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11:36 a.m. - January 08, 2008
Smed's Top 200 - 200 Through 193
Whilst I ponder the meaning of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and if we can go ahead and actually go through the primary season without people telling us exactly what this or that means if a candidate does or doesn’t do something, I thought I’d start my Top 200.

(Whew, that’s a pretty heavy statement. I think I need to go sequester myself in an ice fishing shack on Mille de Lacs.)

I plan on going through each song in detail, if I can, or want to. I’ll try to provide a link if I can, or I want to. Sometimes, I may wander off on tangents (who, me?) if I can, or I want to. And when I can, and want to, I’ll go into depth and detail about the band.

Got it? Good!

Remember, these are the top 200 songs in my iPod in terms of numbers of plays, which usually means that I’ve mixed these most often and that means that I think they’re dreamy! And the iPod randomizer feature liked ‘em too. So it’s a combination of man and machine. Gary Numan would be proud!

Let’s kick ‘er off:

200. Kate – Smabassadeur. I wasn’t able to find a video, and even though this was used on a Payless Shoe Commercial, I wasn’t able to find that either. My research skills are rusty – those who cannot do, teach! This is a sunny little ol’ pop tune with a great bass line. The vocals are breathy and light. Oh, and they’re Swedish too, and look oh, so cute. Hey, wait, let me try this link. Does it work? We’ll soon find out.

199. Gel – Collective Soul. Back when alternative rock radio was just starting, I was hopeful that it would break the stranglehold and open up playlists and become edgy and dangerous. Boy, was I wrong. That format (as opposed to adult alternative, which tends to mix things up) played a different 30 songs over and over. One of those bands were Collective Soul, which emerged from the grunge era as a grungy band even though they really were just a good ol’ rock and roll band and only wore flannel because the suits thought it helped their ‘image’.

Unlike Candlebox and Sponge (among others who became ‘alternative’ for marketing only), Collective Soul had more depth and breadth to some of their songs. However, the stench of corporate marketing hung over them for me, until I remembered how kick ass this song was. When the riff kicks in it’s like rock and roll heaven, and erases any bad taste in my mouth about them.

198. Across The Tracks – Nils Lofgren. In high school, I was junior rock historian, and I knew of Nils Lofgren tangentially because critics always loved the band Grin and he was on a Neil Young album as a prodigy. But until he joined Springsteen’s band, he was pretty much a non-entity to the teenagers. Then MTV came along, and well, um, he still was a non-entity.

His albums were pretty piece meal and shoddy, as he wasn’t able to put together a consistent disc. And for some reason, a great song like this wasn’t promoted. I think the video hurt it more than anything. Nice outfit, Nils! Yeesh! And you don’t have to do a floor exercise when playing the guitar! That’s a 9.9 from Canada, and a 9.6 from the Russian! Oh, the Russian did not like Lofgren’s routine!

197. Nice To Be With You – Gallery. I do remember 1972. No, I do. I remember hearing this song on the radio and for the ad for 22 Explosive Hits (K-Tel, of course), and bugging my mom to buy the album. You could get it at the drug store or the grocery store. (The people who supplied albums to those stores were called ‘rack jobbers’. Nice name, eh?) And so this song stuck in my head.

Gallery were a pretty non-descript band led by Jim Gold, and had a hit with this, “I Believe In Music”, and “Big City Miss Ruthanne.” Then they faded, mainly because it was just disposable pop that made you feel good.

However, now this pleasant pop song has been used for EVIL!. Is this video worse than the infamous Two Girls One Cup? You decide!

196. Everywhere With Helicopter – Guided By Voices. Sure, they wrote and recorded about 129,128 songs in their career, so having one hit the Top 200 would be a long shot. But only a few have this combination of pop hooks and rock crunch.

Wow, do you remember when Craig Kilborn had a show? Oh, and here’s a short film using the song as a soundtrack. Enjoy!

195. Red Dragon Tattoo – The Fountains Of Wayne. Now this is a band made for me. Nerdy, dorky, tuneful, smart-assy, and a sense of history, and what makes a song work. Robbie Fulks immortalized them with “Fountains Of Wayne Hotline”, and “Stacy’s Mom” made them a sensation, but for me, the money is on a song like this.

It encapsulates everything about the subject matter. It also has the line “I’m fit to be dyed”. Classic. I have two clips. One is an acoustic instore and the other is a live clip shot by a fan with Glenn Tillbrook sitting in. You can just hear the song construction, hooks, melody, and wry humor even in these clips.

194. Her Heads Revolving – The Three O’Clock. I saw this video once on MTV. Then, Moose had an EP by them. Then I found a CD or three and became a Three O’Clock devotee, albeit too late to save them. But I never ever found this record, as Arrive Without Traveling was just never released on CD. Then I found the LP used – and then – FINALLY – it came out on CD.

They’re more of a psychedelic power pop oriented band, but the guitar riff in this song is just tremendous. The video, though, well I’m sure it made sense at the time. Take a LOOK at the hair, though! Very nice!

193. Devil With The Green Eyes – Matthew Sweet. From the underrated Altered Beast record, this tune wasn’t a hit, and I can’t find a darn clip or mp3 to give you a listen. I guess you just have to trust me, then, that this is a perfect example of Sweet’s dark power pop that grips you. Just go find the record – it’s all good, and this song is great!

Well, there’s some for you to keep yourself occupied!

 

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