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Which artists on Acclaimed Music have songs that are their not their highest-ranked, but you would consider their best?
Obviously, this is very opinion-based, but still a fun discussion:
Here are my thoughts:
AC/DC - "Back in Black" is better than "You Shook Me All Night Long"
Aerosmith - "Dream On" is better than "Walk This Way"
Louis Armstrong - "What a Wonderful World" is better than "West End Blues"
The Beatles - "Hey Jude" is better than "Strawberry Fields Forever"
Chuck Berry - "Memphis, Tennessee" is better than "Johnny B. Goode"
The Clash - "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" is better than "London Calling"
Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On" is better than "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"
The Jam - "That's Entertainment" is better than "Going Underground"
Alicia Keys - "No One" is better than "Fallin'"
The Kinks - "Waterloo Sunset" is better than "You Really Got Me"
John Lennon - "Jealous Guy" is better than "Imagine"
M.I.A. - "Paper Planes" is better than "Galang"
Alanis Morissette - "Ironic" is better than "You Oughta Know"
Randy Newman - "Louisiana 1927" is better than "Sail Away"
Oasis - "Wonderwall" is better than "Live Forever"
Roy Orbison - "It's Over" is better than "Oh, Pretty Woman"
Elvis Presley - "In the Ghetto" is better than "Heartbreak Hotel"
Radiohead - "Fake Plastic Trees" (or "Karma Police") is better than "Creep"
Smokey Robinson & The Miralces - "The Tears of a Clown" is better than "The Tracks of My Tears"
The Rolling Stones - "Gimme Shelter" (or "Sympathy for the Devil") is better than "Satisfaction"
Simon & Garfunkel - "The Only Living Boy in New York" (or "The Boxer") is better than "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Sly & The Family Stone - "Everyday People" is better than "Family Affair"
The Who - "Baba O'Riley" (or "Won't Get Fooled Again") is better than "My Generation"
Those are just a few that come to my mind :P
Anybody have theirs they would like to share?
It's harder to find artists whose most acclaimed songs *are* their best.
Bob Dylan: Subterranean Homesick Blues > Like A Rolling Stone
Rolling Stones: Sympathy For The Devil > Satisfaction
MIA: Jimmy > Galang
Jimi Hendrix: All Along The Watchtower > Purple Haze
The Band: King Harvest > The Weight
Jane's Addiction: Jane Says > Been Caught Stealing
I don't get the acclaim for In The Ghetto. It's hardcore soft racism.
The Beatles- A Day in the Life over Strawberry Fields Forever
Radiohead- Paranoid Android over Creep
The Smiths- There Is a Light that Never Goes Out over This Charming Man
Pink Floyd- Wish You Were Here over See Emily Play
Jimi Hendrix- All Along the Watchtower over Purple Haze
Beastie Boys- Intergalactic over Sabotage
Marvin Gaye- What's Going On? over I Heard it Though the Grapevine
Arcade Fire- Neighborhood #1 over Rebellion (Lies)
Elvis Presley- Suspicious Minds over Heartbreak Hotel
Neil Young- Rockin' in the Free World over Heart of Gold
The Strokes- Hard to Explain over Last Night
Madonna- Hung Up over Like a Virgin
Pavement- Cut Your Hair over Summer Babe
James Brown- Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine over Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
The Kinks- Waterloo Sunset over You Really Got Me
M.I.A.- Paper Planes over Galang
Daft Punk- One More Time over Da Funk
The Stooges- Search and Destroy over I Wanna Be Your Dog
The Notorious B.I.G.- Juicy over Mo Money Mo Problems
Sufjan Stevens- Chicago over John Wayne Gacy Jr.
Primal Scream- Loaded over Higher Than the Sun
These are all taken from my personal top 100 artist list.
Radiohead: Paranoid Android > Creep
Bob Dylan: Desolation Row > Like a Rolling Stone
The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter > Satisfaction
Tom Waits: Tom Traubert's Blues > Innocent When You Dream
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Have You Evern Seen the Rain > Proud Mary
David Bowie: Space Oddity > Heroes
The Beatles : A Day in the Life > Strawberry Fields Forever
U2: With or Without You > One
Neil Young: Southern Man > Heart of Gold
Massive Attack: Angel > Unfinished Symapthy
Indeed, which artists not?
