Bring The Noise.

A couple weeks ago while driving from . . . somewhere (I have a mind like a sieve), Dave and I had the radio on.  It may have been August for all I know, and the presence of Christmas songs on at least two stations doesn’t really help identify the season anymore, now does it?  I heard next year they plan to just skip Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving and wind up the Bing Crosby around April.  You can have a White Christmas when it’s 112 and you’re sweating your mammaries off.

Before I find myself neck deep in a Christmas rant – and really, let’s save that for another post – back to the topic at hand!  The Beatles came on the radio, as they are wont to do fifty trillion times a day, and Dave and I started talking about “Yesterday” as the quintessential, perfect pop song.  Something to keep in mind:  David and I generally don’t agree on music.  We meet up here and there, but it doesn’t happen all that often.  In fact, usually when we start talking music a slap fight ensues with words like POTTY HEAD and DOODY FACE flung back and forth.  These hurtful things take days to overcome, as they tear our confidence down and make us hollow shells of the craptastic people we were before.

The Yesterday thing made us realize, though, that if two assholes like us could agree it’s perfect, other normal people might say so too.  Of course, from there we went on to talk about other perfect songs, and how genre effects what might be considered perfect.  We both said Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” would probably be a perfect rock song, for example (no, not hard rock or metal, but just old fashioned rock.  Put your horns away, Reuben).  It’s catchy, it’s got the essential rock guitar solo, and it’s stood the test of time.

The logical question is “What makes a perfect song?”  Before I get into identifying “the rules”, keep something in mind:  the topic is subjective, so the rules are subjective as well.  You may not LIKE my rules, but these are the rules David and I played by, and as such, they’re the rules I’m laying out for this post.  That said, onward.  I don’t want to cop out and say “you’ll know a perfect song when you hear it”, but you probably will.  It’s a combination of catchy melody, a great singer, a balance between vocals and music, and lyrics.  If a retarded squirrel wrote your lyrics, it probably isn’t perfect.  If it’s one of those songs where the band just spits out the same section of lyrics on repeat fifty times?  It probably isn’t perfect.  It’s a song that even if you’re not a fan of a genre, you can say “yeah, I can see why you’d say that’s perfect”.  It’s a song that will stand the test of time, and will be played fifty years from now when we’re all old and crumbly and pooping ourselves in the Old Folks Home (which sadly, negates obscure/Indie stuff because it didn’t get radio play in the first place).

Obviously, music is one of those things based on opinion, so I’m sure people won’t agree with my list.  Better yet, I’m sure they’ll think of songs that should be added that I didn’t think of.  If that’s the case, share in the comments.  What I’d ask is if you want to put a song up there as perfect, you tell me which genre and why it should be there.  If you feel that the damn thing warrants a perfect label, you should be able to say why.  Oh, and if you’re feeling crazy, link the song.

Without further ado:

Hillary’s Perfect Song List

* Added later as I remembered them

** Added after a recommendation by other people and I begrudgingly admit other humans have good ideas too

All right.  I know I’m missing things, so I may update as the list comes creeping back into my brain, but it’s a good starting cluster.  Now gimme more, folks.  Tell me those perfect songs.  Or, if you don’t agree with one of these songs as perfect, feel free to say why (reasons like RAP IS SHIT don’t count, btw).

Bring it!

56 thoughts on “Bring The Noise.”

    1. It’s not mainstream enough, sadly. I love them, I really do, but I say that band name and get WTF from people a lot of the time. 😦

  1. Hotel California – Eagles
    Enter Sandman (though you’ve already got Metallica on there)
    Rio – Duran Duran
    Life is Highway
    Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
    Name – Goo Goo Dolls
    Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz

    *digs through iPoD

    1. I debated the Metallica contribution simply because I was stuck between the Unforgiven and Enter Sandman and opted for The Unforgiven in the end.

      For grunge rock, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit might be up there, though I’ll admit to being a little ignorant to a lot of the genre. I know Pearl Jam’s Black was amazing, though, and I wonder . . . who’s better?

      The Eagles Hotel California should probably be on there. Still mulling over the other ones.

      1. While I thought the Seattle grunge scene was grossly overrated, I contend that Soundgarden was better than both Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

      1. No. Way. Soundgarden is in no way shape or form better than Nirvana or Pearl Jam. NEVER!

        No, but really. Pearl Jam Black belongs on the list.

  2. Blondie – Call Me
    Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
    Squeeze – Tempted
    Echo & the Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar
    ELO – Don’t Bring Me Down
    Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield
    Flo-Rida – Low
    Go Go’s – Vacation
    Golden Earring – Twilight Zone
    Grand Master Flash – White Lines
    Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing
    Clarence Carter – Strokin’

    I could go on!

