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My 22 Favorite Rock Artists, According to My iPod

I have over 10,000 songs on my iPod, and, of those songs, about 1,500 are rated with five stars.  This collection of five-star rated tunes is what I listen to on my iPod 90% of the time (on shuffle). This morning I thought I’d check out which artists have the most five-star rated songs in my collection.  I’m not completely comfortable saying these are my favorite artists as there are a few bands with fewer songs who have had more of an impact on my life, and whose few songs I like more (for instance, the Sex Pistols – almost every song off their one true album, Never Mind the Bullocks, has five stars, but it wasn’t enough to push them onto this list).

Anyway, here are my 22 Favorite Rock Artists, according to my iPod:



As with other bands that have a primary songwriter who has either a solo career or a side project, I decided to group the projects together.  The Old 97’s truly are my favorite band, so it’s no surprise to see them in the top slot.

38 top-rated songs.

Suggested Tracks:


Melt Show

Wish the Worst

Big Brown Eyes




Only one song separates Elvis from the Old 97’s on this list – but both he and the Olds have at least 50% more five-star rated songs than the following band.  In addition to being amazing songwriters, Elvis and Rhett Miller are probably my favorite live performers in the world.

37 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

You Tripped at Every Step

Oliver’s Army

Blue Chair

Painted from Memory

Couldn’t Call It Unexpected #4



It surprised me that the creators of hair-metal and glam-punk had so many songs in my top rated, but there they were, eyeshadow and all.

26 top-rated songs.


Selected Tracks:

Dead by Christmas

11th Street Kids

Oriental Beat

Don’t Follow Me




You Am I are an Australian band who create seamless power pop songs. I’m fond of almost every song they’ve ever recorded.

25 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:


Purple Sneakers

She Digs Her


Get Up



I often consider Alice Cooper my favorite rock n roll artist of all time and was, along with the Sex Pistols, probably the most important to me personally.  He suffers from me loving him from the time I was fourteen years old — I’ve overplayed a shitload of his songs, so I didn’t necessarily give them five stars in iTunes.

22 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

Teenage Lament ’74

Generation Landslide


Is Anyone Home?

No Time for Tears

I’m 18



Like Alice Cooper, they’re a band I’ve loved from when I was very young, so I may have overplayed them a bit in the past.  Otherwise, they’d likely be higher on this list.

20 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

Career Opportunites

I’m Not Down


The Right Profile



The Swedish lead singer/songwriter of the punk-ska-power-pop band Monster, Anders Wendin, left the band and started recording Swedish soul-pop under the name of Moneybrother.

17 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

It’s Been Hurting All the Way with You, Joanna (Moneybrother)

Reconsider Me (Moneybrother)

God Knows My Name (Monster)

You’ll Be Sorry (Monster)



Queen was my favorite band while I was in grade school.  The fact that I’m still not sick of "Somebody to Love" is a testament to their greatness.

16 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

Leaving Home Ain’t Easy

Don’t Stop Me Now

Somebody to Love

Spread Your Wings



This is the only person on this list who I have sex with (because Freddie Mercury is dead), so I can’t claim complete objectivity.  That said, I was a big fan of Terra’s music, and used to post it on the message board all the time, before we ever met.

15 top-rated songs.


Selected Tracks:

Say It’s Possible

The Vicodin Song

The Other Man

Nobody Knows You Anymore



Another band who would be higher if I hadn’t loved them for so long and so hard.

13 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

I Will Dare


I’ll Be You

Swinging Party



13 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:


Couldn’t I Just Tell You

Love is the Answer



Just because all of their songs are about pedophilia doesn’t make them any less catchy… and they did a lot of songs that I like a hell of a lot more than "My Sharona."

13 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

Good Girls Don’t

Maybe Tonight

That’s What the Little Girls Do

Your Number or Your Name



12 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

Your Love is the Place Where I Come From

I Don’t Want Control of You



Another Swedish act, this time the modern purveyors of glam.

12 Top rated songs.



Selected Tracks:

Beauty Is the Beast

Tell Me This Night is Over

Tired of Being an Object?

Let Your Body Decide



More Swedes, and my favorite of all the newer bands.

12 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

Wild is the Wind

The Killer Comeback Line

No Song



11 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

When Did Your Heart Go Missing?

I’m Shaking

Daisy Duke



11 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:


He’s a Whore

If You Want My Love



11 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:


Someone Somewhere

You and Me Song



Weezer’s songs are almost all from "Pinkerton", one of my favorite albums of all time.  I like their other stuff, but don’t think any of their other collections comes close to the greatness of their sophomore effort.

11 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

Why Bother?

No One Else (acoustic)

Across the Sea

El Scorcho



10 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

Ana Ng

Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head

Don’t Let’s Start

Spiraling Shape



10 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

About Your Fame

Same Old Drag

Benefits of Lying (with your friends)



10 top-rated songs.

Selected Tracks:

One Down



The Luckiest



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Category: LISTS, Uncategorized

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  • Interesting list! You had already introduced me to some very cool music with Slither (The Yayhoos and, I think there’s an old 97’s song on there too (?)) plus, of course, Terra Naomi music. Now you’ve given me a bunch more fodder… cool! Thanks!

