Time for a change of pace. My last few entries have been “down” rather than dark. In fact, this guy told me that I needed to get back to what I do best: sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Well, I am not much of a rocker (although, I do “like my coffee like I like my metal“), I am more of the twisted bastard child derived from an orgy of New Wave, Goth, Industrial, and Thrash. Face it, I am a child of the Eighties… Anyhoo, I decided to take his advice; I grabbed some drugs, squeezed out a few knuckle children on a lovely couple’s heads, and now make a return to my Darkside Radio days to hit yo’ azz with a bit of Ye Olde DJ Xavier-ness. I will even try to rock and roll, if you will.
Music is a funny thing. We all like some, we all hate some. Hell, I have even met people who claim to hate all music. These people are a dangerous, soulless threat to humanity. Even birds sing songs to lure you outdoors so that you can throw rocks at them, or shoot at them with the weapon of your choice. Beware and pity the fool who says he hates music! If you are a music hater, leave now. The rest of this blog is not for you. Those of you that like/love/fuck-daily-with-no-abandon music stay and read on. However, realize this: to thine ownself be true. What follows will require you to make an admission that you may not want to make. You may have to delve into parts of your soul that you do not want to acknowledge exists to others.
What I am talking about are those songs that most of us claim not to like/know/love. You know, the songs that we turn our noses up to, or ridicule when we here them. We mock these songs sometimes so that we can hide the truth: that we do like, maybe even love, these songs. If we could, we would grab these songs by the pony tails and ride them into the sunset. Truthfully, some of you may truly hate some of these songs. I will concede that may be the case. Yet, where I am going is not to whether you like these songs or not. No, this is far more sinister. These songs are those that may get stuck in your head. They may make you say to yourself: “Why do I know the words to this shit?!” You may like them and refuse to admit it, and will carry that secret to your grave. You will then deny it to Saint Peter, or whomever guards your respective entrance to your respective after-life paradise. Then you will be sent to the respective place of torment for your respective after-life. There you will listen to these songs for an eternity. Do not feel bad, at least you will be listening to things that you “love.”
So, without further ado:
Ten Songs That Rock (But You Probably Will Not Admit That They Do…)
10) “Let’s Dance,” David Bowie
Three words: Stevie Ray Vaughn. If you are a fan of SRV, and you crawled out of the depths to hear this song for the first time, you may ask: “Who is the dude singing Stevie’s song?” I like David Bowie. I like him enough to even look past that horrible cover of “Dancin’ in the Streets” that he did with Mick Jagger. I like him enough to even look past that video he and Jagger put out for that bit of scary. I like him enough to admit that this song is on here because I actually believe that it is a great song. There, I said it. You can talk shit when you marry a supermodel and get a guitar monster to play on some of your tracks. Stevie’s guitar was so awesome on this track that it just fades out with him playing an extended solo over the rest of the band.
9) “Beat It,” Michael Jackson
Before there were questions about his, well, everything, Michael Jackson dropped that “Thriller” album on our asses. Okay, this is when he started to get strange, but that is not the point. The point, is that MJ released this album, and Eddie Van Halen became known to black folks all over the United States. Proving to the world that his producer balls had more jizz than a Clydesdale, Quincy Jones made this record into a R&B/Rock mulatto that had people wearing weird, red, zippered clothing and trying to figure out how to do a backspin to electric guitar accompanied by an elf screaming about your funky fight. This song simultaneously combined rock, R&B, and West Side story, and subsequently created the The King of Pop. Laugh if you want, someone in your immediate family probably owns the “Thriller” album…and you have probably listened to the whole thing. You may even be thinking of songs from that album that you believe should be here instead of this one.
8) “Smooth,” Santana
One day, guitar god Carlos Santana said to himself: “I am so badass with this guitar, that I can make a douchebag sound awesome.” And then he wrote this song. Sure, people knew the lyrics, and Rob Thomas does a more than decent singing while Santana’s guitar is as damn good as Norma’s coffee from the Double R Diner. Uncle Carlos had virtually disappeared from the music scene; he was living atop a mountain in the Andes being worshipped by a tribe of sexy, nude, vixens (this may or may not be true, let us just enjoy the image and say it is). Then he came down from the mountain top carrying his guitar and an amp like he was bringing the commandments to the world. He pointed to Thomas and said: “Verily, I seeth thou us possessed of the soul of the douche; yet thou shalt singeth, I shalt rocketh. Thus spake the Santana!” And it was good.
