This is an ever-evolving topic that never seems to get old—or complete. I have a hard time adding some bands to my list, because I tend to go for longevity, or at least long-lasting, over anything else. I mean, At the Drive-In didn’t last long, but I still listen to their albums four years later, so that’s longevity in my book. Saves The Day, Alkaline Trio, Dave Matthews Band, etc., are still together, but their newer music is not to my liking, so where do they fall on the list? Anyway, here goes …
1. U2—Why, you ask? Maybe because the past year has felt like all-U2-all-the-time, but I think more than anything else, it was addition by subtraction. U2 was one of the only bands I truly love NOT involved in that ridiculous Vote for Change Tour, which is when this switch may have occurred. Nothing can ever compare to the excitement of seeing a Pearl Jam concert live, simply because of the surprise aspect, but U2’s most recent studio effort is way better than “Riot Act” (shut up, I know you hated it, for reasons I have yet to hear and probably wouldn’t agree with anyway). Christianity also plays a major part in this. After I see U2 in October, it should be about time for PJ to be rolling out their new record and tour, so this could change. But for now, there’s been no bigger band in my life for the last year than U2. No question about that. There are times I think Bono may actually have superhuman powers (and I’m not joking about that). And, man, “Sometimes” is one incredible song.
2. Pearl Jam—I think the above basically covers where I am on this. PJ has been the de facto numero uno for the last decade, so this is kinda a big thing. I honestly think U2 and PJ will continue to battle it out for my top spot for some time. Like I said, it probably depends on who’s recording and touring at the time.
3. Led Zeppelin—An oldie but a goodie. I don’t listen to the mighty Zep much these days, but this band single-handedly ushered a stupid pop-loving child into rock and roll, and all it took was the riff from “Black Dog.” I’m forever grateful.
4. Bruce Springsteen
5. The White Stripes
6. Dashboard Confessional—I can still listen to “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar” any day, all the way through (especially since I include "Vindicated" from the "Spider-Man 2" soundtrack in the third slot—my fave Dashboard song). Can't wait for the new album.
7. Wilco—But they could be fading fast if the next album is even more impenetrable than the last.
8. PJ Harvey—Splendid, just splendid. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any way she can ever surpass “Stories.”
THE REST (these are in no particular order)
9. Pink Floyd
10. Ryan Adams
11. Smashing Pumpkins
Here the list gets a little hazy. I can’t come up with bands that deserve a spot alongside these others. It’s more like bands I really like, but do they stand up to U2 or Pearl Jam? No. Plus, it’s not a good sign that I had to go out and look at my CDs at this point, right?
13. Flogging Molly
14. Franz Ferdinand
15. The Who
16. Otis Redding/Al Green
17. Coldplay—The show was good enough to keep them up here
19. Rage Against the Machine (but they’re barely hanging on—“Renegades” is just too good)
20. At the Drive-In
And then there are those staples that don’t deserve a spot on the list but I just couldn’t live without. It’s more like I acknowledge how good they are and love their music, but it doesn’t reach out and grab me the way it does others.
The Rolling Stones
The Sex Pistols
Green Day (man, oh man, is “American Idiot” not the most unbelievable album you’ve ever heard, minus the political disagreement I have with it? And, yes, that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean)
And, finally, there’s Dave Matthews Band. Always a place in my heart due to the fact it basically sparked the relationship with the woman I’m married to, but I just can’t get past the last four years.
Later tonight I’ll remember some bands that I should have put on this list and kick myself. That’s the way it goes, I guess.