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Joe's Top 5 Favorite Guitar Hits
Written by Joe

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He's not just your Average Joe. In fact, Philadelphia resident Joe Pelone counts himself as a vegetarian, a Star Trek fan, and an avid reader of Ernest Hemingway novels.

But that's not all--he also has an incredible taste in music!

And why shouldn't he? After all, he already writes for two way popular blogs--his very own Picasso Blue, and the highly popular Punknews.org, which provides an inclusive community for discussion of punk, ska, hardcore, emo, metal and indie music news.

Since Joe provides some of the best commentary on these types of music on both sites, we asked him to come up with a list of 5 of a his favorite guitar-influenced tracks. He didn't disappoint.

5. Ben Kweller - "Harriet's Got a Song," Sha Sha

During the early Aughts, Ben Kweller made a name for himself by writing Weezer-style songs that were a lot better than "Green Album" or Maladroit. And in true Weezer fashion, that meant occasionally playing a sweet guitar solo, the best of which can be found on "Harriet's Got a Song." A catchy little indie rock tune up front, the song quickens during its bridge before shifting into riveting showcase of guitar pyrotechnics. Throw in one more verse/chorus to round it out, and you've got one of Kweller's best, most rocking songs.

4. Jawbreaker - "Accident Prone," Dear You

Green Day's Dookie ensured sound engineer Rob Cavallo would always have money in the bank, but Jawbreaker's Dear You is his finest moment. The guy helped define the sound of Jawbreaker's darkest record, giving frontman/guitarist Blake Schwarzenbach a venue for exploring his most dirge-laden tones, then or since. Ever the power trio, I feel like I'm cheating a little bit on this one, if only because bassist Chris Bauermeister is the backbone of a lot of Dear You's songs, including "Accident Prone." Still, the tone the two guys strike here is massive. At turns haunting, driving, and mournful, "Accident Prone" is an emotional ride.

3. PJ Harvey - "Rid of Me," Rid of Me

While she's downplayed her guitar talents on her last two albums, Polly Jean Harvey is definitely a kickass performer. As low as Steve Albini mixed her second album, the opening title is still sinister as heck right away. Harvey coos lyrics of longing (Sample lyric: "Lick my legs / I'm on fire") over a simple guitar part, slowly building herself into a fervor. When the full band kicks in, things get even dirtier and sexier.

2. Weezer - "Say It Ain't So," "Blue Album"

For all of its excesses, classic rock is worthwhile if only for its influence on latter-day guitar bands like Smashing Pumpkins, The Hold Steady, and Weezer. If you're under 20, chances are you don't remember when Weezer was underrated. Or good. But last century was a good time to sit at the feet of Rivers Cuomo, Geek God of all that that was X-Men, angst, and guitar solos. His best solo is still on "Say It Ain't So." The whole song feels like a segue into that thing. Sure, the intro is all easy/breezy, but Cuomo starts hinting at his six-string-laden anguish bit by bit. It starts with the chug-chug riff on the first chorus, augmented a little on the second, before exploding into the solo.

The song is about alcoholism's effect on Cuomo's family, and when Rivers can no longer express his fears in words, that searing solo does the trick. Harmonix made a brilliant stroke when they included this song on Rock Band; whereas playing well in most levels will get fans to chant the words, a rousing rendition of "Say It Ain't So" will inspire fans to sing with the solo.

1. My Bloody Valentine - "Only Shallow," Loveless

"I learned a long time ago that one note can go a long way if it's the right one, and it will probably whip the guy with 20 notes" - Les Paul.

Some guitar snobs give MBV grief for relying a lot on a tremolo bar, referring back to the train of thought that intricacy/difficulty in playing is the only quality that makes a song worthwhile. Those people are dicks. "Only Shallow" kicks off MBV's 1991 shoegaze masterpiece, and 18 years later, it's still my favorite "guitar-centric" track. Lead guitarist Kevin Shields utilizes a vast array of effects to generate an otherworldly heaviness here that puts most metal songs to shame. There's no chorus, at least not in a vocal sense. Rather, in between atmospheric verses, Shields tears off like some sort of demonic whale... thingy... in pursuit of beautiful discordance. This is one of those songs that sounds amazing when played either really loudly or really quietly.
 
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