Definitive Songs

MusicWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive songs. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Beastie Boys - Fight For Your Right
  • Beck - Loser
  • Big Daddy Kane - Ain't No Half-Steppin'
  • Blink 182 - Adam's Song
  • Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
  • Bush - Everything Zen
  • Coldplay - Yellow
  • Collective Soul - Shine

Not all of the above were no-brainers, but I stand behind the full weight of my intricate analysis.

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Definitive Songs

MusicLast month, I started listing artists and their definitive albums. I banged off ten a day until I hit ZZ Top. I'm going to do the same thing with the same artists, only this time I'm listing their definitive song.

  • 2pac - Dear Mama
  • 3rd Bass - The Gas Face
  • A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario
  • AC-DC - Shook Me All Night Long
  • Aerosmith - Walk This Way
  • Alanis Morrisette - You Oughta Know
  • Alice In Chains - Man in the Box
  • Barenaked Ladies - $100000000

Feel free to disagree with my choices. That's what makes this so fun. More tomorrow...

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Not Bad For A B-List

MusicI recently posted ten Canadian tracks that I believe collectively epitomize the spirit of Canadian music. Getting that list down to ten was a serious pain in the ass, so here are some of the songs that were on the bubble and eventually fell to the cutting room floor.

  • Canadian Railroad Trilogy - Gordon Lightfoot
  • Home For A Rest - Spirit of the West
  • Let Your Backbone Slide - Maestro Fresh-Wes
  • Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
  • Four Strong Winds - Ian & Sylvia
  • Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
  • Sleepy Maggie - Ashley MacIsaac
  • Spinning Wheel - Blood, Sweat & Tears
  • Misguided Angel - Cowboy Junkies
  • Signs - Five Man Electrical Band

Not too shabby for a B-list.

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Ten Canadian Tracks

CanadaThroughout the past week, I've been trying to assemble a list of ten songs that collectively epitomize the spirit of Canadian music. Pruning this list to ten hasn't been easy but I was up to the challenge.

Here are ten Canadian tracks that, to me, represent all that is right with Canadian music.

I'm An Adult Now - The Pursuit of Happiness
I don't think there's a more Toronto song than this one. This independent single was spun all the time on CFNY in the late 80s and I thought it was the coolest. Great lyrics, great raw sound and a great story. TPOH got a record deal and put out the awesome Love Junk, a cassette I played over and over again. In addition to a more polished version of "I'm An Adult Now", this album had stellar tracks like "She's So Young" and "Hard to Laugh". Why does this song more than any other remind me of my city? For a couple of years in my early 20s I worked at Dufferin and Dupont and lived near Yonge and Bloor. My route to work was a bike ride along Davenport to Dupont, and more often than not I'd see Moe Berg walking that street. There he was, taking a stroll in his city, and every time I saw him I heard "I'm An Adult Now" in my head.

The Weight - The Band
When Bob Dylan went electric, he called on The Band. I once heard a great quote attributed to Robbie Robertson when Dylan said he was going electric. Robertson wondered if there was any other way to go. "The Weight" is a fantastic single, practically perfect. This single is proof that Canadian artists are second to none.

Cinnamon Girl - Neil Young
Neil Young is the quintessential Canadian artist. He's a master of multiple genres, chock full of integrity, and both a critical and commercial success. "Cinnamon Girl" could be "Heart of Gold", "Down By The River" or "Helpless", but I'm going with "Cinnamon Girl" because it's just grungy enough to earn him the moniker "Godfather of Grunge". It's the impossible blend of raw elegance and it makes Neil Young not only an essential Canadian artist, but essential, period.

Underwhelmed - Sloan
Following the Seattle explosion in the early 90s, partly inspired by Neil Young's rockers, there was the Halifax explosion led by Sloan. These four became instant Cancon favourites with "Underwhelmed", another CFNY staple and a song that perfectly captures the slacker mentality of the early 90s.

Try - Blue Rodeo
"Try" might be the polar opposite of "I'm An Adult Now". They came out at roughly the same time in the late 80s and one was as pretty as the other is raw. I first heard "Try" during a grade school dance when the DJ played it for a slow number. It's a stunning composition that sounds as sharp today as it did then. It was sort of country, but not nearly country enough to repel. It was just a beautiful song about love from a Toronto band with heart. It was the epitome of Canada.

Tom Sawyer - Rush
I'm convinced you either love Rush or you hate Rush. There is no middle ground. My brothers and wife unanimously despise this band while my heart speeds up and I get goosebumps listening to Alex, Neil and Geddy. Like Young's "Cinnamon Girl", this could have been "Closer to the Heart", "Spirit of Radio" or "Fly By Night", but "Tom Sawyer" has those keyboards! Love them or hate them, Rush is the Canadian band that unites us. I once heard a girl on CBC say Rush was equally loved by all essential elements of Canadian living: hockey fans, farmers and computer geeks. 'Nuff said.

