The Two-Minute Man, Episode 5: Still With the Coldplay? Edition
There have been some terrible songs featured on previous editions of the TMM. I didn't think it could get much worse than Live's "I Alone" a few weeks ago but I wasn't counting on Weasel actually playing Sting solo material from the mid-'80s. Yikes. More bad than good this week, although there's a rare treat at the very top.
1. "Cars" - Gary Numan
Yes, please! The perfect electro-rock song. The keyboards sound raw and full, not over-processed to oblivion. Numan's robotic vocals which mimic the melody are perfect, even though I realized I had no idea what he's saying as I tried to sing along. And the hard double crash at the end of each measure is the coup de grace.
2. "Mary Jane's Last Dance" - Tom Petty
We all know the Chili Peppers lifted this song's chord progression for "Dani California." But every time I hear the opening chords I think it's going to be one of about 17 different Neil Young songs from the '70s. Then I'm slightly disappointed when it's not, but then happy again because it's still another in a long line of mighty fine Tom Petty singles. Most of which are played ad nauseam on the Globe, of course.
3. "1979" - The Smashing Pumpkins
Billy Corgan gets credit for not having a single truly embarrassing lyric in this mid-'90s mega-hit. It lacks the guitar crunch that defines most of the Pumpkins' best songs but remains perfectly agreeable to this day. Except if you have to hear him sing it in person.
4. "Hard to Handle" - Black Crowes
It's no Aretha doing "Respect," but the Robinsons certainly don't shame themselves in taking on this Otis Redding tune. You probably can't name an original Black Crowes tune, though, can you? (Well, except for that one that Bo Bice sang all the time.)
5. "Clocks" - Coldplay
6. "The Scientist" - Coldplay
I was Diversions editor at The Diamondback when Coldplay's debut album came out. "Yellow" was the only song I heard, and it was pleasant enough, but I still dismissed them as just another disposable British band, albeit one with a singer who sounds like Dave Matthews with an air bubble in his throat. My assistant editor told me I was wrong to dismiss them. "Trust me, these guys are going to be around for a long time," he told me. OK, Barry Schwartz. You were right. That one time.
7. "The Stand" - The Alarm
I recognized this one because I'm a semi-regular viewer of "120 Minutes Classic" on VH1 Classic. The Alarm usually takes home the coveted Most Ridiculous Hair award, depending on which era of the Cure is represented that episode. (Check out the linked video for proof.) This shows that bands were shamelessly ripping off U2 even before "The Joshua Tree."
8. "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" - Spin Doctors
Who would have thought that Screaming Trees would end up being the most enduring band - by far - on that Spin Doctors/Soul Asylum/Screaming Trees tour I saw when it stopped at Merriweather back in 1993? Even though this is basically the same exact song as "Two Princes," it's nowhere near as good.
10. "Fortress Around Your Heart" - Sting
Here, Sting does a fantastic job of neatly cramming everything awful about music into a single five-minute track. (Assist by Branford Marsalis, who should really be ashamed of himself.)
By David Malitz |
December 14, 2007; 11:23 AM ET
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