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Best song of the last quarter century?
June 10, 2003 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Best song of the last quarter century? Ok, I liked the song when it came out,(Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit) and can still listen to it today. But, VH1 is saying it is the best song for the last quarter century. That, I have a problem with. It is going to take me some time to reflect on this and come up with some alternates. I thought you folks may have your own opinions as well. So, lets hear it, what do you think is the best song of the last quarter century?
posted by a3matrix (102 comments total)

 
Four words: "I get knocked down"
posted by condour75 at 5:45 PM on June 10, 2003


98. Hanson, "MMMBop"

MMMNo, I don't think so.

The top 100
posted by xiffix at 5:47 PM on June 10, 2003


Smells Like Teen Spirit is strangely significant, quickly recognizable, radio friendly and totally unique.

Best of the last quarter century? Maybe.

But I wonder how much of it's success has to do with Cobain taking a dose of lead at high velocity. If he were still cranking out thrashing hits would Smells Like Teen Spirit be anywhere near as groundbreaking?
posted by wfrgms at 5:47 PM on June 10, 2003


i am evil homer
posted by poopy at 5:47 PM on June 10, 2003


if i had my way, (which i never do), it'd be either Boa's "Duvet," or the Get Up Kids' "I'm A Loner Dottie, A Rebel."
posted by lotsofno at 5:51 PM on June 10, 2003


I don't think you'd be able to find any song, really, that would merit being named the best in the last 25 years purely on it's merits as a song.

That said, picking Smells Like Teen Spirit makes a lot of sense to me; it's what Mckagan said: "That was really a breakthrough for a great scene that had been going on for a long time up in Seattle. And it was kind of another victory, I think, for a misunderstood music, you know. The dam broke when 'Teen Spirit' came out."

Who knows what would've happened if Cobain had lived. Maybe he'd have done Smells Like Teen Spirit one better. But I think it's as good a pick as any.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 5:54 PM on June 10, 2003


I would have thought "Hungry Like the Wolf" would be much higher on the list.
posted by padraigin at 6:00 PM on June 10, 2003


It's impossible to work out really - what does best mean?

Does it mean "Has the best tune"?
Does it mean "Most popular"?
Does it mean "Sold the most copies"?
Does it mean "Most influential"?
Does it mean "Favourite song of the most number of people"?

I think Teen Spirit comes pretty close on a lot of those categories, but so could a lot of other songs. What about "Love will tear us apart" by Joy Division, or even "Anarchy in the UK" by the Sex Pistols? Both would come close to Teen Spirit in being the most influential, that's for sure. Probably more influential - Grunge is dead as a doornail, but the music inspired by Joy Division or the Sex Pistols continues to live on.
posted by Jimbob at 6:02 PM on June 10, 2003


where are the DeVinyl's? when i think about them i touch myself.
posted by quonsar at 6:03 PM on June 10, 2003


For comparison: The NPR 100, "the stories behind 100 of the most important American musical works of the 20th century", which aired on various NPR programs over the year 2000.
posted by dhartung at 6:10 PM on June 10, 2003


Clearly the judges had their taste buds stolen (their good ones, leaving the bad to form committees who form focus groups of their demographics who send persuasive graphs to the brain that kumara mush really does taste as good as strawberry icecream)... britney spears... goo goo dolls... backstreet boys want it that way... the aerosmith song from the asteroid-gonna-0wn-earth movie...

But back to the theme... 100 top tv shows... what's your favourite tv show? Whatever it is, it's stupid, and you eat poo, and your parents eat poo.
posted by holloway at 6:11 PM on June 10, 2003


I have no problem with "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at #1, significance-wise. But yeah, Jimbob, I would have replaced "Billie Jean" with "London Calling" or "Anarchy in the UK", and had Michael Jackson at #3 (with anything else). Also, “Sexual Healing” and “Start Me Up” deserve to be way higher.
posted by hippugeek at 6:19 PM on June 10, 2003


Since 25 years coincides with AD (after disco) and when factoring in a prior VH1 list it would seem that the higher ratio of good music falls in the first 15 years of the last forty. Or something like that.
posted by mss at 6:31 PM on June 10, 2003


I would have replaced "Billie Jean" with "London Calling" or "Anarchy in the UK", and had Michael Jackson at #3 (with anything else)

Well sure, if you were doing the top songs of the past 25 years in Imaginary Land.

