I pleaded to write the intro for the Round 3 summation of Bro Jackson’s best song draft, because this is when my team fired its warning shot. I started off well within the comfort zone of an event like this by taking Pink Floyd and The Beatles. Not a bad strategy, but still relatively safe. But with this round, I threw down a gauntlet. It’s a pick that prompted one drafter to call it the “Ryan Leaf of this draft.” Another participant later emailed me individually to let me know they’d listened to it and “IT’S BADASS.” Read on to find out what it was.
The ability to make a pick like this is the beauty of this draft. We’re not Rolling Stone, we’re not bound by the universal laws of mediocre music journalism to pick the same overplayed and over-written songs from before 1980. This is a group of writers with individual passions and interests that overlap into something magical. By now, you’ve probably already got a sense of the personalities of our general managers: the ’60s-at-heart blues rocker taking 16-bar stalwarts, the hip-hop head forcing himself to take some classics before he drops money on Outkast, the hair metal fiends wondering when it’s OK to take “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”
For the most part, round three remains true to form, save for Andy O’Connor‘s first glorious auto-draft selection and a particularly solid left field choice from Josh Klein. But they’re all playing catch-up to my selection. I got 99 problems, but a bad draft ain’t one.
Your general managers
# 29 : Fantastico – “Try a Little Tenderness” – Otis Redding
Come on now. Just a dude, belting out a song like his life depended on it. Otis, my man. I need some top talent in the crooning section and he’s a good CR1.
# 30 : F. Douche – “When Doves Cry” – Prince
I love ’80s music because I love pop music. The decade was full of great pop and I think it’s generally an underappreciated era in history. I took this song because it was the most ’80s-sounding song that I could pick without getting laughed out of the draft. But just know that while I took “When Doves Cry,” if you hooked me up to a sodium pentothal drip during the draft, I would have ended up with a mix of Kenny Loggins and Culture Club on my team. Also, I heard Prince could really ball.
# 31 : E. Strait – “Gimme Shelter” – Rolling Stones
Like a scared drafter, I deviated from my plan. This pick was supposed to pay respect to my passion for film. So I picked a song made even more iconic by Scorsese. I feel a little like a sell-out since I don’t listen to the Stones all that much, but whatever.
# 32 : B. Hurtik – “The Weight” – The Band
I like dozens of songs by the Band more than I like “The Weight.” But I’m building a championship contender here, not “Blake’s Favorite Deep Cuts.” While “King Harvest” and “Long Black Veil” and, good God, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” will get top billing on any playlist I make, “The Weight” has a undeniable combination of mass appeal and quality craftsmanship. Each one of the Band’s vocalists gets a verse in which to stretch their legs, and Levon Helm leads an iconic chorus. Put this on the jukebox and your favorite dive bar and try to count the number of people not screaming, “Take a load off, Annie.” These people are soulless assholes.
# 33 : D. Moskal – “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
In the summer of 2007 I went to London for a two-month study abroad class. While the majority of my time was spent drinking in pubs and doing arrestable things in phone booths, I did a handful of things that stood out. I went to Wimbledon, 1 went to Scotland and could see my breath in July, attended a Formula One race, and saw a large scale musical. That musical was “We Will Rock You” about a futuristic utopia that has disallowed all forms of music. The soundtrack was entirely made up of Queen songs and I cannot recommend it enough. You don’t realize how great Freddie Mercury’s vocal range is until you see multiple West End performers attempt to match it.
# 34 : K. Gotsick – “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd
I went to see “Roger Waters‘ The Wall” twice in the past year (once at Wrigley Field, which was tremendous) and two things struck me. First, as you might guess, singing this song at the top of your lungs along with 40,000 other people is a straight religious experience. Second, that every lead guitarist that plays that song is owned by David Gilmour. He wrote and played guitar solos so iconic that they must be replicated precisely and without a single note or waver changed lest those 40,000 get righteously pissed. Those solos have to feel like Gilmour solos, or else it just doesn’t feel like “Comfortably Numb.” THAT’s the sign of a great song. The incredible character of both Waters and Gilmour’s voices are also impossible to replicate, and really, why would you want to? #BestSongEver
# 35 : R. Johnny – “Scenario” – A Tribe Called Quest
This song embodies the cerebral leap rap took from guns and violence into the “golden era,” to the crafting of infectious hooks and lyrical Kung Fu that carved out a niche in hip-hop, paving the way for Eminem and Kanye.
# 36: R. Ramirez – “Cowboy Song” – Thin Lizzy
“Dancing In The Moonlight” is romantic and smooth, “The Boys Are Back In Town” is a movie trailer standard, “Cowboy Song” gets me the most pumped to watch the Dallas Cowboys. But this is a Travis Frederick reach. It’s been a draft conducted via email and every “reply all” means changing the subject line with your pick. When I got “Rumford takes ‘Scenario,’ Ramon is on the clock,” I panicked a bit. This is a league that likes its cock rock and its drum and bass-era hip-hop. It was time to plant a flag. I’d lost out on the greatest arena anthem in history (“Bohemian Rhapsody”), and now the greatest Busta Rhymes performance on “Arsenio” ever–time to nab a killer cut from an AM radio mainstay. Certainly, the music fan in me likes to see certain names come off the board before other overrated, bigger names. Thin Lizzy is such a better Irish rock band than U2.
# 37: R. Rich – “99 Problems/Points of Authority/One Step Closer” – Jay-Z and Linkin Park
This is the black swan pick. On its face, sure, you want to chastise and mock the selection, but think about it for a second. The Jay-Z/Linkin Park collaboration in 2004 brought mash-up culture to the forefront of the popular music scene, it combined two of the highest-selling artists of all time, and it gave longtime Jay and LP fans new versions of their favorite songs. This particular tune is the backbone, the spine that holds it all together. “Numb/Encore” may have been your initial thinking, but the “Miami Vice” trailer soured its pathos. Not only does “99 Problems/Points of Authority/One Step Closer” go hard, IT GETS YOU FUCKING PUMPED. There are too many classic rock standards in this draft, let’s bring in that new shit.
