The best of your best

Father Scott

A requisite for being a music fan is the interest in making lists. There’s something innate in us: we like to qualify our taste against our taste. What was your favorite album of the year? What are your favorite 41 songs of the year? Who’s your favorite electroacoustic ambient grindcore band based out of Dedham, Massachusetts? These are questions music fans love to — and have to — answer.

I love setting up different challenges for this sort of discussion, and I thought I’d share one with the Arcanian crowd. It’s the best of your best: Mark down your 11 favorite artists (11 representing the number of songs on the greatest achievement in art, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). Then list your favorite song by each artist. Then put them together as a playlist. See how it looks.

Padre’s first child’s namesake

After the jump, my list, then some discussion:

The Best of Padre’s Best

1. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (Wilco)
2. I Am the Walrus (Beatles)
3. Magic (Ben Kweller)
4. One Big Holiday (My Morning Jacket)
5. Lose Yourself (Eminem)
6. Dear Chicago (Ryan Adams)
7. Champion (Kanye West)
8. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (White Stripes)
9. Do the Evolution (Pearl Jam)
10. Jigsaw Falling Into Place (Radiohead)
11. Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright (Bob Dylan)

First thoughts: fairly uneven mix. It’s always hard to synchronize rap and non-rap songs, but I did the best I could. It’s definitely rockier than I expected — tracks 8-10 are all fairly loud — and there’s less “noise” kind of stuff, other than the lead track. It’s also not terribly “creative” (which music snobs will hate), but when it’s all said and done, it’s hard to justify including Better Than Ezra’s “At the Stars” over, say, “I Am the Walrus,” even though I like it more as a song. I thought there would be more soft stuff as well, but, as football-coaching people say, it is what it is.

The interesting part is how it’s certainly not my 11 favorite songs of all-time. I’d probably have a few more Wilco songs involved, and that’s not to mention some “lesser” acts (as they pertain to me) getting involved.

A few things to wrap this up:

First, off the top of my head, my favorite songs that didn’t make it:

Windfall (Son Volt)
Lover, You Should’ve Come Over (Jeff Buckley)
Parting Gift (Fiona Apple)
Triumph (Wu-Tang Clan)
Bird Stealing Bread (Iron & Wine)

And just for fun, the last artists to be cut from the experiment:

Counting Crows
Iron & Wine
Uncle Tupelo

Join the fun in the comments.



Filed under music

10 responses to “The best of your best

  1. Chris

    Whee, I like this game!

    1. The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
    2. Velvet Underground – Sweet Jane
    3. Arcade Fire – Rebellion (lies)
    4. Barenaked Ladies – Life in a Nutshell
    5. Radiohead – No Surprises
    6. Billy Joel – It’s All About Soul
    7. The Smiths – Cemetry Gates
    8. Talking Heads – Nothing But Flowers
    9. Belle and Sebastian – Judy and the Dream of Horses
    10. Josh Ritter – Snow is Gone
    11. M. Ward – Here Comes the Sun Again

    Just happened to work out that my favorite Beatles tune is Here Comes the Sun, and my favorite M. Ward is Here Comes the Sun Again. One thing in common between all of these is that they’re fairly singable, with a strong melody, which is apparently important to me in my favorite music.

    Others that just missed the list: Avett Brothers, The National, Bob Mould, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and Norah Jones

  2. This is a good game! And here I thought you were working the whole time I was shooting rubber bands at your ass.

    1. Otis Redding – These Arms of Mine
    2. The Beatles – I Dig a Pony
    3. The Flaming Lips – The Spark
    4. Cake – Walk on By
    5. Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945
    6. Radiohead – Karma Police
    7. Ryan Adams – Sweet Illusions
    8. Wilco – Via Chicago
    9. Spoon – Anything You Want
    10. Rolling Stones – Rip This Joint
    11. The Mountain Goats – No Children

    This list is in no particular order, except for Otis Redding.

    The artists I left out: Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins, The White Stripes, Bruce Springsteen, Yo La Tengo, Barenaked Ladies

  3. Perry Ellis

    This is fun. Coupla thangs:

    1 – Jeff Tweedy’s name is really Cadillac?

