Apocalypse NOW: The 10 Best Apocalyptic Tracks

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Editors note: This originally published in 2013. With the release of the new Walking Dead spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead, we revisit one of our favorite lists, our ten favorite apocalyptic tunes.

We all love us some Edgar Wright (and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for that matter), so with the opening of The World’s End this weekend, we thought it appropriate to dig up the top ten apocalyptic songs.  A few words about The World’s End first though.  I am endlessly excited to see this movie, but it just has the worst title ever.  The title is not bad in and of itself.  It is descriptive.  It is succinct.  But unfortunately it is too similar to another apocalyptic comedy from earlier this summer (This Is The End) as well as a Pirates of the Caribbean poopcicle (At World’s End).  This obviously won’t effect the quality of the movie, but its a pet peeve of mine from a differentiation standpoint.

Now that all that is out of the way, enjoy these top ten tracks for the end of times.

10. Prince – “1999”

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Top Ten Thursday: In Memory Of …

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So maybe Memorial Day is really to honor solely fallen servicemen and servicewomen in the United States.  But we wanted to make a list of the top ten songs memorializing just about anyone to give us a little more to choose from.  So whether it be a fallen loved one, fellow musician, fictional character or national figure, all songs about the deceased are fair game.  So in the words of everyone’s favorite dead collector, “Bring out yer dead”.

Editor’s Note: This list was originally posted in 2012 for Memorial Day.

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The 10 Best Country Outlaws

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The rogue western figure has been making its way back into pop culture recently, not only with musicians like country artists like Jamey Johnson and Kacey Musgraves, but also in television and movies, most notably with the Elmore Leonard (RIP) adapted FX series Justified. Between Justified’s season finale Tuesday night and the Archer season surrounding Cherlene turning into an outlaw country star (“OUTLAW COUNTRY!”), here are our 10 favorite country outlaws.
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The 10 Best Johnny Cash Songs

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Johnny Cash is 1/3 of the holy triumvirate of Pre-60’s vocalists for me.  Like the other two members (Elvis and Roy Orbison), Cash paired a one-of-a-kind voice with a progressive take on rock and roll.  In honor of Johnny Cash’s new posthumous album, Out Among the Stars, we of course had to do a list of the Top Ten Johnny Cash songs.  It was extremely hard to get this list down to ten, so our deepest apologies for leaving off anything you hold dear to your heart.  Feel free to remind us of what we missed.  Enjoy!

10. “Ring of Fire”

“Ring of Fire” has been played to death.  It appears in all sorts of thing; commercials, movies, everything. So we have a bit of a fatigue, but stepped back and still found a way to enjoy the horns, simple structure, and catchy refrain.

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Rosanne Cash Review: The River & the Thread

Rosanne Cash

The River & the Thread

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Yet another posthumous Johnny Cash album is being released this week.  I considered reviewing this latest attempt to cash in on a great artist’s legacy with material that is probably lackluster, but I am in charge of writing the Top Ten list this week.  Having already begun writing on Johnny Cash’s top ten songs, it would have been tough for me to fairly review his latest album, especially considering my preconceived biases against posthumous albums.  Maybe Todd or Wes will pick up the slack and review Out Among the Stars, and if one of them does, we are going to have a very Cash-themed week.  I decided to give Johnny’s eldest daughter, Rosanne Cash, a little love for a fantastic little album she put out in January that I never got around to writing on.  Thus, begins the Week of Cash.
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Million Dollar Quartet Review

Million Dollar Quartet

June 20th, 2013

Apollo Theatre, Chicago, IL

Million Dollar Quaret Chicago Review

I have always had a fascination with musical talent scouts like Ahmet Ertegun, Berry Gordy, and Sam Phillips, who discovered and were able to identify talent when they saw it and capitalize on it time and time again. So I was excited to see the musical Million Dollar Quartet, not just for the reliving of a legendary night in rock ‘n’ roll history, but also to see a little bit more into the character of Sam Phillips, who for all intents and purposes is the main protagonist in the musical, even if the picture is a shallow and glamourized portrait of the famous musical producer. I found the musical to really highlight the charisma of Phillips and be a thrilling live musical performance from start to finish.
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Top Ten Thursday: Top Ten Rick Rubin Produced Albums

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No, that picture above is not Ernest Hemingway and Steve Earle’s love child.  It is in fact uber-producer Rick Rubin, the man who has successfully navigated alt-rock, hip-hop, country, and just about every other genre in music with startling success.  Currently on Rubin’s radar is helping Kanye fine-tune Yeezus, easily the most eagerly awaited hip-hop album of 2013.  This is interesting, because Kanye has always been a bit of a “do-it-your-selfer” which has served him very very well.  It makes sense though to bring in the man who produced some Public Enemy, Beastie Boys and Run D.MC. when Kanye is aiming for a more minimalist experience (explained more fully in the New York Times interview).  This minimalism Ye is going for highlights an overriding theme for the albums on our list:  Strip down artists to their most raw and basic qualities and build the album up from there.  Rubin may not have one musical style he can be attached to, but there does seem to be a way of making music that is very clear.

We tried to limit this list to albums Rubin had a large hand in producing, leaving off the likes of Jay-Z’s Black Album and JT’s FutureSex/LoveSounds where he only produced one track each.  We also left off sure top-5 Lucinda Williams album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road because Rubin only handled the mixing of the album.  The only other major qualm people might have with this list is the lack of a Slayer album.  Well, I personally just don’t like metal, and so even if Slayer is the cream of the crop, I’m not gonna listen to it.  Enjoy the list, and as always feel free to comment on albums you think we missed or erroneously included.

10. The Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker

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Interestingly, I read Rick Rubin wouldn’t allow his name to be put on as producer of Shake Your Money Maker until it sold one million copies.  Was he not happy with the outcome?  Did he think it was destined for commercial and/or critical failure?  I don’t know, but I do know The Black Crowes in 1990 did The Stones better than The Stones were doing themselves.  With the alternative scene blowing up at the time, Shake Your Money Maker was a nice respite from the uniformity of most everything else out there.
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