Thursday, April 7, 2011

Truly Underrated

Do you ever watch those music video countdowns on VH1? You know the ones that discuss the best One Hit Wonders or Best Metal Songs, usually hosted by Mark McGrath or Carmen Electra. I always wondered what the criteria was to be a part of those shows. Most of the time it's out of work C list actors or comedians. Do we really need Juliette Lewis reminiscing about how she made out to Def Leopard’s “Photograph” one summer. I’ll admit, those countdowns are slightly entertaining which is why I will bore you with my own. Don’t worry; it won’t be five hours long.

So the other day, my dear friend Kenneth and I were enjoying our usual Sunday brunch date. We observed a young couple necking in the parking lot while a particular Eagles song played in the restaurant. Quit an interesting visual to behold. We started discussing the fact that a certain caliber of youngsters, enjoys a lot of easy listening music with such irony. Case in point: the current revival of Hall & Oats or Journey. It's often troublesome for people like me who genuinely celebrate this music. I'll be damned if they try to take Rick Springfield from me! Honestly, I feel like these artists were never given the respect and accolades they truly deserve.

Today I want to talk about songs that fall into this category.
I present you with my Top 5 Most Underrated Songs of All Time:

Flock of Seagulls- Space Age Love Song
Kenneth and I have endless discussions about how amazing this song is; we have also danced to it countless times at Elysium. It might be one of the best love songs ever. Flock of Seagulls is one of those bands from the 80s that always get lumped into the “One Hit Wonder” category because of the song “I Ran.” That song was their only major hit, but they had an extensive catalog that went beyond that. If you get a chance, check out the No Motiv cover as well.

Don Henley- The End of the Innocence
Singing drummers are a strange phenomenon. Don Henley (like most drummers) is often overlooked when it comes to credible singer songwriters. I’m not saying he’s some prolific artist, but he is the best thing to come from The Eagles. Henley is an interesting character to say the least. He’s an avid environmentalist with a great sense of humor (there’s a funny story about him & Mojo Nixon). I’m also a little fascinated by Don Henley because he dated Stevie Nicks for several years. I respect anyone who can tame The White Witch for so long. I have no sentimental attachment or event that correlates with “The End of the Innocence,” it’s just a great song and extremely underrated. I actually enjoy his solo career much more than The Eagles. “All She Wants to do is Dance” is another great tune.

Joe Jackson- Steppin' Out
Let me start by saying, I am not a Joe Jackson fan by any means (no offense). I have always felt like he was the poor man’s Elvis Costello. Maybe I just haven’t dug through his catalog extensively enough. Back in my party girl days, I regularly frequented Whiskey Bar on Thursday nights. “Steppin’ Out” was always the song they played for last call. This song reminds me of dancing the night away after several pints of beer at The Ritz. Lately, I have heard it played at a few restaurants and it still makes me smile.

Toad the Wet Sprocket- All I Want
Most people who really like this band will not admit to liking this band. I have nothing against Toad the Wet Sprocket, but I also don’t own any of their albums. I always wonder who are the people go to their shows at Antones. I do have a special place in my heart for early 90s alterna-rock in the spirit of Toad The Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms, and Soul Asylum. You can clearly see a major Replacements influence in much of their music. This is such a great song.

Duran Duran- Come Undone
I grew up listening to Duran Duran. I also grew up with a boy crazy older sister who had pictures of Simon Le Bon & John Taylor plastered on the wall. I love all the classics like "Notorious", "Girls on Film", "Ordinary World", and "Wild Boys." As far as I knew, Duran Duran were a very tongue in cheek pseudo boy band until, "Come Undone." That was when I started taking them seriously. By the way, John Taylor is still looking good these days.

What songs do you think are underrated?