The Two-Minute Man, Episode 10: Best Single Album Band? Edition

Lee Mavers (far left) of the La's: One of rock's coolest recluses.

Weasel owed me after last week's debacle and he came through. Lots of the usual suspects, but that's usually for the best on this station. Stay tuned next week for a John Hollinger-esque statistical breakdown of the first 100 songs featured in the Two-Minute Man. It will be nerdtastic.

1. "American Girl" - Tom Petty
With this song Petty took the lead as Most Played Artist through the first 100 songs of Two-Minute Man. (I'm serious about that statistical breakdown. I've got an Excel spreadsheet and everything.) Those backing vocals in the chorus still freak me out a bit, but that's the only thing resembling a complaint that I can make. Your life will be better if you listen to this song once per day.

2. "There She Goes" - The La's
The "best one album band" debate is a fun one even if it gets dicey with some details. (Is "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" a proper album? What about those albums credited to Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers?) No matter what the official critera, the La's need to be prominently involved in the discussion. This is a great single but might not even rank in the top five songs on the band's lone album. And let's just pretend that Sixpence the Richer cover version never happened.

3. "Street Fighting Man" - The Rolling Stones
Sometimes there's nothing to say about awesome Rolling Stones songs except, "Man, this is an awesome Rolling Stones song."

4. "Lady Madonna" - The Beatles
McCartney Bounce Report Card: "Penny Lane" - A. "Good Day Sunshine" - B+ "Lady Madonna" - B. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" - D. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" - F-minus.

5. "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" - R.E.M.
One of my first "real" concerts was R.E.M. at the Cap Centre on the "Green" tour. During this song there was some video montage playing on a giant screen behind the band. Stipe "forgot" the lyrics at one point and the video just happened to stop at the same moment. What a coincidence, right? Maybe that's when my disillusionment with music started.

6. "Pictures of You" - The Cure
There's a line I use when talking about certain bands and the Cure is a perfect example. It goes like this: "I like the Cure, but if you like them, you probably like them more than I do."

7. "Pride (In the Name of Love)" - U2
You know in the "Rattle and Hum" version of this song when Bono goes, "For the Reverend Martin Luther King - sing"? I always get embarrassed when I hear that, for some reason.

8. "Everybody Knows" - Ryan Adams
I haven't come close to keeping up with Adams and his out-of-control prolificacy, so I could be off here. But if it all sounds like this I don't really get the point. It's a perfectly pleasing if wholly run-of-the-mill roots rock ditty - but is there any need to release four albums a year of this kind of stuff?

9. "Big Log" - Robert Plant
I can think of two things that the title could be a euphemism for and I'm not sure which one is worse.

10. "Blurry" - Puddle of Mudd
This must have been a mistake. Right?

By David Malitz |  January 18, 2008; 4:13 PM ET Two-Minute Man
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They've been mixing in some of the softer stuff from some modern rock bands of late. Blurry really isn't a bad song. They've been playing "Shadow of the Day" from Linkin Park alot to.

I still would swear that La's song is about heroin. I know they've denied it.

Posted by: EricS | January 18, 2008 4:22 PM


I saw R.E.M on the Green tour as well. I thought of the videos as R.E.M.'s attempt at parody - trying to make fun of stupid concert tricks done by other big-time performers. Maybe the joke worked, maybe it didn't.

I would put the 'Stones, La's, R.E.M., and U2 songs above American Girl. Not my favorite Petty song. In fact, I might like Pictures of You better as well (though I don't like the Cure more than you do).

Posted by: SSMD | January 18, 2008 4:50 PM

OK, thanks for clarifying, SSMD. I was 8, so maybe picking up on subtlety wasn't my strong suit. I remember being shocked that everyone there knew all the words to "World Leader Pretend," because, y'know, how does everyone know that song if it's not on the radio?

I stand by "American Girl" all the way. It's so good that the best Strokes song -- and there are lots of good Strokes songs -- rips it off shamelessly.

Posted by: David | January 18, 2008 5:19 PM

"Silence of the Lambs" completely ruined that song for me. I really don't think listening to that daily would make my life better, unless that is defined as a constant state of hypervigilance.

Posted by: re:americangirl | January 18, 2008 5:51 PM

'Pride' gets high marks when compared to what U2 put out leading up to it - it was completely different from what they had done yet it still worked. Unlike many/most others who have tried same.

The part I remember most from the first time I saw the R.E.M concert video montage to ITEOTWAWKI(AIFF)was a quick clip from a Dolly Parton variety show from the late 70s. Whatever they meant to do it must have worked since that was in 1987.

Posted by: Slick Willie | January 18, 2008 11:26 PM

i think "American Girl" is Petty's best song, but not the best song on this list. That goes to the Stones - "Street Fighting Man" is just so kick-*SS and cannot be beat.

I'd put the La's at #4 but that's just a matter of personal preference. i didn't realize they had done this song originally b/c i grew up with Dawson's creek and the Sixpence version (shudder as i look back at my poor musical preferences...). Glad to know the truth.

Posted by: around | January 19, 2008 11:38 AM

Re: "Blurry"

Of all the post-grunge bands, at least Puddle of Mudd keeps it catchy. I'll bet more than one music fan has this Come Clean hidden away after secretly ripping "Blurry", "Drift and Die", "Control" and "She Hates Me" to their iPod.

Posted by: Kris | January 22, 2008 1:19 PM

Ob-La-Di is better than Maxwell. Maxwell is a weirdly boring song about a psychopath.

Posted by: Posh Bird | January 22, 2008 8:36 PM

I hear you about the MLK remark on the Rattle and Hum version of Pride. It kind of scores big on the cringe factor. It also is a precursor to some of Bono's more pretentious leanings.

Posted by: T.R. | January 23, 2008 9:24 AM

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