Best Singles of Each Artist: volume 3

I’m doing this because Rusty, apparently, isn’t anymore and I liked it. So, here are your artists:

1. The Kinks
2. The Smiths
3. Aimee Mann
4. The White Stripes
5. Alison Krauss (with or without Union Station)
6. Kelly Clarkson
7. Foo Fighters
8. Phil Collins
9. Elton John
10. Bon Jovi

79 thoughts on “Best Singles of Each Artist: volume 3

  1. 1.The Kinks – You Really Got Me
    2. The Smiths – How Soon is Now
    3. Aimee Mann – Wise Up
    4. White Stripes – Doorbell
    5. Alison Krause – Down to the River to Pray
    6. Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway
    7. Foo Fighters – Danny Says (an awesome Ramones cover)
    8. Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
    9. Elton John – Tiny Dancer
    10. Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine

  2. 1. Stop Your Sobbing
    2. How Soon is Now?
    3. Save Me
    4. Fell In Love with a Girl
    5. Down to the River and Pray
    6. pass
    7. Everlong
    8. In the Air Tonight (that’s what Iron Mike and I listen to whenever we hang out)
    9. Rocketman
    10. Runaway

  3. Okay, so I didn’t look at anyone else’s picks before I wrote mine, just to keep myself honest. What can I say? I’m not very original.

    I knew I should have gone with “The Boy with the Thorn in his Side.”

  4. “Admit it, ya’ll. You want to beat your hands in the air every time that drum beat hits in the middle of In the Air Tonight.”

    Or do this.

  5. 1. Waterloo Sunset
    2. What difference does it make?
    4. Doorbell
    5. Sister Rosetta
    7. Aurora
    8. You Can’t Hurry Love
    9. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

  6. 1. Kinks: Come Dancing. Yes, I know, highly controversial. But it brings back memories of when I first was getting into music.

    2. Smiths: Every Day is Like Sunday. OK, I was never a big Smiths/Morrissy guy.

    3. Aimee Mann: Driving Sideways. I only have a few Mann songs. I really like them so I don’t know why I’ve never picked up more.

    4. White Stripes: Seven Nation Army. (Although I nearly put You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket)

    5. Alison Krauss: Killing the Blues (with Robert Plant, so I don’t know if that’s disallowed. My second choice is actually a cover of Disney’s Baby Mine, third choice is Blue and Lonesome)

    6. No. I refuse.

    7. Foo Fighters: Everlong. (Acoustic version)

    8. Phil Collins: In the Air. Collins is one of those artists who I loved as a teenager and now am horribly embarrassed about. Some of my embarrassing teen music I’ve come back to like. Huey Lewis isn’t nearly as bad as I thought in college. And even Duran Duran has a few passable songs. But outside of some Genesis stuff, I’ve never been able to stomach Collins since I graduated high school. Still In the Air brings back good memories and reminds me of how I thought Don Johnson was so cool while I was 14.

    9. Elton John: Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me

    10. Bon Jovi: Blaze of Glory. I was never into them in high school and they seemed embarrassing in the 90’s. Then I heard Blaze of Glory and it really is a great song.

  7. 1. The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset

    2. The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?

    3. Aimee Mann – Wise Up

    4. The White Stripes – Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

    5. Alison Krauss (with or without Union Station) – don’t know any of her/their stuff
    6. Kelly Clarkson – ditto
    7. Foo Fighters – Good Grief

    8. Phil Collins – Easy Lover

    9. Elton John – Holiday Inn

    10. Bon Jovi – can’t think of a song I like

  8. I’ve come around to Susan’s advice to never be ashamed of what you like. I always liked Phil (even knowing that he gets little respect). Also, whatever else you think of her, she is the best talent found by American Idol.

