The Two-Minute Man, Episode 3: Collective Soul (?!) Edition

It wasn't the greatest week of entries for the Two-Minute Man. Why's that? Because out of the 10 songs I heard on 94.7/The Globe, two were by Collective Soul and another was by Live. Ouch. So you can have a pretty good idea of what the bottom of the list will look like. And while most folks would be delighted to hear a pair of Led Zeppelin songs, I was much happier with the Tom Petty and Depeche Mode offerings. Full list after the jump; chime in with your alternate rankings and critical thoughts.

1. Free Fallin' - Tom Petty
It took almost three full weeks of this column to catch a Petty tune, but the Globe finally came through. There may not be a better artist to hear on the radio than Petty, because he has such a deep catalog of singles and they all have their unique charms. Petty's songs are almost always very formulaic in structural terms - it's usually some variation on verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus - but there are always a few subtly great moments to be heard. In this one my favorites are the harmonies on the "Ventura Boulevard" lyric and the rolling drum beat during the third verse. How can you not love Tom Petty?

2. People Are People - Depeche Mode
The Mode has more than a dozen fantastic singles, but this one doesn't quite rank with the best. It's still a masterful snyth-pop anthem, just not on the level of "Enjoy the Silence" or the band's crown jewel, "Never Me Let Down Again."

3. Over the Hills and Far Away - Led Zeppelin
This is one of those songs that even non-Zeppelin fans - and that's me - would have a hard time knocking. It's rock-and-roll on a large scale, and when the drums and electric guitar kick in after Page's extended intro, it still sounds more vital than pretty much every current band working in the same spectrum.

4. Whip It - Devo
Perhaps the best example that an exceedingly silly song can also be pretty great and also groundbreaking. Although at this point my strongest association with the tune is Swiffer. Swiff it good!

5. Hard Sun (w/Corin Tucker) - Eddie Vedder
No recent rock star loves to associate himself with cool people with tons of credibility quite like the Pearl Jam frontman. It all goes back to the claims of "grunge fraud" that met the band upon its breakout. Since then he's buddied up with the likes of Who, Neil Young, Nusrat Fatel Ali Khan and now this duet with the former (insert sad face emoticon) Sleater-Kinney guitarist/warbler. The two distinctive voices do work very well together on this bucolic folk tune.

6. Hey Hey What Can I Do - Led Zeppelin
Am I the only one who thinks this one sounds a bit like the Band's "The Weight"? But not nearly as good, of course. This one pales to the previous Zep entry and I just don't want to listen to Robert Plant talk about pleasing his lady all day, sorry.

7. Satellite - Guster
If there was an award for most generic, somewhat pleasing, immediately forgettable song, this one would certainly be in the running.

8. December - Collective Soul
The reason this song always made me laugh is because during the chorus when Ed Roland (yes, of course I had to look up his name) sings, "Turn your head, now baby, just spit me out," he sings in a voice that sounds like a mediocre Adam Sandler impression. Listen to it, substitute "Sloppy joe, sloppy sloppy joe" and tell me I'm wrong.

9. The World I Know - Collective Soul
It's like the Goo Goo Dolls crossed with Matchbox 20 crossed with the dude from Nickelback's facial hair (and regular hair, actually - check the video). Seriously bad stuff. Any other week it would surely snag the bottom spot, but...

10. I Alone - Live
Here's the thing about Live. They are the worst band. In the history of music. Ever. Forever. Call it off. Because the competition is over. In terms of worst contributions to popular culture over the past couple of decades, it's a really close call between Live and Battlebots.

Previous Weeks
Episode 2
Episode 1

By David Malitz |  November 30, 2007; 2:15 PM ET Rankings , Two-Minute Man
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

What is happening to Weasel? It's been downhill for him since week one. I agree with numbers 7-10, who couldn't? I also agree with Tom Petty being first. As for the others give me Devo at 2, Eddie at 3, DM at 4, and Zeppelin at 5&6 in either order.

Posted by: Tony | November 30, 2007 2:28 PM

I agree that Live SUCKS majorly, but Nickelback takes the cake for me. I seriously hate that band. Not that I'd wish death on anyone, but if there were any band i wish never existed, it would be them. Sure they could still live their mellow Canadian lives but I wish that they had never picked up instruments.

As for the list - there's a reason why "Hey, Hey" ended up on Zep's "Coda" album - it was a freakin outtake! However, even if it's an outtake, it's infinitely better than 90% of the crap on the radio now. So what does that say about Zeppelin?

Yes, they do rule. Always and forever. (and this is coming from a 25 yr old not some aging baby boomer!)

Posted by: around | November 30, 2007 3:09 PM

And Tony, i agree with you about Weasel. However, i don't think it's his fault that he has to play some seriously crappy music. His hands are tied to the corporate playlist...sigh.

I wonder what he would play if he had free reign. I think we'd be hearing some really interesting stuff.

Posted by: around | November 30, 2007 3:12 PM

And yet, the band Live being torn apart by robots would probably be one of the greatest contributions to popular culture of all time.

Posted by: Adam | November 30, 2007 4:08 PM

Around, it would probably sound alot like HFS did back in the 70's when he was DJing it, heheh. Sorry, a bit of a cheap shot, I know.

Actually, it would probably sound alot liek what Steven VanZant does on his Underground garage show with more prog thrown in.

Posted by: EricS | November 30, 2007 4:34 PM

Ummm, I'm not sure if you can consider them "bands", but if they are, wouldn't New Kids On The Block, N'Sync, Backstreet Boys and the like beat out Live?
I haven't listened to Live in years, but I'll admit that I was into them back in the day. I'm curious about what makes them so bad. I remember that Copper got played to death so that everyone on the planet got sick of them, and I realize that they're formulaic and a subpar band, but what makes them the worst?

Posted by: Esteban | December 1, 2007 4:14 PM

For me, Live is the post modern version of Peter Frampton: overplayed, histrionic shlock. I'm glad every generation gets to have one.

Battlebots, on the other hand, is pure, cathode ray absorbing joy.

Posted by: S.Spring | December 3, 2007 6:27 PM

David - if you don't like Led Zeppelin, you don't like rock and roll. So what's your problem?


I like Hey Hey What Can I Do for what it is - an acoustic sweet treat, not to be taken too seriously. The song's not about pleasing a lady all day - it's about a man chasing after a prostitute. Plant, to his credit, sings with admirable restraint. No "baby baby baby" screeching here.

Also, it's not on Coda. It's the only official b-side released while Bonham was alive that's not on a studio album. I have no idea why Atlantic didn't put it on Coda (especially the mid-90s reissue). You have to buy one of the box sets (the 4-disc from 1990, or the 10-disc Complete Studio Recordings) to own it on CD. At least now Zep's catalog is online, so you can buy it as a single song.

Posted by: SSMD | December 4, 2007 1:56 PM

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