The Two-Minute Man, Episode 9: Totally Unenthusiastic Edition

Definitely the worst week yet on the Globe. Not even close. Makes me long for the double Petty days of last week. Bad enough to make me think of switching to WOXY of KEXP for a few weeks. KEXP just played Guided By Voices and Sex Pistols back-to-back, so we might have to make that change, although I'll give Weasel another couple weeks to redeem himself.

1. "Thunder Road" - Bruce Springsteen
This is obviously a classic but one part of this song will always bug the hell out of me: "Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk" - that stupid little guitar fill. It's even worse than the sax fill on "10th Avenue Freeze-Out" after the "Big Man joined the band" line.

2. "She's So Cold" - The Rolling Stones
The Stones late-'70s/early-'80s genre experiments in disco and new wave actually sound pretty decent when you revisit them now. Who knew back then that this era could still be considered the "early" part of their career? But this is an undeniably fun song.

3. "Touch of Grey" - Grateful Dead
The answer to the trivia question of "What is the Grateful Dead's only Top 10 hit?" It's a pretty agreeable song, it has a bit of a Traveling Wilburys feel of "Yeah, we're old and past our prime but we're OK with that and we can still write a fun little song." Apparently the first-ever live performance was at the Cap Centre back in 1982. Anybody there for that one? (Who actually remembers anything?)

4. "The Way" - Fastball
Ah, modern rock radio one-hit wonders of the '90s. For every Nada Surf, who managed to have a successful career after being written off by many as a band with a novelty song, there's a Fastball. Or a Marcy Playground. Or a Harvey Danger.

5. "Over My Head (Cable Car)" - The Fray
I have a theory that every city has about a dozen bands capable of writing well-crafted, radio-ready, shlocky tunes like this one. It doesn't take much, just some breathy vocals, a little piano and a soaring chorus.

6. "My Favorite Mistake" - Sheryl Crow
7. "Wonder" - Natalie Merchant
Yeah, I don't even know what to say.

8. "Love and Memories" - O.A.R.
I'm not trying to take credit for O.A.R.'s massive success, but I did assign the first ever story to be written about the band, back in 1996. Common Sense, represent!

9. "I'll Stand By You" - The Pretenders
I'll stand by you? More like I'll turn this song off immediately the next time it's on the radio. Love ya, Chrissie, but sappy late-career power ballad just isn't your strong suit.

10. "Back in the High Life Again" - Steve Winwood
The boxed wine of classic rock songs.

By David Malitz |  January 11, 2008; 2:33 PM ET Two-Minute Man
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"The boxed wine of classic rock songs."


Posted by: 23112 | January 11, 2008 2:57 PM

At least Fastball deserved something of a career. "Out Of My Head" was worthy too.

Posted by: Hemisphire | January 11, 2008 3:09 PM

"Touch of Grey" -- the tune that forged my long-standing hatred of the Dead. That and the jukebox at my hometown watering hole. Ugh. There is totally such thing as too much Grateful Dead. The video kinda creeped me out, too.

Posted by: polly | January 11, 2008 3:49 PM

I've always like that Stones song. Then again, I like almost everything they've done.

I know Harvey Danger did release a album about 2 or so years ago. YRock, when the ywere at, was playing it for a while. Fun single called "Cream and Bastards Rise".

Posted by: EricS | January 11, 2008 4:13 PM

"Touch of Grey" -- the tune that forged my long-standing hatred of the Dead.

Posted by: polly | January 11, 2008 03:49 PM

I second that! My husband is a big fan, and I even saw them in concert with him once to try and "get it." The fans were the rudest I ever encountered, despite their supposed "peace and love" message, and the band did absolutely nothing for me.

When we take long road trips together, and are loading up the CD case, we each have "preemptory challenges" on each other: I say he can't bring any Grateful Dead and he says I can't bring any Enya, LOL!

Posted by: CJB | January 11, 2008 5:01 PM

Marcy Playground and Harvey Danger are both still touring, recording and releasing albums. I'm not sure what your definition of "successful career" is, but they both still have a really good sized fan base and earn their living from playing their music.

Posted by: Kirstin | January 11, 2008 7:06 PM

Chrissie Hynde coming in behind Natalie Merchant and Sheryl Crow in any poll/ranking is nuts. Her cache has to be worth something.

Posted by: T.C. | January 12, 2008 9:00 AM

Funny, the line in Thunder Road that always bothered me was, "You ain't a beauty, but hey, you're alright."

Worst pickup line ever. No wonder Bruce throws it out to the audience to sing every night.

And Fastball's other two albums are excellent, by the way.

Posted by: David Lifton | January 13, 2008 10:42 AM

Reading that list it's no wonder FM radio as a music source is DOA.

Posted by: Chico | January 14, 2008 10:01 AM

i don't know what's happening to the Globe lately (or since forever...) but they seem to be going to the 80's/mid-90's side of their playlist and i'm NOT liking it at all. Truly atrocious and this list proves why.

They were doing so well for awhile with all their Elvis Costello, Arcade Fire, Zeppelin mix. It was great! And then...i don't know...maybe people don't like the indie rock stuff and they decided to go Mix 107.3 on us???

If you're going to play The Pretenders, why not at least do "Middle of the Road" or "Precious" or some other good song that may be played a lot, but is still excellent??? I love that band, but "I'll stand by you" is a terrible song!

Posted by: around | January 14, 2008 10:23 AM

You know it's a bad week when She's So Cold comes in at #2. Not a favorite. The song's from 1980, I believe - definitely mid-career in my book. The Stones' early career ended at Altamont, 1969.

The Stones have plenty of great songs that aren't on Hot Rocks or whatever 70s/80s/90s greatest hits disc you prefer. Does the Globe ever play non-standard Stones songs?

Posted by: SSMD | January 14, 2008 10:54 AM

maybe you should start covering Big 100? as loathe as i am to say it, i'm starting to listen to them more.

funny how U2 almost never winds up in your 2-Minute list when i feel like i hear them ALL THE TIME on the Globe. No, Bono, i still haven't found what i'm looking for and you are definitely not it!

SSMD, i totally agree with you about the Stones but that applies to all the great rock bands and radio stations only play their standards. The Stones have so many interesting songs (19th Nervous Breakdown? Stupid Girl? etc, etc) to choose from - why not play those once in awhile?

Posted by: around | January 14, 2008 11:39 AM

Around,I hear "Precious" every so often. It's one of the relative few songs The Globe plays that have something bleeped out. I hear a fair amount of Mr. Costello to. Probably helps that I'm usually listening fairly late at night when the computer doews all the picking. As much as I like Weasel, Cerphe and Albie D, the computer does pull some gems out from time to time.

Posted by: EricS | January 14, 2008 11:47 AM

This was indeed the poorest week. "She's So Cold" is not a good Stones song. One-hit wonder or not, I'd move "The Way" to #2 on this list. It's a catchy engaging song that's always a delightful surprise to hear on the radio, and one to crank up and sing along with. Agree about Winwood -- love him in general but that was a woosy song and could fight for the bottom spot with "Touch of Grey" (ugh) IMO.

Posted by: barbiefish | February 9, 2008 10:36 AM

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