Tuesday, 12 February 2013

10 Great Songs Under 2 Minutes

Back in the day of making mixed tapes, or even making mixed CDs of just a couple years ago, certain compilation artists were left with a unique problem. There is a little space left at the end of one side of the tape, but it's too small to fit your standard song in there. Thankfully some musicians would record tracks that were short and sweet and fit right in that tetris hole perfectly. Here are 10 Great Songs that clock in at 2 minutes or less.

1. Hayden - "Stem"

From Hayden's debut Everything I Long For "Stem" is a sweet little song about buying a rose for his girlfriend on a windy day. As he walks to her house the elements start plucking the pedals from the flowe one by one until all he has left to give her is a stem.

2. Green Day - "Take Back"

Green Day's Nimrod is usually seen as a departure point for the group. Going in the direction of more harmonized and melodic songs over aggressive and quick punk tracks. Dare I say, more mainstream. Radio friendly. Songs like "Good Riddance" "Redundant" and "Nice Guys Finish Last" certainly support this. However, later in the album is a song called "Take Back" which clocks in at 1:09 and is almost unrecognizable as a Green Day song.

3. Blind Melon - "Skinned"

One of Blind Melon's funnest and funkiest tracks. "Skinned" seems to be about a serial killer who makes furniture from his victim's body parts. A joyous track which also features a perfectly timed kazoo. I wonder what Shannon Hoon would be up to if he were still with us today.

4. The Offspring - "All I Want"

After The Offspring's Smash turned out to be, well a smash, many were wondering what the group would do next. It would be 1997's Ixnay On The Hombre which saw the group take a stab at more melodic pieces, and a more rock oriented album over the So-Cal Punk that made Smash so popular. Though it was not all in their past. The first single "All I Want" picked up right where Smash left off. Part of it could be because it was written seperately for an Epitaph compilation album, but never used.

5. Blur - "Song 2"

I'm sure this one filled the gaps of many a mixed tape or CD. Probably at the end of the compilation, but I can see it kicking off a good mix with it's energy and quickness. Despite having been popular in their native UK since the 80's Blur never made a huge impression on North America until this song was released in 1997 on their self-titled record. It was the second track on the album, it was the second single and runs exactly two minutes.

6. Misfits - "I Wanna Be NY Ranger"

I could have filled this whole list with punk songs, but where's the fun in that? Bands like the Misfts and The Ramones were notorious for having albums with 20 or 30 tracks each just over a minute long. Quick paced and energetic songs is what their audiences came to expect. "I Wanna Be NY Ranger" was actually writeen by John Cafiero for The Ramones, but they had retired before the song was finished. So the Misfits offered to record it only if John would sing lead vocals. Maybe some Rangers fans could let me know if they play this song at games? Seems a no brainer.

7. Pearl Jam - "Soon Forget"

A favourite among die-hard Pearl Jam fans. Found on the often overlooked 2000 record Binaural, "Soon Forget" is a quick little ditty with Eddie Vedder playing a mandolin. Sometimes at Pearl Jam concerts Eddie would perform this solo before even the opening act takes the stage.

8. The Evaporators - "I Gotta Rash"

Some of you might be familiar with Nardwuar aka The Human Serviette. He used to do some field work for Much Music and was a radio personality in his native Vancouver. He was also the lead singer for the BC based thrash/punk/garage group The Evaporators.

9. The White Stripes - "Fell In Love With A Girl"

When The White Stripes released "Fell In Love With A Girl" back in 2002, it was for most people, the first exposure of this group we got. Impossible to ignore with the dirty guitar track and pulse pounding beat. Plus an animated video made entirely from lego? Needless to say, many fans were made, and they wanted more. Thankfully subsequent songs were typically a little longer in length.

10. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - "Babakganoosh"

I couldn't do list on short songs without including SMOASP. Most of you will probably recognize them as the group who did the Kids In The Hall theme. They were also favourites on Much Music when there were a few seconds to spare between commercials and TV shows. Very unique sound, very fun band. Very short songs.

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

10 Great High Energy Songs

This list is going to be quick and to the point, just like the songs within. Need to get energized before the big game? Or for some reason or another are in a mercurial mood and want a great soundtrack to go with it? Here are 10 songs that seem to be jacked from the beginning and don't let up the whole way through.

1. Hot Snakes - "If Credit's What Matters I'll Take The Credit"

I First heard of these guys at the Orion Music Festival last spring in Atlantic City, NJ. They are a California group with pasts in various other post-hardcore groups such as Drive Like Jehu, Pitchfork and the mythical Rocket From The Crypt. This song starts, continues and ends on a high note with vocalist Rick Froberg rarely taking a breath.

2. Funeral For A Friend - "Streetcar"

England's Funeral For A Friend have had a long successful journey on the punk scene in their native land. Success that even gained them a huge fanbase in North America...in fact when the band first toured in the United States they were pleasantly surprised that not only the venues were packed, but that the audience knew their songs word for word. "Streetcar" is a relentless track taken from their 2005 album Hours.

3. Red Fang - "Wires"

Red Fang play the type of music they want to play. Whether it's the most popular thing or the most hated. They give no fucks. Thankfully for us the majority of it is awesome. "Wires" may not be the fastest song on the list but it's attitude and constant chugging has the momentum of a runaway train. It will make the first time listener say "I need to hear that again"

4.  Misfits - "Bruiser"

Some songs on this list are rock or metal, this one is most definitely a punk song. Also known as "If Looks Could Kill" "Bruiser" was never included on a Misfits album....from either incarnation of the band. It was added to the Cuts From The Crypt record in 2001, a collection of b-sides. 1 2 3 4....

5. The Walkmen - "The Rat"

One of the greatest songs from the 2000's is by The Walkmen. A New York indie group known for the affinity towards classic sounding instruments and analog style recording. Yes "The Rat" does have a slow interlude in the middle of the song, but that's only because were the song to maintain it's energy all the way through the listener's head would explode due to the excessive amount of awesome delivered to their audio cavity.

6. 400 Blows - "Root Of Our Nature"

Not much is known about this Los Angeles based hardcore group. At least I don't know much about them. "Root of our Nature" has a killer bass line, seemingly channeled through a rusty old distortion pedal for a spinal cord. Hopefully their live shows are just as furious and unforgiving as their recorded material

7. At The Drive-In - "Enfilade"

I really could have put any At The Drive-In song on here. Especially from the album Relationship Of Command, they went into another gear when that album dropped. It might have been a little too over zealous, because thy disbanded shortly afterwards.

8. Stanford Prison Experiment - "You're The Vulgarian"

Named after a series psychological tests on the effects of becoming a prison guard that took place at Stanford University, the Stanford Prison Experiment were a little known group from the 90's. "You're The Vulgarian" maintains a steady stream of energy almost at the pace of a well focused march.

9.  Rocket From The Crypt - "On A Rope"

I typically don't like included 2 groups that feature the same members on a list, but after I mentioned them earlier I couldn't justify skipping past Rocket From The Crypt.

10. Ween - "It's Going To Be A Long Night"

Dean and Gene Ween! Ween are one of those odd bands that transcend genres. They have songs in their catalog from almost every style of music available. This one is skater punk. "It's Gonna Be A Long Night" finishes off my high energy list.

Now for some peaceful sleep

Thanks again