RIFF REWIND 2008: TV on the Radio, Lil Wayne and Metallica—again

Lil Wayne, The Carter III

Lil Wayne, learning about writing in triplets at a young age.

Good news, everyone! Metallica is back on the list.

I know, I know. You were worried they’d be stuck at a mere seven appearances in the top five. But fortunately after the regrettable detour that was St. Anger, they turned it around and started releasing listenable albums again. If you think you’re relieved now imagine how relieved I was in 2008.

Oh, and there are also four more songs by whoever. But Metallica is back!

The Roots — “Rising Down”

I love The Roots, but they haven’t made an appearance since “The Seed 2.0,” back in 2002. After giving some thought as to why I realized I was judging their music not based on the other songs in that year but by “The Seed,” which is one of the best songs ever recorded. That isn’t really fair. If I held Metallica to that standard they wouldn’t have gotten any songs on the list other than “One” and that’s a terrifying thought.

So here you go, The Roots are back because “Rising Down” is one of the five best songs of 2008. It’s not as good as “The Seed 2.0,” but neither are any of the other songs this year. Sorry, Beyoncé.

Lil Wayne — “A Milli”

As a few of you on Twitter have pointed out, I haven’t put a hip-hop song on the list since the ’90s. This is true! The parts of hip-hop I loved in the ’80s and ’90s went away pretty quickly around the turn of the millennium. I don’t want to hear people tell me how rich and successful they are, even in a song. Yeah, I get it. You have money. Now shut up about it. (Also, in a more current sense, I hate that Migos dadada-dadada-da nonsense that’s infested the genre).

In this case, though, I’ll give Lil Wayne a pass for two reasons. First, it’s an aggressively catchy song and I respect that. Just reading the title has it stuck in your head. And second, being a millionaire despite having multiple face tattoos actually is something to brag about.

Metallica — “Cyanide”

Finally! Right? It took long enough to get to your Metallica fix. Unless you scrolled down I guess, but then you’d have missed a couple hundred of my brilliant words and a link to a video of Snoop mocking Migos.

Death Magnetic wasn’t an amazing album by any stretch, but it wasn’t bad. And coming after St. Anger, which was so very bad, that’s a pretty major accomplishment. It’s not easy to right the ship after a disaster of an album, a humiliating documentary, and the sudden departure of a band member. But they did!

The hard part was picking which song I wanted to include. As it’s October, I was tempted to use “All Nightmare Long” because the video is full of Soviet zombies and that’s thematically appropriate. But unfortunately, it’s disqualified because it was pretty generally accepted—even then—that the Tunguska event (which in the video kicks of the zombie apocalypse) was caused by a meteor, and not a volcano. Metallica should have known that. Come on, guys.

Instead, I went with “Cyanide” because the live version is amazing and I’m in favor of anything that reminds me of being at a Metallica show.

TV on the Radio — “DLZ”

This is the fourth song of four—so far—without an official music video on YouTube, so welcome to Deep Cuts Week, apparently!

Regular readers of my column will correctly identify that this isn’t generally my style. It’s a good song, though. Also, Tunde Adebimpe, the band’s singer, is awesome. But what really sells it is that TV on the Radio is Bowie-approved; he sang backup vocals on “Province,” on the group’s 2006 album, Return to Cookie Mountain.

If it’s good enough for Bowie it’s good enough for me. I mean, do you think you’re better than Bowie? Because you’re not.

Beyoncé — “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”

And that concludes Deep Cuts Week, because “Single Ladies” is not a deep cut. It’s the least deep cut. This is such a shallow cut that you can’t even tell there’s a cut there without a microscope. If you found an uncontacted village deep in the most inaccessible reaches of the African or South American jungles, people who hadn’t met anyone from outside their community in generations if at all, they would know “Single Ladies.” Some may even be able to do parts of the dance from the video.

This is the third time Beyoncé has been in the top five, twice solo and once as part of Destiny’s Child, putting her in the company of Led Zeppelin and Nirvana. And that’s appropriate. She’s one of the most talented performers of the 21st century in pretty much every way one can be talented. Everyone who claims to not like her is either lying or has bad taste.

Honorable Mentions

Portishead — “Machine Gun”
Katy Perry — “I Kissed a Girl”
Lady Gaga — “Poker Face”

Follow editor Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData

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