After a fireworks Round 1 that saw two fucking Guns N’ Roses tracks go in the top five, the stylebook is out the window. On to the next one.
I decided to treat Round 2 like an actual fantasy draft. Many of the songs picked in Round 1 were your running backs, safe picks. Dylan, The Stones, and Michael Jackson songs are good examples. That’s how you build a strong roster of songs, and win the proverbial championship. Round 2, much like an actual fantasy draft, is all about value. You want that 2nd running back (AC/DC, Van Halen songs), but if a monster value is there, a Calvin Johnson-like stud of a song (pretty much any Guns & Roses tune), you have to pounce. Let the board . . . I mean, tunes, come to you.
Stay looped for 14 rounds in 14 days–build those playlists.
Your general managers
# 15 : J. Klein – “Cry Me A River” – Justin Timberlake
I am an unabashed sucker for celebrity gossip, always have been and always will be; so it is no shock that “Cry Me A River” is one of my favorite songs of all time. Well before T-Swift was ruling the airwaves with thinly-veiled shots at ex-boytoys, JT absolutely skewered ex Britney Spears with this song and follow-up video, eventually driving her to the following: shaving her head, gaining 40 pounds, flashing her insides, marrying Jason Alexander (no not that one), and finally, K-Fed. In addition to ruining 10 years of Britney’s life, this Timbaland track is the epitome of a pop song: well-crafted and extremely catchy, the layers of Gregorian chants that start the beat off are immediately recognizable and awesome. The bridge declares the damage done and Timberlake leaving; while the damage was certainly done, JT was staying. In my heart.
# 16 : K. Griggs – “Heart of Gold” – Neil Young
This guy was my favorite artist in my twenties. I’m not fielding a squad without him and if I can pencil this song in at 16 overall it feels like a steal. Young’s only number one single ever (America sucks), this song’s harmonica makes me glad hobos invented that instrument. You can squeal all you want about it being too “mainstream” or catchy, but this song proves that perseverance trumps all else—or that’s what it tells me. And that’s all that matters. Sidenote: If you get a chance, listen to Johnny Cash’s version. It’s bananas.
# 17 : D. Kallison – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana
In truth, this should have been the first overall pick, but I let it drop because I knew these suckers would stack up on ’70s and ’80s cock rock. For shame. Nirvana were the Beatles on steroids without any of those nasty side effects. This song is the Walter Payton of rock music; without it, the entire modern era looks and sounds completely different. Listen to that first riff and tell me you don’t want to quit your job, throw on some flannel, and throw a brick through a Starbucks window. Plus, Nirvana made Seattle seem cool before it was cool. No easy feat.
# 18 : C. Marler – “Sympathy for the Devil” – Rolling Stones
I really panicked on this one. I was at work tending bar, and in the midst of (over) serving Bud Light Limes to drunk middle-aged assholes I went with this gem. It’s not even in my top five Rolling Stones songs of all time. Without a doubt this was my Ryan Leaf of the draft. I was just lucky that “Man in the Mirror” was still on the board after this round.
# 19 : A. O’Connor – “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell” – The Stooges
Resident contrarian Andy O’Connor was covering a hard rock festival in Baltimore, Md., during this draft. But his early picks were outlined before he turned on the auto-draft light.
# 20 : R. Rich – “Helter Skelter” – The Beatles
I know this isn’t the pick that comes to mind when you think of the Fab Four, but it’s a deceptively influential song. This, more than anything else, set the wheels of heavy metal in motion.[ref]A good way to piss off Andy O’Connor is to recite this very sentence to his face.[/ref] Like the name suggests, it’s a balls-to-the-wall cacophony of noise and yelling and one sweet guitar lick. Paul McCartney himself has said it was strictly a reaction to other songs he’d heard being called heavy that were nothing of the sort, so he sat down and penned “Helter Skelter.” It gives us the classic Ringo Starr “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” line, and most importantly, it’s fun. Screw the analysis, screw the deeper meaning, sit back and let Sir Paul and his band of handsome young Brits blow your socks off.
