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Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014
Whether you're at the beach or just hanging out in the backyard, these timeless summer classics are sure to make the summer sun shine a little bit brighter.

Except for a couple, most of the picks on this list are at least 20 years old. It takes a while for a song to become timeless. In this case, listeners often need a few summers to absorb a song in order to begin relating to it as a seasonal staple.


While the list incorporates some songs that most listeners would immediately associate with summer, there are a few that speak of the season without being obvious. In an effort to make the collection as varied as possible, well-known songs are included as well as a few that have flown under the radar over the years. This means there are a lot of big summer hits (e.g.: “Cruel Summer“ by Bananarama, “Summer Breeze“ by Seals and Croft, anything by the Beach Boys, “Under the Boardwalk“ by the Drifters, etc.) left off the list in order to make room for some lesser-known gems.


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Monday, Jul 7, 2014
Is it New Wave? Is it punk? Hard to say, but what we do know about "52 Girls" is this: it just may be the greatest song the B-52's ever created.

“52 Girls” is only the second song on the B-52’s first album, and despite never being released as a single, it has gone on to become a cult pop classic of the highest order—and all they do is just list the names of girls.


One of the most remarkable things about The B-52’s as an album—and something the group was never able to fully capture in any album since then—was creating not just a distinct sound, but getting right on down to creating a distinct guitar tone. Although there are unamplified guitar rock tunes aplenty in the great rock landscape, with everyone from Blondie to Prince able to turn those ringing strings into New Wave pop hits, there was a certain grit to Chris Blackwell’s production on this album, somewhat punk in the most arguable of ways but more than anything, it’s just a great damn melody.


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Wednesday, Jul 2, 2014
Just as Mötley Crüe kickstarts its legally-binding farewell tour, Sound Affects runs down the best songs by the kings of '80s Sunset Strip metal.

After 30-plus years of music, mayhem, and (to quote the group’s guitarist, Mick Mars) “more drama than General Hospital”, Mötley Crüe is finally hanging it up. Today marks the start of the band’s final tour, titled All Bad Things Must Come to an End. In a day and age where the phrase “farewell tour” holds as much water as a spaghetti strainer, all four original members of Mötley Crüe signed a legally binding document assuring fans that this was truly the end of the line and that the parting of ways will end the group on a high note.


“We always had a vision of going out with a big [expletive] bang and not playing county fairs and clubs with one or two original band members”, said drummer Tommy Lee.


While this dissolution of the band is amicable, there were a few times in its storied history where one or more members left Mötley Crüe in a huff. In 1992, singer Vince Neil left (whether he quit or was fired depends upon who is telling the story) and was supplanted by John Corabi. In 1994, Mötley Crüe made one album with Corabi on lead vocals before Neil returned in 1997. In 1999, it was Lee’s turn to leave to pursue solo projects. He was replaced briefly by the late great Randy Castillo (formerly a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band), who succumbed to cancer shortly after joining. Former Hole drummer Samantha Maloney stepped in until Lee rejoined in 2004.


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Monday, Jun 30, 2014
The B-52's' opening salvo nicks Mancini, talks about aliens, and settled a bet I had with my dad on whether it was Kate Pierson's voice or a synth on that recording.

One of the first concerts I ever went to was where the Royal Crown Revue opened for the Pretenders, who opened for the B-52’s. While I was excited for the concert itself, it also served as a way to settle a bet me and my dad had: whether or not it was a synthesizer or either Kate Pierson’s/Cindy Wilson’s voice that served as the ominous opening wail to “Planet Claire”, the first track off of the B-52’s’ very first album.


We were both right, but my dad was still stunned at just how well Pierson’s warble went with the vintage synths that they used to create the B-movie atmosphere that proved so crucial to “Planet Clarie”‘s success. In Dance This Mess Around, our ongoing Between the Grooves feature tackling great albums track-by-track, we are looking at the opening salvo of one of the greatest pop albums ever made, and here taking on Athens, GA rockers the B-52’s and their eponymous debut.


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Friday, Jun 27, 2014
I can feel this week's album's energy from two planets away. I got my drink, I got my music, I will share it, but today I'm yelling. Yelling about a 2012 hip-hop breakthrough and the subject of this week's Counterbalance, that is.

Mendelsohn: We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last couple of years. But we have yet to talk about an album like Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 release Good Kid M.A.A.D. City. This album was ranked number two for the year, behind Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, and currently sits at number 397 on the Great List (which seems unfairly low, but what do I know?). There is a cinematic quality to this record, one that exceeds even the best concept albums that rock ‘n’ roll had to offer — namely the Who’s Tommy and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Those two albums seem almost silly in nature compared to the stark realities and self-awareness of Lamar’s vision. The incredible storytelling and unmatched lyricism has left me at a loss for words, Klinger. Where do you begin with an album as deeply layered as Good Kid M.A.A.D. City?  Hip-hop albums have been few and far between on the Great List, and while I enjoy hip-hop and am happy to see it slowly working toward its rightful position next to rock ‘n’roll on the List, I can’t help but feel completely overwhelmed by the breadth of material on this record.


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