1. Linkin Park - Somewhere I Belong
2. Snoop Dogg - Gz and Hustlas
3. A Perfect Circle - The Hollow (Live Acoustic)
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Can't Stop
5. The Streets - Stay Positive
6. Stone Temple Pilots - Interstate Love Song
7. Bad Religion - I Want To Conquer The World
8. System of a Down - Snowblind
9. Sneaker Pimps - 6 Underground
10. Outkast - Rosa Parks (Wanted Dead or Alive Remix w/ Snoop Dogg & Tupac)
I feel like going into a little more detail today, so here we go:
1. I know a lot of people that don't like Linkin Park, dismissing them as an MTV-friendly rap-metal band. In fact, when my family moved from where they lived before to where they live now, my brother told me that most people in his new highschool hate Linkin Park, preferring instead bands like P.O.D. and Puddle Of Mudd.
These people are, of course, idiots. Linkin Park is the only band that consistently does the rap-metal thing well. Beyond that, their lead singer manages to actually sound good when he screams, something that only a select few singers can do (although I have already made several bets with my friends that he's going to blow his voice out within the next three years). The only downside to Linkin Park is that every song is basically about the same thing: "Some girl hurt me, but I'm determined that it won't ruin my life. In fact, I will grow stronger, and be triumphant." If they're not careful, they'll wind up as a higher-energy version of Staind ("My parents fucked me up and I can never be happy").
2. There is no doubt in my mind that Snoop is the best MC out there today, and very possibly the best ever. Where so many hip-hop artists work really hard to look like badasses, Snoop makes everything seem effortless. How many other MCs can you picture delivering their lines while relaxing in a big leather chair with a cigar in one hand? Not many.
A prime example of this is the Welcome To Atlanta remix, that has some of the more popular MCs from across the country on it. The last verse is Snoop's, and he absolutely puts the rest of them to shame. He's been better than all of them since before any of them started, and he'll continue to be better long after they fade into obscurity.
As a side note, Snoop is one of the only MCs that I can crank up on the car stereo without feeling like a stupid white boy.
3. Maynard is God. We all know this; I don't need to get into why. I just want to point out that, while I like his Tool stuff better than Pefect Circle, The Hollow being played on a piano with Maynard using his crooning voice (as opposed to his angry "I hate you" voice, or his "I'm better and smarter than you" voice) is something that no one who cares for Tool even a little bit should miss. You can definitely see the influence of Tori Amos (who he is good friends with) on this one.
4. Four years ago, when Californication came out, I nearly shit myself when the Scar Tissue video came on one day and my brother asked, "Who are those guys?"
I just couldn't comprehend the fact that people existed who didn't know who the Chili Peppers are -- and my brother is not music-illiterate.
It was this that impressed on me more than anything just how big a come-back they made with that album. While By The Way isn't quite as good as Californication (I still can't decide whether Californication is better than Blood Sugar Sex Magik...they're both awe-inspiring), it's still one of the best albums (along with the White Stripes' White Blood Cells, Eminem's The Eminem Show, and The Streets' Original Pirate Material) released in the last year.
5. I don't know who the hell this guy is, but he's one of the coolest people I've ever heard in my life. The Streets received a touch of popularity a few months ago with Let's Push Things Forward, but I think that's pretty much played out now. The novelty of a British semi-rapper seems to have worn off, which is unfortunate, because the other tracks on Original Pirate Material are just as good, if not better than, Let's Push Things Forward. Stay Positive is my favorite, because it has so many good lines in it ("I ain't no preaching fucker and I ain't no do-goodie goodie either. This about when shit goes pear-shaped. And if you aren't or never have been at rock-bottom, then good luck to you in the big wide world. But remember that one day shit might just start crumbling- Your bird might fuck off or you might lose your job.")
The way this guy combines good mixing skills with Cake-style spoken lyrics is absolutely brilliant. Go buy this album now.
6. Anyone who doesn't like Stone Temple Pilots is either older than 35 or has no soul. Intersate Love Song, one of their best-known songs, is also one of their best. Every road trip I go on absolutely must begin with this song blaring...it's very much "driving into the sunset with the windows down" music.
7. The chorus says it all:
"I want to conquer the world,Yes, I know. He's being semi-ironic in a mid-eighties punk sort of way. I know the song is about the futility of such hopes...but so what. It's still a hell of a lot of fun to scream along with.
Give all the idiots a brand new religion,
Do away with poverty uncleanliness and toil,
Promote equality in all our decisions,
I want to conquer the world,
Expose the culprits and feed them to the children,
Do away with air pollution and then I'll save the whales,
Well have peace on Earth and global communion,
I want to conquer the world. "
8. I'm not a huge Sytem Of A Down fan, but my brother got me into them a little bit -- enough to discover this cover of one of my favorite Black Sabbath songs. I didn't like it at first (I am extremely defensive about Black Sabbath. It is extremely rare that I find a cover of one of their songs that I think does justice to the original), but after listening to it a few times, I realized that it's actually a damn good modernization of the song. It's also just twisted enough to do justice to the original spirit of Sabbath. I think Ozzy/Iommi/Butler/Ward would approve of it.
9. One of those songs that just makes you feel cool when you're walking down the street listening to it. Don't ask me to explain. It's just the way it works.
10. A remix I found on the net a while ago. One of my favorite Outkast songs, combined with a king-hell cool collaboration between 2pac and Snoop. One of the problems with a lot of third-party remixes is that a lot of times the lyric track doesn't quite fit with the beat track; some lines are out of rhythm, the transition between the original score and the added lyrics is too abrupt, that kind of thing. But this is one of those almost magical mixes that takes two good songs, and combines them in such a way that the result is a song with the best parts of each that sounds like it could be an original. Good times.