I love the Clash, and I love the Pistols, and I am not and have never been a fan of mainstream pop music, not even when I was a kid. But it would be silly to pretend that Michael Jackson isn't far more important than the Clash. And that's including the criteria of "Influential".

I do think that this list, like every other VH-1 Top Something Or Other list, tries way too hard to be balanced. The truth is that years can go by without a single popular song that really ends up sticking. Entire musical genres can fade in and out of popularity without ever leaving a real mark. So why try so hard to represent everything?

Except, of course, it gives dorks like us something to bitch about.
posted by padraigin at 6:36 PM on June 10, 2003


Yeah, I'm perfectly content with Smells Like Teen Spirit being at #1. Nirvana is right up there on my Best Bands Ever list.
posted by tomorama at 6:40 PM on June 10, 2003


-geezer alert-

As one who came of age in the sixties, I find this list a little depressing. This is the best of the last quarter of a century? I guess Teen Spirit is a good choice - although I thought Lithium more brilliant.

I think the best song should be a Prince tune, but I wouldn't tag Doves as his best, although the lack of a bass line is innovative. I'd vote for his "Kiss." Smart, sassy, feminist, and beautiful. And you can dance to it.
posted by kozad at 6:40 PM on June 10, 2003


Okay, these lists are always rubbish, but:

"Under Pressure," instead of the many David Bowie solo tracks that are much better? (The boundary starts at 1978, so replace that with "Heroes.")

Radiohead's "Creep" instead of "Paranoid Android"? Shame.

No Tears for Fears in an '80s pop music list? Horrors! I believe I'll go listen to Songs From the Big Chair right now.
posted by Prospero at 6:41 PM on June 10, 2003


Overall, the list is ok. I'm glad to see my boys DMB represented at #71 with Crash Into Me (although they have better songs).

Songs that need to be stricken from that record and forgotten about:

16. No Doubt, "Don't Speak"
28. Britney Spears, "... Baby One More Time"
61. Backstreet Boys, "I Want It That Way"
65. Nelly, "Hot in Herre"
98. Hanson, "MMMBop"

Also, I'm fully aware that I'll catch some flames for this, but I'll say it anyway: If Radiohead has to be on the list, I'm glad that they're at least on the bottom. They're terribly overrated, in my opinion.
posted by tomorama at 6:47 PM on June 10, 2003


What was so great about Smells Like Teen Spirit? The song doesn't even make any sense. Color me one of the people who got royally sick of having that song crammed down my throat at every opportunity for far too long a time.

Lithium I liked though.
posted by beth at 6:49 PM on June 10, 2003


Best major-label song, past 25 years: When Doves Cry. I'd have trouble ranking the other 99, but for me #1 is easy. When I first heard that song it was like hearing some fantastic, crazy music from the future that didn't belong with all the other music. I can still listen to it and get the same feeling.
posted by delapohl at 6:50 PM on June 10, 2003


Ah, this is way too subjective. I couldn't begin to pick a song. The whole point of these lists is the resulting discussion and generated interest in songs one has never heard about. However, it's definitely a worthwhile discussion, unlike that generated by People's Most Beautiful People list.
posted by orange swan at 6:51 PM on June 10, 2003


Bah. I don't post here very often, but it makes me ill that the GooGoo Dolls made the list and that there is not a single Replacements song to be found. Not that I'm surprised, but a whole slew of those bands owe more than most people will ever realize to the Replacements. Including Nirvana and their number one song.
posted by broeker at 6:52 PM on June 10, 2003


Also, that Dream Theater wasn't on that list somewhere is a crime.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 6:54 PM on June 10, 2003


I just realized, this is the second time I've ever agreed with the #1 choice on one of these "Best Ever" lists. The last time was in the late 90's, when Electronic Gaming Monthly named Tetris #1 of the top 100 video games.
posted by tomorama at 6:54 PM on June 10, 2003


Dire Straits - "Money For Nothing"
Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Blondie - "Heart of Glass"
KISS - "I Was Made For Loving You"

I'd pick any of these over "Teen Spirit". Heck, even Weird Al's "Smells Like Nirvana" version is better.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:59 PM on June 10, 2003


Two caveats first: I have not read the whole list, and don't intend to because they just make me mad when I read them. Also, I am not really much of a Nirvana fan.

