By: Andrew Beaujon, and Kate SullivanFrom ubiquitous summer Jeep anthems to that darn car commercial,members of N.E.R.D and Foo Fighters rate the hits of 2002
Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams are two of the lap dance-lovin’, rock star- slummin’ guys behind N.E.R.D, and theyalso produced some of the biggest club jams of the year as their alter ego, the Neptunes. Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins are the frontman and drummer of rock survivors Foo Fighters, who are back with a truly excellent fourth album, One by One. We asked them tobreak down this year’s radio gaga.
NELLY, “HOT IN HERRE”
HUGO: I didn’t know this was gonna be as big as it was. It was fun to make [the Neptunes produced the song]. Everything Nelly says islike a hook in itself.
GROHL: You know this song? Nelly?
HAWKINS: He could have gang affiliations–we’d better be careful.
SPIN: I don’t think he does anymore.
HAWKINS: Anymore. Once you’re in, you’re never out. I’ve never even heard this song.
GROHL: You hang out at the wrong clubs.
SPIN: Any idea why he’s got the Band-Aid on his face?
GROHL: Maybe he popped a zit.
THE HIVES, “HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO”
HUGO: The lead singer reminds me of Mick Jagger. [Starts hopping across floor,] Nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh! Give it to me! You know?
GROHL: I do love the Hives. This kind of has that “My Sharona” effect on people. It spans all demographics. It’s just a totally bare-essentials rock song.
HAWKINS: The Stooges did it better. [Silence]
HAWKINS: It just sounds like if the Stooges were way tighter.
GROHL: Or maybe if the Kinks didn’t fight so much.
AVRIL LAVIGNE, “SK8ER BOI”
HUGO: This should be a Josie and the Pussycats song.
WILLIAMS: It’s cool. Avril’s dope. She’s the by-product of people wanting to express themselves [again].
GROHL: Is this Bon Jovi? Don’t tell us. [Vocals begin] Is Pat Benatar back?
HAWKINS: I’m sorry–I hate high school lyrics like this. It grosses me out to picture some 50-year-old A&R dude in a limo withher, like [puts arm around imaginary girl], “This is gonna be huge, baby. The kids are gonna love this.” It’s like, God! Go right for the fuckin’ mallrats!
GROHL: Well, she’s Canadian.
HAWKINS: She got a nose ring?
GROHL: I don’t know, but I bet her navel’s pierced.
HAWKINS: No, she’s got a tattoo of a dolphin on her butt.
THE VINES, “GET FREE”
SPIN: Does this song remind you of anything?
HUGO: It does. I can’t put my finger on it.
HAWKINS: I think these guys suck. This song is really fuckin’ boring.
GROHL: Avril Lavigne’s song is more challenging than this. If you really want to challenge the listener, give them someof that Canadian stuff.
HAWKINS: This is just, like, buy your angst at the local Kmart.
SPIN: Dave, does the Nirvana sound bug you at all?
GROHL: It doesn’t bother me that much.
CHRISTINA AGUILERA, “DIRRTY”
HAWKINS: I’d rather discuss the video. The song doesn’t even matter!
GROHL: It’s a serious career shift.
HAWKINS: Yeah, like when Guns N’ Roses went from “Welcome to the Jungle” to “November Rain.” I don’t know if it’s going to work out for her.
GROHL: I think it promotes group sex; it promotes lesbianism.
HAWKINS: She’s a little slut! Just kidding.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, “LIKE I LOVE YOU”
HUGO: This is my favorite R&B record we’ve done. It’s so simple, but there’s a lot of musicality to it. He just kind of knocks out all his vocals.
HAWKINS: Ugh! I’m sorry, Mr. Timberlake!
GROHL: This is Justin Timberlake? It sounds like Michael Jackson.
HAWKINS: Are there young boys in the video? Justin tries to dance like Michael Jackson–he even has the hat on.
