Top Ten Thursday: Life is a Highway (Best Road Trip Songs)

road trippin'

Wes is on a pretty epic 12-day road trip out to Seattle, then up to Vancouver, and back to Chicago.  Along the way, him and Jackie (his wife for the uninitiated) are stopping at Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, and many other beautiful places along the way.  In honor of this trip, and in hopes of his safe return, we put our heads together to come up with the top ten road trip songs to keep Wes and Jackie alert, energized, and most importantly awake on this endeavor.

We tried to limit our choices for this list to songs actually about traveling to some degree.  There are many songs and albums that we more abstractly view as road trip songs, but that would have opened this list up to too many options.  We hope you enjoy these songs of the road, and as always feel free to bring more road trip songs of your preference to our attention.
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Top Ten Thursday: Sophomore Surges

In honor of starting our second year as a full-functioning blog, we decided to make a top ten list of the best sophomore albums, in hopes of a sign of things to come for us.  We already tackled sophomore slumps, and hope to avoid the same fate of the likes of Puff Daddy, Hot Hot Heat, and Weezer (Pinkerton…YUCK!).  Hopefully you enjoy the next year of reading our little slice of internets as much as we enjoy these next ten albums.  One quick note; although we titled the list “sophomore surges”, we simply looked at the best sophomore albums more than the “surge”.  In a few cases the second album may not even be as good as the first, but is still great in its own right.  Thanks for reading, and as always feel free to give your suggestions on what we overlooked, over-included, or why we just plain suck.
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Top Ten Thursday: Best Covers Albums

cover album art for william hung inspiration

After the painful experience of reviewing Neil Young’s new cover album, Americana, we decided to go back to some of our old favorites, and create a list of the top ten cover albums.  It was surprisingly difficult to find a comprehensive list of cover albums that have even been released, so I am certain we are missing a couple of classics, but also was very happy with strength of the list we came up with.  Another couple items of note is that the album needed to be 75% covers to be considered and a lot of 1950’s and 60’s albums were not considered.  A lot of early Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. albums were comprised mostly of covers because that’s just the way the music business was run back then.  Somebody would have a minor hit, then ten artists would cover it to bandwagon and try to copy its success. 

So what makes a great cover album?  There are a lot of opinions on that, but we firmly believe it is not enough to simply mimic already great songs.  What we like to see is an artist keep the feeling of the original but substantially change the arrangement.  Also great is when an artist manages to rescue a song from obscurity and make it completely their own.  There is not absolute formula to a great cover song or album, but as with most of our list the following selections hit us the hardest.  On to the list.

10. David Bowie – Pin Ups

album cover art for david bowie pin ups

Bowie’s lat album with The Spiders from Mars was a tribute album to some of his favorite tracks from the 60’s.  Pin Ups contains classic songs from The Who, a lesser known track from Pink Floyd’s most underrated era, a Kinks track for the ages, and some lesser-known bands that I probably would have never been turned onto otherwise such as The Pretty Things and The Easy Beats.  All of these things fused with the Bowie twist means it is a sure-fire instant eargasm.

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Top Ten Thursday: Chi-Town Anthems

Top Ten Thursday: Chi-Town Anthems

Chicago, Mirror Bean, in Millenium Park, windy city music

In keeping with our Chicago theme (due to my move there coming this weekend), we will be transitioning from yesterday’s list of songs BY Chicago to songs ABOUT Chicago. The Windy City has boasted its fair share of great artists, from Chicago blues legends Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Buddy Guy to more modern alternative/indie artists like The Smashing Pumpkins, Wilco, and Andrew Bird to an unbelievably strong hip hop scene including Kanye, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Rhymefest, Twista, and the one and only R. Kelly. While their quarterback’s a sad emo excuse for an athlete and their football team as an equally worthless franchise, there is greatness in this city and that’s why we bring you this list.

10.   Common-“The Corner”

We love Kanye as much as any blog, but yes, this is a Chicago song’s list with two rap songs by someone not named by Kanye. He does, however, get production credit and a guest spot on the “The Corner”, a staple song about the Chicago Streets off of Common’s best effort, Be.
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Top Ten Thursday: Break-up Songs So Good You Might Want To Break-up Just to Get the Full Effect

candy heart, funny, humorous

For some reason we decided to list the top ten break-up songs the same week as Valentine’s Day.  This is awfully cynical, but most relationships do end up in a break up, so deal with it.  The discussion on which songs should make the list was uncharacteristically emotional for a LxL meeting, and ended with Wes quite sore over several subjects and Todd reduced to a puddle of salty-teared emotion.  The end list did end up quite interesting though, with several classics, and a fair bit of 90’s girl pop.  Let’s see if I can give all these songs justice without crying into my ice cream. 

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Top Ten Thursday: Indubitably Great Debuts

In accordance with our debut this week, we thought it would be appropriate if we gave LxL’s Top Ten Debuts of all time.

1. Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin 

Loud, rebellious and unbelievably bluesy; this is what rock n’ roll is supposed to sound like. It’s funny to think that in ’69 when this was released, that the critics ripped it apart. Shows how much they know.
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