music” to be almost as bad as interracial dating, he had enormous success in making Fats Domino seem boring and Little Richard straight. After he spent the ’80s as a spokesperson for Christian conservatism, his album In a Metal Mood cursed heavy metal by treating it like big-band schlock. Appalling fact In 1977, his daughter Debbie topped the charts with “You Light Up My Life.” Worst CD In a Metal Mood (Hip-O, 1997)
17 BENZINO He rapped, he co-owned As silent co-owner of the hip-hop magazine The Source, Benzino embarrassingly ordered extensive feature coverage of his 2001 debut album, The Benzino Project, in the pages of his periodical. It didn’t work: The album sold fewer than 75,000 copies. Worst CD The Benzino Project (Motown, 2001)
16 OINGO BOINGO Artless art-rock Oingo Boingo singer Danny Elfman went on to become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand soundtrack composers. But during his first go-round, he and his movie-director brother led this ostentatiously orchestrated L.A. New Wave group that began its pretentious career, not surprisingly, as a performance-art troupe. Worst CD Only a Lad (A&M, 1981)
15 YANNI Fabio meets Tesh! As a member of the Greek national swimming team, 14-year-old Yanni Chryssomallis broke his country’s national freestyle record. But instead of bringing further glory to his homeland by going to the Olympics, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1972 and began his 30-year quest to offer wretched New Age twaddle to legions of Midwestern matrons, spa proprietors, insomniacs and his former paramour Linda Evans. Swimming’s loss is music’s loss. Appalling fact “I avoid words. If instrumental music is done properly, it bypasses logic, programming and society. It becomes primal. I compose by emotion.” Worst CD Yanni Live at the Acropolis (Private Music, 1993)
14 YNGWIE MALMSTEEN Big on solos, short on songs With his passion for the music of Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore, Swedish guitar show-off Yngwie Malmsteen co-opted his hero’s deadpan demeanor, neoclassical solos and frilly cuffs, garnering kudos from ’80s bedroom guitar onanists for his playing speed. Yet Malmsteen never employed a proper songwriter, and his noodling hard rock — sometimes augmented by a full orchestra — has scored increasingly minuscule returns. Appalling fact Malmsteen’s 1983 show at London’s Marquee club sold out in minutes because of unsuspecting Bruce Springsteen fans who thought they were attending a secret gig by the Boss. Worst CD Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra (Ranch Life, 1999)
13 MICK JAGGER Even Bill Wyman laughs at Mick’s solo records Given the roll call of A-list rockers who have appeared on the Stones frontman’s four solo ventures, even a tone-deaf 6-year-old could have produced something you’d want to hear twice, or at least once. Alas, it seems, there’s never a tone-deaf 6-year-old around when you need one. Even on 1993’s not-entirely-grim Wandering Spirit, produced by Rick Rubin, Jagger does his damnedest to ruin things by inexplicably singing a sea shanty. That’s right — a sea shanty! Appalling fact In his native U.K., Jagger’s latest solo release, Goddess in the Doorway, sold just 954 copies on its first day of release. Worst CD Goddess in the Doorway (Virgin, 2001)
12 TIN MACHINE David Bowie’s darkest (non-acting) hour In 1989, having presumably become bored with excelling at pop, glam-rock and funk, chameleon David Bowie decided to demonstrate that he too could be really, really bad. The vehicle for this unlikely ambition was the plodding rock four-piece Tin Machine, whose two critically mauled studio albums and one “hilariously” titled live document (Oy Vey, Baby) found Bowie voluntarily subsuming his genius beneath chorus-free tunes and guitarist Reeves Gabrels’s habit of playing his instrument with a vibrator. Appalling fact The band’s roadies wore T-shirts that read FUCK YOU, I LIKE TIN MACHINE. They were the only ones. Worst CD Oy Vey, Baby (Victory, 1991)
11 LATOYA JACKSON The least talented Jackson Her voice may be thinner than Janet’s and her charisma dimmer than Tito’s, but her eyebrows uncannily resembled Michael’s, and for a short, confusing time in the ’80s, that was enough to earn Latoya Jackson a record deal. Typically, it was her private life rather than her hapless music that gained the most attention, after she accused her father of sexual abuse. Worst CD From Nashville to You (Mar-Gor, 1994)
10 AIR SUPPLY The sound of eunuchs sobbing Disproving the theory that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, Air Supply contained not one but two mewling, lovesick softies whose name was Russell. In the early ’80s, the Australian duo’s gutless ballads — music so remorselessly fey it made Journey sound like Danzig — sent a generation of jilted lovers toppling into depression that was as clinical as the Russells’ music. Mercifully, though, by the end of the decade, the pair had cried themselves to sleep. Appalling fact Determined to ruin the festive season, Air Supply once recorded a Christmas album. Worst CD The Christmas Album (Arista, 1987)
9 LEE GREENWOOD Gives patriotism a bad name “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” Samuel Johnson said, but in Lee Greenwood’s case, it’s the ultimate meal ticket for a Nashville hack. A bland balladeer with a weakness for overwrought sentimentality, he wrote the 1984 tune “God Bless the U.S.A.” in response to the Soviet downing of a South Korean airliner. It became a campaign theme for George H.W. Bush and was recently excavated in torturous fashion by the American Idol 2 cast during the war in Iraq. Appalling fact Greenwood performed a duet with Latoya Jackson on her dreadful 1994 album, From Nashville to You. Worst CD You’ve Got a Good Love Comin’ (MCA, 1985)
8 VANILLA ICE The white boy to end all white boys You know that yearbook photograph you won’t let anyone see? The one whose very existence keeps you awake shaking at night? Imagine it was a horribly dated number 1 single from 1990 called “Ice Ice Baby,” and you have an idea what life is like for Robert Van Winkle. It doesn’t stop there: Ice starred in the abysmal 1991 Hollywood vehicle Cool as Ice, and after squandering his quick fortune, mounted an unsuccessful comeback in 1998 as (shudder) a rap-rocker. Appalling fact Widely denounced by hip-hop fans as a phony, Ice rebuffed his detractors at the 1991 American Music Awards: “Kiss my white ass!” Worst CD Hard to Swallow (Republic, 1998)
7 ASIA Ridiculous album sleeves, virtuoso playing, soulless rock. It can be only one band Asia’s music turned out to be exactly the sum of its parts: former technicians from King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes who got together with an erstwhile Buggle at the start of the ’80s. It promised the most self-important prog-rock melded with the limp-wristed worst of AOR, and it delivered. The band’s self-titled debut sold more than 4 million copies, which only encouraged them. Appalling fact To this day, keyboardist Geoff Downes is happy to offer Asia’s mission statement: “To play music that is panoramic, symphonic and rock at the same time.” Worst CD Astra (Geffen, 1985)
6 KANSAS Beware all bands named after states or continents! Their folksy 1977 hit “Dust in the Wind,” a tractor-size fiddle player and a guitarist in bib overalls suggested pioneer-spirited rural rockers. The truth was far more sinister. Bereft of sex and emotion, Kansas’s music was a noxious fusion of Jethro Tull and Yes, appealing only to male sci-fi bores and guaranteed to drive any self-respecting frontiersman headlong into the nearest bear trap. Appalling fact A feature of their live shows was roadie T. Rat, who would come onstage in a trench coat, top hat and clown mask. Then he would disrobe and dance butt-naked. Worst CD Point of Know Return (Columbia, 1977)
5 STARSHIP They built this city on rock & roll. And crap! In 1985, Starship rose like a phoenix from the ashes of once-mighty psychedelic overlords Jefferson Airplane/Starship — but only if, by phoenix, you mean “ultra-lame, MTV-pandering purveyors of MOR schlock.” Best remembered for “We Built This City,” they were also responsible for unleashing the Diane Warren–penned “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” a song bad enough to appear on the soundtrack of the diabolical Andrew McCarthy “comedy” Mannequin. And its sequel! Appalling fact Singer Grace Slick later disavowed “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” claiming in an interview, “I know damn well how fast a relationship can fall apart.” Worst CD Love Among the Cannibals (RCA, 1989)
4 KENNY G This guy really blows! Hated equally by jazz and rock fans, Kenny Gorelick’s limpid instrumentals and obsequious cameos helped turn the soprano sax solo into pop music’s most feared cliché. He started his career with fusion hack Jeff Lorber, and his 1986 album, Duotones, established a steady market for anodyne, minimal background music, an aesthetic that reached its zenith in 1997 when “The G” set a world record by holding a single note for 45 minutes. Appalling fact He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington with a degree in accounting. Worst CD Classics in the Key of G (Arista, 1999)
3 MICHAEL BOLTON Otis Redding died for this? With his curly locks and toned abs, Michael Bolton looked like nothing so much as the hero of a cheap bodice-ripper, which was enough to earn him a fervent audience for his over-emoted late-’80s power ballads. Unfortunately, his greatest desire was to sing R&B oldies, which he went through like Sherman through Georgia. Appalling fact After losing a plagiarism suit to the Isley Brothers, Bolton tried to avoid paying them royalties by buying their publishing house. Worst CD Timeless: The Classics (Columbia, 1992)
2 EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER Welcome back, my friends, to the second-worst band in history! “Boasting” former members of the Nice, King Crimson and — yes! — Atomic Rooster, the less-than-super ’70s supergroup ELP shunned blues-based rock in favor of bombastically reinterpreted classical works — with bewilderingly successful results. A nightmarish enough proposition on record, the Brit trio’s live shows were peppered by interminable solo spots, including a 20-minute drum workout by Carl Palmer that ended with him ringing a cowbell held between his teeth. Appalling fact Singer-bassist Greg Lake performed on a $10,000 Persian rug that roadies vacuumed before every show. Worst CD Love Beach (Rhino, 1978)
1 INSANE CLOWN POSSE They sound even stupider than they look Two trailer-trash types who wear face paint, pretend to be a street gang and drench cult devotees in cheap soda called Faygo, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are more notorious for their beef with Eminem (who pistol-whipped an ICP homey in 2001) than their ham-fisted rap-rock music. They claim that a “dark carnival” visited them one night, prophesied impending apocalypse and made them its messengers. Between this circus gospel, they find plenty of time to rap about 40-ouncers and venereal disease. Appalling fact While appearing on The Howard Stern Show in 1999, Shaggy 2 Dope told Sharon Osbourne to “buff my pickle.” She declined. Worst CD The Wraith: Shangri-La (D3, 2002)
Dołączył(a): 21 Marca 2007 Posty: 532 Lokalizacja: 634
Re: BLENDER.com: HipHop W Rankingach Blendera: Common,Krs-One,Jay-Z,Outkast,Pete Rock
Wysłano: 6 Maj 2009 14:29
ICP czy vanilla ice pasują na tą listę jak ulał ale The Doors ? hmm, nie rozumiem trochę wrzucenia ich na listę.
u mnie w mieście są ludzie którzy słuchają ICP i nawet się nimi jarają, sprawdziłem parę kawałków i klipów (nie miałem odwagi ściągać całych płyt na dysk) i za chuja nie potrafię tego pojąć, jak się można jarać. jak to eminem nazwał "insane clown pussys", i tyle
Dołączył(a): 04 Listopada 2006 Posty: 2604 Lokalizacja: Radom
Re: BLENDER.com: HipHop W Rankingach Blendera: Common,Krs-One,Jay-Z,Outkast,Pete Rock
Wysłano: 6 Maj 2009 15:22
Hah, JAMIROQUAI? Trochę przegięli pałę. Okej, dla wielu Jay Kay może być beztalenciem (choć to i tak zalatuje hejterstwem, ale spoko, gusta...) i mieć niesłuchalny wokal, ale bez jaj, tekstowo zawsze było nieźle, no i co taniec ma do rzeczy?! . Poza tym, nie wiem czy Blender wie, ale Jamiro to ZESPÓŁ, a więc kozacka robota instrumentalistów - od eklektycznych rzeczy w pierwszych latach twórczości po ostatnie trochę syntetyczne, popowe wygrzewy.
Nie no, przesadzili zdecydowanie. Nie uważam się za fana Jamiro, nie słyszałem wszystkiego od nich, ale ich obecność na tej liście to jakieś nieporozumienie, tak samo jak Doorsi, Emerson Lake & Palmer czy Arrested. Na poczekaniu mogę wymienić 23892 gorszych wykonawców.
solidnym prowo zalatuje mi to zestawienie
_________________ "They call me the political rapper Even after I tell 'em I don't fuck with politics I don't even follow it I'm on some KRS, Ice Cube, Chris Wallace shit Main Source, De La Soul, bumpin' 2Pacalypse Now"
The 40 Worst Lyricists In Rock 40 • Anthony Kiedis The Buddhist in the frat house.
If Jim Morrison had done yoga and strutted onstage with a sock on his dick, he’d have been the Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman. While Kiedis is often facile (“American equality has always been sour/An attitude I would like to devour”), he’s also lapsed into downright evil: “Fuck ’em just to see the look on their face.” Worst lyric: “Psychic spies from China/Try to steal your mind’s elation/Little girls from Sweden/Dream of silver screen quotations/And if you want these kind of dreams/It’s Californication” (“Californication”) Bonus Worser lyric: “Intercourse with a porpoise/Is a dream for me/Hell-bent on inventing/A new species/Bust my britches/Bless my soul/I’m a freak of nature/Walking totem pole” (“Nobody Weird Like Me”)
39 • Billy Corgan Pretentious? Moi?
The suspicion that Corgan believes himself a poet was confirmed in 2004 when a collection of his atrocious verse, Blinking With Fists: Poems, was published. Whether with the Smashing Pumpkins, Zwan or solo, Corgan traffics in the overwrought intellectual despair of a spurned teenage diarist. On “Cupid de Locke” he uses the words hath and ye entirely seriously. That he delivers them in a grating, nasal whine doesn’t help, either. Worst lyric: “’Cause you’re all whores and I’m a fag/And I’ve got no mother and I’ve got no dad/To save me the wasted, save me from myself/I lie just to be real and I’d die just to feel” (Smashing Pumpkins, “Tales of a Scorched Earth”)
38 • Paul McCartney Still not confined to “Yesterday”: the Wimpy Beatle’s sodden oeuvre.
Apparently born with neither self-examination nor introspection genes, McCartney is the king of cloying and superficial rock lyrics. Less obvious while John Lennon was around to add acid edge to his mimsy musings, this became a big problem as soon as McCartney went solo—where he descended into weedhead whimsy and sentimental cotton candy like “La la la la la la lovely Linda/With the lovely flowers in her hair.” Worst lyric: “Ebony and ivory/Live together in perfect harmony/Side by side on my piano keyboard/Oh, Lord, why don’t we” (Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, “Ebony and Ivory”)
37 • Bryan Adams “Summer of ’69.” Heh-heh! Get it? 69!!!
This British Columbian’s lyrics embody all the worst things about his native Great White North: They’re syrupy as a maple tree, whiter than an Edmonton Oilers home stand, more generic than Canadian prescription drugs and full of more hoary metaphors than this sentence. “Now, now,” protested a (fictional) official in the South Park movie, “the Canadian government has apologized for Bryan Adams on several occasions!” If only. Worst lyric: “She’s black coffee, little bit of cream/Sweet brown sugar, my midnight dream/Black pearl, my kinda girl/Just the kind of thing to rock my world” (“Black Pearl”)
36 • Common Never trust a rapper in a sweater-vest.
Common wasn’t above dissing Ice Cube on “The Bitch in Yoo” (“I heard a ho say you her favorite rapper/So I had to slap her”), but don’t be fooled—he’s also a self-righteous hippie. The principled rhymer’s earnest neo-soul thoughts touch on abortion (“Turning this woman’s womb into a tomb”), social injustice and his own vegetarianism. Worst lyric: “I’m your worst nightmare squared/That’s double for niggas who ain’t mathematically aware” (“Making a Name for Ourselves”)
35 • Dashboard Confessional Self-flagellating teen spokesman for sadness.
Most of us chuck our eighth-grade diaries; Chris Carrabba sings his. To legions of adoring fans, this former special-ed teacher’s vein-opening anthems about love and heartbreak are emo gospel. To the other 99 percent of the world, they’re crybaby doggerel. In concert, Carrabba will sometimes step back from the mic, letting his worshipping throng take over. Devotees call it a thrilling, impassioned moment of fan/star symbiosis. We say, even he’s too embarrassed to sing some of that stuff. Worst lyric: “The hint of these new tears are sharp/I try to choke them back, but it’s useless/I am useless against them/They are beating me with ease” (“The Sharp Hint of New Tears”)
34 • Henry Rollins Beefy nihilist.
Ever since hardcore pioneers Black Flag broke up, this self-styled Renaissance man has produced material that is unremittingly intense and silly. He claims to write only when he’s unhappy, as is made plain by tracks such as “Burned Beyond Recognition” and “Gun in Mouth Blues”; other men would just try and meet more girls. Worst lyric: “I want to disconnect myself/Pull my brain stem out and unplug myself” (Rollins Band, “Disconnect”)
VIDEO: Henry Rollins dishes an ass-kicking to our resident punk enthusiast
33 • Diddy Hip-hop is really about the delivery, anyway.
“Don’t worry if I write rhymes; I write checks,” he famously bragged; sadly, Diddy sometimes insists on writing rhymes, too. He sometimes relies on ghostwriters, saddling his hires with the challenge of authoring lines corny enough to sound plausible clunking off the tongue of a guy whose own couplets define hip-hop corniness. To his credit, Puff’s comic obliviousness to his vocal and musical limitations remains almost subversive in its capacity to infuriate hip-hop purists. Worst lyric: “Come here girl/Let me creep in your world/Let me see the backside of your moon/No Vickies only La Perl-a/Let me take you to Indonesia” (“Diddy Rock”)
32 • Matisyahu If this is a lengthy Andy Samberg skit, please stop—we get it.
A Hasidic Jew from suburban New York who performs roots-reggae in orthodox garb and got his start at open-mic nights. What could go wrong? Oy gevalt! Most reggae singers have ganja as an excuse for hazy lyrics about Zion and Babylon. Bodily pure Matthew Miller can only blame the truth and sunlight emanating from his “humble heart.” Worst lyric: “Me no want no sinsemilla/That would only bring me down/Burn away my brain no way, my brain is to compound/Torah food for my brain let it rain till I drown” (“King Without a Crown”)
31 • Carly Simon Needy singer-songwriter mistakes herself for a poet.
In her early-’70s heyday, Simon was romantically linked to both Warren Beatty and Mick Jagger—which helped inspire a litany of codependent lyrics in which she cast herself as the whiny victim. While her contemporaries mined their relationship woes for insights into human behavior, Simon just moped. Worst lyric: “You walked into the party/Like you were walking onto a yacht/Your hat strategically dipped below one eye/Your scarf it was apricot/You had one eye in the mirror/As you watched yourself gavotte” (“You’re So Vain”)
30 • Kevin Federline Bob Dylan in Red Monkey jeans and a fitted Yankees hat.
Federline was already a successful dancer, model, actor, pro wrestler, text-messager, YouTube star and impregnator when he turned his attention to rapping, on 2006’s Playing With Fire. And by introducing themes like wealth, power, illegal-drug consumption, fame and sexual prowess to hip-hop, he radically expanded the music’s lyrical possibilities. K-Fed’s urban realism had a stark documentary quality, and his portrayals of aspirant American excess bordered on the Fitzgerald-esque. Where will he go next? Wherever his mind rolls. Worst lyric: “In Portuguese it means ‘Bring your ass’/On the floor and move it real fast/I want to see your kitty and a little bit of titty/ Want to know where I go when I’m in your city?” (“Popozão”)
VIDEO: Kevin Federline discusses Britney
29 • Timbaland Even worse than Diddy!
What do Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody,” Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” and Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous” have in common? They’re all great songs that would be even better were it not for a certain marble-mouthed producer dropping his clunky bon mots in the background. Tim may be a genius on the mixing boards, but hand him a pen and suddenly he’s as graceful as a beluga on roller skates. Worst lyric: “Timbaland/Don’t you know I am the man/Rock shows from here to Japan/Have people shaking, shaking my hand” (“Are You That Somebody?”)
28 • Greg Graffin Revenge of the nerd.
The Bad Religion singer has a list of academic qualifications as long as your arm—including a master’s in geology and a biology Ph.D.—so it’s little wonder he writes exactly like a concerned student. Graffin hit the ground running in 1982 with the naive indignation of “Fuck Armageddon … This Is Hell!” (“We’re living in the denouement of the battle’s gripping awe”) and has maintained similar standards ever since. Worst lyric: “The arid torpor of inaction will be our demise” (“Kyoto Now”) Bonus Worser lyric: “Damn your transcendental paralysis/We can work together and make sense of this” (“The Hopeless Housewife”)
27 • Will Jennings Break out the Kleenex: It’s the new nabob of sob.
The Oscar-winning hack whom Hollywood execs call when they want the needle on the schmaltz-o-meter to fly into the red, Jennings is the lyricist who makes Diane Warren look as sophisticated as Cole Porter. Celine Dion’s Titanic nostrum, “My Heart Will Go On,” was one of his. So was Eric Clapton’s theologically tenuous “Tears in Heaven.” Worst lyric: “The road is long and there are mountains in our way/But we climb the stairs every day” (Joe Cocker, “Up Where We Belong”)
26 • Simon Le Bon Luckily, everyone was distracted by the videos.
Part of Britain’s rich early-’80s crop of K-Mart Bowies, Duran Duran built a planet-size pop career on half-understanding Andy Warhol, Philip K. Dick and William Burroughs. Lyricist Le Bon specialized in a bewildering mishmash of sci-fi and pop art, apparently translated from the Japanese (“Dancing on the valentine”? “The union of the snake is on the climb”?). At least “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” seem more truthful—being about chicks, travel, yachts and stuff. Worst lyric: “Fiery demons all dance when you walk through that door/Don’t say you’re easy on me/You’re about as easy as a nuclear war” (“Is There Something I Should Know?”) Bonus Worser lyric: “The reflex is an only child, he’s waiting by the park/The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark” (“The Reflex”)
VIDEO: Duran Duran, "Ordinary World" from Live Earth 2007
25 • KRS-One Boogie Down Productions’ leader goes Oliver Stone on us.
Though initially revered as one of the first MCs to wield political messages, the hip-hop pioneer’s raps devolved quickly from shrewd antigovernment observations to crackpot tirades and bizarre diatribes against the FDA and the IRS (“In this particular system everyone’s a slave/Racist is how they want us to behave” from “Who Are the Pimps?”). “Rap needed a teacher, so I became it,” he boasted—but soon found few students willing to show up to class. Worst lyric: “See, cows live under fear and stress/Trying to think what’s gonna happen next/Fear and stress can become a part of you/In your cells and blood, this is true” (“Beef”)
24 • Fred Durst Be honest: It really is all about the he-said/she-said bullshit?
Most bad lyricists wreck only one genre; Limp Bizkit’s genius was choosing both rock and rap to despoil. From the former, Durst appropriated macho bravado, homophobia and callow misogyny; from the latter he took pomposity, rage and self-pity. Whether telling the kids who used to beat him up in high school to lick his famous balls or celebrating Britney Spears’s “scent,” his repulsiveness knew no bounds (or, for that matter, depths). Worst lyric: “Bullies always putting me down/Just a little skater boy they could pick on/I learned to forgive ’em/Now I got the balls they can lick on” (“Lonely World”)[b]
23 • Robert Plant Frodo Rocks!
You have to hand it to him: Among those who’ve read The Hobbit 38 times, Plant has probably slept with the most women. If only he didn’t sing about it, too. Zeppelin’s mix of Tolkien-esque fantasy, bluesy sexism, Satanism and flower-haired hippie whimsy set an astonishingly low bar for aspiring metal gods to limbo under. Worst Lyric: “How years ago in days of old/When magic filled the air/’Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor/I met a girl so fair/But Gollum and the evil one crept up/And slipped away with her” (Led Zeppelin, “Ramble On”)
22 • Jon Bon Jovi Emphatically not a cowboy.
Many rockers see themselves as modern-day outlaws, but Bon Jovi stretched the analogy to the breaking point with “Wanted Dead or Alive,” wherein he roams around on a “steel horse” toting a “loaded six-string” and claims that one can determine what day it is “by the bottle that you drink.” At least that showed some imagination, as elsewhere he contents himself with reheating Bruce Springsteen or—on 2000’s horrendous “Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen From Mars”—Elton John. Worst Lyric: “My heart is like an open highway/Like Frankie said, ‘I did it my way’” (“It’s My Life”)
21 • Alanis Morissette One hand in her pocket, one hand making a peace sign. No hands free to reach for a dictionary.
Alanis nearly surpassed Bono as rock’s reigning inspiration for high school yearbook quotations when her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill sold 17 million copies. Sadly, the cigarette-flicking free spirit didn’t offer a very good example to students. She didn’t bother to look up ironic, pronounced theater “thea-tah” and spewed ontological nonsense like “I don’t want to be a bandage if the wound is not mine.” And then she found God. Thanks for nothing, India. Worst lyric: “Do you see everything as an illusion?/But enjoy it even though you are not of it?/Are you both masculine and feminine?/Politically aware and don’t believe in capital punishment?” (“21 Things I Want in a Lover”)
20 • Ryan Ross A Sin City kid whose pomo pretension is as thick as his eyeliner.
Curse the day that Ryan Ross discovered thesaurus.com. The guitarist and chief lyricist for Vegas emo dandies Panic! At the Disco, Ross writes like the quill and inkwell never went out of fashion, cramming his tarantellas full of baroque wordplay and breathless verbal curlicues. This might be easier to bear if they didn’t also ooze middlebrow smarty-pants-ness, with “clever” references to Wes Anderson flicks and the collected works of Chuck Palahniuk. And need we even mention that exclamation point? Worst lyric: “And I believe this may call for a proper introduction/And well, don’t you see, I’m the narrator, and this is just the prologue?” (“The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage”)
19 • Queensÿche Operation: Rhymecrime.
The bulk of Queensrÿche’s awful oeuvre is high school poetry at its most pseudo-profound—the prog-metal band’s lone hit was guitarist Chris DeGarmo’s nonsensically titled “Silent Lucidity” (“I am smiling next to you, in silent lucidity”). Singer Geoff Tate’s most accomplished work, the 1988 concept album Operation: Mindcrime, is execrable: The plot—a villain named Dr. X brainwashes a junkie into assassinating politicians—strives for sociopolitical importance but plays like something you’d catch on the Sci Fi Channel at 3 a.m. Worst Lyric: “Unfortunate son cornered, cowering in the pit/Of circling panes of glass/That surround and reveal/The ever-present ‘It’” (“I Am I”) bonus Worser Lyric: “Remember making love in the rain?/Strange how laughter looks like crying with no sound/Raindrops taste like tears without the pain” (“Another Rainy Night [Without You]”)
18 • Ian Anderson Note to aspiring musicians: step away from the flute…
He played the jazz flute, looked like an unemployed medieval barber and sang as if he’d contracted rabies. But the Jethro Tull frontman wasn’t content merely seeming crazy: The puerile critiques of religion and two-dimensional character studies of societal castoffs on 1971’s Aqualung suggested a mind capable of thought at its least probing. Worst lyric: “Sitting on a park bench/Eyeing little girls with bad intent/Snot running down his nose/Greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes/Drying in the cold sun/Watching as the frilly panties run” (“Aqualung”)
17 • Jon Anderson Lyrics so bad they almost broke up the band.
Rush had dumb lyrics written by their drummer; fellow prog-rock legends Yes had lyrics so dumb they allegedly provoked drummer Bill Bruford to quit the band. Mystically inclined lyricist Jon Anderson left school at age 15, leaving little formal education to hem in his interests in nature, space travel, Russian literature and sun worship. Anderson’s imagination was so fecund a mere footnote in a book of Hindu spiritualism inspired an entire double album, 1974’s Tales From Topographic Oceans. Worst lyric: “A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace/And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace.” (“Close to the Edge: The Solid Time of Change”)
16 • Ben Gibbard He almost knocked the Dashboard Confessional guy off this list.
He’s the type who’s sensitive, wears glasses, likes long conversations, winter, standing by himself at weddings and disregarding his ex-girlfriends’ restraining orders. He’s the frontman for Washington-state indie-rock softies Death Cab for Cutie, and he’s got five albums of come-ons so abstruse the ladies will barely notice him tugging on their ankles. Gibbard’s romantic meditations are so awesomely overwrought, a local news program in Utah recently used DCFC’s 2005 song “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” to expose the scary culture of “emos.” Worst Lyric: “Your heart is a river that flows from your chest/Through every organ/Your brain is the dam/And I am the fish who can’t reach the core” (“Lightness”)
15 • Bernie Taupin Would probably have sucked as a sculptor too.
Elton John almost never communicates with his lifelong lyricist. Would you want the guy who wrote “If I was a sculptor—then again, no” (“Your Song”) and “It’s quite peculiar in a funny sort of way” (“Madman Across the Water”) coming round for tea? Taupin’s many works of sublime badness include Starship’s 1985 hit “We Built This City,” a rebellious anthem about how hard it is for an aging hippie band to keep a record deal and, more recently, Lestat, a 2006 musical based on the novels of Anne Rice. Worst lyric: “Someone always playing corporation games/Who cares—they’re always changing corporation names/We just want to dance here, someone stole the stage/They call us irresponsible, write us off the page” (“We Built This City”)
[b]14 • Will.I.Am Let’s get retarded, indeed.
Will.i.am is smart. The Black Eyed Peas leader reads books about wave-particle resonance and can talk at length about the monetary policy of 17th-century Portugal. So why does he rap like a fifth-grader at the world’s horniest spelling bee? “T to the A to the S-T-E-Y/Girl, you tasty”; “W-I-double-L spells pleasure.” Even Fergie knows her alphabet better than that. His rhymes, meanwhile, come off like the work of a person whose familiarity with the English language is glancing at best. Worst lyric: “I met a girl down at the disco/She said ‘Hey, hey, hey you, let’s go’” (“My Humps”)
13 • Pete Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Phil Collins Genesis: even worse than you think.
Albums based on Greek myths and Wuthering Heights. Spoken interludes explaining the origins of fantastical creatures. A rock opera about a Puerto Rican kid in New York killed by his dreams of freedom. Singer Peter Gabriel’s mime makeup was about the 10th most pretentious thing about the prog-iest of prog-ers. Going solo, drummer Phil Collins wrote the worst song ever about homelessness, bassist Mike Rutherford formed Mike + the Mechanics, responsible for the worst song ever about an intergalactic freedom fighter, and guitarist Steve Hackett attempted to do for Lewis Carroll what Robert Plant did for J.R.R. Tolkien. Keyboardist Tony Banks mainly did soundtrack work but is just as guilty for standing idly by while these atrocities were committed. Maybe we all are. Worst lyric: “Now as the river dissolves in sea/So Neptune has claimed another soul/And so with gods and men/The sheep remain inside their pen/Until the shepherd leads his flock away” (“Firth of Fifth”)
12 • David Crosby A ’60s legend who has traveled many roads, usually while high and possibly armed.
