You know what this is like.
There’s a band or an artist you just don’t like. It could be the style, it could be the vocals, it could be nothing more logical than “I don’t like them.”
And then, just to ruin your Antagonism Party, that artist releases a song you like. No matter how hard you try, you can’t help but appreciate the song released by a band you don’t.
Well if it’s happened to you, it’s happened to me. So here they are: my Top Five Songs I Like From Artists I Don’t.
5. Journey: Wheel In The Sky. Oh, I stopped believin’ awhile ago. Faithfully is beyond the pale corny. And Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ starts with what for my money what is the dumbest lyric in rock & roll: “When I’m alone, all by myself.” Well what else are you gonna be if you’re all by yourself? All that to say I am not a Journey fan. But in spite of myself, I like The Wheel In The Sky. Maybe that’s because it’s kinda sorta based on the book of Ezekiel.
4. Billy Joel, We Didn’t Start The Fire. I’m not a piano man. I’ve never been in a New York state of mind. I have no interest in an uptown girl. But this one? Fabulous. Who knew rock & roll could teach history so well?
3. The Who, Baba O’Riley. Talbot-Julie romance trivia: during my second conversation ever with Julie — fall semester of college, 1981 — this song came on the radio. I casually mentioned that studies had demonstrated that the combination of synthesizer and power chords in Baba O’Riley made people’s blood pump harder and adrenaline flow faster. I have no idea where I got that trivia, but since I shared is it any wonder we are still married 34 years later?
2. Van Halen, Jump. Whether they were Van Halen or Van Hagar, I was never much into a band who signature was runnin’ with the devil. Yet I find this song both hypnotic and oddly optimistic . . . and if you want to summarize the 80s in four minutes, it for sure has the best video of all time.
1. Guns ‘N Roses, “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” GnR’s excesses paved the way for Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the end of album rock. In other words, the end of the era that shaped my musical tastes. Nevertheless, this one was and will always have an epic sweep, due primarily to its unforgettable opening riff.