This post is brought to you by Boulevard Wheat and Miller Light on special ($2 bottles and still not worth it … )
Let’s get right to it. We’ll go through these songs like 2-3 at a time, alphabetically by title until I hit the end of my current 2600 item, 12.37 GB itunes library. Buckle in, suckers.
Green Day – 80
Where You’ve Heard It: Well most likely…you may not have heard it. It’s off Green Day’s pre-Dookie album Kerplunk (their second full album). I have this album because in 8th grade I hit a big music kick where I was engrossed in finding new stuff that was actually old stuff. Things that not everyone would have. So that lead to my coming upon The Rentals (spun off of Weezer) and early Green Day, on top of a fair amount of random anything else.
From a production standpoint, this really isn’t that sharp of a song. And honestly, I can’t say I have much of an emotional attachment to it, other than the fact that when I was in 8th grade, my friend Zach and I wanted to form a band and be beatniks, and we listened to a LOT of Weezer, and a LOT of Green Day. He tried to introduce me to the Offspring and the Pixies, though, to my discredit, it didn’t take. Mea culpa.
RBF: Reminder, this is the Rock Band Factor. Anything by Green Day is perfect Rock Band fodder. Solid guitar, maybe iffy vocals but doable, and Tre on the drums is a manic fuckin’ monster. I can imagine the drum rolls on these songs. Simple, but still with a sense of accomplishment when you get them.
CBF: I must admit, when I hear music, I hear the instruments and the beat over anything lyrical, so perhaps basing my judgments of songs on their singability is unfair. But it’s my blog, so tough.
The chorus is exceedingly catchy, matches well with the rest of the song, and fits Green Day’s style. They aren’t singers. They’re musicians. But it’s still perfectly fine. Again, I don’t know the words. But if it’s in the car…and you get the tune of the song…you’re gonna at least hum it out. So that gives it an arbitrary CBF of …let’s say 4.
GPF: There’s no need to feel guilty over liking Green Day. In fact, if you DON’T have a lot of Green Day, you should feel bad about yourself and the track your life has taken. Period. So that unfortunately gives this song a poor GPF of 1.
Overall: Most anyone who’s 23 or older will recognize the songs off Dookie. “Basket Case”, “Welcome to Paradise”, and “Longview” are pretty solid alt-rock offerings no matter the year. But to know things off Kerplunk or even Green Day’s earlier full release 1001 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours earns kudos from me. You are the pop-punk elite, sir. Enjoy it. Otherwise you’re a poseur, and poseurs get moshed (liner note reference!).
Smashing Pumpkins – 7 Shades of Black
Where You’ve Heard It: SP’s return album Zeitgeist. I should mention that this being the second post in this series, it’s pretty remarkable that two of the songs are by two of the more influential bands as far as my musical tastes. My adolescence can be summed up by Weezer, Green Day, the Smashing Pumpkins, and to an extent a little of Red Hot Chili Peppers. So you’re in for a treat. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of information on this song. While part of the return of Billy Corgan and the Pumpkins, it’s hard to capture the same genius that brought the world Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It just isn’t the same. There’s a lot more of a guitar influence, a little more frantic pace. Not so much the same wispy elements of older Pumpkins’ stuff.
RBF: The drums are pretty killer throughout. They thump through every measure, and the guitar plays off that in a lot of driving chords and a brief breakout solo. Nothing too out of control, just a solid rock song. Vocally, it’s Billy Corgan, so it’s a little here and a little there. It’s Rock Band-able, and brings in an RBF of 9.
CBF: I need to hear this more often. Sucks that some songs I don’t hear a lot or are kind of less-heralded I skip a lot of the time to get to the rest of the really good stuff. This isn’t the easiest song to latch onto and sing along with. It’s more engaging from an instrumental standpoint, as the guitar gets into a driving rumble, while the drums clatter along. So let’s give this a CBF of 3, but a SteeringWheelDrumFactor (SWDF) of 7.
GPF: Aint no shame in the SP. It’s not the best stuff in the world, and it pales compared to older Pumpkins work, but it’s still a solid song, so there’s nothing quirky or out of line with this one. I give it a GPF of 2.
Overall: This song is a rock-solid 6.5. Nothing wrong with it, necessarily, but carrying the Smashing Pumpkins label, you expect more. Compared with other stuff on the album, it’s not too different either, so it’s not going to standout. It’s listenable, downloadable, even buyable, but it’s not going to crack your top 50 songs.
The Who – 5:15
Where You’ve Heard It: Okay…I just got this song two days ago so I don’t have a backstory. Lo Siento (second foreign language reference!)
RBF: It’s the Who. Do you have to ask? The guitar rolls through, very chord-tastic, with a few moments of soulful rock solo. Even a hint of Southern Rock swagger. Mostly, “5:15” uses a lot of piano and brass with some typically awesome drum-work to complement the rock opera vocals. It’s about frustration of youth and how to fit in to society. And it’s the Who. So it rocks.
CBF: It’s another that lends itself to a lot of rocking out other than vocally, but it’s catchy in spots. I get distracted by Keith Moon on the drums, so it’s probably not going to be something I get into other than rhythmically. But the chorus is still singable. “Inside Outside, out of my brain”
GPF: Oh this is plenty good. Maybe I should come up with another measurement besides the guilty pleasure factor, but maybe not. For this one, I like it because the guitar is all over, the drums are by The Who, so they’re all over with a controlled chaos that I find exhilarating. Note: I mark out for awesome drums. Bottom line. Plus when you hit the bridge, it’s kind of a sweetly soft lead in to more rocking. There’s even a touch of 80’s saxophone awesomeness that you just can’t find anymore. And I love that. I want to be reincarnated as the sound of a saxophone from a 1980’s hit song.
Overall: As usual, the Who weave multiple musical elements into their music, and the result is what would, in the hands of less skillful artists, be a mess of unnecessary noise. And those drums. God. Yeah.