Best Rock Songs 2008 (Bumped)
A month ago, we debated whether rock music died in 1980. While we decided that it did not, we concluded that it has changed quite a bit since then. Writing at Slate, music critic Simon Reynolds writes of “Grunge’s Long Shadow” and “In praise of in-between periods in pop history” as periods of transition in the dominant styles.
Regular commenter anjin-san recommended “making music/audio a more hefty part” of the repertoire here as a chance to “have a friendly discussion with guys you are typically trading gunfire with.” In that spirit, it strikes me that it could be fun and informative to discuss and come up with a list of the best rock songs of every year. If the discussion goes as expected, it’ll create quite a bit of debate as well as introducing both myself and my readers to songs they hadn’t heard before or had forgotten about.
We’ll start with 2008, the most recent finished year and work our way back until either the idea fizzles out or we hit 1954 or so.
Here’s how it’ll go: Readers will suggest songs in the comments below, preferably linking a YouTube or GoogleVideo or other place where others can hear the songs for free. Songs should be confined to the broad rock genre, meaning no rap or hip-hop or country. (I despise the first two and the last is a different category, albeit one I’d consider doing a similar feature with at some point if this goes well.) Think: guys with electric guitars.
Over the course of a week or so, I’ll update this post with my choices, probably ending up with a Top 10 list. Songs may move down or even off the list as new suggestions come in.
Judging will be entirely subjective based on my musical tastes, which were formed circa 1979-1989. A song may have held down the top spot on every Billboard chart for all 52 weeks of the year, won 17 Grammys and a Nobel Prize and not make my top 10.
UPDATE: Thus far, “The ’59 Sound” by Gaslight Anthem and “3 Dimes Down” by Drive-by Truckers, neither of which I particularly like, are in the lead by the virtue of being not so awful that I managed to get past the first minute. Any sings that don’t include singing are hereby ruled ineligible. Apocalyptica’s “I Don’t Care” had possibilities but they seem not to have mastered recording technology; the song sounds like it was surreptitiously captured with an incredibly crude device.
So far, it’s looking like rock and roll might have died by 2007 . . . .
UPDATE: Ray LaMontagne’s “Let It Be Me” is thus far the best of the nominees. It’s got a Joe Cocker meets MoTown vibe. I also don’t hate Dodd’s submission, “Check Yes Juliet” by We The Kings. Sum 41’s “With Me” doesn’t totally suck, either. Gomez’ “Get Miles” has a Jim Morrison vibe. Haven’t decided if that’s a good thing.
Also, several submissions were from 2007 or 2009 and were summarily dismissed from consideration.
Photo by Flickr user Stephen Poff under Creative Commons license. Originally posted 29 May.