Saturday, 12 December 2009

"Not So Hottest 100"

Today, my brother introduced to me a list that musician Dave Graney had, following the leadership of The Australian, referred to as "the not-so-hottest 100" by ABC youth station Triple J.

The point that there were no female artists may be the less surprising when one considers that Australia's fragile, arid environment and (as I point out here) superabundant natural inorganic resources do not allow for the mystical, feminine, arty, nature-loving type of artist that has produced so much of the great music of the past forty years and which is very rarely done by anybody other than a woman. It is true that women trying to play rock and roll proper can be highly ineffective because they so often come across as posturers, but when women focus upon their own natural gifts and abilities they can be as good or better artists than men. This is as true of Edith Sitwell's poetry as the music of, say Laura Nyro or Kate Bush or Björk or the Cocteau Twins.

The claim, though, that it nonetheless was a "not-so-hottest 100" by Graney is rather silly when one sees that in fact he manages to praise quite a number of these songs, viz:
4. Joy Division: “Love Will Tear Us Apart”: Great song. Singer's death took it into Barbara Cartland territory forever.

8. Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Under The Bridge”: Therapy. Though their songs do stand a lot of continuous pounding on the airwaves and still sound fresh. Took until the 1000th involuntary hearing for me to rise to that opinion.

19. Metallica: “One”: These boys are deserving of any award.

22. Massive Attack: “Teardrop”: Don’t know this one. I like most of their stuff.

26. Michael Jackson: “Thriller”: Brilliant. And popular.

27. Powderfinger: “My Happiness”: I applaud any Australian act who has penetrated the mob skull this far.

30. Jimi Hendrix: “All Along the Watchtower”: Great performance and recording. Nobody could follow this guy in any area. Used to great effect in the film Withnail and I

31. Metallica: “Enter Sandman”: Of course. A great track.

32. New Order: “Blue Monday”: Late night student disco favourite. I always love to hear this.

41. Michael Jackson: “Billie Jean”: Classic. He must be getting lonely as there are so few brothers in the house.

43. The Beach Boys: “God Only Knows”: Classic.

45. Queens of the Stone Age: “No One Knows”: I’d prefer something from Era Vulgaris Maybe “In The Hollow”. This is undeniably funky though.

48. Beastie Boys: “Sabotage”: Yes, innovators and crossers of boundaries. Loons. Icons.

55. Bob Dylan: “Like A Rolling Stone”: Yes, it's almost worth all the ******* talk about it.

61. Blur: “Song 2”: Why not?

62. Nine Inch Nails: “Closer”: Yeah, it’s nasty!

70. The Prodigy: “Breathe”: Yeah, they’re nasty too

71. The Smiths: “How Soon Is Now?”:Their best song. Great Bo Diddley grooves. Where's Bo?

76. The Stone Roses: “Fools Gold”: Yes. A real one-off classic.

79. David Bowie: “Life on Mars”: I would have had five or six Bowie tracks. Can’t argue with this. “All time”, remember?<

84. Bob Marley and The Wailers: “No Woman, No Cry”: A sentimental track, I would have gone for something more bouncy by The Wailers.

85. The Dandy Warhols: “Bohemian Like You”: Yeah, they’re groovers.

88. The Rolling Stones: “Gimme Shelter”: Great chord sequence. Great vibe.

90. Kings of Leon: “Sex on Fire”: Good subject and they look better since they dropped the fake beards.

93. Massive Attack: “Unfinished Sympathy”: Yes, a classic.

95. Stevie Wonder: “Superstition”: A stone-cold classic from the groove to the bass sound to the lyrics. Written for Jeff Beck, but so good Stevie had to do it himself.

98. Led Zeppelin: “Kashmir”: Great drums and the mellotron. Of course!
Given Graney's praise for these songs, it is just like any ordinary list with which one has major issues with. I have met so many of these lists that it becomes quite familiar to me - for example I certainly like some of the music that appears on Rolling Stone's lists of the best albums. The criticism that does occur, too, is often really aggressive and rude, at the same time lacking the skill Joe S. Harrington used to make such crude language palatable (I still keep a highly edited copy of Harrington's wonderful early-2000s best albums list for giving to people I meet).

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