The Two-Minute Man, Episode 15: What I Like About the Globe Edition
Five straight weeks with no Tom Petty. I guess there was no Super Bowl bump for him. I never thought the Romantics would be anywhere but the top of the list, but an unexpected nugget from the Boss relegates them to second place.
1. "I'm on Fire" - Bruce Springsteen
On certain days, when I'm not in the mood for an anthem, this is my favorite Bruce tune. Such a mysterious, understated little song with so much tension that never quite reaches the surface. Those Alan Vega-inspired howls at the end are the perfect closing touch.
2. "What I Like About You" - The Romantics
It's about time. I turn the radio on each morning hoping to hear this song and Monday was my lucky day. This is the perfect three-minute pop song, from the killer opening riff to the harmonica solo to the expert use of "Hey!" Perhaps the best drummer-sung song ever?
3. "Southern Man" - Neil Young
The first Neil appearance! This might actually be my least favorite song on "After the Goldrush," which says a lot more about the sheer awesomeness of that album than the quality of this song.
4. "White Wedding" - Billy Idol
It's as '80s as an '80s song gets, but Idol pulls it off. It's hard not to love the various vocal tics that he showcases.
5. "In a Big Country" - Big Country
This song always reminds of a David Spade bit from a Kevin Nealon-era "Weekend Update" when he talked about bands refusing to play their big hits in concert: "When I was 22, I saw Big Country in concert, and, guess what? They didn't even sing 'Big Country'! Why else are you on the planet? It's the name of your band, hard to forget! Huh? Yeah! What? Uh-huh!" (Confession time: I find David Spade far funnier than I should. I actually had my DVR set to record "The Showbiz Show" every time it was on.)
6. "Funplex" - The B-52's
The B-52's are back and sound just as ridiculous as ever. Which is a good thing, of course. On a related note, Fred Schneider's 1996 solo album "Just Fred" is absolutely worth checking out. You can probably find a $1 copy at your local used CD store. It's a crunchy alt-rock album produced by Steve Albini and has one of the best Harry Nilsson covers you'll ever hear.
7. "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" - Bruce Springsteen
The Boss has to be happy that three songs from "Magic" are in semi-regular radio rotation. Back in the day J. Freedom said, "If Don Henley and Brian Wilson wrote a song for Bruce Springsteen, this might be it." Hard to disagree with him.
8. "All I Want" - Toad the Wet Sprocket
Back in the '90s I was always hoping for a mix-and-match between this band and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Todd the Wet Sprocket and Big Head Toad and the Monsters. Would the bands have been very different? I doubt it.
9. "Dream Catch Me" - Newton Faulkner
Um, who? I thought I maybe recognized the name from a Norton Anthology of poetry or something, but it's just some British dude with dreads.
10. "Crash Into Me" - Dave Matthews Band
If you went to college at a state school in the late-'90s, came back to your dorm room and found a sock on the door handle, there was a 29% chance this song was playing behind that closed door.
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