The one which annoys me the most is clearly the Arcade Fire's case.
Rebellion (Lies) is one of the 2 songs I like the least in Funeral (one of the 2 songs I would not call great in fact, just very good), and I also think that 4 or 5 songs in Neon Bible are more deserving.
Others favourite artists for whom I don't agree include :
Queens of the Stone Age (no song of my top 5 included in AM)
Portishead : there are 3 or 4 songs in Dummy better than Sour Times and Glory Box
DJ Shadow : I know I'm not the only one here who regard Building Steam With a Grain of Salt and Blood on the Motorway as his 2 best songs, and I like the Number Song, Organ Donor and Stem-Long Stem much more than Midnight in a Perfect World
Animal Collective : I'm confident that Fireworks will pass Peacebone, and I hope Leaf House can do so. I would also like Banshee Beat and Purple Bottle to get more acclaim (and all of those songs to top My Girls when 2009 songs will be included but that will never happen)
At the Drive-In : I really don't get why the choice is always One Armed Scissor... really !
For others it depends on the way you look, for Elliott Smith for instance : Between the Bars and Waltz #2 are better than Miss Misery in my book, but it is great that my 2 favourite songs by him (my 2 favourite songs ever in fact) are among the 3 which are acclaimed, given that he has such a great number of wonderful songs.
Among my favourite artists whose songs I like the most are more or less the one acclaimed I would pick LCD Soundsystem (with All my Friends as #1), Outkast (even though I would rank them on the opposite order, their top 3 is legendary), the Replacements (even though Unsatisfied should be higher), Hot Chip, Nick Drake (lacking 'cello song maybe), Cure (where are the Lovecats however), The Chemical Brothers, the Avalanches, Television (who would discuss that Marquee Moon is their best song ?)
I'm a bit surprised Maggot Brain isn't one of the 2 most acclaimed Parliament/Funkadelic song...
Too many to list.
A lot of this has to do with popularity…
A year or two ago, I looked up the chart performance of every song in the AM top 100. Don’t remember the results, and can’t remember the name of thread where I posted about it (if someone with more time on their hands wants to look this stuff up, be my guest), but the take-away was that chart performance is a HUGE predictor of which songs will be most highly acclaimed. I think more than 90 of the top 100 reached the top 10 in either the U.S. or U.K., and more than 95 reached the top 40 (and if I remember rightly, only 2 or 3 top 100 songs weren’t released as singles).
Neil Young- Ambulence Blues should be his top. Best song he ever did by far.
Van Morrison- Madame George owns Brown eyed Girl.
Velvet Underground- "Waiting For the Man" isn't even a top 5.
Of the top-100 artists, only for 9 of them are their most-acclaimed song also my favorite:
Miles Davis - I don't really know his work very well, but "So What" is probably my favorite individual track that I do.
Lou Reed - "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" is fully deserving of its popularity and acclaim, and remains my favorite solo song by Reed.
Roxy Music - "Virginia Plain" is not only worthy of being the most acclaimed song by Roxy Music, it is worthy of being the ONLY acclaimed song by Roxy Music.
Oasis - I'm not a fan, but "Live Forever" is probably my favorite of their songs.
PJ Harvey - She is so great, I could pick any number of songs as my favorite. But looking at my song poll list, sure enough, "Rid of Me" was what I listed as my favorite, and is in my top-30 all time. It really is a tour-de-force track.
AC/DC - While I have some respect for their style of rock, it generally is not my cup of tea. So it is probably not a surprise that I go for their most poppy hit, "You Shook Me All Night Long"
LCD Soundsystem - Absolutely agree that "All My Friends" is a masterpiece.
Pet Shop Boys - I like them, but "West End GIrls" remains my fave.
Pulp - There is no getting around how great "Common People" is.