7) “Walk This Way,” Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith
Granted this is a cover. A cover of an Aerosmith song. A cover of an Aerosmith song by some cats who had no idea who Aerosmith was at the time. They took this song, took rap into the suburbs, and millions of teenage white boys became what eventually turned into the closest thing the Eighties had to an army of Eminems. Sure, the Beastie Boys were kicking beastie ass back then, but Run-D.M.C. was “hard.” They owned this song, thought rock and rap went together better than peanut butter and chocolate, and declared themselves the King of Rock. Not many argued. Run-D.M.C. rocked a lot. There was this song. There was “Rock Box.” There was “Christmas in Hollis” (I think that was the name). Whatever the case, until those crazy West Coast rappers started gangbanging everything in site and shooting cops, Run-D.M.C. was the epitome of badassery when it came to the sound of the streets. They were, and probably are still tougher than leather. Knock that battery off of their shoulder, I dare you.
6) “Bring the Noise,” Public Enemy with Anthrax
This song really did rock. Totally. You better ask somebody, bee-yotch. Seriously, however. This song is one of the most awesome things that I had heard when it came out. A lot of musicians tried to combine New York rap with rock. Some were decent. Some sucked. Some are buried in my orchard because there attempt was so great an affront to music that those fuckers had to be put down hard. That very thing was done with this song for the soundtrack of the event. What is there not to love about this? I mean, Chuck D, Flava, Anthrax…it is like rap and metal fucked and this is the mystical spooge that turned us all into musical bukkake fetishists. Add Terminator X to the mix, and music history has been made. I know this, you know this. Public Enemy and Anthrax know this, how many times has this cut been redone in the last what, twenty years? Think about it.
5) “Rockin’ in the Free World,” Neil Young and Pearl Jam
I love Neil Young. How can I not like a guy who was sued by his record label for intentionally making a non-commercial album? Neil destroys acoustic. Neil destroys electric. Neil re-does his own song with Pearl Jam and it still kicks colossal ass. Have you ever seen Mr. Young in concert? He is a real treat to watch. I mean, the stuff where he is wearing that harmonica and just going acoustic is interesting, but to get a real appreciation for what this man does when he performs you have to watch him when he is standing and full on electric. I have a Neil Young box set that I bought years back. It is from the “Weld” tour. The version I bought has a third disc that is all distortion fuckery and it is great to listen to at the beginning of a mushroom trip (yes, I did go to college in Michigan, do not judge). But I digress. Sometimes when an artist of yore performs with young whipper snappers, they end up looking like a Model T on the Autobahn. This does not happen with Neil. He keeps Pearl Jam firmly in place and shows how he still owns, well, them.
4) “Come With Me,” Puff Daddy
When you hear this song, you may get the urge to find Puffles and beat him down for sampling Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” However, your urge desists when you realize that none other than Jimmy Page is tearing shit up personally on this track. Sure, P. Diddy (that is who he is now, right?) could have paid a label and used a sample from the song. However, knowing Page’s ability to control the Earth through mystic signals is as legendary as his guitar-sex, he chose the wise man’s route. Instead of “borrowing” a cup of Zeppelin-sugar, he burnt a lamb offering on the alter of Gibson and was granted the gift of a guest appearance by J.P. in the flesh. Instead of selling his soul at the crossroads, he choose to barter with ZOSO.
3) “Bust a Move,” Young M.C.