GROHL: Here’s the deal with Justin. I’ll go rent Breakin’ 2 and put on Thriller, and there you go.
KYLIE MINOGUE, “CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD”
GROHL: Killer song! No question! You’re getting ready to hit the clubs, put this on. It’s got an old nursery-rhyme melody to it–unforgettable.
HAWKINS: Kylie–I’m proud of her.
GROHL: I’ve got to say I can’t stand it when a singer dances–except for Kylie.
HAWKINS: Freddie Mercury.
GROHL: Freddie didn’t dance; he pranced.
HAWKINS: This song’s way better than that Christina Aguiler–Aguilerica. [Both laugh]
GROHL: I’ve got an idea! Let’s start a Christina Aguilera metal cover band–do all her songs, but heavy metal, and just call it “Aguilerica.”
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, “BY THE WAY”
WILLIAMS: Dope! They’re a band like the Rolling Stones. They will never die.
GROHL:What’s this song about?
SPIN: It’s about a girl he wants to sleep with who’s coming to the show.
GROHL: Isn’t that what all their songs are about?
HAWKINS: That’s what all our songs are about.
KELLY OSBOURNE, “PAPA DON’T PREACH”
GROHL: I dig it! She’s got a good voice, man.
HAWKINS: I bet that’s Dave Navarro playing guitar.
GROHL: He definitely sounds pierced.
HAWKINS: Whoever’s playing guitar has his tits pierced, so it’s probably Navarro.
GROHL: I’m into Kelly Osbourne. She’s the snotty punk-rock kid at your high school–but deep down, she’s kind of sensitive.
DIRTY VEGAS, “DAYS GO BY”
GROHL: Is it a car commercial? You could sell a ton of cars with this song.[Both adopt portentous car commercial voices] Ford Aspire.
HAWKINS: A new wave in technology.
GROHL: The new Ford Probe!
HAWKINS: Feel the power. Next!
EMINEM, “WITHOUT ME”
WILLIAMS: I totally take my hat off to Eminem. That guy just creates his own lane. If more artists were like him, music would be so much flyer.
GROHL: I love this. Great song, no question.
HAWKINS: What’s so cool about Eminem is the rhythms of his melodies–he’s a step ahead of everybody with his flow. As far as I’m concerned, there’s him, Snoop, and Kool Keith. [Eminem raps, “Nobody listens to techno”; they bust up.]
GROHL: So good! So hilarious.
HAWKINS: Awesome. He’s no dummy. He’s an intelligent motherfucker.
GROHL: Even Moby probably likes this song.
VANESSA CARLTON, “A THOUSAND MILES”
SPIN: Would you bump this in the Hummer?
HAWKINS: What the hell is this shit? Is this someone’s piano recital?
SPIN: Vanessa Carlton.
HAWKINS: Who’s Vanessa Carlton?
GROHL: Some girl who plays piano.
HAWKINS: It’s kind of like new Bruce Hornsby. Does the Range play with her? Nah, I don’t like it.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN, “TOXICITY”
HUGO: I like this band. Musicality is crazy. “Disorder! Disorder! Disaw-ee-order!”
GROHL: Badass sound.
HAWKINS: I like the fact that music like this is–
GROHL: –challenging people.
HAWKINS: I’d rather listen to early Genesis or early Rush, just because it’s more nostalgic, but it’s fucking awesome to me that shit like this is popular.
SHAKIRA, “UNDERNEATH YOUR CLOTHES”
SPIN: Have the Neptunes ever worked with Shakira?
WILLIAMS: Nope, but I would!
SPIN: Do you speak Spanish?
WILLIAMS: I will learn!
GROHL: Shakira sounds like she’s got a fuckin’ booger in her throat that she’s got to cough out. She’s like sex education in junior high where you see the cartoon diagrams of a penis entering a vagina; it’s just caricatures of sex. That’s how I see Shakira. Does that make any sense?
HAWKINS: No, but I say we just leave it at that.