  9. Huh. I have it marked as The Smiths in iTunes. But you’re right. It’s Morrissy. So change my pick to Please, Please, Please. (I only actually have a handful of tracks in iTunes and most are rarely listened to)

  10. 1. The Kinks – (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman
    2. The Smiths – pass
    3. Aimee Mann – Build That Wall
    4. The White Stripes – pass
    5. Alison Krauss – Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us
    6. Kelly Clarkson – you know, I actually don’t mind that song that nobody will mention, and it’s the only Clarkson song I am familiar with. But it’s not so good that I am going to label myself a dork by mentioning it.
    7. Foo Fighters – Big Me
    8. Phil Collins – Entangled (A Genesis song, but Phil sings lead vocals, so it should count. And it is much better than any of his solo stuff.)
    9. Elton John – Nobody Wins
    10. Bon Jovi – pass

  11. 1. The Kinks

    2. The Smiths TV Shows | Music Videos | Celebrity Photos | News & Gossip

    3. Aimee Mann

    4. The White Stripes

    5. Alison Krauss (with or without Union Station)

    Sorry, sentimental favorite.

    6. Kelly Clarkson – not enough good there to talk about, in my opinion.

    7. Foo Fighters

    I can’t choose.

    8. Phil Collins

    I think it’s embarrassing that anyone would ever be embarrassed for liking Phil Collins.

    9. Elton John

    Ok, so I cheated, this is the best of Sir Elton, as sung by Sinead.

    10. Bon Jovi

  12. I think what MCQ is trying to tell us is that he likes every song in each of these artists’ catalogs equally and without reservation.

  13. 1. The Kinks – You Really Got Me (only one I know)
    2. The Smiths – How Soon Is Now
    3. Aimee Mann
    4. The White Stripes – Blue Orchid
    5. Alison Krauss
    6. Kelly Clarkson – whyyawannabringmedown (Saw the duo that wrote this song for her perform it live, it was great. She does it okay)
    7. Foo Fighters – Everlong (probably the best song of the late 90s IMO, that or Name by Goo Goo Dolls)
    8. Phil Collins – In The Air
    9. Elton John – Rocketman
    10. Bon Jovi – Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame . . . (C’mon now!!)(alright, Wanted Dead or Alive and Living on a Prayer are both much better songs, but still. . . )

  14. Phil Collins was wandering around the audience signing autographs at the first concert I ever want to. Adam Ant’s Strip tour. Phil played drums on the album.

    True story.

    1. The Kinks – Lola
    B Russ, you have to know this song? If you don’t, you should. A classic.
    2. The Smiths – That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
    3. Aimee Mann – Voices Carry?
    4. The White Stripes – nope
    5. Alison Krauss – Anything and everything. My favorite shifts around so much. But I’ll go with We Hide and Seek and Goodbye Is All We Have – the part that gets me is when she goes from a low not to a high note when she says “here today.”
    6. Kelly Clarkson – I like pretty much everything I’ve heard by her but couldn’t name a single song. There’s one where she’s mad?
    7. Foo Fighters – Probably agree with Clark, Everlong acoustic.
    8. Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight is on my list of greatest songs, ever.
    9. Elton John – Has to be Rocketman.
    10. Bon Jovi – “On a steel horse I ride…”

  15. 1. The Kinks – Come Dancing (an MTV fave)
    2. The Smiths – How Soon is now is the only one I know.
    3. Aimee Mann – (so many choices) Jacob’s Ladder
    4. The White Stripes – Fell in love with a girl
    5. Alison Krauss (with or without Union Station) – Every time you say goodbye
    6. Kelly Clarkson – can’t name a song by her
    7. Foo Fighters – Learn to fly
    8. Phil Collins – (um, does it have to be solo? Abacab?) Sussudio if it has to be solo
    9. Elton John – I’m Still Standing
    10. Bon Jovi – Living on a Prayer

    HP: Which one of these was the way-out-choice? Kelly Clarkson?

  16. 1. The Kinks – You Really Got Me

    2. The Smiths — Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before (Several others vied for the top spot though)

    3. Aimee Mann — (stares blankly)

    4. The White Stripes — Seven Nation Army

    (MCQ already put this one up in comment #17)

    5. Alison Krauss (with or without Union Station) — Down in the River to Pray

    6. Kelly Clarkson — (stares blankly)

    7. Foo Fighters — The Pretender

    8. Phil Collins — In the Air Tonight (I guess)

    9. Elton John — Tiny Dancer

    10. Bon Jovi — (stares blankly)

  17. Susan, I love that second Alison Krauss song.

    Geoff, you seriously can’t think of a single song by Bon Jovi? I find that hard to believe.

