Omaha’s masked hero Fantastico broke down Round 4 of the draft. He doesn’t have a computer, so he mailed his handwritten note to pal/nemesis Pete Fitzsimmons, who typed it up for you fine folks. There’s some tension in there.
Don’t ever draft with a partner. Autonomy is the only way to travel.
I had to draft with Pete Fitzsimmons, and he is way too concerned about rounding this team out with all genres that I could care about. If I had it my way, I would have selected the 14 songs that kicked the most ass. Crüe? Bring it. GnR? Bet your sweet ass. Billy Squier? Uh, yeah, dumb asses. George Thorogood? Fuck yes.
None of this crooning or rap or dance shit. Just flat out heat. Music that makes you want to grab a brew and kick something over, like a small empty garbage can or something. After all, you don’t want to have to clean up a bunch of shit.
Pete kept going on and on about how the 14 songs should be the soundtrack you would take with you if stranded on a desert island. I said fine, you think someone’s coming to save you on the island because they heard rap songs? Then he said, the point isn’t to get rescued, but to have a collection that could get you through perpetuity. Whatever, dude. The point of being stranded on an island is to get the hell off the island. Not showcase how important your ear palate is.
I agreed to let him select some songs as long as I got to do the write-up. As I did not want to be associated with some of these awful mild cheeses he seems so fond of. Good, now that we’ve settled that, I’d like to take this opportunity to review all the round four picks below. You’ll find my comments in italics following the draft blurbs from each drafter.
Your general managers
# 43 : J. Klein – “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley
There is one word to describe every part of this performance: heartbreaking. Between the solo guitar, the aching vocals, and Leonard Cohen‘s unbelievable lyrics, this is as close to a perfect song as there is in my opinion. If you don’t like the first line, you are incorrect: “I’ve heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased The Lord, but you don’t really care for music, do you?” Absolutely heartbreaking. This song is so beautiful and touching I’m not even going to make the “awkward ‘Watchmen’ sex” reference I had penciled in here. Dammit, I think I just did. Anyway, the way Buckley’s voice breaks slightly on the “it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah” gets me every time, and it should get you too, this is both my favorite song of all time[ref][Ed. Note: Please see pick #42][/ref] and an absolute steal in the fourth round.
Fantastico: Cry much, bro?
# 44 : K. Griggs – “Exhibit C” – Jay Electronica
You can list a great many rappers who have a body of work that is superior, but this song competes one on one with any rap song in history. “I used to get dizzy spells, and hear a little ring/Telling me that one day I‘mma be a great mane/Transforming with the Megatron Don spitting out flames/Eatin’ wack rappers alive, shittin’ out chains/I ain’t believe it then, n***** I was homeless/Fightin’, shootin’ dice, smokin’ weed on corners/Tryna find the meaning of life in a Corona.” I rest my case.
Fantastico: Not even going to listen to it.
# 45 : D. Kallison – “Tiny Dancer” – Elton John
OK, I think I nabbed this too early. Half of this pick is based on that one scene in “Almost Famous” so it’s kinda like drafting Cedric Benson after only watching him run roughshod over my alma mater for State[ref]For non-Texas folks, “State” refers to a high school football state championship game. Go watch “Friday Night Lights” now.[/ref]. But fuck me if this isn’t a good song. I don’t know what it’s abount, and I usually just picture one of those music boxes with a spinning ballerina on it, but when I hear those first line, I can’t help but smile and imagine the world as an Instagrammed slow-motion paradise.
Fantastico: Are you kidding me?
# 46 : C. Marler – “God Bless the USA” – Lee Greenwood
As the sun was setting on the Friday before Memorial Day I was enjoying a flag-label Budweiser when my phone alerted me that it was time for my fourth-round pick. I had spent the first two picks on classic rock songs in an effort to look respectable to the Bro Jackson staff. However, I was four Bud Diesels in, and threw caution to the wind by taking this piece of patriotic Americana. This has been one of my favorite songs since I first heard it 20 years prior at the Stone Mountain laser show. Despite being born in Canada, Lee Greenwood really nailed it with this song, as it embraces being prideful of the good ‘ol USA. Plus, there’s that dramatic bell ring in the last stanza that I can rarely hear without letting out a “Woo!” So, in summation, despite sounding like a redneck and having it much lower on my draft board I still…proudly stand up…for this pick.
Fantastico: Catering to the lowest common denominator.
