Monday, October 11, 2004

The Screen Door Slams

The great WXPN and its listeners pride themselves, rightfully, on a cosmopolitan musical worldview that belies Philadelphia's often frustrating parochial mindset. Even if the station gets a bit too impressed with itself (especially at pledge time), the list of superb artists whose work can be found only on 'XPN is staggering, exhaustive, and very, very impressive.

Give 88.5 props, though, for acknowledging its Philly roots, as Terry Gross's Fresh Air does. That's why it was a surprise, but not an overly large one, when 'XPN's weeklong countdown of the 885 greatest songs of all times, as voted on by listeners, ended with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's "Thunder Road" claiming the top spot early Friday evening. Bruce and the boys edged out the song David Dye said many station insiders predicted would win, John Lennon's lovely "Imagine."

Quantifying the greatest songs of all time is impossible, of course, but you could do a lot worse than "Thunder Road." Classically old-school Bruce, the song delivers a typically direct Springsteenesque lyricism that meshes beautifully with the arrangement, which alternates perfectly between wistful and powerful. Less bombastic than "Born to Run" (No. 6), more substantial than "Rosalita" (No. 22), "Thunder Road" is early Springsteen at his best -- hungry, romantic, and tough. Kudos to WXPN's listeners for their nod to Jersey.


At October 11, 2004 at 4:32 PM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

Too much Joni Mitchell on that list. Way, way too much.

I actually listened to it Friday, and didn't get to finish listening to hear how it ended. I, and a girl here at the Eagle, did pretty well with our predictions. Anywhere but Philly, Lennon would have taken it.

At October 11, 2004 at 8:31 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

I realize that he's a local guy (well, as local as Asbury Park can be, anyway), and I actually like some of Bruce's stuff, but the Delaware Valley goes WAY overboard in their praise of "The Boss." Call me blasphemous, but I think he's o-ver-ra-ted.

At October 12, 2004 at 7:54 AM, Blogger Jane McMaster said...

There can never be too much Joni on any list!

At October 12, 2004 at 7:58 AM, Blogger Jane McMaster said...

By the way, I was sort of shocked Springsteen had the top spot, too, although if I had to pick a favorite of his it would be Thunder Road. I was certain it would be a Beatles' song, and I was betting on Let It Be.

At October 12, 2004 at 8:51 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Yesterday I posted my thoughts on the XPN list. I was surprised by Springsteen topping it too. Personally, I thought it would be Dylan. It was good to hear XPN go a week without playing any clunkers (although Five for Fighting (?!?) got on the list somehow).

At October 15, 2004 at 11:44 AM, Blogger gr said...

"in my life" is the best beatles song ever? i don't know about that. then again, my friend used the johnny cash version at his wedding and that was a bullseye.

no elvis costello or kinks in the top 50? also, g love picked one of his own songs for his top 10. i hope he was just kidding around.

if nothing esle, this is a great list of songs to learn for aspiring songwriters such as yours truly.


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