# 38: A. O’Connor – “Desperado” – The Eagles
The Bro Jackson overlords thought it would funny if they picked songs they knew I would absolutely hate as my “picks” for the draft (except for the first two) while I was in Baltimore for Maryland Death Fest. When you’re condemned to a life of listening to indie rock, a life defined by a perpetual state of unfeeling, you gotta get your kicks somehow. Hell is a real place, folks, four towering beige walls whimpering Bon Iver. It’s OK, I still love my bros. But yeah, like The Dude once said, “I hate the fucking Eagles, man.” There’s tons of passionate music in the world dripping with love, hate, and ass sweat, and you choose to listen to shit like this? All the young dudes cried foul when The Eagles headlined ACL in 2010, cause “they’re for old dudes.” Well, listening to Vampire Weekend and Kings of Leon will lead you down the same road, buddy. It’s all the same. Y’all will be those old dudes, popping on “Desperado” and cracking open a Michelob Light every day after work for the rest of your life. Maybe a Fat Tire every second Tuesday to mix it up. If you didn’t want to agonize over the twins’ private school tuition, well, you chose this path.
This track doesn’t even have Joe Walsh on it. If there’s one justification for the band’s existence, “Rocky Mountain Way” is an OK song.
# 39 : C. Marler – “Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson
This is one of the most overwrought and silly songs ever written. The opening synths sparkle like a bad defensive driving video. There’s a black church chorus. It’s a Reagan-era anthem about improving the world by starting at home. Michael Jackson lived it. He’d perform in Romania and leave having funded a new orphanage. Michael gave more money to charity than any other musician in history, and this was his call to action. Still, none of that matters if he doesn’t give the most earnest vocal performances of the ’80s.
# 40 : D. Kallison – “Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman
This is my mom’s favorite song, so think about my sweet Jewish mother before you shit talk me about Tracy Chapman. At #40, if you don’t count Stevie Nicks, this is the first woman to be chosen. This song is an absolute marvel in songwriting. From the triple verse before the chorus to the narrative structure, it’s brilliant. The narrator of the song keeps trying to make a better life, but all her husband has is a fast car. And in the end, it doesn’t get him anywhere. When she sings, “You take your fast car and you keep on driving,” it might be the most rock and roll moment on this whole list.
# 41 : K. Griggs – “Dead Flowers” – Townes Van Zandt
The documentary “Heartworn Highways” about Van Zandt’s life and music will blow your mind, especially when he breaks out an acoustic version of “Waitin’ Around to Die.” The scene is so fucking sad, an old black man cries. This song–unbeknownst to me until Mr. David Kallison pointed it out–was actually written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. With that said, however, I find Van Zandt’s version full of more emotion and it feels like it was actually written for him. Judging by the looks of Jagger, Richards, and Van Zandt, all of them knew plenty about drug use and “Dead Flowers” is the ultimate song about abuse. Had I not been drunk myself, I probably would’ve taken “White Freightliner Blues” or “Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel” here as they are my favorites. But I can’t be disappointed with this choice.
# 42 : J. Klein – “Humpty Dance” – Digital Underground
Five Facts About The Humpty Dance:
1. It is my secret favorite song of all time (Song I say is my favorite of all time? The next pick.)
2. It is my go-to karaoke song, and before starting, depending on how many drinks I’ve had, I will go around and turn off the screens with the lyrics on them. It’s a badass move that karaoke DJs do NOT appreciate.
3. It is the only song on record of the lyricist both singing the bassline and calling out for Samoans.
4. It should have been the song that was featured in “Nothing But Trouble” (stupid Tupac.)
5. Here is a picture of me onstage at a Digital Underground concert (I don’t remember taking this picture, but Shock G said I was a true fan. And he once got busy a Burger King bathroom. So there’s that.)
The Teams Through Three of 14 Rounds
“Paradise City,” Guns N’ Roses
“Microphone Fiend,” Eric B. and Rakim
“Try a Little Tenderness,” Otis Redding
“Suspicious Minds,” Elvis Presley
“Layla,” Derek and the Dominos
“When Doves Cry,” Prince
“Billie Jean,” Michael Jackson
“Public Service Announcement,” Jay-Z
“Gimme Shelter,” Rolling Stones
“Like a Rolling Stone,” Bob Dylan
“Dazed and Confused,” Led Zeppelin
“The Weight,” The Band
“Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns N’ Roses
“In the Air Tonight,” Phil Collins
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen
“It’s Tricky,” Run DMC
“Hotel California,” Eagles
“Comfortably Numb,” Pink Floyd
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” Rolling Stones
“Rhiannon,” Fleetwood Mac
“Scenario,” A Tribe Called Quest
“Happiness is a Warm Gun,” The Beatles
“Worms of the Senses, Faculties of the Skull,” Refused
“Cowboy Song,” Thin Lizzy
“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)
“Baba O’Riley,” The Who
“Sympathy for the Devil,” Rolling Stones
“Man in the Mirror,” Michael Jackson
“Just Like Heaven,” The Cure
“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana
“Fast Car,” Tracy Chapman
“Hoochie Coochie Man,” Muddy Waters
“Heart of Gold,” Neil Young
“Dead Flowers,” Townes Van Zandt
“I Want You Back,” Jackson Five
“Cry Me A River,” Justin Timberlake
“Humpty Dance,” Digital Underground
- Where my friend was detained by the police for “toting a knife.” ↩