Thursday, December 3, 2009

Most Overplayed Rock Songs Ever!

(*Reviewer takes deep breath*) Longtime readers know that we here at the massive multimedia conglomerate that is the Back-Up Plan have tried always 2 accentuate the positive, highlighting the life-affirming Good Stuff while urging U 2 try some obscure music or a 4gotten-but-worthwhile book U might otherwise not bother w/.
At no time have we gone outta R way 2 take cheap shots at clueless, talentless "artists" who R probly earning more $$$ THIS WEEK than we R likely 2 earn in our Ntire lifetimes.
Nevertheless, the line must B drawn SOMEWHERE.
In the spirit of the season, what follows is a LONG list (60+ titles) of R choices 4 the Most Overplayed Rock Songs Ever, along w/ a few brief comments on each. 2 show we R not intending this personally (& as a special torment 4 fly-by-nite music fans), most of the artists' names will not B mentioned (unless it can't B avoided). This may take awhile, so we urge U rabid fans out there 2 hold yr comments & wounded cries of pain until after the list is completed -- which R staff of crack typists will B Ndeavoring 2 do ASAP.
A note of Xplanation: There is a BIG diffrence Btween a song that's bn WAY overplayed & has worn-out its welcome (C below) & a song that U STILL LOVE which nevertheless gets played on Oldies Radio, at parties or at bars A LOT ("I Can See for Miles," "Good Vibrations," "Dancing in the Street," "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Wild Thing," "I Fought the Law," "What's Goin' On," "Gimme Shelter," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Somebody to Love," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "American Pie," "Ramblin' Man"....). It should B noted that no outside sources (Byond R staff's not-that-massive disc collection) have bn used 2 help compile this list -- no Rock encyclopedias, no Top 40 histories (tho 1 of those is Bing used right-now 2 prop-up this computer) -- Bcos, if we can't think of it on R own w/ no outside help, it can't B that overplayed, right?....
This list starts w/ R team's choice 4 The Most Overplayed & works its way down in more-or-less Dscending order. Now, on w/ the show....
- "Smoke on the Water" -- Dumbest riff of all time, & played 2 death. The fuzzy live sound doesn't help. Neither does the creaky haunted-house-style music. These guys did some other great stuff: "Highway Star," "Hush," "Kentucky Woman"....
- "Hotel California" -- These lyrics pass 4 Heavy Symbolism in some 1/4's, but w/ the whiny Mexican-inflected vocals it just Cms youthful & callow & faintly juvenile now. The guitar solo at the Nd (by Joe Walsh?) was OK the 1st few million times....
- "Stairway to Heaven" -- Knocked outta the top spot cos Jimmy Page's gtr solo at the Nd still sounds in10se & firey after all these yrs. Robert Plant's singing in the closing few mins is also pretty great ("And as we wind on down the road...."). The 1st 2/3rd's is probly dated hippie-folky mush by now, but at least it's pretty....
- "Whole Lotta Love" -- Great comedy song, w/ Plant gibbering like an orangutang in heat in the wretched middle-section -- which is the point. They did WAY better stuff than this. Summa Jimmy's gtr work is OK....
- "All Right Now" -- Death thru overplay. Notta bad blues-rock #, musta taught Zep & Bad Co. (future members of which R here) a few things. But well over a billion radio-plays & still counting....
- "Slow Ride" -- Sleazy....
- "Another One Bites the Dust" -- 2 bad their biggest-selling single ever is based on a bass riff stolen from Chic. Musta bn irresistable 2 them, but ... the lyrics ain't Xactly uplifting neither....
- "Life in the Fast Lane" -- Pretty odd of the Eagles 2 B criticizing this lifestyle, which they lived 4 YRS -- unless they were just reporting it The Way It Was. Yeah, sure -- pots & kettles. & the gtr work doesn't save it. ROLLING STONE liked the lyrics, calling the couplet "Lines on the mirror/Lines on her face" the "Lines" Of The Yr -- musta bn a joke....
- "American Woman" -- Tho Burton Cummings' metaphors R zinged at the "American" more than the "Woman," this is still the lamest & most offensive thing they ever did. & of course a big hit. Why did it ever needta B re-made?
- "Just You and Me" -- Pure lazy 1973. The horns were dated the minute this was released. How could they have done something as lame as this & also something as brilliant as "Feeling Stronger Every Day" -- on the same album?