When he’s not singing sweet harmonies with Stills and Nash, getting brought up on drug- and weapons-possession charges or providing sperm to Melissa Etheridge, the walruslike folk rocker finds time to pen goofy hippie lyrics. Crosby writes about everything from existential indecision (“Almost Cut My Hair”) to wishing he could kick drugs (“Monkey and the Underdog”) to not always remembering his own name (his album If I Could Only Remember My Name). Worst lyric: “Must be because I had the flu for Christmas/And I’m not feeling up to par/It increases my paranoia/Like looking into my mirror and seeing a police car” (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, “Almost Cut My Hair”)
11 • Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar Responsible for the longest four minutes of every wedding you’ll ever attend.
Henley had been in the ’60s band the Newbeats; Silbar was a hired gun for pop and country acts. In 1982, these unholy hacks came together to write “Wind Beneath My Wings,” the Hallmark weeper that became a smash for Bette Midler. Mawkishly paying tribute to a supportive soul “cold there in my shadow,” the lyrics might be interesting if they honestly dissected the parasitic relationship at the song’s center. But then your mom would hate it. Worst lyric: “Did you ever know that you’re my hero?/You’re everything I wish I could be/I could fly higher than an eagle/For you are the wind beneath my wings” (“Wind Beneath My Wings”)
10 • Jim Morrison Why would a guy who looked this good shirtless want to be smart, anyway?
As a teenager, Morrison was alleged to have read a hundred books a week. Before his 1971 death in a Paris bathtub the Lizard King made pretentious-rocker history fusing French symbolism, Blake-ian romanticism and Beat shamanism into dreamlike evocations of L.A. excess. The result: poetry a drug-mad hippie would come up with if he’d never read a single book. Worst lyric: “Breakfast where the news is read/Television children fed/Unborn living, living, dead/Bullet strikes the helmet’s head” (“The Unknown Soldier”)
09 • Donovan LSD may be a lot fun—But not if we have to listen to entire albums made on it.
The ’60s folkie once claimed he could “write about any facet of the human condition”; sadly, Donovan chose to concentrate largely on the ones involving mermaids. The annoying hippie’s annoying hippie, Donovan traveled to India to see the Maharishi, wore robes on his record covers and released a double album for the children of Aquarius called Gift From a Flower to a Garden. Today, a man with his skill set would be hassling people for bus fare; back then, he was a pop star. Worst lyric: “In love pool eyes float feathers after the struggle/The hopes burst and shot joy all through the mind/Sorrow more distant than a star/Multi colour run down over your body/Then the liquid passing all into all/Love is hot, truth is molten” (“Barabajagal [Love Is Hot]”)
08 • Diane Warren Love stinks.
The famously reclusive songwriter has never been married and doesn’t like dating. This estrangement from actual relationships may help explain her astonishing longevity as the world’s most successful author of creepily idealized cheesy love songs—from Michael Bolton’s “How Can We Be Lovers” to Brandy’s “Have You Ever?” and LeAnn Rimes’s “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.” She has enjoyed more than 100 Billboard chart hits. Unless you’re a big Cher fan, you haven’t enjoyed any of them. Worst lyric: “Feeling your heart beating/And I’m wondering what you’re dreaming/Wondering if it’s me you’re seeing/Then I kiss your eyes and thank God we’re together” (Aerosmith, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”)
07 • Paul Stanley This is what’s wrong with being sexy.
Despite stiff competition (itself a potential Kiss song title), Stanley takes the honors over his bandmates. Gene Simmons is too hilarious (“Ooh baby, wanna put my log in your fireplace”), drummer Peter Criss too “street” (“I’m a hooligan/Won’t go to school again”) and guitarist Ace Frehley too drunk. Despite casting himself as a sensitive ladies’ man, Stanley really hits the bull’s-eye with his schoolboy cock-boasting on tracks such as “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” and “Love Gun.” Worst lyric: “Baby, let’s put the X in sex/Love’s like a muscle, and you make me wanna flex” (“Let’s Put the X in Sex”) Bonus Worser lyric: “She’s a dancer, a romancer/I’m a Capricorn, and she’s a Cancer” (“C’Mon and Love Me”)
06 • Tom Marshall The poet laureate of jam-band America—and a big fan of unicorns.
A prep-school friend of Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, Marshall parlayed his lack of instrumental chops into a gig as the band’s on-call lyricist—like the Grateful Dead’s Robert Hunter, only far, far worse. Phishheads especially covet bootlegs of a never-released rock opera called The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, about a retired Long Island Army colonel who journeys through time to rescue a document called the Helping Friendly Book from an evil dictator named Wilson. Worst lyric: “Guyute was the ugly pig/Who walked on me and danced a jig/That he had learned when he was 6/Then stopped and did some other tricks/Like pulling weapons from his coat/And holding them against my throat” (“Guyute”)
05 • Dan Fogelberg John Denver, you’ve met your match.
No one can bum out a dentist’s waiting room like this titan of ’70s light rock. A sometime L.A. session musician, Fogelberg relocated to the Rocky Mountains, where the thin oxygen inspired many ballads about strange women, distant dads and, uh, sexy racehorses. His sappiest moment might by his 1981 ode to the Kentucky Derby, “Run for the Roses,” in which he serenades a champion thoroughbred in weirdly erotic terms. Worst lyric: “All the long, lazy mornings/In pastures of green/The sun on your withers/The wind in your mane/Could never prepare you/For what lies ahead/The run for the roses so red” (“Run for the Roses”)
04 • Noel Gallagher Too busy being better than the Beatles to edit for clarity.
“I’m equal part genius, equal part buffoon,” Manchester’s drunkest son once said. And for a guy of Noel’s intelligence, half-right’s not bad. The man who sang “look into the wall of my mind’s eye” probably could’ve used some Ritalin to go with the lager and cocaine, since he often seemed incapable of following a metaphor through a single line, let alone a whole verse. But when you’ve lived in a house called “Supernova Heights,” such petty considerations are probably beneath you. Worst lyric: “Slowly walking down the hall faster than a cannonball” (“Champagne Supernova”)
03 • Scott Stapp Just good friends with the Lord.
“The comfort of your arms around me/Your tender hands caress my head,” the Creed fisher of men sang to the Risen Savior on The Passion of the Christ CD. It takes no small amount of arrogance to imagine Jesus wants to make out with you—but Stapp seems to have missed the bit in Proverbs about how “pride goeth before destruction.” True to prophecy, Creed was eventually laid low by their frontman’s pious bombast. Worst lyric: “When you are with me I’m free/I’m careless, I believe/Above all the others we’ll fly/This brings tears to my eyes/’Cause when you are with me I’m free” (“My Sacrifice”)
02 • Neil Peart An ace on the rototoms, a train wreck on the typewriter.
Drummers are good at many things: exploding, drowning in their own vomit, drumming. But the Rush skinsman proved they should never write lyrics—or read books. Peart opuses like “Cygnus X-1” are richly awful tapestries of fantasy and science fiction, steeped in an eighth-grade understanding of Western philosophy. 2112, Rush’s 1976 concept album based on individualist thinker Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem, remains an awe-inspiring low point in the sordid relationship between rock and ideas.Worst lyric: “I stand atop a spiral stair/An oracle confronts me there/He leads me on light years away/Through astral nights, galactic days” (“Oracle: The Dream”)
01 • STING Mountainous pomposity, cloying spirituality, ham-handed metaphors: He can do it all.
It didn’t have to turn out this way. In the Police, Sting wore ripped T-shirts and wrote catchy new-wave songs about hookers. Sure, he name-dropped Nabokov in “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” but he balanced it with the awesomely post-lingual “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.”
But once publications labeled him “The Thinking Woman’s Sex Symbol,” a low-watt lightbulb popped on in his head, illuminating the way toward a self-serious future. Sting would go on to rip off Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, St. Augustine’s Confessions … even Shakespeare.
After the Police split, Sting pursued a second career liberating soccer moms from their “soul cages.” Jazz musicians were involved. A lute was purchased. Volvo bumper stickers were quoted (“If you love someone, set them free”). Surveying the Cold War, he found the West “conditioned to respond to all the threats/In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets.” His rage at Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was so heated, he castigated the scoundrel in Spanish. Holy frijoles, was Sting mad!
These searing insights befit a sociopolitical seer “cursed with X-ray vision”—and capable of doing folkloric parables about seventh sons and mystical fisherman and taking us on journeys from the battlefields of World War I to the ancient kingdoms of “the high Sahara.” But does Sting care? He doth not. He’s the King of Pain, kids. And no pain, no gain.
Dołączył(a): 04 Listopada 2006 Posty: 2604 Lokalizacja: Radom
Re: BLENDER.com: HipHop W Rankingach Blendera: Common,Krs-One,Jay-Z,Outkast,Pete Rock
Wysłano: 8 Maj 2009 16:37
ale beka z tym wersem commona hahahhaha, dojebał mimo to przegięli ostro, ten blender to jedno wielkie prowo jakieś
_________________ "They call me the political rapper Even after I tell 'em I don't fuck with politics I don't even follow it I'm on some KRS, Ice Cube, Chris Wallace shit Main Source, De La Soul, bumpin' 2Pacalypse Now"
Dołączył(a): 31 Sierpnia 2004 Posty: 24199 Lokalizacja: Gdańsk - Wrzeszcz
Re: BLENDER.com: HipHop W Rankingach Blendera: Common,Krs-One,Jay-Z,Outkast,Pete Rock
Wysłano: 9 Maj 2009 10:26
http://www.blender.com/lists/68125/500- ... 0.html?p=1]The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born 01.Michael Jackson, "Billy Jean" Once upon a time — before the courtroom dramas, the serial plastic surgeries, the nights spent in hyperbaric chambers and the play dates with Corey Feldman — Michael Jackson was just a run-of-the-mill 24-year-old musical genius, driving a burning Rolls-Royce with a melody stuck in his head.
It was the summer of 1982. Jackson was on Los Angeles’s Ventura Freeway, commuting home after a day in the recording studio, where he and producer Quincy Jones were working on the follow-up to the singer’s smash solo debut, Off the Wall. As Jackson recalled in his 1988 autobiography, he was “so absorbed by this tune floating around in my head” that he failed to notice the smoke billowing out from the undercarriage of his luxury sedan.
“We were getting off the freeway when a kid on a motorcycle pulls up to us and says, ‘Your car’s on fire.’ Suddenly we noticed the smoke and pulled over and the whole bottom of the Rolls-Royce was on fire. That kid probably saved our lives.” But not even that brush with death could shake Jackson’s obsession with his work in progress. “Even while we were getting help and finding an alternate way to get where we were going, I was silently composing additional material.”
The song was perhaps the most personal Jackson had ever written, a guilt- and fear-streaked paternity drama inspired by the singer’s run-ins with delusional female fans. Jackson had been working on it for months and was certain that he had something special on his hands.
“A musician knows hit material. Everything has to feel in place. It fulfills you and it makes you feel good,” Jackson would recollect. “That’s how I felt about ‘Billie Jean.’ I knew it was going to be big when I was writing it.”
Jackson was right: “Billie Jean” was, to say the least, “hit material.” Released in January 1983, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, held the No. 1 spot on the R&B chart for nine, sold more than a million singles and launched pop’s biggest-ever commercial juggernaut, Thriller, which has sold upwards of 47 million copies worldwide, more than any album before or since.
But the song’s place in history transcends mere numbers. “Billie Jean” shattered MTV’s color line and went a long way toward destroying the racial apartheid that had prevailed on commercial radio for decades. Ushering in the modern music-video era, the single also pioneered a new kind of sleek, post-soul pop music whose echoes can be heard to this day. Above all, “Billie Jean” marked a coming of age, the moment when a former kiddie singing star blossomed into a new generation’s equivalent of Elvis and the Beatles — the late 20th century’s preeminent pop icon.
Not bad for a song that, to this day, remains one of the most sonically eccentric, psychologically fraught, downright bizarre things ever to land on Top 40 radio. Jackson’s previous solo hits had been awash in the lush sounds of disco, but “Billie Jean” was almost frighteningly stark, with a pulsing, cat-on-the-prowl bass figure, whip-crack downbeat and eerie multi-tracked vocals ricocheting in the vast spaces between keyboards and strings. Over the years, listeners have grown used to Jackson’s idiosyncratic vocal style — the falsetto whoops, “hee-hees,” James-Brown-on-helium grunts and gonzo diction (“the chair is not my son”?) — but in 1982 no one had ever heard anything quite like it, which only heightened the song’s unsettling effect, the sense that “Billie Jean” was a five-minute-long nervous breakdown, set to a beat.
This weirdness wasn’t accidental. Bruce Swedien, Jones’s longtime studio engineer, remembers: “When we recorded ‘Billie Jean’ … Quincy told me, ‘Okay, this piece of music has to have the most unique sonic personality of anything that we have ever recorded.’ Jones had Jackson sing vocal overdubs through a six-foot-long cardboard tube, and brought in jazz saxophonist Tom Scott to play a rare instrument, the lyricon, a wind-controlled analog synthesizer whose sour, trumpet-like lines are subtly woven through the track. Bassist Louis Johnson ran through his part on every guitar he owned before Jackson settled on a Yamaha bass with an ideally thick and buzzing sound.
Swedien, meanwhile, turned his search for the perfect beat into an arts-and-crafts project, hiring carpenters to construct a special plywood drum platform, ordering a custom-made bass drum cover, using everything from cinder blocks to specially designed isolation flaps, all to capture just the right imaging on the snare and hi-hats. “See if you can think of any other piece of music where you can hear the first three drum beats and know what the song is,” Swedien has said. “That’s what I call sonic personality.”
A major component of that personality almost didn’t survive the final cut. “Billie Jean” opens with an unusually long bass-and-drums intro — Jackson doesn’t begin singing until the 0:29 mark—that Jones wanted to trim but Jackson vehemently insisted be kept.
“I said, ‘Michael we’ve got to cut that intro,’” Jones recalls. “He said, ‘But that’s the jelly!’” — Jackson’s personal slang term for a funky beat is “smelly jelly” — “‘That’s what makes me want to dance.’ And when Michael Jackson tells you, ‘That’s what makes me want to dance,’ well, the rest of us just have to shut up.”
It was Jackson’s dancing, as much as his singing, that propelled the “Billie Jean” phenomenon. On May 16, 1983, more than 50 million viewers watched Jackson debut his famous moonwalk in a mesmerizing performance on the Motown 25 television special. Then there was the “Billie Jean” video, in which Jackson slinks and whirls through a fantasy cityscape, with a sidewalk that lights up like a disco floor underfoot. MTV rarely aired videos by black performers, and when they refused to show “Billie Jean,” CBS Records president Walter Yetnikoff went ballistic. “I said to MTV, ‘I’m pulling everything we have off the air, all our product. I’m not going to give you any more videos. And I’m going to go public and fucking tell them about the fact you don’t want to play music by a black guy.’” “Billie Jean” was promptly put in heavy rotation, and neither Jackson nor MTV ever looked back.
Those video images have lodged permanently in the cultural memory. But it’s Jackson’s songwriting that makes “Billie Jean” such a riveting psychological drama — the real thriller on his landmark album. Few songs have provided so much fodder for armchair Freudians: paranoia, sexual terror, temptation and shame mingle in lyrics that lurch from outright denials (“The kid is not my son”) to seeming admissions of guilt (“This happened much too soon/She called me to her room”). Today, “Billie Jean” seems more than anything like a parable of the twisted relations between celebrities and their fans, a theme dramatized in the video, in which Jackson is pursued by a creepy gumshoe in a trench coat. Count on the most famous man in the world — a guy who has had audiences tearing at his clothes since he was 10 years old—to deliver the great artistic statement on celebrity stalking.
Whatever its larger autobiographical and historical significance, “Billie Jean” is first and foremost a dance track. Untold millions of radio and MTV plays have not reduced the power of a song that simply explodes out of the speakers.
“‘Billie Jean’ is hot on every level,” says Greg Phillinganes, a legendary L.A. session musician who played keyboards on the song. “It’s hot rhythmically. It’s hot sonically, because the instrumentation is so minimal, you can really hear everything. It’s hot melodically. It’s hot lyrically. It’s hot vocally. It affects you physically, emotionally, even spiritually.” Twenty-three years on, Michael Jackson can rest assured: No one has made smellier jelly.
Available on: Thriller (Epic)
2. B.O.B. Outkast The past 25 years of music history, in five minutes and four seconds. by Jon Caramanica As engaging and inventive as Outkast’s third album, Aquemini, was, there was something tranquil about it — a country affair, heavy with porch funk and instrumental breakdowns most jam bands would die for. Afterwards, Andre 3000 — who always starts work on his next project before the previous one has even hit stores — decided it was time “to shake things up a little bit. I wanted a sonic slap.” And in 1999, on tour in London for Aquemini, Andre flipped to a news station and found his next single staring him in the face: “This news reporter, she said ‘Something something and bombs over Baghdad.’ It sounded good. I knew I could use it somewhere.” Already working on a strange beat in the back of the tour bus — “I was thinking about UFOs” — and listening to music ranging from Sun Ra and Labelle to Rage Against the Machine and Squarepusher, he made sure “B.O.B.,” better known as “Bombs Over Baghdad,” the first thing he wrote for Stankonia, was going to be a typhoon of a track. Though not about war at all — the song was often misread as a political rant — “B.O.B.” was filled with conflict, as if several radio stations were simultaneously competing for your ear. “It was a beat and a lot of noise,” remembers their A&R man Kawan Prather, “but they rode the beat so well that it didn’t sound foreign or weird.” Well, maybe a little weird. With snatches of electro, rock, jungle, gospel and bass music, “B.O.B.” was without question the most dense, chaotic, riotous song to hit hip-hop radio in years. “When I first heard the beat,” remembers Outkast’s Big Boi, “the room seemed to have this glow to it.” It was a dare, a challenge no one else was up to answering. “Who want some?/Don’t come unprepared,” Dre rapped, the beat triggering his boastful side, which had long been dormant. Big Boi sucked his teeth, too: “Pullin’ off the belt, ‘cause a whipping’s in order.” After that, three minutes of DJ scratches, guitar peals, 808 eruptions and a gospel run to put Kirk Franklin to shame. Outkast associate Mr. DJ recalls: “Dre had these words written down — ‘power music electric revival’ — and he said, ‘let’s give it to the choir.’” Uplifting pop is often simple, but “B.O.B.” earned its jubilation. All the audacity of the song was carried through to the million-dollar video, a traditional rap clip — cars, girls, the ‘hood — gone psychedelic, thanks to a pastel explosion in post-production. “When I first went to meet Andre, he was hunched over a piano, thinking,” says Dave Meyers, the video’s director. “The first thing he said to me was, ‘Hey, I really like fractals.’ I ended up taking that and running with it.” Pink, purple, green, blue, yellow — the video looked as if it had been colored by a Ritalin-addled 8-year-old. Outkast, though, stayed grounded throughout. “It was hot as hell that day, like 120 degrees,” remembers Big Boi. “I was jumping on top of the bus. Dre was running through the projects with the kids chasing him like the Pied Piper.” “You could come off the Aquemini album, like, calmed down, or just turn it up to notch 20, so that’s what we did,” says Andre. Even so, the record label wanted to put out the sure hit, “Ms. Jackson,” as the album’s first single. But if “B.O.B.” came second, Andre reasoned, “the urgency we were trying to display wouldn’t have been the same.” Stankonia came out on Halloween 2000, and soon thereafter came the “Ms. Jackson” juggernaut, which all but wiped “B.O.B.” from the radar. While “Ms. Jackson” became a No. 1 pop single, “B.O.B.” barely dented the charts, peaking at No. 69 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart. Nevertheless, it’s had an undeniably odd and potent afterlife. In the wake of the second Gulf War, it was banned temporarily by MTV Europe. Tennis player Jennifer Capriati requested it as her intro music at a match, incurring the scorn of the tennis world. And, most bizarrely, the instrumental was used as a music bed on CNN early on in the most recent incursions in the Middle East. “Don’t pull the thang out, unless you plan to bang,” indeed: a surreal soundtrack for the meeting of reality and art. Available on: Stankonia (LaFace/Arista) 3. Sweet Child O’ Mine
Guns N’ Roses
Before the hair plugs, before the full-blown insanity, L.A.’s greatest band released the mother of all power ballads.
by Jon Caramanica
It began as a joke. In the summer of 1986, Guns N’ Roses was just a few steps from smacked-out degeneracy. The group were all but squatting in a house in Laughlin Park, north of downtown L.A.: no real furniture, no TV, just a few lamps that sometimes worked and a few beds that did so more often.
The band — W. Axl Rose, guitarists Slash and Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler — were lolling around one afternoon when Slash got to noodling on his guitar.
“This lick I made up,” he remembers, “was kind of a joke. Everyone was high.” Just a few cleanly spaced up-and-down notes, it was direct, melodic and, for a player much more accustomed to lightning-quick shredding with heavy doses of snarl, far too corny to do anything with. But Rose, suddenly inspired by Slash’s throwaway lick, rushed upstairs and finished writing a message of love to his then-girlfriend, model Erin Everly: “I had written this poem and reached a dead end with it,” Axl said later. But when he heard Slash’s riff, the poem “popped into my head. It just all came together.”
Axl’s mash note combined with Slash’s chance outburst to become the meat of “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” the song that would rescue the power ballad from its stint in lite-rock purgatory and invest it with some serious swagger and brawn. Before “Sweet Child,” there was something comical about hard-rock bands who tried to emote. But this was a blend of dude-friendly guitar wizardry and carefully calibrated emotional outpouring that satisfied GN’R’s core headbanging audience while showing them to be capable of cleaning up nice when romance was in the air.
“Sweet Child” was indelible and epic. Even if their personal lives were in a shambles, everyone in the band was meticulous when it came to songwriting. Slash’s intro sounded like a reveille, and when Axl launched into the opening couplet—“She’s got a smile that it seems to me/Reminds me of childhood memories” — he sounded simultaneously brimming with elation and full of tears.
But “Sweet Child O’ Mine” would never have been half the success it became without the heavy MTV rotation of the video that came with it, shot in January 1988 in an abandoned ballroom in South Central L.A. The original idea was simply to capture the band hanging out and performing casually, with Erin Everly and the rest of the band’s girlfriends all on set.
It was a long, tedious shoot that at first seemed hopeless: “The first couple of takes, I’m thinking, ‘This looks like crap. There’s no vibe,’” says director Nigel Dick. “But over my shoulder, all the girls are giggling, wetting themselves.”
Axl, it turned out, was a sex symbol, and the ‘Sweet Child’ video minted his signature look. The teased hair he had when they filmed “Welcome to the Jungle” was gone, replaced by long, flowing locks, a bandanna wrapped around his head — and the side-to-side swaying that would become his distinctive anti-dance.
The only ballad on their debut Appetite for Destruction, “Sweet Child” was officially released as a single in late June 1988; two months later it hit the top of the Billboard chart, becoming Guns N’ Roses’ first and only No. 1 hit. “It was a signature lick,” says Appetite producer Mike Clink. “It was unmistakable, and unmistakably theirs.”
Axl would go on to marry Everly, and though the marriage lasted only a few months and ended in accusations of domestic abuse, “Sweet Child” remains a keepsake of a more optimistic time — for Axl, and for the band as a whole. “Axl sang beautifully on the song,” says Duff. “The whole thing was a beautiful mistake.”
Available on: Appetite for Destruction (Geffen)
The misunderstood breakup song that kept the band together
by Laura Sinagra
In the summer of 2005, no one was surprised to see Bono speaking out on world poverty from the stage at Live 8 one week, then giving a shout-out to Johnny Drama on HBO’s Entourage the next. But it wasn’t always that way. The U2 we now know — as anchored in the swirl of pop culture as in world politics — only emerged with 1991’s Achtung Baby album. And Achtung Baby would never have happened without “One.” In fact, U2 might not still be around today had they not stumbled upon this universally loved—though often misunderstood—ballad of struggle and fellowship.
“It amazes me,” Bono has said, “when people tell me they played it at their wedding or for comfort at a funeral. I go to myself, ‘Are you crazy? It’s about breaking up!’” Indeed, when the song was written, it seemed like the end of the line for the band itself. The four members were at a creative impasse after 1988’s bloated Rattle and Hum had left them pegged as tedious and pretentious. Pushing to change the band’s formula, a burned-out Bono and guitarist Edge were gravitating toward an interest in electronics; the rhythm section, consisting of Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr., wanted to continue in the same anthemic direction that had made them platinum stars.
In late 1990 they had begun recording at Hansa studios in Berlin, where David Bowie and Iggy Pop worked up some of the ’70s’ best rock experiments. But after a few weeks, the location was starting to seem ill-chosen. Just yards from the recently toppled Berlin Wall, the band watched a city realize that unification alone wasn’t going to solve all its problems. Recalled engineer Flood: “There seemed to be this dark cloud hanging over the whole session.”
Then producer Daniel Lanois heard Bono working on some middle-eight fragments and, elsewhere, the Edge toying with a guitar line that sounded promising. He got the band together, and they reluctantly began to play what would become the basic structure of “One.” Immediately, the Edge said, “Everyone recognized it was a special piece. It was like we’d caught a glimpse of what the song could be.”
The finished product retains that initial hypnotic feeling. The opening, echoing guitar sounds more like a sad fade-out coda than a beginning — tenuous, even defeated. And when Bono’s voice enters, it’s with an exhausted question routinely asked by doctors, mothers and, most important, lovers who want permission to leave without being the bad guy: “Is it getting better, or do you feel the same?” Then, as he muddles through that achingly familiar script, something changes. Lines that could be pulled from any doomed couple’s final argument are capped by a larger idea when Bono sings the words “One love,” a little ambivalently. Of course, any devout Rastafarian or dorm-room pothead will recognize “One love” as Bob Marley’s call for solidarity among the poor — it’s as if Bono, while he ponders his failure to rescue a troubled partner, starts to consider his failure to save the world. The Edge’s guitar punctuates his every statement with a tight little riptide swirl, the sound of weariness in the face of a challenge to “do what ya should.” Amid these doubts, the drums and bass continue to urge Bono on to a nobler goal.
The complexity of “One” led to the band’s filming three different videos for it. One featured Bono alone in a bar, ruminating over a cigarette. Another gestured toward the AIDS crisis, with the band in drag and shots of Bono’s aging father, leading to speculation that the lyrics concerned the difficulty of communicating across generation gaps. A third took up the band’s beloved American themes again, showing a buffalo running in a field. Indeed, the song got the Americana stamp of approval when it was eventually covered by Johnny Cash, who stripped the song to its raw core.
“One,” which never actually made it to No. 1, charting only at No. 10, is certainly a breakup song. But it’s also very much about the duty to stay together, about finding some kind of connection in times of war, fragmentation, plague, poverty and cultural difference. About being too cynical to believe in the hippie version of global oneness, but too much of a believer to reject it.
“There’s the idea that ‘we get to carry each other,’” said the Edge of his favorite lyric. “‘Get to’ is the key. The original lyric was ‘We have to carry each other,’ and it was never quite right—it was too fuckin’ obvious and platitudinous. But ‘get to’ … it’s like our privilege to carry one another.”
Available on: Achtung Baby (Island)
5. Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana Revolution, inspired by a woman’s personal hygiene product.
by Douglas Wolk
The footage from an early 1991 Seattle show on Nirvana’s With the Lights Out DVD illustrates it beautifully: Playing in front of an audience that’s never heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” before—because it’s never been played in public before—the band cannonballs into that mighty four-chord riff, and within moments everybody gets it. There are thousands of stories about how people’s ideas of pop music changed in the fall of 1991 that include the phrase “and then I heard ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’” The reaction is usually something like Tori Amos’s: “It was like my blood just stood up and saluted.”
The title was coined by Kathleen Hanna (now Le Tigre’s singer), who had scrawled kurt smells like teen spirit on Kurt Cobain’s bedroom wall. “Earlier on,” he explained, “we were kinda having this discussion on … teen revolution and stuff like that, and I took that as a compliment, I thought that she was saying that I was a person who could inspire … And it turns out she just meant that I smelt like the deodorant. I didn’t even know that deodorant existed until after the song was written.”
Cobain pulled together the famously cryptic words from his notebook—they appear to be about the demands of a mass-culture audience, aside from that whole mulatto/albino/mosquito bit—and strapped them to a loud-quiet-loud one-riff technique he’d picked up from his beloved Pixies. Nirvana recorded “Teen Spirit” for their second album, Nevermind, with producer Butch Vig and mix-polisher Andy Wallace. (Cobain later dismissed its production as “closer to Motley Crüe than a punk-rock record.”) The music industry was ready for Nirvana to do well—they’d been the subject of a huge major-label bidding war, and the week Nevermind was released, the college-radio magazine CMJ wrote, “if there’s a band that will single-handedly destroy the barriers between metal, alternative and commercial radio, Aberdeen, Washington’s Nirvana is it.” But nobody expected that “Teen Spirit” would conquer the world.
The rest of the story tells itself, a downward spiral of sadness: the cash-ins; the bandwagon-jumpers; the used flannel clothing that Nirvana bought because they were cold and broke becoming high-fashion accessories; the radio-friendly unit shifters; the alternative-rock gold-rush and bust and backlash; the fame- and drug-fueled freakouts; the 27-year-old junkie-father-figurehead’s blatantly telegraphed suicide; the posthumous beatification of a punk-rock guy who made something more powerful than he could handle; the endless longing for the next “Teen Spirit,” even though “Teen Spirit” wasn’t intended to be the next anything.
What an incredible song, though.
Available on: Nevermind (DGC)
6. Like a Prayer
The former Mrs. Penn outraged the church, alienated Pepsi—and relaunched her career.
By the spring of 1989, Madonna’s meteoric pop career had suffered some mild setbacks: Though her most recent album, 1986’s True Blue, had been a success, it didn’t have a hit as wildly sexy as ’84’s “Like a Virgin”; her latest movie, Who’s That Girl, had flopped; and her paparazzi-plagued marriage to Sean Penn had just ended in a paparazzi-plagued divorce. On the eve of the release of the Like a Prayer CD and a world tour, the one thing she didn’t need was a pullout by a major sponsor. Or maybe she did.
The Material Girl had signed on as a spokeswoman for Pepsi that year, and the first commercial, timed to hype her new album, was adorable: A little girl playing young Madonna Louise Ciccone gets a glimpse of future fame while the 30-year-old Madonna magically visits her own humble childhood home; both drink the soda. That ad ran only once, during The Cosby Show, and was pulled the following day—the day the video for the album’s first single, “Like a Prayer,” debuted on MTV.
When Kabbalah-practicing Madge performed the song in all-over white at Live 8, it seemed as wholesome as “We Are the World.” But back in ’89, “Like a Prayer”—and its famously provocative video—scandalized Middle America as nothing had since Elvis’s hips. The song’s gospel-inflected melodies, haunting aria verses and exuberant chorus combined evangelical zeal and orgasmic promise, as Madonna, whose mother used to kneel on uncooked rice to pray, turned the act of genuflection into an elaborate sexual tease: “I’m down on my knees/I wanna take you there.”
“Crucifixes are sexy because there’s a naked man on them,” said Madonna in 1985. Playing with that idea, she and “Like a Virgin” video director Mary Lambert concocted a pulpy scenario involving Madonna witnessing a murder, running through a church in a sexy slip, making out with a statue of a black saint that comes to life at her pleasure, freeing a black man from jail, then rejoicing with a gospel choir while exposing stigmata and dancing in front of burning crosses. Once they heard about the concept, the Andrae Crouch gospel choir, who sang on the record, refused to be filmed for the video.
