Search This Blog

Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Psychosis 2: Results for the First Round, Part Two

Hello everyone,

I hate to start on a bum note, but I wanted to announce this as soon as possible. Dania unfortunately won't be able to vote for us due to a busy summer, and Alexis won't be able to vote for a couple weeks because of school. On top of that (and for reasons I'd rather not get into), Jim and Carson were also not able to vote this week. So, we were down to seven, but those who did vote really did a good job! Hopefully, that voting number will ramp up again very soon.

There were heated battles this week, upsets and cruising by some of the favorites. Eh...why don't you just start reading it already?

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction 4, Subterranean Homesick Blues 3

"AAAAAHHHH!!!! I LOVE RADIOHEAD!!! This is my second favorite song on 'OK Computer'. I like the Stones and all, but I think Radiohead is better and this song is one of their best.
Oh wait… Subterranean Homesick BLUES? I thought you said Subterranean Homesick ALIEN. Oh… Well in that case I am gonna have to go with the Stones. 'Satisfaction' relates so much of the 60’s to the frustration that most young men feel (and some women, we aren't sexist here)." - Elliott

"Everything about this song from its famous guitar riff, the fuzzbox, the angst-filled lyrics and even the legend of its inception makes it one of those classic tracks. I think the coolest thing about it is its simplicity. It was one of the first times where a song was so simple that it could rely on just 3 notes to drive the whole thing. It made the music approachable to new musicians, and is a formula that would be repeated my many music genres especially punk rock in the future." - Mark

Wow, some lukewarm opinions of the Stones lead to a near upset of a one seed. There's another one treading on thin ice. And yes, it's good to not be sexist when talking about the Rolling Stones, because they were never sexist at any point.

Space Oddity 5, Stand By Me 2

"'Stand by Me' is a touching, amazing song that should win. Against some other song. When you get covered by a real space oddity (Chris Hadfield) in space, I don’t care how mournful you make every delivery of that song. You’re losing." - Eric

"There are very few songs that do the same kind of thing that 'Space Oddity' does. To evoke a really strong emotional response about a character that the listener has only just learned of is a difficult task, and Bowie pulls it off perfectly. To think that that song was one of his first is absolutely unbelievable, the way Bowie isolates Major Tom so completely to the point where he cannot even tell his wife that he loves her and has no control over what the spaceship is doing is so subtly brilliant. I'm giving this one to Bowie." - Steve

Though "Stand By Me" got some love, but it couldn't beat the space melodrama of "Space Oddity". And in an awesome twist, as a few people mentioned, a real-life astronaut has sung it in space.

All Along the Watchtower 5, I Want to Hold Your Hand 2

"Compared to The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Beatles are like a pony ride. Not saying that 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' is bad, but it doesn't really compare to such an epic song like 'All Along The Watchtower.'" - Dan

"I tend to love The Beatles and think that Jimi is a bit overrated, but comparing ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand','to ‘All Along the Watchtower’ is like comparing 'Twilight' to 'The Lord of the Rings'; it’s just wrong." - Elliott

Can you say upset? 'All Along the Watchtower' romps against the fantastic early Beatles track (the beginning of a rough week for their earlier works). I can't say I don't like pony rides myself, and if "Hand" is one then I'll pay my 20 bucks! Also maybe it is wrong, comparing 'Twilight' to LOTR, but do you really think people haven't tried?

Purple Haze 6, Eight Miles High 1

"'Purple Haze'! Not even a question. My dad once told me that music would be much different today had Jimi Hendrix lived longer. I agree with Pop. Having such an incredible influence on music in such a short time on Earth is something only a handful of musicians have accomplished. Purple Haze was one of my favorite “classic rock” tunes growing up. Hearing that tritone in the intro just makes me smile. I’d love to see Purple Haze go far in this bracket." - Bryce

"Excuse me while I touch the sky. Do you know how high the sky actually is? If anyone did, it was Jimi Hendrix, and you can bet that it was higher than eight miles. 'Purple Haze' is a little bit silly in retrospect, if ever their was a song that represents the silliness of the drug culture and its impact on music, 'Purple Haze' comes close. But still, you have got to give it to Hendrix. The man’s guitar was legendary, and while I do like the Byrds, they just don’t have the appeal that Hendrix did." - Steve

No surprise for this one. 'Purple Haze' could very well touch the sky (which is about 30 miles high, by the way), even if has to go through its distant cousin. I know, it's not fair. And yes, it has perhaps the most famous tritone in all of music in which Hendrix plays B flat while bassist Noel Redding plays E. Here's a good explanation of the tritone in general.

