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500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born

All I actually do all day at work is rant and rave about the evils of baby boomers and old music. Shockingly, I had no idea that months ago Blender magazine published a list made just for me -- "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" that, conveniently, assumes "you" were born in 1980, which is just about right. Even better, I really like almost all of these songs. At the intersection of mixing genres and ordinal lists, however, lies madness.

May 10, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Well I presume this is an invitation. The 500 greatest songs since 1950:

#1 Mystery Train - Elvis Presley

Just kidding ya. How bout those Mavs.

In sad more modern music news Grant McLennan (Go Betweens) died at 48.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | May 10, 2006 12:43:30 AM

Heh. Me, I'd have a very hard time listing 500 songs worth listening to since I was born. Okay, that's not exactly true, I suppose. But I'd have a hard time coming up with that many songs I actively like, rather than just listen to between the songs I do like on the album. And the stuff before '79 isn't any better.

Which is very frustrating, because I really enjoy listening to music...

I'm curious, is that list online?

Posted by: arcseed | May 10, 2006 12:48:40 AM

The Mavs looked great.

What was up with the officiating? 80 free throws is ridiculous.

Posted by: blah | May 10, 2006 12:49:08 AM

This list seems sadly undermined by a serious deficiency of "Bizarre Love Triangle".

And "With or Without You" is much, much too low.

Posted by: Aaron Bergman | May 10, 2006 12:50:06 AM

Here's a link.

Posted by: Aaron Bergman | May 10, 2006 12:51:04 AM

The list is indeed nice. Billy Jean at #1 is a stroke of genius.

And the Slate article on pop crit that led to this link is definitely worth a read.

Posted by: Petey | May 10, 2006 1:10:27 AM

Wow, there is a lot of godawful crap on that list.

I guess it's part of that whole ironic contrarian posing where you pretend that crap is actually good.

Was that list composed by Chuck Klosterman by any chance?

Posted by: blah | May 10, 2006 1:27:50 AM

You really should get to REM before #238. On the plus side, I've long thought that Madonna's Like a Prayer is over-dissed, so I'm happy to see it at #8.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | May 10, 2006 1:41:56 AM

With two Lucinda Williams songs and one by Jeff Buckley, I suppose I can accept this list. Victoria Williams is just too much to hope for, although Opelousas is a much better song than many on that list.

Posted by: flippantangel | May 10, 2006 1:56:34 AM

I'm glad to see that they've ranked two Max Martin songs in the top 20, even if they're not his best.

Does anyone know what the SA fans were chanting at the refs? I couldn't make it out.

Posted by: Wade | May 10, 2006 2:07:21 AM

SA fans were chanting "Referees suck!"

I guess since it's home court, they expect to get one-sided calls the whole game.

Posted by: blah | May 10, 2006 2:22:33 AM

It was "Referees" suck? It didn't sound that way to me - I thought it might have been one of the refs' name. Was Steve Javie refereeing last night?

On the Blender list: I've got to say, I thought it was pretty lame. I have to agree with blah: ironic contrarian posing. Look, a lot of things are already accepted - and for good reason! There's no reason to upset the accepted order except to try to appear contrarian. I'm no Outkast hater or Radiohead fan, but two Outkast songs in the Top 15, and no Radiohead songs in the Top 50? Second best U2 song is "Beautiful Day"? "How Soon Is Now" only at 72? The best Prince song is "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man"?

Posted by: Al | May 10, 2006 10:13:42 AM

I'm with Al and blah: that Blender list is awful. Do music critics really like Justin Timberlake? Do they actually sit and home and rock out to the new Britney Spears album? If we assume the answer is "no," then who are they trying to impress by saying they like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake? Are 12-year-old girls really that influential?

Posted by: Steve | May 10, 2006 11:51:40 AM

While I disagreed with a lot of specific choices on the list - i.e., there were a bunch of bands where I thought "that's not remotely their best song!" - and the whole thing is probably invalidated by only having one song connected to Richard Thompson...

I think the claims of "who do they think they're kidding!" with some of the more poppy stuff are silly. The list pretty clearly isn't celebrating the 500 best artistic achievements to be appreciated in reverential silence in your darkened bedroom, probably with headphones; it's a celebration of POP music, which encompasses rap and rock and soul and techno (no metal except for Motorhead, though...huh) and, well, pop. Is it fun/exciting/does it get you and your friends animated in some fashion when it comes on in a club/at a party?

When I was a freshman in college, I told a friend that if I ever heard an 'Nsync song that I liked, I'd cop to it. He called me a liar. When "Cry Me a River" hit the charts, I proclaimed my love far and wide. And "Toxic" is, in my opinion, a FANTASTIC pop song.

This from a guy who was repping Richard Thompson earlier in this comment, whose list of favorite bands includes "The Pixies" and "Miles Davis' '60s Quintet". There's something to be said for the perfect pop song. (Which was released before I was born, the perfect pop song being "I Want You Back".)

Posted by: Quarterican | May 10, 2006 12:08:39 PM

Link doesn't work for me, but it looks like it's not worth following. Do they actually have Britney Spears on the list? If so, that invalidates the whole project.

Billy Jean at #1 is a stroke of genius.

Well sure, if by 'genius' you mean 'making the most obvious choice possible'.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | May 10, 2006 12:11:48 PM

And the Slate article on pop crit that led to this link is definitely worth a read.


Here's the link to the Slate article that talks about the style of criticism Blender is trying for. Thanks, Petey. The Slate article makes the list a little more understandable, I guess. Still don't think the list really works, though, for the reasons stated above.

Posted by: Al | May 10, 2006 12:25:14 PM

Al is correct that Prince is underrepresented. We must abolish the pop electoral college.

Posted by: Petey | May 10, 2006 1:32:31 PM

"SA fans were chanting "Referees suck!"

Nope. The chant was "Javie sucks!", referring to lead ref Steve Javie.

Posted by: Petey | May 10, 2006 2:18:37 PM

Blender are confusing songs with records. There's a reason why the Academy award two different Grammies for them.

For instance: "Sexual Healing" is a great record. No way is it a better song than, say, "Don't Dream It's Over" (which I didn't see even in the top 250).

Posted by: Wade | May 10, 2006 2:29:24 PM

So it WAS Javie! I knew it! I wasn't paying too much attention to the blow out, but my ears perked up when I heard the chant, and suspected that's who they were chanting about.

Posted by: Al | May 10, 2006 2:51:54 PM

I like Outkast as much as the next guy, but #2? And to have "B.O.B" ahead of "Hey Ya!"? And I appreciate a bit of gummy pop, but oy. It's an oddball list, to be sure.

I was thinkin that perhaps they were evaluating "Great" in the sense of "greatness" that might be different from "quality", but again there "Hey Ya!" beats "B.O.B" pretty clearly, and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is perhaps a bit overrated.

It really reads more like "500 songs you could hear at a party and say 'Man, I remember those days'"

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | May 10, 2006 3:15:40 PM

Neil, "Losing My Religion is #79.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | May 10, 2006 3:22:21 PM

I like Outkast as much as the next guy

Not if the next guy is Matthew, apparently.

Posted by: Al | May 10, 2006 3:25:48 PM

Blender trots out all the usual cliches. Can any critic describe Pavement without throwing around the word "slouching"? Even worse here - "slouching away from the main-stream."

Posted by: Vanya | May 10, 2006 3:27:47 PM

In the Club at number ten!? These people are insane. Although other than that, it hasn't been a bad list (so far...)

Posted by: tom | May 10, 2006 3:29:08 PM

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