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Entries categorized as “Top Five” 55 results

Eddie writesOh, So Cold Up North: 5 Songs To Help You Endure This Arctic Winter

by Eddie Sayago

We have just survived a long period of subarctic weather and for that, we are rewarded with a couple of rainy days with temps above 50 degrees. (It was 58 degrees at the time this very sentence about our short winter weather break was written.) And not only do we get winter weather again, but more snow is coming! And the storms have names now. Yippee!

Here are five songs about the cold to accompany you while are walking (in layers) in this winter wonderland. Stay warm!

“Cold Weather Blues” by Muddy Waters [from Folk Singer (1964, Chess Records)]

The opening (oh man, that guitar) 15 seconds is possibly the best way to step outside into this Chicago winter. Its early morning, still dark. Snow is falling onto your head. You can see your breath even though your mouth and nose is covered under a wool scarf. Recorded at Tel Mar Studios in the South Loop, this track includes Buddy Guy strumming on the guitar that sets the mood for the dark wintry day. Oh man, that guitar.

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Share January 17, 2018 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Top Five


Jack Ryan writesAn EP For The End of the World

Despite what your mom and dad may say, there’s no such thing as the “good old days.” Life’s never been perfect. That being said, things in 2017 have definitely been crazier than usual.

When you flip on the news and see the daily doom and gloom report of potential nuclear war with North Korea, Nazis marching in the streets of American cities, President Trump’s bizarre behavior and climate change related destruction in the Caribbean and south American coast, even the most rational person would come to the conclusion that we were living in the end times.

With that being said, here are some songs that would make for a good EP as Rome burns to the ground…


1. “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire (Dunhill, 1965)

For a protest song from 1965, this track seems to be shockingly relevant to the world of today. Combining elements of Dylan-esque folk and the wall of sound from Phil Spector’s renowned “Wrecking Crew”, Barry McGuire’s heartfelt singing about Asia, the Middle East and racism in the USA sounds like he could be talking about ISIS or Kim Jong Un.

It also does a good job of chastising those who would rather ignore the world’s problems rather than work to solve them. The only noticeably dated lyric in “Eve of Destruction” would be the line “You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’,” since it was written before the passing of the 26th amendment.

Before then, under-21-year-olds who didn’t even have any political say where being drafted and sent to die in the jungles of Vietnam. Thank god that doesn’t happen anymore!

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Share October 27, 2017 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Top Five


Kyle writesTop 10 Tom Petty Deep Cuts

written by Kyle Sanders

On a day filled with tragedy, avid rock fans learned of other disheartening news that singer/songwriter Tom Petty had suffered from cardiac arrest, with confusing news reports eventually confirming his death.

Petty produced an array of well-known hits throughout his career as both a solo artist and as lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. From "Refugee" to "You Don't Know How it Feels," Petty's craftsmanship as a songwriter proved successful throughout his forty-plus years in the music industry.

With hits like "I Won't Back Down," "Here Comes My Girl," "The Waiting," "Free Fallin," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Don't Come Around Here No More," "Learning to Fly," and "American Girl," there is no lack of favorite songs to choose from when compiling a list of Petty's best. Yet to those fans who stick solely to the hit singles, Petty's discography showcases just as many valid lesser known tracks than those that cracked the Billboard Hot 100.

In honor and remembrance of Petty's legacy in music, here's a list of deep cuts that deserve the attention of your ears:

10. "The Trip to Pirate's Cove" (Mojo, 2010)

Somewhat reminiscent of the songs of old when lyrics were stand-ins for a linear narrative, this track from one of The Heartbreakers' most recent efforts finds Petty on a cross-country journey, finding persons of interest along the highway.

"She was a part of my heart/Now she's just a line in my face," Petty bemoans, regarding a motel maid he decides to take along for the ride. This moody slow burn of a song shows Petty was still in top form well into the twenty-first century.

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Share October 5, 2017 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Top Five


Josh Friedberg: Music Historian's Corner writesFive Sentimental Hits that I Refuse to Feel Bad for Liking

By Josh Friedberg

You know, maybe it’s just my appreciation of sincerity, but sentimentality can get an unfair rap among many critics and fans. However, sometimes, it can make for classic pop music: think of Bill Withers’s “Lean on Me,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” for example.

But for the overwhelming majority of pop hits that could be called cheesy or sappy, there may be a deserving stigma for excessive emotion. That said, I wanted to list five of my favorite sentimental pop hits that deserve another listen. They are ranked, leading up to the one that could feel like the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. And I will defend each pick.

5. “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson

It’s easy to forget that in the last couple decades of Michael Jackson’s life, a lot of his music was panned. Despite the boring melody of this song, penned by R. Kelly, “You Are Not Alone” became the first song ever to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart. And for at least the last two minutes, such an achievement sounds justified. Ignore the steamy video with his then-wife Lisa Marie Presley, and just focus on Jackson’s passionate vocals, backed by a stirring gospel choir. As Little Richard once said of Jackson, “Michael’s one of the few people in rock ‘n’ roll that can really sing.”

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Share March 23, 2017 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Top Five

Kyle writesThe 40th Anniversary of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”: Ranking the Tracks

by Kyle Sanders

On February 4th, 1977, Fleetwood Mac released Rumours, their eleventh studio album and second release featuring American duo Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Forty years later, it ranks as one of the best selling albums of all time, with over forty-five million copies sold worldwide.

It not only ranks as the band's most successful album, but also garnered their only Grammy win for Album of the Year. The album's legacy has inspired dozens of musicians since its release, an eleven track tell-all of rock and roll's greatest soap opera, harmonized and produced with raw emotion and rhythmic energy.

The album's creation is a memorable narrative of mythic proportions, and is ripe for a segment on "Drunk History" or even a Broadway musical: coming off the success of their "White Album" with hits like "Say You Love Me" and "Rhiannon," the band went to work at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, and during the twelve month production, relationships floundered. Christine and John McVie got divorced, Stevie and Lindsey broke up, and Mick Fleetwood suffered marital woes when he discovered his wife was having an affair with his best friend (Nicks and Fleetwood would eventually have a brief affair as well).

Throughout all the tumultuous drama, the trio of singer-songwriters Buckingham, McVie, and Nicks wrote and recorded some of the most honest and heartbreaking lyrics ever composed. Listening to all forty minutes worth of music, it's easy to hear the catchy melodies at first, but continuous plays reveal the lyrical history and goings-on within the band. From Nick's therapeutic meditations to Buckingham's stinging accusations to McVie's hopeful wishes for a better tomorrow, it's no wonder this album remains as influential now as it did four decades ago.

Upon first obtaining the album when I was thirteen, I loved the catchy songs, but it wasn't until I went through my first breakup that each song spoke to me in a different light--and it's one of the reasons the album manages to reinvent itself to me time and time again, through each new romantic trial and tribulation I endure--and there's been quite a few! To celebrate and recognize it's fortieth anniversary, I've ranked all eleven tracks from worst (which isn't even the right word to use since EVERY track is a gift to the ears) to best (which was a difficult choice between the first and second ranked songs).

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Share February 4, 2017 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Top Five


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