Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: Song-By-Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by KJTC, Sep 19, 2021.

  1. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Last week, Rolling Stone published an updated version of its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. The previous incarnation was published in 2004.

    About the list:

    In 2004, Rolling Stone published its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It’s one of the most widely read stories in our history, viewed hundreds of millions of times on this site. But a lot has changed since 2004; back then the iPod was relatively new, and Billie Eilish was three years old. So we’ve decided to give the list a total reboot. To create the new version of the RS 500 we convened a poll of more than 250 artists, musicians, and producers — from Angelique Kidjo to Zedd, Sam Smith to Megan Thee Stallion, M. Ward to Bill Ward — as well as figures from the music industry and leading critics and journalists. They each sent in a ranked list of their top 50 songs, and we tabulated the results.

    Nearly 4,000 songs received votes. Where the 2004 version of the list was dominated by early rock and soul, the new edition contains more hip-hop, modern country, indie rock, Latin pop, reggae, and R&B. More than half the songs here — 254 in all — weren’t present on the old list, including a third of the Top 100. The result is a more expansive, inclusive vision of pop, music that keeps rewriting its history with every beat.

    How this thread will work:
    • We will discuss one song a day, starting at #500 and ending with #1
    • If conversation moves too slowly/too quickly, we can adjust the pacing as we go on
    • All opinions are welcome, but please keep them specific to the song being discussed; conversations about the list as a whole should stay on the existing thread
    Borrowing from Ted Lasso, let me ask that we follow the lead of Walt Whitman: "Be curious, not judgmental."

    This is an opportunity for discovering new music and having conversation about why this particular song made it into the top 500 of the nearly 4,000 songs listed on individual ballots, which puts them in the top 12-13% of all songs that were named by voters. That alone makes them worthy of respectful consideration, even if they vary wildly from our own tastes.

    Also, feel free to share other recommendations for artists mentioned as they come up. There aren't that many artists who have multiple songs, but if you're worried about talking about a song that will show up later, you can preview the entire list to find out.

    Let's get started!
     
  2. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    #500. Kanye West, "Stronger" (2007)
    Written by Mike Dean, Edwin Birdsong, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Kanye West, Thomas Banghalter

    Wikipedia says:

    "Stronger" is a song by American rapper Kanye West, released as the second single from his third studio album, Graduation (2007). The production was handled by West, with an extended outro co-produced with Mike Dean. The composition is electronic in nature, employing synthesizers as its prominent instrument. For the track, West utilizes a vocal sample of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" by French house duo Daft Punk. On "Stronger", West speaks about the resolve that comes when one is faced with adversity, with lyrics at the song's refrain that paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche's dictum "What does not kill me makes me stronger". West also describes "Stronger" as an "emancipation", using the track to vent his frustration over mistakes he made in the past year.

    Released as a single on July 31, 2007, "Stronger" would top the Billboard Hot 100 several weeks later, becoming West's third number-one single. It was a top ten single in ten countries, topping the charts in four of them, including the United Kingdom. The song was praised by music critics. It was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 50th Grammy Awards, and was named as one of the best songs of the year by Rolling Stone and Spin. The song's popularity has been accredited to not only encouraging other hip-hop artists to incorporate house and electronica elements into their music, but also for playing a part in the revival of disco and electro-infused music in the ensuing years. "Stronger" has since sold five million copies in the United States, and has been certified nonuple Platinum by the RIAA, making it one of the best-selling singles in the United States.
     
  3. Danby Delight

    Danby Delight Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    I get why "Stronger" was a much bigger hit, because the Daft Punk interpolation is a killer hook. But to my ears, the more important song from Graduation -- honestly, the song that predicts the personal and professional collapse he suffered pretty shortly thereafter -- is "Can't Tell Me Nothin'." The gist of that song is Kanye saying "I'm in the process of destroying my life, and not only can I not stop myself, I'm not sure I want to." The death of his mother following complications from plastic surgery -- surgery she likely never would have had if she'd remained the chair of a university English department instead of becoming her son's manager -- mentally broke him not long after this.

    As irritating as Kanye is, and as uninteresting as his music has been over the last decade at least, I think he's going to go down alongside Elvis Presley as one of the great tragedies of pop music. He got everything he thought he wanted and he discovered that none of it has been worth the price.

    People love ratings: 3.5/5
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  4. RudolphS

    RudolphS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Rio de Janeiro
    Kanye West - Stronger

    Powerful track, very catchy. But the best part is the Daft Punk sample tho. Deserves to be higher on the list.