When religious groups threatened to boycott Pepsi (and KFC too!), the company dropped its heretical spokeswoman. Naturally, Madonna’s album sales skyrocketed. Taboo stokes desire, as she always pointed out, crediting that realization to her Catholic upbringing. “That’s the surest way to interest a child,” said Madonna, “If you say to them, ‘You can’t go into that room,’ they’re going to go into that room. That’s what Catholicism does.”
Available on: Like a Prayer (Sire)
7. Love Will Tear Us Apart
The heartbroken origin of new wave.
by Douglas Wolk
Battered by epilepsy, his marriage in bad shape—partly because of his ongoing dalliance with a Belgian journalist—Joy Division’s 23-year-old Ian Curtis wrote a bleak three-verse lyric, staring with cold eyes into the numbing emotions and sexual alienation of a crumbling relationship. Thanks to their BBC radio performance in November 1979, the Manchester postpunk band’s agonized “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was the “best-known unrecorded song in Britain” for a few months; a reviewer at a February 1980 live show called it “one hell of a classic … staggeringly melodic and momentous.” The single finally came out in June 1980, but Curtis didn’t get to hear what became of it: On May 18, two days before Joy Division’s first American tour was due to start, he hanged himself at home in Macclesfield. “Love will tear us apart” was inscribed on his tombstone.
That’s the romantic fable, but it’s not the whole story. Curtis was a troubled artist, not an unstoppable doom machine—“Ian was primarily a fun guy, a good laugh,” guitarist Bernard Sumner has said—and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” isn’t just an epitaph, it’s a dance song. Joy Division had started out as punk rockers, but they loved disco: Drummer Stephen Morris was nicknamed “the human drum machine”; at the March 1980 session where producer Martin Hannett recorded “Love …” the band also cut a dancier version of their song “She’s Lost Control.” After Curtis’s death, the remaining members of Joy Division added keyboardist Gillian Gilbert, regrouped as New Order and built a reputation for club music.
“Love Will Tear Us Apart” cracked the British Top 20 twice, in 1980 and 1995, but never even charted in the U.S. Time has been kind to it, though—the song has become an alt-rock standard, covered by dozens of bands from the Cure and Squarepusher to Nouvelle Vague, and not just because of its unshakeable lyrics.
In the icy, mechanical pep of its groove, Curtis’s mannered croon (inspired here by Frank Sinatra, according to his widow, Deborah), the airy synthesizer hook that sugars up the despondent chorus and the guitar parts that rush and tumble where they might have roared a few years earlier, you can hear Joy Division defining the style and sound of new wave for the next half-decade. “Love” was Curtis’s cry of despair; but what makes it bearable —what makes it great—is that it offers the body the release it denies the mind.
Available on: Substance (Qwest/Warner Bros.)
8. Sucker MCs Run-D.M.C. Teen spirit, b-boy style. by Chris Norris
You know the type. They come from the wackest part of town, try to rap but can’t get down, don’t even know their English, their verb or noun. Such were the perpetrators dispatched with historic style by 18-year-old Joseph “Run” Simmons on this song from 1983, The Year Hip-Hop Broke. Previously, the only versions of hip-hop to make it out of New York were either by the rhyme-cribbing club doormen who formed the Sugar Hill Gang or Grandmaster Flash’s red-leathered glam troupe the Furious Five. “Sucker MCs,” released as a B-side to the single “It’s Like That,” changed everything: the sound, style, attitude and dogma of hip-hop, drafting the blueprint before Jay-Z even dropped out of high school.Rather than lush disco or studio-band funk, “Sucker MCs” came at you like a piece of field artillery. BOOM—ka-ka-ka-ka-ka—that famed opening salvo started as a beat by Kurtis Blow’s backing band Orange Krush, who performed on the song “Action” with singer Alyson Williams. “Everyone was rapping on R&B beats played by DJs,” recalls Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels. “But we were like, ‘Yo, we just need a beat.’ So Larry [Smith, producer and Krush bassist], he was like, ‘I’ll just take all the music off ‘Action.’” Thus was proved the basic hip-hop theory: “Action” - “Music” = MC [squared].
Mixed with syncopated electro-handclaps from an Oberheim DMX, the resulting “krush groove” became a giant geological formation over which strode sudden rock gods Run and his high-school buddy D.M.C. Borrowing a rhyme he’d heard D.M.C. say in ninth grade, Run began by rapping “Two years ago, a friend of mine/Asked me to say some MC rhymes”—a striking framing device in which he wrote the group’s (and hip-hop’s) history on their first record. When it was his turn, D.M.C. realized that his partner had already taken his favorite opener. “So I was like, ‘Um … I’m D.M.C.? In the place to be? I go to St. John’s University?’ ‘Cause that’s where I was going to high school. I just said what I was doing.”
The keep-it-real ethos was established, the declaration of independence signed, and the spare, turntable-mixer-MC format set in stone. Recognizing the elemental force of the package—two raw, round-the-way guys rapping on rock-hard beats—Russell Simmons christened the group Run-D.M.C. and released the single. “The whole summer it was everywhere,” says McDaniels. “Every boombox, every radio, every house, bedroom, every alleyway. By July 4, I was tired of that record!” Available on: Run-D.M.C. (Profile)
9. …Baby One More Time
Her first and greatest single can still make a grown man blush.
by Brian Raftery
Just like “We Will Rock You,” “Start Me Up” and the theme from Jaws, Spears’s career-baptizing “… Baby One More Time” makes its presence known in exactly one second, opening with an unmistakable three-note door-knock of a piano line. From there, it’s one big whirlpool of wah-wah guitar lines and EKG-machine bass-slaps—a perfectly fine, slickly conceived pop tune.
Then Britney opens her mouth, and all hell breaks loose: “Oh baby, baby …” Half-cooing, half-begging, she stuffs the song with so much sexual force, even a seemingly innocuous line like “The reason I breathe is you” becomes a plea.
And she was just 16, a fact not lost upon the outraged moms (and slightly embarrassed dads) whose ears reddened when they heard the song’s suggestive chorus (nor was it lost upon her video director Nigel Dick, who shot her sashaying down high school halls). At the time, teen-pop was still a boys’ club, but while the guys were crooning about crushes, Spears was already planning the sleep-over party. Perhaps not surprisingly, even Spears herself had problems dealing with track’s intensity.
“I didn’t do well at all the first day in the studio,” she says of her 1998 recording sessions with Swedish producer Max Martin. “I was just too nervous. So I went out that night and had some fun. The next day I was completely relaxed and nailed it. You gotta be relaxed singing ‘… Baby One More Time.’”
A healthy attitude to keep in mind, seeing how she’d have to sing it a lot throughout the fall of 1998, when Spears went on a nationwide mall tour to help the tune gather steam; by the time Baby the album was released, Spears was already a star on MTV, and TRL was playing her navel-wagging, schoolgirl-skirted clip non-stop.
But for all of Spears’s scorching innuendo, a song as dramatic and dynamic as “Baby” could have been a hit no matter who sang it—and in fact, it’s been covered by power-poppers Fountains of Wayne and Scottish mope-rockers Travis, both of whom played up the tune’s underlying desperation. “We did it for a laugh the first time,” Travis’s Fran Healy has said. “And as we played it, the irony slipped from my smile. It’s a very well-crafted song. It [has] that magic thing.”
Available on: … Baby One More Time (Jive)
10. In Da Club 50 cent How a bullet-riddled Queens MC wrote the perfect song for nightclub brawls and sweet sixteens. by Chris Norris
Before he even released an album, Curtis Jackson had pissed off half the MCs in America. With his beef-courting, hype-building 1999 single, “How to Rob,” the former Queens, New York, crack salesman simultaneously established his bottomless thug cred, proved his sense of humor and won the attention of the rap world by threatening to mug DMX, Missy Elliott, Jay-Z and a flock of others. It was 50’s willingness to make enemies that made him both appealing and unwelcome at Columbia Records, which signed him on the strength of the battle-ready stance that led to “How to Rob”—and then dropped him when he was shot a chart-topping nine times. “The rep was both a great thing and a deterrent,” says Paul Rosenberg, manager to Eminem, who signed 50 to Shady Records after he’d become a mixtape circuit demigod.
50’s aura of danger became an almost audible part of his first song aimed directly at the mainstream, “In da Club.” Over a tense, crime-soundtrack intro, 50 chanted syncopated “Go”s around the downbeats, giving the slowed-down party-call “Go shorty” an unsettling cadence. His bullet-wounded cheek lent the rapper a battle-hardened slur as he mentioned alcohol, drug use and emotionless sex in the opening chorus, establishing what became the ne plus ultra of the thug/club-track genre. “It’s a party record, but it’s a gangsta party record,” explains Rosenberg. “It’s got a hardcore vibe, no round edges.” For his subject, 50 imagined “the sort of ethereal club that everybody raps about,” says Rosenberg. Only with knives.
The lyrics and beat came together early. Dr. Dre roughed out a hypnotic track with stark keyboard jabs and a bassline by studio musician Mike Elizondo. 50 dropped his lyrics, and Dre mixed in his magic with spare, judicious doses: brighter stabs in the chorus, the tense guitar strum that enters midway through—”those little things here and there really brought it to life,” Rosenberg recalls. Smuggling state-of-the-art violence and sexism into a bouncy TRL-rocking package, the song became a No. 1 pop hit and helped sell 812,000 albums in four days, surpassing every other debut since SoundScan started keeping track in 1991. It was the theme song for a super-hardcore MC, or a universal soldier (the video referenced the Van Damme vehicle of the same name, when gym-buff 50 enters the top of frame upside down).
This is doubtless the meaning Oprah had in mind when she chose the song for her birthday special, although it’s unlikely that every bar-mitzvah and sweet-sixteen baller still pumping the hit is into getting rubbed. Even the song’s author recalls a more innocent joy with “In da Club,” sharing his somewhat paradoxical reaction to its success. “I was so excited,” he said in 2003, “I would just be at home listening to my record by myself.” Available on: Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (Shady/Aftermath/ Interscope)
11. My Name Is Eminem  Crazy-ass cracka politely introduces himself.
Nothing could have prepared Hip-Hop Nation for the arrival of a bottle-blond white boy from a Detroit trailer park, with Jay-Z-caliber rhymes and a sensibility equal parts Bart Simpson, Johnny Rotten and Ted Bundy. Eminem’s 1999 debut single, delivered in a nasal bark over Dr. Dre’s cheery cartoon-funk beat, was a tour de force introduction to the World According to Shady, a mixture of uproarious pop-culture parody, class resentment and dark Oedipal drama. In a brisk four-and-half-minutes, he confesses to his own suicide, contemplates patricide, berates his Mom, tears Pamela Anderson’s breasts off, drops acid and announces his credo: “God sent me to piss the world off.” For years white MCs had been walking punch lines, but with “My Name Is,” Em established definitively that it’s about skills, not skin tone. Available on: The Slim Shady LP (Interscope)
12. The Message Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five  Old-school heroes survey the mean streets.
Rap was widely dismissed as a fleeting party-music craze—all yes-yes-y’all’s and up-jumped-the-boogies—until Grandmaster Flash came along and gave it a social conscience. “The Message” was a panorama of Reagan-era urban blight, homelessness, drug addiction and crime, stitched together by the most celebrated refrain in hip-hop history: “It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder/How I keep from going under.” The lyrics were groundbreaking, but so was Flash’s music, a chimerical funk-dub-electro groove that keeps evolving over seven-plus minutes. It’s a taste of what rap would become: a medium for street poetry and sonic experimentation, the preeminent popular art form of the late 20th century. A fad? Not quite. Available on: The Message (Sugar Hill)
13. Fight for Your Right Beastie Boys  Snotty New York MCs tap keg, vanquish Dee Snider.
Two decades later, it’s still unclear: Was “Fight for Your Right” a dumb frathouse anthem or a note-perfect send-up? Probably a bit of both—either way, the huge 1986 hit by three snotty white MCs and their longhair producer Rick Rubin is a glorious racket. Rapping in an eardrum-shredding screech atop the crudest power chords this side of Twisted Sister, the Beasties rail against mom (for confiscating their porn), dad (for swiping their cigarettes) and the teacher (for treating them like “jerks”). Eventually the group would refine their genre-bending aesthetic and become leading postmodern pop tastemakers. But “Fight” is still their landmark song, capturing the moment when suburban metalheads discovered hip-hop, and a reminder of the heady days when the Beasties cavorted onstage beside giant inflatable penises. Available on: Licensed to Ill (Def Jam)
14. You Shook Me All Night Long
Aussie Lords of the Riff dance on Bon Scott’s grave.
The death of a lead singer would do in most bands, but when AC/DC frontman Bon Scott fatally choked on his own vomit in February 1980, the group quickly hired a replacement (ace caterwauler Brian Johnson) and were back in the studio within weeks. That summer they released Back in Black, highlighted by this pummeling, fiendishly catchy, unrepentantly dimwitted celebration of hot sex and strained double-entendres. As Angus and Malcolm Young’s power chords crash and crunch around him, Johnson shrieks a string of silly metaphors (“Working double time/On the seduction line”) and brags about blowjobs (“Made a meal out of me, and come back for more”). A quarter-century later, the song remains the last word in metal-boogie, guaranteed to turn headbangers into dancing fools and vice versa.
Available on: Back in Black (Epic)
15. Hey Ya Outkast  Unavoidable … and we’re still not sick of it.
Even Prince at his most experimental never conceived a genre-mash as nutty as Andre 3000’s electro/folk-rock/funk/power pop/hip-hop/neo-soul/kitchen sink rave-up. The sound is remarkable: Raucous acoustic guitar strumming collides with blipping synths, while Andre veers from tuneless shouts to gospel-style testifying. But beneath the sonic dazzle—and the leering come-ons to Beyoncé and Lucy Liu—lurks great confessional songwriting about love, sex, heartbreak and the impossibility of monogamy. (When Andre sings, “Thank God for Mom and Dad/For sticking two together/’Cause we don’t know how,” the pain is palpable.) All this, plus the twenty-first century’s first great catchphrase: “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.” Available on: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (LaFace/Arista)
16. I Want It That Way
Backstreet Boys 
No, not that way, you perv "
The secret force behind the American teen pop explosion of the late ’90s wasn’t American, wasn’t a teen and never once turned up on TRL in a bellyshirt. He was Max Martin, the Swedish songwriter-producer responsible for monster hits by Britney and ’N Sync, and (with fellow Swede Andreas Carlsson) for this transcendently catchy Backstreet Boys ballad. A triumph of classic craftsmanship and pure teenybopper cheese, “I Want It That Way” has a swooping, Beatles-worthy chorus and tremulous loverboy harmonies that induced a worldwide postpubescent orgasm in the summer of 1999, when the song topped the charts in 15 countries. The key, though, is Martin’s mischievous lyric, with a title phrase so ambiguous that it can mean just about anything, depending on where you sit and how dirty your mind is.
Available on: Millennium (Jive)
17. Super Freak
Rick James 
That’s not MC Hammer’s song. It’s Rick James’s. Bitch.
Rick James was the poor man’s Prince: a debauched funk auteur with dodgy fashion sense, his own lingerie-clad girl group (the Mary Jane Girls) and a genius for future-shock synthesizer grooves. This electro-funk masterpiece was first conceived while watching bad dancers flail across the floor at his concerts, but by the time it reached the pop and R&B charts in the fall of 1981, it had become an ode to a sexpot groupie. By today’s standards, the freak in question is … well … not that freaky. (“The kind of girl you read about in New Wave magazine”?) But James’s Vincent Price— channeling lead vocal performance is a hoot, and not even MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” could kill the joy of the song’s signature synth-and-bass riff.
Available on: Street Songs (Motown)
18. I’m Coming Out
Diana Ross 
Miss Ross sings for the boys.
Gay pride crashed the Billboard Top Five with Diana Ross’s joyous 1980 hit about kicking down the closet door. Written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of disco godheads Chic, “I’m Coming Out” carries a straightforward message of pride and defiance—“I want the world to know/I’ve got to let it show”—over a tight, sleek arrangement: brass fanfares, a percolating bass and some of the most ferociously funky rhythm-guitar playing ever recorded. A new generation embraced the song in 1997, when the Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy and Mase dropped rhymes over the loop in Biggie’s “Mo Money, Mo Problems”—the three blinged-out MCs apparently blissfully unaware that they were rapping to one of the gayest songs in the known universe.
Available on: Diana (Motown)
19. Just Like Heaven
The Cure 
Goth gloom-meisters go all wuvvy-duvvy.
The Cure began their career playing postpunk dirges, and lead singer Robert Smith’s ghoul-with-a-frightwig look only deepened their reputation as prophets of gloom. In fact, they were less morose than they seemed; by the late ’80s, they were parading their romantic side, never more memorably than on their first American Top 40 hit. Juxtaposing a wistful guitar figure and lush keyboards with jagged bass and drums, “Heaven” strikes the balance of pop shimmer and punk grit for which the Cure were famous (a sound that several thousand young bands are busily trying to copy at this very moment). But it’s Smith’s puppy love ranting that makes the track; as he yelps about “spinning on the dizzy edge” and “dancing in the deepest ocean,” you can practically hear his black eyeliner and white face paint melting away.
Available on: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (Elektra)
20. The Show Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew  A human beat box! An eyepatched Brit! The Inspector Gadget theme!
Early hip-hop was party music first and foremost, and its frenetic, good-time spirit was never better captured than on the landmark 1985 single by Doug E. Fresh and his Get Fresh Crew. Fresh was the world’s greatest (and some say the first ever) human beat box, and here he flaunts his chops, imitating a telephone, a roaring tiger and just about every imaginable percussive sound, including a dead-on send-up of a rival beat-boxer from the plus-size crew the Fat Boys. Joining Fresh is sidekick MC Ricky D., a.k.a. Slick Rick, who spits a famous verse involving a pickup on a subway car, Frosted Flakes cereal and the Beatles’ “Michelle.” When your grandkids ask about the old school, this is the 12” to reach for. Available on: Various Artists: Street Jams: Hip-Hop From the Top, Vol. 3 (Bust It)
[color-red]21. Fight the Power Public Enemy  Hip-hop firebrands like social justice; Elvis, not so much.
The protest rap of hip-hop’s late-’80s era reached its apex with this furious broadside aimed at white institutional power, black complacency and, um, Bobby McFerrin. “Fight the Power” distills the formula that made Public Enemy the greatest political provocateurs in pop history: a combination of dense, visionary production by sound-collage specialists the Bomb Squad, Chuck D’s stentorian sloganeering and comic relief by clock-wearing jester Flavor Flav. His voice booming above a howl of old-school soul samples, Chuck spends the first two verses in pep-talk mode (“What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless”) before hilariously dumping on Elvis, John Wayne and McFerrin’s doofy “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in the vicious third. Proof positive that the best polemics come with a hot beat, and a wink.
Available on: Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam)[/color]
22. Pour Some Sugar on Me
Def Leppard 
Hair metal hookmeisters take a bottle, shake it up.
Part smutty sex-fest, part bundt-cake recipe, this absurd and irresistible hit was one of seven Top 20 singles on Def Leppard’s blockbuster 1987 album, Hysteria. The Sheffield, England, quintet left its pop-metal competition in the dust, and “Sugar” makes it clear why. They were less a metal band than a power-pop group with poodle hair, and super-producer Jeff “Mutt” Lange gives one of their most hook-filled songs a huge sheen with battering electronic drums, processed vocals and other bombastic effects. Today the song sounds both like a late-’80s period piece and surprisingly prescient: Joe Elliott’s vocal anticipates ’90s rap-rock, and listening to Rick Allen’s clobbering kick drum, it’s obvious that more than a few big-beat DJs have spent quality time with Def Lep.
Available on: Hysteria (Mercury)
23. It’s Like That Run-D.M.C.  Rap’s first superstars foment musical, eyewear revolutions.
It begins with five rapid-fire drum machine hits—hip-hop’s shots heard ’round the world. The 1984 debut by three b-boys from Hollis, Queens, opened a new chapter in pop, abandoning the disco-flavored grooves and suave vocals of early rap for something far tougher: gruff rhymes bellowed over brute, minimalist beats. One of Run-D.M.C.’s few overtly political songs, it surveys a range of global woes—unemployment, warfare, prejudice—returning again and again to a fatalistic chorus: “It’s like that, and that’s the way it is.” The words hit hard, the stark sound was revolutionary and the group’s star power was undeniable. Soon, white kids from the ’burbs were wearing Cazal glasses and shouting “Huh!” Hip-hop had found its Beatles. Available on: Run-D.M.C. (Profile)
24. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man
Prince player-hates on himself, shreds some serious axe.
After spending most of his career singing about his perversions, crooning come-ons and doing just about anything else to lure young women into his boudoir, Prince recorded, of all things, an anti-seduction, with a surprising message: Don’t bother with me, baby, I’m not worth it. A straight-ahead pop-rock song, powered by a seven-note synth line and an indelible melody, it was much less musically eccentric than Prince’s previous singles. But it proved, for the hundredth time, that His Royal Badness was simply better at everything than everyone else—a better singer, a better lyricist, a better arranger. And a better guitarist: His torrid solo, filled with shrieking metalisms, must have sent more than a few mulletheads back to the woodshop.
Available on: Sign “o” the Times (Paisley Park)
25. Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang Dr. Dre  Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre are at the door … with George Clinton’s synthesizer and a pound of weed.
Hip-hop’s center of gravity shifted west the day that ex-N.W.A scowler Dr. Dre and his protégé Calvin Broadus slinked into earshot, trailing pot smoke. The first single off Dre’s 1992 masterpiece, The Chronic, “Nuthin’” announced the arrival of G-funk, slowing the strident gangsta rap sound to a stoner’s creep, adding trebly, P-Funk-inspired keyboards, a booming bass sample and the sleaziest, most violent lyrics that had ever cracked Top 40 radio. The groove was monstrous, but the real revelation was the instant superstar Snoop, who drawls his rhymes about “pimpin’ ho’s and clockin’ a grip” in a high singsong, a style both dancingly musical and undeniably menacing. Rival producers spent the next few years trying to replicate Dre’s G-funk innovations; by the time they caught up, he’d moved on to his next thang. Available on: The Chronic (Death Row)
Life is short, but great shit-talking lasts forever. Less than seven weeks after Christopher Wallace was slain at a Los Angeles intersection, he reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with this gangsta-pop bumper about “blunts and broads, tits and bras, ménage-a-trois, sex in expensive cars”—the blueprint for hundreds of hip-hop singles that have followed. Like so many Puff Daddy productions, “Hypnotize” rides a big, obvious sample, this one lifted from Herb Alpert’s disco-funk instrumental “Rise.” (The chorus, meanwhile, riffs on a refrain from Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di.”) Plus-size hooks have made the song a club favorite, but the main attraction is Biggie’s incomparable flow, his flurry of interior rhymes and his premium braggadocio. What other rapper could make his “underroos” sound gangsta? Available on: Life After Death (Bad Boy)
27. Just a Friend Biz Markie  Rotund rap jester sings his woe.
Rap has had its share of clown princes, but none has embraced the role with more panache than Biz Markie, the roly-poly Harlem-born MC who rapped in a Sylvester the Cat lisp—when he wasn’t breaking into wildly out-of-tune singing. His lone Top 10 hit was the ridiculous tale of a college girl (with “9/10 pants and a very big bra”) whom the rapper meets at concert, courts in a photo booth and discovers is two-timing him on a surprise visit to her dorm room. Few MCs had ever been willing to make themselves the butt of the joke, and none had ever recorded anything quite like the “Just a Friend” chorus, which Biz warbles manically over plinking piano keys. Nowadays everyone from 50 Cent to Andre 3000 is mixing rapping and singing, but the Biz got there early and had the good sense to play his vocal stylings for laughs. Available on: The Biz Never Sleeps (Cold Chillin’)
Gary Numan 
This paranoid android isn’t so crazy about his ride.
Like his new wave peers, British singer-songwriter Gary Numan used cutting-edge musical technology to explore … the soul-crushing effects of cutting-edge technology. Numan’s only stateside hit was a variation on this theme, a portrait of a car-obsessed automaton—“Here in my car/I can only receive/I can listen to you/It keeps me stable for days”—sung in a staccato robo-voice over synth bleeps and honks. The song set the sonic template for early-’80s dance pop, and today Numan is claimed as an influence by everyone from Blur to Trent Reznor. “Cars,” meanwhile, has remained a radio staple, and its theme of dystopian alienation hasn’t stopped Nissan and Oldsmobile from using the ditty in their TV commercials.
Available on: The Pleasure Principle (Beggars Banquet)
29. Get Ur Freak On Missy Elliott  Missy and Tim blow ur mind.
In the late ’90s and early ’00s, Missy Elliott and Timbaland were hip-hop’s most reliable mindblowers: a fearsome tag team who stretched the sonic (and comedic) possibilities of pop. Their most bugged-out collaboration took hip-hop’s then-burgeoning fascination with Eastern exotica to a funky extreme. Most producers are content to come up with one good idea and stretch it out, but Tim switches up his beat every other bar, juggling Chinese-sounding keyboard figures, pattering Indian tablas, snippets of Japanese speech and a lurching, groaning bass. Missy is at her most irrepressible, stuttering, squawking, demanding “Silence!,” hocking a loogie, hissing “yes” for no particular reason and bragging “Me and Timbaland been hot since 20 years ago”—a preposterous claim you’re almost inclined to believe. Available on: Miss E … So Addictive (Goldmind/Elektra)
30. 99 Problems Jay-Z  Jay-Z glides and chuckles through the loudest song of his career.
No one quite believed Jay-Z when he announced his “retirement” in 2003, but few could argue with his reasoning—he was bored stiff with being rap’s undisputed champ. “99 Problems,” the big hit from the rapper’s putative farewell record, offered further evidence of his mastery: three perfect verses, two packed with boasts and taunts (“You know the type, loud as a motor bike/But wouldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight”), the third a tight little narrative about racial profiling in which Jay-Z plays both himself and a cop. Rick Rubin’s beat is ginormous, with thunderclap guitar chords descending over thudding drums, but Hova’s wit is more subtle. The song’s slyest line is in the chorus—“If you’re having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son”—a cutting insult, especially coming from Mr. Beyoncé Knowles. Available on: The Black Album (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
31. I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to get by (Puff Daddy remix) Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige  Hip-Hop’s Marvin and Tammi add a modern edge to an R&B classic
In 1995, Method Man and Mary J. Blige had the audacity to stake a claim to one of soul’s great love songs, made famous by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell—and they pulled it off. Playing a sensitive thug, Method Man praises his “queen” while Blige croons the chorus. It’s a soft ballad, albeit distinctly hip-hop—you can’t imagine Gaye demanding that Tammi “never ever give my pussy away” or bragging that he’s “above all that romance crap.” However, when Meth raps, “Back when I was nothin’/You made a brother feel like he was somethin’,” you can’t help but feel the love. Available on: Various Artists: Def Jam 1985–2001: History of Hip-Hop, Vol. 1 (Def Jam)
32. Livin’ on a Prayer
Bon Jovi For girls with big hair and the guys who love them.
Jon Bon Jovi may have been a hair-metal pinup, but the frosted tresses couldn’t conceal his real musical ambition: to usurp Bruce Springsteen as Jersey’s blue-collar poet laureate. His first No. 1 hit, written with hugely successful rock de-fanger Desmond Child, was the band’s most successful exercise in Boss-worship, a slice of working-class romanticism about the struggles of Tommy (unemployed longshoreman: check) and Gina (diner waitress: check). The lyric could have been by John Cafferty, but the sound is pure pop-metal pomp, mixing a Richie Sambora guitar-hero solo, the most infectious use of vocoder since Frampton Comes Alive and JBJ’s über-anthemic lead vocal, complete with third-chorus octave-leap—a feat of bombast Bruce himself never dared attempt.
Available on: Slippery When Wet (Mercury)
33. No Diggity
New Jack creator drops R&B miggity-masterpiece
As leader of late-’80s R&B slicksters Guy, songwriter-producer Teddy Riley singlehandedly invented the sound of new jack swing, paving the way for all future soul/hip-hop hybrids. His ’90s project, Blackstreet, produced one of the decade’s funkiest singles in any genre, a love song sung to a streetwise “playette,” with a chorus—“I like the way you work it/No diggity/I got to bag it up”—that your parents think is total gibberish. Riley’s beat is a wondrous mix of retro and new: a bluesy Bill Withers sample, doo-wop-style four-part harmonies and rumbling gospel piano chords rub up against a ticking computerized beat and a guest rap by Dr. Dre. A century of black music history, collapsed into one five-minute track.
Available on: Another Level (Interscope)
Atlanta’s B-Rock & the Bizz were one-hit wonders—but what a hit. “MyBabyDaddy” took one of urban America’s gravest crises, absentee fathers, and turned it into a novelty duet: a battle of the sexes waged in furious triple-time rhymes over a rattling Miami bass beat. Rapping in thick Dixie drawls, Thaddeus “T-Bird” Maye and Kittie Thomas trade disses, threats and accusations. (He can’t understand why the name of her baby’s father is Lavall one day and Ken the next; she wants him to “stop trippin’” and give her some money.) The musical refrain is from the Emotions’ “The Best of My Love,” but the hook is Thomas’s nattering of the title phrase. The dissolution of the nuclear family never sounded so funky.
Ostatnio edytowano 9 Maj 2009 10:55 przez 3A, łącznie edytowano 2 razy
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Re: BLENDER.com: HipHop W Rankingach Blendera: Common,Krs-One,Jay-Z,Outkast,Pete Rock
Wysłano: 9 Maj 2009 10:31
35. Crosseyed and Painless
Talking Heads 
Art-school geeks get funky.
The Rhode Island School of Design isn’t a place you associate with funk, but in the mid-’70s, three RISD students moved to New York, got a slot opening for the Ramones at CBGBs and went on to make some of the most ferociously danceable music in pop history. The band’s single greatest groove, from their Brian Eno–produced fourth album, is an amazing pile-up of African polyrhythms, punk noise and bizzaro poetry, with razored guitar riffs, congas and cowbells stacked up in a dense wall of sound behind David Byrne’s clipped sing-shouting. Today, a new generation (the Rapture, LCD Soundsystem) is reviving that ruggedly funky style, but one listen to “Crosseyed and Painless” will dispel any doubts about where dance-punk came from, and who did it best.
Available on: Remain in Light (Sire)
36. It Takes Two Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock  Harlem rap duo creates dopest beat ever.
In 1988, a little-known hip-hop duo from Harlem did the impossible: They improved on James Brown. Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock lifted an exhilarating bass-and-vocal loop from “Think (About It),” a Lyn Collins tune written and produced by the Godfather, and made it even funkier, thickening the bass sound, adding a walloping snare drum, sampled shouts and a barrage of disses and boasts. The result was hip-hop’s greatest-ever dance track, one of the first rap records to cross over to R&B radio. Base isn’t much of a rhymer (“Bro, I got an ego/Yo, talkin’ to me?/No”), but his flow is infectious nonetheless. Available on: Various Artists: Jock Jams Vol. 1 (Tommy Boy)
Destiny's Child 
Lusty lingo from Beyoncé and friends makes the pop charts and the dictionary.
