No, not just so Lee Ranaldo can get his Pike Place Roast fix. (What, you thought he created those intricate feedback-scapes on decaf?!) Evidently, my beloved avant-rockers are about to have one of those custom celebrity-picked best-of sets in every corporate coffeehouse in the nation. Hits Are for Squares, they call it. I somehow missed this news when it got out last summer, but they just put out the tracklist. And while we won’t be able to hear the lone new track they recorded for the ‘Bucks until June 10, we can totally compare notes with the stars who picked the rest of the songs in the meantime…
Eddie Vedder went for the most obvious song possible, “Teenage Riot” — it’s a great one, but your favorite SY song, Eddie? I guess somebody had to get stuck with the band’s biggest hit, though, given that this is a greatest-hits collection. Meanwhile, I’d have hoped for more original taste from my two personal favorite members of the selection committee, Radiohead and Beck — but they played it safe, too, with “Kool Thing” and “Sugar Kane,” respectively, both big singles from the peak of SY’s major-label grunge crossover era. The same thing goes for most of the Hollywood types who participated. Catherine Keener digs “Bull in the Heather,” Portia de Rossi likes “Disappearer,” all solid picks but blah, blah, blah. The only people who really impressed me here were Flea, who chose the underrated Murray Street‘s excellent “Rain on Tin,” and Chloë Sevigny, who reached all the way back to 1983’s Confusion is Sex for “The World Looks Red.”
Whatever, I’ll stop splitting hairs. These are all pretty cool tunes, naturally, and everyone who participated in this gets a big thumbs-up from me for supporting the Youth. Besides, I know I’ll be exceedingly happy if I walk into a Starbucks at any point this summer and hear the sludgy drone of “Tom Violence” (thanks, Gus Van Sant!) drowning out people’s latte orders. Maybe I’m the kind of square these Hits were made for, after all. But what do you think of all this synergy, anyway?
addCredit(“Sonic Youth; Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage”)