However, when I think of "best song of the last x years", I think of songs that both capture and alter the spirit of the times, and Smells Like Teen Spirit certainly did that. I can't think of another song that has a stronger claim to that criteria, at least.
posted by Hildago at 7:08 PM on June 10, 2003


Richard Thompson was asked to come up with the the best songs of the millennium by playboy magazine. He knew they meant the best songs of the last half century, but he took them up on the offer and started in the 13th century. Playboy of course decided not to print his list, but what came from it was a show he does playing these songs. I got to see him perform "So Ben Mi Ca Bon Tempo", a 1500's Italian song by someone he called "The Fiona Apple of the 16th century", and it was fantastic. And, Kozad, he did include Prince's "Kiss". That said, those "top" lists usually suck.
posted by Eekacat at 7:09 PM on June 10, 2003


"Is There Something I Should Know" by Duran Duran.

or

"Ready to Go" by Republica.
posted by davidmsc at 7:17 PM on June 10, 2003


I'm surprised "There She Goes" by the La's isn't in there. First thing that popped in my head.
posted by dmo at 7:29 PM on June 10, 2003


Clearly, the best song of the last 25 years is "God bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. Anyone who disagrees is with the terrorists.

dhoyt- relax or you'll end up like me.
posted by drstrangelove at 7:43 PM on June 10, 2003


Let the battle begin. There are so many songs on that list that should be banned from regular radio rotation, but since I am not the Minister of Audiology (yet), I cannot make that happen.

When my ministry DOES take office, however, Hansen, Britney, GooGoo Dolls, and other assorted trash shall be tossed into the fires of hell and replaced with respectable music.

Of course, I'm in Travislandia at the moment, so please forgive my rant...
posted by tgrundke at 7:44 PM on June 10, 2003


They just cut off Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" from 1977, so this list has no validity on the "greatest song" category.

Carry on.
posted by yhbc at 7:47 PM on June 10, 2003


i honestly think that the greatest crime there is the inclusion of a Cyndi Lauper track. Maybe if the list was 'Greatest 80s Novelty Rock Flash-in-the-pans"..

and Guns'n'Roses at #3? "My Sharona"?

then again, as the article clearly states, this was chosen by VH1 execs, so I think a grain (boulder) of salt is required.

at least they gave Rick "Rope, Rock, Rape" James a spot on the list.
posted by badzen at 7:50 PM on June 10, 2003


"White Man in Hammersmith Palais"— no arguments accepted. "Born Slippy" comes in second. There is no third place.

We got it tomorama. Promise.
posted by yerfatma at 7:52 PM on June 10, 2003


This list is so VH-1.

I don't know, I'll grant 'em most of the artists just because, but the songs, man... "Sweet Child O' Mine" vs. "Welcome to the Jungle," "One" vs. "Pride (In the Name of Love)" or others, "Jump" vs., I don't know, pick one, "Hot for Teacher", same deal for "Losing My Religion", just don't pick "Stand" and I won't have to kill you...

Total shutout for mopey Brit rock. No Cure, no Smiths, no New Order...daaamn.

Most bilious reaction:

"Mo Money Mo Problems"? Geeeyugh! Pick a fricking Jay-Z song or something! Heck, even Juvenile. God, people.
posted by furiousthought at 7:54 PM on June 10, 2003


Tism.
Whatareya?
posted by balinx at 7:55 PM on June 10, 2003


REM: "Find the River." Songs just don't get much better than that.
posted by davebush at 8:00 PM on June 10, 2003


Is grunge *really* dead? Or did it just go Christian? Unless you're completely determined that the criteria for being "grunge" include coming from Seattle in the late '80s or early '90s, I'd say Creed, Puddle of Mudd and Live (lately at least) are considerably more "grunge" than anything Pearl Jam's done post-"Ten."

And as for the best song of the past 25 years, why not "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five? I'd argue that it casts a lot longer shadow than "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

Davidmsc: "Is There Something I Should Know"? How about "Hungry Like The Wolf"?
posted by arto at 8:04 PM on June 10, 2003


VH1 is to musical taste as cutting off my arm is to healthy living. You can replace VH1 with MTV/Rolling Stone/Spin as well! I guess I'll randomly recommend a few songs I perceive to be better than Kurt Cobain trying to rip off the Pixies.