- "Can't Get Enough"/"Feel Like Makin' Love" -- Zep meets Free, w/ the cleverness of neither. "Rock and Roll Fantasy" is way lighter on its feet & a LOT more fun....
- "I Will Always Love You" -- Does this qualify as a Rock song? It sure doesn't qualify as singin. Howlin, mayB....
- "Tonight's the Night" -- RS sang a few undeniable classics ("Maggie May," "You Wear it Well," "Handbags and Gladrags"), but it was all downhill after this heavy-handed seduction #, apparently written 4 15-yr-old girls who wondered what sex was like ... & 4 the dirty old men who chased them. & it was a HUGE hit. But RS has never got10 his critical cred back, & no amount of recordings from the Great American Songbook will help....
- "You Light Up My Life" -- Sold something like 10 million singles, but who cares? If it hadn't gotten played so much, it might have come-across as an ignorable MOR love ballad. Instead, it marks its time (1977) as indelibly as ONJ's "Physical" (1981).
- "What a Fool Believes" -- Michael McDonald useta B able 2 sing ("Taking it to the Streets"). Don't care how many Grammy Awards this won, it's dull & 2 long, & the circus-tent keyboards don't help.
- "Don't Stop"/"Dreams" -- We love these guys, but "Don't Stop" is 1 of the lamest things they ever did, & it's 2 bad it seemsta keep coming back 2 life as a sorta political will-2-work song. "Dreams" is 2 cloudy & diffuse 2 really B effective.
- "Squeeze Box" -- Nobody escapes.
- "Another Brick in the Wall" -- This wore-out QUICK. & it's as boring & tired now as "Comfortably Numb" is still mournful & incisive.
- "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" or NEthing by Meat Loaf. We actually kinda like "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" as a sorta Guilty Pleasure, but everything else he's ever sang has bn overlong, overwritten, overplayed, over-emoted. Dspite what we often say here, there IS such a thing as 2 Much Melodrama. Todd Rundgren & Jim Steinman -- a marriage made in Hell.
- "Aqualung" -- Ian Anderson was way better when he lightened-up. Is there NE good reason 2 focus on so much dirt & pain -- in the ugliest manner possible? The riffs don't save it.
- Janis Joplin -- After 40 yrs we're almost willing 2 admit that "Me and Bobby McGee" almost works, until she stomps all over the mood at the Nd. As 4 the rest, why did she SCREAM so much?
- "Rock and Roll Music" -- Lame! More like "Walker & Stroller Music." 2 bad, cos Brian Wilson really was a Genius, & the resta his band weren't dummies either. This album (15 BIG ONES) also has the clever "Susie Cincinnati," the slight-but-pleasant "It's OK," & the totally mindbending "TM Song." But there R WAY better places 2 start than THIS....
- "Urgent" -- Other than Junior Walker's great sax solo & Thomas Dolby's hypnoticly droning keyboards, what's this got? It sure ain't the vocals or lyrics....
- "Against the Wind"/"Still the Same" -- We love this guy, really. "Even Now," "Hollywood Nights," "Main Street," "Feel Like a Number" -- all GREAT. But "Against the Wind" presented Weariness as Wisdom, & he wasn't even that old yet -- mayB all of 35, tho he'd already bn On The Road 4 15 yrs. "Still the Same" is almost as tired, & the backing vocals don't help.
- "The Long Run" -- Metaphorically, their weakest work doesn't hold up, in the long run....
- "Free Fallin'" -- Yeezus he's SO WHINY. Could just as easily have listed "Refugee" or "Don't Do Me Like That." TP has 1 great song, "Even the Losers." & he should stop trying 2 sound like The Byrds....
- "You've Got a Friend" -- JT has a coupla good songs: "Fire and Rain," "Long Ago and Far Away," "Shower the People." & that's about it. This tries 2 B comforting, but always sounded weak & tired. & it was written by a pretty great songwriter, Carole King. Speaking of which....
- "I Feel the Earth Move" -- If Aretha Franklin sang it, we might Blieve it.
- "Start Me Up"/"Miss You" -- Ugh. Post-'77 Stones, really worth the trouble? We say no, Dspite the pretty-high-quality 2nd side of TATTOO YOU.
- "Crocodile Rock"/"Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" -- More death thru overplay. "Croc Rock" was cute the 1st few times. Since then it just fills space. On the same album, 4 something diffrent, try "Teacher I Need You," "Elderberry Wine," "Have Mercy on the Criminal" -- all pretty great. ("Teacher"'s a real 4got10 Classic!) "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" was always wretched -- & a huge hit!
