1. "If A Tree Falls" - Bruce Cockburn
Bruce Cockburn was one of Canada's biggest and brightest in the 70's and 80's and while he has released music as recently as 2011, his songs are definitely not as prominent as they once were. While his songs were acclaimed for their artistry Cockburn was also widely known for his strong support of human rights and various political issues. One listen to "If A Tree Falls" off his 1989 album Big Circumstance and that becomes remarkably clear. His outspoken plea against over-forestation and awareness for endangered species.
2. "Lullaby" - Shawn Mullins
Most youth from the 90's will remember this one. Mullins' longevity was threatened as "Lullaby" would become his only major hit and he would fall under the umbrella of one hit wonders. This song deals with people growing up in the fame-obsessed and substance-lacking environment of Hollywood. Though Soul's Core wasn't Mullins first (or last) album it's the only one that yielding a Top 40 hit. "Lullaby" his #1 in 1998.
3. "Parklife" - Blur
When it came time to record the title track for their 1994 album Parklife, Blur called upon British actor Phil Daniels to provide the spoken word vocals of the verses. Daniels was an established voice actor who also done some television and film work, most notably as Jimmy in Quadrophenia.
4. "E-Bow The Letter" - R.E.M
Most of the songs on this list feature spoken lyrics during the verses and then a singing part in the chorus. REM's "E-Bow The Letter" features a spoken chorus by lead man Michael Stipe, which does rhyme, but the sung background vocals are by punk legend Patti Smith. It is widely believed that some of the lyrics here were part of an unsent letter from Stipe to River Phoenix. New Adventures In Hi-Fi is actually a very underrated album by R.E.M. Check it out.
5. "Somewhere Down That Crazy River" - Robbie Robertson
Robertson was the lead guitarist and main songwriter from the Canadian group The Band. His debut solo album was released in 1987 and produced by fellow Canadian legend Daniel Lanois, known for his work with Peter Gabriel and U2. This song came out of Robertson telling stories of hot Arkansas nights from his time on the road and messing around with dreamlike chord sequences.
6. "Invalid Letter Dept." - At The Drive-In
I've mentioned At The Drive-In before on this list, in fact Relationship Of Command which this song comes off of was included in my Top 50 Favourite Albums list which can be read here. "Invalid Letter Dept" is about factories in Mexico in which many young women are forced to work and make pathetic wages. Due to the harsh conditions and the dangerous locales in which the factories are built many the workers go missing on their long way home and are never seen again.
7. "Institutionalized" - Suicidal Tendencies
Suicidal Tendencies were one of the first bands to crossover from thrash in the early 1980's. Mike Muir is the band's founder and lead singer and has been the only permanent member during their long tenure. Metallica's current bass player Robert Trujillo got his big break in Suicidal Tendencies. "Institutionalized" is a great song that truly encapsulates what it's like to be a typical teenager, with typical teenager problems and everyone around you thinking they know whats best for you. And for the love of God....would someone get this kid a Pepsi?
8. "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" - Baz Luhrmann
Man I remember when this song came out in 1999. I was in the graduating class of 1999 and many of my classmates that this song addresses would rage almost immediately when it came on the radio, because "this guy is just talking. It's not a song!" I'm not sure why this song is credited to Baz Luhrmann, the guy speaking on this track is not Baz. Maybe it's because the music is a remix of a track form the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack that Luhrmann directed.
9. "Spill The Wine" - Eric Burdon & War
One of the first tracks that Burdon sang the lead on for War. And most of the time he's spends it jammering on about gnomes and drinking with beautiful women. It's a great song and a classic party anthem. The kind that would be expected out of War for years to come.
10. "Fire Coming Out Of A Monkey's Head" - Gorillaz
Damon Albarn appeares again on this list as he provides the voice for Gorillaz fictional singer 2-D and is also the lead man of Blur. Demon Days is perhaps the Gorillaz' finest album to date and one of the most interesting tracks is "Fire Coming Out Of A Monkey's Head" which has a spoken story of 2 fictional races living together and the eventual downfall of a peaceful society. Many feel this is an analogy of slavery or immigration. Either way cool song and cool video.
Thanks again for reading all!!!
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