All Time Favorite Songwriters

Inspired by a friend to write this one and seems to be a good fresh start considering i haven’t written anything in over a month. I’ll just jump right into it, but first, I’ll talk about the things I love in a great songwriter.

I very much appreciate wit when it comes to writing lyrics. I also love when the atmosphere a song creates is complemented by the subject matter of its lyrics. I look for artists who can write some of the most heart-wrenching pieces you’ve ever heard and then turn around and write a hyped up piece that means nothing solely for that purpose. It’s a contradictory set of metrics, and makes sense because music appreciation is very subjective. That’s part of the beauty.

So in no particular order, here are a few on my current list.

 

Jackson Browne – Solo

Lou Reed – Solo and with The VU

John Lennon – Solo and with The Beatles

Jeff Tweedy – Wilco

Brad Paisley – Solo

Graham Nash – The Hollies and CSNY

Wayne Coyne – The Flaming Lips

Phil Mogg – UFO

Sam Cooke – Solo

Smokey Robinson – Solo and ghostwriter

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John vs. Paul

I’ve been wanting to do this one for a while. Who was the best Beatle? There is no doubt that both John and Paul are two of the greatest minds in music history, but who was better? I’m going to list my top 10 Beatles songs by each artist and follow it with my choice. So this is based purely off their work with the Beatles because there is no competition when it comes to solo work. John takes the cake on that one.

Paul’s top 10 Beatles songs:

10. Eleanor Rigby 

9. Lovely Rita 

8. For No One

7. Hey Jude 

6. Let it Be 

5. Good Day Sunshine

4. And I Love Her

3. Here, There, and Everywhere 

2. Abbey Road Medley

1. Yesterday

Honorable mentions: Fixing a Hole, The Long and Winding Road, Penny Lane, The Fool on the Hill, Blackbird

John’s Top 10 Beatles Songs:

10.  Ticket to Ride

9. Strawberry Fields Forever

8. She Said She Said 

7. Norwegian Wood

6. Don’t Let Me Down

5.  I’m Only Sleeping

4. Happiness is a Warm Gun

3. Across The Universe 

2. In My Life

1. Nowhere Man

Honorable mentions: Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, I am the Walrus, Revolution, Girl, I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Uhhhhhhh my favorite is John. I could go on forever, but uhhh fuck that. 

Top 15 Wilco Songs

I haven’t posted often enough so this is the top 15 songs of one of my new all time favorite bands, who has since replaced the Flaming Lips in my top 5 bands list. This list was actually pretty tough to make because they have so many bangers on every album I’ve listened to so far. I’ll put the song first, followed by the album and year of release.

15. What’s the World got in Store – Begin There 1996

14. War on War – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2002

13. Either Way – Sky Blue Sky 2007

12. California Stars – Mermaid Avenue 1998

11. How to Fight Lonliness – Summerteeth 1999

10. Red-Eyed and Blue – Begin There 1996

9. Impossible Germany – Sky Blue Sky 2007

8. Via Chicago – Summerteeth 1999

7. Ashes of American Flags – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2002

6. If I Ever Was a Child – Schmilco 2016

5. Heavy Metal Drummer – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2002

4. Pot Kettle Black – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2002

3. I’m the Man Who Loves You – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2002

2. Jesus, Etc. – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2002

1. She’s a Jar – Summerteeth 1999

Everything Now thoughts

Arcade Fire’s new album, Everything Now, was just released a couple of days ago. This will be my mediocre review of the album. I didn’t listen to any of the songs released before the full album release so it was all new to me.

Thoughts after first listen: it’s whatever. Not really what I was expecting. No songs really stood out to me in a positive way. Really dissatisfied overall, especially at the two “infinite content” tracks.

Second listen: I like the way the album opens and closes. Creature Comfort and Electric Blue are pretty good too.

Third listen: For the most part it’s a pretty good album. I love Peter Pan and Good God Damn (Although the latter sounds like it belongs on an Artic Monkeys album). Oh yeah and We Don’t Deserve Love. Still not happy with Infinite Content or Infinite_Content (I do like the instrumentation of the second one, but the rest seems lazy to me)

I expect the album to climb the charts of BestEverAlbums quickly and make its way to the top for 2017, surpassing Kendrick’s release. Come on, it’s Arcade Fire, the 7th best artist of all time according to BEA. Naturally, people are going to eat this shit up. I think they’re overrated, but that’s just me. 

It’s probably the best album of 2017 so far. It definitely kicks the ass of Fleet Foxes’ new album that’s for sure. I can’t wait to make a year end ranking of my favorite albums.

