Wednesday, 11 June 2003
|1124 - VH1's top songs of the past 25 years|
They picked Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit as the #1 song since 1978.
Merciful $DEITY. What are they smoking, and where can I get some? Personally, I think Weird Al had the best comment on that one: Smells Like Nirvana.
The closest classic rock came was at #9, with The Police's Every Breath You Take. Pfaugh.
Guess there's a reason I don't watch VH1.
current mood: surprised
current music: Weird Al Yankovic - Smells Like Nirvana
...just MTV, lagged.
I remember reading back when "Smells Like..." (both versions) was out, that many reviewers considered Weird Al's version as good as if not better than Nirvana's version, particularly when the understanding between Kurt Kobain and Weird Al over the song.
However, I think from a standpoint of defining the generation, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is about as definitive as you can get; it's definitely nothing like "American Pie" (the ORIGINAL) or some Beatles hits. I can't even think of any good songs after that that do the same (there's a lot of grunge songs, like Bittersweet Symphony, that try to emulate SLTS as an anthem of Gen X/Y, but all copy-cats and not original).
If the bracket is the greatest songs of the past 25 years, it's kind of hard to include songs from a genre that by definition ("classic") is mostly made up of songs more than 25 years old, especially considering that by then there weren't that many "definitive" or "revolutionary" songs in the genre left.
On the other hand, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was a revolutionary song. Whether you like the changes it produced or not, it basically launched a whole new era of music in the U.S. In the past 25 years, I don't think there's been any one song that did more to change music, except maybe something by Michael Jackson or Eminem (who I noted was #4
on the list with what's probably going to end up being another revolutionary song which is providing an outlet for rock and rap to truly merge, which would be a real revolution).
There's lots of work in the classic rock genre since 1978, and even more than a little bit since 1990. Hell, Every Breath You Take was one of The Police's first works.
I disagree that a work has to be revolutionary to be great. The two measures are orthogonal to each other. Musically, Smells Like Teen Spirit is no more than average, with guitar work that's pedestrian at best and a singer who can barely enunciate. Grunge uses sheer volume to hide a distinct lack of talent. There are any number of much better musicians out there: one can start with Stevie Ray Vaughan, or Mark Knopfler, if one is looking for guitarists, and there are similar examples with other instruments. (Yes, I know Vaughan is dead. He died in 1990, and did lots of stuff after 1978.)
If Lose Yourself is the future of rock, give me a time machine and send me back to 1972. I'd rather endure high school all over again than suffer through that.