By the way the two most headscratching most acclaimed songs for me are:
- Metallica's "Enter Sandman." It is a ridiculous, silly song. "One" is a dangerous, unsettling, completely resonant track. For "Enter Sandman" to be over 1500 places above it is just wrong.
- Madonna's "Like a Virgin" - I realize that it is what launhed her into the stratosphere, but it really is very far from her best. It is also far and away her worst song that starts with the words "Like a..."
Rid of Me is also far and away PJ harvey's best album, and some day I hope it's placing under To Bring You My Love will be rectified...but until then.
The Beatles debate is never-ending and could potentially include 50 songs.
Here are the high-ranked artists I have a strong opinion on:
Bob Dylan - Visions of Johanna and possibly It's Alright Ma better than Like a Rolling Stone
David Bowie - Space Oddity better than 'Heroes'
The Who - I Can't Explain better than My Generation
Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower better than Purple Haze
The Beach Boys - God Only Knows, Wouldn't It Be Nice, California Girls, I Get Around, Don't Worry Baby and maybe several others better than Good Vibrations
The Velvet Underground - Sunday Morning and Venus in Furs and Heroin better than Waiting for the Man, and I'm probably being unfair on their other albums by not also including the likes of Sister Ray and Sweet Jane
Marvin Gaye - Ain't No Mountain High Enough with Tammi Terrell is just brilliant to listen to, which in my viewe is all that counts to make it better than I Heard It Through the Grapevine
R.E.M. - I'm not even that familiar with their early stuff, but do think that Man on the Moon is better than Losing My Religion
Stevie Wonder - Uptight better than Superstition
Pixies - Debaser and Where Is My Mind? better than Monkey Gone to Heaven
Simon and Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence better than Bridge over Troubled Water
Also, on Arctic Monkeys, one of my favourite artists, Mardy Bum is better than I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, and if they should have any song in the top 1000 (which I'm not sure they should), it ought to be that.
The best example so far is Van Morrison. It's a shame that he's known mainly for "Brown Eyed Girl" when he has far better songs like "Sweet Thing" and "Moondance," but it's even worse that critics agree that "Brown Eyed Girl" is better. A lot of the time, a song being released as a single has a lot to do with its acclaim. I wonder how many of the top 200 weren't singles?
I think it's one of the problems of a song chart compared to and album chart. Album tracks will always be averaged out, because the singles are just more famous and better known, even to the critics. I'm sure there are quite a bit more underground albums in the top 100.
I guess that's one of the reasons why I don't really care for the songs chart and do definitely care for the albums chart on AM.
Radiohead: Paranoid Android owns Creeo
Pink Floyd: Pretty Much Anything they Ever Did beats See Emily Play
Biggie Smalls: Juicy beats Hypnotize
Elvis: Hound Dog over Heartbreak
U2: SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY wrecks One
Jimi Hendrix: All Along the Watchtower is better than Purple Haze
R.E.M.: Radio Free Eurpoe beats Losing My Religion
I know I'll think of more.
I think the fact that Creep is Radiohead's most acclaimed song shows that if they were more of a singles band they'd have a strong chance for the #2 artist ranking... probably not #1 but they might even give The Beatles a run for their title. I mean, everybody knows Creep isn't Radiohead's best song but it's probably the only one by them that can really be considered a single which is a big factor when critics put lists together.
Hope I did the math right here, but Radiohead is not even close to The Rolling Stones, let alone Dylan, even in terms of albums. Here are the scores for the top 5:
The Beatles: 7.695
Bob Dylan: 8.232
The Rolling Stones: 8.466
David Bowie: 9.375
In total score the difference is (obviously) even bigger:
The Beatles: 12.579
The Rolling Stones: 13.585
Bob Dylan: 13.97
So I don't think a few more successful singles would put them in the top 3, but the top 5 maybe.
Edit: To put it more concretely, to top Bob they'd need 6 top 50 singles and two more albums in the top 100.
I have a feeling Radiohead will get those 2 albums in before they call it a day though and then we can have the discussion again!