    1. I am totally loving on Squeeze, Pat Benny, ELO and Flo-Rida in particular. The last? I didn’t even think of, but that song absolutely gets everyone dancing every time, doesn’t it.

  3. Fine choices. I can get behind 91.666666666% of them. (That’s 22 out of the 24 currently listed at the time of this comment, for those keeping track at home.) Can’t dig the 2Pac or the Michael Jackson ones, but that’s purely me hating on them, so there it is.

    But what about these that are sadly not on the list?

    Frank Sinatra – New York, New York
    Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds
    Allman Brothers – Ramblin’ Man
    Lynard Skynard – The Ballad of Curtis Loew or Simple Man

    And just to throw a little synthesized 80’s pop in my mix….

    Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me)

  4. Procul Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale
    Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal/Thriller
    The Doors – Riders on the Storm
    Derek & the Domino’s – Layla
    Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water
    Everlast – What it’s Like
    Guns n’ Roses – Welcome to the Jungle
    Iron Maiden – …entire discography
    Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man
    The Police – Walkin’ on the Moon (personal favorite) or Roxanne/Message in a Bottle
    Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
    Rush – Tom Sawyer/Closer to the Heart
    The Who – Behind Blue Eyes
    Zed Leppelin – Stairway to Heaven

      1. And as for a grunge rock representation? I’d go with:

        Soundgarden – Spoonman/Black Hole Sun
        Rage Against the Machine – Testify

  5. Indie twin #1 reporting:

    Gin Blossoms–hey jealousy

    I will have more when I can sit down and look through my library. I would argue that if a song from a genre one typically hates makes a one take positive notice–for instance, the Keith urban song Arrens linked me Sunday–that song may have the chops to pass into perfect.

    Also, for micheal Jackson, I put gotta be startin sometjin’ as a contender for a perfect song.

  6. Patsy Cline – Crazy (country)

    Willie Nelson – On the Road Again (country)

    Ernest Tubb – Walking the Floor OVer you (country)

    Hank Williams Sr. – I’m so lonesome I could cry (country)

    Wham! – Wake me up Before you go go (pop)

    Culture Club – Karma Chameleon (pop)

    Arrested Development – Tennesse (rap)

    MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This (Pop/Rap)

    Queen – We Will Rock You (Rock)

    Cameo – Word Up (R&B/Dance)

    Southern Cross – Crosby, Still and Nash (Rock)

      1. My dad loved 50s and 60s country and one of the first things i did when they bought me my own record player was grab both his and my mom’s 45 collections.

        My mom was a rock teenager, but my dad’s stuff was full of old country music

  7. Counting Crows — “Rain King” or “Mr. Jones” My personal favorite is “A Murder of One,” but I frown in the general direction of your arbitrary and oppressive mainstream airplay rule.

    Dire Straits — “Sultans of Swing”

    James Taylor — “Fire & Rain”

    Neil Diamond — “Sweet Caroline” (BA-BA-BA)

    Sting — “Fields of Gold”

    Bryan Adams — “Summer of ’69”

    Van Morrison — “Brown-Eyed Girl” or “Moondance”

    1. Hey, rules is rules, and A Murder of One won’t be on a radio playlist in 50 years. If I went by “songs that just rock nads” I’d go for Iron & Wine’s “Passing Afternoon” myself, but we’re talking /legacy/ songs. I’m still eying the Jim Croce song I put up there, even though I hear it on the radio.

      1. Ehhhh, it’s a toss-up. “Money For Nothing” has the more memorable opening riff, and Sting on backing vocals. “Sultans of Swing” has the more memorable guitar solo. I love them both equally and had to pretty much stop myself from throwing pretty much Dire Straits’ whole catalog on the list.

    2. Lauren, I am appalled that you chose two Van Morrison songs and skipped one of the best songs of all time, “Into the Mystic.” For shame. Also, I think Omaha is my favorite CC song, though I’m not sure if that was ever a radio song.

      1. Well, see, when I think of “Into the Mystic” now, I think of the Swell Season version because of these two awesome people I know that got hitched in May…

  8. Van Morrison: Brown Eyed Girl
    Neil Diamond: Sweet Caroline

    Both Pop. Perfect because I dare you not to start singing along with either of them, especially at karaoke. Even if Sweet Caroline does get on my nerves.

    The Smashing Pumpkins: Tonight, Tonight (Rock) The strings are a nice addition to their grunge-rock sound and the lyrics are outstanding.
    -Bullet with Butterfly Wings is a close second but is more angry grunge. Who hasn’t felt like a rat in a cage?

    Black Sabbath: Iron Man (Rock). Instantly recognizable riffs. One of the staples of the genre.

