James Jackson Toth

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Counting Down

Tom Petty Albums From Worst To Best

If so-called rockists ever decide to secede and form their own nation, Tom Petty is a shoo-in for the country's first presidential nominee. Petty's music…
James Jackson Toth | August 5, 2014 - 11:15 am

10 Best Songs

The 10 Best Galaxie 500 Songs

If rock-critic clichés never existed, Galaxie 500 would have had to invent them. Named after a classic model Ford that none of the band members…
James Jackson Toth | April 15, 2014 - 10:56 am

10 Best Songs

The 10 Best Nirvana Songs

The story goes something like this: Sheriff Kurt moseys into town just long enough to purge the spandex-clad outlaws before riding off into the sunset…
James Jackson Toth | April 4, 2014 - 12:10 pm

10 Best Songs

The 10 Best Grateful Dead Songs

To certain elitists, the name "Grateful Dead" represents an impasse; like the phrase "slap bass," it is a combination of words whose very invocation can…
James Jackson Toth | January 21, 2014 - 12:23 pm

Counting Down

Joni Mitchell Albums From Worst To Best

It might seem ludicrous to use the word "underappreciated" when discussing an artist with as many accomplishments and accolades as Joni Mitchell. In addition to…
James Jackson Toth | October 22, 2013 - 2:53 pm

Counting Down

Tom Waits Albums From Worst To Best

Heard through the wall of a neighboring apartment, you might confuse Tom Waits's music with Howlin' Wolf's. Then again, you could just as easily mistake…
James Jackson Toth | September 9, 2013 - 3:29 pm

Counting Down

Neil Young Albums From Worst To Best

Aliens land. They've traveled from some distant planet with a specific mission: to find out what this 'rock and roll' stuff is all about. Through…
James Jackson Toth | August 23, 2013 - 3:36 pm

Counting Down

Drive-By Truckers Albums From Worst To Best

Drive-By Truckers are perhaps the greatest extant American rock and roll band. Make the competition a little stiffer by expanding the criteria to bands no…
James Jackson Toth | August 2, 2013 - 2:58 pm