New Orleans is Sinking - The Tragically Hip
This song has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons, but conduct a poll and you'll learn it's the most popular song from the most Canadian of bands. The Hip sing about Bill Barilko, Bobby Orr, Bobcaygeon and Toronto. They're unabashedly Canadian and "New Orleans is Sinking" is their anthem.

Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
The Soviet Union was breaking up and the Berlin Wall was coming down. Meanwhile, Neil Young, a Canadian legend who hadn't made much of a splash since the late 70s, released "Rocking in the Free World". It became an instant radio hit, a sing-along for 16 year old kids like me and gave Neil back his street cred. Best Canadian song of the 80s.

American Woman - The Guess Who
Without The Guess Who, would there be The Tragically Hip? Without The Guess Who, would there be a Rush, a Barenaked Ladies or an Our Lady Peace? These were the groundbreakers, the frontiersmen. When "American Woman" shot to the top of the charts, it represented a whole bunch of firsts. A Canadian band had released a bonafide smash hit that wasn't just awesome because they were from the Prairies but because it rocked. The Guess Who, with this success, paved the way for the success of Canadian bands to come and got many a youngun to pick up a guitar and jam in the garage on cold winter nights.

Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
This song is not only infectious with it's catchy melody but it has a social conscious. When I think about Canadian music, I think about this combination. It's appealing to the masses while saying something significant. Another artist who got her start in Toronto, Mitchell took folk to a whole new level and helped the woman voice in rock get heard. If you don't like Joni Mitchell, there truly is something wrong.

The last time I shared a list of this nature, I got hit with a bunch of "what about x" and "how could you put y on there" emails. It's a very subjective list and this is my best crack at it. If you're up for the challenge, Share your ten with me and I'll post them.

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Doing the Meme Right, 1993 Style

MusicThis morning, I listed the top 102 albums of 1993 according to CFNY and highlighted the ones I loved and crossed out the ones I hated. This was a spin on a meme and now I'll do it the way it was intended to be done.

The rules are simple. You enter the year you graduated from high school (that's 1993 for me) in the search function here and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year. Then, you bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. You do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

1. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston
2. Whoomp! (There It Is), Tag Team
3. Can't Help Falling In Love, UB40
4. That's The Way Love Goes, Janet Jackson
5. Freak, Silk
6. Weak, SWV
7. If I Ever Fall In Love, Shai
8. Dreamlover, Mariah Carey
9. Rump Shaker, Wreckx-N-Effect
10. Informer, Snow
11. Nuthin' But A "G" Thang, Dr. Dre
12. In The Still Of The Nite, Boyz II Men
13. Don't Walk Away, Jade
14. Knockin' Da Boots, H-Town
15. Lately, Jodeci
16. Dazzey Duks, Duice
17. Show Me Love, Robin S.
18. A Whole New World, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle
19. If, Janet Jackson
20. I'm So Into You, SWV
21. Love Is, Vanessa Willlams and Brian Mcknight
22. Runaway Train, Soul Asylum
23. I'll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me), Expose
24. Ditty, Paperboy
25. Rhythm Is A Dancer, Snap
26. The River Of Dreams, Billy Joel
27. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), Proclaimers
28. Two Princes, Spin Doctors
29. Right Here (Human Nature)-Downtown, SWV
30. I Have Nothing, Whitney Houston
31. Mr. Wendal, Arrested Development
32. Have I Told You Lately, Rod Stewart
33. Saving Forever For You, Shanice
34. Ordinary World, Duran Duran
35. If I Had No Loot, Tony! Toni! Tone!
36. I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), Meat Loaf
37. Slam, Onyx
38. Looking Through Patient Eyes, P.M. Dawn
39. I'm Every Woman, Whitney Houston
40. Baby I'm Yours, Shai
41. Come Undone, Duran Duran
42. I Don't Wanna Fight, Tina Turner
43. I'd Die Without You, P.M. Dawn
44. Whoot, There It Is, 95 South
45. Hip Hop Hooray, Naughty By Nature
46. Another Sad Love Song, Toni Braxton
47. Will You Be There, Michael Jackson
48. Comforter, Shil
49. Good Enough, Bobby Brown
50. What's Up, 4 Non Blondes
51. All That She Wants, Ace Of Base
52. 7, Prince and The New Power Generation
53. Dre Day, Dr. Dre
54. One Last Cry, Brian McKnight
55. Just Kickin' It, Xscape
56. I Get Around, 2Pac
57. Bed Of Roses, Bon Jovi
58. Real Love, Mary J. Blige
59. Here We Go Again!, Portrait
60. Cryin', Aerosmith
61. Cats In The Cradle, Ugly Kid Joe
62. What About Your Friends, TLC
63. I Got A Man, Positive K
64. Hey Mr. D.J., Zhane
65. Insane In The Brain, Cypress Hill
66. Deeper And Deeper, Madonna
67. Rain, Madonna
68. The Right Kind Of Love, Jeremy Jordan
69. Bad Boys, Inner Circle
70. That's What Love Can Do, Boy Krazy
71. Do You Believe In Us, Jon Secada
72. Angel, Jon Secada
73. Forever In Love, Kenny G
74. Again, Janet Jackson
75. Boom! Shake The Room, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince
76. When She Cries, Restless Heart
77. Sweat (A La La La La Long), Inner Circle
78. It Was A Good Day, Ice Cube
79. More And More, Captain Hollywood Project
80. How Do You Talk To An Angel, Heights
81. Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat), Digable Planets
82. What Is Love, Haddaway
83. To Love Somebody, Michael Bolton
84. Give It Up, Turn It Loose, En Vogue
85. Alright, Kris Kross
86. Check Yo Self, Ice Cube
87. Fields Of Gold, Sting
88. Ooh Child, Dino 89. Faithful w/ Go West
90. Reason To Believe, Rod Stewart
91. Break It Down Again, Tears For Fears
92. Nothin' My Love Can't Fix, Joey Lawrence
93. Three Little Pigs, Green Jelly
94. Livin' On The Edge, Aerosmith
95. Hey Jealousy, Gin Blossoms
96. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, Sting
97. Anniversary, Tony! Toni! Tone!
98. One Woman, Jade
99. Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Taylor Dayne
100. Two Steps Behind, Def Leppard