A Day in the Life 5, Fortunate Son 2

"There are a lot of great songs on 'Sgt. Pepper', but 'A Day in the Life' makes them all sound downright frivolous. Lennon’s weary yet unsettling vocals (especially what he’s describing) are strangely beautiful, while the atonal, orchestral section is otherworldly. It makes me think going through a portal to another dimension; afraid of the unknown, but still ready to face it. 'Fortunate Son' is awesome, but it can’t top the majesty of 'Life'". - John

"Okay, now we’re finally getting to the point in The Beatles’ career I like (other than 'Strawberry Fields' from last week). I hate songs that wear their message on their sleeves (I’m looking at you, Macklemore), and even though 'Fortunate Son' still stands on its own as a great song, it’s no match for the wonderful, interesting, pop-y yet experimental 'A Day In The Life.'" - Eric

Well there you have it; it's clear that later Beatles is getting a much better reception than early Beatles. Though of course, that's a general consensus among critics. And you want experimental? How about telling a 40-piece orchestra to improvise?

Green Onions 6, The Tracks of My Tears 1

"'Green Onions' all the way, baby! Booker T. was 17 when this was recorded. I’ll probably never play with as much soul as Booker T. This simple tune proved to be incredibly influential, and inspired many to invest in a Hammond organ. It’s made its way into loads of movies and TV shows. Personally, 'Green Onions' is one of those songs that I can just listen to on a loop…over and over." - Bryce

"A great instrumental that is so recognizable and has been used so many times. Every time I hear this song I think of 'The Sandlot.'" - Dan

Sometimes, a great riff is everything; you don't even need lyrics or a general song progression. That seems to be the case with "Green Onions", a song in which some people now finally know by name. The riff also makes it great soundtrack material, as it was specifically mentioned in "The Sandlot."

Oh, Pretty Woman 5, Dancing in the Street 2

"Liberal vs. Conservative, again here it is and again you have old man Orbison on the right. I always liked Martha and the Vandellas, and certainly I like Roy too, but im going with 'Oh, Pretty Woman.' What it comes down to for me is which song got the better Van Halen cover. Frankly 'Pretty Woman' is just a better fit for Van Halen, and its as simple as that." - Steve

"'Dancing in the Street' is definitely a good song, but I actually like some of their other songs better (i.e. 'Heat Wave'). 'Pretty Woman' shows how vulnerable Orbison is, but without being sappy. He says 'don’t make me cry', but he’s begging so much that he might as well. And the riff is great, but the structure of 'Pretty Woman' is also fantastic in that it plays more to the lyrical progression rather than musically. 'She’s walking back to me…' seals the deal. What an excellent tune." - John

This one seemed like a bit of a toss-up to me, but conservative (Orbison's attire if anything) won the day. But wait! What do I see? Van Halen did a cover of me...

Be My Baby 4, Many Rivers to Cross 3

"I got a soft spot for 60’s R&B. There’s something sensually classy about it. Now it’s a bit more upfront and raunchy, but back then, it had style. Veronica Bennett’s words say 'Be My Baby', but her voice says 'Pants off, meet me in the bedroom. You have 3 seconds.' And I’ll be damned if I let down a girl who looks like that. And I didn't even know what she looked like until after I wrote that sentence. If you have her voice, I don’t care what you look like. I’ll be your anything. What were we talking about? Oh yeah. 'Be My Baby' wins." - Eric

"'Many Rivers to Cross' is great. Anyone who has read 'High Fidelity' has this song in a special place. But against the quintessential 'Wall of Sound' of 'Be My Baby'? Maybe it’s a tad overrated, but Spector’s arrangement bursts with so much energy. It’s the sound that’s the best, especially when the horns come in; it’s intense and compact, with the Ronettes fighting to be heard over the fray, but never sounds canned." - John

You know things are competitive when your one and two seeds just barely escape. Though all that love for Jimmy Cliff is certainly deserved. The Ronettes may have been recently emulated by Amy Winehouse, but Cliff has still got it, hitting those high notes like always.

