June 12, 2003


MAKIN' A LIST, CHECKIN' IT TWICE: Showing once again that it has become completely irrelevant other than as an organ through which to release lists, VH1 yesterday announced the "100 Greatest Songs of the Last 25 Years." Why 25 years? And why now? What's so special about the period of 1978-2003 (other than that it represents, within a month, my own lifetime?)
Anyway, looking at the list itself I have relatively few complaints. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is the only logical possibility for #1, Michael Jackson really has to be represented and he is with "Billie Jean" (#2), and "Sweet Child O' Mine" (#3) is G'n'R's best song and has really been underrated historically. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Def Leppard's "Photograph" ranked at #14.
But there's one choice on the list that's wrong, wrong, wrong: Eminem's "Lose Yourself" is picked as the fourth-best song since 1978, and the top entry among rap songs. And since rap music didn't really exist prior to '78, I guess this makes "Lose Yourself" the greatest rap song of all time. Huh? Yes, Eminem is currently the most important artist in American pop music, and he deserves recognition for that. But of the 10 or so singles he's come up with since bursting onto the scene in 1999, the "8 Mile" theme is probably the least provocative, least daring, and least important of them all. With its generic, self-help-like lyrics and uncharacteristic lack of controversy, "Lose Yourself" doesn't come close to "Stan" (which I could see going in the Top Ten), "The Way I Am," or even "The Real Slim Shady" or "My Name Is" among Shady's greatest achievements.

Posted by Stephen Silver at June 12, 2003 08:11 AM
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