This 2001 smash tackles one of the supreme spiritual and philosophical issues of our time: the mystic power of Beyoncé Knowles’s ass. A worthy topic, to be sure, and Destiny’s Child are up to the task, twisting their melisma around taut beats and the jittery guitar riff from Stevie Nicks’s “Edge of Seventeen.” Kelly and Michelle each take a verse, but this is Beyoncé’s show and she has her superstar act down cold; in the way only the haughtiest and best divas can, she makes the song’s refrain (“I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly”) sound both sexy and scary. The song’s true coronation came a year later, when “bootylicious” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary (“1. A term of commendation in rap lyrics; 2. Very sexually attractive”).
Available on: Survivor (Columbia)
38. I Love Rock & Roll
Joan Jett 
A jukebox jam that sounded like an S&M tryst.
Badass rock chick Joan Jett toiled in cult obscurity for several years before hitting paydirt with this 1981 cover of a little-known single by British-American band the Arrows. The lyrics are vaguely ’50s-retro — there's an almost sock-hop feel to those lines about dancing to the jukebox — but Jett inflates the song into a gargantuan glam-rock anthem, cranking up the electric guitars and layering untold numbers of handclap and vocal overdubs in a thunderous singalong chorus. With her black hair, black eyeliner and black leather pantsuits, Jett looked like a dominatrix, and she sang like one too; listening to her snarling vocal you can’t quite tell whether she loves rock & roll or just wants to lash it with a cat-o’-nine-tails and make it lick her boot-heel.
Available on: I Love Rock & Roll (Boardwalk)
39. Mind Playing Tricks on Me Geto Boys  Hardcore rap pioneers go completely insane.
Houston’s Geto Boys—Scarface, Willie D and four-foot-ten gangsta-dwarf Bushwick Bill—pushed rap into horror-movie territory with songs about murder and necrophilia and an album cover featuring a real-life photo of Bushwick, his right eye recently shot out. Their desire to shock sometimes outstripped their skills, but this was brilliant, a frightening vision of gangsta paranoia and mental collapse that influenced a generation of MCs, notably the Notorious B.I.G. Over a languid Isaac Hayes guitar sample, the Boys spin tales of deranged thugs sweating behind drawn curtains, mistaking “blind, crippled and crazy senior citizens” for enemies and generally freaking out. Comic relief comes in a goofy verse about Halloween—but even that doesn’t break the song’s sinister spell. Available on: We Can’t Be Stopped (Rap-a-Lot)
40. Push It Salt ’N Pepa  Before “Let’s Talk About Sex,” these lusty lady rappers talked about sex.
This sassy electro-rap classic was a milestone on two counts: It was one of the first big hits by a female hip-hop act, and one of the first rap tracks to top the dance charts. Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandy “Pepa” Denton aren’t the world’s most technically polished or lyrically inventive MCs, but they’ve got bucketloads of personality, not to mention libido. (“Can’t you hear the music’s pumpin’ hard like I wish you would?” they rap, sounding none too pleased with their man’s performance.) In fact, “Push It” is less a rap song than a hip-hop instrumental, powered by its slinky, snake-charmer-like synthesizer line, hissing high-hats, copious heavy breathing and walloping downbeat. The gals spun many variations on the same sexed-up theme during their early-’90s heyday, but they never topped their first hit, to this day a surefire party-starter. Available on: Hot, Cool ∓ Vicious (Next Plauteau)
41. In the Air Tonight
Phil Collins 
The urban legend’s bogus, but the drums are undeniable.
Despite what Eminem’s “Stan” says, Phil Collins didn’t actually watch anybody let somebody else drown, much less point out the culprit at one of his shows. (Good story, though.) Best known at the time as Genesis’s baby-faced drummer-singer, Collins actually wrote “In the Air Tonight” about the 1978 breakup of his first marriage. The song—featuring, at the 3:40 mark, the most titanic drum break ever recorded—has enjoyed a pretty remarkable afterlife, though: After its appearance on his first solo album, it became a minor hit again in 1984 when it was used on Miami Vice; Collins performed it at both the London and Philadelphia Live Aid concerts on the same day in 1985; Tupac Shakur sampled it for “Starin’ Through My Rear View”; and Collins reprised it with Lil’ Kim for a tribute album a few years ago.
Available on: Face Value (Atlantic)
42. Got Your Money Ol' Dirty Bastard  Drunken-master-style rapper introduces star producers and the future Mrs. Nas.
“He was a genius,” Pharrell Williams said of the Wu-Tang Clan’s loosest cannon. “Got Your Money,” the most coherent thing on ODB’s bleary-eyed second solo album, was the commercial breakthrough for Williams’s production team the Neptunes, and also introduced Kelis, who sings the hook. (She had originally wanted “Money”’s spare boom-and-slap funk for her own record, but they promised her that she could sing on the track no matter who bought it.) Dirty’s voice slurs, cracks, splatters and drips like a faulty can of spray-paint, alternately spewing invective, nonsense and come-ons, including the weirdest pickup line ever: “I don’t have no trouble with you fuckin’ me/But I have a little problem wit’ you not fuckin’ me.” Available on: N***a Please (Elektra)
Johnny Cash 
The last great moment of the Man in Black, penned by the Goth in Black.
Producer Rick Rubin presented Johnny Cash with some brilliantly unexpected song choices for his final albums, but none more inspired than Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” whose “heart and soul and pain” Cash praised. On the final album released during Cash’s life, his bare-bones performance—just that magisterial croak, ravaged by illness and accompanied by old guitar strings—found chilling intimations of mortality in Trent Reznor’s angsty lyrics about addiction and loss. (Reznor has said he hasn’t listened to his own version since he heard Cash’s.) And Mark Romanek’s devastatingly sad video, in which a shaky, 70-year-old Johnny looks back on his vibrant youth and remembers his wife June Carter in her prime, was recently voted “best video ever” in a British poll.
Available on: American IV: The Man Comes Around (Lost Highway)
44. White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It) Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel  Shady biz and misassigned credits: how appropriate for a song about cocaine!
The hardest-banging anti-drug song in hip-hop history was co-credited to DJ Grandmaster Flash, who was then a major freebaser (and didn’t actually have anything to do with recording it), and once Melle Mel gets through denouncing the evils of cocaine, he admits that “It’s hard as hell to fight it.” But who cares about hypocrisy when you’ve got that groove? It turns out the groove was lifted almost note-for-note from “Cavern” by New York dance band Liquid Liquid. “Something like a phenomenon”—the catchphrase from “White Lines” that was later appropriated by LL Cool J—is an interpretation of Liquid Liquid singer Sal Principato’s muttering. Available on: Various Artists: The Best of Sugar Hill Records (Rhino)
45. Sexual Healing
Marvin Gaye 
Screwed-up loverman announces his eagerness to “operate”.
In late 1981, Gaye was a magnificent singer but a coke-addled wreck—keyboardist Odell Brown brought a witness when he played Gaye the instrumental groove that became “Sexual Healing,” to make sure he wouldn’t get his writing credit stolen. The song didn’t get its title until the following March, when visiting journalist David Ritz freaked out over some of the nasty porn Gaye had on hand and told him he needed “sexual healing.” The singer took Ritz’s phrase to mean that what everyone needs is “to live out their fantasies,” and recorded the plaintively blue-balled model for basically every slow jam since then. It became his biggest R&B hit ever, and the last he’d live to see; in April 1984, his father shot and killed him.
Available on: Midnight Love (Columbia)
46. Fuck tha Police N.W.A  The bullet-riddled cradle of gangsta rap.
Besides Dr. Dre’s most fearsome beat ever, “Fuck tha Police” features a scalding, near-constant stream of profanity (laid end to end, it’s 42 seconds worth of don’t-even-think-about-playing-this-on-the-radio), as well as Ice Cube’s threat of a “bloodbath/Of cops dyin’ in L.A.”—which is probably why the FBI sent N.W.A’s label a letter to the effect that they really weren’t happy about it. The group’s furious indictment of police racism and brutality put gangsta rap on the map, and launched the careers of Dre, Cube and Eazy-E. What the bluenoses and blue-uniforms didn’t notice is that it’s also funny as hell—a parody trial of a hapless cop who gets dragged away at the end screaming “I want justice!” Available on: Straight Outta Compton (Priority)
47. I Want to Know What Love Is
Cold-as-ice rockers put their hearts on their sleeves, let ’em drip.
Foreigner had made their reputation as a tough, macho hard-rock band, but their biggest hit was this tremulous power ballad about the state of songwriter-guitarist Mick Jones’s love life. Singer Lou Gramm says that the band “worried that it might do irreparable damage to our rock image.” Still, he belted it like a trouper, backed up by the enormous gospel power of the New Jersey Mass Choir, as well as Broadway star Jennifer Holliday, who just happened to be in the studio when they were recording it. It’s a secular gospel anthem (15 years before the Polyphonic Spree!) that could also pass for the real thing: The New Jersey Mass Choir had a Top 40 R&B hit a few months later with their own version.
Available on: Agent Provocateur (Atlantic)
48. Monkey Gone to Heaven
Feral Boston quartet invents the grunge ballad.
It’s a mighty eccentric formula for a hit: a spoken rant (except for its five-word chorus) about an “underwater guy” getting killed by tons of sludge, which becomes a frothing-at-the-mouth rant about cosmology, theology and numerology, accompanied by a pounding rock band and a string quartet. The reason “Monkey Gone to Heaven” works is that it acts as if it’s a perfectly respectable pop song—singer Black Francis calls for Joey Santiago’s string-torturing solo with a “Rock me, Joe,” the howling riff is accompanied by little plinky synthesizers and bassist Kim Deal (in her pre-Breeders days) sings “this monkey’s gone to heaven” like a come-on. Plenty of alt-rock bands copped the Pixies’ ideas during their 11-year break, but few devised anything this majestically bizarre.
Available on: Doolittle (4AD)
49. Lose Yourself Eminem  The “Eye of the Tiger” of hip-hop. With Eminem now a global multimedia phenomenon, it’s worth remembering just how amazing a rap-writer he is—in the mindbending metrical scheme of “Lose Yourself,” he’s mostly rhyming four syllables at a time. (“Only grows hotter” rhymes with “known as the globetrotter” and “home, he’s no father” and “here goes the cold water” and a dozen other phrases in one verse alone.) And he’s telling a third-person, more-or-less autobiographical story at the same time (in 8 Mile, we see his character Rabbit working out the lyrics) —never mind that the third verse seems to belong before the second. To top it off, it’s a bona fide hip-hop hit that was also all over rock radio, thanks to the Rocky-theme-style bombast of Eminem’s production. Available on: 8 Mile soundtrack (Interscope)
50. Hungry Like the Wolf
Duran Duran 
The video that made teen idols of five funk-rock Brits.
Duran Duran initially pitched themselves as a cross between Chic and the Sex Pistols, and new wave–mad England ate up their hybrid of bubbly disco and Andy Taylor’s gnashing metalloid guitar. But their second album, Rio, initially bombed in the U.S. Then, in the fall of 1982, MTV, which was then popping up on cable systems all over the country, started cranking the heavy-breathing “Hungry Like the Wolf” video (shot in Sri Lanka by director Russell Mulcahy), which showed off the Durans’ male-model looks, and pubescent girls across America immediately raced to the nearest mall’s record store (and makeup counter). By Christmas, “Wolf” was a Top 5 hit. As keyboardist Nick Rhodes put it, “video to us is like stereo was to Pink Floyd.”
Available on: Rio (Capitol)
51. "Yeah!" Usher  The crunk-soul floor-filler nobody could escape last year.
Usher got top billing on the party-infidelity anthem of 2004. But the real stars of "Yeah!" were his fellow Atlanta residents Lil Jon and Ludacris-Jon furnished the hooting, minimalist production, and eggs on Usher's gloating confession with throat-shredding bellows, while Luda growls a lascivious verse. Following some record-company jockeying over who would get to sing the hook, "Yeah!" became the National Anthem of Crunk-it was No. 1 on the pop charts for 12 weeks. Available on: Confessions (La Face)
The Gallaghers stop feuding long enough to pledge their love.
For a moment in the mid-'90s, it looked as if battling brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher were going to conquer the world, and "Wonderwall" was a good part of the reason. Named after George Harrison's 1968 instrumental solo album, it's a convincing if cryptic declaration of adoration, and still their biggest hit. In Noel's typically blunt words: "You can't get bored of 15,000 people shouting for 'Wonderwall' … You get a hard-on when you hear that."
Available on: (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (Epic)
53. "Beat It"
Michael Jackson 
The crossover piledriver even metalheads could love.
Before he became a punch line, Michael Jackson was a magnificent, daring soul singer. An R&B record with a palpable sense of coppery menace and a shredding metal-guitar solo (Eddie Van Halen volunteered his services gratis) was a freaky idea in 1982, but Jackson pounces on every syllable of "Beat It" as if being "funky and strong" is enough to win the battle he's describing, and the elaborately choreographed video became a nascent MTV's West Side Story.
Available on: Thriller (Epic)
54. "Middle of the Road"
Chrissie Hynde's furious farewell to youth.
At the end of 1983, the Pretenders had barely regrouped from the recent drug-overdose deaths of their original lead guitarist and bassist, and leader Chrissie Hynde was angry about the state of the world-and having a midlife crisis. But singing "I'm not the kind I used to be/I got a kid, I'm 33," she slid into her harmonica solo with a tigerish snarl-and presented her complaint as blistering garage-rock.
Available on: Learning to Crawl (Warner Bros.)
55. "The Scientist"
It's all downhill from here, says Chris Martin.
Singer Chris Martin calls "The Scientist" "perhaps the most beautiful song we will have ever written," and initially threatened not to make another Coldplay record because he didn't think he could top it. A Radiohead-esque love-and-apology song with piano and strings, "The Scientist" has a couple of aces up its sleeve in Martin's arcing, wordless cries and the buzzing waves of guitar from Jonny Buckland at its climax. The backwards-car-crash video is hard to forget too.
Available on: A Rush of Blood to the Head (Capitol)
When the three least-known members of New Edition split off to form their own group in 1990, their first single became this million-selling paragon of new jack swing, an admonition to "never trust a big butt and a smile." Sadly, BBD's career was short-lived, possibly because people couldn't remember their slogan-"mentally hip-hop smoothed out on the R&B tip with a pop feel appeal to it"-and kept trying to add "on a sesame-seed bun." Available on: Poison (MCA)
57. "West End Girls"
Pet Shop Boys 
Disafffected new wavers rap their way to fame.
Bored-sounding, weedy-voiced British music journalist Neil Tennant was a really unlikely MC, but inspired by Grandmaster Flash's "The Message," he wrote a rap about class tension ("East End boys" are poor, "West End girls" are rich). With American disco producer Bobby O, Tennant and Chris Lowe devised an arrangement involving what Tennant calls "Barry White chords" and a drum part lifted from Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean"; soon after, a re-recorded version went to No. 1 in America.
Available on: Please (Capitol)
58. "Karma Police"
Rock's most serious band make with the funny.
As lugubriously as Thom Yorke sings it, "Karma Police" is one of the rare flashes of goofiness in the grimly technological landscape of OK Computer-the title originated as a band in-joke, and the lyrics actually include the word "phew." The ornate, lumbering arrangement of what Yorke describes as "a song against bosses" paraphrases the Beatles' "Sexy Sadie"; the squealing cone of noise it eventually dissolves into is a loop of a few notes from O'Brien's guitar.
Available on: OK Computer (Capitol)
59. "The Humpty Dance" Digital Underground  The goofiest MC on the West Coast stumbles into the spotlight.
Gregory Jacobs, a.k.a. Digital Underground leader Shock-G, created the nasal Humpty Hump character as a joke for the Californian hip-hop crew's "Doowutchalike," but when Jacobs found a Groucho Marx prop nose and glasses during the video shoot, Humpty became the group's star. Introducing himself over a foundation-rattling bass loop and a chorus lifted from Parliament's "Let's Play House," he explains his fondness for spastic dancing, lumpy oatmeal and words that "don't mean nothin', like 'loopid.'" Available on: Sex Packets (Tommy Boy)
60. "Missing You"
John Waite 
A deep-soul scorcher in new wave drag.
British singer Waite scored a No. 1 single with "Missing You" during his first stint as a solo artist-between fronting blue-eyed powerpop outfit the Babys in the late '70s and corporate hacks Bad English at the end of the '80s. The song came to him very quickly-"pure word association … like sleepwalking," he said. It's the apotheosis of the mid-'80s prom slow dance: half ragged soul ballad (cf. Tina Turner's cover), half gangly synth-pop groove.
Available on: Falling Backwards (Capitol)
61. "Ignition" (remix)
R. Kelly 
R. sticks his key in, spends the weekend freakin'.
How many levels of genius are there here? A remix-previewed in the original version-that announces that it's the remix in the chorus, then ditches almost all of "Ignition" itself; a singer with major image problems declaring, snappishly, that he's kicking back and boozing it up for the weekend; vocals that evoke everything from purring seduction to dancehall reggae harshness in a matter of seconds; and the most lusciously summery porn-flick wah-wah in Kelly's entire repertoire.
Available on: Chocolate Factory (Jive)
62 "Just Can't Get Enough"
Depeche Mode [1981}
The original British synth-pop band exercise their index fingers.
Depeche Mode didn't start out as a synthesizer band, but by the time the Basildon boys had played a few gigs, founding member Andrew Fletcher has explained, they realized that cheap synths were "perfect for one-fingered keyboard playing-which was about all we could do then." Original songwriter Vince Clarke (later of Erasure) bowed out after their third single, "Just Can't Get Enough," an impossibly perky love song built around a bunch of tootling, hunt-and-peck keyboard parts.
Available on: Speak & Spell (Warner Bros.)
63. "Beautiful Day"
How wanking off in the studio sometimes leads to global hits.
During a jam on another song, "Always," Bono yelled "it's a beautiful day," and producer Daniel Lanois convinced him to turn it into a chorus. The new song came together around that line: a vision of abandoning material things and finding grace in the world itself. Lanois described "Beautiful Day" as "one of those little gifts where you think, my god, we've got it!" The single went on to top the charts around the globe and won three Grammys.
Available on: All That You Can't Leave Behind (Interscope)
64. "Say My Name"
Destiny's Child 
State-of-the-art technology, and Beyoncé's deepest performance.
By the time "Say My Name" began its three weeks at No. 1, it was obvious that Destiny's Child was Beyoncé Knowles and Some Other Gals-between its recording and video shoot, LaTavia Roberson and LaToya Luckett were replaced by Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin, and few listeners noticed. But the song's real star is its writer-producer, then-22-year-old Rodney Jerkins, whose arrangement closes in like suspicion on Knowles's voice, gliding from acoustic simplicity to stuttering orchestral funk.
Available on: Writing's on the Wall (Columbia)
65. "Enter Sandman"
The kings of darkness pound their stake into the radio.
Before "Enter Sandman," Metallica were a spiky, radio-unfriendly, ultra-hard-rock alternative to frothy hair-metal. With the release of 1991's eponymous "black album," and especially their first actual radio hit, they crushed the competition altogether. Originally about crib death until James Hetfield altered a particularly creepy lyric, "Sandman" applied Metallica's pulverizing, swinging attack to pop hooks for the first time, and made them the world's biggest metal band.
Available on: Metallica (Elektra)
66. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" Lauryn Hill  Ex-Fugee's take on the battle of the sexes.
Hill was the rookie of the year in '98-everyone knew from the Fugees she could sing and MC, but the Grammy-winning "Doo Wop" was her first solo album's high-kick, an even-handed lecture on gender relations with phenomenal verbal acrobatics in the rapped verses (every line rhymes) and vocal fireworks in the sung chorus. And the production, a hip-hop update of the warm, horn-punctuated sound of '60s soul? L-Boogie did it herself. Available on: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Columbia)
67. "The Boys of Summer"
Don Henley 
A driving song with the '70s receding in its rear-view mirror.
Written around an instrumental demo by guitarist Mike Campbell, this epitaph for the Californian hippie dream "came just screamin' out of me," Henley says. "I was jumping up and down in the car 'cause I knew I had something there." Its synth-pop pulse looked away from Henley's Eagles career and toward the future; the Ataris (in the U.S.) and DJ Sammy (in Europe) both had hits with covers of the song in 2003.
Available on: Building the Perfect Beast (Geffen)
68. "That's the Joint" Funky 4 + 1  Sha Rock + 4 rock the house like it'd never been rocked before.
Sharon Jackson, a.k.a. Sha Rock, was one of the first women to rap at Bronx parties, and by 1979 she'd joined the Funky Four. (When they got a fourth male MC, she became the +1.) On the first rap performed on national TV (a 1981 Saturday Night Live appearance), the 4+1 toss party rhymes around like a team of jugglers for 10 minutes; Doug Wimbish of the Sugar Hill house band provides the acrobatic funk bass part. Available on: The Best of Sugar Hill Records (Rhino)
69. "You're Still the One"
Shania Twain 
A.k.a. "Theme for Holding Hands With Your Snookums".
Written by Twain and her husband/producer Mutt Lange about their marriage, the least ironic song of the entire '90s was inescapable on the radio for what seemed like centuries, and it's still reportedly the most frequent request for slow dances at weddings. So be it: Twain's years as a country singer taught her how to make anything sound unbearably poignant, Lange's arrangement is creamier than a bridal gown's satin and goddamn it, it is romantic.
Available on: Come on Over (Mercury Nashville)v
70 "Summer of '69"
Bryan Adams 
A summer single about looking back on summers past.
In the summer of 1969, Bryan Adams was nine years old, and not likely to have been in a band with somebody who quit to get married-he's described this song as "more [songwriting partner Jim Vallance's] time frame than mine." (A dirty mind suspects the title shouldn't have an apostrophe in it.) But the raspy Canadian rocker's reminiscence managed to make people who hadn't yet had either a first love or a first band nostalgic for the experience.
Available on: Reckless (A&M)
Fiona Apple 
Hot teen singer-songwriter has been a bad, bad girl.
Apple claims that "Criminal" is about "feeling bad for getting something so easily by using your sexuality," and that Mark Romanek's video for it (showing the singer/pianist writhing under amateur-porn lights) was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. But viewers heard "I've been a bad, bad girl," saw a skinny 19-year-old in her underwear, and, well … stardom came rather easily, for reasons that didn't have much to do with the subtle, rolling song or Apple's stormy performance.
Available on: Tidal (Epic)
72. "How Soon Is Now?"
The Smiths 
Their greatest hit started out as a B-side.
Part of Morrissey and Johnny Marr's original plan for the Smiths was that every single they wrote would start with an instantly recognizable guitar introduction, and none of them are more striking than the wobbling tremolo riff that opens "How Soon Is Now." Originally a bonus track on the "William, It Was Really Nothing" single, "Soon" was their first American success, and became an alt-rock dance standard-ironically, for a song about leaving a club alone and miserable.
Available on: Meat Is Murder (Warner Bros.)
73. "Losing My Edge"
LCD Soundsystem 
If you get the joke, the joke is on you.
The debut single by producer James Murphy's solo project put his post-post-punk production team the DFA on the map with a stripped-to-the-bone robot-dance record that morphs into savage guitar rock and back again. Over the top, Murphy's rant skewers aging hipsters, indie know-it-alls, electronic arrivistes, rock & roll atavists, obsessive record collectors and anybody who recognizes more than three of the dozens of way-too-cool bands he namechecks at the end, i.e. music geeks just like him and his fans.
Available on: LCD Soundsystem (Capitol)
74. "Take Me Out"
Franz Ferdinand 
Scottish quartet's murderous funk-rock split personality.
Two, two, two songs in one! The first minute of "Take Me Out" is lithe, pulsing rock that out-strokes the Strokes. Then it slows down, bulks up, and turns into a hot, brittle guitar-funk stomp for three more minutes-"music for girls to dance to," in the words of singer Alex Kapranos. It's debatable, though, whether most of the people dancing to it have noticed that it's about snipers aiming at each other.
Available on: Franz Ferdinand (Epic)
75. "Head Like a Hole"
Nine Inch Nails 
Synth-pop dons industrial battle armor.
Trent Reznor's greatest hit took a long time to catch on, but by 1992, the debut album it anchored had gone gold, and it's currently triple platinum-and out of print, thanks to tussles with his former label. But its twin choruses-one a synth-funk revenge threat, the other a scaldingly noisy declaration of defiance-till bring new wave fashionistas and industrial shockheads together on the dance floor, and its sneaky Latin freestyle beat keeps them there.
Available on: Pretty Hate Machine (TVT)
76. "You Dropped a Bomb on Me"
The Gap Band 
Black cowboys drop the big one on the dance floor.
Cowboy-suited brothers Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson were the only great funk band ever to come out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their whompingest party anthem concerns the joys of anticipating World War III by getting thoroughly wasted and laid. (Hey, it was 1982.) "Bomb" sounds like P-Funk trapped inside a Space Invaders console, and its monstrous, rubbery bassline inspired the bounce of West Coast hip-hop-Charlie Wilson was most recently heard singing on Snoop Dogg's "Signs."
Available on: Ultimate Collection (Hip-O)
77. "Girls, Girls, Girls"
Mötley Crüe 
Party monsters' tribute to the titty bars they loved best.
Hard-touring bands know that if you name-check a bunch of cities in your song, it's more likely to get played on the radio. On their fourth album's raunchy title track-sometime between inhaling inch-thick rails of coke and (in bassist Nikki Sixx's case) briefly flatlining-the Crüe did something even smarter. They name-checked their favorite strip clubs, and so insured that wherever bottle-blondes with implants peel off bikinis, it'll always be 1987, and hair-metal will always reign supreme.
Available on: Girls, Girls, Girls (Hip-O)
78. "A Stroke of Genius"
Freelance Hairdresser 
The mashup that made everybody else want to try them.
It wasn't the first mashup, but when Roy Kerr had the inspiration of synching up the a cappella track of Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" with a collage of the instrumental parts of the Strokes' "Hard to Explain," he kicked off the "bastard pop" craze. Never legitimately released, "A Stroke of Genius" nonetheless turned up on every self-respecting geek's iPod (it was even covered by Scottish band Speedway), and Kerr later remixed Christina's single "Fighter."
Available on: online only
79. "Losing My Religion"
Mandolin, mumbling and misgivings make magic.
Guitarist Peter Buck claims that "Losing My Religion" "really became a hit by fluke"-it's an inscrutable ramble with a mandolin as its lead instrument, recorded at a time when R.E.M. were trying to get away from their Big Rock reputation, and it somehow turned them into a stadium band. That's true-but it's also one of Michael Stipe's richest performances, it seeps and suffuses instead of rocking and its emotional (if not literal) sense is unmistakable.
Available on: Out of Time (Warner Bros.)
80. "Hot in Herre" Nelly  The favorite jam at crunk clubs with busted air conditioners.
The king of the St. Lunatics says that he and his producers the Neptunes "were trying to create that perfect party … [with] a hook that everybody can really reach out to." It seems to have worked: The wave of semi-nudity that swept American clubs in the summer of 2002 is generally credited to Nelly's call-and-response with hypnotized-sounding backup singer Dani Stevenson ("I am … gettin' … so hot …"), which played on the radio every five minutes. Available on: Nellyville (Universal)81. "Galang" M.I.A.  Sri Lankan femme fatale mounts a thundering, robotic dance attack.
You'd be hard pressed to find a better example of global mash-up cool than this club hit by British rapper Maya Arulpragasam. The Sri Lankan-born MC, whose father reportedly spent time in the violent terror organization the Tamil Tigers, speaks the slang of London's raw reggae and grime music, but her global sloganeering about restless poverty and arty uprising puts her in a new category of radical chic. Over a clackety-clack track punctuated by Nintendo blips, she unleashes lyrical fragments that blur the line between gunfire and blazing up some purple haze. Available on: Arular (XL)
82. "Come As You Are"
Kurt follows up an infectious howl with one creepy moan.
The second single from Nirvana's 1991 blockbuster Nevermind followed up "Smells Like Teen Spirit"'s exploding ennui with a somber, singalong despair that was way scarier. Over Krist Novoselic's loping bass line, which dredged up Seattle sludge for emotional bottom-feeders everywhere, Kurt Cobain slurred out a backhanded invitation to a shadowy friend, someone who is either a memory or an enemy. On the coda, Kurt swore he didn't have a gun, but everyone figured he probably did.
Available on: Nevermind
83 "To Hell With Poverty"
Gang of Four 
British art punks get funky on your capitalist ass.
These Leeds art students could be called "inimitable" if bands like Bloc Party and the Rapture hadn't imitated their minimalist funk-punk so often. With few words, this herky-jerky nugget hints that any war on poverty can easily become a war on the poor. Then we all get to whip-dance and shout the totally reasonable solution, "Let's get drunk on cheap wine!" Bonus: the Gang's situationist hissy-fits, connecting global oppression to the entertainment industrial complex in the Reagan/Thatcher era, translate pretty well to the Bush/Blair era too.
Available on: Brief History of the 20th Century (Warner Bros.)
Ms. Ciccone goes crazy in love.
Already famous in her own mind, a willful young Madonna fired her swanky producer and remixed one of his best tunes to her satisfaction with her lover-pal Jellybean Benitez. The chimey, Latin-inflected track made a perfect backdrop for the rooftop video that followed the bleach-blond imp as she graffiti-bombed tenement walls, posed in her torn thrift-store finery for a smitten paparazzo and canoodled with a swarthy himbo over the gritty Manhattan skyline.
Available on: Madonna (Sire)
85. "Drop It Like It's Hot" Snoop Dogg  Snizzle Dizzle comes back with an anti-crunk chunk of perfection.
Late last year, something strange happened to pop radio: Every hour or so, it got real quiet. On Snoop's first No. 1 single in years, producer Pharrell Williams whipped up a futuristic club banger-cum-lullaby, a sticky, swinging beat made out of little more than electronic hiss and clucking tongues. Like the Doggfather himself, who rhymes here as if he's exhaling one long wisp of smoke, the track's all the more menacing for its hush. Snoop's killer taunt, "AK-47, now, nigga stop that," had something to do with it too. Available on: R&G: Rhythm & Gangsta: The Masterpiece (Geffen)
86. "Work It" Missy Elliott  Missy Elliott stays on the scene like an (overworked) sex machine.
With this squelchy club track, rapper Missy Elliot put the script down, flipped it and reversed it. Backwards and forwards, she made a dance hit while reminding us that sex can be hard labor. Lyrics like "If you got a big ugh, lemme search it/Gotta know how hard I gotta work it" sound like a sex worker filing an OSHA claim, while Timbaland's beats skip and stutter like a john's heart pumping towards a high-priced orgasm. Available on: Under Construction (Elektra)
87. "That's Entertainment"
The Jam 
Dapper postpunk band lament weak TV shows, fascism.
Jam leader Paul Weller was too young to live through the original mod boom, but he could still wear the suits and effect the gloom in a late-'70s England short on jobs and rife with fascist creeps. Anxiety about "a smash of glass and a rumble of boots" and "opening the windows and breathing in petrol" underpins this hard-strummed acoustic chunk of flat-block ennui, which Weller supposedly scribbled in 10 minutes while drunk, and Oasis later covered (also while drunk).
Available on: Sound Affects (Polydor)
88. "Pull Up to the Bumper"
Grace Jones 
Bumper sticker: "I'd rather be bumper sticking."