Aphex Twin - Girl-Boy Song
Godspeed You Black Emperor! - Sleep
Mogwai - 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
posted by Darke at 8:07 PM on June 10, 2003


Girl-Boy song (and the remixes) are snappy.
posted by holloway at 8:24 PM on June 10, 2003


Anyone who thinks Cyndi Lauper is a flash in the pan has never seen her jump off the stage at Radio City while 8 months pregnant, run up and down the aisles, and belt out a ballad to shame every diva at the Met, on Broadway or on VH-1, for that matter.
posted by divrsional at 8:24 PM on June 10, 2003


....Creed, Puddle of Mudd and Live....

Puddle of Mudd, maybe. Sorta. Audioslave is pretty good (as far as Soundgarden clones go), and you might try Buckcherry for the same sort of feel.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 8:29 PM on June 10, 2003


Best song.......Most trenchant? Prophetic? Popular?

I'll opt for one of two Peter Gabriel songs.

"Fear, Mother of Violence" (the title says it all, really.)

and

"Here comes the flood"

[ Refrain:
"Lord, here comes the flood......We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood.
If again, the seas are silent and any still alive..... It'll be those who gave their island to survive.
Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry."]

Not party songs, these. So again my question: songs of escapism? Songs of realism? Of prophecy? Of adolescent angst?
posted by troutfishing at 8:30 PM on June 10, 2003


Complain (with good reason) all you want about the entries, but this whole list makes sense if you think of it as "mostly likely to be heard blasting from a car stereo in your high school parking lot" in the respective era in which the songs were released.
posted by deanc at 8:31 PM on June 10, 2003


I'd say Creed, Puddle of Mudd and Live (lately at least) are considerably more "grunge" than anything Pearl Jam's done post-"Ten."

Guh. I won't argue that Pearl Jam is no longer grunge, but don't hand the torch to Creed. They're...shiny. Grunge is not shiny.

You might convince me to replace "Losing My Religion" with "Nightswimming" or "Radio Free Europe." Maybe.
posted by hippugeek at 8:32 PM on June 10, 2003


deanc - I totally agree.

But I'd still nominate something like those Gabriel songs, or perhaps The Dead Kennedy's "Kill the Poor".
posted by troutfishing at 9:09 PM on June 10, 2003


I think it is the most important, even if I despise the band, the song, and thank god there will be no more:

1). I believe that Nirvana simultaneously killed both metal and punk rock, single-handedly, with that song. Music changed forever afterward. Not even Metallica could save metal, not to mention themselves.

2). Consider the last 25 years, which means 1978. Not 1968 or, 1958... Like someone said earlier, it's post disco. Which means that commercially, there isn't going to be much anyone really likes all that well or, can agree upon. So, you either have to go with the raw sales numbers or, the most important "turning point song."

3). We've all grossly underestimated Courtney's powers as a media "mogul".
posted by Dean_Paxton at 9:24 PM on June 10, 2003


davebush - good call, "Find the River" is definately up there for a plain and simple "Best Song" award. It's amazing how quickly one forgets. Unfortunately, of course, the song was never a single so it's pretty much automatically disqualified from a list like this.

TISM? The History of Western Civilization. Of course.
posted by Jimbob at 9:25 PM on June 10, 2003


Yelling At Nothing - Thank you.
posted by ArsncHeart at 9:28 PM on June 10, 2003


Hmmm. I gotta go with what Hildago said here - if 'best' means 'one of the greats that both captures what has gone before and casts its shadow on all that comes after', then yes, Smells Like Teen Spirit deserves to be that #1 song despite it not being close to Nirvana's best.

Grunge may now be dead - but post-punk is the big upcoming thing (although punk of the 80s was referred to as post-punk then, so I guess it might be better termed post-post-punk) now and it inherits from both grunge and punk. Nirvana bridged punk and grunge (or 'alternative' back when that word meant something) thus grandfathered what we're about to see in music (ie Trail of the Dead, Interpol) as much anyone else has claim to.

Smells Like Teen Spirit as #1? OK, I think there's tracks I enjoyed more, but in an overall sense this is probably the best of a very hard choice. Pixies deserve it more, to be sure, but . . . history is written by Darwin's selected, and those who write it now selected Nirvana long ago.
posted by Ryvar at 9:29 PM on June 10, 2003


De gustibus non disputandum etc.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:35 PM on June 10, 2003


Ryvar, I think Interpol can probably thank Joy Division, and Trail of Dead can probably thank Sonic Youth more than either one owes a debt to Nirvana.