# 47 : A. O’Connor – “Love Shack” – The B-52s [AUTO-DRAFT]
Carolyn Ehman Dance Academy was but one of the many thorns in my side during my formative years in Galveston, Texas. My sister was enrolled in this when she was growing up, and every May, I would have to attend her dance recitals because, well, I was her brother. Solidarity was forced upon me. One year, she was a part of an ensemble that performed “Love Shack.” Because I had to hear this song over and over again while she was practicing her parts, I grew to hate that song. I can’t think of that song without also thinking about those recitals. To be fair to my sister, she was not involved in one of the worst aspects of the recitals. Every year, little children would tumble around on gym mats while cutsey music blared and guess what – THAT WAS THEIR WHOLE ACT. The crowd ate this shit up. If you wonder why mediocrity rules in America, this is why. I don’t want to see a 5-year-old roll on the floor. I want to see it breathe fire and go Cecil Taylor on a piano. But I’m a not parent, so I don’t know what’s best for these children.
Fantastico: Is this the Best Wedding Song Ever list? No? OK then.
# 48 : R. Rich – “Stan” – Eminem
Eminem’s a lock for this draft, but which song to take wasn’t so easy. With so many nooks and crannies in his oeuvre, the choice of which particular tune is worth singling out becomes harder. Do you take one of the profane, unabashed murder fantasies, the gloriously uplifting anthems of individualism, or the requisite top 40 singles referencing pop culture icons that will be outdated within three months? “Stan” fits enough of these to warrant selection. The tone is dark, unequivocally representative of Em’s work. It’s one of his first true looks at fame and the burdens that come with people taking his lyrics so seriously all the time. He offers just enough sympathy to show that sometimes, the haters come close to getting to him, before lashing back out in true Eminem fashion. And the hook; my God, that hook. Dido’s haunting brand of mumblecore fits a song like “Stan” perfectly, and makes Dido seem a lot more talented than she really is.
Fantastico: Dear Eminem, Learn to play guitar. Love, Fantastico
# 49 : R. Ramirez – “Ms. Jackson” – OutKast
I reached for ’70s rock because it was such a high value commodity in Round 3 and Thin Lizzy came off the board earlier than I would have hoped. Looking at my war-room notes, I’m back to being elated for landing the best single from the best hip-hop group. Let me justify the notion: OutKast records are the most influential and inventive. More than Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, and any Native Tongues clique. “Ms. Jackson” is a miracle: A track about infidelity and in-laws with beautiful words (“You can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather”) and the honest misogyny found in the best rap music (“I know you and your girl ain’t speaking no more cuz my dick all in her mouth”). But this song wins on its melody–the piano at the opening of the song, the all-universe hook, the “forever ever” chant, the subdued “Here Comes The Bride” reprisals. With respect to the air raid brilliance of “B.O.B.,” the super lyricism of “Return of the G,” and the golden pastiche of “Hey Ya,” “Ms. Jackson” is OutKast at their most powerful and grand.
Fantastico: I’m sorry.
# 50 : R. Johnny – “The Waiting” – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The Petty catalogue is vast and chock full of “windows-down-crank-to-11” type ditties. For me, “The Waiting” is the crown jewel. Lyrically thoughtful, musically tight, it’s always on my drive time playlist. It’s just right.
Fantastico: Fantastic jam. Fantastic.
# 51 : K. Gotsick – “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler
This song is tremendous in a dozen different ways–the easy-for-any-asshole-to-play piano opening, the “turrrrrn aroooooounds,” the Bonnie Tyler growl, the literal musical bomb drops during the instrumental bridge, the staggering range in levels of intensity, its pantheon-level karaoke-bility, the surprise falsetto close. This song also marks a moment in time for those of us who dropped MTV like acid when we first tasted it in high school. It is the archetype over-the-top bullshit ’80s song that defines who we were when we were coming of age, but somehow it still holds up today as a song with some integrity. It’s in the “Bullet Hits the Bone” category instead of the “Rock Me Amadeus” category.
Fantastico: My mom likes this song. ‘Nuff said.
# 52 : D. Moskal – “B.O.B.” – OutKast
I pegged OutKast early as who I wanted to represent my native Atlanta. When Ramon took “Ms. Jackson” in this round I was glad that he left their best song on the board. It came down to “B.O.B.” and “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,” but the first five seconds of “B.O.B.” sold it for me.
Fantastico: I’ll allow it–the Rage Against the Machine version only.