With a statuesque physique, a severe flattop and cheekbones sharp as ninja stars, androgynous Jamaican singer-model Grace Jones ruled New York's raunchy late-'70s nightclub circuit. After disco died, she switched to reggae-inflected new wave funk, working in Nassau with producers Sly & Robbie to record this dark, dubby exhortation. Over echoed steely guitar jangle, squish percussion and car horn blares, our no-nonsense dominatrix plays high-priced valet, calling for someone with a "long black limousine" to "drive it in-between."
Available on: Nightclubbing (Island)
89. "Rockin' in the Free World"
Neil Young 
Neil Young gets his Zack de la Rocha on, millions miss the point.
America, fuck yeah! No, wait-America, fuck no! Just like Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," this distorted guitar rant smuggled Neil Young's blistering critique of the consumerist powers that be onto mainstream radio via a hooky, urgently whined chorus. Trouble was, the patriotic doofuses shouting along as if it was their team's fight song never quite took its meaning, which is why you still hear this barnburner at stadiums while Coke ads flash on the Jumbotron.
Available on: Freedom (Reprise)
90. "Into the Groove"
Dance, dammit, dance!
So, okay, Madonna is not just asking you to dance. She is commanding you to dance-"get into the groove"-to prove your love. Luckily, she's given you her most danceable song for the audition. Sounding totally at home amid woodblock percussion and sunset synths, young Madge's voice bursts with the optimism of early evening. Released as a single, the song made the soundtrack of Desperately Seeking Susan, in which Madonna played a pushy, charming babe-not much of a stretch, really.
Available on: Like a Virgin (Sire)
91. "Feel Good Hit of the Summer"
Queens of the Stone Age 
Detailed toxicology report from Desert-based stoner auteurs.
Aaarrgh! With all these pounding tom-toms and this chugging, distorted guitar, we can hardly even remember our grocery list. Oh okay, here it is: "Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol … c-c-c-cocaine." Josh Homme frattily spits an A-Z of intoxicants, interspersed with shouted "No"s (to baffle little headbanging druggies?). It's a lot of drugs for just one man, so Homme gets some help on this garage-metal litany from Judas Priest's Rob Halford.
Available on: R (Interscope)
Taana Gardner 
Slo-mo disco groove revs up the Paradise Garage.
This song's throbbing slo-mo beat might be the closest disco ever got to Houston's Chopped and Screwed sound. Taana Gardner, an accidental diva who scored her first hit, "Work That Body," as a last-minute studio substitute, was producer Kenton Nix's cooing, exclamatory muse. Her vocal sounds like a combination of Diana Ross and the sexiest girl from the block doing karaoke. Ini Kamoze's "Hotstepper" samples the track, and we hear Kanye's been messing with it too.
Available on: West End Story (West End)
93. "Cut Your Hair"
Indie-rock snobs admit they care a lot about the drummer's hair.
Written by brainy pretty boy Stephen Malkmus, whom Courtney Love once called "the Grace Kelly of indie rock," this collection of lyrics turns interior monologue fragments into sneering reflections on fame, coolness, style, career-anxiety and hip haircuts. A cathartic, singalong "hoo-hoo-hoo" chorus mocks the poppiness that this arch-hipster band would go on to ignore as it slouched further and further away from the mainstream.
Available on: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (Matador)
Even in the daisy-sniffing hip-hop world of 1993, you had to have blossoms of steel to rap over the schmaltzy strings and heartbroken sighs of Spandau Ballet's '80s lament "True." But despite once getting shoved off a stage by macho bully KRS-One, kaftan-clad Prince Be sent radio listeners into wistful reverie with his soft-spoken tale of unrequited love. This song also built a bridge to neo-soul, not to mention the trend of much tougher guys like Puffy Combs and Eminem rapping over wimpy tunes by the likes of Sting and Dido. Available on: Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience (Gee Street)
The Replacements 
Midwestern punk-poet howls from inside a snow fort of the soul.
Punk foursome the Replacements' Minneapolis was a dead-end hamlet only made bearable by whiskey and crude jokes. That kind of frostbit isolation provided this petulant anthem of despair from 1984's classic Let It Be, full of echoing guitar that sounds as if it was recorded in a rusty grain elevator. The best part: Westerberg is so helpless he can't even claim his own unhappiness, croaking at no one in particular, "Look me in the eye and tell me/that I'm satisfied."
Available on: Let It Be (Twin Tone)
96. "True Faith"
New Order 
A Manchester band with a tragic history get on down!
After Joy Division singer Ian Curtis snuffed it in 1980, his bandmates could have been a great goth band. They chose instead to make slightly ominous synthesized dance music and spent the '80s getting popular with darksiders plagued by intermittent good moods. After the song's opening industrial thwack, the bouncy bass pulse and keyboard swirl get bodies swaying too blissfully to wonder how Bernard Sumner can sing "I feel so extraordinary" if, in fact, "our valued destiny comes to nothing." It became the band's first U.S. hit.
Available on: Substance (Reprise)
97. "Since U Been Gone"
Kelly Clarkson 
A heat-seeking missile aimed at bad ex-boyfriends everywhere.
It's always better to rock out than to fade away. Snatching fame from the jaws of obscurity, American Idol cutie Kelly Clarkson ditched the bland teenpop of her first outing for, well, a more rocking version of teenpop. Swedish hitmaker Max Martin wrote her a declaration of independence that steadily builds to a huge guitar blast-off chorus. The shout of a thousand multi-tracked Kellys announcing "I can breath for the first time" makes breaking up sound like being born.
Available on: Breakaway (RCA)
98. "When You Were Mine"
Pervy funk upstart loves too much.
Before the Dirty South, there was the Dirty North. Years before Tipper Gore flipped out about "Darling Nikki" masturbating with a magazine, Prince's breakthrough album Dirty Mind described a rocking uptown where kinky people loved to go downtown. In this tune, over a slapping backbeat and perky synth, our New Romantic imp hornily stalks an ex-lover, even though this person took all his money, wore all his clothes, forced him into threesomes with her new crush and didn't even have the decency to change the sheets.
Available on: Dirty Mind (Warner Bros.)
99. "All Apologies"
Kurt Cobain says he's sorry, then splits.
Toward the end of his life, Kurt Cobain was pretty explicit about his plans to snuff it and head for that big Nirvana in the sky. But the melody of this telling dirge went down as easy as a nursery rhyme, and everyone sang along to suicide-note lyrics like, "What else can I write? I don't have the right." Even if we wanted to think Kurt's breakdown shout ("Married! … Buried!") was just a cheeky henpecked lament, his rasping MTV Unplugged rendition on a stage full of white lilies made the whole thing scarily literal: Five months later he was dead.
Available on: Nirvana Unplugged (DGC)
100. "Bring the Noise" Public Enemy  Noisy rap classic wakes up the comatose.
"Bass!" rumble-voiced rapper Chuck D bellowed, "How low can you go?" But this bombastic anthem relies for its menace on chaotic high-end debris, not a fat bottom. Over trebly trap kit breaks, looping siren squeals, spastic scratches and backwards horns, Chuck shoved Farrakhan into the face of the nation and blasted the "corrupt as a senator" status quo. (Unfortunately, when he exhorted, "Beat is for Sonny Bono/Beat is for Yoko Ono," Fred Durst thought it was for him, too, and went on to neuter "Noise" with a limpbizkit cover.) Available on: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam)
101. "I Got a Man" Positive K  Rapper pays the bills with his stalking skills.
In the heyday of whimsical rap like the Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand," Bronx rapper Positive K made novelty loot by playfully dogging sassy ladies. Building on the proven formula of K's single "I'm Not Havin It," in which he gets a no-nonsense verbal smackdown from MC Lyte, "I Got a Man" again gave the women the upper hand. Of course Pos K always saved the most memorable catchphrases for himself: He follows the title's repeated rejection with the hilarious rejoinder, "What's your man got to do with me?" Available on: The Skills Dat Pay the Bills (4th and Broadway)
102. "House of Jealous Lovers"
The Rapture 
Cool kids soak the dance floor with sweat and PBR.
This is the sound of lovesick Brooklyn hipsters throwing a dance party on the eve of the New York City housing-bubble apocalypse. Produced by local dance-punk impresario James Murphy, this club slammer mixed prematurely jaded barfly anxiety with the infectious, gritty pound of house music. Singer Luke Jenner's yelps and screams sound like a landlord-banned puppy caught in a warehouse loft fire. To date, the stabbing guitar and four-to-the-floor thump has worn the soles off 5,698 pairs of dead-stock Adidas Gazelles.
Available on: Echoes (DFA)
103. "Sabotage" Beastie Boys  Hip-hop's O.G. honkeys whip up some whopping punk-rock, dress like cops.
The Beasties had rhymed over big guitars before, but here they hit big playing their own instruments. Unwittingly presaging the rap-rock that would follow in the '90s, nasal adult brat Adam Horowitz yells his punk-rock heart out about haters or Watergate while huge drums pound over driving bass and car-thief screech. Best video moment: The Beasties, directed by Spike Jonze, take a classic sedan airborne with a triple-threat holler and a monster riff. Available on: Ill Communication (Grand Royal)
104. "Welcome to the Jungle"
Guns N' Roses 
L.A. rockers stomp out hair-metal glam.
Compared to say, Ice Cube's "How to Survive in South Central," this crushing groove-metal ode to the sleazy Los Angeles streets isn't exactly scary. But with its down & dirty guitar riff, sneering misogynist threats and an angry stutter jacked from Led Zeppelin's "Nobody's Fault but Mine," the song succeeded in bringing L.A.'s glammy AquaNet metal scene to its kn-n-n-n-nees. Furthermore, its rip-your-face-off propulsion, topped by Axl's feral howl, made "Jungle" a preferred sports stadium greeting to out-of-town teams.
Available on: Welcome to the Jungle (Geffen)
105. Company B.
Vice City disco troupe write song about schlongs.
In the world of Latin-inflected dance music of the '80s called "freestyle," there were two reigning schools: Miami and New York. Guess which one was more cheesy fun? Miami producer Ish Ledesma worked up this deliciously hedonistic track, which overlays bright, stabbing Euro-disco synths with high woodblock clave rhythms. The instrumental alone could get a club cooking, but the addition of three garishly glamorous, platinum-wigged singers, one of whom could shred the lyric, "I'm fascinated by your love toy" made it unstoppable pop.Avaialble on: Various Artists: Freestyle Explosion Vol. 1 (Thump)
106. Prince "Little Red Corvette" 
Sure, it's about cars (wink, wink, nudge).
In searching for metaphors, dirty-minded singers have often used wild horses and fast cars as stand-ins for sleazy acts and naughty bits. But in this funky New Wave scorcher, Prince describes hooking up with a woman who has both a flashy chassis and a "place where her horses run free." We're just guessing that those steeds are condoms, and the "little red love machine" is a certain part of the female anatomy. And if the Purple One never tells us whether "baby you're much too fast" is a compliment or a complaint, it hardly matters.
Available on: 1999 (Warner Bros.)
107. "Fell in Love with a Girl"
White Stripes 
Two Detroiters out-cool the Strokes, out-rock the Vines, out-fun the Hives.
Were they brother and sister? Married? Divorced? Detroit's White duo-virtuoso guitarist Jack and his junkyard drummer Meg-like to keep audiences guessing. Of course, when this garage-rock love confession exploded onto radio like a stove-top Jiffy Pop, their creation myth didn't matter: Audiences just wanted to pogo. The video, directed by Michel Gondry, animated both Stripes as Lego figures, as Jack weighed the morality of seduction: "These two sides of my brain need to have a meeting." To our knowledge, this meeting never took place.
Available on: White Blood Cells (Sympathy for the Record Industry)
108 "Still Not a Player" Big Punisher  Gigantic tough-guy rapper swears fidelity, eats himself to death.
The clean version of this 1998 jeep-bumper is better than the dirty one. Anyone can "fuck"-but the bowdlerized replacement, "crush," presumably suited the late Boricua fatso's boudoir moves better. This song's stinging electric piano vamp and castanet clack, topped by Bronx shout-outs and bubbly-poppin' foreplay, make imminent rough sex with a 400-pound sadist sound almost tempting. And of course, the butta-nasty chorus makes the crucial distinction between being a player and crushing a lot. Huge, huge difference. Available on: Capital Punishment (RCA)
British band smuggles a War of the Worlds sound effect into crybaby anthem.
In what seemed like a genteel British response to Nirvana, head 'head Thom Yorke mumbled his way toward a chorus that proclaimed his epic worthlessness. This sentiment echoed grunge's go-eat-worms mentality, but it was the song's terrifying, industrial-sized stapler sound (CHUCKA … CHUGGA!!) that smashed the pity-party haze. That masterful use of crunch feedback presaged the band's subsequent sonic journey. After grappling with the modern cyborg condition muscularly on OK Computer (then opaquely on Kid A) they started playing this one less and less.
Available on: Pablo Honey (Capitol)
Britney Spears 
Pop princess turns kryptonite into radio activity.
Grown and sexy Britney ditched the "Slave" python to record this taut dance hit that makes toxic waste out of a poisonous ex. Written with help from Cathy Dennis, who penned Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You out of My Head," the song smacks down an errant lover who sounds suspiciously like her trash-talking former beau Justin Timberlake. In the Zone was Britney's album about fame, and "Toxic"'s coked-up beats and electronic jitters, concocted by Bloodshy and Avant, mimic the dizzy throb of life in the paparazzi glare.
Available on: In the Zone (2003)
111. Planet Rock Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force  Kraftwerk (unintentionally) write the last great electro-rap song.
"I don't think Kraftwerk knew how big they were among the black masses," Afrika Bambaataa has said. On "Planet Rock," the uptown DJ gave the German knob-twiddlers an integration lesson, turning their surprisingly springy computer funk into one of hip-hop's early masterpieces, all hoarse raps and shouts over b-boy-friendly electro loops. It was a forward-thinking idea: While hip-hop quickly bunkered down in the 'hood, the former gang leader saw the genre's future on the dance floor. Available on: Looking for the Perfect Beat, 1980-1985 (Tommy Boy)
112. Round and Round
Brought to you by Aqua Net and Uncle Miltie in a dress.
Frontline soldiers of the Sunset Strip hair-metal battalion, Ratt burned though fame-and their makeup supply-hot and fast. This, their first hit, was also their biggest-because really, after Milton Berle has donned drag in your video, where else can you go? "Round and Round" would eventually get covered by, of all people, indie bard Lou Barlow, who used it to poke a hole of levity into otherwise dense sets. "People burst out laughing," he drolly assures, "once the chorus kicks in."
Available on: Out of the Cellar (Atlantic)
113. Nothing Compares 2 U
Sinead O'Connor 
She was bald, depressed and, for at least a couple of years, brilliant.
Frank Sinatra wanted to kick her ass. The Pope prolly did too. But even they couldn't take Sinead O'Connor's one shining moment away from her. Written and arranged by Prince, this indelible romantic dirge catapulted O'Connor from Irish obscurity to American ubiquity. The cause was furthered thanks to the video, a four-minute close-up of O'Connor's supremely round, close-shaved pate that, by giving her nowhere to hide, made her anguish inescapable and electric.
Available on: I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (Chrysalis)
114. Crazy in Love
Destiny's Child loses its star, Jay-Z gains a girlfriend.
Cutting herself loose from the girl-group noose, Beyoncé celebrated ostentatiously on her first solo single, which sounds like a royal procession stomping through a '70s nightclub. The horns blare and pop, and B's syncopated sighs percuss atop. A child of Destiny no more, Beyoncé made this a move from one support system to another: Capped by Jay-Z's preening verse, "Crazy" became their unofficial coming-out party as a couple. "I'm very grateful," she said. "He gave the song exactly what it needed."
Available on: Dangerously in Love (Columbia)
115. Gin & Juice Snoop Dogg  Current star of T-Mobile commercials once made great weed songs.
After Dr. Dre patented his cosmic G-Funk sound on The Chronic, he passed it to Snoop, who was then just a babyfaced Long Beach Crip with a lethargic flow. Snoop would become the first post-N.W.A rap star from Los Angeles thanks to songs like this, a hesher anthem delivered with gangster assuredness. With its house-party-gone-wild video, he made the 'hood palatable to the 'burbs, with himself as the easygoing teddy-bear speaking the universal language of "high." Available on: Doggystyle (Death Row)
Courtney Love feels pain, causes pain, sings through pain.
Kurt and Courtney were the king and queen of catharsis. "A lot of the reason people like our bands is because of the anger involved," Love once said. But by the time this unhinged rager was released, Cobain had no more pain left-he'd been found dead the week before. Whether or not the late grunge hero had helped bang Hole's songs into shape, Love's vindictive howl shot this one into orbit. "Go on, take everything!" she repeats: It's a guttural rasp that sounds like a life-or two-unraveling.
Available on: Live Through This (Geffen)
117. Paid in Full Eric B. & Rakim  Five Percenter writes a gripping stick-up thriller.
So thoroughly blasé about its cold-blooded threats, this is quite possibly the most menacing rap song of all time. Providing a link between Slick Rick and Biggie, Rakim spins a tale in which empty pockets lead to a stick-up that might go awry, followed by renewed commitment to the mic. It's all the more chilling since Rakim insists it all happened. "That was something that was true," he said of the song's verse. "It just came out. [It took] half an hour." Available on: Paid in Full: Deluxe Edition (4th & Broadway)
118. Cars With the Boom L'Trimm  Teenage naifs pretend to get sweaty for muscular woofers.
"We were virgins! We were under lock and key!" So swore Tigra, one half of L'Trimm, years later about the time when she and pal Bunny impishly proclaimed undying love for boys with big, throbbing … speakers. The Miami teens used to skip school to write raps, and caught on with this lighthearted curio, topping elements of Miami's raunchy bass music with the high-pitched chirps of a couple of girls who hadn't yet learned to flirt for real. Available on: Grab It! (Hot/Atlantic)
119. How I Could Just Kill a Man Cypress Hill  It's hard to aim a sawed-off stoned, but these legalization activists were game to try.
Before they became one-note cannabis crusaders, Cypress Hill were unlikely heirs to Los Angeles's gangsta rap throne. Their debut single sounded positively paranoiac, thanks to wobbly horn samples and B-Real's remarkably nasal raps. The inspiration? "Just getting high and doing beats," DJ Muggs has said. But through the purple haze, the group still managed a couple of credibly thuggish rhymes, including one about shooting a cop, which had become such a hip-hop commonplace it hardly raised an eyebrow. Available on: Cypress Hill (Ruffhouse/Columbia)
120. Get Low Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz  Back to the essence, meaning sweat, shouts and sex.
Lil Jon earned his Chappelle's Show parody with this gymnastic crunk workout, a track that sounds like 100 strip-club DJs spinning at once. Chants, howls, whistles-why rap when so many other options are available? "The only thing we trying to be true to is the people at the clubs," said Jon. "You can't deny the energy." The Ying Yang Twins drop guest verses, but the real magic might have come from Jon's Crunk!!! energy drink, which was presumably in abundant supply. Available on: Kings of Crunk (TVT)
121. In the End
Linkin Park 
SoCal collective master angsta-rap.
Initially, Linkin Park sounded as if they'd arrived at the rap-metal party too late, but they wound up enjoying the longest lifespan of the lot, largely because they never learned to be proper mooks. Mike Shinoda raps, charmingly enough, like a kid tugging on Mos Def's leg. His band is as adept at gale-force pomp as minor-key piano, building up drama before Chester Bennington does his best Bauhaus imitation.
Available on: Hybrid Theory (Warner Bros.)
122. Through the Wire Kanye West  How a seatbelt, an airbag and a lot of luck made for a hip-hop classic.
Partly recorded when this Chicago producer-MC's jaw was wired shut following a near-fatal car accident, "Through the Wire" proves that nothing short of death can stop the ostentatious display of Kanye West's ego. The Chaka Khan sample is triumphant, the rhymes are braggadocious and comedic. The crash kicked West's career-and his devotion to Christ-into high gear: "I feel like I've been ordained to come up with really good music," he's said. Available on: The College Dropout (Roc-A-Fella)
123. Formed a Band
Art Brut 
Snide Brit punks whip up some heavy meta.
South Londoners with a penchant for the wry, Art Brut can't decide what they like less-pop stars or smug underground kingpins. This debut single takes a piss on both camps. It's short enough for the Ramones and packed with enough self-awareness to do LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy proud. Said frontman Eddie Argos, "We want to make people think, 'Yeah, I could have a go at that, form a band.'" And really, you can. Honest.
Available on: Bang Bang Rock & Roll (F
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Re: BLENDER.com: HipHop W Rankingach Blendera: Common,Krs-One,Jay-Z,Outkast,Pete Rock
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124. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
Elton John 
Believe what Elton says, not how he says it.
If the title of this song is to be believed, what are we to make of how happy John sounds while singing it? "If someone else is suffering enough to write it down," he sings, "it's easier to have those songs around." Released the same year he entered a sham marriage-he knew he was gay years before, he's said-this upbeat piano ditty with a hint of blues sounds like a man trying on a brave face to see how it fits.
Available on: Greatest Hits, 1970-2002 (MCA)
125. Rockit Herbie Hancock  Because there's just not enough pop-locking in the jazz world. "I'd just heard scratching for the first time about a week before we recorded 'Rockit,'" Herbie Hancock has said of this turntable-drunk jam. The rush didn't hurt. With production from Bill Laswell and precise DJ work from Grandmixer DST, "Rockit" became a breakdancing anthem in no time. And with its bizarro video, featuring mechanical models hooked up to wires and cavorting in time to the beat, it made Hancock the first-and perhaps only-jazzman to get regular play on MTV. Available on: Future Shock (Columbia) 126. It Was a Good Day Ice Cube  A day of calm in a lifetime of thuggery. When he was writing songs for N.W.A, Ice "Are We There Yet?" Cube could deliver a narrative that turned from calm to grim in a matter of a few lines. It's that persistent tension that defines this "Good Day," with a twist: the tragedy never comes. "Today I didn't even have to use my AK," drawls Ice. It was "something different, that people didn't expect," he has said of his highest-charting pop single. Available on: The Predator (Priority) 127. Bulls on Parade
Rage Against the Machine 
Pinko noiseniks delight/confuse the mosh pit.
When Chuck D imagined what hip-hop would sound like a decade after Public Enemy debuted, he probably envisioned Rage Against the Machine. Forget pesky genre boundaries; this is agit-rap for unwitting mooks. Zach de la Rocha snarls rhythmically-"Terror rains drenching/Quenching the thirst of the power dons"-and the band ducks melody almost completely to underscore his point. After RATM performed this song on Saturday Night Live, they were booted from the show, so that host Steve Forbes could pitch the flat tax unmolested.
Available on: Evil Empire (Epic)
128. Milkshake Kelis  Her milkshake brought all the boys to the yard, and Nas too. The best catchphrases are ciphers, applicable in a range of situations. And so even though Kelis never explains what a milkshake is here-"Some songs are meant to be read into," she said-it's abundantly clear that yours doesn't pass muster, and hers does. This was the last dance for Kelis and her ex, Pharrell, who blessed her with this sinuous beat and then, in the video, handed her off to her future husband, Nas, who was behind a restaurant counter, serving up a better shake. Available on: Tasty (Star Trak/Arista) 129. I Ran (So Far Away)
A Flock of Seagulls 
Leftover hair gel fuels 20-year career of one song.
Ex-hairdressers with new wave in their heart, A Flock of Seagulls wrote one perfect hook in their career. "I Ran" was an MTV staple, and two decades later, thanks to ubiquitous ads, would become the de facto theme song for the '80s-glitz video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Finally, the Flock would officially bury the song on the attempted-comeback reality show Hit Me Baby One More Time, losing out to the better-coiffed Arrested Development.
Available on: A Flock of Seagulls (Jive)
130. Mama Said Knock You Out LL Cool J  The lesson: Do not piss off a rapper's grandmother. His grandma told L.L. to knock out the competition-"She used to have a saying: 'If a task is once begun, never leave it till it's done,'" he said-but asked him to keep his lyrics clean. This song was the result of those seemingly opposite requests, a barebones bruiser that helped save LL from a wimpy, lady-lover reputation. Even better was a vivid, sweaty rendition on MTV Unplugged as memorable for L.L.'s fierceness as for the clumps of deodorant trapped in his armpits. Available on: Mama Said Knock You Out (Def Jam)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs 
Art-kids write torch song, try to fit in.
Ten songs on the YYY's major-label debut are scrambled art-punk blasts, rammed together to paint a portrait of downtown New York as still scuzzy. The eleventh one, "Maps"-a slow-moving meditation on decaying love-was the hit. It's a "bleeding heart song," singer Karen O has said. "There was a lot of emotional unrest going on. The water was really murky." It proved Karen O could be a siren and a vixen.
Available on: Fever to Tell (Interscope)
132. Waltz #2 (XO)
Elliott Smith 
Indie-rock softie hits the limelight, but smarts behind the glare.
One year after his awkwardly fascinating performance on the Oscars telecast, Elliott Smith returned with a major-label debut and this charmer, a shuffling Beatles-esque jaunt-three other songs on the album were recorded at Abbey Road-that, despite some heartbreak, positively beamed compared with his earlier, dustier work. But disappointment, in whatever guise, was never too far away. "'Waltz #2,' 'XO,' whatever that song was called, I played it so much," he lamented, "I couldn't hear it anymore."
Available on: XO (Dreamworks)
133. Everybody Wants You
Billy Squier 
Oft-sampled Brit rocker disses the fabulous life.
Other Squier songs have lately become sample fodder for rap cognoscenti from Dizzee Rascal to Jay-Z, but here, Squier's sneer trumps his (unintended) boom-bap. The wages of fame-"Putting on your eyes till there's nobody else"-is a tired trope, but Squier nails the condescension perfectly. Speaking of the poison of celebrity, a mash-up of this song with Fischerspooner's "Emerge" landed a spot on the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy soundtrack.
Available on: Emotions in Motion (Capitol)
Do you believe in life after Rob Camilletti?
Twenty-five years had passed since she'd last had a No. 1 hit, and Cher didn't think a heavily-vocoded disco anthem was the key to her comeback strategy. "We argued the whole way through," she said of the recording process. But "Believe" was a monster, sculpted in the studio to dance-floor perfection and retaining Cher's signature woman-of-a-certain-age assuredness. It was an empowerment anthem only technology could have produced.
Available on: Believe (Warner Bros.)
Pearl Jam 
Eddie Vedder, a man for all dystopias.
Pearl Jam is for the children. Really. After arguing on the behalf of Jeremy on Ten, Eddie Vedder took up the cause of another disaffected youngster on "Daughter." Or did he? He's been coy about the gentle song's meaning; some posit it's about a girl who's sexually abused by her father. Whatever the case, this is invigorating blues, delivered with Vedder's massive sense of purpose intact. As to what that purpose might be, Vedder told an admirer, "'Daughter' will be left to your interpretation."
Available on: Vs. (Epic)
136. Word Up!
The codpiece that launched a thousand "Ooowwwwww!"s.
"If you were to look 'different' up in the dictionary, you'd see Cameo's picture," said frontman Larry Blackmon, he of the infamously plump red codpiece. A funk band with hip-hop attitude and aggressive sexuality, Cameo were sampled by everyone from DJ Quik to Mariah Carey. But they mostly leave this signature vamp alone, because it grooves, it shimmies, it seduces, it pummels, and to take just one part of it would only highlight the rest that was missing.
Available on: Word Up! (Mercury)
137. Brimful of Asha
A cultural mashup unifies hipsters of all races.
Asha Bhosle has sung thousands of songs in Bollywood films, but there's only one pop tune named in her honor. Cornershop's wistful tribute is a polyglot-pop love note to frontman Tjinder Singh's twin heritages-an Indian Brit singing a Beatles-esque ode to a famed singer from the motherland. The following year, a sped-up Fatboy Slim remix gave "Asha" life on the dance floor. "Asian music is considered passive," Singh said. "That's bollocks."
Available on: When I Was Born for the 7th Time (Luaka Bop)
138. Up the Bracket
The Libertines 
What is the sound of a band imploding?
Before singer Pete Doherty's meltdown into crack-smoking and burglary, this track helped secure the Libertines legend. Carried by swagger, charm and a few key chords, "Bracket" was pop music made by cool kids, garage-punk for the masses. Months after recording it, Doherty broke into his bandmate Carl Barat's flat to steal things for drug money, then bounced in and out of rehab. Today, he has duetted with Elton John, acts as a muse to Dior designer Hedi Slimane, fronts the band Babyshambles and dates Kate Moss. As public unravelings go, it sure is glam.
Available on: Up the Bracket (Rough Trade)
139. All I Wanna Do
Sheryl Crow 
World-weariness in a candy-coated hook.
Long before dating seven-time Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong, Sheryl Crow was a clean-scrubbed, grinning beach girl. Sort of. Though the elegantly catchy chorus here underscores the song's sunny disposition, at heart this is a skeptic's anthem-most of the lyrics were cribbed from the poet Wyn Cooper-suggesting emotional rumblings beneath the glowing surface. "Most of my lyrics are kind of cynical," shrugged Crow.
Available on: Tuesday Night Music Club (A&M)
140. Shook Ones Pt. 2 Mobb Deep  While hip-hop blinged, two Queens MCs stayed "gutter."
Nowhere in pop has a piano ever been deployed to such devastating effect. The beat is skeletal-a simple snare pattern and a two-bar minor-key piano loop-and the rhymes are powerfully bleak: "I'm only 19, but my mind is old." Said Prodigy, "Our music is that gutter shit. It ain't never changing." The "official Queensbridge murderers" helped preserve New York hip-hop's dark underbelly while their peers developed a taste for Moët. Available on: The Infamous … (Loud)
George Michael 
A not-quite-coming-out anthem.
"There's something deep inside of me/There's someone else I've got to be": George Michael laid it all on the line with this exuberant, blue-eyed soul number, but couldn't quite bring himself to reveal all his secrets. In the video, a gaggle of stripping supermodels subbed in for George, lip-syncing the lyrics-he wouldn't officially come out until eight years later. "I was protecting my privacy," he said. "I was always proud of who I was."
Available on: Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 (Columbia)
142. The Breaks Kurtis Blow  Hip-hop goes pop, 15 years before Puffy figured it out.
In what was a remarkably prescient deal, Blow was the first rapper signed to a major label, a deal brokered by his then-manager, Russell Simmons. The quick result was this, rap's first gold record. "The Breaks" was an "Ironic" for the early hip-hop era. It had "philosophical lyric content," as Blow described it-a series of ain't-life-a-bitch quips that were as light and poppy as the track's effervescent disco production. Available on: Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 2 (Mercury)
143. Lit Up
Much-inked L.A. longhairs turn "I love the cocaine" into addictive chorus.
Guns 'N Roses' songs were like weird L.A. tourism brochures: "The weather's hot! So's the cocaine!" And just as G&R were fading out in a drug haze, Buckcherry—a band that came together because the singer and guitarist had the same tattooist-offered this last great blast of Sunset Strip debauchery. The best drug songs create an illusion that the band was high in the studio, but as the overamped Josh Todd howls "I'm at 11" over a thieved AC/DC riff, you wonder if it's only an illusion.