Although, one could argue I suppose that Nirvana exposed Sonic Youth to the world. It's a sordid little affair, isn't it?
posted by Jimbob at 9:54 PM on June 10, 2003


Indeed. Note 'grandfathered' there re: Trail of Dead, you're right Sonic Youth is definitely their direct progenitor. Interpol have previously and will continue to loudly disclaim your (and everyone else's) Joy Division linking - that Ian Banks thing is entirely a coincidence, damnit.
posted by Ryvar at 10:00 PM on June 10, 2003


I don't know, I'll grant 'em most of the artists just because, but the songs, man... "Sweet Child O' Mine" vs. "Welcome to the Jungle," "One" vs. "Pride (In the Name of Love)"

I think "One" and "Sweet Child..." were both bigger songs and that seems to be the only real point of this list. These are all big songs. I am just shocked that "Everything I Do" by Bryan Adams isn't near the top of the list. It is easy to try and turn this into a favorites thing though, I would love to see "Stay (Faraway So Close)" in place of U2's "One" and "Red Rain" in place of Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" and for that matter, "Give In To Me" or a dozen other MJ songs in place of "Billie Jean" and well, "Sweet Dreams" over "Here Comes The Rain Again" is an outrage!

*shrugs*
posted by bargle at 10:14 PM on June 10, 2003


I never thought I'd find myself defending Cyndi Lauper, but "Time After Time" has shown some amazing longevity--it's been picked up by enough people (Cassandra Wilson is the only one who readily comes to mind) to qualify as a quasi-standard.
posted by muckster at 10:55 PM on June 10, 2003


Hmm. Not a single country song. Shania Twain's "You're Still the One" doesn't count.
posted by hippugeek at 11:33 PM on June 10, 2003


Stop right there! I wanna know right now...
why isn't "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" #1?
It's like a whole mini-opera in one 7 minute rock/pop song. Plus, it even has quasi-porn music in it (during the announcer part).
It does lose points, however, for being used now in a car commercial.
posted by adrober at 12:39 AM on June 11, 2003


Jimbob: two posts now and still no mention of Carter USM. Surely Sheriff Fatman should be on the list?

More seriously though, nothing from Aphex Twin, Underworld or Orbital on this list? Why not just ignore eletronica entirely? Oh, they did?

I will always love you the 8th greatest song of the last 25 years? *fetches rifle*
posted by dmt at 1:58 AM on June 11, 2003


Best major-label song, past 25 years: When Doves Cry. I'd have trouble ranking the other 99, but for me #1 is easy. When I first heard that song it was like hearing some fantastic, crazy music from the future that didn't belong with all the other music. I can still listen to it and get the same feeling.

I feel exactly the same about 'Running Up That Hill' and 'Cloudbusting' by Kate Bush, although I wouldn't put them in any kind of chart with mere normal music.
posted by Summer at 2:06 AM on June 11, 2003


I got to see [Richard Thompson] perform "So Ben Mi Ca Bon Tempo", a 1500's Italian song by someone he called "The Fiona Apple of the 16th century"

That'll be Orazio Vecci. The song is here if you like dots.
posted by monkey closet at 2:18 AM on June 11, 2003


DMT, yes of course Carter are the best, but alas, i doubt they'd have a snowball's chance in hell of making any lists. I'd have to vote for "After the Watershed" though, of course, if only because it pissed off the Rolling Stones so damn much.
posted by Jimbob at 2:26 AM on June 11, 2003


I saw Carter for under a quid in the Joiner's Arms, Southampton. Then they got famous.

They were still crap, but I spent a lot less money finding out...
posted by monkey closet at 2:28 AM on June 11, 2003


I never thought I'd find myself defending Cyndi Lauper, but "Time After Time" has shown some amazing longevity--it's been picked up by enough people (Cassandra Wilson is the only one who readily comes to mind) to qualify as a quasi-standard.