    4/5
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  5. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    This was the peak of golden boy Kanye, and it’s one of the best tracks on Graduation. I’m personally more of a fan of this three albums after this, but I understand the appeal of this track. I think they got his best moment right, and we will get to it way, way down the line.
     
  6. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Kanye West - Stronger:
    Good track. Not a Kanye fan, but this song is inspired and catchy, with a killer Daft Punk sample. Goes on for too long though. The "extended outro" doesn't add anything besides time. 3/5
     
  7. I can tell already this is going to be a more entertaining thread than its older cousin.
     
  8. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Love that it brought Daft Punk to the masses stateside (their previous album got all the way to #101) but I've always had a hard time divorcing Kanye the artist from Kanye the unlikable d-bag. But it was a big hit for him and still sounds fresh 14 years later so I have no issue with its placement
     
  9. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    KJTC, I was thinking doing a sister thread to.this based on the similarly controversial RS 500 album countdown
     
  10. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    Amazing production and a dark urban melody. Some pretty good humor amid the darker messages and feel, too. 5/5 this thread is gonna be awesome.
     
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  11. President_dudley

    President_dudley Forum Resident

    i'll give it an 85. it's got a good beat and you can dance to it.
     
  12. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Master Guns

    Location:
    NYC Man/Joy-Z City
    Kanye West - "Stronger"

    Not my favorite song on the album, but it's one of the better tunes and I like Kanye a lot in general (he's a third-tier, top 500 artist for me, close to making my 2nd tier/top 250).

    Many of the choices on the list seem as if chart success had an influence. That wouldn't influence my own selections. I'd probably pick "Champion" as my top track from Graduation.

    Top 500 candidate for me? No, and nothing from this album would be, but I would have a Kanye tune in my top 500.
     
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  13. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Master Guns

    Location:
    NYC Man/Joy-Z City
    Let me know if you start that.
     
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  14. P(orF)

    P(orF) Forum Resident

    I’ma let you finish, but I think something by Taylor Swift would have been better here.
     
  15. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    we will get to her soon enough!
     
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  16. P(orF)

    P(orF) Forum Resident

    Won’t matter… Kanye will step in and give the spot to Beyoncé.
     
  17. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Pretty sure Taylor still went home with the award! :D
     
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  18. prymel

    prymel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston
    It's going to be a challenge for me to relate to anything on the list from 2000 onward, but I come here with an open mind and a willingness to see what I've been missing.

    "Stronger" 4/5 - The production is amazing and the song has a sharp melody and hook that pulls me in. I don't know the first thing about Kanye's music, but I like this.
     
  19. HeyBullfrog

    HeyBullfrog Forum Friend

    Location:
    USA
    "Stronger" is probably among my top 10 Kayne tracks, but if RS voters wanted to represent Graduation, I would have preferred the still-excitingly-futuristic "Flashing Lights". That said, the Daft Punk sample is used effectively here and I prefer it to about 90% of Ye's output post-MBDTF.

    7/10
     
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  20. Wild Horse

    Wild Horse Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Hey, you made the thread!

    I could probably echo prymel's comments a few posts above. As our thread host KJTC already knows :D I'm probably not going to like too much post-90's music, so I won't comment much on that unless I hear something interesting.

    The vocoder/electro stuff was kind of cool, but I kept waiting for a chorus that never came.

    Edit: The video was playing while I went to go let my dog in and the track became much better at the end. Maybe because he stopped rapping lol, but no it was a cool ending with the way they were weaving the electro samples and sounds.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
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  21. Bevok

    Bevok Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Pretty good song, well done Daft Punk! Their original was better without Kanye's interventions though IMHO
     
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  22. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Meh. An OK track, but there's not much song there and half of what is there is Daft Punk. If the list were Significant Records of the 21st Century, sure I guess so. But Greatest Songs of All Time? Not a chance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  23. EyeSock

    EyeSock Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    It’s a fun song, but definitely not the strongest from Graduation. I much prefer Good Morning and Flashing Lights. The chorus is easily the best part as well as the second part.
    7/10
     
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  24. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
  25. Popmartijn

    Popmartijn Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Nice idea for a thread!
    To bad the start is a bit underwhelming, but that has to do with the song being at #500. It's not that I don't like Kanye, have quite a few of his albums, it's just that I think this song is quite meh. Or rather, the original one by Daft Punk is so much better, that one is a classic (as is much of their album Discovery). Stronger sounds more like a plodding cover or uninspired remix with some rapping over it. I miss the originality in this song, creative use of a sample.
    If he'd worked harder he might've made a better song. Maybe did it in a faster way to make it stronger. But he didn't.
     

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