There are a lot of music lists on the internet, but who’s keeping these people honest? Starting now: me. So before we get to the indie rock-heavy Songs of the Week, I’m going to spout off about Slate’s “New American Songbook” in a little something I like to call “Gary Hates Your Stupid List.”
Recently, Slate put together a blueish-ribbon panel to pick the “New American Songbook” — which is basically tomorrow’s oldies, the tracks we’ll still be dancing and singing along to for the next hundred years.
It’s an interesting query because it isn’t simply a matter of what’s best or most popular — to me this is asking for the songs that, for one reason or another, have become inextricably linked to the American experience. Like “We Are The Champions,” which I’ve heard at least 5-6 times a day since the hometown Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup in June.
I don’t want to give away Slate’s list, but my major complaint is that their panelists really took to heart that “singing and dancing” thing — opting for pop hits over ubiquitous alternative/indie tunes, and writing teams over singer-songwriters. Fair enough. I guess that’s the way music is trending, but it makes for a pretty one-dimensional collection of tunes.
But even then, there are some glaring omissions in the heavily-populated pop, R&B and rap ranks — like, WHERE IS KANYE WEST? I’m not really happy with the guy at the moment, but are you telling me “In Da Club” is more iconic than “Jesus Walks?” Than “Gold Digger?” Shit, I’d put “Through the Wire” on the list before anything by 50. Here’s another one: “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. Undeniable, right?
I obviously would have approached it differently. When I consider the question, I think more about what oldies the buskers in Nashville will be playing 60 years from now. About the songs kids will learn on their first guitar, or the songs that would be covered by the hippest bands of the day. Songs with universal, timeless messages. Songs like those in SOMETHINGGOOD’s “GOOD American Songbook” playlist on Spotify. Tracks include some should-have-been contenders for the Slate list, like Beck’s “Loser,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps,” Bright Eyes’ “First Day of My Life” and Radiohead’s “Creep.” Yeah, “Creep” wasn’t on the fucking list…
Let me know what you think on Twitter. Now on to the Songs of the Week…
“11th Street” by Native Sun
The first featured track sounds like Lou Reed if he weren’t such a miserable prick — a grandiose garage rock stomper with screaming guitars AND humans. It comes from Brooklyn trio Native Sun‘s forthcoming EP Always Different, Always The Same.
“DLTFWYH” by Tokyo Police Club
Dine Alone Records
Tokyo Police Club are back — and I mean back back, making some of the best music of their career. The Ontario natives put out their fourth LP TPC earlier this month and I’m happy to confirm it kicks all sorts of ass. I particularity like the single “DLTFWYH,” which slow-builds to a jubilant indie rock frenzy.
“Freakin’ U Out” by Antarctigo Vespucci
“Freakin’ U Out” is the second single from indie-power-punk-super-duo Antarctigo Vespuci‘s forthcoming record Love In The Time of E-mail. 2018 has been the Year of Jeff Rosenstock since Day 1 — I can’t wait to hear what he’s put together in collaboration with Chris Farren, formerly of Fake Problems. The album comes out Friday.
“Serotonin” by The High Loves
The debut single from Toronto’s The High Love is a master class in catchy guitar pop (I’ve been singing “S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-Serotonin” the past two days). It’s a great introduction from the band, which is putting out an EP also called Serotonin later this year.
“Tell Me What To Do” by The Good Water
UK psych-rockers The Good Water go nuts on their fuzzy new single, a blistering tip-of-the-cap to 1960s pop rock. Frontman Bob Clements says “Tell Me What To Do” is about “confusion, the misunderstanding of feelings and the inevitable heartache that follows.”
“Ticket” by Big Lonely
“Ticket,” the lead single from Big Lonely’s new album Bad Magic is catchy as hell, with big, fun guitar lines and a soaring chorus. The five-piece hails from Burlington, Ontario.
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