bold = Mike digs it the most!
crossed out = Mike hates it!

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My Personal Coming-Of-Age Film

MusicThe meme is out there, but Accordion Guy put a spin on it I dig so much I'm going to follow suit.

The challenge is to find the Top 100 songs from the year you graduated from high school, list 'em on your site, highlight the ones you like and cross out the ones you hate. You ignore the ones to which you're kind of indifferent. Accordion Guy did it with the CFNY year end chart from the year he graduated high school, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. It makes sense since that was my station in 1993 and there's a handy archive of old charts at The Spirit of Radio.

Using the Top 102 Albums of 1993 according to CFNY, here is the soundtrack from my personal coming-of-age film.

  1. *Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream : An awesome, play-through, tour de force, even after the piss off.
  2. *Nirvana - In Utero : You mean, this wasn't CFNY's number one?!?! WTF, what an album. I remember heading straight from class to Sam's to pick it up on the first day of its release.
  3. Depeche Mode - Songs Of Faith And Devotion
  4. *Pearl Jam - Vs. : You mean, this wasn't CFNY's number one?!?! WTF, what an album. I remember heading straight from class to Sam's to pick it up on the first day of its release.
  5. New Order - Republic
  6. *Radiohead - Pablo Honey : The album that spawned "Creep", still one of my favourites of all time.
  7. Breeders - Last Splash
  8. Catherine Wheel - Chrome
  9. *U2 - Zooropa
  10. Porno For Pyros - Porno For Pyros
  11. James - Laid
  12. *Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstacy : This is the album that made me fall in love with Sarah. Don't tell Taryn, but if Sarah decides she wants me, I'm there.
  13. Bjork - Debut
  14. Pet Shop Boys - Very
  15. *Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine : This album holds a very special place in my heart. It's definitely one of my ten favourite of all time and every time I hear it I get so excited it's embarrassing.
  16. Suede - Suede
  17. The The - Dusk
  18. Juliana Hatfield Three - Become What You Are
  19. The Cranberries - Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't I?
  20. Lemonheads - Come On Feel The Lemonheads
  21. P.J. Harvey - Rid Of Me
  22. *Stone Temple Pilots - Core : And I feel it... Great album from a band that got an unfair rep for busting Ed's style. It's all good.
  23. Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish
  24. Doughboys - Crush
  25. Adorable - Against Perfection
  26. Belly - Star
  27. Tea Party - Splendor Solis
  28. *Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way?
  29. hHead - Fireman
  30. *Tool - Undertow
  31. Kate Bush - The Red Shoes
  32. *I Mother Earth - Dig : My brothers made fun of me for liking this band, but I had a "So Gently We Go" moment at a cottage that summer and a "Levitate" moment during a wall ball game. Two future blogs perhaps?
  33. Dinosaur Jr- Where You Been
  34. Jane Siberry - When I Was A Boy
  35. *Various - 1993 CFNY New Music Search : This was a very cool mix that introduced me to Hayden. I blab and rave about "Take" here.
  36. *Tragically Hip - Fully Completely : The best album from my favourite band. Nuff said.
  37. *Blind Lemon - Blind Lemon
  38. Verve - A Storm In Heaven
  39. Frank Black - Frank Black
  40. Trash Can Sinatras - I've Seen Everything
  41. Midnight Oil - Earth And Sun And Moon
  42. 13 Engines - Perpetual Motion Machine
  43. Dead Can Dance - Into The Labyrinth
  44. Curve - Cuckoo
  45. Revolting Cocks - Linger Ficken' Good & Other...
  46. Swervedriver - Mescalhead
  47. Eric's Trip - Love Tara
  48. Wonder Stuff - Construction For The Modern Idiot
  49. Primus - Pork Soda
  50. *R.E.M - Automatic For The People : An album I dig for the haunting "Drive" and the introspective "Everybody Hurts".
  51. Concrete Blonde - Mexican Moon
  52. Front 242 - :06:21:03:11 Up Evil
