Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stick's Pick: Greatest Rock Song of All Time

Having been a radio DJ in the past and still having a very diverse & eclectic taste in music with some widely varied past musical experiences, I feel slightly qualified to bestow the title of "Greatest Rock Song of All Time" upon a worthy suitor. Of course, everyone's taste is different. Everyone's view is different. And everyone's opinion is different. Everyone has different criteria for what makes something the "greatest" to them. This all means that many people will most certainly disagree with my choice here. And that's fine. Free country.

But what makes something the "greatest" for me is difference. It has to be different from it's peers. Why is Muhammad Ali considered "the Greatest"? Because he was different. Michael Jordan? Different. I'm not going to run down all the little reasons why these guys were different. You just know. To the observant, it's obvious. Just as it is with other things like music. And in some of these areas, there is no clear cut "greatest". How different can food be and still be palatable? How can art be "great" when the human taste varies so widely?

So I'm not going to say that this should be everyone's "Greatest Rock Song of All Time". Tastes vary too much for that. But I'm pretty sure there are quite a few folks that would agree with my pick, even though this song was not a hit and didn't get a ton of play. Back when U2's "One" was released, Axl Rose actually called it "The Greatest Rock-n-Roll Song of All Time". Not too many people outwardly disagreed and I think it was because it was a pretty worthy contender at the time.

So now for my pick. It pretty much sums up what being "punk rock" is all about. It's not about the music or the clothes or the makeup or hair. It's a state of mind. It's about doubting the norm and being sick of the mainstream. Clones need not apply. It's not about being poor or abused, either. The video for my pick is it's own story that has more to do with Green Day's album "American Idiot" than with my song pick itself. There's plenty of punks who's parents are still together and/or are well off. But if you listen to the song (the video has subtitles to help you out), it's pretty much from the point of view of someone who has found out that there really are no white picket fences out there for most people. They inevitably have to find their own path and live & learn the hard way.

If you've ever wondered why punks are punks, listen to this song. The whole song. It's about 9 1/2 minutes long (video has an extra 30 seconds of dialog) and has 4 parts. With most TV shows being 30 minutes long (with breaks), consider this a shorter 10-minute audio documentary. And remember, the video action is really different from the song's meaning. The song is the key.

So now I present Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia". Enjoy:

For those interested in the video also, this version is a bit different with some more story on how St. Jimmy breaks up with his girlfriend at about the 6:10 mark:

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