Thursday, October 12, 2006

699 to 650

699. Blue Rodeo

T: Great band… twangy country rock with Everly inspired harmonies, and Canadian(!) to boot. Only problem is some songs tend to meander a bit. Casino is recommended just for the one-two opening salvo of “Till I Am Myslef Again” and “What Am I Doing Here”.

M: I’m sure I’d recognize a song or two, but BR has mostly escaped my notice.

698. Cheryl Wheeler

T: I’d like to comment but she’s not in my “wheel” house. Sorry.

M: Don’t know her.

697. Aaron Copeland

T: Together with brothers Ian and Miles… the first family of American entertainment.

M: This moves me. He captured what America sounded like.

696. Chet Atkins

T: Legendary picker.

M: Tasteful, immortal.

695. No Doubt

T: They enriched pop radio with their singles and that… belly.

M: Their early faux-ska left me cold, but when they morphed into a slick pop-funk band (Rock Steady), they hit their stride.

694. M. Ward

T: I’m not sure what enthralls me more about this guy – the clean picking and lack of showboating , the Waits boho vibe or his lessons on concise songwriting. A relative newcomer who’s earned his spot on this list.

M: This guy has gravity. One of the very finest singer-songwriters going. The new album is a gem.

693. Kelly Clarkson

T: A friend sent me a mix cd with ‘Since U Been Gone” on it but no credits. Score one pop nugget for American Idol. Not to mention that she’s quite the little bunny.

M: OK, so I’m a sucker for “Since U Been Gone,” but her career is predicated on disposability, not immortality. She’s supposed to be on the weekly pop chart, not an all-time list.

692. Tom Jones

T: One of the great white soul singers of the rock generation. Even if you don’t admit it, you love this guy.

M: His willingness to make a goofy spectacle of himself can disguise the fact that Tom Jones is a 100-megaton singer.

691. Susan Werner

T: Gimme a dose of testosterone. STAT!

M: Not a clue.

690. Queens of the Stone Age

T: I should love these guys. I don’t. But “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” is aces.

M: Like a raging thunderstorm with pop hooks. Periodically sensational.

689. Eurythmics

T: Funky but distant… it worked for them.

M: It was like Motown meets the New Wave, just one irresistible hit after another.

688. Tupac Shakur

T: More prolific in death than Jimi Hendrix, Tupac was a doe-eyed thug.

M: His ascension never made much sense to me. I always thought he did his best work as set dressing for artists like Digital Underground and Dr. Dre.

687. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

T: It seems like they may already be yesterday’s news. Karen O is known more for being Karen O than any recorded evidence. But still I dig them.

M: I’ve never thought they were quite as good as the buzz that seems always to attach itself to the hot New York club band of the moment, but I find it hard to take my eyes off of Karen O.

686. Mike Oldfield

T: Oy… the bane of my high school years.

M: Has any other artist ever been so defined by a single tune with such heebie-jeebie inducing power?

685. Ben Lee

T: Short songs. Catchy melodies. Sweet, lazy vocals. Catch his disease.

M: The kid has the craft down, for sure. A minor pleasure.

684. America

T: Soft rock rules! Yeah…I’m a sucker for this stuff. Fortunately so were Death Cab For Cutie and Teenage Fanclub. Unfortunately so were Midlake and the Thorns.

M: When I see news coverage of “Down with America” demonstrations around the world, I like to pretend it’s about these guys.

683. Afro Celt Sound System

T: I remember hearing ‘em a lot on the radio and never felt the need to turn it off… or up.

M: I’ve never heard enough to make a sound judgment, but I’ve also not heard much that made me wanted to hear more.

682. Mahavishnu Orchestra

T: There’s way too much fusion on the countdown. But if it wasn’t on here, where else would we hear it?

M: Having been born in 1968, I didn’t exactly grow up with this stuff, and I didn’t go back to find it, either. Though my affection for McLaughlin was noted earlier.

681. Eminem

T: Great songs, voice of a generation (for better or worse), cretin.

M: Massive talent, major jackass.

680. Robbie Williams

T: I applaud his inclusion based solely on his Elmer Fudd's "Fire".

M: Robbie Williams? On the XPN countdown? Are the British voting?

679. Brian Jonestown Massacre

T: I wish I’d heard them… I’m intrigued by the name and the movie.

M: Welcome, Y-Rock listeners.

678. Panic at the Disco

T: Panic at My House… to change the channel.

M: Another band in the midst of global domination that has eluded me.

677. Kris Kristofferson

T: On the Mount Rushmore of American songwriters.

M: “Well, I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt. And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad, so I had one more for dessert.” Yeah, he’s in the club.

676. N.O.F.X.

T: My 15 year old nephew, who thinks he invented punk rock, loves them. And that’s good enough for me.

M: I liked a handful of those California punk bands that seemed to rule the 1990s, but I never gave this one much attention.

675. Third Eye Blind

T: Forgettable pap enlivened by the massively awesome “Semi-Charmed Life”. Doot-doot-do…. (Ed. Note: I swear we write these separately).

M: I was singing doot-doot-doot doot-doo-doo-doo years ago, but didn’t have the foresight to make a career of it.

674. Nils Lofgren

T: He’s so good that I’m surprised his spot as E Street fourth banana has lasted this long. A Nils mix would contain at least a dozen classics. And he loves hoops!

