Top Ten Songs

In my Top 100, each artist is limited, fairly or not, to one entry. In partial compensation I herewith list my favorite ten songs for my favorite artists – a deep dive, if you will, into the music I like.

Bruce Springsteen

  • Jungleland
  • Glory Days
  • The Rising
  • Born to Run
  • Darkness on the Edge of Town
  • Badlands
  • Dancing in the Dark
  • Wrecking Ball
  • Blinded by the Light
  • Billie Jean

Elvis Presley

  • Don’t Be Cruel
  • I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
  • Don’t
  • Love Me
  • (Marie’s the Name Of) His Latest Flame
  • A Fool Such As I
  • In the Ghetto
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love
  • If I Can Dream
  • The Wonder of You

Jimmy Buffett

  • Boat Drinks
  • Changes in Latitudes
  • Fins
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise
  • Margaritaville
  • Fruitcakes
  • Unpopular Poet
  • The Captain and the Kid
  • The Weather is Here
  • Come Monday

John Mellencamp

  • The Authority Song
  • Jack and Diane
  • Hurt So Good
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Your Life Is Now
  • Minutes to Memories
  • Check It Out
  • Hand to Hold Onto
  • R.O.C.K. in the USA

The Moody Blues

  • Question
  • Emily’s Song
  • The Story in Your Eyes
  • Nights in White Satin
  • Your Wildest Dreams
  • I Know You’re Out There Somewhere
  • Lazy Day
  • Floating
  • The Balance

Jackson Browne

  • For A Dancer
  • Late For The Sky
  • The Load-Out/Stay
  • Running On Empty
  • Sing My Songs to Me/For Everyman
  • Just Say Yeah
  • A Child in These Hills
  • Somebody’s Baby
  • Song for Adam
  • My Opening Farewell

Bob Dylan

  • Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
  • Blowin’ In the Wind
  • Just Like A Woman
  • Like A Rolling Stone
  • Mr. Tambourine Man
  • You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
  • It Ain’t Me, Babe
  • Tangled Up in Blue
  • You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
  • My Back Pages

Bob Seger

  • Night Moves
  • Like A Rock
  • We’ve Got Tonite
  • Against the Wind
  • American Storm
  • The Fire Inside
  • Even Now
  • Hollywood Nights
  • Till It Shines
  • The Famous Final Scene

Billy Joel

  • Piano Man
  • The Longest Time
  • Only the Good Die Young
  • It’s Still Rock’n’Roll to Me
  • She’s Always a Woman
  • Why Judy Why
  • Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
  • The Entertainer
  • I’ve Seen the Lights Go out on Broadway
  • A Matter of Trust
  • Captain Jack

Ryan Adams v. Weezer

Back-to-back nights at the Bowl brought us shows headlined by Ryan Adams (Thursday) and Weezer (Friday). The first was perfect, the latter a disappointment. I only knew about a third of Adams’s songs, but I enjoyed every one. Scoring a walk-up seat in the center of the sixth row made Adams’s exchanges with the raucous crowd that much more enjoyable. He hardly looks the rock star, with unkempt hair falling over his eyes like a shaggy dog and wearing a Pretenders T-shirt; his music, which he writes, and his guitar playing say it all. I thought I had heard that he could be off-putting in performance, but he was down-to-earth, casual and quite funny. His ballads were warm and soulful and his rockers rocked. Then there were jams, which rolled along like the Grateful Dead. The Independent review today said Adams is playing the best rock in America, and I felt lucky to be there.

I knew more, and expected more, of Weezer, but their music simply didn’t translate to an arena setting. Their tunes are simple, flat ahead, and words are important. Their sound system overwhelmed them, with a humongous woofer shaking the Bowl, and it was hard to hear what they were saying. Their stage presence was static and the visuals behind them trivial. (Ryan Adams, by contrast, used colors and shapes that emphasized his music – above all, “Blue” – whereas Weezer’s pictures distracted.) Not once did I feel transported, and I left the four-hour concert well before it finished and before they played “Buddy Holly.”

Three tall, good-looking women called Nice As Fuck opened for Adams and played an enjoyable set, although much smaller than their headliner. Panic! at the Disco opened for Weezer, and it seemed their fans were more vociferous, if not more numerous. (Weezer attracted a lot of parent-age, memory-laden fans, who were more restrained.) Other than a pitch-perfect rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, their songs were full of energy but devoid of hooks or much in the way of melody. Far more preferable, to my mind, was the neglected show-opener, Andrew McMahon, who played the best songs of the night.