The Two-Minute Man, Episode 18: Long Awaited Return Edition

Breathe easy, Post Rockers. After a two-week hiatus, the Two-Minute Man is back. And there's even some Dylan and Neil Young to make for a nice return that not even Blues Traveler and a shockingly bad Beatles cover can ruin.

1. "Tangled Up in Blue" - Bob Dylan
An obvious lyrical tour de force and all-time classic, but the weary, solo acoustic version on the popular "Blood on the Tapes" bootleg is far superior. The first three verses are delivered in third-person, which puts the song in a pretty different context, and the next-to-last verse is completely different. I think that entire bootleg is better than the actual "Blood on the Tracks" album, but that's another blog post or three altogether.

2. "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)" - Neil Young
Also known as the Kurt Cobain Suicide Note Song. Poor Neil, once again playing second fiddle to Bob, as has been the case for about 40 years now.

3. "Supernatural Superserious" - R.E.M.
A mighty fine slice of rock, even if it does have a pointless bridge that drives me crazy. I. Hate. Bridges. But I love Mike Mills harmonies and there are plenty of those, so, thumbs up.

4. "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" - World Party
It's an Under the Covers weekend on the Globe, so that means lots of bands butchering Beatles classics. Actually this one sticks pretty close to the original so it's decent-to-good. It still doesn't approach the great version the Breeders did on "Pod," though.

5. "Friday I'm in Love" - The Cure
Definitely put the Cure in that grouping of "bands that I like, but if you like them, you like them more than I do." Actually, I'm not even sure that works. If I have 15,674 songs in my iTunes and not a single track by the Cure, I can't like them too much. This song gets old pretty quick.

6. "Shut Your Eyes" - Snow Patrol
Dare I say that I kinda, sorta like this tune? Most Snow Patrol songs have one of those soaring, predictable choruses but this one avoids that trap. It's actually understated and there's some tension simmering underneath. I'd better stop now.

7. "Reptile" - The Church
Also known as "the Church song you might hear on the radio that isn't 'Under the Milky Way.'"

8. "Runaround" - Blues Traveler
If you're a really portly dude, that's often going to be one of your defining characteristics. So if you suddenly lose a ton of weight, you lose your identity and gain a new one. So John Popper has gone from being "fat man who plays a mean harmonica" to "crazed gun nut who plays a mean harmonica." Not sure that's a good tradeoff.

9. "What It's Like" - Everlast

How many people can say they have songs on both the "Buzz Ballads" and "Jock Jams"? Um, I hope it's just one and that it's Erik Schrody aka Everlast, formerly of House of Pain. Otherwise this blurb is even more pointless than it already is.

10. "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" - U2
This is every kind of awful you can imagine. It's so bad, I thought it was Filter until the DJ said it was U2. As for the original, do you think George, Paul or Ringo ever said to John: "You like to write songs about drugs. We get it, mate."

By David Malitz |  March 28, 2008; 6:30 PM ET Two-Minute Man
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Reptile should move up to #3, in my opinion. The Church are a vastly underrated band. If you've heard the Starfish album, check out The Blurred Crusade, Heyday, and Priest=Aura.

Posted by: SSMD | March 28, 2008 10:25 PM

Oh man, just reading about U2's cover of "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" takes me back to a very dark place, when: A) I felt strangely compelled to acquire every U2 release, including the "Last Night on Earth" CD single that provided a home for this wretched thing, and B) U2 were going through their 1994-8 creative famine. The Mirrorball Lemon. The aping of Oasis and the Village People. Bono losing his voice and shaving his head. A half-dozen or more pointless, insipid remixes of every single. The horror, the horror. Before that era, a U2 Super Bowl halftime show would've been inconceivable. Afterwards, it became pretty much inevitable.

I think I had to go through that to figure out that it doesn't pay to be an obsessive superfan of anybody, no matter how good they are, or were.

That said, I'd sure like to hear that Blood on the Tracks bootleg.

Posted by: Chris Klimek | March 31, 2008 4:16 PM

What is really awful about having to include U2's version of "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" is that they actually do a pretty good version of "Helter Skelter."

Posted by: acn21 | April 1, 2008 12:35 PM

if you want to get really, truly freaked out, there is a company that actually makes lullabye CDs for babies, using music by everyone from metallica to zeppelin. (yeah, sweet dreams, little dude.) i am reminded of this because we actually own the led zeppelin and the cure version of these CDs, which my son listens to every night; and the lullabye version of "friday i'm in love" actually is very sweet. i'm shocked to even say that. but there is it.

(i know, i know. but i'm a mom, so i'm inherently uncool.)

much love for mike mills and his nudie suits!

Posted by: sher | April 2, 2008 9:37 PM

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