  18. Do most people really like the acoustic version of Everlong better? I sure don’t. But maybe that’s because I seriously love the original version. I also love Learn to Fly, but it’s probably third on my list after Hero and Everlong.

  19. Fair enough, I guess, Geoff, but if you don’t enjoy the thick slice of jersey cheese that is Bon Jovi, then you’re missing out. Nobody lays the cheese on thicker than JBJ.

  20. MCQ, I like the more rocking version of Everlong too. It’s by far their greatest song. (There’s only a few Foo Fighters stuff I actually like) It’s just that the song sounds way more heartfelt in the acoustic version. Even in the poor version I posted above.

  21. Dave Grohl tells a story about meeting Dylan and Dylan asked if he could cover Everlong. That would be pretty cool. It’s also my favorite song to play on Rock Band. Get through it on expert on drums and guitar, I dare you. If you beat my score I’ll buy you dinner. Looking at you, Susan.

  22. Oh man, I haven’t heard Europe in sooooo long. Whatever happened to those guys? And who did that video first?

    Europe kinda reminds me of Whitesnake.

  23. Susan – There’s a wakeboard video called Shafted that came out around 2000. The intro song is “Stacked Actors”. They show the promotional endorsements for the first minute while its mellow, and then at the tempo change they start in with half second shots of wakeboarding on the drum beats. Great video editing and use of music for a run of the mill extreme sports video. I’ve loved that song ever since.

    Had never heard “Lola” before. I liked it.

  24. 33 – You know, it would suck to be systematically exterminated and driven from your homeland. But in the end, if you can have Europe write a song dedicated to you . . . . well that almost makes up for it!

  25. We need a cultural literacy program in our schools. No one should be able to graduate from high School without listening to certain songs at least once.

    And that list will be made by US!!! Yeah baby!

  26. B.Russ,
    The Kinks vie with the Beatles, the Who, and the Stones for greatest British Rock Band eva! Learning the back catalog is worth the time it takes.

    Geoff J.,
    I’m ashamed on your behalf for the number of blank stares there.

  27. FHL,
    She does seem to be the one over which everyone is balking. It was between her and Christina Aguilera, but I’ll have to save Xtina for next time.

  28. 1. The Kinks — The Village Green Preservation Society (I’m ashamed to admit that I walked out on The Kinks when they headlined the first Live 105 summer festival)
    2. The Smiths — So much to choose from, but it all comes down to How Soon Is Now
    3. Aimee Mann — Pavlov’s Bell (cause of Buffy)
    4. The White Stripes — I’m not really much of a fan but I do like Seven Nation Army
    5. Alison Krauss (with or without Union Station) — You know, it’s a cover, but her version of Down in the River to Pray often gets stuck in my head for days on end so I’m with Geoff on this one
    6. Kelly Clarkson — This is actually a hard decision for me. Breakaway is a darn good pop album. Since U Been Gone is a perfect pop song. And I actually really like Behind These Hazel Eyes. But I’m going to go with Beautiful Disaster in all it’s overwroughtness.
    7. Foo Fighters — Agree on Everlong
    8. Phil Collins — as a solo artist, right? Not Genesis? It would have to be something off of No Jacket Required because that’s the only Phil Collins I remember listening to when I was a kid. It would probably have to be Take Me Home.
    9. Elton John — Rocketman
    10. Bon Jovi — Gotta go with Bad Name

  29. Also: all you rockists are just showing your lameness in passing on Clarkson. Especially when you can then name a fav Phil Collins song.

    I’d also take Breakaway over every single The White Stripes album, even though I’m a fan of garage rock and/or blues-inspired rock. They just don’t do much for me.

  30. John C: I’m ashamed on your behalf for the number of blank stares there.

    Hehe. I’m snobby like that I guess.

  31. I realize I’m commenting on a blog called Kulturblog, and so some level of familiarity of pop culture should be expected. At the same time its not like I came on here and said that I didn’t know who the Kinks were. I wanna say give me some credit at least, but I won’t even go that far. Just retract the claws and call back the hounds.

    I’ll listen to them this weekend. I promise.

