Top Ten Horrible Moments In Some of The Protomen’s Favorite Jams

The Protomen are on tour again (and almost certainly for the last time this year)! We’re hitting some of our favorite cities for the first time in quite a while and the folks over at Gear Gods were kind enough to let us commemorate this little run with a little something we like to call…

The Protomen Present: The 2016 “This City Made Us” Tour Top Ten Top Ten List Extravaganza!

We’re basically just going to do what we always do, argue about inane things on our RV as we travel from city to city to play furious rock and roll. But this time we’re going to do something worthwhile with the arguing… we’re going to let you listen in like a fly on the very dirty wall of a rolling deathtrap.

So before you check us out starting tonight in Cleveland at the Beachland Ballroom, we give you the first installment in our Top Ten Top Ten lists…

You know those songs that are pretty incredible but have that one part that makes you wonder if the artist lost their shittin’ mind for about 20 seconds in the studio and then went right back to being a bad ass? Well, that’s what this list is about…. that one terrible part in your favorite song that you wish you could excise like a bad appendix.

10. The Chopsticks bridge in “Blinded By The Light” by Manfred Man’s Earth Band

When you take one part Springsteen and one part 3rd Grade Piano Student you get an idea that someone should’ve vetoed from the control room. This song has a lot going for it. Super catchy keys. Tons of awesome synths. Hell, the guitar solo sounds like Titanasaurus! Also, It’s not often that we prefer a cover of a Springsteen jam to the original. But for like 12 seconds in the middle of a great build-up they ruin it for us. Although, the rumor is that Springsteen just thumbed through a rhyming dictionary for the lyrics… so maybe it’s fitting somehow?

9. That awkward talking exchange at the end of “Girl Is Mine” by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

When two of the biggest pop icons who’ve ever existed fight over a girl, you expect fireworks. The jam, as a whole, is solid. But in the last few seconds, McCartney sort of… phones it in. There’s just no conviction in his voice during that awkward back and forth. Maybe he doesn’t remember which girl they’re fighting over… maybe he was worried Linda would hear him fighting over another woman… maybe the cartoons that were on in the other room were distracting… but either way, we award The Girl to Michael.

8. The intro to “Bed’s Are Burning” by Midnight Oil

Ok… maybe we’re just not Midnight Oil people, so it’s possible that our opinion is a bit skewed, but that vocal in the intro is nearly enough to make us reach for the volume every time. If you can muscle past it though, the rest of that unstoppable jam is one of the best anthems about giving Australia back to the Pintupi since AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”… (yeah… we’re pretty sure that’s what that song’s about too…).

7. The second half of “Lookout Weekend” by Debbie Debb

The first 3 minutes of this song are absolutely unstoppable weekend dance fury, and then the song just decides to keep going like it’s trying to be this freestyle dance epic, but doesn’t really do anything different for the next 3 minutes. So next time you’re listening to Debbie Debb on a Friday afternoon getting pumped up for the weekend, remember to switch over to “When I Hear Music” at around 3 minutes in, or you’ll think you’re stuck in a Groundhog Day loop.

6. The guitar solo In “Shadows of The Night” by Pat Benatar

This song is a personal favorite of ours. In fact, we used to cover it in our live shows. And we heard a story one time that Neil Giraldo was actually aiming for something very specific with his solo in the middle of this triumphant rock ballad. The Anti-Solo. Well… if that was the was the goal, we commend Neil. But the first 8 bars kind of sound like he dropped his pick… over and over and over.

5. The vocal part in that weird “rockin” outro of “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” by Chicago

Seriously, Cetera, no need for those ridiculous lyrics. Just get your golden voice out of the way for once and let those horns whip some ass.

4. Commander B. Hawkins’ “Devil Yell” in the middle of “Hope Rides Alone” by The Protomen

We’re not too big to admit that we occasionally lose our minds in the studio, too. Sometimes you just get wrapped up in the moment… as Commander clearly did when he let loose his approximation of what it would sound like if a Skeksis (that race of giant demon birds from Dark Crystal) got caught in a trash compactor. I guess we just wanted to make sure we started our Rock and Roll career off on the right foot… and that foot was ridiculous.

3. The rap breakdown in “Eyes Without A Face” by Billy Idol

When rap first came into the general public’s consciousness in the mid-80’s, the music industry was trying like hell to figure out how to capitalize on it. One of those ways was for non-rap rock and pop artists to dip their predominantly white toes in what they were pretty sure was the rappest of the raps. Unfortunately, one of said artists was Billy Idol on his amazing Rebel Yell album. In what is otherwise a stellar example of a perfect jam, he decided it was a good idea to do what our friends at Beyond Yacht Rock refer to as a “Try-n-Rap,” towards the end of the song. I’d explain what a Try-n-Rap is here, but they’ll do a better job of it than I will, so take a gander at this: 2 – TRY-N-RAPS…

2. Phil Collins’ creepy laughing/groaning in “Mama” by Genesis

This is arguably one of their toughest jams. It’s got it all… the unmatched Genesis synth-scaping… the slow burn followed by the huge payoff… the Linndrum getting blown away by Collin’s patented explosive drum sounds… Seriously, it’s the total package. But when Phil decides that he’s going to play the part of a creepy goblin king (not to be confused by a sexy Bowie Goblin King)… it just ruins the mood.

1. The reggae breakdown in “Spirit Of Radio” by Rush

In what could be argued as Rush’s greatest song (but you’d lose the argument, because their best song is clearly “Subdivisions”), there lies this bewildering bridge of reggae nightmares and the sound of salesmen. But I’ll tell you what… it takes one hell of a song to stand up to that sort of auditory torpedoing. So at the same time that I shake my head in disapproval, I applaud the shit out of those dudes.

The Protomen hit the road on the “This City Made Us” tour starting TONIGHT in Cleveland. Catch ’em at a show:

Apr 18 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Apr 19 – Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room
Apr 20 – Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
Apr 25 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
Apr 26 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
Apr 28- Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
Apr 29 – Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theater
Apr 30 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies Live

 

Written by

Max is a senior editor and producer of Gear Gods and member of the collective Party Smasher Inc. He studies jazz composition and improvisation in New York City.