Miles Davis recorded "Time after Time" too. (Imagines Miles with a hanky, watching the video on MTV and daubing his eyes).
posted by crunchburger at 3:38 AM on June 11, 2003


This list is a slap in the face to angry lesbian folk music.
posted by holloway at 3:49 AM on June 11, 2003


what a crock. still I got the wav of I am evil Homer.

worthy. nice one poopy.
posted by Frasermoo at 4:01 AM on June 11, 2003


Cobain refused to play the damn song live exactly because he understood that, one day, it was going to end up in first place in a fucking VH-1 "best-of" poll, voted overwhelmingly by people who actually like Bryan Adams

the song also ended up (thanks, mrs Love) as a musical punchline in Moulin Rouge. when you check most Nirvana fans iPods (et similia) it's probably the one missing Cobain song.

I guess that a Grammy/Oscar-winning Phil Collins "Teen Spirit" cover is not that far ahead in the future. or maybe a Timberlake/Aguilera duet
posted by matteo at 4:27 AM on June 11, 2003


'Anarchy in the UK' doesn't qualify; it was released in 1976. Neither does 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 1975.

Ridiculous that 'How Soon is Now' isn't on there, and I'm not even a Smiths fan. Still, as a summary of 25 years of the American Top 40 it could be worse. At least there's no '(Everything I Do) I Do It For You'.
posted by rory at 4:32 AM on June 11, 2003


For me, being an old sod, Smells Like Teen Spirit was the end of something, not the beginning.

Best song of the last 25 years? ACDC It's a Long Way To the Top If You Wanna Rock and Roll
posted by dydecker at 4:57 AM on June 11, 2003


Shit, It's A Long Way to the Shop if You Want A Sausage Roll was 1976. Scratch that. The best song of the blah blah blah, definitively of course, was The Mekons Where Were You?
posted by dydecker at 5:02 AM on June 11, 2003


A little outside of the 25-year range, but I feel compelled to mention The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again."

If the lyrics to this song could be branded on the brains of every human on the planet, the world would be a better place.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:21 AM on June 11, 2003


Not at all convinced by SLTS, much as I love the song. Rock around the clock was written 47 years ago, and yet you'd be hard pressed to find someone who didn't recocgnize it today. Not so sure that in 2050 so many people will recognize SLTS.

I think it's obvious the only song from the last 25 years anyone will remember in 2050 is The bushes scream while my daddy prunes by the Very Things. You wait people, the revival is just around the corner.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:49 AM on June 11, 2003


Ah, man, the only thing these lists are good for is giving us the opportunity to reestablish our own personal top 100 lists...songs which, at various points in our lives, asserted some sort of tangible influence on our lives. And they give us a chance to grind our teeth, complain, and showcase how music-literate we are.
That said, "Best" is a ridiculous tag for this list. Although I absolutely agree with the peeps who gave shout-outs to "Here Comes the Flood" and "Find the River" and "Paranoid Android." Maybe in some kind of cooler, more soulful alternate universe they'd have made the cut. And in that universe, Creed would be changing my oil at Jiffy Lube.
posted by ghastlyfop at 6:24 AM on June 11, 2003


Smells Like Teen Spirit was the end of something, not the beginning

Too bloody right. The end of this... and this. Hallelujah. (Admittedly, a few decent tracks on those charts, but they're few and far between.) If we're going to get nostalgic for old time rock'n'roll, let's at least acknowledge how utterly dire the late '80s/early '90s were for popular music. Nirvana didn't overthrow the Who, or the Pistols, or whatever one's authentic rebel band of choice may be... they overthrew the evil plastic pop drones who had dominated the charts for ten years.

(All apologies if those evil plastic pop drones were your bands of choice.)
posted by rory at 6:39 AM on June 11, 2003


I guess that a Grammy/Oscar-winning Phil Collins "Teen Spirit" cover is not that far ahead in the future. or maybe a Timberlake/Aguilera duet

I wish I was joking: Tori Amos already does an utterly crap cover of the song. Well, maybe utterly crap is unfair, but I sure don't think it works as a lush, solo piano ballad.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:41 AM on June 11, 2003


I disagree about Britney S and the Backstreet Boys and Hanson, but to make for an interesting TV show they had to take popularity into account. With that in mind, they certainly could have done a lot worse
posted by fjom at 6:42 AM on June 11, 2003


This is silly, but for my money: The Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel.
posted by Pinwheel at 6:48 AM on June 11, 2003


I didn't know which song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was, so I downloaded it. It's OK, but...best song? At the first chorus, I realized I'd heard it before and never knew its title. Evidently hadn't been all that memorable to me. I guess I'm manifestly uncool. Or the emperor has no clothes. Or maybe the clothes have no emperor.
posted by alumshubby at 6:51 AM on June 11, 2003


Also, that Dream Theater wasn't on that list somewhere is a crime.

as much as I love Dream Theater, they've really only been influence to other musicians.
posted by GeekAnimator at 7:16 AM on June 11, 2003


I wonder why nobody commented on the inclusion of Destiny's Child, when any number of songs by En Vogue would have been better suited for this list. "Free Your Mind" is the first one that came to me.

