Great songs, according to me (Part 37)
Parts 1-15, Parts 16-30, Part 31, Part 32, Part 33, Part 34, Part 35, and Part 36.
Let's look at the next ten!
361. Monkey Wrench (by Foo Fighters on the album The Colour And The Shape, 1997): Tom loves this album, and I can't say I disagree with him, except for maybe the extent of how superb it is. This song, which should probably be paired with "Doll," the first, rather short prelude to the album, kicks so much ass I can't believe I first heard it on an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. Yes, I really did. The pounding music is straight-forward, grab-your-collar-and-shake-you rock, and Grohl's sneering lyrics make the song a perfect kiss-off to a manipulative significant other. When the song builds to Grohl's primal scream of rage, we've crossed into rock-and-roll greatness. Scream it with me: "One last thing before I quit I never wanted any more than I could fit into my head I still remember every single word you said and all the shit that somehow went along with it still there's one thing that comforts me since I was always caged but now I'm freeeeeee ..." Chills, I tell you, I get chills.
362. A Month Of Sundays (by Don Henley on the album Building The Perfect Beast, 1984): I'm not a huge Henley fan, but this is a pretty decent album, punctuated by a few great songs. "A Month of Sundays" is a sad song about farmers and how modern life sucks, something I have usually have no patience for, but Henley's smooth California drawl manages to make it work. It romanticizes the plight of the American farmer, sure, but it stays just on the non-mawkish side of sentimentality, and so it works. Henley sells it, too, as we believe he's a put-upon old farmer rather than a spoiled rich rock star. That's always helpful. This album, unfortunately, gave us "All She Wants To Do Is Dance," but it also gave us this song, so that's a nice thing.
363. More Fool Me (by Genesis on the album Selling England By The Pound, 1973): People tend to forget that Genesis with Peter Gabriel could crank out some excellent love songs, and this is one of them (although it's Phil on lead vocals). This is a quiet song with that quirky folksy style that a lot of early Genesis has, and the lyrics are extremely bittersweet: "The day you left, I think you knew you'd not be back; well at least it would seem that way because you never said goodbye." It's a sad song full of irony, as it ends with Phil singing, "Yes, I'm sure it will work out all right."
364. Mr. Integrity (by L7 on the album Bricks Are Heavy, 1992): I'm not a big fan of this album, but a few of the tracks rock, and this is one of them. The chorus, "Don't preach to me, Mr. Integrity," is simple and effective, and Donita and the gang scorch their way through a truly venomous song about posers. I rarely listen to this album anymore, but I really dig this song.
365. Mr. Self Destruct (by Nine Inch Nails on the album The Downward Spiral, 1994): Ah, Trent. Always ready with the depressing music! In this song, the first track off what is probably his masterpiece, he brings the creepiness with aplomb: "I am the sex that you provide (and I control you)/I am the hate you try to hide (and I control you)." The hypnotic repetition of the "I am ..." theme could become annoying, but Trent's reptilian vocals never allow that, and the fuzzy music ensures that we pay attention to the lyrics. Trent can often slide to easily into self-pity and self-loathing, but this song rises above that and drills right into our brain. Good stuff.
366. Muhammad My Friend (by Tori Amos on the album Boys For Pele, 1996): If you check out the lyrics to this song, they're somewhat strange. I'm not sure why I think it's so great. The music is strong, as Tori shifts from a quiet ballad to an approximation of a volcano erupting (with her piano, which is quite a feat). I love the "chorus": "Muhammad my friend, it's time to tell the world; we both know it was a girl, back in Bethlehem." The lyrics get weird after that, and I'm not sure I understand them, but it seems like Tori is wondering why we crave religion when nature is so religious in the first place. I don't know who Muhammad is, though. Oh, my brain hurts. I don't know, I just love this song. So sue me.
367. The Musical Box (by Genesis on the album Nursery Cryme, 1971): Man, I love this song. It runs over ten minutes, but it's so tight musically that it seems to fly by. As it's early 1970s Genesis, it has a weird, almost jazzy psychedelic buzz to it, but you can hear the boys beginning to move past that 1960s crap (really, did we need another psychedelic band?) and into the sprawling epics that they are known for. This is a riff on an old Victorian story which is rather creepy, telling of a boy who ages rapidly and can't express his love/lust for the girl who killed him. Yes, it's weird. I just love the way Gabriel uses his voice as an extra instrument, creating moods of sadness, weariness, lust, and finally desperation. The songs ends wonderfully in a frenzy of desire: "Why don't you touch me, touch me, touch me, touch me now, now, now, now ..." It's astonishing to listen to.
368. Musicology (by Prince on the album Musicology, 2004): One of the more recent songs on this list (and yes, I need to add more, because it's been over three years since I made this list, and I've gotten some new music since then that would qualify, but for now, pretend it's 2005!), this song and album marked a return to form a bit for Prince after his bizarre Jehovah's Witness jazz fusion album, The Rainbow Children (man, that's a weird platter). I'm not one of those people who thinks that Prince dropped off the face of the earth after Batman in 1989 and then resurfaced in 2004, and this album is no better than, say, Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, but this song gets things off to a rousing start. The lyrics are inconsequential, because as with much of Prince, it's all about the groove, and he does a great job with that. Ostensibly, this is a paean to old-school jams, but it's just an excuse for Prince to get you moving. And, like Norah says, you must "Shake your booty" when Prince fires up this song. Good stuff from the master.¹
369. Muzzle (by Smashing Pumpkins on the album Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, 1995): Billy Corgan often whines a lot, but here, it helps him. The lyrics of this song are powerful and speak of loss and a sense of disconnect from the world around you, and too often that's just annoying. It could be with Corgan, as well, but somehow his whiny tones become deeper, helped by the richness of the music, which builds steadily throughout the song. When Corgan gets to the payoff at the end, he's earned it, because he's come back around: "And the world, so hard to understand, is the world you can't live without." And the thudding bass and drums take us out.
370. My Country (by Midnight Oil on the album Earth And Sun And Moon, 1993): The finest Midnight Oil album contains many excellent songs, and this is one of them. It launches with a piano/guitar intro that drives us into Garrett's lyrics, which speak of blind patriotism and the foolishness that comes along with it. It's interesting to consider that Garrett loves Australia without thinking there are no warts to its history. This song encapsulates that, to a degree, and all he asks for is the truth. It's a powerful song on a great album.
Well, that's another ten songs in the books. I will try not to wait almost three months for the next ten. (Yes, I'm aware that most people don't miss these posts, but I like them!)
¹ Norah actually says this. Krys taught it to her. Now Mia has picked it up. See what my wife is doing to the kids? She's turning them into booty-shaking weirdos. Sigh.