    BTW, it may be good for a chuckle to hear that some people I know run an international radio show where some/a few of the people on your list have played–notably “They might be Giants.” I like their music too, sort of, but the host said that out of thousands of thousands of acts that have played the show in the last 25 years–they might be giants were supposedly the biggest divas and pains in the asses evah. (I don’t know, I wasn’t there…) anyway… round these parts in certain circles that band is referred to as “They might be assholes.” …heh…

    anyway…. keep them blogs and letters coming. I always appreciate shit outside the norm. :)


  • Nice list. You’ve reminded me that I haven’t listened to They Might Be Giants in ages.

  • Solid playlist! I’ve only recently discovered the genius of Queen…they are MUCH more than Bohemian Rhapsody and We will Rock You! I’ve heard that Shasha Baron Cohen will be playing Mercury in a Queen Rocku/Docu/Bio Movie ala Walk the Line or Ray…could be steller if done right.

  • Tracy!

    No “Seems So” from Apples in Stereo? Well “Same Old Drag” is catchy as hell. Great list. Maybe you should consider making this (at least with the songs available) list on itunes for people to purchase.

  • LadyFrontbum

    I forgot to thank you for introducing me to Terra Naomi’s music. Oh and Smith & Pyle! I love their song ‘Sugar’.

  • LadyFrontbum

    Heh. I only really like 3 on that list. Maybe 4. :D

  • Assyla – Of course it is! I’ll change it now.

  • Assyla the Savage

    Ah glad to see The Ark and Second Band on your list.
    I absolutely love them.
    Have for quite a while now.
    Hoorah for fellow Swedes!
    It’s kind of eerie because as I was reading this list I was listening to Second Bands “The Dancer.”
    Oh, and the track “Beauty and the Beast” is actually “Beauty is the Beast.”
    But thanks for turning me on to Apples in Stereo, They Might be Giants, The Wannadies, Rooney, Moneybrother, and You Am I.
    And yeah, I felt the need to list them all because that’s a fuck load of bands.

  • That twitter link was unintentional. I have no idea who ck is. I was just being prudish about writing FUCK. (fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck).

  • In case you don’t know about it — there’s a no-drugs-needed way to make your Alice Cooper more … intense(?)
    ENJOY ALICE here: http://tinyurl.com/owjhgk

    And if anyone wants to [email protected] any other content that’s on Youtube just go to: http://www.yooouuutuuube.com
    and give the page the youtube url.

    PS: I ran into this lady in an elevator and she said James comes of like a prick these days – not at all like she remembered him from school. Dunno what that was all about.

  • Bill Pardys Doppelganger

    I’ve found that the one Elvis Costello song that I tend to listen to way too much is “This Is Hell” for some reason.

  • Lisa

    While I have nothing but love for the artists on this list that I am familiar with. (Sooooo, most of them except the Swedish bands.)

    I have to say, I got some sort of geekish thrill to see Rooney on there. I think they are VASTLY underrated

  • Really busy day, so I can’t say everything I’d love to comment on… but, all the bands and artists you like, I can see it!! (I like a lot of your picks too!)

  • amv86

    S’what I meant. That Weezer started going downhill after Matt Sharp left when Pinkerton was finished.

  • Actually, I think Pinkerton was the last Weezer record I liked. Didn’t care so much for the follow-ups.

  • amv86

    The fact that Pinkerton is the last Weezer album that Matt Sharp (one of the founding members) worked on before fully moving on to The Rentals may say something about the quality of the following albums. The Rentals, while probably not as good as Weezer, are still a pretty great band. Matt Sharp also worked on Tegan and Sara’s So Jealous and The Con albums, who are not for everybody, but “Where Does the Good Go” is a fantastically sad love song and The Con album was probably one of my favorites of 2007.

  • 10,000????

    Wimp. I have nearly 19,000 sons on mine. We cross paths at Alice Cooper, Weezer, Ben Folds, Apples in Stereo, They Might Be Giants, the Clash and Elvis Costello. So, I will overlook so few total songs. I don’t sleep with anyone on your list.

  • Metapher – I like Dada but not nearly as much as many other Alice albums.
    Amv86 – Yes, I always think of that cat when I listen to Murder (which gets 5 stars on my iPod).

  • hatethedrake

    Pinkerton is not only the best Weezer album ever, it is one of the best albums ever. And kudos (or “kadoos” if you’d rather) for the Wannadies ref. Nice. Very nice.

  • amv86

    Nice list! On his Twitter, Rhett Miller said “Murder (Or a Heart Attack)” is about a cat, which pretty much solidified the Old 97’s place in my favorite bands…Another band that is a current favorite of mine is Tilly and the Wall. Their main percussion is a tap dancer and it’s so cool to listen to how well they’ve worked that into fun, catchy pop/rock songs.

  • Man, I haven’t listened to TMBG in a long-ass time. Well, there was that “Coraline” song they did for the movie, but from what I understand they were screwed outta that deal. But still haven’t heard any significant stuff in a while. As far as iPod, I’ve never rated the songs. Typically, what I do is I have a playlist that’s related to something I’m working on. And I forward skip a lot of tunes. Sometimes I’m just not that into hearing MxPx doing a cover of “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and just skip the bitch. And sometimes I am and will just sit through it. And for some reason the only Terra Naomi song I have is “Squeal for a Happy Whore”, but she doesn’t sing on it.

  • Nice to see Rhett Miller on there. Not a huge fan, but “Our Love” kicks butt in many ways.
    Also, Alice Cooper is without a doubt a top 3 for me. Are you a fan of his album “Dada”?