Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs 420-411

420. “The Girl Can’t Help it” – Little Richard
I can’t hear this song without thinking about Fergie, but it was actually originally written about the big-breasted Jayne Mansfield. It wasn’t that big of a hit in ’57 when it was released (it peaked at the No. 49 position), so it really makes me wonder why Rolling Stone bothered including it on this list. It’s every Little Richard song you’ve ever heard. If you’re into that, this is for you. But to me, it’s certainly nothing special.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

419. “Ode to Billie Joe” – Bobbie Gentry
What a strange song. Amazingly, this plodding folk tune about a family nonchalantly discussing the suicide of a family friend made it to No. 1 on the charts, though I couldn’t tell why that could possibly be, or why Rolling Stone saw fit to include it on their list. Not for me, I guess.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

418. “I Feel Love” – Donna Summer
This track isn’t so famous because of Summer; she wasn’t even a fan of the song herself calling it nothing but a “popcorn track.” But it’s the throbbing, pulsing dance beat that was put together by Giorgio Moroder that made it the foundation that all of today’s EDM music is built upon. This track influenced producers across the world from Brian Eno to Daft Punk, who went on to improve the formula. It’s cool to hear it now as a part of history (and it is hard to believe that it was made in ’77 considering how fresh the production sounds), but it goes on way too long at its eight-minute time stamp and it never really shifts geras during it. If my list was going to be based on the Top 500 most influential songs, this would be in the Top 50. But it isn’t.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

417. “Monkey Gone to Heaven” – Pixies
One of the most famous songs from one of the most influential bands to the ’90s Seattle Grunge scene, the phrase “This monkey’s gone to Heaven,” doesn’t actually mean anything. But it caught on big time with Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl and it isn’t hard to hear why. The chorus is catchy as hell, the vocals are awesome, and the crunchy guitar is infectious. I remember listening to Doolittle, the Pixies album this track is from, years ago, but I still remembered hearing this track like it was yesterday. I missed putting it into my playlist the first time. I won’t make that mistake again.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

416. “Sweet Emotion” – Aerosmith
Anybody who knows me knows that Aerosmith is the band that I credit for spurring my interest in music as a whole, so it’s an absolute joy to see them get some credit on Rolling Stone‘s list. As any hardcore Aerosmith fan would tell you, “Sweet Emotion” really isn’t their best song. But is it excellent? Absolutely. Tom Hamilton’s opening bass riff is timeless and that breakdown at the end with Joe Perry’s Way-out-o-sphere guitar swirls sends this song into the realm of true Rock n’ Roll greatness.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

415. “In Bloom” – Nirvana
I go back and forth in my mind about whether this song is a classic or just super catchy every time I hear it. The truth is: it’s somewhere in between. It’s far from the best track on Nevermind, but it is perhaps the catchiest outside of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” so it isn’t surprising to find it on Rolling Stone‘s list. I like Cobain’s targeted sarcasm toward rednecks that “love to shoot their guns,” and the song is a staple in my playlist. But it’s hard for me to imagine giving it the nod in my own Top 500 list.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

weve-only-just-begun

414. “We’ve only Just Begun” – The Carpenters
Before today I knew nothing about The Carpenters, and thus had obviously never heard of this song. I was absolutely blown away. Songs like this are what make listening to flawed lists like this worthwile. Apparently this gorgeous ballad about the joys and uncertainties about young lovers began as a mere TV jingle, which I can only assume was the greatest jingle ever created. Because there is definitely a good chance that this is one of the greatest songs of all time.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

413. “Visions of Johanna” – Bob Dylan
It’s just like Rolling Stone to single out one of the worst tracks of an album and suggest that it’s the best. I know they don’t consider “Visions of Johanna” to be the absolute best on Blonde on Blonde; that honor goes to “Just like a Woman” (which is much more understandable). But I recently listened to the album, and I found “Visions of Johanna,” while still great, to be one of the weakest songs in it. It’s a bit repetitive and monotonous to be a Top 500 Song, and there are simply so many better Dylan songs that are more deserving of recognition.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

412. “Umbrella” – Rihanna and Jay-Z
I understand that Rolling Stone wanted to have the ’00s represented on this list, but it’s fascinating to me that they’re so high on this song out of all the options available. It’s a catchy, cool Pop song to be sure, and it was one of my introductions to Top 40 music back when I got my first iPod, but it doesn’t exactly scream “Top 500 of All Time” material to me. The fact that Rihanna sang it at all was luck; the writers originally offered it to Britney Spears. She was a bit too restless (and hairless) at the time to take advantage, though, and her loss was Rihanna’s significant gain.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

411. “C’mon Everybody” – Eddie Cochran
This vintage Rockabilly tune is about as great as you can imagine a song titled “C’mon Everybody” can be; decent but nothing special.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

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