Well, let’s try posting this a third time and hope it doesn’t delete!
1. Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones) vs. Tuesday’s Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – When I first realized the potential for this matchup, lyrically, I was incredibly excited. “Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday” versus “Tuesday’s gone with the wind”. In my imagination I have this girl who keeps going from city to city and somehow meets both these guys in her travels…. She leaves such an impact on them that they both write songs about her not knowing about the other’s. I dunno, that’s probably a stretch but melodically I like Tuesday’s Gone more because “Ruby” seems a bit choppy in some places where it seems like Mick Jagger isn’t quite sure what note he’s gonna sing next.
2. Jump (Van Halen) vs. Jumper (Third Eye Blind) – Another lyrical throwdown between “Might as well jump / Go ahead and jump” and “I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend”. This one makes me think of a person on the verge of suicide and weighing the pros and cons. The hardcore rock side of him just wants him to bite down and get it over with, but the soft, sensible side realizes that there’s a way out that he’s not seeing. “Jumper” uses thumping drum beats almost hypnotically–if you don’t believe me listen from 2:22 to about 2:53–and it’s in complete contrast to “Jump”s almost reckless way of telling a song. Van Halen just plows through, brandishing synthesizers and the fact that it’s a classic. I’m sorry though, I have to go with Jumper in a nail-biter.
3. 1979 (Smashing Pumpkins) vs. 1985 (Bowling For Soup) – Two songs, six years apart. Just based on the melodies, this matchup is very similar to the last one. The biggest hits from their respective bands, ’85 put BFS on the map, while ’79 brought SP from the indie scene into the spotlight. While ’85 was the bigger billboard hit, ’79 boasts a much better drumline and is just plain better instrumentally. ’85’s only saving grace is the clever lyrics telling the story of a girl who realizes her hopes and dreams have been left in the eighties. Chalk this one up to 1979.
4. American Woman (The Guess Who) vs. American Girl (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) – Although “Girl” came out six years later in 1976, it sounds much more comtemporary. Petty doesn’t sound as full of himself as he does in his later stuff (mostly because it was his first album and breakout hit) and like most stuff by him, the instrumental is really well done. On the other side of things, American Woman was put out by the Guess Who at the tail end of their career. They knew it would be a huge radio-friendly hit and they cashed in. The song isn’t pushing any sort of musical boundaries, it’s just another ho-hum early seventies rock song. American Girl takes it.
5. Like A Rock (Bob Seger) vs. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan) – It’s a battle of the Bob’s! Seger’s “Rock” is, as everyone with ears knows, the famous Chevrolet anthem for their heavy duty trucks. Dylan’s “Rolling Stone” is one of the most influential early rock songs of all-time. Everyone from Jimi Hendrix to the Rolling Stones to Anberlin has covered it, and for good reason. It’s not just a song, it’s a message to young people everywhere. If you haven’t heard it, I would recommend it VERY strongly. Seger never really stood a chance. Like A Rolling Stone.