Available on: Lit Up (Dreamworks)
144. The Body Rock The Treacherous Three 
Kool Moe Dee's stepping stone to (self-proclaimed) greatness.
One of the top early rap crews, the Treacherous Three became known primarily for launching the career of Kool Moe Dee, who would later battle LL Cool J in one of hip-hop's great dis fests. On "Body Rock," which rode a chant-along hook and a sinuous funk-rock lick, KMD "literally mouthed out (wrote) the music," he said. No disrespect to his T3 mates L.A. Sunshine and Special K, but in his 2003 book, KMD ranked himself the fifth-best rapper of all time. Ah, modesty. Available on: Vinyl Exams (Enjoy)
Lisa Loeb 
The coffeehouse revolution that lasted exactly one song
The film Reality Bites gave us Ethan Hawke, post-grunge brooding and, quite by accident, the bespectacled singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb. With her soundtrack hit "Stay"—a spare, beautiful lullaby about loss-Loeb became the first unsigned artist with a No. 1 single in Billboard history. But coffeehouse chic was short-lived-"People only think of you as the couple of songs you have on the radio," she said. Most recently, quirky Loeb hosted a quirky TV cooking show with quirky then-beau Dweezil Zappa.
Available on: Reality Bites soundtrack (RCA)
146. Goodies Ciara  How an Atlanta good girl became an anti-sex sex symbol.
With "Goodies," crunk macher Lil Jon expanded his rowdy empire into R&B, turning unknown 19-year-old Ciara into the Aaliyah of her generation. Scrapping crunk's typical hedonism, "Goodies" preached the virtues of holding out; Ciara teased and needled while Jon's beat suggested an urgent throbbing in need of relief. "At first I wasn't crazy about crunk," Ciara admitted, but like the rest of the world, she eventually relented. "You can't deny it." Available on: Goodies (LaFace/Arista)
147. Everybody Knows
Leonard Cohen 
Pessimist tries to put the light at the end of a dark tunnel.
"I think that a good song exists in modest terms and in Himalayan terms," this singer-poet once said. This oddly catchy song, written at the height of the AIDS epidemic, succeeds on both counts. It's a cross between a word-jazz experiment and a trembling disco inferno. Cohen's lyrics seethe with resentment and disappointment, but the backdrop-a relentless, pulsing heartbeat of strings-exposes what might be the Canadian contrarian's secret weapon: optimism.
Available on: I'm Your Man (Columbia)
148. My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)
En Vogue 
When they said no, it just made you want them more.
Before En Vogue, girl-group harmonies hadn't been heard in such force on the pop charts for three decades. With Dawn Robinson singing lead, this was a female-empowerment anthem that would have done Lilith Fair proud-the repeated harmonized chanting of "You're never gonna get it" was a kiss-off par excellence. The song-and the group-were anachronisms. It was unprocessed feistiness and sass, just before hip-hop took out a monopoly on swagger.
Available on: Funky Divas (EastWest)
149. You Oughta Know
Alanis Morrissette 
The sound of an ex-boyfriend's soul being banished to hell for eternity.
Having made a name for herself in Canada as a disco-lite singer and cloying kids-TV starlet, a 20-year-old Alanis decamped to L.A., teamed with writer Glen Ballard and emoted and thrashed her way out of a career of cheese with this blast of post-adolescent bitterness. It also might be the best pop song ever written about a cast member of Full House: Alanis dated Dave "Uncle Joey" Coulier for a time in the early '90s, though she has steadfastly refused to identify the song's target.
Available on: Jagged Little Pill (Maverick)
150. Run Ghostface feat. Jadakiss  The sound of cops giving chase to your crack-dealing ass.
This song kicks in with superhero horns, but the only stars here are the guys who hear the sirens and scamper off before the cops arrive. Wu-Tang Clanner Ghost raps the entire song like one still panting from the chase—"Quick! Flag the car down!"—while guest MC Jadakiss is cool under pressure: "My Timbs start feeling like they Nike Airs on me." "You got brothers who get away when they run," Ghostface later explained. "It's a grimy song." Available on: The Pretty Toney Album (Def Jam)
151. Don't You Want Me
The Human League 
The wages of love, without an ounce of sweat.
More than any other song of the '80s, "Don't You Want Me" captured all the frailties of romantic relationships. Guy discovers girl. Guy makes girl over. Guy loves girl. Girl rejects guy. Guy scratches head in defeat, writes icy, resentful song about it. Romance can be chilly, something the Human League—with their arty pretentiousness, geometric haircuts and well-honed skepticism-knew all too well.
Available on: Dare! (A&M)
152. I Feel for You
Rufus and Chaka Khan 
Four huge stars make one funk classic.
In 1984, Chaka Khan set out to do the impossible: Turn a song into a hit when its author, the mighty Prince, could not. With producer Arif Mardin, the gentle jam became a multi-layered attack-va-va-voom vocals from Chaka, sharp drum machine rhythms, a pneumatic rap from Melle Mel and, for good measure, harmonica runs from Stevie Wonder. The sonic overkill worked-this remains Chaka's biggest hit, and she worked with Prince for decades after.
Available on: I Feel for You (Warner Bros.)
153. Ordinary World
Duran Duran 
A love song by and for aging hipsters.
Don't let the frosted hair and mud-wrestling videos fool you: Duran Duran were innovators. As John Taylor put it, "We had the idea of playing European funk with punk attitude, but slicker and with clothes." Which made their 1993 comeback-featuring this adult-contemporary radio ballad—even more of a shock. Simon LeBon traded his seductive yelps for a more meditative sound, and the band played along. The result was tempered and catchy, not to mention rare-a band aging even more gracefully than its fans.
Available on: The Wedding Album (Capitol)
Christina Aguilera 
Xtina gives the world a hug.
From the outset of her career, Christina Aguilera always laid plenty of things bare, but all that nakedness obscured just how good her voice was. "Beautiful" was her rejoinder to years of critical scorn-"I am beautiful, no matter what they say/Words can't bring me down"—with near-operatic vocals and no production flourishes to hide them. The song, written by fellow scorn-object Linda "4 Non Blondes" Perry, earned her the grudging admiration of a sea of haters and, eventually, a Grammy.
Available on: Stripped (RCA)
155. Not Dark Yet
Bob Dylan 
The passion of the Zimmerman.
This delicate ramble from the best Dylan album of the '90s is affecting and stark. With gentle, ambient production by Daniel Lanois, Dylan has nowhere to hide his pain, raw enough to affect even Mel Gibson, who included it on a Passion of the Christ companion album. "A lot of my songs are written after the sun goes down," said Dylan. "And I like storms."
Available on: Time out of Mind (Columbia)
156. Double Dutch Bus
Frankie Smith 
Rejected by the bus company, Philly songwriter invents hip-hop newspeak.
When payola investigations shut the doors of Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records, staff writer Frankie Smith was without a gig. He applied to be a bus driver and was rejected, but Smith, a nephew of chitlin'—circuit comedian Pigmeat Markham, had a sense of humor, so he dashed off this early rap number. The nonsense-laden ode to rope-jumping and public transport became one of the first rap songs to go gold, and is considered the first recorded appearance of the "izzle"—speak Snoop Dogg would popularize years later.
Available on: Various Artists: Old School Vol. 1 (Thump)
157. Girls & Boys
Britpop cuties throw a gender-bending disco party.
Whoever said a Britpop band couldn't make a super-camp new-wave disco anthem hadn't met Blur. The boys from Colchester did their best Duran Duran impression here, with Damon Albarn sounding saucier than he's ever let himself since: "Looking for girls who are boys/who like boys to be girls" and so on. British rock treated this as a stumbling block, not a jumping-off point, but a decade later, Blur got their due with the polysexual confusion of The Killers' "Somebody Told Me."
Available on: Parklife (Virgin)
158. Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) Jay-Z  Annie takes a wrong turn on the way to the orphanage. Jigga got "no grief" for pilfering the hook here from the musical Annie. "They just call me genius." And while the credit for lifting the squealing tykes goes to producer Mark 45 King, it's Jay who pulls off the conceit without sounding conceited. Linking the plight of hardscrabble 'hood kids with the squeaky-clean orphans was savvy, but while the kids bemoan their rough-and-tumble plight, Jay doesn't get bogged down: "Since when y'all niggas know me to fail? Fuck naw." Available on: Vol. 2 … Hard Knock Life (Roc-A-Fella)
159. Birth, School, Work, Death
The Godfathers 
Agit-rocking against Thatcher.
Before Tony Blair, England had the Godfathers, who did their part to sing down the Tories. Said guitarist Mike Gibson, "There's a mood of depression in this song," which was written just as Margaret Thatcher was being reelected. "We were feeling pretty low." Indeed, in between wiseass grumbling—"I've felt torture, I've felt pain/Just like that film with Michael Caine"-the band chants the title sternly, as if it were a prison chain-gang refrain.
Available on: Birth, School, Work, Death (Epic)
New Order 
Dancing through the pain in the wake of Joy Division.
After Ian Curtis's suicide, the rest of the band came to New York, "boozing and getting out of it" in nightclubs. Reformed as New Order, they wanted to make the soundtrack to those nights. For them, catharsis came on the dance floor. "Temptation" could have been a three-minute pop blast—"Up, down, turn around/Please don't let me hit the ground"-but they stretched it to seven, dragging it out as if to help them forget.
Available on: Substance (Warner Bros.)
161. Danger! High Voltage
Electric Six 
Jack White's buddies raise gonzo-disco hell.
From the Studio 54 guitar lick in the opening bars to the squealing saxophone in the fadeout, "Danger! High Voltage" is an irresistible example of stuffed-crust, extra-topping cheese. First recorded when this Detroit outfit were still calling themselves the Wildbunch, it evokes the precise moment when a party gets out of hand, with frontman Dick Valentine and an uncredited Jack White as your crazy-eyed hosts. And what's not to love about a song that rhymes "Taco Bell" with "gates of hell"?
Available on: Fire (Beggars/XL)
162. Sister Christian
Night Ranger 
Sibling-inspired power-ballad overload.
Christy Keagy is now a fortysomething office manager in Oregon, but 22 years ago she was the eponymous heroine of "Sister Christian," the biggest, most bombastic power ballad of them all. "I was just writing about her looking for love," said her big bro, drummer-singer Kelly Keagy. "Everybody thought I said 'Christian.'" In the movie Boogie Nights, Alfred Molina's coke-crazed drug dealer was literally brought to his knees by its space-shuttle-lifting-off chorus.
Available on: Boogie Nights soundtrack
163. Ms. Jackson Outkast  Rap's dynamic duo make amends to the baby mamas' mamas. Hip-hop means never having to say you're sorry, especially to women, which is why Outkast's repentant missive broke the mould. Andre 3000 begs forgiveness from the mother of ex-girlfriend (and mother of son Seven Sirius) Erykah Badu, while Big Boi speaks for every weekend dad who just wants to do the right thing. Homaged by Kanye West and reworked by the Vines, it even made the perfect punch line during Nipplegate. Available on: Stankonia (LaFace/Arista)
164. The Look of Love
Smart-aleck collision of disco, synth-pop and English wit.
When Martin Fry, a white Brit who dreamed of being Smokey Robinson, hijacked electronic band Vice Versa and set about turning them into his fantasy pop group, their first hit was also their finest. Founded on Fry's camp, self-referential lyrics and Trevor Horn's towering, wedding-cake production, "The Look of Love" is a treasure trove of witty touches, from Fry's arch internal dialogue to the female voice popping out of leftfield to drawl "goodbye."
Available on: The Lexicon of Love (Mercury)
165. Bye Bye Bye
'N SYNC 
Timberlake and dorks' pop apocalypse.
Max Martin was the bearded emperor of millennial teen-pop. At one point, you couldn't turn on TRL without hearing his signature floor-shaking drums, stabbing strings and singing-down-a-bad-cellphone-line vocal effects. He only had one trick, already performed on Britney and the Backstreet Boys, but it was a great one: He magnified puppy love emotions to operatic proportions. "Bye Bye Bye" is peerless pop melodrama, a romantic kiss-off that sounds like a declaration of war.
Available on: No Strings Attached (Jive)
166. Start Me Up
Rolling Stones 
The greatest rock & roll band in the world discover the joys of recycling.
The Rolling Stones' last bona fide classic almost rusted away in the vaults. Written to a reggae beat and then abandoned in 1977, it was rediscovered by chance four years later and reborn as a vintage riff-rocker. "The story here is the miracle that we ever found that track," says Keith Richards. "It was like a gift, y'know?" It was one that kept on giving, too-Microsoft paid $10 million to use the song to hawk Windows 95.
Available on: Tattoo You (Virgin)
Faith Hill 
Swooning ballad turns country gal into Mississippi queen.
This is what Aerosmith would sound like if they had steel guitar and Steve Tyler looked even more like a chick. Sure, Faith Hill was accused of ditching her country roots, but who cares? "Breathe" launched her into a power-ballad catfight with fellow crossover sexpot Shania Twain. This tops Hill's other divine smashes, "Cry" and "One," because, just when the lyrics describe love as "a slow and steady rush," she builds the chorus into, well, a slow and steady rush. Keep selling out, country girl.
Available on: Breathe (Warner Bros.)
168. Juicy Notorious B.I.G.  Big-boned MC tells the story of his success. You can thank P. Diddy (then Puff Daddy) for Biggie Smalls's autobiographical signature tune. During sessions for the Brooklyn rapper's debut album, Biggie wanted underground cred but Puffy demanded radio smashes. He laid down a chunk of Mtume's 1983 R&B hit "Juicy Fruit" and Biggie reflected charismatically on a childhood of hip-hop tapes, pissed off teachers and sardines for dinner. Biggie later admitted: "I wasn't even with 'Juicy,' but he's saying, 'Let's go get the money,' so I'm like, fuck it." Good move. Available on: Ready to Die (Bad Boy)
169. When Doves Cry
Freudian psychodrama you can dance to.
The biggest record of 1984 was a very odd piece of work: a funk record with no bassline, a tense hunk of neo-psychedelia (the synthesizers are meant to represent crying doves), a club hit wracked with angst about inheriting your folks' worst traits. Even though it was written for a specific moment in the Purple Rain movie, its appeal was universal, becoming the only song ever to be covered by Patti Smith and Ginuwine. But can doves really cry? Er, no.
Available on: Purple Rain (Warner Bros.)
Van Halen 
The sound of Reagan-era excess.
David Lee Roth likes to say he was watching a would-be suicide on the news when he heard bystanders chant "Jump!" But then he also used to claim that Van Halen's first No. 1 single was inspired by a stripper. Whatever the lyrical inspiration, "Jump" is all about Eddie Van Halen's monstrous, unforgettable synthesizer riff. Initially resisted by Roth, who feared cries of "sellout," it's as instantly evocative of the fist-pumping, go-go '80s as Top Gun.
Available on: 1984 (Warner Bros.)
171. Flava in Ya Ear Craig Mack  Rap's George Jetson introduces himself with a little help from his friends. Puff Daddy saw quirky Long Island MC Craig Mack as Bad Boy's Redman-style class clown. Mack had other ideas and left the label, but not before giving it its commercial breakthrough. Described in the intro as "that ol' robotic, futuristic, George Jetson, crazy joint," this is an effortlessly charming showcase for Mack's laidback tongue-twisters. The remix, featuring Notorious B.I.G., Rampage, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes, topped the Billboard rap singles chart for an unprecedented 14 weeks. Available on: Project: Funk Da World (Bad Boy)
172. Around the World Daft Punk  Disco, Casios and Frenchmen: three unexpected comebacks in one. This bubblegum robo-disco mantra was the song that made LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy fantasize about Daft Punk playing at his house. "I liked how wimpy 'Around the World' was," he explains. "It was really everything I hated, and I couldn't resist it. What a fucking track." Recorded in a bedroom, and boosted by director Michel Gondry's freaky-dancing video clip, "Around the World" made Paris hip again and left house music hooked on retro. Available on: Homework (Virgin)
[b]173. Ready or Not The Fugees  Enya, the Delfonics and tag-team rapping, together at last. Considering they were three of rap's smartest operators, you might have expected the Fugees to get permission before sampling "Boadicea" by New Age siren Enya, but that unlicensed, hummed 12-note melody led to a costly settlement. The chorus is borrowed, too, from soul crooners the Delfonics, but "Ready or Not" is more than the sum of its parts. Every rhyme has the cool menace and bulletproof self-assurance of a band claiming their place at the head of hip-hop's table. Available on: The Score (Ruffhouse)
174. Fuck and Run Liz Phair  The sexual revolution wakes up with a sore head. A song called "Fuck and Run" was never going to be a radio single, but its morning-after soul-searching shows Phair's peppery, poignant songwriting at its best. As she wearily asks "Whatever happened to a boyfriend, the kind of guy who tries to win you over?," she lets slip the old-fashioned romantic lurking inside the reluctant good-time girl. For anyone who's ever greeted the dawn on rumpled sheets that smell of someone else and wondered if the night before was worth it. Available on: Exile in Guyville (Matador)
[b]175. Made You Look Nas  How Nasir got his groove back. Queensbridge's finest grew bloated and irrelevant in the late '90s, effortlessly outclassed by his new archrival, Jay-Z, so he scythed away the flab with the hip-hop equivalent of weight training. From its opening shotgun blast to its a cappella payoff, "Made You Look" is a faultless, back-to-basics showcase for Nas's skills: a relentless, clattering breakbeat paired with lean, hard battle rhymes: "This ain't rappin', this is street hop." The best record Eric B & Rakim never made. Available on: God's Son (Columbia)
176. Murder (Or a Heart Attack)
Old 97's 
Dallas songwriter knows love can be a cause of sudden death.
In a tender twang that's almost shy, Rhett Miller has sung lots of pretty broken-heart songs, and his best sounds like Neil Young skipping rope, and comes on a 1999 album Miller named Fight Songs because the songs are about love. Story: Girl sneaks out a window, boy sighs, searches for her, and leaves a door open in case girl wants to return. Boy realizes girl, on return, might want to kill him. Boy doesn't mind, sounds hopeful through his hurt.
Available on: Fight Songs
Phantom Planet 
The unofficial anthem of Orange County.
Here's a tip for unknown bands: Name a song after the entertainment capital of the world. It worked for Phantom Planet, whose lineup included actors Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, drums) and Alex Greenwald (Donnie Darko, vocals). First this wistful three-minute power-popper landed a spot on the soundtrack to the Jack Black comedy Orange County, then it struck gold by drilling itself into millions of teenage brains as the theme to The O.C. It's a good thing they didn't call it "North Dakota."
Available on: Music From The O.C.: Mix 1 soundtrack (Warner Bros.)
178. Jam on It Newcleus  Divine nonsense from chipmunk-voiced electro outfit. Like Seinfeld, most early hip-hop was basically about nothing. You don't need to realize that Newcleus's breakdance anthem tells the story of rapper Cozmo D ("from outer space," apparently) holding a block party battle with Superman. This sequel to "Jam on Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song)" is all about the crushing electro beats, fizzing synthesizers and insolent, squeaky-voiced backing vocals, which sound like Alvin & the Chipmunks's street-tough cousins. Cozmo D wins the battle, by the way. Disco Kryptonite, y'see. Available on: Jam on This!: The Best of Newcleus (Rhino)
179. The Sound of Settling
Death Cab for Cutie 
Indie mainstays feel the O.C. effect
College-rock favorites Death Cab for Cutie probably owe Seth Cohen a percentage. It was the O.C. character's tireless endorsement that set the stage for their breakout hit, two-and-a-bit minutes of ba-ba vocals and chipper guitars, so upbeat they make sentiments such as "Our youth is fleeting/Old age is just around the bend" sound like great news. Reflects frontman Ben Gibbard: "Every once in a while a song gets written in five minutes and becomes a song everyone loves."
Available on: Transatlanticism (Barsuk)
180. Top Billin' Audio Two  One turntable and two microphones. Old-school hip-hop would have been much grayer without the one-hit wonders who disappeared almost before they'd finished proclaiming their genius. Sons of their label's president, and brothers of the better-known MC Lyte, Audio Two made the most of their 15 minutes of fame. Nothing more than a beat and some bratty braggadocio, "Top Billin'" is hip-hop stripped down to its rawest, dumbest, most exciting elements. Sadly, the current status of Audio Two's billin' is unknown.
181. Our Lips Are Sealed
The Go-Go's 
A tour-bus romance spawns power-pop perfection.
When Go-Go's guitarist Jane Wiedlin struck up a transatlantic love affair with Specials vocalist Terry Hall, the couple collaborated on a song about bitchy rumors. Reflecting their different temperaments, Hall's version (with Fun Boy Three) was dark and brooding, while Wiedlin's rendition was the essence of summer. From the very first breezy backbeat to Wiedlin and Belinda Carlisle's final effervescent harmonies, there's not a note out of place. The same can't be said for the Duff sisters' 2004 version.
Available on: Beauty and the Beat (I.R.S.)
182. Janie's Got a Gun
What happens when rock stars read Newsweek.
Coming hard on the heels of a single about doing the nasty in an elevator, the dark revenge fantasy "Janie's Got a Gun" was the biggest curveball of Aerosmith's career. Finding inspiration in child-abuse statistics and a Newsweek article about firearm fatalities, vocalist Steven Tyler took nine months to finish his story of a girl who puts a bullet through her abusive father's brain. Swinging between tense restraint and explosive rage, it's as dramatic as its subject matter.
Available on: Pump (Geffen)
183. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Lucinda Williams 
Five-minute pocket memoir of a southern childhood.
As a kid, Lucinda Williams lived a tumbleweed existence, rolling from state to state, wherever her poet father could find teaching work. "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" is an appropriately restless child's-eye travelogue, teeming with detail: country hits on the radio, a dusty suitcase on a front step, telephone poles glimpsed through backseat windows and the murmur of adults in the front, calling all the shots. When Williams Sr. first heard the song, he was moved to apologize.
Available on: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (Mercury)
184. Fade Into You
Mazzy Star 
Enigmatic duo seduce the mainstream with their opiate lullaby.
Hope Sandoval and David Roback's strung-out desert blues was never designed for commercial success, but "Fade Into You" fluked a hit, just missing the Top 40. It's a hauntingly gorgeous song of surrender, to love or drugs or even death, and Sandoval floats through it like a Xanaxed wraith, intimate yet distracted, sensual yet drained of desire. How it later ended up on the soundtrack to Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi shoot-'em-up Starship Troopers is anybody's guess.
Available on: So Tonight That I Might See (Capitol)
185. Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel Grandmaster Flash  Who needs MCs? "I was scared," says Joseph Saddler, a.k.a. Grandmaster Flash. "I didn't think anyone was gonna get it." Flash's seven-minute mix odyssey demonstrated that hip-hop was a producer's medium. It took three turntables, two mixers and three hours; Flash recorded it live, so every time he made a mistake he started from the beginning. Packing Blondie, Chic, Queen and Spoonie Gee onto the same dance floor, "Adventures" is the spirit of the block party and the birth of sampling.
186. You Don't Love Me (No No No)
Dawn Penn 
A lovelorn reggae smash three decades in the making.
The oldest new act of 1994 was a middle-aged Jamaican singer called Dawn Penn. A reggae star in the 1960s, she retired from music in 1970 and spent the next two decades working desk jobs until dancehall producers Steely & Clevie polished her signature tune into her global comeback hit, wrapping Penn's heartbroken desperation in the sound of a lazy summer's afternoon. Emotional masochism never sounded so sweet.
Available on: No No No (Big Beat)
187. Killin' Time
Clint Black 
Country music and alcoholism: a great marriage!
Two years before he married Knotts Landing and Love Boat actress Lisa Hartman, this dimpled Houston dreamboat topped charts with his second single, a country classic: twangy guitar and intense lyrics about medicating your heartache with enough liquor to stop your heart entirely. The opening line sums up an entire tradition of Nashville wit: "You were the first thing that I thought of/When I thought I drank you off my mind."
Available on: Greatest Hits (RCA)
188. Shake Your Rump Beastie Boys  A Brooklyn-L.A. alliance rewrites the hip-hop rulebook. No longer licensed to ill, hip-hop's erstwhile frat-brats were desperate for fresh ideas when Mike D. met L.A. production duo the Dust Brothers. One of the first instrumentals they played him later became "Shake Your Rump." Richly unpredictable, it sounds like a dozen different songs at once, pivoting on a fat, juicy synthesizer splurge and united by the Beasties' offbeat, allusive lyrics. A commercial flop at the time, now a benchmark of kaleidoscopic B-boy ingenuity. And rump-shaking. Available on: Paul's Boutique (Capitol)
Jennifer Paige 
Atlanta diva gets teenage infatuation in perspective.
Jennifer Paige started singing in Atlanta, Georgia, coffeehouses at the age of 8, so she was a seasoned vet by the time she hit the charts. Predating the Orlando pop boom by a year, "Crush" was an unusually supple and sophisticated teen-pop hit informed by the level-headed sass of great R&B. A manifesto for short-term fun rather than lifelong commitment ("white picket fences in your eyes," she sniffs), swept along by a breathy chorus, pulsing groove and Paige's exquisite multilayered vocals.
Available on: Jennifer Paige (Hollywood)
190. Bastards of Young
College-rock heroes give success the middle finger.
Any disillusioned college kid rebutting the Reagan-endorsed vision of '80s achievement had a custom-made anthem in "Bastards of Young." Paul Westerberg's pulse-pounding rallying cry for refuseniks finds euphoria in defeat. It was set to trigger the Minnesotans' mainstream breakthrough but, appropriately for a song about missing "the whole first rung" on success's ladder, they kayboshed it by releasing an MTV-confounding video showing nothing but a stereo, and swearing drunkenly during a Saturday Night Live performance.
Available on: Tim (Sire)
191. 1 Thing
R&B up-and-comer gets crazy in love.
Hitmaker Rich Harrison knows how to make a girl sound wildly, desperately, ecstatically in love. After Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love," he rocketed Korean-American singer Amerie into the R&B A-list with a song that sounds the way you feel after a great first date. The cascading drums (lifted from New Orleans funk vets the Meters) and Amerie's frantic, top-of-her-range vocals bubble with the heart-pounding joy of knowing you're onto a good thing and not quite believing your luck.
Available on: Touch (Columbia)
192. Walk This Way Run-DMC  Rock and rap hook up, future Linkin Park members take notes. When Jam Master Jay's search for the heaviest beats led him to dig an old Aerosmith hit out of the crates, producer Rick Rubin suggested hooking up a collaboration. The result was rap-rock history, but don't try asking Reverend Run about his group's biggest hit. "We never liked that song," he kvetched a decade later. "They [Run and fellow rapper DMC] were pissed off that someone was making them do it," explained Jay. "But I knew they was hot." Available on: Raising Hell (Profile)
193. If You Leave
Synth-poppers secure their place in teen movie history.
Like many of their early-'80s peers, Liverpool duo Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark made the transition from aloof synth-prodding brainiacs to easy-on-the-ear pop stars, and "If You Leave" was their point of no return. Molly Ringwald's romantic dilemmas made this jewel of twinkling melancholia an end-of-night prom classic. Says songwriter Andy McCluskey: "There comes a time when you realize you cannot save the world with a pop song. But you can create something of beauty."
Available on: Pretty in Pink soundtrack (A&M)
194. Love Removal Machine
The Cult 
Leathery Britrockers sit their School of Rock exams.
Small wonder the surviving members of the Doors chose the Cult's Ian Astbury to fill Jim Morrison's cowboy boots. Astbury made a career out of copping rock's most well-worn moves with blazing conviction. By 1986, the former goths had transformed into slick heavy metal revivalists. Billy Duffy's Keef-channelling riff and Astbury's priapic roar are cock-rock's base elements, but they perform them as if they invented them, and Duffy's incendiary solo makes air-guitar compulsory.
Available on: Electric (Beggars Banquet)
195. More Than This
Roxy Music 
Because yuppies get sad too.
How ironic that one of Roxy Music lounge lizard Bryan Ferry's slickest performances should reach a new audience via Bill Murray's shaky, boozy rendition in Lost in Translation. Where Murray stumbles, Ferry soars, borne aloft by Rhett Davies's airy, immaculate production. More than 20 years later, it remains the Armani-clad acme of upwardly-mobile melancholia. "I think it's a beautiful song," says Murray. "But it is hard-especially after you've had several sake's."
Available on: Avalon (Virgin)
196. U Can't Touch This MC Hammer  The pop-rap megahit that couldn't be stopped. MC Hammer might have made purists' toes curl-videos by 3rd Bass and Ice Cube lampooned his infamous baggy-pantsed dance moves-but even they couldn't get his Godzilla-sized breakout hit out of their heads. The Oakland MC founded the Puff Daddy school of flagrant, wholesale sampling, in this case a giant chunk of Rick James's funk monster "Superfreak." If only he'd had Puffy's business smarts-a decade after releasing the biggest-selling hip-hop album of all time, he was bankrupt. Available on: Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em (Capitol)
Avril Lavigne 
Necktie-wearing Canadian tells posers to wise up.
A teenage Alanis Morissette was an idea waiting to happen, but next to Alanis's five-alarm traumas, or even Pink's raucous dysfunction, "Complicated" is merely a brief cloud in an otherwise sunny sky. Whipped up with hitmaking trio the Matrix, it's an addictive recipe: a spry melody, Lavigne's distinctly Canadian pronunciation ("Whatcha yellin' furr?") and a smart, precocious lyric about how teenage boys should drop the pretence and not make things so, like, y'know, complicated.
Available on: Wise Up (Arista)
198. Macarena (Bayside Boys mix)
Los Del Rio 
The most infectious song of the 20th century isn't for everyone.
"The Star-Spangled Banner"? "Freebird"? "Working for the Weekend"? No, this is the most divisive song in history. On UrbanDictionary.com, one poster defines Macarena as "the deadly disease that crippled 98% of the world, back in 1996." Haters shun the simple Spanish lyrics—the word Macarena recurs 632 times—describing a mysterious vixen, dance music's own Mona Lisa. For the rest of us, this effusive serotonin stimulator can make a wedding dance floor magically appear on even the saddest Sunday morning.
Eyeball-slicing fun from the alt-rock godfathers.
Only Boston's finest would think to seek pop inspiration in Un Chien Andalou, a 1929 art movie directed by Luis Bunuel and co-written by moustache-twiddling surrealist Salvador Dali. Black Francis whoops the title and celebrates the film's most memorable scene ("slicing up eyeballs!") but he could be singing his grocery list and it wouldn't drain any of the power from this three-minute blast of feverish excitement. Forget verse-chorus conventions—everything here is a hook.
