Sunday, October 28, 2012

Top 30 Rainiest Songs

As Hurricane Sandy approaches, people in the Mid Atlantic region of the US will be focused on preparations, or possibly distracted by questions as to whether or not one should or should not make preparations.  On the West Coast of the US, we are neither focused nor distracted by such preparations.  Therefore, there is time to make a list of the 30 rainiest songs, ranked roughly in order of raininess (as opposed to greatness or chart success or some other not meteorological criteria).

30) The Doors - Riders On The Storm (1971)
29) Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain (1984)
28) The Weather Girls - It's Raining Men (1983)
27) Beta Band - Dry The Rain (1997)
26) Neil Young - Like A Hurricane (1977)
25) James Taylor - Fire and Rain (1976)
24) Gnarls Barkley - Storm Coming (2006)
23) Can - She Brings the Rain (1970)
22) Led Zeppelin - Fool In The Rain (1978)
21) Grateful Dead - Box Of Rain (1970)
20) Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (1963)
19) Smokey Hogg - It's Rainin' Here (1951)
18) Eurythmics - Here Comes The Rain Again (1983)
17) Push Kings - Raincoat Renegade (1997)
16) Graham Parker + The Rumour - Thunder And Rain (1977)
15) Beatles - Rain (1966)
14) Etta James - Stormy Weather (1961)
13) Robbie Fulks - It's Always Raining Somewhere (2005)
12) Faust - It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl (1972)
11) Eruption - I Can't Stand the Rain (1978)
10) Orange Peels - I Don't Mind The Rain (1997)
9) Gene Kelly - Singin' in the Rain (1952)
8) Charles Mingus - The I Of Hurricane Sue (1972)
7) The Dils - Sound of the Rain (1980)
6) Interpreters - The Rains Are Coming (1997)
5) Marah - Rain Delay (1998)
4) Evelyn Freeman - Didn't It Rain (1958)
3) Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have You Ever Seen the Rain? (1970)
2) Violent Femmes - I Hear The Rain (1984)
1) Dorothy Morrison - Rain (1970)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Make Your Own Chart at Rate Your Music

I've posted previously about Rate Your Music's nice feature that allows you to customize charts.  It's cool enough that it's worth revisiting.  A commenter inquired a while ago about my top 500 songs of the 1980s list.  It didn't have the pop music the commenter was looking for.  I had, myself, commented on the way that a lot of hardcore unexpectedly rose to the top of that list.  I know it's a minority opinion that hardcore punk was among the best and most lasting contributions to music in the 80s, but what if we take that as a given?  Did my list at least match the opinions of others who rate hardcore highly?

Here's a chart I made, with the make your own chart feature.  Instead of just having albums or singles or eps on the chart, I chose the "everything" options.  I decided to limit it to the 1980s for comparison with my own 80s list.  I selected the genre "hardcore punk".  We just called it hardcore in the 80s, but I guess other people have called other subgenres hardcore this or hardcore that, so I'm forced to use the term "hardcore punk" even though that term was never ever in use in my recollection.  It sounds dorky.  I also selected on ratings by users from the United States.

Here's the top 10 as of October 21st, 2012

1. Misfits - Misfits
2. Minor Threat - Complete Discography
3. Minor Threat - Minor Threat (1984 compilation with 12 songs)
4. Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
5. Black Flag - The First Four Years
6. Minor Threat - Minor Threat (1981 ep with 8 songs)
7. Dead Kennedys - Holiday in Cambodia/Police Truck
8. Husker Du - Zen Arcade
9. Descendants - Two Things at Once
10. Misfits - Legacy of Brutality

It was really interesting to see that 4 of the top 5 releases and 6 of the top 10 are compilations.  I think that reflects the uneven nature of hardcore releases and also the difficulty in obtaining some of the rarer singles, such that "best of" collections are necessary if you want all the best songs.

Apparently I left the Misfits off of my 1980s list.  It's possible I got confused about what was really released in the late 70s versus the early 80s and inadvertently left them off of both lists, or its possible that I just forgot about them because I wasn't really into them during the 1980s.  It was an oversight.  It happens.