Hanson, Britney, the GooGoo Dolls, and the Backstreet Boys, while extremely popular, have no place on a "Best of" anything list.
posted by LouMac at 7:52 AM on June 11, 2003


most notable omission, understanding that these have to be songs with some sort of chart impact: Groove is in the Heart.

I'd of put Kiss as the Prince song. And I'd have put it in the top three.

I'm a bit baffled as to favoring ballads- Sweet Child, Time After Time and Don't Speak are all inferior to those hitmakers other hits.

Really, the Cure or the Smiths or someone mopey should be in there.
posted by bendybendy at 7:55 AM on June 11, 2003


I remember being in a car when "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came on the radio, and a rebel guy, a prep guy, & a hippie girl in the car with me (a multi-racial Breakfast Club with wildly divergent music collections) all yelled "Turn it up! Turn it up!" That's when I knew the song was really something.

I like the Tori Amos version, too.
posted by rainbaby at 8:00 AM on June 11, 2003


The Bad Plus, a piano-bass-drums jazz trio, does a great cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (30 second Real Audio clip) on their latest album. Also, Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and Aphex Twin's "Flim".
posted by Asparagirl at 8:07 AM on June 11, 2003


Nothing by Los Lobos? Most songs from "Kiko" deserve to be in the Top 100 Songs list. Especially "Saint Behind the Glass." Just because it wasn't a hit single doesn't mean it's not a great, great song.
posted by Holden at 8:12 AM on June 11, 2003


My list of zeitgeist defining tunes would have to include A Guy Called Gerald's 'Voodoo Ray', (the techno fan's Anarchy...), and 'Buffalo Gals' by Malcom McLaren, which surely was the lever into the mainstream for hip-hop in the UK.

For further reading, may I recommend This Is Uncool, (The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk and Disco)? I am on a mission to collect all 500; 23 to go...
posted by punilux at 8:21 AM on June 11, 2003


The end of this... and this. Hallelujah.

Sadly not. The zombies returned.

'Best' is a matter of taste, of course. And it's easy to say that SLTS was probably the most influential/significant chart single of the last, um, 15 years, but extend back into the 80s, and you have The Smiths, Joy Division, etc etc. And I have a sneaking love for 'Setting Sun', which sums up the misplaced euphoria of the mid-90s for me. (I like Tom Ewing's take on the 1990s, too, especially when he talks about the 'confidence trick' that was Britpop, in the light of the Chemical Brothers.)

Oh, but where the fuck is 'I Should Be So Lucky'?
posted by riviera at 8:32 AM on June 11, 2003


Sadly not. The zombies returned.

And 1993 was just as bad, come to that. But we can dream...

(Nirvana wouldn't top my list - not sure who would - but they're a fair proxy for everything indie.)
posted by rory at 8:40 AM on June 11, 2003


Great link btw, riviera, and blimey, 'Common People' isn't anywhere on the VH-1 list; for shame.
posted by rory at 8:48 AM on June 11, 2003


"There is a Light that Never Goes Out", best song since the dawn of mankind.
posted by 111 at 9:18 AM on June 11, 2003


This is silly, but for my money: The Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel.

Not silly at all. It fulfills the "greatest song" part but falls short in the "VH1" requirement.

There's always "My baloney has a first name..."
posted by billder at 9:19 AM on June 11, 2003


I think the best song should be a Prince tune, but I wouldn't tag Doves as his best, although the lack of a bass line is innovative. I'd vote for his "Kiss." Smart, sassy, feminist, and beautiful. And you can dance to it.

Best major-label song, past 25 years: When Doves Cry. I'd have trouble ranking the other 99, but for me #1 is easy. When I first heard that song it was like hearing some fantastic, crazy music from the future that didn't belong with all the other music. I can still listen to it and get the same feeling.