Available on: Doolittle (4AD/Elektra)
200. The Seed (2.0) The Roots  Philly's keep-rap-live stalwarts deliver their definitive statement. Most collisions of rock and hip-hop are all about smacking together riffs and rhymes with a macho crunch, but the Roots' agile upgrade of "The Seed" by Atlanta-born multitasker Cody Chesnutt is more about sinew than muscle. Black Thought's verses twist Chesnutt's love-rat ambition to "fertilize another behind my lover's back" into a hot-blooded metaphor for musical cross-pollination. The best thing either artist has done, it's a stunning one-off: rap-rock with hips and brains. Available on: Phrenology (MCA)
201. Building a Mystery
Sarah McLachlan 
Brooding Canadian lionizes a "beautiful, fucked-up man"
Not since Led Zeppelin howled about the land of the ice and snow has anyone written such a great song about an unknowable mystic. McLachlan's messiah sleeps in a church, has dreadlocks, wears sandals in winger—he shounds like kind of a dick, actually. But rapturous melody and echoing guitars. It's like Jimmy Page scoring an episode of Buffy
Available on: Surfacing (Arista)
202. Deep Cover Dr. Dre  The good doctor scours the pound, finds his new apprentice. Dre's first post-N.W.A. project not only made "187" the best-known copspeak of all time, it also introduced then-20-year-old valvin Broadus, a slow-drawl-scene-stealer who would soon eclipse his master, stardom-wise. The single, released months before the funkier The Chronic, was a scary-as-shit salvo, boasting a relentless beat and a violent narrative about "killin' muthafuckas." Available on: Deep Cover sountrack (Epic)
203. Rid of Me
PJ Harvey 
Don't mess with the big-voiced Brit from the tiny village.
Polly Harvey was only 23 when she recorded "Rid," but sounded wise beyond her years—you don't write a song about infidelity unless you've lived through a little pain. Opening with a calm but menacing drum-and-guitar prowl, the track eventually explodes with an indignant Harvey asking, "Don't you wish you never met her?" It's a twist-the-knife reminder of how far devotion goes.
Available on: Rid of Me (Island)
204. Let's Kill Saturday Night
Robbie Fulks 
Agit-rocking against Thatcher.
An alt-country hero, Fulks was primed for a breakthrough when he went major in the late '90s; it didn't happen, but at least he eked out a small hit with this tale of blue-collar blues. the barnstorming chorus disillusioned Fulks complaining about his wife's work schedule, making him one of the rare twangstast to actually sing about missing his old lady.
Available on: Let's Kill Saturday Night (Geffen)
205. Take Your Mama
Scissor Sisters 
Elton John soundalikes help mend numerous mother-son rifts
Is it a coming-out anthem? A "Take This Job and Shove It" rant? Or just a song about kickin' it with momdukes? Whatever the Sisters were going for, they wound up with a fizzy, singalong, with Jake Shears hitting the high notes like Sir Reg on poppers. The band's only hit to date—and an instant classic in Europe—expect to hear this at wedding receptions and sports bars' Ladies Nights for the next, oh, 50 years.
Available on: Scissor Sisters (Universal)
206. This Love
Maroon 5 
Studly Angelenos in semi-nude video shocker!
The most popular white-soul ditty since Jamiroquai, "This Love" needed nearly two years to finally top the charts—but once it did, the band achieved a rock-pop-R&B crossover, with a sizable following among teeny-boppers and their secretly horny moms. This broad appeal was due not only to Adam Levine's Innervisions-styled vocals but also to his torso-baring turn in the steamy clip, where he apparently kept his promise to "keep her coming every night." Yowza!
Available on: Songs About Jane (Octone)
207. Friends in Low Places
Garth Brooks 
Wealthy country crooner salutes ne'er-do-well audience
To his fans, "Friends" is the song that best defines Brooks, painting him as a well-intentioned yet hapless rebel. Thanks to its shout-along chorus, the honky-tonk pop anthem—penned by songwriting duo DeWayne Blackwell and Earl Bud Lee—is also the hit that broke Brooks to the 'burbs, celebrating whiskey-breathed miscreants everywhere.
Available on: No Fences (Capitol)
208. Work for Love
Shock: Morbid, sordid mayhem masters used to skip like girls!
Here's a dirty secret: Before Ministry turned into the druggy dark lords of ugly industrial rattle (fan club name: the Piss Army), leader Al Jourgensen crooned like a David Bowie wannabe. His fake Brit accent lights up this cute, prancing complaint, but good luck finding the out-of-print CD it appears on: "With Sym is off the shelves for good," he recently crowed in an online chat. "I have the masters and burnt them ha ha."
Available on: With Sympathy (Arista)
209. It Wasn't Me Shaggy  Boombastard screws around, kinda repents With a sexual appetite that would make R. Kelly raise his Hennessy in appreciation, dancehall dynamo Shaggy recounts a lurid tryst ("butt naked, bangin' on the bathroom floor") that he'll forever regret—mostly because he got caught. The titular deny-everything message perfectly suited for the last summer of the Clinton era. No wonder Hot Shot became one of the best-selling reggae albums of all time. Available on: Hot Shot (MCA)
210. Oh Sherrie
Steve Perry 
Karaoke classic from feathered-haired Journeyman
During a late-night session for 1984's Street Talk, Perry's girlfriend began to doze off (understandable, considering she'd been hanging out with Perry all day). "Sherrie actually got tired and went to bed," Perry has said. "And the words came out." That was all he needed for his lone solo hit—a surging plea for reconciliation that Perry's pipes rendered beautifully. Thank God he wasn't dating someone named Esmerelda.
Available on: Street Talk (Columbia)
211. Dude Beenie Man  The jam for van sex! For a song that extols the virtues of "Rudeboy lovin'" (i.e., lots and lots of sex), "Dude" is downright gentle at times, with a head-bobbing acoustic shuffle and bright flute loops; take away the steel drums and it could be mistaken for a gently lascivious sea shanty. A poppy revelation that stays grounded in tis dancehall roots, the song gave Beenie his biggest hit, and most likely helped your parents get their swerve on during last year's Carnival Cruise vacation.
212. Last Nite
The Strokes 
“The Monkees with a drinking problem” blubber.
Okay, so its bright guitar progression sounds a lot like “American Girl.” But there was more to the Strokes' breakout single than an expertly ripped-off groove: Julian Casablancas's shrugging lines about “feelin' left out” when it comes to his woman neatly summarizes the mutual apathy that makes relationships so damned frustrating.
Available on: Is This It (RCA)
213. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around
Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks 
Two heartbreakers unite in the studio.
Petty and Nicks were never lovers, but they sound authentically desperate here. “The first time Tom and I sang it to each other,” Nicks has said, “I knew that it was going to be a little bit of a career-changer.” Indeed, Nicks had never rocked so devoutly, and Petty found a soulful side that he would hone throughout the decade.
Available on: Timespace: The Best of Stevie Nicks (Atlantic)
214. I Will Follow
U2 They were on the outside—but not for long.
The first song on U2's first album introduced the guitar sound that would define their work: A crisp-sounding vibration that reached all the way to the cheap seats—musicologists refer to this as “that cool chiming guitar thing the Edge does.” The arena-ready clarion call also established Bono's trademark lyrical earnestness, one of the reasons the song remains a fan favorite and a staple of the band's recent tours.
Available on: Boy (Island)
215. Life Is a Highway
Tom Cochrane 
Canuck rocker rides his harmonica all night long.
Before Cochrane snuck across the border with his feel-good boogie, radio programmers thought they'd never find a drive-at-five anthem worthy of usurping “Working for the Weekend.” But with an easily digestible guitar run and ambiguous chorus (“Life is a highway/I wanna ride it all night long”), “Highway” remains a ballpark classic. Up north, Cochrane’s still popular, even opening Canada's Live 8 show. Guess which song he played?
Available on: Mad Mad World (Capitol)
216. Scenario (remix) A Tribe Called Quest  Bo knows this one by heart. With a dramatic, looping bass cycle and a throw-down chorus (“Here we go, yo! Here we go, yo!”), “Scenario” proved Q-Tip and co. were more than just clever, sensitive types—they could get hands in the air and b-boys onto the dance floor. The result is a flawless group effort, with each member taking a verse, and a cap-off cameo from then-rookie Busta Rhymes; as a result, it’s best listened to singing along and pogo-ing with a big mob of friends. Available on: The Low End Theory (Jive)
217. Move Your Feet
Junior Senior 
Technicolor Denmark duo combine hip-hop, homosexuality.
Not quite rap, not quite disco, and alas, not quite as big here as it was worldwide, “Feet” is a merrily cartoonish dance number. Over a blipping keyboard hook and a bell-ringing melody, Jesper “Junior” Mortenson (the skinny, straight one) does his best Michael Jackson falsetto over the chorus, while Jeppe “Senior” Laursen (the big, gay one) goofily scats along—making for an appropriately smorgasbordic experience.
Available on: D-D-Don’t Stop the Beat (Atlantic)
218. Seven Nation Army
White Stripes 
Hey, maybe Meg White can play the drums!
“Army” opens with a seven-note progression so chillingly deep, many fans thought Jack White had sold out and—J’accuse!—bought a bass guitar. But that stomping intro was just more six-string wizardry from White, who equips this Zeppelin-worthy epic with so much ferocity, it feels as if an actual army is backing him up. Meg’s uncharacteristically steady tick-tock beat led to plenty of dance-floor mash-ups, as well as a cover by the Flaming Lips.
Available on: Elephant (V2)
219. Get Busy Sean Paul  You or someone you know has totally done it to this song. Whether he’s imploring you to get crunk, percolate, oscillate or just get jiggy, Sean Paul has only one thought in his head here: It’s time to fool around. A summer-stretching hit that helped Paul’s patois find audiences outside the dancehall, “Get Busy” even sounds like sex, with a click-clack rhythm and melodies that spiral down like beads of sweat. Who cares if you can’t understand what he’s saying? Available on: Dutty Rock (Atlantic)
220. Semi-Charmed Life
Third Eye Blind 
Semi-tolerable San Francisco pretty boys invent bubblegrunge.
During 3EB’s late-’90s heyday, they were despised by critics and boinked by movie stars—all thanks to this unassailable piece of pop poppycock. Kevin Cadogan’s skip-rope guitar riff gets its hooks in within seconds, while Stephan Jenkins’ “doo-doo-doo” refrain and white-boy rap are easy to mock but hard to ignore. Together, they more than make up for moronic lyrics such as, “I believe in the sand beneath my toes.”
Available on: Third Eye Blind (Elektra)
221. Academy Fight Song
Mission of Burma 
Boston punks describe a world that’s dark and smells “like piss”
“Walk into my room/Ask me jerky questions” sounds like the start of a song from an ’80s teen movie. Instead, it’s the first bit of disgust in a 1981 single by the abrasive Boston foursome that inspired the Replacements and R.E.M. Over a waspish drum stomp and waves of ghost-world guitars, Clint Conley roars his contempt for the world: “I’m not not not not not not not not,” he repeats on the chorus.
Available on: Signals, Calls and Marches (Rykodisc)
222. Mundian to Bach Ke (Jay-Z Remix) Panjabi MC  Jay-Z endorses bhangra, India’s hottest dance export. During a 2003 European jaunt, Jay-Z eased into the VIP section of a Swiss nightclub. When a thumping track packed the floor, he contacted the song’s Indian-British creator and insisting on recording a remix. The beat’s ingenious Knight Rider sample and tumbi riff were left intact, and when Jay added lyrics protesting the Iraqi war, a new era of hip-hop global consciousness was born. Available on: Beware (Sequence)
223. Two of Hearts
Stacey Q. 
Hey, remember the Facts of Life episode when Tootie bought the bong? But we digress …
How do you know when you’ve crossed over from the discos to the playground? When you’re gigging for Mrs. Garrett. In November of 1986, a chirpy Madonnabe performed her percolating clubland hit on The Facts of Life, ensuring a following among both coked-up partygoers and teenyboppers. “Hearts” was hard for anyone to resist, thanks to its lusty come-on: “I-I-I-I-I-I need, I need you.”
Available on: Better Than Heaven (Atlantic)
224. Once in a Lifetime
Talking Heads 
And you might find yourself … singing along!
Though it has since become one of the Talking Heads’ most instantly recognizable songs, “Lifetime” flopped when it was released as a single. “It was perceived as too funky for the rock stations,” Byrne has said, and maybe he’s right: An itchy catalogue of suburban wish-fulfillment, it chugs along on a bass line that sounds as if it’s bubbling from underneath. But DJs loved the African-inspired rhythms, making it a club hit.
Available on: Remain in Light (Sire)
225. Fast Car
Tracy Chapman 
Sighing folk number about poor towns and drunken dads. Par-tay!
Chapman was just a shy 24-year-old when this acoustic daydream turned her into a neo-folkie poster girl. Released at the tail end of the ’80s, “Car” was an op-ed piece with a plot, as Chapman distilled poverty, alcoholism and homelessness into wistful escapism. The guitar sweep made this a Top 10 hit, and soon Chapman was performing to sold-out crowds—no doubt playing for some of the same callous yuppies she was savaging.
Available on: Tracy Chapman (Elektra)
Giddy British twerps find joy in simple pleasures.
With the possible exception of Oasis, their countrymen and chief eyebrow rivals, no band sang about sitting around and smoking cigarettes with such infectious glee as this merry trio from Oxford. With an irresistible cross-strain of Buzzcocks vocals and “Crocodile Rock” piano, this anthem to young scenester frivolity wound up in a montage of young scenester frivolity in Clueless. Smoke a fag, put it out? It feels alright!
Available on: I Should Coco (Capitol)
227. Where’s Your Head At
Basement Jaxx 
English knob-twiddlers get rowdy on the dance floor.
Five years after their bass-heavy “Fly Life,” British producers Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe went dark. Shout-sung by soccer hooligans, the title phrase echoes over a vertiginous Gary Numan sample—it’s the sound of an unmoored community, a ship pitching on rough seas. The sparse lyrics urge not abandon but maintenance: “Don’t let the walls cave in on you”—excellent advice for post-9/11 clubbing.
Available on: Rooty (XL)
Ostatnio edytowano 9 Maj 2009 11:00 przez 3A, łącznie edytowano 1 raz
Dołączył(a): 31 Sierpnia 2004 Posty: 24199 Lokalizacja: Gdańsk - Wrzeszcz
Re: BLENDER.com: HipHop W Rankingach Blendera: Common,Krs-One,Jay-Z,Outkast,Pete Rock
Wysłano: 9 Maj 2009 10:43
228. Hate to Say I Told You So The Hives  Swedish punks hate to say it, but will. Originally released when they were just another crew of natty, color-coordinated teens from Fagersta, Sweden, this song became the Hives’ nyah-nyah victory cry in 2002, when it was re-released during the great garage-rock renaissance. They stormed England and the Americas, but unlike their oft-cited co-revivalists the Strokes and White Stripes, the Hives had breeding enough to rock ascots. Available on: Veni Vidi Vicious (Burning Heart/Epitaph)
229. Edge of Seventeen Stevie Nicks  Fleetwood Mac’s mystic chanteuse goes solo, enables Jack Black booty call. Perhaps sick of singing ex-squeeze Lindsey Buckingham’s screw-you-Stevie tune “Go Your Own Way,” Nicks took time off Fleetwood Mac to record a solo album led by this intense rumination on the deaths of a beloved uncle and John Lennon. The guitar line later powered Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious” and helped Jack Black mesmerize an uptight headmistress in School of Rock. Available on: Bella Donna (Modern)
230. Wild Thing Tone-Loc  Hoarse Los Angeleno talks dirty and gets paid. Though a rapper in his own right, fresh-faced rhymescribe Young MC needed a voice with the right mojo for this song’s particular theme: the wondrous act of love. Enter the raspy larynx of Anthony Smith, a.k.a. Antonio Loco, plus additional bump ’n’ grind from Van Halen’s “Jamie’s Cryin’”—sampled by (pre-Beck) producers the Dust Brothers. Thus Tone-Loc became the first actual black person with a Top Ten rap album. Available on: Loc-ed After Dark (Delicious Vinyl/Rhino)
231. Sour Times Portishead  Creepy trip-hop smash sends chills from Bristol, England. British mixologist Geoff Barrow spiked this cocktail of slinky, post-hip-hop beats with a twangy sample of “The Danube Incident” from Mission: Impossible while former bar singer Beth Gibbons keened like a torch singer contemplating suicide. As Gibbons told a reporter in 1995, “I’ve never been much of a party person.” Kept haute shoe stores in noir ambience through the ’90s. Available on: Dummy (Go! Discs/London)
232. They Want EFX DAS EFX  Hickory-dickory, zippedy-doo-dah, shiver-me-timbers rap. Over a bluesy beat by EPMD, Virginia State college buds Dray Weston and Skoob Hines spat stuttering surrealism that brought rap’s pop-cult references to a new high (referencing at least five TV commercials and one Snuffleupagus in a single verse). Chances for career longevity were promptly smashed by 13-year-olds Kriss Kross, who adopted the same riggeddy-raggedy rhyme style in “Jump,” banishing Das EFX forever to the novelty bin. Available on: Dead Serious (East West)
233. Black and White The DB’s  R.E.M. pals bring inspired energy while saying “Buh-bye” to a girl. The Bongos. The Individuals. Let’s Active. Mostly forgotten, these combos were second cousins, sharing an avocation: British guitar pop stretched with dizzy harmonies. The dB’s were the best among them, Winston-Salem sons who moved to NYC and fueled a scene that never spread beyond those two cities. Often dazzling, they peaked with this fleet kiss-off to an ex-girlfriend, turning sarcastic taunts into bursting hooks. Available on: Stands for Decibels (IRS)
234. Here I Go Again Whitesnake  Tawny Kitaen blazes trail for video hoochie-mamas. A mighty heartbreaker whereby ex–Deep Purple singer David Coverdale became the Moussed Zeus of MTV, this song also helped introduce hair-metal video’s dancing-hoochie motif. Said hoochie, Tawny Kitaen, minced in three more Whitesnake clips, married Coverdale, divorced him, then married big-league pitcher Chuck Finley, later getting arrested for kicking him with high heels while he was driving. Available on: Whitesnake (Geffen)
235. We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off Jermaine Stewart  Squeaky R&B dance song cannily pretends to be anti-sex. Prince had spent the last few years writing songs about fucking his sister and getting head from newlyweds. What was left to endorse but chastity? After Nancy Reagan introduced her “Just Say No” initiative against kids using drugs, Jermaine Stewart cut this skittering dance song, chiding a suitor for getting too handsy too fast. Available on: Various Artists: Old School Vol. 7 (Thump)
236. Where Is My Mind? The Pixies  Crashing anthem asks poignant question about brain. Already celebrated masters of noise, space and mutilation imagery, the Pixies found true greatness on this song—a “Crimson and Clover” gone nuclear—with its stately guitar arpeggio, haunting wordless vocal dissonance by Kim Deal and Black Francis’s ode to mental disintegration. Director David Fincher used its aura of woozy beauty to accompany the closing image of Fight Club: a skyline tumbling to terrorist bombs. Available on: Surfer Rosa (4AD/Elektra)
237. Set It Off Strafe  A soundtrack to late-night debauchery or afternoon basketball. This gurgling house anthem is far more than the sum of its parts, which include shrieking whistles, moping buzz-synths and refrains about whether or not you would like the party to commence, and if so, how quickly. “I used to love ‘Set It Off,’” said Boy George. “People would go crazy to this track.” It’s now the only song anthologized both on house-music collections and Jock Jams. Available on: Various Artists: The Perfect Beats, Volume 2 (Tommy Boy)
238. Everybody Hurts R.E.M.  Garbled southern band bust out the power ballad. R.E.M. took inspiration from two ’70 hits: The opening guitar line is stolen from Chicago’s prom ballad “Colour My World,” and Michael Stipe wrote the words while thinking about Nazareth’s “Love Hurts.” Sometimes, dross spawns greatness. “Everybody Hurts” is an invitation to feel compassion. “Now it’s time to sing along,” Stipe croons, and as recently as Live 8, millions have. Available on: Automatic for the People (Warner Bros.)
239. Do You Miss Me Jocelyn Enriquez  Bittersweet dance track shows why listening to the radio is sad. Latin Freestyle music didn’t create stars, so there’s little to know about Jocelyn Enriquez: A cute Filipino-American, her favorite film was Mr. Holland’s Opus. But her breakthrough single is its own opus. The tale is mournful—missing her boyfriend, the singer hears their favorite song and wonders if he misses her too—but the electronic beat seems to give her confidence, and the song turns into something closer to a taunt. Available on: Various Artists: MTV Party to Go Vol. 10 (Tommy Boy)
240. All the Small Things Blink-182  The San Diegans who put the punk’d in punk. Blink-182’s biggest hit started out as a love letter to a girlfriend and four leatherclad dudes. “I wanted to write a song with na-na’s, ’cause I love the Ramones,” singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge has recalled. “I thought, ‘I’ll write this song about my chick, and it’ll be an ode to the Ramones too.’” “All the Small Things” hit No. 6 and inspired one of the cleverest videos ever: a spot-on send-up of boy-band dance moves. Available on: Enema of the State (MCA)
241. Bittersweet Symphony The Verve  English rock band make brilliant song with one small catch. Like a cursed monkey’s paw, this stately elegy helped make and break these long-laboring psychedelic rockers. Who knew a harmless little sample from a symphonic version of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time” would be so volatile? The band re-formed to put out this album, only to have a lawsuit award 100% of the publishing rights from this, their first smash hit, to the Stones. They broke up a year later, bitterly. Available on: Urban Hymns (Virgin)
246. I Can’t Live Without My Radio LL COOL J  Hello, my name is LL and I’m a Hip-hop-a-holic. After inaugurating their label with James Todd Smith’s debut single, “I Need a Beat,” Def Jam founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons brought the 17-year-old MC back into the studio to cut this genre-making hit. Team Def made a boulevard-stomping declaration of self so confident the author even imagines his way into your tape player—“Lookin’ at the wires behind the cassette.” We still can’t get him out of there. Available on: Radio (Def Jam)
243. Being Boring Pet Shop Boys  An aging synth-fop looks back, mourns the ’80s AIDS crisis.Neil Tennant—older, sadder and a better songwriter—wistfully recalls the years when he and his gang “were never holding back or worried that/Time would come to an end.” Each verse ends mentioning an unboring era (“the 1920s,” “the 1970s”) that get disturbingly closer to the present, when finally this survivor of the ’80s sighs, “All the people I was kissing/Some are here and some are missing.” A heartbreaker. Available on: Behavior (Capitol)
244. Institutionalized Suicidal Tendencies  Spoken-word thrash from the rubber room. SoCal punk Mike Muir deserves an honorary writing credit for Heathers, The O.C. and anything else about teen dysfunction for this four-minute rant, an account of generational miscommunication in which a request for a Pepsi lands the singer in the psych ward. Just to prove they were nuts, the band included it in a remake of their debut album 10 years later. Available on: Suicidal Tendencies (Frontier)
245. I’m Not OK (I Promise) My Chemical Romance  Emo goths assure nation all is not well in their love lives. It’s a time-tested WB plot that singer Gerard Way happened to live: art-schlub loves hottie, but hottie loves jock doofus and considers art-schlub “a friend.” Add a frantic emo-guitar charge and a shriekingly catchy chorus, and you’ve got a new entry in the breakup-song canon. Plus, the video was a dead-on sendup of a teen movie preview. Available on: Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (Reprise)
246. Rump shaker Wreckz-N-Effect  Surefire dance hit keeps its eyes on the moneymaker. You don’t have to give your song a banging beat, a crypto-pornographic chorus and a video with slo-mos of female buttshaking to have a hit. But it sure didn’t hurt these guys. “All I wanna do is zooma-zoom-zoom-zoom in the boom-boom,” chanted rapper Markell Riley (brother of producer Teddy Riley) as he gazed at the titular anatomical features bouncing along a beach. What did he mean exactly? Perhaps closer study of the video will provide some answers. Available on: Hard or Smooth (MCA)
247. Downtown Train Tom Waits  Gorgeous love letter to female commuter. Back before he became an avant-garde coot singing through megaphones, Tom Waits wrote songs like this: a sweet, sympathetic valentine to a female stranger on a subway—punctuated with elegant simplicity by avant-guitarist Marc Ribot. His thanks? The song gets recorded afterwards by Patty Smyth, then Bob Seger, then Rod Stewart—who scores a Top Ten hit with it five years later. No wonder Waits went weird.
Available on: Rain Dogs (Island)
248. Careless Whisper George Michael  The greatest sax hook in pop history. When you spend the first few years of your career chirping cheeky dance tracks while encased in white shorts so tight you look like Elton John’s pool boy, a ballad can feel like artistic integrity. In this sleazy confession of infidelity, George Michael pairs Biblical wisdom (“Guilty feet have got no rhythm”) with a sax refrain that mopes like a lovestruck teenage boy. The result is something new: St. Tropez soul. Available on: Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael (Columbia)
249. For Lovers Wolfman featuring Pete Doherty  Resigned, debauched ballad. “What does she see in him?” skinny, pale lads muttered when model Kate Moss took up with skinny, pale Pete Doherty, the heroin addict who helped make the Libertines the terrors of English rock. But Doherty’s got a genuine sense of beauty, best heard on this tingling piano-and-strings ballad about the joy and sadness of escape. Available on: Various Artists: The Rough Trade Field Guide to Music, Vol. 1 (Rough Trade)
250. Move Ya Body Nina Sky  Mmmm … sisters<br>In the long, libidinous history of pop, countless songs have taught listeners the delicate art of body-movin’. But only one of them was sung by a pair of smoking-hot 18-year-old twins. Willowy Queens natives Natalie and Nicole Albino rode this somersaulting, bongoing, handclapping riddim to the top of every DJ’s playlist last year. Haters dismissed it as lightweight, derivative, meaningless fluff—everything a summer hit should be. Available on: Nina Sky (Universal)
251. Don't Believe the Hype Public Enemy  Taking down the Man one insanely funky bar at a time. Available on: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam)
252. Born in the U.S.A. Bruce Springsteen  Ass-kicking protest song disguised as ass-kicking patriot-rock. Available on: Born in the U.S.A. (Columbia)
253. La Di Da Di Doug E. Fresh  Rap's first human beatbox teams with Slick Rick, its first eyepatched storytelling genius. Available on: Hip-Hop Classics, Vol. 1 (Reality)
254. Big Pimpin' Jay-Z Ah, the common pleasures of 60-foot yachts and multiple sex partners… Available on: Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter
255. A Pretty Girl Is Like… Magnetic Fields  Clever crooning about dumb melodies and dumber cuties. Available on: 69 Love Songs Vol. 1 (Merge)
256. Down by the Water PJ Harvey  Haunted lyrics about child-eating fish from a Thom Yorke–approved punkstress. Available on: Rid of Me (Island)
257. C'mon n' Ride It (The Train) Quad City DJs  Disco booty bass that kills at Bar Mitzvahs. Available on: Get on up and Dance (Big Beat)
258. Genius of Love Tom Tom Club  Catchy, lighter than air disco-pop from the Talking Heads spinoff. Available on: Tom Tom Club (Sire)
259. Kiss Prince  Hyper-minimal funk surrounds Prince's tickling falsetto come-ons. Available on: Parade (Paisley Park)
260. Goin' Back to Cali LL Cool J  Horntastic Rick Rubin joint about the West Coast's shortcomings. Available on: Walking With a Panther (Def Jam)
261. Islands in the Stream Kenny Rogers featuring Dolly Parton  Penned by the Bee Gees, sung by two country legends—it's almost not fair. Available on: Eyes That See in the Dark (RCA)
262. Ace of Spades Motörhead  Biker-punk squall about being a leather-clad, all-around badass. Available on: Ace of Spades (Sanctuary)
263. Stan Eminem  Em scrutinizes accusations of corrupting the kids by rapping as a corrupted kid. Available on: The Marshall Mathers LP (Interscope)
264. Malibu Hole  A Billy Corgan co-write, it's Courtney Love at her barely-hinged best. Available on: Celebrity Skin (Geffen)
265. Call Me Blondie  New Wave ex-Playmate begs lover to reach out and touch her. Available on: Greatest Hits (Capitol)
266. I Want Your (Hands on Me) Sinead O'Connor  Funk-inflected, chant-heavy Irish foreplay jam. Available on: The Lion and the Cobra (Chrysalis)
267. Free Fallin' Tom Petty  A rallying cry for restless, hormonally hopped-up youth everywhere. Available on: Full Moon Fever (MCA)
268. With or Without You U2  Guitars wail, Bono weeps and stadiums worldwide simultaneously melt. Available on: The Joshua Tree (Island)
269. Take Your Time (Do It Right) The S.O.S. Band  Impossibly funky disco about hating on one-minute men. Available on: S.O.S. (Tabu)
270. Flex Mad Cobra  Unabashedly horny—and one of dancehall's earliest crossover hits. Available on: Hard to Wet, Easy to Dry (Columbia)
271. Don't Stop Believin' Journey  Fist-pumping underdog fight song + lots of beer = karaoke bliss. Available on: Escape (Columbia)
272. Rock the Casbah The Clash  London punks spread Mideast peace the old-fashioned way: with disco records. Available on: Combat Rock (Epic)
273. Keep Me in Your Heart Warren Zevon  A bittersweet goodbye from the late, great Werewolf of Chicago. Available on: The Wind (Artemis)
274. Brilliant Disguise Bruce Springsteen  Tortured confessional about what happens when the flame goes cold. Available on: Tunnel of Love (Columbia)
275. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) Whitney Houston  Or somebody who can score me some primo weed, whichever. Available on: Whitney (Arista)
276. Real Love Mary J. Blige  Every thug's favorite diva speaks the truth on her crossover hit. Available on: What's the 411? (MCA)
277. Hold on Loosely .38 Special  Slick southern boogie with a word to the wise: Dude, chill! Available on: Wild-Eyed Southern Boys (A&M)
278. I Want You Elvis Costello  Britpunk poet seethes his way through a deliciously nasty love letter. Available on: Blood and Chocolate (Rykodisc)
279. Rock & Roll High School The Ramones  Bristling radio-punk about classes you'd never cut to get drunk in the parking lot. Available on: End of the Century (Sire)
280. Just Like a Pill Pink  Her no-good man's got her hooked—so Pink kicks him to the curb! Available on: Missundaztood (Arista)
281. Sexy Boy Air  Purring Gallictronica for the chillout room or the bedroom. Available on: Moon Safari (Astralwerks)
282. Oh Boy Cam'ron  Harlem word-wizard rhymes "Van Damme 'em" with "blam blam 'em." Genius! Available on: Come Home With Me (Roc-A-Fella)
283. Lips Like Sugar Echo and the Bunnymen  Swoony, shimmery Liverpudlians get their Betty Crocker on. Available on: Echo and the Bunnymen (Sire)
284. Looking for the Perfect Beat Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force  Extraterrestrial electro-funk from the Timbaland of the Reagan years. Available on: Looking for the Perfect Beat: 1980-1985 (Tommy Boy)
285. Don't Tell Me Madonna  Ms. Ciccone compares herself to a force of nature over hopscotching Mirwais techno. Available on: Music (Maverick)
286. I've Been Waiting Matthew Sweet  Sweet alt-rock bard meets Miss Right. Available on: Girlfriend (Zoo/Volcano)
287. Head Over Heels Tears for Fears  Like "Crazy in Love," but New Wave—and Donnie Darko—approved. Available on: Scenes From the Big Chair (PolyGram)
288. One-Armed Scissor At the Drive-In  Jagged, self-destructive punk from the dudes now fronting Mars Volta. Available on: Relationship of Command (Grand Royal)
289. You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record) Dead or Alive  Dizzying, vaguely sinister dance-pop from British ex-Goths. Available on: Youthquake (Epic)
290. Only Swallow My Bloody Valentine  Eerily angelic vocals and monstrous guitar squall. Available on: Tremolo (Sire/ London/ Rhino)
291. People Who Died The Jim Carroll Band  Darkly comic punk eulogy from the Basketball Diaries guy.
Available on: Catholic Boy (Atco)
292. Larger Than Life Backstreet Boys  The Boys give their fans a big, wet, Pro-Tooled thank-you kiss. Available on: Millennium (Jive)
293. Connection Elastica  A blatant Wire ripoff that's 10 times sexier than Wire ever were. Available on: Elastica (DGC)
294. Black Pearl Jam  Eddie Vedder shares his view on romance—and it's fucked up! Available on: Ten (Epic)
295. Owner of a Lonely Heart Yes  It's less prog, more cowbell on this No. 1 chunk of pop existentialism. Available on: 90125 (Atco)
296. Save Me Aimee Mann  A heartstring-tugging, Magnolia-endorsed plea for redemption. Available on: Magnolia soundtrack (Reprise/ Wea)
297. November Rain Guns N' Roses  Nine glorious minutes of quintessential Axl excess. Available on: Use Your Illusion I (Geffen)
298. I Need to Know Marc Anthony  The diminutive Mr. Lo obsesses over an ambivalent hottie. Available on: Marc Anthony (Columbia)
299. Smooth Criminal Michael Jackson  Jacko gets creepy—not Jesus Juice creepy, but danceably-sinister creepy. Available on: Bad (Epic)
300. Everything ZenBush  Brilliant, nonsensical grunge about sex and Elvis. Available on: Sixteen Stone (Trauma/Interscope)
301. In Between Days The Cure  Aqua Net–loving Brits take a break from gloomy dirges for a gloomy bopper. Available on: The Head on the Door (Elektra/Asylum)
302. Loser Beck  Giddy Spanglish non sequiturs from a sucker with no self-esteem. Available on: Mellow Gold (DGC)
303. Kissing the Lipless The Shins  Natalie Portman's favorite Albuquerqueans warble their indie-rock hearts out. Available on: Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop)
304. Hot for Teacher Van Halen  Pasadena's finest bar band struggle to keep their pencils in their pants. Available on: 1984 (Warner Bros)
305. Pretty in Pink Psychedelic Furs  The Dylan-ish New Wave anthem that scored a million Molly Ringwald crushes. Available on: Pretty in Pink soundtrack (A&M)
306. Say Yes Elliott Smith  The tragic cult hero's sparest, most heartbreakingly pretty song. Available on: Either/Or (Kill Rock Stars)
307. I Get Around 2Pac  'Pac gets playastically raunchy on his breakthrough hit. Available on: Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. (Jive)
308. Hold Me Now Thompson Twins  A New Wave let's-stay-together plea so cornball it works. Available on: Into the Gap (Arista)
309. Ex-Factor Lauryn Hill  Devastating breakup lament, rumored to be about fellow Fugee Wyclef Jean.
Available on: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Columbia)
310. Firestarter The Prodigy  Brit techno giants invent a brand new genre: Nightmaretronica. Available on: The Fat of the Land (Mute)
311. Come Pick Me Up Ryan Adams  A tearful fuck-you to a cheating ex. The perfect drinking-alone song. Available on: Heartbreaker (Bloodshot)
312. Smooth Operator Sade  Quiet Storm soul so breezy it can be used as a Freon substitute. Available on: Diamond Life (CBS)
313. Bawitdaba Kid Rock  Detroit's other white rapper big-ups hookers, meth fiends and, not least, himself. Available on: Devil Without a Cause (Lava)
314. Love Vigilantes New Order  Lovely dance-rock about the difference between patriotism and love. Available on: Low-Life (Qwest)
315. Every Breath You Take Police  About the blurry line between true love and stealing someone's panties. Available on: Synchronicity (A&M)
316. Army of Me Björk  Icelandic sprite bares her teeth on brutal industrial stomper. Available on: Post (Elektra)
317. White Flag Dido  A.k.a. Bridget Jones 3: Adventures in Trip-Hop. Available on: Life for Rent (Arista)
318. Ha Juvenile  Avant garde, mushmouthed rhymes over a candy-coated synth beat. Available on: 400 Degreez (Cash Money)
319. Genie in a Bottle Christina Aguilera  A coy, curvaceous abstinence lesson, from her pre-assless-chaps days. Available on: Christina Aguilera (RCA)
320. Tyrone Erykah Badu  Strikes a souful blow for the sisters, with one-liners a brother can appreciate. Available on: Live (Universal)
321. Jane Says Jane's Addiction  Two-chord calypso-metal about a real-life battered L.A. junkie. Available on: Nothing's Shocking (Warner Bros.)