- "Misunderstanding" -- Muddy mid-tempo sludge like this wasn't what turned Genesis's career around & made Phil Collins famous....
- "Monday Monday" -- Even John Phillips admitted this song is about NOTHING. Just a chance 2 show off the group's great harmonies. But it's so MT. Even the Tijuana Brass's version is better -- mainly cos it sounds nothing like the original....
- "Welcome to the Machine"/"Have a Cigar" -- Look, we love these guys. But this is from a period when Rog was feeling Dpressed & stressed-out (tho not as much as he would B LATER), & should B approached from that standpoint. Music-industry metaphors (& PF's most-quoted line ever) not withstanding, neither of these songs shoulda survived a couple of playings. They're just not that intresting.
- "Hello, I Love You" -- Yurks. We liked Jimbo when he was having fun ("Touch Me," "Roadhouse Blues," "People Are Strange"), but this sounds like going thru the motions, w/ a riff borrowed from The Kinks....
- "Witchy Woman" -- An OK mood piece, but WAY overplayed & not solid enuf.
- "The Loco-Motion"/"Some Kind of Wonderful" -- Covers of old hits showing a lack of inspiration, but their later "Bad Time" was pretty great, & some of their earlier stuff is still pretty great ("Rock and Roll Soul," "Closer to Home").
- "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" -- Apart from that Creedence-like gtr riff, what has this got? Nice Bayou-style sound also borrowed from CCR. They never duplicated it. & who can understand the words?
- "Brass in Pocket" -- We're sure Chrissie Hynde isn't thrilled about having written & sung this piece of tripe, which misrepresented her & her band 4 yrs....
- NEthing by Joe Cocker Xcept 4 "Feelin' Alright" -- "The Letter," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "With a Little Help From My Friends," "High Time We Went," "You Are So Beautiful" -- it's all hysterical & overwrought, 2 much melodrama & straining....
- "Hey Jude"/"The Long and Winding Road" -- NOBODY escapes.
- "Suspicious Minds" -- NOBODY. The Total Vegas Glitz of this overwhelms its power as a song. B.J. Thomas's version is better....
- "Black and White"/"Mama Told Me Not to Come" -- We LOVED these guys. But these wore out REALY quick, & there R WAY better places 2 get hooked -- like "Celebrate," "Let Me Serenade You," "Out in the Country," "Family of Man," "My Impersonal Life"....
- "Workin' for the Weekend"/"The Kid is Hot Tonight"/"Get Lucky"/"Turn Me Loose," etc. -- R least-faverite early-'80s metal band. Did they ever do NEthing good?
- "Godzilla" -- This wore-out FAST, tho we've always liked the band....
- "Louie Louie" -- Hate 2 do this, cos it's practically the Washington State Song, but....
- "Hungry Heart" -- Sorry. We bot "Born to Run" when it came out as a 45. "Rosalita" is still brilliant & a helluva lotta fun. Love "Born in the U.S.A.," even like "Brilliant Disguise," "Pink Cadillac," & "Glory Days" is a good joke. But this is pretty aimless & mechanical, & THE RIVER is 1 of the most boring double-albums ever.
- "Like a Virgin" -- Yeah, she was a genius, but this was just annoying -- especially when it Wouldn't Go Away. U're better off w/ "The Look of Love," "Open Your Heart," "Dress You Up," "Live to Tell," "Bad Girl," "Dear Jessie," "Oh Father," "Express Yourself," even "Like A Prayer"....
- "You Really Got Me" -- Eddie's guitar flashiness aside, 1nce U've heard the original, who needs this?
- "Show Me the Way"/"Baby I Love Your Way/"I'm in You" -- He had his 15 mins of fame. But "Do You Feel Like We Do?" still sounds pretty great....
- "Angie" -- Why is Ian Stewart's piano the best thing here? Mick tries 2 sound tender & concerned, but....
- "Come and Get It" -- As a curtain-raiser 4 a pretty great career, we can almost stand this. But we never play it. U're better off w/ "No Matter What," "Baby Blue," "Day After Day," "The Name of the Game," "In the Meantime/Some Other Time," "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch/Should I Smoke?" or even "Apple of My Eye"....
Management reserves the right 2 add more titles 2 this list at NE time.
Nominations R now open 4 additional Most Overplayed Rock Songs Ever. "Winners" will B enshrined in a special Wall Of Shame, where they will never B heard again....
Suggestions can B submitted below....

