In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.
Canadian power trio Danko Jones has had a strange career—strange enough to be relatively unknown, yet still inspire a recent oral history. The title of Stuart Berman’s book, Too Much Trouble: A Very Oral History Of Danko Jones, tells at least part of the story. It’s about a guy—the band’s namesake—who went from shy Canadian to balls-out superstar rock god without ever really getting terribly famous outside of his native Canada and parts of Europe. But the band’s AC/DC and Thin Lizzy-inspired rock, particularly from the very first part of its career in the late ’90s, is raw and fantastic: It’s rock music about the joy of making rock music (and about the joys of sex, always sex). That idea is never clearer than on the perfectly titled opening track, “Rock Shit Hot,” to a perfectly titled compilation—I’m Alive And On Fire—of the band’s early songs. “Rock Shit Hot” is 90 seconds of carnal bliss; you might even say it’s in and out quickly. It begins with an exhortation to “bring it up!” and the line “I’m overdue to do you, and it’s gonna be a good time,” and blisters its way through with little more than two chords and a pounding beat. Again, those very primal concerns: rocking (“My mama made me for one thing / Get up on stage and sing”) and banging (“Sex appeal / Cop a feel / Take me all the way home”). It’s not the most complex song in the world, but most great rock ’n’ roll isn’t.