M: Remember the video for “Across the Tracks” with the headband and baggy pants and aerial acrobatics? That was cool. Comes off as one of rock’s most likeable guys.

673. George Jones

T: The greatest country singer. Ever. I had to stop everything and soak in the grandeur of “He Stopped Loving Her Today”.

M: A titan. Few (if any) other voices can evoke pain and longing like George.

672. Gang of Four

T: Massively influential… would Y-100 have existed without them. If you’re reading , add Entertainment! to your “must get” list. (Ed. Note: Michael looks at my entries and then does his.)

M: Here’s a band I would have expected to see much higher. Sometimes a band’s influence is overstated. This one’s is grossly underestimated. There’s a whole generation of bands playing spiky guitars over fractured beats who owe royalties to these guys. Entertainment! is a must-own album.

671. The The

T: One of my favorite record store moments was a request for “Thee Thee”.

M: I always thought the guy behind the band (whose name eludes me at the moment) always gave us a wink through the gloom. He could have produced good songs in any form, but picked one that suited him remarkably well.

670. Grand Funk Railroad

T: I love Grand Funk Railroad and I hate them… for penning “We’re An American Band” which my neighbors practiced every night (several times a night) for several months. Were they really singing “I’m Your Clapton”?

M: They’re an American band.

669. Merle Haggard

T: Late to Mr. Haggard but I devoured his career spanning box from a few years back. Save him a spot next to Kristofferson on Rushmore. Dave Alvin owes him a bunch.

M: Not just a great songwriter, Hag’s a great writer, period. His plain-spoken eloquence is second to none.

668. The Go-Go’s

T: The best self-contained girl group ever? Tons of great pop songs…

M: Their singles were pretty intoxicating, and Talk Show is a terribly underappreciated album. And Gina Schock was equal parts metronome and sledgehammer.

667. Luka Bloom

T: Captivating in concert but I thought his LL Cool J cover was toe-curlingly bad.

M: The Bloom I’ve known has always been a little twee for me. Surely, it must get better than “I Need Love.”

666. Stereolab

T: Hey I’m just happy for 80’s Rock. I did like “Wow and Flutter”… do I need more? I think I do.

M: I really think Slayer should have landed in this spot.

665. Jonathan Richman

T: While the Modern Lovers debut is his landmark, the brilliance and whimsy is in ample evidence on all his albums up through 1985’s Rockin’ and Romance. It gets pretty dicey after that, though.

M: I don’t begrudge Jonathan his career. But I do wonder about anyone who rates his songs about abominable snowmen and lesbian bars above his ruminations about Pablo Picasso and driving around with the radio on.

664. The Fray

T: To paraphrase Nancy Reagan “Just Say Nay”.

M: People, come on.

663. Tangerine Dream

T: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

M: I don’t mind a little atmosphere, but I prefer my German proto-electronica to have some more substantial beats. Looking forward to Kraftwerk.

662. Pat Benatar

T: Crossed a Broadway sensibility with hard rock clichés and hit the top of the charts. “Hell Is For Children”… they won’t be alone Pat.

M: She really was quite the stick of dynamite, wasn’t she?

661. The Traveling Wilburys

T: As supergroups go, this was the superest. Quietly enjoyable.

M: Sure, it was a minor busman’s holiday compared to the life’s work of most of its members, but it went down easy, and it sure was nice to see Roy, George and Bob share a microphone.

660. The Everly Brothers

T: The best harmonies on the countdown… no contest. A catalog filled with dozens of perfect pop songs. Even their comeback records were good.

M: Simple. Beautiful. Timeless.

659. Graham Nash

T: Well I guess every C,S,N & Y permutation will make this list. I got Greg Reeves slotted about mid 400’s.

M: If I’d known that people were going to vote for their favorite bands one member at a time, I would have thrown a bone to Bob Stinson.

658. Jaco Pastorious

T: Passes to Michael…

M: His work on Hejira is still pretty haunting.

657. Erasure

T: Land of the Lost staples…

M: I think they probably sound better on the dance floor in a gay bar than they do on the radio, but they still sound pretty damn good.

656. Quicksilver Messenger Service

T: “Fresh Air” is a classic, but my guess is the rest hasn’t aged well.

M: This is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I know they have a legion of die-hards.

655. The Church

T: An underrated band… all jangly guitars and lush melodies made for a sweet pop confection.

M: Perfect dream pop. They should protect the secret to that guitar sound like the recipe for Coke.

654. Regina Spektor

T: I can’t believe she placed so hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-high.

M: I really don’t want to hear that song again, but I’m up for hearing something else.

653. Blind Faith

T: I love a couple songs on this record. And I notice nobody seems to give these guys the “only one album” bum’s rush.

M: If their members hadn’t already been famous, is there any chance they’d be here? They all did better work elsewhere. And a deduction for the creepy album cover.

652. Badfinger

T: Some huge hits, but there’s so much more. Beatle-influenced power pop masters. Yeah, I like them a whole bunch.

M: “No Matter What” sounded like pure gold.

651. Travis

T: Even though they got tagged as Brit-pop pretenders, these guys delivered the goods. No world beaters, but we pop music needs foot soldiers too.

M: I actually liked their first album quite a lot, but they don’t do much to distinguish themselves from countless other Brit rock contemporaries.

650. Michelle Shocked

T: “Anchorage” alone qualifies her for this list.

M: Sometimes, I wish her songs were shorter and sharper, but she’s still somethin’.

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