Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Top Five

A few weeks back I had a discussion about top five bands. It made me curious to see what other people would say, so I'll list mine here and anyone and everyone who reads this should feel free to add your own picks.

(In no particular order):

Foo Fighters
O.k., no surprise here. They remain my all-time favorite. Not only because they just released one of the best albums of their career (13 years in - who else can make that claim?), but because they consistently write good songs. Sure I love Coheed & Cambria's insane concept albums and The Mars Volta's outrageous prog-rock epics, but the Foos keep plugging away at making good albums made of good songs, and even when they fail at that (One By One, arguably In Your Honor), they still manage to have some of the most phenomenal songs - "All My Life," from One By One, could be the defining statement of the band's career, and "Razor" is probably the most unexpected yet subtly powerful Foo Fighters song, delivered at the close if In Your Honor's second disc. What I'm saying is, even at their weakest they blow everyone else away.

Unfortunately I don't have time to really flesh out the next four, but I will list them:

Sunny Day Real Estate
Jimmy Eat World
House of Heroes
Further Seems Forever


Mikkele Suzanne said...

im sad to see that death cab and margot both didnt make it into the top 5.

i haven't thought about this too extensively, but if i had to make a top five off the top of my head it would go as follows:

1: death cab for cutie
2: margot and the nuclear so and so's
3: sufjan stevens
4: copeland
5: sleeping at last

eric said...

While they are both strong contenders, they just didn't make the all-time Top Five. DCFC would at least make the Top Ten. When it comes down to it, I gravitate toward stuff that makes the blood in my veins pump faster.

Ek said...

Wow, this is tough; there have been so many great bands. Without having thought about it a whole lot just now, here's mine:

1) Led Zeppelin - Not only were they hugely influential, but I can't think of any other band that was able to work with such a wide variety of styles and yet maintain their own distinctive sound on every song. A few weeks ago I actually just put my iPod on shuffle with them as the artist for a weekend where I was doing a fair amount of driving, and didn't get even close to sick of it. How many bands can you do that with? As with Foo, even their less stellar albums contributed some fantastic songs (the epic "Achilles Last Stand" on Presence and "Fool in The Rain" on their last one, for example).

2) Rush - As Stephen Colbert asked them last night: "You guys have been touring for 30 years. Do you ever get tired of being so awesome and kicking so much ass?" My favorite band to listen to when I'm working out, or doing anything else unpleasant that doesn't require thought, because during a lot of their songs you pretty much forget about anything else that is going on, sometimes for 8-10 minutes at a time.

3) Saves the Day - In my book they have passed FSF and gone from a borderline top-ten band to #3 with their last couple of albums.

4) Pearl Jam - It's a tough one to explain since they sound like so many other '90s and early '00s bands (mostly because so many bands directly parroted their sound), but there's been this weird thing with PJ that most of their albums have included at least a handful of songs that were being written about where I was in my life at that point. They've also gotten much more varied and musically interesting in recent years.

5) The Mars Volta - Possibly the best live show I've ever been to, and arguably the only current band that is making a real effort to move rock music forward.

There's so many left out that I feel the need to include my "not fleshed out" next five, but I feel like it's breaking the rules. Part of the fun of this is that you have to make some tough cuts. Screw it:

6) Coheed & Cambria
7) Further Seems Forever
8) Megadeth
9) Dream Theater
10) Foo Fighters

eric said...

Ek, when I had this conversation with friends initially, I think I actually said Saves the Day instead of Further Seems Forever for the fifth spot, and really it's a toss-up. While their first EP and "The Moon Is Down" will be forever etched in my brain, later albums did not rank so highly with me, and the multiple-vocalists angle hurts them. Meanwhile STD has gotten better with almost every release (many people have problems with In Reverie and/or Stay What You Are), and you can't discount that. If I could I'd call them 5b to Further's 5a, but since you can't go backward, only forward, I'll continue with the rest of my Top Ten:
Saves the Day
Dashboard Confessional (yep)
Death Cab for Cutie
The Get Up Kids (I still remember the first time I heard "My Apology" and how it changed my world)

Ek said...

Good call on all of those bands. Bands 2-7 on my list are all really close; it's somewhat dependent on my mood.

I'll also say that "The Moon is Down" would definitely make my top ten albums list, which I can't say for sure of anything STD has done - I just think the strength of STD's catalogue is better at this point; they've gone through four completely distinct phases as a band and have been really good in all of them (I still think the In Reverie "art rock" phase was a step backwards, but that album's grown on me, and they had to go through it to get where they are now).

If I get some time in the next few weeks I may do a top-25 list for the VT (we try to post once a season or so), and if I do, DC and DCFC will both definitely be on fact, either could creep into the top ten once I think it out a little better. The Get Up Kids will be close...Owen I'm not familiar enough with (I won't put a band in my top 25 on just one album - sorry Margot - and that's all I've got of theirs).

hawthorne house said...

1-5, in no particular order:

mode revo
colored by numbers
the lower 48

closely followed by:

aaron sprinkle
death cab for cutie
american football
jimmy eat world