Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Best of Pitchfork's Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 100-51

Songs 100-51 from Pitchfork’s Top Tracks of the 1990s have some of my favorite picks on the entire list. The first one that jumped out at me was “Start Choppin” by Dinosaur Jr. Not only is this one of my favorites but it is indisputably one of the greatest guitar-rock songs ever written. The solo that J. Mascis pulls off in the track is nothing short of astonishing and is sure to impressed anyone who considers themselves an admirer of guitar solos.

Another standout is “Dig Me Out” by Sleater-Kinney. I recently picked up the album of the same name on vinyl and it has aged quite well. It still has an intense bite to it and is the perfect retort to anyone that says girls can’t rock as hard as guys. One of the surprises on the list was “Web in Front” by Archers of Loaf. I know that the song is a bona fide alternative classic but for some reason, I assumed Pitchfork would have overlooked it. The track is largely unknown despite being incredibly infectious. The lyrics, which are of the abstract persuasion, are some of my favorites in the style.

I figured “100%” by Sonic Youth was going to make it on the list at some point. It may be my favorite Sonic Youth song and that is coming from someone who listens to a lot of Sonic Youth. I’m particularly fond of how it condenses their creativity and experimentation into an accessible gem. The track is based on the story of Joe Cole which makes for an interesting read. The image at the top of this article is the cover of their pivotal 1992 album, Dirty, from which the track comes from. The video which features future movie and television star Jason Lee in a very 90s looking skateboarding video can be seen below. Also embed is their network debut which is about as crazy as one can get. Watch as Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo fall all over the stage as they show the country what real rock and roll performance looks like. Yes, that is a baseball bat he is playing with and yes, that is probably the best network TV debut ever.

There are also several other pioneering bands that fit alongside Sonic Youth on this list such as The Dismemberment Plan, Modest Mouse, Fugazi, and Pixies. All of these bands have cemented their legacy in the alternative rock world and have a permanent spot among my favorites. As with my last entry, you can listen to them all in the player below. Finally, it’s hard not to mention “Dry the Rain” due to it’s iconic inclusion in the 2000 film High Fidelity in which the main character played by John Cusack proclaims “I will now sell five copies of The Three EPs by The Beta Band” as he puts on the track. The scene can be viewed below.

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