Good Vibrations 7, Da Doo Ron Ron 0

"The Crystals song is a little too cheesy for me. And plus, the Beach Boys are pretty dreamy. That weird space-y sound is made by a Tannerin, a super hip electronic instrument similar to the Theremin. I can in good conscience vote for 'Good Vibrations' simply on the basis of that instrument’s inclusion in this track." - Bryce

"My father’s uncle got this record when it came out in 1966. He told my father that at the time it changed everything. I think even if that seems a bit extreme it’s not far from the truth. Obviously there were songs that sounded like this recorded before this, but at this time it would have been hard to find them with the only mediums you had were the radio and the record store. The Beach Boys brought this fantastically complex and melodic music into the public eye, and in the process created one of the greatest songs of all time.  Also any song with a Theremin AND a mouth harp is noteworthy in itself."- Mark

Finally, a one seed that cruises past its competitor! While "Good Vibrations" is a bit of a cheesy title of its own, in pales in comparison to the schmaltz of "Da Doo Ron Ron." Steve would say "more like Da Doo None None." The Tannerin (not the Theremin, as I previously thought) was a big talking point as well. Here's video of it in action (wait until the end!).

A Change is Gonna Come 6, When a Man Loves a Woman 1

"You know that feeling you get when you run into a friend from your childhood that you haven’t seen in a long time, so long that you forgot they existed, and t though it has been years and both of you have changed, your friendship is just as strong as it was back then? Yeah, that is the feeling I got listening to this song." - Elliott

"I wasn't familiar with 'A Change is Gonna Come', but wow, just wow. People don’t sing like that anymore. The lyrics are…mournful, but longing, and deeply meaningful. As is his tone and inflection. This song is just so smooth, and so hip. This is powerful stuff. Though race relations are certainly not yet rainbows and sunshine, I think Cooke’s change has come." - Bryce

Whether it was a new discovery or visiting an old friend, Sam Cooke clearly won over our voters with his fantastic song. And who inspired Cooke to write such a poignant take on the Civil Rights movement in America? None other than Bob Dylan. That's right folks, he's everywhere.

You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' 5, She Loves You 2

"'You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’' is better R&B than 90% of what’s out there right now, and it was made by two white guys. And if you’re shocked by that, well, so was I. Regardless, it’s an amazing song, and significantly better than anything from the British Invasion-era Beatles." - Eric

"'She Loves You' has such a crystal-clear message, and that’s what I love about it. I must say that I have more of an emotional attachment. I do know The Righteous Brothers are better here…but not by much in my book. The verses, complete with their baritone musings and deep backing track, hang in space terrifically. Then they tell it like it is in the soaring chorus. Not my favorite, but quality stuff for sure." - John

Like I said, The Beatles are getting hit hard here in the early going. Yet "Lovin' Feelin'" certainly deserves to move on as a soulful "Wall of Sound" piece that may be a sleeper. Now I'll throw in another "High Fidelity" reference that no one will probably get. 

California Dreamin' 5, Mr. Tambourine Man 2

"Finally, two tracks that are similar enough to judge pretty objectively. I've always though the Byrds, though a pretty good folk band in themselves, just couldn't capture the whimsy that I always hear in the Dylan version of this track. On the other hand, 'California Dreamin’' is one of the best folk tracks of all time off of the seminal beat-folk album 'If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears' (which is coincidentally the most benign album cover ever to be censored.)" - Mark

"I love the song 'Mr. Tambourine Man.' I love it to death. But is the Byrds version really better than the Dylan original? History says that it is, but I will defend to my dying day that it is isn't. Oh and not to mention that 'California Dreamin’' is unbelievable. Extremely sad, very progressive flute solo, Mama Cass vocals, simply unbelievable. The Mamas and the Papas have got the goods and I'm giving it to them." - Steve

The fifth seeds in this bracket were cruising until now. What was surprising to me was that comparing the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" with the original Dylan version was a major point intention (to death, apparently). But I do agree with Mark's statement; four people sitting in a bathtub was too lewd, really 60's?

In My Life 4, Louie Louie 3

"This is a great song by The Beatles. It’s one of those bittersweet moments that people share with others. It’s good that way, and not to the point of being sappy." - Dan

"'Louie Louie' loses just for the sheer amount of white people dancing in that YouTube video John linked to. Just kidding, 'In My Life' is a prime example of a the Beatles craftsmanship, and though 'Louie Louie' has a great solo, it doesn't hold a candle to the wonderful sentimentality of 'In My Life.'" - Elliott

Wait, the early Beatles couldn't possibly pull off this huge of an upset, could they? Ah, but this was late 1965, when the Beatles really started to mature. Regardless, 'In My Life' does stand out as a hidden gem in the Beatles' catalog. While 'Louie Louie' stands out as...a song white people dance to?