# 21 : R. Ramirez – “Worms of the Senses, Faculties of the Skull” – Refused
I saw Black Flag recently and I wanted something with a bitter aftertaste. These Swedish anarchists brought technology and fire into the 21st Century and almost lived to realize their album’s ambitious title, The Shape of Punk to Come. Others picked up the pieces. Plus I knew fucking Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles were imminent.
# 22 : R. Johnny – “Rhiannon” – Fleetwood Mac
Stevie Nicks‘ growl, Lindsey Buckingham’s sweet guitar picking, a song some claimed was about witchcraft, but to me it’s just an iconic song from that period. Didn’t hurt that this was in some way a classic rock enema, to purge the punk constipation of the pick just prior.
# 23 : K. Gotsick – “Hotel California” – The Eagles
The thing about this song is that it has multiple transcendent qualities–the unmistakable guitar opening, the smooth, efficient melody throughout, the easy-to-sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs chorus, the iconic harmonizing, the rich pictures that the song paints in your imagination, the rare and truly jaw-dropping double lead guitar solo at the runout (that whole runout is made up of guitar licks that sound and feel like words) plus an onslaught of pantheon lyrics, including some that have made their way into the collective vernacular, like “you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.” Insane that this song fell to me at 23.
# 24 : D. Moskal – “In the Air Tonight” – Phil Collins
DID YOU KNOW THAT THIS WAS WRITTEN ABOUT A COUNSELOR AT CAMP DROWNING ONE OF HIS CAMPERS AND PHIL COLLINS WATCHED HIM DO IT AND THEN HE WROTE THIS SONG ABOUT HIM AND INVITED HIM TO HIS CONCERT AND PUT HIM IN THE FRONT ROW AND SHINED A SPOTLIGHT ON HIM AND THEN THE POLICE ARRESTED HIM RIGHT AFTERWARD RIGHT WHEN THE DRUM PARTS HIT BUH BUH BUH BUM BUH BUM BUH BUM BAHTA BUM I CAN FEEL IT COMING IN THE AIR TONIGHT I LOVE THE BRAVES.[ref]Ed. Note: Misspellings abound in that drum line, also this blurb is from Klein.[/ref]
# 25 : B. Hurtik – “Dazed and Confused” – Led Zeppelin
My 16-year-old self would disown me[ref]I realize that is impossible on multiple levels.[/ref] if I didn’t take a Zeppelin song really high. These dudes opened up a world of music to me in high school, just like it has for millions of other bored kids in the suburbs. That’s the feeling I kept in mind with this pick. No hard rock song shook my adolescent soul quite like “Dazed and Confused,” whose foreboding, descending opening bass line almost single-handedly inspired me to start a crappy garage rock band with my buds. Go ahead and hate on Jimmy Page and co. for copping the riff and being opportunists. That doesn’t change the fact that the song represents all that was great about Zep: Effective use of dynamics, Robert Plant‘s primal scream at its best, trippy interlude sections, and a classic Page guitar solo. After all, no guitar shop will ever hang a “No Dazed and Confused” sign.
# 26 : E. Strait – “Public Service Announcement” – Jay-Z
I’m not sure if it’s the best Jay song, but it is my favorite by a wide margin. My early plan was to grab my favorite songs by my favorite artists, so by that count I’m batting 1.000 with these first two picks.
# 27 : F. Douche – “Layla” – Derek and the Dominos
“Layla” is a kickass song in the same way that peanut butter and jelly is a kickass sandwich. The guitar hook from the first part of the song makes the second half piano that much more enjoyable. Neither of the parts would be as good on their own. If rock history is your thing, I guess “Layla” was written by Eric Clapton for George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd. After Harrison and Boyd divorced, Boyd and Clapton ended up getting married. That raises the question: has any woman had sex with more musical talent than Boyd? I’m talking quality here, not quantity. If quantity is the goal, I’m sure Pam Anderson holds a Cal Ripken-like record.
# 28 : Fantastico – “Microphone Fiend” – Eric B & Rakim
Old School rap is the only rap for me. Nobody was smoother than Rakim on the mic. The minimal beat behind the vocals only amplified the magnificence of the rhyme. I kinda dig the low production values of old school rappers. Gives it a more personal raw feeling. Rage Against the Machine later turned in a fairly badass cover version of this song.
Check back Wednesday for Round 3.