  53. Matthew Sweet - Altered Beast
  54. Urge Overkill - Saturation
  55. Cocteau Twins - Four Calendar Cafe
  56. *Soul Asylum - Grave Dancer's Union : A play through that Taryn and I played all the time during our brief dating period.
  57. Spirit Of The West - Faithlift
  58. World Party - Bang!
  59. *Cracker - Kerosene Hat : Damn "Low" is a cool tune. This is another of my wall ball tunes.
  60. New Fast Automatic Daffodils - Body Exit Mind
  61. Odds - Bedbugs
  62. (missing)
  63. Jesus Jones - Perverse
  64. Beloved - Conscience
  65. Cranes - Jewel
  66. The Watchmen - McLaren Furnace Room
  67. The Fall - Infotainment Scan
  68. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Sport Fishin'
  69. Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Are You Normal?
  70. Hothouse Flowers - Songs From The Rain
  71. Mystery Machine - Glazed
  72. INXS - Full Moon Dirty Heart
  73. Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Don't Know How To Party
  74. Hunters & Collectors - Cut
  75. House Of Love - Audience With The Mind
  76. Daniel Lanois - For The Love Of Wynona
  77. Tears For Fears - Elemental
  78. Acid Test - Drop
  79. Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales
  80. Paul Weller - Wildwood
  81. Stereo MCs - Connected
  82. Ocean Blue - Beneath The Rhythm And Sound
  83. Revolver - Cold Water Flat
  84. Rose Chronicles - Dead And Gone To Heaven
  85. Waterboys - Dream Harder
  86. Machines Of Loving Grace - Concentration
  87. Bad Religion - Recipe For Hate
  88. *Crash Test Dummies - God Shuffled His Feet
  89. Peter Gabriel - Us
  90. Cowboy Junkies - Pale Sun, Crescent Moon
  91. UB40 - Promises & Lies
  92. Crash Vegas - Stone
  93. Dada - Puzzle
  94. Teenage Fanclub - Thirteen
  95. Moxy Fruvous - Bargainville
  96. Mae Moore - Bohemia
  97. Various - Stone Free
  98. Buffalo Tom - Big Red Letter Day
  99. *Various - Sweet Relief : "Crazy Mary" is one of my l0 tracks. Throw in that cool Soul Asylum tune and I'm in!
  100. Rymes With Orange - Peel
  101. Redd Kross - Phaseshifter
  102. Pursuit Of Happiness - The Downward Road

bold = Mike digs it the most!
crossed out = Mike hates it!
* = In my collection

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with our final block as I name artists and their definitive albums. This is it!

  • Weezer - The Blue Album
  • Whale - We Care
  • White Zombie - La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1
  • Willie Nelson - Red-Headed Stranger
  • Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers
  • Wreckx-N-Effect - Hard Or Smooth
  • Wyclef Jean - The Carnival
  • ZZ Top - Eliminator

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • The Watchmen - In The Trees
  • The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
  • The Who - Who's Next
  • Tom Cochrane - Mad Mad World
  • Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever
  • Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
  • U2 - The Joshua Tree
  • Van Halen - 1984
  • Van Morrison - Moondance
  • Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • The Fugees - The Score
  • The Guess Who - American Woman
  • The Offspring - Smash
  • The Police - Synchronicity
  • The Pretenders - Learning To Crawl
  • The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
  • The Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
  • The Steve Miller Band - Fly Like an Eagle
  • The Tragically Hip - Fully Completely
  • The Verve - Urban Hymns

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Stray Cats - Built For Speed
  • Supertramp - Breakfast In America
  • System of a Down - Toxicity
  • The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
  • The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • The Clash - London Calling
  • The Cranberries - No Need To Argue
  • The Doors - The Doors
  • The Eagles - Hotel California
  • The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin

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