Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thoughts: Pitchfork's Top Songs of The '90s

Because I've no better post ideas and we all care about Pitchfork's lists and opinions, I'll offer some thoughts on their not-yet-all-the-way-revealed list: best songs of the 1990s.

It's a sprawling list thus far, covering all the myriad genres and subgenres that were popular during that weird, wild decade. I'm glad they've given due respect to faux-alternative pop hits ("Flagpole Sitta", "Lovefool", "You Get What You Give", etc.--although I think all those should have been placed higher) and nu-R&B smashes ("No Diggity", "Doo Wop (That Thing)", "The Crossroads", etc.--although, again, those should be higher). Plenty of my favorites are on the list thus far, even if they're not exactly where I would put them.

One thing I ain't too keen on: the one song per artist rule. I get that you want diversity. I get that you want to show off that you can make a list of songs by 200 unique artists. But let's face it: This is a list of the best songs of the decade. Some artists made more than one amazing song. For instance, because Modest Mouse's "Trailer Trash" is on the list, all other Modest Mouse songs--including several that in this writer's opinion are better than "Trailer Trash"--from the '90s are out of play. Because "Last Goodbye" is on the list, "Hallelujah" can't be. TLC scored with "Creep" which means no "Waterfalls". Lame. (I could give plenty more snubs (Tricky) but I don't feel like scouring the list any more.) And I know that there's that "see also" business under each song's blurb, but that don't cut it for me. If a song is great, it should be on the list. So there.

Finally, for some predictions about the top 50, which will come out Thursday and Friday. While this list is harder to predict than the '00s ones because there aren't any previously published lists of Pitchfork's favorite '90s songs (i.e. Best Tracks of 1996, etc.), I'mma give it a go. (Some are obvious.) (Predictions after the jump.)

  • There will be an MBV song in the top twenty, maybe top ten. My guess is "Soon".
  • There will be a Radiohead song in the top twenty, maybe top ten. My guess is "Paranoid Android".
  • There will be a Pavement song in the top twenty, maybe top ten. My guess is either "Summer Babe" or "Gold Soundz".
  • "Nothing Compares 2 U" should show up pretty high.
  • "Autumn Sweater" shows up.
  • "Unfinished Sympathy" goes top ten. Bold prediction, eh?
  • Another top ten-er and possibly #1: "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Duh.
  • "Midnight In A Perfect World" goes top twenty.
  • I'm not sure if there's been a Dre cut already, but I think we'll see "Nuthin' But A G Thang" somewhere around the 30s.
  • This may be my love of Weezer, but "Say It Ain't So" should be up there.
  • Beck should score with either "Where It's At" or "Loser" (whichever one isn't picked is robbed big time) in the top twenty.
  • Maybe it's just my favorite one, but "Game Of Pricks"--or maybe "I Am A Scientist"--represents GBV in the top thirty for sure.
  • This is another I'm pulling for: "New Partner" by Palace Music. Just somewhere in the top 50.
  • Something Bjork. "Joga", "Hyperballad", "Army of Me", "Human Behaviour", "It's Oh So Quiet", etc.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel cracks the top twenty with either "In The Aeroplane" or "Holland 1945".
  • Have the Smashing Pumpkins shown up? If not, either "1979" or "Cherub Rock".
  • Well, judging by the albums list, something off The Soft Bulletin will definitely be in there.
  • What about Wu-Tang? If they're not on already, look for "Protect Ya Neck" or "C.R.E.A.M." high but not too high.
  • You know, they could always put "MMMbop" where it should be, which is in the top ten.
  • As far as other pop smashes are concerned: "I Want It That Way", "Jump Around", and "You Oughta Know" could make some surprise appearances.
  • Most people throw U2's "One" near the top of '90s songs lists. I don't think Pitchfork will do the same, but you never know.
  • I'd also love to see "Walkin' On The Sun" by Smash Mouth, but I'd say that's unlikely.
  • I don't think I saw Elliott Smith on the list. "Needle In The Hay" perhaps? That's what I'd pick I think.
  • I don't think I saw Beastie Boys either, in which case my guess is "So Whatcha Want".

I don't feel like any more. Plus, my "predictions" kinda devolved into "things I want personally" as opposed to what I think Pitchfork will actually put. But yeah, I mean, if I have to guess for number one, I'll be safe and go with "Smells Like Teen Spirit"--even though I kind of think Pitchfork will put it at like number seven just to be assholes. We'll see how it ends...


  1. predictions...

    TOP 20
    Nirvana - Smells Like...
    Radiohead - Creep
    Dr Dre - Nuthin' But A G Thang
    Beck - Loser or Where It's At
    Weezer - Say It Ain't So or El Scorcho
    Notorious BIG - Big Poppa
    Pearl Jam - Jeremy
    DJ Shadow - Midnight or Building Steam...
    Pavement - Cut Your Hair
    Beastie Boys - So Watcha Want or Sabotage
    My Bloody Valentine - Soon
    Outkast - Rosa Parks
    U2 - One or Numb
    Neutral Milk - Holland, 1945
    Bjork - Army of Me
    Belle & Sebastian - The Stars of Track and Field
    Wu-Tang - Protect Ya Neck
    Magnetic Fields - Luckiest Guy...
    Big Pun - Still Not a Player
    Superdrag - Who Sucked...

    Butthole Surfers - Pepper
    Nada Surf - Popular
    Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy
    Cranberries - Dreams
    Folk Implosion - Natural One
    Filter - Hey Man... or Take a Picture
    Teenage Fanclub - The Concept
    Mountain Goats - Going To Georgia
    Aphex Twin - Girl/Boy Song or Green Calx
    Beat Happening - You Turn Me On

    10 WONDERS
    Triple Fast Action - Revved Up
    Local H - Bound for the Floor
    Soul Asylum - Misery
    Primitive Radio Gods - Standing...
    Better Than Ezra - Good
    Fun Lovin' Criminals - Scooby Snacks
    Space - Female of the Species
    Soul Coughing - Circles
    Everclear - Santa Monica
    Hagfish - Stamp (Eat It While I Work)

  2. magnetic fields and pearl jam are already gone