Or: Perfect songs for lifting up heavy things and putting them back down again repeatedly, grunting all the while.
Far Behind - Social Distortion: Mike Ness has one of the most perfect punk voices ever. Raw, muscular, sounding like a buzzsaw welded with testosterone and titanium...it cuts through you and doesn't give a shit. This brilliant fuck-off from SD's greatest hits plays nearly like a pop song, so conventional is its construction. But that's not a bad thing. Sonically, it's an awesome force of nature, jumping out of the speakers to grab you and smash you to the ground.
New Day Rising - Hüsker Dü: I defy you not to feel pummeled by this song...and that's just during the first five seconds of martial drums at warp speed, before the metallic guitars roar over you like a sonic wave. Punk as punk gets. Lyrics? We don't need no goddamn lyrics! Just howl the title over and over again. Primal.
Meantime - Helmet: Yeah, the whole album. I bow to the great Michael Azerrad, who encapsulated it thusly: "A marvel of precisely channeled aggression, Meantime could be the
soundtrack to the mind of an NFL linebacker." Damn straight. Also, back in the day of grunge, depression, and Seattle, these guys provided a kick-ass retort to kids considering casting off this mortal coil: "Die young is far too boring these days."
Long Snake Moan/Meet Ze Monsta - PJ Harvey: These behemoths off of To Bring You My Love (WAAY recommended, by the way) will pulverize you. PJ simply gives a knowing "mm-hmm" at the beginning of Long Snake Moan just before a wall of guitar smashes you and doesn't let up until the bitter end. The banshee wails don't hurt, either. Then on Meet Ze Monsta, a mechanical goose-stomp provides the force behind some of the most muscular, forced singing you'll ever hear. You gotta hear these.
Master of Puppets - Metallica: Obvious, true. But there's a reason it's obvious: it fucking rocks. Can't believe I lived over 30 years of my life before hearing this one.
Thieves - Ministry: God bless Wax Trax for bringing us this immortal piece of derangement. Here, Ministry nursed its last vestiges of industrial before it fell fully into the sludge of metal below. Distorted yelling, exhortations to "kill, kill, kill," and a rhythm section that, at its best, provided the beat to deranged goose-stepping Nazi soldiers on speed.