The Long-Promised iPod Top 25 Update

I wrote up my original Top 25 list for my iPod about a month after I got it. I've now had the iPod for several months, and like a rutted road that's seen heavy traffic, so my Top 25 list has become clearly defined. Certain things will become obvious: My favorite singer is Susanna Hoffs, and my favorite groups are The Bangles and Cracker. I also have a taste for cover songs, with artists doing someone else's song and sometimes actually doing it better. (Heresy!) Without further ado, here's my list, as well as a little video bonus thrown in (October rankings in red):

1. (#1) "She May Call You Up Tonight" - Matthew Sweet/Susanna Hoffs - Under The Covers, Vol. 1 (2006)
2. (#3) "And Your Bird Can Sing" - Matthew Sweet/Susanna Hoffs - Under The Covers, Vol. 1 (2006)
3. (#4) "Monday, Monday" - Matthew Sweet/Susanna Hoffs - Under The Covers, Vol. 1 (2006)

You may get the idea that I really liked that CD. And you'd be right. It's a collection of '60s cover songs, some well-known, others obscure to anyone who wasn't into the '60s music scene. The top song on my list falls into the latter category: It was originally done by The Left Banke (most famous for "Walk Away Renee," and like that song, this one was also written about her), and I really like the baroque arrangement. The twist is that in the original, the male vocalist was trying to keep another guy away from the girl, while in this version, the female vocalist is trying to keep the girl away from the guy. "And Your Bird Can Sing" was originally done by the Beatles on Rubber Soul. This version is pretty faithful to the original, but I like it better. "Monday, Monday" was a big hit for the Mamas and the Papas, of course. This version is in a different key, but it works well. And it gets played a lot on Mondays, just because.

4. (#2) "It's All Been Done" - Barenaked Ladies - Stunt (1998) - A great song with a storyline crammed into 3:26. Have we met before... and before... and before? (And haven't you read this before... Back in October? Yeah. I plagiarized myself!)

5. (NR) "Pride" - Susanna Hoffs - unreleased demo (1996) (downloadable here for free!) - Sometimes you find cool music in the oddest places. In this case, I found the song via Susanna Hoffs' Wikipedia entry, as an external link on Bill Bonk's site. If you're a Bangles or Susanna Hoffs fan at all, this song is a must-have! The download link is in MP3 format.

6. (NR) "Ring of Fire" - Social Distortion - Social Distortion (1990) - A full-on punked-out rave-up of the Johnny Cash classic. This version of the song kicks some serious ass.

7. (#7) "Family Tradition" - Cracker - Countrysides (2003) - This comes off an album where Cracker went out and played honkytonks under the name of Ironic Mullet. This is their cover version of one of Hank Williams, Jr.'s signature songs. Sobriety strictly optional.

8. (#6) "I Touch Myself" - Divinyls - Divinyls (1992) - Speaking of vocals, there's only one Christina Amphlett. You'll probably recognize the song if you saw the Austin Powers movies. Remember the scene when he made the Fembots heads' explode? Yeah, it's that song.

9. (NR) "Tear Off Your Own Head (It's A Doll Revolution) - The Bangles - Doll Revolution (2003) - The Bangles got back together after more than a decade of hiatus and came up with Doll Revolution. It has some good songs on it, including this song that was written and originally recorded by Elvis Costello. Susanna Hoffs does the lead vocal on this song.

10. (NR) "Jolene" - Mindy Smith, Featuring Dolly Parton - One Moment More (2004) - A wonderful remake of Dolly Parton's classic, with Mindy Smith's ethereal lead vocal and Dolly coming in at the end on the harmony.

11. (NR) "I Do" - Lisa Loeb - Firecracker (1997) - I'm pretty much indifferent to the rest of the album, but I loved this song. The arrangement and her voice were perfect for each other.

12. (NR) "Turning Japanese" - The Vapors - New Clear Days (1980) - You just had to be there. Great material for an air guitar solo.

13. (NR) "Dancing Queen" - Sixpence None the Richer - Best of... (1999) - I grew up in the 1970s, back before the gays had appropriated ABBA. I got this CD primarily for the songs "Kiss Me" and "There She Goes," but this one reached out and grabbed me. Leigh Nash's voice is perfect for the song, and the arrangement is excellent. There's also a good cover of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" on the CD.

14. (#11) "Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)" - Cracker - Cracker (1992) - "What the world needs now is another folk singer, like I need a hole in my head."

15. (NR) "Monster" - Fred Schneider - Fred Schneider and the Shake Society (1984/1991) - This is an oddity, in more ways than one. The CD originally came out under that title in 1984, and was re-released in 1991 as just Fred Schneider. The video below came out in 1985. Fellow B-52 Kate Pierson appears in the background vocals, but wasn't in the video.

16. (NR) "Blue" - LeAnn Rimes - Blue (1996) - I was late to the party on this one. Last fall, after having lunch with my dad, I was driving home and heard this song on the contemporary country station and I was just blown away by her voice. "Who is that?!" I asked. The radio was no help, but fortunately, all you need to do is type some song lyrics into Google and you'll find out. I was even more amazed when I found out that she was only 13 when this CD was recorded! I ordered Blue at a bargain-basement price from Amazon.com, and it was worth every penny I paid for it. This song is just the tip of the iceberg.

17. (NR) "Blue Collar Man" - Styx - Pieces of Eight (1978) - Actually, I got this off the Greatest Hits CD, but the original is considerably older. A great anthem for any man who works long nights with impossible odds, keeping his back to the wall...

18. (#8) "Mr. Wrong" - Cracker - Cracker (1992) - Another amusing song from Cracker's debut CD.

19. (NR) "Cold December (In Your Heart)" - Glen Campbell - By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1968) - This was one of the albums I grew up with as a kid. This song was never a hit, but maybe it should have been. The song is dated, with its lush strings, but I like it.

20. (#17) "Pictures of Matchstick Men" - Cracker - Hello, Cleveland! (Forever bonus disc) (2002) - "Hey, waitaminute! That's a Camper Van Beethoven song!" you say. And you're right. But David Lowery was in Camper Van Beethoven, which is why he's doing the song on this live disc. Love the wailing guitar chords that open this song.

21. (NR) "Whole Lotta Lovin'" - Huey Lewis & The News - Fore! (1986) - I saw Huey Lewis & The News with the Tower of Power horns in Berlin in 1987. The opening act was a woman I'd never heard of who did an acoustic set that was so good that I bought her CD at the concert hall. Her name? Melissa Etheridge. Huey and the boys did a great show, too.

22. (NR) "On A Bad Day" - Kasey Chambers - Barricades and Brickwalls (2002)
23. (NR) "A Little Bit Lonesome" - Kasey Chambers - Barricades and Brickwalls (2002)

A couple of great songs by an Australian singer doing Americana. She really sells you on the songs.

24. (#15) "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" - Cracker - Countrysides (2003) - This time, they do Merle Haggard. Again, sobriety strictly optional.

25. (NR) "Star, Star" - Joan Jett - Album (1983) - A cover of the Rolling Stones' X-rated classic. It was controversial when it first came out as an uncredited song that only appeared on the cassette tape, not the vinyl album. It's on the CD of Album, as well as on certain greatest hits collections. The song is sizzlingly raunchy.