Both correct! How many people's lament over their relationship with their parents made for a great summertime song?
posted by anildash at 9:27 AM on June 11, 2003


I found an old, old tape of mine last night that had a recording off of the radio of one of Nirvana's final concerts.

I blew my mind just how DAMN GOOD it still was.
(performance-wise of course - the audio quality wasn't bad either.)

I have no problem putting Nirvana on top.

There's no sense playing the 'what if Kurt had lived . . .' game. He didn't.
posted by cinderful at 9:35 AM on June 11, 2003


Until I live a century I won't know. Best as in: written, popularity or concept. Teen Spirt was a deodorant, so does deodorant get the glory here?

Take The Beetles, wrote their tunes to be a round 3 minutes long. The songs were shorter than most attention spans at the time so when heard over & over did not become old. This a reason they had so many hits off of one album.
songs are great, yet if they're to be sold in an album, I want to listen to an entire album, not just a song. Or a bunch a songs that hum the same to the tune of a broken record.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:38 AM on June 11, 2003


If it's "Best Song," shouldn't Dolly Parton get credit for #8 (Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You)? Can a cover really be one of the best songs in the last 25 years?
posted by Frank Grimes at 10:24 AM on June 11, 2003


AND THE NOMINEES ARE...
What a Wonderful World, By Louis Armstrong

Scroll down for a list of covers of this great song. My favorite by far is Joey Ramone's. (>_<)
http://www.coversproject.com/artist/Louis%20Armstrong
posted by xtian at 10:45 AM on June 11, 2003


If they say best songs of the last 25 years and they include hip hop songs then 25 better hip hop songs then the ones they chose are as follows...in no order.

GrandMaster Flash and the Furious 5- The Message
Sugar Hill Gang- 8th Wonder
Afrika Bambatta- Planet Rock
LL Cool J- Rock the Bells
Run DMC- Peter Piper
Stetsasonic- Go Stetsa I
Schooly D- Saturday Night
Gangstarr- DWYCK
De La Soul- Buddy
Jungle Brothers- Straight Out the Jungle
Eric B. and Rakim- I Aint No Joke
BDP- The Bridge is Over
Big Daddy Kane- Aint No Half Steppin
Marly Marl- The Symphony
MC Shan- The Bridge
Black Sheep- The Choice is Yours (Revisited)
Souls of Mischief- That's When You Lost
Del- Catch a Bad One
Freestyle Fellowship- Innercity Boundries
Nas- One Love
Jurrassic 5- Jayou
NWA- Express Yourself
Lord Finesse- Return of the Funky One
Beastie Boys- Hey Ladies
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince- Brand New Funk
Salt N Peppa- Push It
Tribe Called Quest- Can I Kick It
posted by LouieLoco at 10:50 AM on June 11, 2003


The Dead Kennedy's "Kill the Poor"

*cough* Holiday in Cambodia.

Play ethnicky jazz
to parade your snazz
on your five grad stereo
Bragging that you know
how the n****** feel cold
And the slums go so much soul
It's time to taste what you most fear
Right Guard will not help you here...


Thank you.
posted by jokeefe at 10:59 AM on June 11, 2003


"The Book of Love" or "I Don't Wanna Get Over You" by Magnetic Fields.
posted by dhoyt at 12:43 PM on June 11, 2003


Nah, I'd pick "Papa Was A Rodeo" instead.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:47 PM on June 11, 2003


(...or "Orgasm Addict" by the Buzzcocks...what can I say, I'm a romantic)
posted by dhoyt at 12:56 PM on June 11, 2003


Sadly not. The zombies returned.

That reminds me: "This Will Be Our Year" by the Zombies"
posted by dhoyt at 1:34 PM on June 11, 2003


Tiny Tim had a great song (a few years too old for this contest) which he would sing while playing a Ukelele. It was called "The Icecaps are melting" and the lyrics went something like this:

"The Icecaps are melting, o ho ho ho. All the world is drowning, o ho ho ho."

Well the icecaps are melting !
posted by troutfishing at 8:30 PM on June 11, 2003


Hey thanks for reminding me, troutfishing, John Denver: Leaving on a Jet Plane...he left in his ultra-light plane. Or, Rocky Mountain High, ever flown over the Rockies? Ok, this was my cheese to this whiz.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:20 PM on June 12, 2003


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