Kinky

The kinks have bangers. Can’t believe I never listened to them before. 

The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society 

Arthur (Or the Rise and Fall of the British Empire)

Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround

Lola is my favorite right now because it rocks so hard. That tends to be the feeling when I discover a new group. For some I feel a strong McCartney vibe from the Kinks’ music. But they’re better in their own way. I have really enjoyed dramatically cacophonous vocals as of late. Not like Sex Pistols bad, but Neil Young bad. Like it just works. 

In the works

Currently working on a top 500 favorite songs of all time list and a top 100 favorite albums of all time list. I’ll post 20 a day. It’s something that’s gonna change heavily over time so I wanna finish it quickly then update it later.

More listens

Darklands – The Jesus and Mary Chain (1987)

Automatic – The Jesus and Mary Chain (1989)

Let it Be – The Replacements (1984)

Pleased to Meet Me – The Replacements (1987)

Really liked what I heard from the replacements and these 2 albums are even better. As for The Jesus an Mary Chain, listening to Psychocandy again turned me on to more. Darklands is great. Automatic is pretty alright.

Current Listens

Crack Up – Fleet Foxes (new release)

Ten – Pearl Jam (1991). Bangin.

Love and War – Brad Paisley (2017). this one has some crazy features on it, most notably Mick Jagger and John Fogerty. The title track is my favorite thus far.

My Aim Is True – Elvis Costello (1977). Not a new one for me, but this album is so damn good I’m hooked all over again.

Closer – Joy Division (1980). I couldn’t get with Joy Division before, but I’m giving it another chance.

Automatic for the People – R.E.M. (1992)

Murmur – R.E.M. (1983). My favorite R.E.M. Album at the moment.

Top 5 Favorite Solo Artists

5. Carole King 

She wrote a dozen of #1 hits for other artists throughout the 60’s before even starting her solo career. Tapestry was the best selling female solo album for decades, and rightfully so. It’s an acoustic masterpiece and my favorite of hers. Her first 3 albums are all beauty’s. Apparently King is one of the gifted musicians with perfect pitch too.

4. Elvis Costello

The revival of the rocker. My favorite album, My Aim is True, is a masterful display of soft punk rock. It’s honest and harsh, yet childish and innocent. I know He always had a backing band like the attractions or the imposters, but seriously Elvis Costello was the face.

3. Van Morrison 

Favorite album: Moondance. Honorable mention for Astral Weeks.

2. Jackson Browne

4 insane albums in Running on Empty, The Pretender, Jackson Browne, and Late for the Sky. The first is my favorite of all and definitely one of my favorite albums of all time. Favorite song: Love Needs a Heart

1. Neil Young

Come on who didn’t see this coming. This is THE man, THE myth, THE LEGEND. So many amazing albums, but my easy favorite is After the Gold Rush. This is the folk rock masterpiece. Top to bottom spotless. It shuffles with Revolver and Pet Sounds as my favorite album of all time. Harvest is great don’t get me wrong, but After the Gold Rush is the one. Tonight’s the Night and On the Beach are also phenomenal albums. I’d make a favorite songs list, but I wouldn’t even know where to start. 

Honorable mentions:

Bob Dylan

Billy Joel

Gordon Lightfoot 

David Bowie

John Lennon (easily had the best solo stuff out of all the former Beatles)

Spontaneous Concert for the great Brian Wilson

Last night I went to see Brian Wilson for the 2nd time. Let it be known that Brian is truly my hero, my favorite musical mind. He is the paragon of musical genius and the mastermind behind one of my favorite albums ever, Pet Sounds. He and his band played all the way through Per Sounds as well as the early Beach Boys pop hits and even some deep cuts that I didn’t hear the first time I saw them.

It was an amazing show. Unfortunately, his voice is done as he’s in his mid 70’s now, so some of my favorite tracks ever like “Don’t talk out your head on my shoulder” and “I just wasn’t made for these times” weren’t the same, but still amazing to see live nonetheless. I hope to see him once more on this final Pet Sounds tour and possibly the last concert of his career.

 Pet Sounds is the magnum opus of The Beach Boys and, objectively speaking, one of the greatest albums of all time. If you want to get into The Beach Boys that is one of the first reccomended listens IMO. Brian still closes every show with Love and Mercy, an amazing song that is sure to bring your eyes to water if you know Brian’s life story and history of debilitating mental illness he has had for a majority of his lifetime. As a self-proclaimed Beach  Boys super fan, I had a great time.