Thursday, July 13, 2006

Paste's 100 Best Living Songwriters

Best Lists. Good catalysts for controversy. So without further adieu, I set before your anxious, sparkling eyes...

Paste's 100 Best Living Songwriters
1. Bob Dylan
2. Neil Young
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Waits/Brennan
5. Paul McCartney
6. Leonard Cohen
7. Brian Wilson
8. Elvis Costello
9. Joni Mitchell
10. Prince
11. Randy Newman
12. Jagger/Richards
13. Paul Simon
14. Stevie Wonder
15. Willie Nelson
16. David Bowie
17. Holland/Dozier/Holland
18. U2
19. Patty Griffin
20. Van Morrison
21. Lou Reed
22. Lucinda Williams
23. John/Taupin
24. Jeff Tweedy
25. Chuck Berry
26. R.E.M.
27. Radiohead
28. Robbie Robertson
29. Tom Petty
30. John Prine
31. Carole King
32. Leiber/Stoller
33. Pete Townshend
34. John Fogerty
35. Steve Earle
36. Beck
37. Smokey Robinson
38. Kris Kristofferson
39. Led Zeppelin
40. Bacharach/David
41. Ray Davies
42. Loretta Lynn
43. Ryan Adams
44. Al Green
45. Jackson Browne
46. David Byrne
47. Sufjan Stevens
48. Welch/Rawlings
49. Cat Stevens
50. Public Enemy
51. Penn/Oldham
52. Paul Westerberg
53. James Taylor
54. Aimee Mann
55. Dolly Parton
56. James Brown
57. Morrissey
58. Sly Stone
59. Jack White
60. Jimmy Webb
61. John Hiatt
62. Sting
63. Richard Thompson
64. Andy Partridge
65. Bill Mallonee
66. Charles Thompson
67. Conor Oberst
68. Allen Toussaint
69. Merle Haggard
70. Alex Chilton
71. Vic Chesnutt
72. Michael Jackson
73. Julie Miller
74. Over the Rhine
75. Ron Sexsmith
76. Will Oldham
77. Bruce Cockburn
78. Robert Pollard
79. Stephen Malkmus
80. Pink Floyd
81. The Flaming Lips
82. John Darnielle
83. Fleetwood Mac
84. They Might Be Giants
85. David Bazan
86. Sam Beam
87. Lyle Lovett
88. Parliament
89. Victoria Williams
90. Nick Cave
91. Drive-By Truckers
92. Alejandro Escovedo
93. Joseph Arthur
94. Sam Phillips
95. Patti Smith
96. Jimmy Cliff
97. Josh Ritter
98. Jay Farrar
99. Outkast
100. T. Bone Burnett

I like the list. I'm glad to see Tom Waits checking in at #4 and David Bazan making the cut. However, I don't fully agree with the order, or the inclusion of some songwriters, even some that I like, that resulted in the exclusion of others. To begin, why are John/Taupin at #23 while Patty Griffin is at #19? Why was Ryan Adams (#43) included in the list? Sure, his songs are ok, but a top 100 Songwriter? Above James Taylor (#53) and Cat Stevens (#49)?!?! Why are The Flaming Lips(#81) above Fleetwood Mac (#83), let alone even on this list? Why is Rivers Cuomo not on the list? I agree he hasn't really written a good song since Pinkerton, but it's not like Bono writes good songs anymore either (and U2 still made #18).

What do you think?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Artistic Proof Debunks Shroud of Turin

This week on the History Channel's series Decoding the Past, there has been much inquiry into the enigmatic "Bible Mysteries"; such as the hoaky Bible Code, and the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin (a portion of which is pictured above). Particularly concerning the shroud, there have arisen many theories that have been supported or debunked by scientific "proof", such as carbon dating and the testing of radiation levels. This seems to be modern Scientism run rampant. From wherest comes the uber-romantic worship of the scientific method? Isn't this the absolutization of one aspect of existence? In this post, I wish to objectively debunk the Shroud of Turin from an artistic aspect.
Apparently, these scientists testing whether this shroud is actually the burial clothes of Jesus of Nazareth have never heard the old Robert Lowry hymn “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” (1876). According to the refrain of this sacred hymn, “Oh! precious is the flow/That makes me white as snow/No other fount I know/Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” If the blood of Jesus has the power to make me “white as snow”, I’m sure the blood of Jesus has the power to keep whites whiter. Note the blood around the forehead of the image from the supposed “crown of thorns”, shouldn’t this be enough hemo-fluid (what we non-scientists call “blood”) to cleanse at least this shroud “white as snow”. However, this shroud is rather filthy and I’m sure Mary didn’t raise Jesus to leave his dirty whites lying around.