Friday, October 03, 2008


Here's a fun little challenge: what songs would you say are the most under appreciated?

I love putting together interesting musical lists, more or less like the guys in High Fidelity. And this is kind of my current kick. I had generated a list with 5 or more songs, but I think I accidentally threw it away. I can't remember more than two, but I'll throw them out here to get the ball rolling: I think two of the most under appreciated songs are "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits and "Steal My Sunshine" by Len. That second one barely made my list, and I'd certainly bump it. I think it is under appreciated, but it isn't a great enough song to stand up to some of the others. Sultans is way up there. And with Dire Straits being under appreciated themselves I could probably also put "Walk of Life" on the list. But I don't want over representation. There were a couple of other classic rock songs that I've forgotten.

So there's the challenge. Whaddya got for me?

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Quinn said...

I've been on an R&B kick lately, so my two submissions are:

Blame it on the Sun - Stevie Wonder
Niki Hoeky - Aretha Franklin

Jeff said...

My list tends to include great songs by groups people like to make fun of you for listening to, but are actually pretty good. Examples:

Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins

1999, When Doves Cry - Prince

Pretty much anything by Hootie and the Blowfish, but especially "Tucker's Town," "Old Man & Me," and "Time".

And a lot of songs are actually better than their more famous cousins. Prototypes:

Black Dog, The Rain Song - Led Zeppelin (both hang out in the shadows of Stairway)

The Last Resort - The Eagles (doesn't even appear on their second greatest hits album despite the fact that it's their best song)

No Excuses - Alice in Chains (I hear other AiC stuff on the radio all the time, but not this one. Really, the entirety of "Jar of Flies" could be on this list.)

Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd (why anyone would choose "Free Bird" or "Sweet Home Alabama" over this one is a mystery to me)

And if we're including "Sultans of Swing" (Mark Knopfler is #1 on the list of underappreciated guitarists, btw), I'll throw in Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good" and the Allman Brothers' "Blue Sky" in the "awesome classic rock songs that need to be played on the radio more often" department. Also "Touch of Grey" by the Grateful Dead.

patric said...

i'm know i'm almost 20 years late, but this week, I really discovered Pearl Jam. They're like the greatest band from the 90s that hasn't broken up ever, or died.

I also still love The Presidents of the United States of America. I just got their latest release. It is excellent.

This is less songs than bands, I guess.

Mike said...

"Sultans of Swing" is a great choice.

Others that occur to me (mostly songs from the 90s and early 00s that were briefly popular then forgotten except by hardcore fans, but shouldn't have been):

- "Hey Jealousy", Gin Blossoms
- "Fake Plastic Trees" and "Paranoid Android", Radiohead
- "Misery", Soul Asylum
- "My Friends", Red Hot Chili Peppers
- "No Rain", Blind Melon
- "Superman's Dead" and "Clumsy", Our Lady Peace
- "Fell On Black Days", Soundgarden
- "Sixth Avenue Heartache", Wallflowers
- "The Outsider", A Perfect Circle
- "At the Stars", Better Than Ezra
- "For the Movies", Buckcherry
- "Everlong", Foo Fighters (has experienced a welcome resurgence of late)
- "Why Georgia", John Mayer (remember back when he was just a pretty good songwriter?)
- "12:51", the Strokes

Also, some more obscure songs by mainstream (or formerly mainstream) bands include Seven Mary Three's "Lucky", "Mayonaise" by the Smashing Pumpkins, and all of Blue October's "Consent to Treatment" album.

Some of my favorite classic rock songs that are usually not part of the conversation (at least I never hear them talked about):

- "Beast of Burden" and "Wild Horses", Rolling Stones
- "I Got a Name, Jim Croce
- "Right Now", Van Halen (sorry, Roth diehards, but they recorded at least one good song with Hagar)
- "The Boxer", Simon and Garfunkel

Oh, and just about anything by the Velvet Underground, but especially "Pale Blue Eyes", "Beginning to See the Light", and several others off the less regarded third album. Also Built to Spill, whose 90s catalog was simply amazing.

Jeff hit on a lot of really good choices, too. But I knew he would. (I'm amazed he didn't include any Sister Hazel, so I'll also add "Champagne High" by them.)

Okay, I'm finally done. For now.

Ben said...

Hanson - "This Time Around"

Avril Lavigne - "I'm With You"

2 pop acts that "serious" music people aren't allowed to like but who had some good/excellent songs.

Living Colour - "Cult of Personality" (I mainly base this on a conversation I had with Mike in which I said, "I love this song. Its riff and its lyrics rock!" And he said "I hate that song. It was overplayed and it's annoying.")

I agree with Jeff and Mike on a lot of stuff, so they sort of stole my thunder.

Oh, how about anything by Michael Jackson? Is he appreciated now? Before he was a media freak show, he was a sensational pop artist.

Personally, I think there are at least a dozen songs by Jars of Clay that should be appreciated by the wider world for their artistic value, but are not because JoC is pigeon-holed as a "Christian" band.

One last one, less poppy. Nirvana - You Know You're Right. That's the one that was released a decade after Kurt Cobain's death to go along with their greatest hits record and the box set. It's forgotten now b/c it wasn't released in their heyday, but it's just as good as anything off Nevermind or In Utero. Just that tortured chorus screaming "Pain!" can move me.

Mike said...

Ben, in my defense, I have since heard "Cult of Personality" again for the first time in years, and I like it better now than I used to. In particular the guitar solo rocks. I still find the repeated "I am the cult of" at the end of the song annoying though.

I think most people still appreciate Michael Jackson. I was at a party not too long ago where we watched the videos for "Thriller" and "Beat It" and everyone was really into it. I don't think his post-80s craziness really diminished anyone's perspective on his 80s awesomeness other than making them think it's such a shame.

Oh, another one just occurred to me for no clear reason. The Black Crowes. All you ever hear is "Hard to Handle" and "She Talks to Angels" (and occasionally "Remedy") but "Twice as Hard" and album track "Sister Luck" are also great (and I would argue better) songs.

Have you come up with any more since the post Matt?

Matthew B. Novak said...

I have, but I can't remember any of them. I need to start writing them down again.

Mike said...

Clearly. :)

Matthew B. Novak said...

Kodachrome by Paul Simon.

Mike said...

Excellent choice. May I also add "Call Me Al" (I love that video. Oh, and the song too. "A man walks down the street...")