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The Friday Five: January 1, 2010

Friday Five : ˈfrī-(ˌ)dā,-dē ˈfīv : On the sixth day of every week I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

Editors Note: For the first Friday Five of 2010, I’m taking a look back at five of my favorite records from the last decade. Placed in no particular order, these are the records that I found myself coming back to time and again. Happy New Year, to all of you.  – Michael

Amy Winehouse – “Tears Dry on Their Own” (from Back to Black, 2006)

Is there an artist that better embodies “The Noughties” than Amy Winehouse? The slight, awkward girl from Southgate, England with the voice that could topple buildings; yet it was her personal battles with drugs that the media focused on. An amalgam of classic soul, vocal jazz and ska, Back to Black earned Winehouse six Grammy nominations and five awards, and was the best selling record in 2007. The track “Tears Dry on Their Own,” for me, stands out above the rest; capturing the best of Winehouse’s powerful vocals.

The Gaslight Anthem – “Great Expectations” (from The ’59 Sound, 2008)

You can take the band out of New Jersey, but you cannot take the New Jersey out of the band. The Gaslight Anthem provided the end of the decade with a much-needed shot of straightforward rock & roll. The songs on The ’59 Sound are rife with stories of life in small town America; quoting everyone from Bon Jovi, Counting Crows and even The Boss himself, all while sounding fresh and vital. The record kicks off with the barnburner “Great Expectations,” which contains as many literary movements as you would expect from a song titled after the Charles Dickens classic.

Chromeo – “Bonafied Lovin’ (Tough Guys)” (from Fancy Footwork, 2008)

The self-described “only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture,” Chromeo is holding the torch for ’80s inspired electrofunk. Their album, Fancy Footwork, is one of the best dance records of the last decade. They also turned in one of the most memorable appearances on Daryl Hall’s web series, Live from Daryl’s House. Selecting a single track from the record proved nearly impossible, so I put my trust in the shuffle button, which served up the new jack swing of “Bonafied Lovin’ (Tough Guys).”

Band of Horses – “The First Song” (from Everything All the Time, 2006)

There is a certain understated majesty to the opening of the aptly titled “The First Song,” the lead track on Band of Horses 2006 debut Everything All the Time. Indie rock with a decidedly southern bend, the band — led by Ben Bridwell — caught flack for allowing their anthemic, “The Funeral,” to be used in marketing campaigns for Ford as well as in slew of movies and television programs.

Prince – “Call My Name” (from Musicology, 2004)

The last decade has been an uneven one for Prince. As a performer, he toured the world twice over, commanded a Las Vegas residency, 21 nights at London’s O2 stadium, and perhaps one of the most memorable Super Bowl halftime performances; as a recording artist, he was hit or miss. However, the one exception was the incredibly funky Musicology, which rocketed Prince back into the spotlight. From funk to soul, his purple badness proved that he still had the juice to create a commercially viable, yet funky as hell record.

So tell me, what is soothing your aching head today?

Published inFriday Five

5 Comments

  1. Kathy Kathy

    Have you heard of James Mercer’s new project? With Danger Mouse? It’s a new band called Broken Bells and honestly, they are amazing. Just take a listen. Soooo good. myspace.com/brokenbells or brokenbells.com The record will be out 3/9 of this year.

  2. 1. “Sail to the Moon. (Brush the Cobwebs Out of the Sky.)” – Radiohead (from Hail to the Thief) // I haven’t spent enough time with this album… I sort of dropped off after Amnesiac / Kid A. I still haven’t even heard In Rainbows. That’s silly. I’m going to change that soon.

    2. “The Girls on the Beach” – The Beach Boys (from Endless Summer) // One sure thing that never gets old. The harmonies of the Beach Boys.

    3. “Tell It Like It Is” – The Neville Brothers (from Nevillization) // Perfection.

    4. “Tobacco Island” – Flogging Molly (from Within a Mile of Home) // There’s nothing wrong with Irish punk.

    5. “Empty Ring” – Paul Weller (from 22 Dreams) // Soothing sounds from the godfather of Mod.

  3. Beck, “Round the Bend.” Sea Change is an album I return to from time to time, and find something new with every spin. This is a haunting piece with strings mixed up front and lyrics that require several listens to decipher. Fave lines: “Life goes where it does / Faster than a bullet / From an empty gun.”

    Pat Travers Band, “Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights).” Live Travers from ’78 or ’79. I discovered this the summer of ’87, on a $3 cassette I got from Wall to Wall Sound & Video. My friend Jimbo and I played the shit out of that tape that summer. I can still air guitar the solos in this thing. Good second-tier arena rock. Lots of cool memories tied into it.

    Decemberists, “An Interlude.” From Hazards of Love. I really like Colin Meloy’s voice and can appreciate his intricate, storytelling-type songwriting. Decemberists records tend to have layers and layers of stuff you only get with repeated spins. This, of course, is an instrumental piece; no voice, few layers.

    Maia Sharp, “Unbreakable.” From her fine album Echo. A terrific song about vulnerability, sung in that wonderfully thick, nuanced voice. Bonnie Raitt (for whom Sharp has opened on several tours) contributes some instantly recognizable slide gee-tar.

    Led Zeppelin, “When the Levee Breaks.” The sound of Godzilla stomping on Tokyo. This is the really LOUD mix from Mothership, which makes Bonham’s drums sound even more like a mighty mutant dinosaur laying waste to a major Japanese city. What swagger these guys had back then. The echo and effects on Plant’s voice make him sound more menacing. Awesome stuff.

  4. Kristi Kristi

    My first not-so-random Five of 2010…:

    1) Parachute – She Is Love
    2) The Jayhawks – Smile
    3) Blind Melon – Change
    4) The Damnwells – Closer Than We Are
    5) The Weepies – Can’t Go Back Now

    Happy New Year, Michael!

    • The Damnwells record was a solid contender for the top 5, such a great album!

      Happy New Year, Kristi!

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