322. Constant Craving k.d. lang  Androgynous Canuck popster evokes burning desire (for a lover or White Castle). Available on: Ingenue (Sire)
323. Black Steel Tricky  A rocking, trip-hop ode to draft-dodging. Available on: Maxinquaye (Island)
324. Slack Motherfucker Superchunk  North Carolina guitar band puts the indie in indignant.
Available on: Tossing Seeds (Merge)
325. Jump Around House of Pain  Irish rappers with "more rhymes than the Bible's got psalms," i.e., one song's worth. Available on: House of Pain (Tommy Boy)
326. Battery Metallica  Before therapy, before Napster, these Cali metallers rawk hard. Available on: Master of Puppets (Elektra/ Wea)
327. Slow Jamz Kanye West featuring Twista and Jamie Foxx  An old-school celebration of R&B's chief goal: gettin' that booty! Available on: The College Dropout (Roc-A-Fella)
328. Where's Your Head At Basement Jaxx  Grinding London techno, shaking its ass while the walls cave in. Available on: Rooty (Astralwerks)
329. Potholes in My Lawn De La Soul  Quaint, botanically minded hip-hop about thieving MCs. Available on: 3 Feet High and Rising (Tommy Boy)
330. Can't Deny It Fabolous  East Coast hip-hop at its breeziest, boastiest and blingiest. Available on: Ghetto Fabolous (Elektra)
331. Waiting for the Sun The Jayhawks  Twin Cities alt-country vets hit the road for dark, chugging travelin' song. Available on: Hollywood Town Hall (American)
332. I Wonder If I Take You Home Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam  Sing-songy B-girl funk even the Black Eyed Peas can't ruin. Available on: Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force (Columbia)
333. Cannonball The Breeders  Noodly, careening noise pop from an ex-Pixie and her twin sister. Available on: Last Splash (4AD/Elektra)
334. Teen Age Riot Sonic Youth  NYC noiseniks go pop (kinda) over seven minutes of heaven. Available on: Daydream Nation (Geffen)
335. Everybody, Everybody Black Box  Criminally buoyant Eurodisco, proven to help drunk wedding guests get down. Available on: Dreamland (RCA)
336. Time After Time Cyndi Lauper  Tear-streaked snapshot of long-gone love. Utterly beautiful. Available on: She's So Unusual (Portrait)
337. Killing Me Softly Fugees  Brooklyn-via-Haiti roots-rap trio peaked with this Roberta Flack update. Available on: The Score (Ruffhouse)
338. Outfit Drive-By Truckers  Alabama gunslingers teach a Southern boy how to be a Southern man. Available on: Decoration Day (New West)
339. Ain't Nothin' Goin' on but the Rent Gwen Guthrie  "No romance without finance!" says this proudly golddigging R&B jam. Available on: Ultimate Collection (Polydor)
340. Song 2 Blur  A thunderous grunge send-up that ended up a grunge staple. Woo-hoo!
Available on: Blur (Food/Virgin)
341. What Have You Done For Me Lately Janet Jackson  Jam-and-Lewis sassfest from when she kept her boobs to herself. Available on: Control (A&M)
342. Seether Veruca Salt  Men call it PMS. Women call it rage. These grunge-popsters call it seether.
Available on: American Thighs (Geffen)
343. Passionate Kisses Lucinda Williams  Alt-county goddess tells us what a girl really wants. Available on: Lucinda Williams (Koch)
344. Freaks Come out at Night Whodini  Vintage electro-rap about blowing off curfew. Available on: Escape (Jive)
345. Still Tippin' Mike Jones  The ideal song for sipping sizzurp and driving slower than grandma.
Available on: Who Is Mike Jones? (Swishahouse)
346. Block Rockin' Beats Chemical Brothers  The nerve-jangling techsplosion that introduced the Bros to the States. Available on: Dig Your Own Hole (Astralwerks)
347. Girls Beastie Boys  3 SWMs seek ladies to chill at White Castle with. New Wave hairdos a must. Available on: Licensed to Ill (Def Jam)
348. Independent Women Part 1 Destiny's Child  Mastercard-carrying R&B roar for all Beyoncés and Lucy Lius. Available on: Survivor (Columbia)
349. Roxanne Roxanne U.T.F.O.  Early rap geeks playfully get no play. Available on: U.T.F.O. (Select/ Ada)
350. Stacy's Mom Fountains of Wayne  Glossy guitar pop as flawless as the titular MILF. Available on: Welcome Interstate Managers (S-Curve/Virgin)
351. Buffalo Gals Malcolm McLaren  Electro-tinged, Appalachian-tinged hip-hop that helped inspire Eminem's "Without Me." Available on: Duck Rock (Island)
352. Heart Shaped Box Nirvana  Blistering riffs, lyrics about cancer-eating and other all-around cheer. Available on: In Utero (DGC)
353. Games Without Frontiers Peter Gabriel  The former Genesis frontman bemoans war in a brooding synthscape. Available on: Peter Gabriel  (Geffen)
354. California Stars Billy Bragg and Wilco  Cool, breezy folk-rock, perfect for the back porch swing. Available on: Mermaid Avenue (Elektra)
355. Save It for Later English Beat  Jangly, multiracial Britpop, sprinkled with sly fellatio jokes. Available on: Special Beat Service (Sire)
356. Atomic Dog George Clinton  Mr. Funkadelic goes solo with a hook Snoop Dogg owes his entire career to. Available on: Computer Games (Capitol)
357. Never Too Much Luther Vandross  Late crooner went from backup singer to star with this candlelight smoochfest. Available on: Never Too Much (Epic)
358. Wall of Death Richard and Linda Thompson  Joyful tribute to centrifugal force from legendary folk-rock beardie. Available on: Shoot Out the Lights (Hannibal)
359. I Wish Skee-Lo  A joyous celebration of all things unplaya. Available on: I Wish (Scotti Bros)
360. Help You Ann Lyres  Scorching garage rock about swearing (however disingenuously) to be a better man. Available on: On Fyre (Matador)
361. Show Me Love Robyn  Swedish teen-pop starlet gets her Spears on. Available on: Robyn Is Here (RCA)
362. Fix Up, Look Sharp Dizzee Rascal  The skull-rattling beat that made guttersnipe Dylan Mills grime's poster boy.
Available on: Boy in da Corner (XL)
363. Tainted Love Soft Cell  A '60s soul breakup ballad, reborn as eerie synth pop.
Available on: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (Mercury) 364. Buddy Holly Weezer  All my honkeys, proudly geeky, throw your hands up at me! Available on: Weezer (Blue Album) (Geffen)
365. Rock Box Run-D.M.C.  A raucous party where cock-rockers and b-boys are both invited. Available on: Run-D.M.C. (Arista)
366. I Touch Myself Divinyls  Because who said songs about female masturbation had to be subtle? Available on: Divinyls (Virgin)
367. Paranoid Android Radiohead  Six minutes of sublime, incomprehensible bile. Available on: OK Computer (Capitol)
368. Seven Year Ache Rosanne Cash  Johnny's daughter floats through a slow-burning country hit. Available on: Seven Year Ache (Columbia)
369. Teenage Dirtbag Wheatus  Power-pop supergeek anthem proves nerdy guys (sometimes) finish first. Available on: Wheatus (Columbia)
370. Voices Carry 'Til Tuesday  In her New Wave heyday, Aimee Mann laments a dickhead boyfriend. Available on: Voices Carry (Epic)
371. Roam B-52's  Georgia co-eds make love sound like a really cool Toyota commercial. Available on: Cosmic Thing (Reprise)
372. Party Up DMX  Grade-A pop thuggery, boasting one of rap's great opening lines. Available on:…And Then There Was X (Def Jam)
373. Jump Kris Kross  Irresistible jungle-gym rap that's so not wiggita-wiggita-wiggita wack. Available on: Totally Krossed Out (Ruffhouse)
374. Rosa Parks Outkast  Big Boi and Andre start their brilliant ascent into rap-bending madness. Available on: Aquemini (Laface)
375. Purple Rain Prince  No gender play, no horndog humpery, just sweepingly regretful gospel-rock. Available on: Purple Rain (Warner Bros)
376. Portions for Foxes Rilo Kiley  In which singer Jenny Lewis becomes indie-rock's sexiest femme fatale. Available on: More Adventurous (Brute/Beaute)
377. Black Hole Sun Soundgarden  The Seattle grunge faves' sweeping, grotesque masterpiece. Available on: Superunknown (A&M)
378. Devil's Right Hand Steve Earle  An upbeat anti-gun country anthem even Charlton Heston couldn't deny. Available on: Copperhead Road (UNI)
379. Hero Takes a Fall The Bangles  Sunny harmonies and scuzzy riffs from chart-topping L.A. babes. Available on: All Over the Place (Columbia)
380.Rebellion (Lies) The Arcade Fire  Ragtag Montreal kids fight for their right to stay up past bedtime.
Available on: Funeral (Merge)
381. Portland, Oregon Loretta Lynn featuring Jack White  Ms. Loretta makes eyes at Mr. White across the bar. Creepily sexy. Available on: Van Lear Rose (Interscope)
382. Let's Get Serious Jermaine Jackson  A Stevie Wonder song so great, even Andrew Jackson could've made it a hit. Available on: Greatest Hits and Rare Classics (Motown)
383. Torn Natalie Imbruglia  The Aussie soap beauty takes a break from TV and belts out a torrid breakup tale. Available on: Left of the Middle (RCA)
384. Straight Outta Compton N.W.A  Five Cali thugs do a drive-by on East Coast hip-hop. Available on: Straight Outta Compton (Ruthless)
385. Message of Love Pretenders  Chrissie Hynde whips up a hard-earned paean to the big L. Available on: Pretenders II (Sire/ London/ Rhino)
386. Total Eclipse of the Heart Bonnie Tyler  She needs you now tonight/She freakin' needs you more than ever! Available on: Faster Than the Speed of Night (Columbia)
387. Are You That Somebody Aaliyah  Over a tiptoeing Timbaland beat, late R&B princess goes creeping. Available on: I Care 4 U (Atlantic)
388. When I Come Around Green Day  Proof punks can be sad without getting all whiny about it. Available on: Dookie (Reprise)
389. Shake Ya Ass Mystikal  N'awlins hip-hop's James Brown pairs with the Neptunes for some gluteus love. Available on: Let's Get Ready (Jive)
390. Never Say Never Romeo Void  Sax skronk + supercool, pudgy singer = new wave ridonculousness! Available on: Benefactor (415)
391. Underneath Your Clothes Shakira  Official love song of the American Association of X-Ray Technicians. Available on: Laundry Service (Epic)
392. Interstate Love Song Stone Temple Pilots  Beautiful slide guitar howls and lyrics about love and love for heroin. Available on: Purple (Atlantic)
393. Whip It Devo  Flower-potted fun from the Ohio weirdos who brought misanthropy to MTV.
Available on: Freedom of Choice (Warner Bros.)
394. Celebrated Summer Hüsker Dü  Earthshaking Minneapolis indie-punks rage against the school bell. Available on: New Day Rising (SST)
395. Doin It LL Cool J  In which LL sings the praises of vigorous exercise and "kitty cats." Available on: Mr. Smith (Def Jam)
396. Touch Me I'm Sick Mudhoney  Guitar noise and exquisite self-loathing from Seattle grunge innovators. Available on: Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles (Sub Pop)
397. Summer Babe (Winter Version) Pavement  Ramshackle and abstract, it's the ultimate slacker crush jam. Available on: Slanted and Enchanted (Matador)
398. Harvest Moon Neil Young  Some slow-stirred sweetness about love aging gracefully. Available on: Harvest Moon (Reprise)
399. C'mon C'mon Von Bondies  This breakup howl proves there's more to these guys than Jack White's fists. Available on: Pawn Shoppe Heart (Warner Bros)
400. I Wanna Go Back Eddie Money  Rocking the world, one dentist's-office waiting room at a time. Available on: Can't Hold Back (Columbia)
401. Ray of Light Madonna  The material girl gets spiritual, and her temple is a rave party. Available on: Ray of Light (Maverick)
402. South Bronx Boogie Down Productions  A hip-hop history lesson that sparked one of rap's first beefs. Available on: Criminal Minded (Sugar Hill)
403. Back in Black AC/DC  Strippers and big-league sluggers agree: the world's greatest riff! Available on: Back in Black (Epic)
404. Bad Boys Inner Circle  Sticking it to felonious rednecks since 1989. Available on: One Way (RAS)
405. Stupid Girl Garbage  Shirley Manson fumes while Butch Vig makes the guitars go whoosh. Available on: Garbage (Almo Sounds)
406. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life Indeep  Chill disco funk about the restorative powers of a crowded dance floor. Available on: The Disco Box (Sound of New York)
407. Freak Scene Dinosaur Jr.  Squally, poignant guitar pop from Massachusetts misfits. Available on: Bug (SST)
408. Tom Sawyer Rush  A rousing salute to independent spirits and drum fills longer than most songs. Available on: Moving Pictures (Mercury)
409. Rebel Without a Pause Public Enemy  Rap gets radical, thanks to booming orator Chuck D and a squealing beat. Available on: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam)
410. Rough Boys Pete Townshend  The Who genius extols sex and violence. Available on: Empty Glass (Atlantic / Wea)
411. Ride The Vines  Roaring garage rawk from an insufferable, autistic Aussie. Available on: Winning Days (Capitol)
412. If I Was Your Girlfriend Prince  Or, How to be a better lover through androgyny. Available on: Sign O the Times (Paisley Park)
413. Fallin' Alicia Keys  Jacks an old JB loop for a somber, heart-shredding ode to indecision. Available on: Songs in A Minor (J)
414. Flagpole Sitta Harvey Danger  Radio-friendly schizophrenia from Seattle one-hit wonders. Available on: Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone? (Never)
415. Waterfalls TLC  An uptempo R&B morality tale teaches us: Practice safe sex and be nice to mama. Available on: Crazysexycool (LaFace)
416. Chop Suey System of a Down  Operatic howls and haunted lyrics from nü-metal's smartest Armenians. Available on: Toxicity (American)
417. Situation Yaz  Like "Hit the Road Jack," but with synths and eyeliner. Available on: Upstairs at Eric's (Sire)
418. Rumors Timex Social Club  R&B popsters chuckle about the he-said, she-said. Available on: Vicious Rumors
419. I'm on Fire Bruce Springsteen  The Boss gets all R. Kelly, whispering come-ons to his "little girl." Available on: Born in the U.S.A. (Columbia)
420. Southern Hospitality Ludacris  Over a dive-bombing Neptunes beat, Luda shows off some regional pride. Available on: Back for the First Time (Def Jam)
421. Let Me Go Heaven 17  Chilly, vaguely menacing New Wave with wobbly synths and wobblier sexuality. Available on: The Luxury Gap (Arista)
422. Sex Style Kool Keith  Rap's weirdest genius invents "porno core," extols…urine? Available on: Sex Style (Funky Ass Records)
423. Last Goodbye Jeff Buckley  Radiant, eerily prescient farewell from a died-too-young folk scion.
Available on: Grace (Columbia)
424. We're Desperate X  L.A. punks' scraggly debut single about squatting and squalor. Available on: Wild Gift (Slash)
425. I Just Wanna Love U (Give It to Me) Jay-Z  Jigga and Pharrell hold forth on cash and cocksmithery. Available on: The Dynasty Roc La Familia (Roc-A-Fella)
426. Where It's At Beck  L.A. hipster funk starring two turntables and a microphone. Available on: Odelay (DGC)
427. That's the Way Love Goes Janet Jackson  Pop's little sister grows up with a hypnotic, sticky-hot seduction joint. Available on: Janet (Virgin)
428. Bad Reputation Freedy Johnston  Near-perfect melodic gem from a NYC nice guy (no matter what the title says). Available on: This Perfect World (Elektra)
429. Cry Me a River Justin Timberlake  JT and Timbaland stick it to Britney with an operatic kiss-off.
Available on: Justified (Jive)
430. Closing Time Semisonic  Minneapolis alt-popsters offer up hummable barstool philosophy. Available on: Feeling Strangely Fine (MCA)
431. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out The Smiths  Morrissey has a wild night out, mopes about it. Available on: The Queen is Dead (Reprise /Wea)
432. There She Goes The La's  A lovey-dovey Britpop ode…to shootin' up horse! Available on: The La's (London)
433. Cornflake Girl Tori Amos  New Age soul poet shouts out the Kellogg's roster. Available on: Under the Pink (Atlantic /Wea)
434. Walking on Thin Ice Yoko Ono  Mrs. Lennon drops performance art shrieks for this DJ fave. Available on: Walking on Thin Ice (Rykodisc)
435. Murder She Wrote Chaka Demus & Pliers  Rough-hewn reggae about that two-timing harlot Angela Lansbury. Available on: All She Wrote (Mango)
436. Grindin' Clipse  Neptunes protégés rhyme about 'caine over a beat like a tank factory. Available on: Lord Willin' (Star Trak/Arista)
437. Running up That Hill Kate Bush  Morose synths, laconic wails and an irresistible dance pulse.
Available on: The Whole Story (EMI)
438. Pretend We're Dead L7  Seattle's premier riot grrrls unleash a clattering battle cry. Available on: Bricks Are Heavy (Slash/Reprise)
439. Feel So Good Ma$e  Pop-rap perfection from this Diddy-boosted Harlemite. Available on: Harlem World (Bad Boy)
440. You Get What You Give New Radicals  Feel-good mall rock from a celebrity-dissing studio whiz. Available on: Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too (MCA)
441. Don't You (Forget About Me) Simple Minds  From Scotland, one helluva prom song. Available on: The Breakfast Club (OST) (A&M)
442. Square Biz Teena Marie  Rick James–endorsed disco diva belts her way through a slap-bass funk orgy. Available on: It Must Be Magic (Motown)
443. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For U2  Heart-wrenching, majestic rock for anyone who's ever misplaced his remote. Available on: The Joshua Tree (Island)
444. Tell Me Why Wynonna Judd  Sorry, Wynonna, he's just not that into you. Available on: Tell Me Why
445. Rebel Girl Bikini Kill  From snarky Riot Grrrl heroes, a bristling jam about sexual fempowerment. Available on: Pussy Whipped (Kill Rock Stars)
446. Just an Illusion Imagination  Gauzy disco-soul, courtesy of three Brits who dressed like gay centurions. Available on: In the Heat of the Night (MCA)
447. Do You Realize?? Flaming Lips  Oklahoma weirdos get majestic. What floating in space must feel like.
Available on: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Bros)
448. Player's Anthem Junior MAFIA  A Biggie song in all but name, about grabbing genitals in the name of rap.
Available on: Conspiracy (Undeas/Big Beat)
449. People Are Still Having Sex LaTour  The defiantly un-sexy hit from a Chicago acid-house DJ. Available on: LaTour (Smash)
450. Smooth Santana featuring Rob Thomas  A sublimely cheesy cha-cha, still good eleventy billion listens later. Available on: Metamorphosis (Arista)
451. Country Grammar (Hot Shit) Nelly  Cornell Haynes' killer debut single and one killer jumprope chant. Available on: Country Grammar (Universal)
452. All the Things She Said t.A.T.u.  Like when Marisa kissed Alex—only in Russian! Available on: 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane (Interscope)
453. Don't Wanna Know Why Whiskeytown  From Ryan Adams, pretty alt-rock about being a heartless bastard. Available on: Pneumonia (Lost Highway)
454. Untitled (How Does It Feel) D'Angelo  Mercury-busting slow jam from the fittest abs in R&B. Available on: Voodoo (Virgin)
455. Lover I Don't Have to Love Bright Eyes  Conor Oberst's spookily symphonic tale of a hook-up gone bad. Available on: Lifted, or The Story Is In the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (Saddle Creek)
456. Too Drunk to Fuck The Dead Kennedys  Gleeful gross-out from Hyannis Port's least favorite Frisco punks. Available on: Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death (Alternative Tentacles)
457. Right Here Go-Betweens  Aussie pop so lovely even "you're 32 but you look 55" sounds romantic. Available on: Tallulah (Beggars Banquet)
458. Come Out and Play Offspring  One of pop-punk's most nagging riffs coupled with one wussy anti-gun theme. Available on: Smash (Epitaph)
459. Don't Know Why Norah Jones  Care for some delicately forlorn crooning with your mimosa? Available on: Come Away With Me (Blue Note)
460. P.S.K. What Does it Mean? Schooly D  Proto-gangsta missive featuring one thumpalicious beat. Available on: Schoolly D (Jive)
461. Hail Mary Makaveli (aka 2Pac)  An ominous church-bell beat and murderous threats from beyond the grave Available on: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (Death Row)
462. Judy and the Dream of Horses Belle and Sebastian  Scottish popsters' brassy, strummy ode to a bookish lass. Available on: If You're Feeling Sinister (Matador)
463. Hate It or Love It The Game  A beat from Kanye, a hook from 50—how could he go wrong? Available on: The Documentary (G-Unit/Aftermath/Interscope)
464. Trapped in the Closet R. Kelly  Five times the intrigue! Five times the sex! Five times the gay clergy! Available on: TP.3 Reloaded (Jive)
465. Let the Music Play Shannon  About drowning your sorrow in hot electro beats (and coke, probably). Available on: Let the Music Play (Mirage)
466. Baby Got Back Sir Mix-a-Lot  Seattle's favorite portly pimp puts the ass in bass.
Available on: Mack Daddy (C2)
467. Brick Ben Folds Five  Haunting piano ballad about abortion and (all) its victims. Available on: Whatever and Ever Amen (550/Epic)
468. Papa Don't Preach Madonna  Like Roe v. Wade—but with a killer dance beat! Available on: True Blue (Sire)
469. Radiation Vibe Fountains of Wayne  Thermonuclearly sunny singalong from NYC hookmeisters' early days. Available on: Fountains of Wayne (Tag/Atlantic)
470. They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth  Gorgeously meditative hip-hop from grieving beat-nuts. Available on: Mecca and the Soul Brother (Elektra/Asylum)
471. Hunger Strike Temple of the Dog  Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder wail beautifully at the moneyed classes. Available on: Temple of the Dog (A&M)
472. Small Stakes Spoon  Austin indie-rock lifers deliver a tart slap to…other indie lifers. Available on: Kill the Moonlight (Merge Records)
473. Autumn Sweater Yo La Tengo  From New Jersey, organ-driven indie pop about social anxiety and romance. Available on: I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (Matador)
474. Gigantic Pixies  The ultimate wedding song for people who hate wedding songs. Available on: Surfer Rosa (4AD/ Elektra)
475. I Alone Live  Great, blustery, epistemological grunge from a truly horrible band. Available on: Throwing Copper (Radioactive)
476. Strictly Business EPMD  Funky Long Island mushmouths sample Bob Marley, say no to drugs. Available on: Strictly Business (Priority)
477. C.R.E.A.M. Wu-Tang Clan  A song where crack dealing isn't a badge of cred—it's a cross to bear. Available on: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (Loud)
478. Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See Busta Rhymes  Grammatically inventive bounce from Brooklyn Wildman. Available on: When Disaster Strikes (Elektra)
479. Santa Monica Everclear  Terrific SoCal bubblegrunge they never came close to matching. Available on: Sparkle and Fade (Capitol)
[b]480. Guilty Conscience Eminem  Em's the devil, Dre's the angel—guess who wins? Available on: The Slim Shady LP (Aftermath/Interscope)
481. Lake of Fire Meat Puppets  Kurt Cobain–approved Minnesotans serve up warped limericks about hell. Available on: Meat Puppets II (SST)
482. Man on the Moon R.E.M.  A twangy, beguiling tribute to comedian/prankster Andy Kaufman. Available on: Automatic for the People (Warner Bros)
483. Passing Me By Pharcyde  Bay Area alt-rap standard about pimping exactly zero girls.
Available on: Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde (Delicious)
484. I Wanna Be Adored Stone Roses  Spacious Britpop gem about the devil and low self-esteem. Available on: The Stone Roses (Silvertone)
485. We Are All on Drugs Weezer  A chiding Rivers Cuomo inadvertently writes the Being Bobby Brown theme. Available on: Make Believe (Geffen)
486. Can't Stand It Wilco  Americana deconstructionists make deep despair sound like a stroll in the park. Available on: Summerteeth (Reprise)
487. Regulate Warren G  Dr. Dre's cuz and Nate Dogg make gangbanging go down smooove. Available on: Regulate…G Funk Era (Def Jam)
488. Murderer Buju Banton  Rootsy Jamaican giant loses a friend, finds God and soothes an entire country. Available on: 'Til Shiloh (Loos Cannon)
489. Da' Butt E.U.  Slinky D.C. go-go recalls the badonkadonk-ing good ol' days. Available on: School Daze soundtrack (EMI)
490. History Lesson Part 2 Minutemen  On the eve of disbanding, SoCal punks get misty-eyed about a hugely tiny career. Available on: Double Nickels on the Dime (SST)
491. Common People Pulp  An infectious tale of slumming rich girls, from these Britpop smarties. Available on: Different Class (Island)
492. Here Comes the Hotstepper Ini Kamoze  Jamaica's lyrical gangster toasts himself over a bassline like a bucking horse. Available on: Here Comes the Hotstepper (Columbia)
493. Born Slippy (Nuxx) Underworld  Techno trio evokes a thumping house party and remorseful morning after. Available on: Trainspotting (OST) (Capitol)
494. I'll Be You Replacements  The Minnesota garage-punks' lone Top 200 hit, about "a rebel without a clue." Available on: Don't Tell a Soul (Sire)
495. Don't Speak No Doubt  Gwennie leaps from ska-punk brat to pop ballad princess. Available on: Tragic Kingdom (Interscope)
496. 1979 The Smashing Pumpkins  Soaring suburban nostalgia for jaded Gen-X'ers. Available on: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Virgin)
497. I Believe in a Thing Called Love The Darkness  Amp-exploding rawk from a Queen fan whose catsuit is a size too small. Available on: Permission to Land (Atlantic)
498. Somebody's Baby Jackson Browne  Hella-smooth El Lay pop, and one of cinema's greatest musical moments. Available on: Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack (Elektra)
499. I Don't Want to Miss a Thing Aerosmith  An epic love ballad to destroy giant asteroids to. Available on: Armageddon soundtrack (Sony)
500. Yellow Coldplay  Hey, Chris Martin: Bono called—he wants his awesomeness back! Available on: Parachutes (Capitol)
Re: BLENDER.com: HipHop W Rankingach Blendera: Common,Krs-One,Jay-Z,Outkast,Pete Rock
Wysłano: 10 Maj 2009 08:51
Nie podoba mi się ten Blender, jeżeli 3A chciałeś pogadać o samym magazynie. To wygląda trochę tak, jakby co chwilę na siłę chcieli wzbudzać kontrowersje plus mają duże braki, jeżeli chodzi o PODSTAWOWĄ wiedzę muzyczną.