If you were expecting to see some spooky songs in this week’s 5 Best, you might be a little disappointed. Yes, it’s Halloween, but nothing here is particularly Halloweeny. This week did bring the return of the holiday-appropriate Marilyn Manson, and he was nominated, but he didn’t make the cut. Da Mafia 6ix, the resurrected zombie of Three 6 Mafia, also treated us to a horror-filled new mixtape, but that arrived too late for consideration; they’ll have to wait till next week. The only thing spooky about the songs here is how great they are. Check ’em out and have a happy Halloween!
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free
The opening verse of the title track from Tom Petty’s 1994 mid-career high-water mark Wildflowers at first blush seems like little more than tattoo bait for young patchouli-spritzed women possessed of a penchant for calligraphy and easy-does-it-empowerment slogans. Listeners who dig deeper into both its songs and churning, drama-filled backstory, however, will quickly realize that, despite the second-person singular, this deliciously eclectic, sprawling fifteen-song rock ’n’ roll epic is the sort of deeply personal, fully actualized declaration of independence one rarely sees from any artist — think Dylan going electric at the Newport ’65 stuffed into a supercollider with Nebraska-era Springsteen, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Byrds.
This week was brutal here in NYC as the city got hit with widespread panic and potentially unstoppable plague. Yes, dear readers, CMJ is back! We also had our hands full with plenty of great songs, including a few that didn’t make our 5 Best. There are two songs in particular that deserve a mention, but were too divisive to make the list: Taylor Swift’s “Welcome To New York” and Ariel Pink’s”Black Ballerina.” Those two songs couldn’t be more different musically, but both managed to spawn some pretty reverent and furious responses. In the end they canceled each other out, but that just made room for other stuff — just as worthy, maybe more so. Check ’em out.