Monday, October 20, 2008

New Poll: Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation

Well, only 22% of you were prescient enough to predict that the Rays and Phillies would advance to the World Series. The other 88% of you need to pay more attention. Did you really think Major League Baseball was going to allow a Red Sox/Dodgers Series? Manny vs. his old team? No one wanted to see that.

On an interesting note, the Tampa Bay Rays have become the 26th different Major League franchise to make it to the World Series since the Cubs last went in 1945 (only the Mariners, Rangers, and Nationals have not been to a World Series). If they win, they will be the 22nd different franchise to win the World Series since the Cubs last won in 1908 (in addition to the Rays and the three previously mentioned teams, only the Padres, Astros, Rockies, and Brewers have not won a World Series).

Just when you thought I was going to ask you a poll question about who you think is going to win the World Series, I am throwing you a proverbial curveball. Greg Weeser* posed the following question, via electronic mail: What is the best hard rock anthem of our generation?

Here is the substance of his email, with minor editorial changes and deletions:
"Enter Sandman" forced me to think of this tonight: what is the best coming-of-age, hard rock anthem of our generation (say, HS class of '94-'98).

It's a toughie, due the guitar stylings of one Kurt Q. Cobain. His wave of grunge totally skull fucked hair metal in '91-'92, and the age of the fist-pumping, rock god anthem went into hibernation for the better part of the remaining decade.

And yet, the flannel-influenced songs that followed (and don't forget industrial metal of NIN, Zombie, KMFDM too) deserve to be counted. They were certainly much more ubiquitous post-'92 than any Lepp or Crue songs.

Plus, most of the hair metal songs from which we'd choose would actually come from way before our time. 'Appetite' and 'Hysteria' came out when we were in 3rd grade, fer chirssakes. Can we really claim them as 'our own'?

So it comes down to which side a person chooses: the last dude into the hair metal party, or the first dude to buy a pair of corduroys & army boots?
. . . .

So, choosing from a "Best Rock Anthem of our Generation", I'd have to select from:
-Pour Some Sugar On Me
-Welcome To The Jungle
-Dr. Feelgood
-Enter Sandman
-Smells Like Teen Spirit
-Head Like a Hole
-Even Flow
-Spoonman

In the end, I'd have to vote for Enter Sandman. It harkens back to our hair metal roots, but came out during the glut of grunge, yet still managed to make an lasting impact. . . .

The final litmus test is, what song would you most like you drive around with your 11-year old son to, windows down, just to show him how goddamn badass you can still rock as an old man, all with the least embarrassment. I'd say the chorus of "EEEEEEEEEEExit Light! EEEEEEEEEnter night!!!!" does the trick just fine. (Plus, showing him the video of the semi-truck running over the bed as the kid in pajamas scrambles away will give any kid nightmares for weeks.)

So, what am I missing, Dr. Rock? What are the good choices I've skipped? Perhaps the best choices are worth a GMYH vote?
First of all, I will somewhat disagree that hair band songs can't be considered simply because we were prepubescent when many of them came out. If I was old enough to buy the tape and I am able to remember listening to the music when it came out, then I think it's fair game. To be somewhat fair, I'll put the timeline from 1986 to 1998. Most of us weren't around long enough before 1986 for a song from before then to make much sense as a generational rock anthem. And as for 1998, it seems like a solid point for those who graduated high school between 1994 and 1998, as everyone was between senior year of high school and senior year of college in 1998.

I agree with some of Greg's choices, but will take some out and put some others in. I took out "Dr. Feelgood" because, while it is a totally awesome song, I don't think it's on par with some of the other songs, as far as generational anthems go. "Head Like a Hole" is out because I don't think it's well-known enough to constitute a generation's anthem (if I were to have a NIN song on the list, it would be "Closer"). I've always firmly believed that songs about dudes who play spoons can't be an anthem for a generation. Thus, "Spoonman" just doesn't cut it.

