Monday, June 23, 2008

Top 5 Geographical Bands

This is Ryan's idea originally, after he was cleaning out his iPod and wondering what Chicago songs he should keep. Or maybe we thought of it together after we were talking about how Kansas really isn't worth seeing in concert. At any rate, these are the Top 5 bands with geographical names. In the name of purity, I have used bands that use only the names of places as the entire band name, but if you struggle to find any good bands (there really aren't many), then I guess that rule is not set in stone.

Dan's Top 5:

1. Boston - Not only the makers of one of the best debut albums ever - actually, the best-selling debut album in U.S. history, this band also invented (and its members are the only acceptable wearers of) the white-guy 'fro. The genius of this band comes primarily from Tom Scholz, who wrote all the songs, invented their signature guitar tone by designing his own equipment, produced their work, and also freed the slaves and saved humanity. Needless to say, I like Boston.

2. Kansas - If there was ever a sign that there aren't many good Geographical Bands, it's the fact that Kansas wins the #2 spot. To their credit, they have three cool songs ("Dust In The Wind," "Point of Know Return," and "Carry On Wayward Son") There may be more, but these are the three that receive massive airplay. It speaks volumes that I'm nowhere near willing to pay $50 to see them play in State College. But if you've ever played "Carry On Wayward Son" on Guitar Hero, you know how much those songs I listed do rock.

3. Asia - I'm going to submit to my love of Prog Rock yet again, putting Asia at #3 despite only knowing a single song, "Heat of the Moment." This band incorporated members of former prog mega-bands Yes and E.L.P., so they're definitely a supergroup. But whenever I think of the musical connections of Asia, it never escapes me that the keyboardist, Geoff Downes, was also the keyboardist for The Buggles (yes, the same Buggles of "Video Killed The Radio Star" fame). Apparently he was once entered into the Guinness Book of Records for using the most (28) keyboards on stage during one performance. I should really get around to listening to at least a second song from these guys.

4. Chicago - "25 or 6 to 4" is by far the best song this band ever did, as it's the only song I can really remember that features their guitar player, who was actually pretty good. (Sadly, I watched VH1's Behind The Music episode on Chicago. I mean, that's sad in and of itself, but even more sad was that the episode revealed that their guitar player accidentally committed suicide.) "Saturday in the Park" is another acceptable tune, but my second-favorite is "You're The Inspiration." Why? Because when I first heard it, my guess was that the Bee Gees were singing it. Kudos to you, Peter Cetera, for pulling that aural illusion off.

5. Europe - "The Final Countdown" was huge - #1 in 26 countries, and to this day a pretty decent song to pump up to before a sports entrance. Hey wait, this band was primarily a metal band? For shame, Europe, for shame! Actually, Europe had the same reaction to that hit album, The Final Countdown, thinking it was way too keyboard-driven. They took the reins on the next album, adding more guitars and getting the sound they wanted, but never achieved the same sort of success, succumbing to one-hit-wonder syndrome (a serious disease that is sometimes fatal).

Ryan's Top 5:

Man, my list sucks. Why did we have this idea?

1. New York Dolls - A great protopunk band that influenced greater bands: The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, etc.

2. Kansas - I can't help but love them for nostalgic reasons. I really have no concept if they are actually a good band or not. (See: Meat Loaf.) Apparently their members are from Topeka and Manhattan respectively...not two of my favorite towns. Ah well.

3. Boston - I have "more than a feeling" that I'm copping out and stealing Dan's entries. Ha! Ha! Ha!

4. Europe - "Doo-duh-loo-doo! Doo-duh-loo-doo-doo!"

5. Asia - I know very little about Asia, but they have one key fact going for them: they're not Chicago. Welcome to the Top 5, my Asiatic friends. (Bonus points for Cartman's rendition of "Heat of the Moment.")

Tory's Top 5:

1. Cypress Hill - Granted I don't listen to a lot of Cypress Hill, but I am attempting to be different with this list. And, frankly, I would probably listen to Cypress Hill over Boston or Kansas.

2. The Mars Volta - I wanted to put them number 1, but I don't think their name is exactly in the tune. That being said Mars - the planet - does have a lot of geographical stuff going on ... like the TALLEST MOUNTAIN (or volcano) IN THE UNIVERSE.

3. Evergreen Terrace - A really amazing hardcore band that (from what I remember) only does hardcore covers (Sunday Bloody Sunday being the only song that comes to mind.) Also, they are named after a fictional geographical location. From the Simpsons no less.

4. America - Horse With No Name.

5. E Street Band - They are on here because they played a lot with the Boss. However, I've never heard them independently, therefore they are number five.

Honorable Mentions: Rammstein, Sugarland, Walls of Jericho - it should be noted that these bands are being honorably mentioned for having names that reflect geographic locations.

Tim's Top 5:

One could argue Nirvana qualifies. I won't, though, since that's way too easy.

1. Europe - As far as I'm concerned, they released one album, which consists of ten recordings of one song. But man, I loved that song when I was five, which means that, along with "One Stop Along The Way (The Ballad of Johnny bench)" by Terry Cashman I am forever cursed to continue loving the song. It invokes good memories of my favorite television character ever (Gob Bluth), hockey games (it was a theme for the Omaha Lancers for a long time), and what good synthesizers have brought to society (surprisingly little). Still, should my elbow ever manage to repair itself so I can throw without my arm going numb and should I suddenly add thirty miles to my fastball, I'm pretty sure this song would be on the shortlist of songs that would play as I entered the game (which is itself a list that I'll be posting at some point once I've refined mine to perfection, since it's one of the few lists about which I will care vehemently).

2. The Bronx - I don't know anything of their work, but The Bronx is a place, and the one song I own of theirs ("Around the Horn [Louis XIV remix]" from the soundtrack to Snakes on a Plane) is pretty above average for throwaway soundtrack fare.

3. America - I think they really warrant being somewhere in the pit of hell, because for at least an entire day last week, I had "Sister Goldenhair" stuck in my head. Not to say this to ruin my presidential campaign in 2016, but let it be said once and for all that I really truly hate America (in band form). In book form, I approve of it, and it is not actually a country...since we're the United States and America represents a land mass spanning from Canada to Argentina. But that's still a place. I win.

4. Kansas - I cannot repeat enough that I don't like Kansas, but Carry On Wayward Son and Dust In The Wind always get me to listen anyway (because Carry On wayward Son isn't a bad song and because Dust In The Wind makes me think of Old School...and songs from Old School invariably get me to listen to them in a fashion that I hope is ironic.

5. Alabama - Ok, I don't like their music, I just like any country music band that has the balls to hate Ronald Reagan. "40 Hour Week (for a livin')" might not be a call to revolution, but it's enough of a screw you to the fervent anti-Union and anti-laborer administration that helped destroy America's trade surplus and turn us into a nation that can't rely on itself for anything. I seem to remember that Alabama sucked less than most country bands, but I can't say for certain, because other than the aforementioned song, I don't remember any of their work.

Honorable mention: I don't hate Chicago, though I can't say I like them.

Dishonorable mention: I do hate Boston.


Dan said...

Let's not forget "Heat of the Moment"'s appearance in The 40 Year Old Virgin, which was a surprisingly funny movie.

Roughly Speaking... said...

Ryan and Tory both abandoned the purity of Dan's response. I intend to stick to the narrowest possible definition, even though I know it shall kill me. If I ever get to stop working, I will post my response.

Ryan said...

Whoops, I completely missed that rule [that negates the New York Dolls].

Um, move everyone up one and slot America in at 5th.

I hate Chicago.