So I was reading one of my favorite entertainment journals, Entertainment Weekly, and they had uncovered new classics of the past 25 years. This is awesome on several levels.
- Classic classics always suck. I no longer want to hear just how great BTO is, or how amazing Creedence Clearwater Revival was back in the day when mushroom haircuts were all the rage with a nice paisly button down. The 60’s and Tom Brokaw talking about the ’60’s are played. Let’s talk about the ’80’s! The 90’s! And some of the 00’s! (Has anyone come up for a good name for this decade that does not have the word “Millenium” in it? I didn’t think so.)
- For those of us that have been alive for 25 years (or longer in some cases. Ahem) there are several things that we remember that are quite classical that normal lists typically ignore.
- These lists are incomplete as I was not asked to participate. I know more than they do.
So I have determined to outline some of my classics. I think you will agree that after reading them that my classics are inherently awesome, and that you may need to adopt them as classics as well. Or just laugh at me.
First, let’s define just what a “classic” is. In my estimation, something that is a classic of mine was formative to my youth, adolescence or adulthood. If upon hearing or seeing it, I can remember everything about this classic song or musical group, and if I am transported to a happy place upon hearing it or seeing the video. Yes, let’s dip into some of my modern classics.
1. Hall and Oates – Rock n’ Soul Vol. 1
Not only is Hall and Oates one of the most underappreciated bands of the ’80’s, they were one of the first to perfect the really tall white guy with a mullet, with the angry sullen Italian guy with the mustache. Who doesn’t ever really talk or contribute. Even though I am a fan, I have no idea what Oates contributes besides facial hair and a really crappy song “Italian Girls”. But I’m willing to overlook all this as they were the first band that I ever liked. In addition, they are one of the few bands that have nouns for their last names. Daryll and John would have been a much more powerful name than Hall and Oates. Maybe. And even though there was no Volume 2 of the Rock and the Soul, this cassette tape was one that I burned up in my ghetto blaster. If you don’t shed a tear at the sound of “Kiss on My List”, “You Make My Dreams” or “Private Eyes”, you are cold and dead inside, and I pity you.
2. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
A pantheon to hair pop/metal. If you were one of the 7 people on earth that didn’t have this cassette, then I probably made fun of you. Every song is a classic, and was prominently featured on my brother’s high school football video from 1988. Which helps you to know: instant classic. You can tell just how good this one is as songs keep creeping into “American Idol” competitions…rebooted! I think in total, I played this album about eleven million times. Or so.
3. Van Halen – 5150
David Lee Roth who? I mean, he’s a great showman and all, and his high arcing scissor kick can be duplicated by approximately nobody. And yes, “1984” is a quintessential album, but “5150” safely kicks the doors off of anything that Diamond Dave did with the band. This introduced “Van Hagar” to the world and let them know that not only is he good at screaming, but he’s also good at writing some songs. “Dreams”, “Why Can’t This Be Love” and other classics that bring back images of feathered hair and jeans that have been washed in stone. Ahhh. Good times. Sidebar. I once saw David Lee Roth at Snowbird resort at the height of his coolness in the ’80’s. Back when he had long hair and the attitude to match. He was climbing up Snowbird’s famed mountain climb up the face of the Cliff Lodge, and was wearing polyester. (What else?) That is all.
4. Lionel Richie – Can’t Slow Down
I would just like to point out first and foremost that look, he can’t slow down, alright? First of all, what I love about this album, is not just the myriad awesome hits amongst the cheesiness that is my main man Lionel, (Penny Lover? Hello? Stuck on You? All Night Long? I mean, seriously!) but that he would think the cover shot of him sitting in a backward chair is actually an ok thing to do. The stones on this man! Now granted, the only thing missing from this great album is one certain song entitled, “Dancin’ on the Ceiling” which trumps all ’80’s hits for strength of concept. (Lionel: “So get this, we’re having a party and we’re dancing, but we’re having such a feeling, that we’re dancing on the ceiling! Get it! And coincidentally it rhymes! I was doing so many ‘shrooms when I wrote this song!”) This album for me truly defines the ’80’s. Almost as much as Lionel’s fro-mullet did. By the way, if you see Lionel now, he actually looks younger than he did here. Probably all of the stress of consistently pumping out hit after hit. Lionel, slow down!
5. .38 Special – Strength in Numbers
Looking at this band on the surface, they have too many members, too many people playing guitars, and too many dudes sharing the singing duties. But this album is decidedly great. With a dash of country, southern rock and a huge heaping of cheese, this is one that you can enjoy in the comfort of your basement where no one else can hear and judge you. This was a great album for me in junior high. And my imaginary friends.