    What surprises me is the complete lack of love for the White Stripes. I don’t have much to say, but it does surprise me.

  32. White Stripes are just fine, I suppose, but hardly innovative. I’d rather listen to the people they are imitating.

  33. FTR, I only passed on Clarkson because I couldn’t name one of her songs, not because I have anything against her. Not sure if that’s better or worse.

  34. Kelly Clarkson has an excellent singing voice. No question about that. I just don’t know her material.

    My understanding is that she tried to write her own songs and it didn’t go so well. I still like the fact that she wanted to do it.

  35. In regards to Phil Collins, besides being a superstar with Genesis and a solo career, he has played drums behind some amazing musicians.

    Back when Live Aid happened I was pretty amazed that he was picked to back the miniature Led Zeppelin reunion. If they’ll let him sit in John Bonham’s seat, that must mean something.

    My impression is that Phil Collins is respected by a lot of the classic rock heavyweights who are still walking around.

  36. Phil Collins is respected by any musician worthy of the name.

    The backlash against him was a product of the usual BS directed at anyone who is perceived to be successful in going after the popular or mainstream market. People think he went soft and sold out.

    But whatever you might think of his career choices, he has clearly a great musician and songwriter who has given us some fantastic stuff in the last 25 years. Can you imagine Miami Vice without him? He practically made that show.

  37. Not to mention Mike Tyson’s scene in The Hangover wouldn’t have been half as funny without Phil Collins’ contribution!

  38. No one doubts Collin’s chops on drums. It’s more his pop music from the 80’s and the Disney stuff from the 90’s that folks are a bit embarrassed about.

    But then bands are often labeled like that. For years Led Zepplin got no respect from the music reviewers. They were seen as a bit over the top even though many here would say they were one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

    As someone else mentioned, the music you like is what counts. What I like now is way different from when I was a kid. I couldn’t listen to Madonna if you paid me. I agree with the criticism of Duran Duran that seemed silly when I was 15. (i.e. that if it hadn’t been for the videos they’d never have taken off) And folks who I have to concede are amazingly innovative and talented, like Michael Jackson, I won’t listen to because of their personal lives. (My original criticism of the Duran Duran criticisms is that you can’t divorce music from context)

    That said I don’t think the criticism of Collins was because he “sold out.” Rather a lot is just the criticism of pop music in general.

    It’s interesting that Huey Lewis’ career ended when he tried to put out a more serious Jazz influenced record rather than the pure pop music folks had expected. People get pigeon holed and it’s hard to break out. I’d say Collins had more of an opportunity than most precisely because of Genesis but the Genesis of the early 90’s and late 80’s wasn’t exactly great either. (Although I still like Land of Confusion)

  39. I just pulled up Phil Collin’s bio on wikipedia – it names him as one of three artists (the other two being Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson) who have sold over 100 million albums as both members of a group and as solo artists.

    That’s pretty incredible.

    Having said that, though Phil Collins has contributed significantly to the life soundtrack of anyone who was a teenager in the 80s (including myself), I can honestly that I did not help him achieve those numbers. But I do occasionally pull his songs/videos up on YouTube and give them a listen.

  40. I love that a band like the White Stripes are as popular as they are (or were, are they still together, or just on hiatus?). But I can’t listen to more than one song at a time–his voice is one of the few voices that I can’t stand. Him and Neil Young.

  41. Wow. You might try the Dead Weather, his latest band. I don’t like them half as much as the White Stripes, but he rarely sings with them. I actually find him pretty inventive. Yeah he’s influenced by roots music, blues, and a lot else. But I think he does something quite unique with it. At least as unique as what Jimmy Page did. (Not that I think Jack White is remotely in Page’s class)

  42. 1. The Kinks – Lola
    2. The Smiths – How Soon is Now
    3. Aimee Mann – Voices Carry??
    4. The White Stripes – don’t think I know any
    5. Alison Krauss (with or without Union Station) – Don’t really like any of the few that I’ve heard
    6. Kelly Clarkson – Beautiful Disaster
    7. Foo Fighters – Big Me
    8. Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
    9. Elton John – Rocket Man
    10. Bon Jovi – In These Arms

  43. Clark said: “That said I don’t think the criticism of Collins was because he “sold out.” Rather a lot is just the criticism of pop music in general.”