    2 – Are these meant to be your favorite bands, in descending order? Or just your faves in no particular order? Mine are the latter.

    3 – It’s really, really hard to choose just 11 artists. And even harder to choose a single favorite song from your favorite artists. Maybe impossible. That said…

    1 – Hüsker Dü – Up in the Air
    2 – Mission of Burma – That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate
    3 – The Hold Steady – Constructive Summer
    4 – The Beatles – She Said She Said
    5 – Ryan Adams – Come Pick Me Up
    6 – Pixies – Debaser
    7 – Whiskeytown – Revenge
    8 – Sugar – Hoover Dam
    9 – Frightened Rabbit – The Twist
    10 – Bitch Magnet – Gator
    11 – The Who – A Quick One

  4. Fallen Angel

    Time to pwn you all again during an iMPACT! break:

    1. Rage Against the Machine – Down Rodeo
    2. System of a Down – Hypnotize
    3. Dropkick Murphys – The Gauntlet
    4. The Offspring – Gone Away
    5. Korn – Faget
    6. Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot
    7. Nirvana – Drain You
    8. Stone Temple Pilots – Trippin on a Hole in a Paper Heart
    9. Muse – Map Of The Problematique
    10. Blink-182 – Voyeur
    11. Smashing Pumpkins – Mayonaise

    Basically, an explosive triplet to open, followed by some mourning and the second angriest song in the world. Then for some reason I conformed to all you people and went indie for one song until the Lords of the Greatest Genre of All Time pick things up for the second half. The heroin addict responds with Guitar Hero II rifts before giving way to the band that sounds sorta like Radiohead and is better than Radiohead. Childish nudie spying from the greatest band of all time presents a tease before the album ends in sensual epic beauty.

    The Fratellis and Foo Fighters just miss while my interest in metal is too young for Lamb of God to make the cut.

    No excuse me while Samoa Joe kills Booker T.

  5. Interesting. More interesting is that while I dislike some of the bands in your list, I totally agree with “Drain You” and “Mayonnaise.” Those are easily my favorite songs from those two bands.

  6. 1. Bob Dylan – Visions of Johanna (I may have said “Isis” somewhere before, but this shifts between those two and “Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” depending on the mood.)

    2. Rebirth Brass Band – Wontcha Let Me Do My Thing

    3. Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days (I know it’s kinda gay but go fuck yourself.)

    4. Belle and Sebastian – Woman’s Realm

    5. The Band – The Shape I’m In

    6. Ray Charles – Leave My Woman Alone

    7. The Beatles – And Your Bird Can Sing

    8. 2Pac – Thug Passion

    9. Paul Simon/Simon and Garfunkel – Duncan (I’m not really sure it’s fair to lump these two together. Individually I don’t think either would make my top ten. But collectively, yes.)

    10. Rolling Stones – Dead Flowers

  7. Perry– no, Cadillac is Pax’s kid’s name. Gotta keep these things straight.

    And the list is ordered to be as playable as possible, it’s not in order of how I like them. I just tried to make the transitions decent.

  8. Perry Ellis

    Sorry Padre – I’ll never insult you like that again. But it’s hard keeping anything straight these days. Last week I told someone I would be attending a “spongefeeding” class for the baby.

    Forgot to include the bands that didn’t make the cut: Big Black, Bob Mould (thought he was already well-represented by Sugar and HD), The Rolling Stones, Dylan, Floyd, Spoon (AYW is my fave too Pax, thanks for the tip), The National, Bon Iver, Replacements, Tom Petty, Bettie Serveert, Aimee Mann… The list goes on and on.

  9. Perry, can you really include Bon Iver among your all-time favorite artists after one album? I mean, For Emma’s great, really great, but that’s hard to swallow for me.

    The difference between mid-20s and mid-30s: “spongefeeding” sounds kind of dirty and pretty awesome.

  10. Perry Ellis

    Thank you for calling me “mid-30s.” And yeah, I think I can (same for Frightened Rabbit), for the very reason you cite: the diff b/w mid-20s and mid-30s. Experience, my boy, experience. There is no substitute.

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