4 comments:

drewzepmeister said...

Most of these songs are great! Moderation is the key of persevering some these tunes. It's the predictability of the radio stations that takes it's toll. If they say they going to play three from Hendrix, you KNOW what they are going to play....

bearockr said...

A nice credible compilation Tad, but only for a list of Overplayed songs as you mentioned, because almost all of these songs are really great and revolutionary ... but, yes as Drew said above, we oughtta hear some other songs done by these artists you mentioned above, for example, Smoke on the water has been an excellent riff by Blackmore( just a 3 simple chord riff, but mahn! that's a heck of a thinking by him ) , but still i prefer Highway star more or even Child in time, and these might be lesser known to people till date !

So, good job there ...

tad said...

Guys: It's not that these Rn't Good Songs (some of them), it's just: How much more can U take? & why is radio so stuck in a rut? & why R so many people (apparently) afraid of trying something new?
It's like Frank Zappa said 1nce, & I'm paraphrasing here: "I want the new & different & challenging around me ALL THE TIME."
& that's how I feel. Tho I admit I fall back on my tried&true faves over&over, & I only pretend 2 have an open mind. I get Music As Comfort. I'm as guilty as NE1 of Bing stuck in the mud. But when there's so much Great Stuff out there ... Guess that's why stereos come w/ a switch so U can put on a CD instead of the radio.... -- TAD.

rastronomicals said...

Yeah Tad, it's only overplayed if you're listening. They've got internet radio these days that'll play hours on end of good stuff you've never heard . . .

But in general I'm with you. The BEST of these are simply good songs that could not bear the weight of the expectations placed on them by uninspired programmers.

The worst just sucked from the getgo.

You're right about "Smoke on the Water." Even Blackmore knew it was uninspired. If you listen to their monstrous. mindroasting. incredible. Made in Japan set you'll hear Blackmore (when the song was still recent) doing the themes and variations thing as they get ready to play it. Even he knew there were so many places the song could have gone that it didn't. I mean, I like troglodyte rock, but "SotW" was just a little *too* primitive.

Not a Doobie Bros. fan, they're mostly crap actually. But I might take exception to "Takin' it to the Streets" Some interesting funk-synthesis, and Michael McDonald at his best.

Tom Petty's best song is "Mary Jane's Last Dance," Tad. You shouldn't hold the fact that it's a Neil Young cop against it. . . .

And you know, not that we should exonerate all the unimaginative DJ's and programmers, but I think "Stairway to Heaven" should get a pass.

My intellectual reaction when I hear the song is that it's overplayed But my body's instinctive processes, my air-guitar instinct, my toe-tapping autonomic reflex, my automatic head-nodding process, they all think it's great, and can't get enough.