The Two-Minute Man, Episode 2

This week's installment of the Two-Minute Man isn't nearly as top heavy as last week's. No Beatles, no Stones, but we do have another completely random one-hit wonder from the '90s. And after a male-dominated debut last week, some women finally found their way onto 94.7's airwaves during my morning jaunts to Starbucks. See where Jackson Browne, Colbie Caillat, Chris Isaak, Patti Smith, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Smiths match up against each other, after the jump.

"1. How Soon Is Now?" - The Smiths
One of the great guitar sounds of all time. If guitar sounds had horsepower, this would be about 450 or so. No wonder Nissan wanted to use it in a commercial. "I am human and I need to be loved" is the kind of lyric that sounds perfect coming from Morrissey and would sound absolutely ridiculous coming from anybody else.

"2. Wicked Game" - Chris Isaak
An understated, noir masterpiece. It's a timeless song -- the production values don't really date it to the early '90s and it really could have been written anywhere from 1957 to 2007. Quick, name another Chris Isaak song.

"3. Because the Night" - Patti Smith
The pre-chorus, that's what makes this song. Those couple of Phil Spector-y beats that propel it into the sing-along chorus are perfect. That Springsteen guy can be a pretty decent collaborator.

4. "Mystery Achievement" - The Pretenders
It's almost always "Brass in Pocket" or "Back on the Chain Gang" when you hear the Pretenders, so this was a nice switch. Who would be the modern day equivalent of Chrissie Hynde? Is there even one? Maybe ... Chrissie Hynde? I never find myself wanting to listen to a Pretenders album, but I always turn the volume up a bit when I hear them on the radio.

"5. One Way or Another" - Blondie
A fun song to bop around to while driving, with a very good vocal take from Debbie Harry. Man, was she a total babe back in the day or what?

"6. Running On Empty" - Jackson Browne
When I was eight years old my mom took me to a Jackson Browne concert and I specifically remember him playing this song and seeing lots of adults act very non-adult like. And OK, to be fair I guess Jackson Browne was kind of purty himself back in the day, as well.

"7. Clocks (Buena Vista Social Club Remix)" - Coldplay
As much as I'd like to try, I really can't front on "Clocks." It's a pretty perfect pop single, mostly thanks to that insistent drum beat. But this just doesn't work for me. Take two things that sound just fine on their own, throw them together for novelty's sake and you end up just making both sound silly. I'm also pretty against the idea of the remix in general, but we'll save that discussion for a future edition of "Can You Please Explain to Me?"

"8. Bubbly" - Colbie Cailatt
It's never a good sign when it takes you about 15-20 seconds to determine whether this is actually a song being played on the station or a commercial for Kay Jewelers. Really, it's okay for labels and radio to try to break a female artist who doesn't play completely inoffensive, by-the-numbers pop/rock.

"9. Breaking the Girl" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Songs that make you go ewwwwww. Most Chili Peppers songs are, in fact, about breaking the girl, but to hear it said in such a forward manner is still a bit disturbing. Not "Sir Psycho Sexy" level disturbing, but few things are. The only good thing this song ever did for me was make for an entertaining segment on "Beavis & Butthead."

"10. Chasing Blue Cars" - Dishwalla
Why, Weasel? Why?

By David Malitz |  November 23, 2007; 12:59 PM ET Rankings , Two-Minute Man
Previous: Live Last Night: The Hold Steady/Art Brut/1990s | Next: On Bono: Can A Saint Still Be A Rock Star?


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He who is against the remix is against trends that have prevailed in D.C. hip-hop/R&B radio since at least the mid-90s, when pretty much anything on which someone shouted or whispered "This is the remix" would rocket to the top of the playlists. Also, without the remix, R. Kelly's career would be much less interesting, although I suppose it would still hold some interest due to other factors. But do any of us really want to live in a world that has only the original, extra-brazen mix of "Bump and Grind" and not the slinky whispering remix as well? I think the survivors would envy the dead.

Also, whatever Ludacris song that is on the radio where they say "Remix" at the beginning is pretty hot.

Posted by: Lindemann | November 23, 2007 5:15 PM

Okay, I hate to be a hater but this is a really boring piece. If you want to make a collection of top 40 hits that suck, that's cool. Tell us why they suck. If you want to make a collection of cheesy 90s one-hit wonders that you LOVE, yes. That's cool too. But what is this? A random collection of 10 songs, some of which you like, some of which you don't? Boring, dude.

Posted by: Stef | November 23, 2007 8:08 PM

Oh, I just read the explanation of the two-minute man segment. So now I get why you chose these particular songs, and it's actually a cool idea, but it's still boring. Sorry, dude.

Posted by: Stef | November 23, 2007 8:11 PM

The fact that you listened to some of these songs without switching channels is a testament to your listening ability. Where's the warning label?

Posted by: peter | November 26, 2007 8:43 AM

i wish the Globe would just focus on the few indie bands they play (Arcade Fire and the like) and maybe not play every song about 17 times a day? yeah, that would work much better.

the best part of the station (which i admit to listening to religiously) is Little Steven's Underground Garage on Sunday nights. Can't we just get a decent radio station that doesn't regurgitate the same song set over and over? The Globe...why can't you be that station for me?

Posted by: around | November 26, 2007 10:57 AM

What "makes" Because the Night is clearly the opening piano line, not the per-chorus.

Posted by: Ben W. | November 26, 2007 12:19 PM

I can't believe I'm doing this, but: I think you misunderstood that Red Hot Chili Peppers song. Or maybe I did.

Also, the riff in "How Soon is Now" is horribly lugubrious, but you're spot on on the lyric.

Posted by: Jet Age Eric | November 26, 2007 2:20 PM

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