# 53 : B. Hurtik – “Life During Wartime” – Talking Heads
I had to go to college to appreciate Talking Heads. Listening to them makes me feel smarter. We all like that feeling. I first ran into this song while watching my roommate’s copy of “Stop Making Sense,” which quickly became my favorite concert film not called “The Last Waltz.” Just watch the clip above. The song has all the things that make the Heads great: a dancy beat, propulsive bass line, synth solo, and some of David Byrne’s best lyrics. The lesson is, even when you’re stuck in a ghetto eating peanut butter while being paranoid, DANCE.
# 54 : E. Strait – “You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morissette
Fifty-three picks in and the greatest scorned woman song in Canadian history is still on the board? Can you say “steal of the draft so far?” If I’m going away from my original plan, I’d better make it worth it.
Fantastico: Best song of the round. By far.
# 55 : F. Douche – “To Live and Die in LA” – Tupac Shakur
There are probably a few songs that could end up being tied for Tupac’s best. The interesting thing about “To Live and Die” is that rap’s potential to be self-referential is on full display. The song contains references to the following events that were current to the song’s recording: the East/West rap rivalry, Tupac’s beef with “gay ass Dre,” and Tupac’s conviction in a sexual assault case as well as subsequent bail posted by Suge Knight in exchange for Tupac’s agreement to record three records for Knight. Shakur really was the insane gangster that he claimed to be and the street poet that he seemed to be. About a month after recording “To Live and Die,” a group containing Shakur, Suge Knight and members of their entourage would beat down a Crips gang member at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Just hours later Tupac was shot in a drive-by. It blows my mind that a successful musician could be involved in the circus that surrounded Tupac, but then that’s exactly what he rapped about. I guess it’s shocking to me that he was authentic.
Fantastico: Nope. Never.
# 56 : Fantastico – “Space Oddity” – David Bowie
Dialogue between an astronaut and mission control set to music. Sounds dumb right? It’s not. It’s magnificent. Bowie’s an excellent flex play for Rock Pop.
Fantastico: Ugh. Pete pick. Soft rock for a Soft Dude. I’m sure you’ll be able to pick out my picks as the draft goes on. They’ll be the kick ass ones. Peace. Stay Frosty.
The Teams Through Three of 14 Rounds
“Paradise City,” Guns N’ Roses
“Microphone Fiend,” Eric B. and Rakim
“Try a Little Tenderness,” Otis Redding
“Spacy Oddity,” David Bowie
“Suspicious Minds,” Elvis Presley
“Layla,” Derek and the Dominos
“When Doves Cry,” Prince
“To Live and Die in LA,” Tupac Shakur
“Billie Jean,” Michael Jackson
“Public Service Announcement,” Jay-Z
“Gimme Shelter,” Rolling Stones
“You Oughta Know,” Alanis Morissette
“Like a Rolling Stone,” Bob Dylan
“Dazed and Confused,” Led Zeppelin
“The Weight,” The Band
“Life During Wartime,” Talking Heads
“Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns N’ Roses
“In the Air Tonight,” Phil Collins
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen
“Bombs Over Baghdad,” OutKast
“It’s Tricky,” Run DMC
“Hotel California,” Eagles
“Comfortably Numb,” Pink Floyd
“Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Bonnie Taylor
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” Rolling Stones
“Rhiannon,” Fleetwood Mac
“Scenario,” A Tribe Called Quest
“The Waiting,” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
“Happiness is a Warm Gun,” The Beatles
“Worms of the Senses, Faculties of the Skull,” Refused
“Cowboy Song,” Thin Lizzy
“Ms. Jackson,” OutKast
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” Pink Floyd
“Helter Skelter,” The Beatles
“99 Problems/Points of Authority/One Step Closer,” Jay-Z/Linkin Park
“Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell,” The Stooges”
“Desperado,” The Eagles (auto-draft)
“Love Shack,” The B-52s (auto-draft)
“Baba O’Riley,” The Who
“Sympathy for the Devil,” Rolling Stones
“Man in the Mirror,” Michael Jackson
“God Bless the USA,” Lee Greenwood
“Just Like Heaven,” The Cure
“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana
“Fast Car,” Tracy Chapman
“Tiny Dancer,” Elton John
“Hoochie Coochie Man,” Muddy Waters
“Heart of Gold,” Neil Young
“Dead Flowers,” Townes Van Zandt
“Exhibit C,” Jay Electronica
“I Want You Back,” Jackson Five
“Cry Me A River,” Justin Timberlake
“Humpty Dance,” Digital Underground
“Hallelujah,” Jeff Buckley