    Yes, exactly. If you can name a Phil Collins pop-rock song, but not a Kelly Clarkson one then it suggests that you either have a double-standard or a major blind spot.

    What I’m saying is that if you are going to embrace the pop, then embrace the pop.

    Of course, we all have our blind spots and liking on pop rock artist doesn’t mean you *have* to like another. I was just surprised at the number of blank spaces next to Clarkson’s name and attributed that to a more rockist bias among the K-blog crowd (which is not surprising — I lean that way myself).

  44. Yes, exactly. If you can name a Phil Collins pop-rock song, but not a Kelly Clarkson one then it suggests that you either have a double-standard or a major blind spot.

    Or it just indicates what year you were a teenager…

  45. Based on what most are saying – “How Soon is Now” is easily the winner of the Smiths part of this list – but it also strikes me as the Smiths song that sounds least like any other Smiths song.

    It’s a song with some pretty amazing dynamics too it. I’m not denying.

  46. I think the bias against Clarkson just indicates that she’s fairly new and unproven compared to someone like Phil Collins. You might put them both in the rock/pop category, but they are not on the same level.

  47. Is “How Soon” the most popular Smiths song– as in well known? Or is “Girlfriend in a Coma” more well known? “How Soon” is a great song but there’s lots of other Smiths songs I’d put before it:

    Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
    Hand in Glove
    William It Was Really Nothing
    What Difference Does It Make?
    There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

    Or maybe not. Maybe I should listen to them all again.

  48. I’m with you Susan. I can think of several Smiths songs I put ahead of How Soon.

    William It Was Really Nothing
    Bigmouth Strikes Again
    What Difference Does It Make?
    Girlfriend in a Coma
    Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before


  49. 1. The Kinks – pass
    2. The Smiths – Headmaster Ritual, the *
    3. Aimee Mann – pass
    4. The White Stripes – Hotel Yorba or Little Ghost **
    5. Alison Krauss (with or without Union Station) – any
    6. Kelly Clarkson – pass
    7. Foo Fighters – pass
    8. Phil Collins – The Roof is Leaking***
    9. Elton John – Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word
    10. Bon Jovi – Livin on a Prayer

    * – I like late Smiths, but Meat is Murder is the album where they really came into their sound, but hadn’t yet become the epitome of themselves. How Soon is Now is on this album, but is far from the best thing on it. The Headmaster Ritual is definitely a Smiths song, but not absurdly so.

    ** – Everyone is influenced. (Good poets have influences, great poets steal) What’s amazing is what the White Stripes do with their influences. I think they are really one of the few truly unique things to come down the pike in the last 20 years. I can listen to Hotel Yorba any day, regardless of my mood or surroundings.

    *** Phil Collins first solo album – which contains In the Air – is surprisingly eclectic. He was trying to hard to shake of Genesis, but hadn’t quite taken on the pop monster (susudio and other travesties). There is a really pretty good cover of Tomorrow Never Knows on this album, too.

  50. We should do a thread on unique bands of the last 20 years. I think the list would be really small.

    First one to come to mind for me is Floor. Two guitarists, both sang–in harmonies. Drummer, no bass. The guitars had their lowest string down-tuned a full octave. Totally unique sound.

  51. I don’t disagree. But I do think that there are more great bands that aren’t unique than great bands that are – because I don’t think there are that many bands percentage-wise that are unique.

  52. Speaking of unique.

    On the radio they were talking about this band from Oregon playing in SLC that I really wanted to check out. Unfortunately I can’t recall the name. But it was a regular blues guitarist and then a percussionist. No one else. Except the percussionist tended to do bluegrass style and used paint cans, lids, and other such items for his playing. They are supposed to be really good. Anyone remember the name?

  53. Clark, that sort of thing is getting trendy in the NW, I think. There’s a band I heard about that I can’t remember the name of that does the same kind of stuff.

    The Builders and the Butchers are a band I saw live that are good, also from Portland and doing the rootsy folk thing.

    But both these bands have more than two members.

  54. I’m changing my vote on The Kinks. Their best song is definitely “All of the Night”. I can’t believe I spaced that.

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