Comments from James Jackson Toth

I think I'd opt out of that one. I have a tough time assessing the discographies of my contemporaries. I will say that hearing A River Ain't Too Much To Love resulted in me having a "Brian-Wilson-hearing-Sgt-Peppers' type breakdown where I scrapped most of the album I was working on and was left muttering "he's done it...he's solved songwriting!" for weeks. So that would definitely be my #1.
+1 |
August 9, 2014 on Tom Petty Albums From Worst To Best
I would do Crimson for sure! I'll pitch it! But will you accept Court / Red / Discipline in a three way tie for first?
0 |
August 7, 2014 on Tom Petty Albums From Worst To Best
Hmm, "Highway Companion" as a title applicable to his entire career. Wish I'd written that!
+3 |
August 6, 2014 on Tom Petty Albums From Worst To Best
Maybe I got carried away imagining Big Mountain Fudge Cake covering "Free Girl Now." Anyway, John Redcorn is the lead vocalist in 'Fudge Cake, not Lucky. Still, I enjoy the thought of Lucky, not Tom, singing that song; it's so...stupid. :)
+2 |
August 6, 2014 on Tom Petty Albums From Worst To Best
I considered She's the One, but I had to draw the line somewhere (the Live Anthology box is also killer, btw). FWIW, I left Dead Man off my Neil countdown, and I think it's probably a top ten Neil record. But soundtracks, by necessity, serve a very different function than proper albums (or at least they're supposed to!), and though you could argue that She's the One relies less on the context of the associated film than, say, The Hired Hand or Dead Man, it's still a soundtrack. And "Walls" is the only thing even approaching a great song imo.
+1 |
August 6, 2014 on Tom Petty Albums From Worst To Best
Despite all appearances to the contrary, I am not actually anti-Lynne; I'm just anti-Lynne production. I actually quite like latter-day Move and a fair bit of ELO!
+1 |
August 6, 2014 on Tom Petty Albums From Worst To Best
I think you misunderstand me. You know Harvest and Harvest Moon are different records, recorded more than two decades apart, right? My comparison was based on the fact that both Wildflowers and Harvest Moon are critically acclaimed albums by prestige artists released in the early / mid-nineties (and fairly late into Neil and Petty's respective careers). Both are also comparatively laid back, "mature," and wildly popular. What do those two albums NOT have in common, exactly?
+4 |
August 6, 2014 on Tom Petty Albums From Worst To Best
You are not alone there - I know a few people who prefer TIOM over the others. I love all three!
+3 |
April 15, 2014 on The 10 Best Galaxie 500 Songs
Eight entries - that's be 80% of the list - are culled from the three official studio albums. There's not even anything from Copenhagen on here, dude.
+3 |
April 15, 2014 on The 10 Best Galaxie 500 Songs
I considered all of those except Way Up High. Parking Lot, especially, was tough to cut. If I'd added Blue Thunder, it would be the 'w/ sax' version. I imagine I am in the minority there!
+4 |
April 15, 2014 on The 10 Best Galaxie 500 Songs
Ha! Thanks for the kind words.
+1 |
April 6, 2014 on The 10 Best Nirvana Songs
This is the part where I admit that I just really don't like Polly, Rape Me, or Dumb. There were a lot of songs I considered (see my earlier comment), but never those three. Sorry! I LOVE School, and most of Bleach, if that isn't obvious from the list. Thanks for reading!
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April 6, 2014 on The 10 Best Nirvana Songs
As long as you are doing research, "Touch of Grey" made my Dead list and "Float On" made my Modest Mouse list. If those aren't populist choices, I don't know what is. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" may be overplayed, but at least it wasn't covered by Kidz Bop. A little credit, please.
+4 |
April 4, 2014 on The 10 Best Nirvana Songs
Hey everybody, Thank you for all the comments, even (especially?) the guy who said he'd "see (me) in hell." For the record, I strongly considered SLTS, In Bloom, Aneurysm, and Frances Farmer for this list. I'm also a big fan of Sappy (or "Verse Chorus Verse," if you wanna make things confusing). With only ten slots, it was a difficult list to write but I stand by it. As for all the talk of 'trolling' and 'click bait,' I will tell you that I approach these pieces as primers, not as gauntlets. Despite the word "Best" in the title of the piece, I think it's fairly obvious and well-understood among regular SG readers and SG staff alike that these things are meant to be fun, and are intended to encourage discussions like the one we are having right now. I would never be so bold as to claim to be an expert on anything (well, except maybe The Honeymooners, but that's a discussion for another day); what I am is a guy who really likes Nirvana, who thought it'd be fun to re-listen to their discography and see how my favorite songs compared to some of yours. Along the way, I discovered new things about these songs I'd heard hundreds of times, which is always a great added benefit to writing these things. Anyway, just wanted to weigh in. I realized the omission of SLTS was going to be controversial, which is why I offered a disclaimer about it in the introduction, but I assure you, it was not done to be contrarian. Thanks for reading!
+15 |
April 4, 2014 on The 10 Best Nirvana Songs
You're right. I meant the 'lick' descends, at least in descriptive (not musical) terms. Thanks for catching that.
+1 |
January 23, 2014 on The 10 Best Grateful Dead Songs
Ah, a Phil fan! Totally considered "Unbroken Chain" - goosebumps for me every time, and one of my absolute favorites. I even wrote an entry for it! If this was a 'top 12,' I assure you, "Unbroken Chain" would have made it. Love "Wharf Rat," too. Ambivalent about BOR
+4 |
January 21, 2014 on The 10 Best Grateful Dead Songs
The Band are 4/5 Canadian; if we're including Canadians, I'd have a very hard time deciding between Crazy Horse and the Dead, anyway. Velvets definitely in the running for all-time greatest American band -- no argument -- and I would add Sonic Youth, as long as we're making lists.
+1 |
January 21, 2014 on The 10 Best Grateful Dead Songs