Tag Archives: Ranking

Ranking Kool & the Gang’s American singles

Does the average fan know that singer James “J.T.” Taylor joined the band as 1978? Coinciding with the peak of disco, Kook & the Gang sweeteened their funk with the balladry that was turning pop radio’s heads as an alternative. I’ve read grumbling about the rockist undertones of my categories, but “sound, solid entertainment,” comprised of okay to pretty good songs, fits Kool as well as a polyester suit. And maybe folks will say I overrate “Misled” and blame me for excessive prosecutorial fervor regarding “Celebration.”

The Hague

Joanna
Celebration

Meh

Emergency
Stone Love
Big Fun

Sound, Solid

Get Down On It
Fresh
Spirit of the Boogie
Jones Vs. Jones
Tonight
Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)
Victory
Summer Madness

Good to Great

Jungle Boogie
Higher Plane
Misled
Too Hot
Hollywood Swinging
Ladies’ Night

Ranking Van Halen’s American singles

There is no reason why 2012’s “Tattoo” should work as well as it does. Roth is in full slobber mode, Eddie keeps up, almost a classic had it not been for the decision to keep it going past four minutes. Otherwise what I wrote a few months ago stands.

The Hague

Right Now

Meh

Love Walks In
When It’s Love
Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
Dreams
Top of the World
Not Enough

Sound, Solid

Why Can’t This Be Love
(Oh) Pretty Woman
Panama
Hot for Teacher
Tattoo
Finish What Ya Started

Good to Great

Dance the Night Away
I’ll Wait
You Really Got Me
Runnin’ with the Devil
Jump
And the Cradle Will Rock
Dancing in the Street

Ranking Bryan Adams’ American top forty hits

I knew ranking him would produce fascinating results: here’s a guy with a catalog vast enough to place in every category, and white enough to endure despite its natural redundancy. Resistant to scrutiny, obsequious to a work ethic that encompasses disco boogie, the AOR thud, and pop with an electronic gloss, Bryan Adams can’t help the crap he writes and sings. His rasp is his idea of reality. But he represented a middle ground between Def Leppard and Shania Twain in the Poppy Bush Interzone. Continue reading

Ranking Heart’s top forty singles

Heart are a fabulous band to cover on this blog because their self-written seventies material was often not all that, and their head-above-water High Reagan schlock was often better than expected, thanks to the witchy women Ann and Nancy Wilson. Thanks to vocals and harmonies too powerful and present for subtlety, they injected whatever conviction was possible into readymades like “Stranded” and too much into an Aaron Neville cover. 1985 was the year when bands in L.A., besotted with Prince and the Revolution’s clothes, sported their own, with synth lines to match. Stevie Nicks and the Wilsons competed for the same material: it requires no effort to imagine Nicks belting “Never” than Nancy crooning “These Dreams,” originally offered to the Fleetwood Mac solo star. And the Wilsons and Nicks paid a heavy price in a sexist industry. Imagine enduring this shit:

After the song reached its peak of success, producers reportedly wanted Nancy to recreate the gravelly sound on future recordings, asking her, “Can’t you just get sick again?”

Answer: the same men who urged Ann to lost weight. Continue reading

Ranking Sting and the Police’s top 40 singles

Their logic ties me up and rapes me!

The Hague

Russians
Nothing ‘Bout Me
We’ll Be Together
All for Love (with Bryan Adams & Rod Stewart)
Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot

Meh

Don’t Stand So Close to Me
Spirits of the Material World
Roxanne ’97 (Remix feat. Puff Daddy)
Desert Rose
If You Love Someone, Set Them Free
Love is a Seventh Wave
It’s Probably Me” (with Eric Clapton)
If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
Brand New Day
When We Dance
After the Rain Has Fallen
Send Your Love

Sound, Solid Entertainments

Synchronicity II
Fortress Around Your Heart
Wrapped Around Your Finger
Fields of Gold
Invisible Sun
Be Still My Beating Heart
Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86”

Good to Great

Message in a Bottle
Walking on the Moon
De Doo Doo, De Da Da Da
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
King of Pain
Fragile
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take
All This Time
Can’t Stand Losing You
Roxanne

Ranking ABBA’s British top forty singles

Creators of the highest grade chintz in pop — ersatz art, to quote Pauline Kael about All About Eve, at their worst; sublimity at their frequent best — ABBA were best appreciated as a singles act when their discrete forward motions repulsing the era’s chart enemies inspired some terrific mimicry. I have more to say.

The Hague

Chiquitita
I Have a Dream

Meh

Does Your Mother Know
Under Attack
Thank You for the Music
Fernando
Money, Money, Money

Sound, Solid Entertainments

Voulez-Vous
I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
When All is Said and Done
Angeleyes
The Name of the Game
One of Us
Super Trouper
Head Over Heels
Mamma Mia

Good to Great

Knowing Me, Knowing You
Take a Chance on Me
S.O.S.
Dancing Queen
The Winner Takes It All
Lay All Your Love on Me
Summer Night City
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
The Day Before You Came
Waterloo

Ranking Billy Joel top forty hits

The Hague

I Go To Extremes
Modern Woman
Piano Man
She’s Always A Woman

Meh

We Didn’t Start the Fire
Just the Way You Are
You’re Only Human (Second Wind)
Tell Her About It
Only the Good Die Young
The Longest Time
It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me
Big Shot
The Entertainer
You May Be Right
The Night is Still Young
All About Soul

Sound, Solid Entertainment

Uptown Girl
My Life
And So It Goes
This is the Time
Sometimes a Fantasy
Say Goodbye to Hollywood
Honesty
Keeping the Faith
Pressure

Good to Great

A Matter of Trust
An Innocent Man
Leave a Tender Moment Alone
Allentown
The River of Dreams
Don’t Ask Me Why
Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)