6. Living Colour – Vivid
No idiot. Not “In Living Color” the sketch comedy show that featured every Wayans brother (approximately 12 of them) and a young, elastic Jim Carrey. But Living Colour. With a “U” in color. One of the awesomest bands ever. And not that it matters, but they’re all black, and they rock. This album for me is the essence of high school, and all of the awesomeness that entails. (Read: not much.) I saw their performance on “SNL” with lead singer Corey Glover whipping his dreads around yelling out hit song “Cult of Personality” with Vernon Reid getting stupid on his guitar and I was hooked. Every song on this album is good. (Well except for the throwaway “Funny Vibe” which technically is not even really a song.) As a special bonus, I then saw them in concert with Primus opening up for them. I know, it makes no sense, right? But it was a great show and I stole the set list from the stage and caught a drum stick just to prove how utterly undeniably turbocharged I am. Take that, Celine Dion.
7. Nirvana – Nevermind
So here I am, living in Rexburg, ID attending what was then classified as Rick’s College. (After a year I still never found out who Rick actually was, and why he stuck his college in Idaho.) Previous to hearing Nirvana, I really enjoyed me some Skid Row, White Lion, Tesla, Winger. Name a cheesy hair metal band and I enjoyed them. Even the Bullet Boys. Yes, really. But like the rest of the world, when I heard Nirvana, I realized that music had changed. Not only was every song cool, but the hair metal that I liked so much just a couple of hours before sounded horribly dated and yes, even lame. Apparently 32 million other people agreed. And the boy on the cover? He looks like this now. You’re really old by the way.
8. Bob Marley – Legend
I know, I know, could I be any lamer and cliche’? Seriously, if I had any “cred” it has now been chucked out the window as this list looks like it was assembled by a twelve year old girl who still likes “My Pretty Pony.” But it took me forever to finally hear this album. That’s how lame I am. I was in Italy at the time. I was a missionary for my church for a two year stint. And one of the people there that I met and was teaching would always play this CD as loud as possible whenever we would show up. It didn’t matter the time of day. It’s also what helped me to realize that “Waiting in Vain” is one of the greatest songs possibly ever. And that me and fifteen other people are the only ones that think that.
10. Dishwalla – Opaline
Simply put, one of the best albums ever. I don’t even know why. It’s mellow, and these guys had a minor hit with “Counting Blue Cars” but everything here blows that away. Each and every song is a good one, and this is one of the few albums that you could probably listen to over and over and never get sick of it. I mean, I’ve tried, but I’m still not sick of it. And I get all angsty and quiet when I listen to it. Sometimes that’s a good thing and one of the reasons I like music. Not for the angsty part, but because it can make me feel. Like that one time I locked myself in a refrigerator by accident. Feeling like that.
11. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
So everyone was saying how good these guys were and that I had to listen to them. Whatever, said I. And then I listened to them. If you don’t like “Like Eating Glass” and “Helicopter” then there is no hope for you. Please pack your things and go.
12. The Black Keys – thickfreakness
Let’s just say this about the Black Keys. I have every one of their albums and I love them all. Bluesy, crunch-heavy and spare sounding. Yet at the same time kind of hard to believe that there’s only two of them. I don’t know what it is, but I enjoy myself every time I listen to them. Even more than when I’m at the carnival with some cinnamon roasted almonds, a fistful of singles, and I’m throwing up on the Zipper.
13. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
The dumbest name for an album ever. Yet this is a good one. Trying to explain Spoon’s sound is like trying to explain why they named their band Spoon. They really like utensils? It’s a nice tribute to Neo? The spoon is so much more forgiving than a fork? Anyway, it’s some good stuff.
14. JJ Grey and Mofro – Country Ghetto
These guys make me feel like sitting on my back porch in my knickers whilst feeding hot dogs to gators with a side of turpentine mooshine. Ok, I don’t even know what that last sentence even means, but this country fried, bluesy back porch soul is pretty amazing. Definintely a must listen to for anyone that enjoys music and that has a soul. Yes, I’m talking to you. Give these guys a listen, and if you don’t like them I’ll give you your money back. Plus a set of twelve steak knives! You’re welcome.
That should do it for this edition of my classics. Keep in mind, that there are thousands more, these are just the ones that I could think of in about seven minutes. Would you like to taunt me, mock me, offer up your own classics? That’s why comments were invented. Let’s share! Ok, who am I kidding? This will be another lonely post with no comments. And I’m alright with that. This is for me, people! For me!