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The A+ List: 9-03-14



1. Stardust – Louis Armstrong – A song about a song about being in love, the melody written in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael, the lyric by the sublime Tin Pan Alley lyricist Michael Parrish, Hoagy was 28 at the time! Covered and covered and covered, this is the version to find with Armstrong half mumbling, half emoting the sweet dream of a dream of a memory lyric “Sometimes I wonder why I spend the lonely nights dreaming of a song,  the melody haunts my reverie and I am once again with you.”

2. Longer Than You’ve Been Alive – Old 97’s – From 2014, a rarity because it usually takes longer for a song to prove itself worthy of the A+ list; this is the best road song ever written, an unblinking, unfettered by romanticism look at the rock and roll life style. Unlike this song, touring is both a blast and a bore. This song is simply a blast.

3. Julie _ The Bobby Fuller Four – Fuller comes across like an early Marshall Crenshaw who maybe never got the chance to move away from his power pop, a genre that didn’t exist at the time, melodic rock and roll. The Clash covered “I Fought The Law”, Crenshaw this gorgeous seduction song.

4. Little Ole Wine Drinker Me – Dean Martin – Something of a theme song for the perpetually tipsy second in command rat packer, a guy who actually drank a lot, but not so much we don’t realize the slur on this travelogue of hangovers and heartache is a style not a habit.

5. Career Opportunities – The Clash – This song was so big they rerecorded it with a children’s choir, and so true it remains a theme of the 21st century

6. Tulane – Chuck Berry – A second act Berry piece of magnificent flying car and drug pushing with a feminist twist. A trick of politics.

7. Do It Again – Cam’ron – early Cam’ron masterpiece, from S.D.E., an album so good it sustained him for a decade and a half. Tommy Mottola was behind it, Destiny’s Child were singing the hook here, and the album didn’t do much business but it shoulda made him a superstar.

8. Lua – Bright eyes – If you wanna hear a song change a cult star to a rock star, this is it. A simply, acoustic guitar pop song (it ain’t folk, that’s for sure) finds Mr. eyes on a long drugged up and drunk trip through Manhattan nightlife to him and the girl are trying to stay awake on a train to nowhere so the magic of the late evening romance isn’t lost too soon.

9. Call Your Girlfriend – Robyn – The only time Robyn ever trumped Abba, at least one of her biggest plans since day one, a song so great I, among others, misunderstood her. She is a dance not a pop maven, but here she is a pop maven and this functions first and foremost as a really great song.

10. Ms. Jackson – Outkast – This, maybe despite itself, is an explanation as to the limitations of baby mamas. Ms. Jackson has every reason to be upset and the duos excuses sound mushy mouthed and end up as “forever ever”?

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