Scrolling through the 56 GB of music on my iPod while driving can be a challenge so I’ve decided to give radio another chance. While I could criticize any and all formats, I’ll specifically take aim at classic rock stations for now. Rock music will always be where my heart resides and having someone else arrange my trip’s music is something I haven’t allowed in a long time. Well, I’m already sick of it. Too many of the same songs are played to death. These stations tend to define the classic rock era as being from the late 60’s to the early 90’s. That should allow for some variety. I understand program directors have demands about what songs to play but there are some that just need to go. Luckily for you, I’ve taken the time to list them here. But I’m not all about complaining and doing nothing to help right the ship. I have suggestions of what each song should be replaced with to make my (and maybe your) listening experience better. Let’s dig in.
“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
I like Journey a lot. They have so many amazing songs and Neal Schon gave us some of the best AOR rock solos since Boston. However, this song refuses to die. Admittedly, this one probably wore thin for me after seeing too many drunken white girls sloppily belt it out during a bar’s karaoke finale but it’s still insanely overplayed for a song that’s 35 years old.
Suggested replacement: “Lights” because it’s one of my favorite guitar solos.
“Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi
This one suffers from karaoke fatigue as well but frankly, I have an impacted assful of Bon Jovi from growing up in New Jersey during the 80’s and 90’s. This hard rocker about a dock worker and a waitress trying to make ends meet struck a talking-guitar chord with the mainstream in 1986 and it’s still haunting us today. All these years later, I’m still asking the question: they’re halfway where?
Suggested replacement: Emergency Broadcast System testing.
“You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” by Judas Priest
I don’t understand how a heavy metal band made an anthem out of something your grandparents said to scold you. Of all the cool Priest songs, this one still gets the most airplay. Maybe radio has an unhealthy obsession with apostrophes. Seriously, look at these first three song titles again.
Suggested replacement: “Living After Midnight” because it’s an anthem that all youth can get behind. You can even refer to it as “Livin’ After Midnight” to even out the apostrophe quota.
“Pink Houses”/”Small Town”/”Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp
I have to choose all three because they’re all essentially the same song. They’re tunes about life in middle America where you’ll make a living, fall in love and proudly die where you were born. This trio is a redundant mess.
Suggested replacement: anything by Bruce Springsteen because he does this better.
“Rockin’ In The Free World” by Neil Young
Neil Young sucks. No, really. He can’t sing and all he does is complain about America. If this whole singer/songwriter gig never worked out, he could’ve been a talking head on CNN. I was mostly unaware of him until the early 90’s when he was dubbed “the father of grunge” after modern downtrodden artists started kissing his ass. Also, apostrophes.
Suggested replacement: a dozen feral cats loose in your backseat. At least there will be a chance of some melody.
“Miss You” and “Shattered” by The Rolling Stones
The perpetual second greatest band in rock history has a ton of Grade A material and yet we’re subjected to the disco bullshit of “Miss You” instead of an actual rock song. It’s laughable how the band goes for blues integrity by having the song’s hook played on a harmonica. “Shattered” sounds like a drunken ramble where the word just gets repeated every eight bars. Apparently, after Mick Jagger sapped his creativity by rhyming shattered with tatters, he took a break to say the word “sex.” A lot.
Suggested replacement: anything from a Stones album that isn’t Some Girls.
“I Shot The Sheriff” by Eric Clapton
I’m sure this seemed progressive and cool to the drugged-up 70’s masses but Clapton singing a reggae tune doesn’t work. He can play the hell out of the blues but the reggae is best left in the hands of others. Plus. the song itself isn’t that great. It’s more like a court testimony than a song lyric. “Hey, I shot the sheriff but the deputy? Not me.”
Suggested replacement: “Layla” because it rocks and it never gets old.
“Jump” and “Panama” by Van Halen
Face it: the popularity of these songs hinge on their one word choruses and Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solos. I’ve been a David Lee Roth detractor since my teens so I was always going to get sick of his songs sooner rather than later. Seriously, these lyrics are pointless. Nothing in “Panama” has anything to do with the Republic of Panama. If you’re standing with your back against the record machine and you suddenly jump, unless there’s a brown recluse crawling up your pant leg, you’ll be close to the worst that we’ve seen. Also, as I’ve said a thousand times, all you assholes who blame Sammy Hagar for the keyboards in latter day Van Halen need to acknowledge that “Jump” is the most egregious use of keyboard in ANY Van Halen song ever.
Suggested replacement: any of the 22 Top 40 singles released during the prime Van Halen era of 1986 to 1996.