Reach Out I'll Be There 6, In The Midnight Hour 1

"I always get the song 'Reach Out I’ll Be There' with the song 'Time After Time.' Is that relevant? No it isn’t, but I thought it was worth mentioning because even though I get this song confused with another I am still voting for it. Sometimes what we remember best about a song winds up not even really being in the song, and that’s okay, sometimes that’s what makes it fun. It’s a bit like a bad movie, where the line that you quote with your friends winds up not even really being in the movie, but does that stop you from saying it? No it doesn't So anyway, I'm voting for 'Time After Time' here, and while it may say 'Reach Out I’ll Be There' at the top of the vote in my heart it says different." - Steve

"This song is authentic from beginning to end. It starts with a rich sound, but suddenly you’re bombarded with a great beat and catchy lyrics. Nothing really stops it from moving forward, having a near perfect progression." - Dan

Ok, I'll just cut to the chase...what the heck Steve? I thought you mixing up Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu was bad, but this is on a completely different level. At least we set you straight. Oh yea, and "Reach Out" wins easily.

Honky Tonk Women 4, Waterloo Sunset 3

"By far the worst part of 'Honky Tonk Woman' is 'Country Tonk' the other version of the song that actually made it to the album. The disparity in how much better the single is confuses me to this day. 'Honky Tonk' has so much more fire in it with no small part from Richards open G guitar (I learned how to alternatively tune guitars as a kid just so I could play this song.) This song just screams Stones. It’s bluesy, brass, dirty and a hell of a lot of fun." - Mark

"I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell." - Elliott

Another close one, but guess what won the day? Yes, it's everybody's favorite instrument. Is it a gold record (though sadly not included on the subsequent album, a common practice at the time)? Yes, and it's clearly because of the cowbell. As Bruce Dickinson says for a song that will probably appear in the 70's bracket: "I gotta have more cowbell, baby."

(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay 7, Don't Worry Baby 0

"I’ve been waiting for this song to come up. The first song that usually comes to mind when you say Otis Redding is '(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay', besides 'great singer' and 'I want him in my pants', regardless of gender. It’s easy, it’s breezy, it’s beautiful, and it just makes you think of those warm summer days as the sun is sitting low on the horizon, no one around, just relaxing. Perfect." - Eric

"This could go all the way in my book. Otis is not usually a singer of restraint and tenderness; he’s lets loose. That’s why it’s funny his best (maybe top 3) has him laying back, wasting time as he wallows in his own despair. Redding gives no detailed story on why he’s feeling so bad, but he takes us along for the ride (or lack of one). It’s easy and breezy, but the complete opposite of trite. I still get chills…it’s just perfect." - John

So, Eric and I said basically the same thing. Great minds think alike. Easy-breezy is a common phrase anyway, and a great way to describe "Dock of the Bay". Definitely look out for this one in the coming weeks.

Best Minority Opinions:

Bryce, on "Louie Louie"

"I have to vote for 'Louie Louie.' I just have to. My high school marching band used to play this song at football games, and the Drexel Pep Band plays it as well, so I associate this song with a lot of good memories. 'Louie Louie' is certainly not as refined as 'In My Life,' and the structure and songwriting is much simpler, but you can’t understate the impact it had on rock n roll. Here’s an interesting fact about “Louie Louie”: if you listen at around 53 or 54 seconds into the song, you can hear the drummer yell 'F***!' Classic!"

Elliott, on "Fortunate Son"

Don’t make me pick. Don’t. I won’t. These are two of my favorite songs. I wanted the final round to be these two. That being said, I am gonna go with Fortunate Son, but only because of the Vietnam war. I can’t hear the word Vietnam without thinking of helicopters playing this song. I just can’t."

Dan, on "Stand By Me"

"It feels like everyone knows and loves this song. Every instrument stands out and is played to perfection. Ben E. King’s voice is fantastic, adding a sentimental feel to the song. There really is nothing else like it."

Eric, on "When a Man Loves a Woman"

"A song so sexual that roughly 27.5% of all babies were conceived while it was playing. A song so sexual that when it comes on, you know things are going to get steamier than that car window in that one scene in 'Titanic.' A song so sexual, Percy Sledge just murders that track in cold blood, then makes love to that track’s wife. This has to win."

Steve, on "Subterranean Homesick Blues"

Is Subterranean Homesick Blues the first rap song? No, it probably isn't, but I have heard a number of people make that argument before. With that in mind, I am 100% positive that '(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction' was not the first rap song, and that makes all the difference. Of course the way that Mick Jagger dons his alternate personality on 'Satisfaction' is classic, but that is no doubt a move that was crafted mastered by Dylan first. And while this probably shouldn't matter, I can think of three major allusions to 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' off of the top of my head: The Weather Underground, fIREHOSE, and 'Subterranean Homesick Alien.' Can't think of a single one to 'Satisfaction.'

No comments:

Post a Comment