It seems like everyone knows this one, and I really do mean everyone. Even more than know “Baby Got Back.” Every (white) frat party that occurred at Michigan State when I was in attendance would play this album when black people showed up to prove that they were hip, not racist, and knew all about throwing out funky fresh beats. Poor, poor preps. At the time, they pretended this was the ultimate party music. If there
was dancing at a club, this was the artist that played between the numerous Milli Vanilli songs that made drunk chicks make out on the dance floor. Now, people pretend like they did not own this cassette and still secretly want to do the wave or worm when they hear it at the bar. Some people turn up in the strangest places. This song is one of them. The force behind the bass on this cut is that stuffed-animal-heads-on-the-pants virtuoso: the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea. If you ask me, Flea makes everything good, like cheese. The world of music knows this, he turns up on so many artists’ recordings that it is hard to keep track, maybe wearing pants. Probably not wearing a shirt. He may show up only wearing a sctrategically placed sock. The point is he shows up everywhere. This is one of those songs that turns up every where.What made this song rock? Flea. Since this has been more about Flea than Young M.C. (I am unapologetic about that), take a gander at this list of people that had to have some Flea:
Alanis Morrissette (“You Oughta Know” with Dave Navarro)
The Mars Volta
L.L. Cool J
And that is just to name a few.
2) “Rockin’ Daddy,” Howlin’ Wolf
Aside from telling you firsthand that he rocked in the title of the song, Chester Burnett (a.k.a. Howlin’ Wolf), slapped you for not paying attention the first time. Moving from Mississippi to Chicago and making the blues his bitch, he and his rival proceeded to lay down the foundation for what we know as rock, and metal, and pretty much everything else involving an electric guitar. The real shame here is that we in the U.S. did not appreciate this black bluesman in the nineteen fifties. You know who did? The fucking Brits, that is who. From Clapton to Zeppelin, those white boys from Britain discovered the Mississippi delta and Chicago and the sounds coming out of those places, and rock…then metal…was born. Black Sabbath, Clapton, The Who, and even those bobble-head Beatles had to admit that they learned how to rock from those old blues cats. For this particular version of The Wolf’s tunage, I turned to “The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessios.” I could have picked any track off of this piece, but I chose this one because it is the first track, and Wolf starts it by telling you that he is your daddy, your rockin’ daddy. The rest of the album is giving you that slap that I mentioned a little while ago. The list of musicians on this album itself reads like a “Who’s Who in British Rock”: Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts.
1) “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long,” AC/DC
“She was a fast machine…” And you know you finished that sentence, and maybe the rest of the verse, of that song. Some of you are still singing it. Just admit it. Every motherfucker in the world knows these two songs, nearly every motherfucker in the world loves these songs, and very few will admit it. Sure, we see a guy in an AC/DC t-shirt and we immediately start with the Beavis and Butthead jokes. But we know the truth: these songs will be heard at weddings, your drunk asses will sing and dance horribly to them. These songs are in every jukebox in the world, your drunk asses will sing and dance horribly to them. Just admit they rock and sit your drunk ass down. Yeah, I called you out. Sometimes it be’s like that. The release of the album: “Back in Black” flew out of Australia and fucked the world with a dick so huge that it was barely tight enough to get pleasure from Men at Work, INXS, or Olivia Newton John. The fact that this recording made such an impact on rock music almost makes up for “Crocodile Dundee.” Almost.
There are a few songs that I struggled with adding them to the list or not. Part of me was being lazy. The rest of me was fighting the demands of my OCD to have only seven, or to increase the number of songs to fourteen. Or twenty-one. I successfully fought the urge and managed to stick with ten. However, I did feel the need to share the songs that were “rocking” enough to warrant an honorable mention. Discuss amongst yourselves.
“Love Song,” Tesla
“Poker Face,” as performed by Eric Cartman
Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld
“Shout at the Devil,” Mötley Crüe
“Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns N’ Roses (substitute “November Rain,” “Civil War,” or “Sweet Child O’ Mine”)
“Sexy Back,” Justin Timberlake
“Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” Journey
“One,” Metallica (People went obscenely cray-cray over this song.)
“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana
“Whip It,” Devo
“Mr. Roboto,” Styx
Bonus Track: “Pony,” Far
I love this song. Personally, I would say they do Ginuine better than Ginuine. Enjoy this video, it makes the song naughtier somehow. I am not sure why. In any case, it actually rocks. That is all.