Minor Threat's Salad Days comes in at #3 on my 80s list and Minor Threat's Minor Threat comes in at #43, coming in outside of the top 40 only because of my one-song-per-band-inside-the-top-40 rule.  The DK's Holiday in Cambodia is at #25 on my list, and Husker Du's Zen Arcade include my #1 song of the 1980s, Turn on the News.

Black Flag's "TV Party" made my top 100, but not my top 40.  The Descendants, like the Misfits, got left off of my list.  I can see now that the problem is that I've never gotten around to copying Two Things at Once into my iTunes library, which is the starting point of all my lists.  I'll fix that today.

My list had the Bad Brains "I Against I" at #5.  Although the Bad Brains, in general, do well on the Rate Your Music list, coming in at #11 with their 1982 release and #28 with their 1983 release, their 1985 release on which "I Against I" is the title track is all the way down at #92.

The Minutemen are lower than I think they ought to be at Rate Your Music, and I'm disappointed the Rat Music for Rat People compilation (including my #19 song "Cheap Tragedies" by the Avengers) doesn't show up.  I was pleased, on the other hand, to see the Repo Man soundtrack at #25 at Rate Your Music.

Government Issue had 3 songs on my top 500, but none in the top 100, so maybe it's fitting that they don't show up until #255 on the Rate Your Music list.  I'm guessing the rankings down that low are more volatile than the rankings at the top, so don't be surprised if it's no longer at #255 if you look for it yourself.

What's that?  You aren't going to look yourself?  OK - fine, but you should still make your own chart.  It's fun, and it's easy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Will the People's Choice Get Punk Right?

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland is a pretty cool place.  The Hall of Fame has gotten a lot wrong, particularly as it moved into the years of potential punk-era inductees, but you don't have to care about the actual inductees to enjoy the Museum.  So, I want to be clear that I'm about to start complaining about the Hall and not the Museum.

The Hall of Fame has decided to start giving regular people some votes.  I think that will probably help bands like Rush that have big followings and not a lot of critical love, but I don't think it will help punk bands.  There's a web site called The People's Choice that has been gathering votes from regular people for a bit longer.  They've been advancing one year each month rather than one year each year, and as of this writing they're up to 1975.

In 1975, at the people's choice, we are rapidly approaching the first wave of important and widely known punk bands, and we have already reached the bands that are borderline punk/proto-punk.  Let's consider 5 such bands and their chances for the Hall.

1) The New York Dolls - Listen to Trash from 1973 and tell me it's not punk rock.  Unlike the other bands here, the New York Dolls have been nominated and snubbed.

2) Rocket from the Tombs - Before the Dead Boys performed Sonic Reducer, Rocket From the Tombs, featuring some of what would become Pere Ubu, was playing it in 1975.

3) Pere Ubu - The fact that the Hall is in Cleveland makes it especially galling that Ubu has never even been nominated.  It was 1976's Final Solution that became a seminal early punk classic, but their first single was 1975's 30 Seconds Over Tokyo.  They haven't been nominated at the People's Choice in the class of 1975.  Get over there, and put them in as a write-in like I did.

4) Death - I didn't know about this band until a few years ago.  I know I'm not alone in that.  They may not be quite Hall worthy, given that they had so little output, but you have to respect that they were doing this in the mid 70s.

5) Jonathan Richman - This is definitely not proto-punk in the same way as the other 4 bands listed here.  The beauty of punk is the way it stripped everything down to basics and still packed a punch.  Jonathan was more about the stripping-it-down angle than the packing-a-punch angle, and may have more in common with indie rock than punk as a result.  Along with Ubu and The New York Dolls, he's long overdue to enter the Hall.

I'll be honest.  I don't have a lot of hope for these bands at either the Hall or the People's Choice.  I assume the Ramones and Sex Pistols have a chance at getting in on the first ballot, but I'm interested how The Jam, The Clash, The Buzzcocks, The Cure, and later, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Minutemen, and Husker Du do in the voting versus their commercially successful contemporaries.