I added many others. So many, in fact, that I've decided to have a bracket-style vote to determine once and for all the Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation. I scoured Billboard's Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, regular Hot 100 charts, various other lists, and my own demented memory. Hopefully I haven't left anything off. Here's my list of 32 (in chronological order, with release date of the album on which the songs appeared, rather than the release date of the single, if there is a difference):

-Livin' On a Prayer by Bon Jovi (1986)
-Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard (1987)
-Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses (1987)
-Welcome To The Jungle by Guns N' Roses (1987)
-Here I Go Again by Whitesnake (1987)
-Epic by Faith No More (1989)
-Hard to Handle by The Black Crowes (1990)
-November Rain by Guns N' Roses (1991)
-Enter Sandman by Metallica (1991)
-Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991)
-Even Flow by Pearl Jam (1991)
-Give It Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991)
-Right Now by Van Halen (1991)
-Yellow Leadbetter by Pearl Jam (1992)
-Killing in the Name Of by Rage Against the Machine (1992)
-Plush by Stone Temple Pilots (1992)
-Mother by Danzig (1993)
-Are You Gonna Go My Way? By Lenny Kravitz (1993)
-Creep by Radiohead (1993)
-Today by Smashing Pumpkins (1993)
-Sabotage by The Beastie Boys (1994)
-Loser by Beck (1994)
-Longview by Green Day (1994)
-Violet by Hole (1994)
-Closer by Nine Inch Nails (1994)
-Come Out and Play by The Offspring (1994)
-Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots (1994)
-Good by Better Than Ezra (1995)
-You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette (1995)
-Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson (1996)
-Dammit by Blink 182 (1997)
-My Hero by Foo Fighters (1997)

Before I make the bracket, however, I will give you guys a day or two to leave a comment to let me know if there's anything you think I've missed. Bear in mind that this is best "hard rock" anthem, not best overall song of our generation, or best pop song, etc., since that would inarguably be "Spice Up Your Life."

After a day or two of comments, I will release the brackets, seeded from 1-32, incorporating any songs I may have missed and eliminating songs I don't think should be on there in light of any new songs. Then I will be posting a new poll every day or so with a new matchup. As you may have surmised, whichever song has more votes goes to the next round, eventually culminating in a champion.

4 comments:

RDC said...

This kills me, but Yellow Ledbetter? Great song. Hard Rock Anthem? Probably not.

Justin S. said...

I have to admit I don't even remember Yellow Ledbetter off the top of my head. Maybe I would if I heard it.

"Right Now" and "My Hero," while both decent songs, might be a little wussy for a Hard Rock Anthem list. If they're on there, "Under the Bridge" by the Chili Peppers definitely should be. I'm also not sure "November Rain" needs to be there. It's too long, takes too long to take off, and there are two obviously superior GNR songs on the list already. And Blink 182? Really?

I'm personally a fan of "More Human than Human" by White Zombie and "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour.

The Weez said...

Good additions to my list...but Alanis? Blink? BETTER THAN EZRA??? The list is "Hard Rock Anthems", not "LeMar's College Makeout Mixtape"...

The White Zombie and Living Colour choices are pretty good replacements...

GMYH said...

Yeah, I think I'll be adding "Cult of Personality" and "More Human Than Human."

I'm keeping Dammit and Alanis in, unless there is something else that ends up popping its head. Dammit is a hard rock song, even if it's punk-influenced. I was on the fence about You Oughta Know, but I decided that it can be considered hard rock. Certainly the subject matter is hard rock.

November Rain is in and seeded high. Doesn't matter how long it is -- it's the Stairway to Heaven of our generation. The fact that there are 3 GNR songs on there just goes to show, in my opinion, that GNR is the best hard rock band of our generation.

I thought about Under the Bridge, but I don't think it can be considered a hard rock song.

The beauty about the bracket system is that you can easily vote out the songs you don't like.