  9. My List…
    Indigo Girls – Galileo
    Bonnie Raitt – Thing Called Love
    James – Laid
    Otis Redding – Sittin On the Dock of the Bay
    Neil Young – Heart of Gold
    Tom Petty – American Girl
    Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over
    Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
    George Harrison – My Sweet Lord
    Christopher Cross – Sailing
    The Cure – Love Song
    Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
    Stevie Wonder – Knocks Me Off My Feet
    Morrissey – The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
    Smoking Popes – Need You Around
    Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye
    Mary J. Blige – You Bring Me Joy
    New Order – Regret
    Regina Spektor – Fidelity
    Oasis – Lyla
    Van Morrisson – Into the Mystic
    Radiohead – Karma Police
    Kelly Clarkson – Since You’ve Been Gone
    The Lemonheads – Into Your Arms
    No Doubt – Excuse Me Mr.

    I better stop now; this is getting out of hand. MUSIC!

      1. Shannon? I had Christopher Cross’s Arthur’s Theme up there. I thank GOD someone else besides me thought he warranted a mention.

        Though I gotta say, I think Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is -as good- as “Thing Called Love”.

      2. I just feel like I Can’t Make You Love Me has jumped the shark. I still like it, but I’ve heard one too many bad karaoke versions of it for me to love it anymore.

        Christopher Cross is amazing. Don’t let Indie Twin #1 try to tell you different. I also love the Cross/Michael McDonald duet, Ride Like the Wind. Brilliant.

  10. Oh damn, this will be long, and probably reflect my own tastes more than anything!

    Adam and the Ants – Stand and Deliver
    Bauhaus – Crowds
    Belle and Sebastien – I’m a Cuckoo
    Calvin Harris – I Get All the Girls
    Cat Stevens – Father and Son
    Elliott Smith – Bottle Up and Explode
    Empire of the Sun – We Are the People
    Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood
    Jukebox the Ghost – Static
    Matisyahu – WP
    The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t it be Nice
    The Black Seeds – So True
    The Clash – London Calling
    The Jam – That’s Entertainment
    Britney Spears – Toxic (YES I LOVE BRITNEY)
    Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – Johnny Appleseed
    M. Ward – Chinese Translation
    New Order – Ceremony
    Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels
    The Pretenders – I’ll Stand by You
    The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses
    Van Morrison – Have I told you lately (not the poo rod stewart version)
    Pink Floyd – Wish you were here
    Tom Waits – Heart of Saturday Night


    I’m going to go ahead and post my actual list of Perfect Songs, much of which will probably sound bizarre or off-putting to most people. That’s cool. Limiting myself to one per band cause otherwise I’d have like six Judas Priest songs just for starters. Anything marked with an asterix means “there are other songs by this artist that qualify as Perfect and you should ask me about them.”

    Also, some of these aren’t metal, and some of them are totally ridiculous metal. Have fun finding out which is which.

    Black Sabbath – Die Young*

    Bruce Dickinson – Jerusalem

    Danzig – Mother

    Deströyer 666 – I Am the Wargod

    Destruction – Nailed To the Cross

    Dio – The Last In Line

    The Doors – Break On Through

    Exodus – Piranha

    Flogging Molly – The Likes of You Again

    George Jones – He Stopped Loving Her Today

    Hammers of Misfortune – Trot Out the Dead

    Iron Maiden – Hallowed Be Thy Name*

    Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

    Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather*

    The Lord Weird Slough Feg – Highlander

    Megadeth – Tornado of Souls*

    Mercyful Fate – My Demon

    Metallica – Master of Puppets*

    Morbid Angel – God of Emptiness

    Motörhead – Overkill*

    Nick Cave – The Mercy Seat (not the best sound quality but captures the energy it should have)

    Nokturnal Mortum – Perun’s Celestial Silver

    Overkill – Gasoline Dream*

    Pain of Salvation – Iter Impius

    The Pogues – Thousands Are Sailing*

    Queensryche – Jet City Woman

    Sabbat – A Cautionary Tale (I have no idea what that video is either.)

    Silly Wizard – Queen of Argyll

    Skyclad – The Widdershins Jig*

    Slayer – War Ensemble

    Sodom – Baptism of Fire

    Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Last Dance With Mary Jane

    The Tossers – Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye (Another poor sound quality; I’ve got a better mp3)

    Virgin Steele – The Burning of Rome*

    W.A.S.P. – The Heretic

    The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

    The Young Dubliners – Follow Me Up To Carlow

      1. I honestly thought about it for a while, but none of their songs struck me as perfect exemplars of what they’re trying to accomplish – they’re all kinda quirky and weird.

        I like, for instance, listening to “Bagman’s Gambit” more than I like Slayer’s “War Ensemble.” But I think the latter is a better constructed song. (Even if Slayer is over-fucking-rated.)

  12. elton john – rocket man (pop)

    the beach boys – wouldn’t it be nice (pop)

    weezer – come undone (the sweater song) (pop)

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