Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a 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.
Editor’s Note: It doesn’t happen often, but I’m actually going to be away from all forms of internet today so I’ve asked my Popdose cohort, Rob Smith, to watch the shop for me today. I’m sure you will all make him feel right at home, and I’ll be back next week! – Michael
Huh? Wha? You want me to do what? Lead off this week? Sure, dude. Absolutely. Anytime.
Gowan, “Moonlight Desires.” Cool live version, solo piano. I like this a lot better than the original studio version, with Jon Anderson on guest vocals. Gowan, of course, has been the new Dennis DeYoung in Styx for the last 11 or so years. I know a few Styx fans who can’t stand Gowan, but it’s not like he won a Rock Star: Styx competition to get the gig or anything. He had a solid, though unspectacular career prior to joining the band. I recommend this live record (called Solo Live: No Kilt Tonight) for Gowan’s voice and chops, certainly, but also his humor (he performs a 30-second snippet of Monty Python’s “Lumberjack Song”) and this most excellent ballad.
Escape Club, “Wild Wild West.” Jesus freakin’ Christ, I have Escape Club on my iTunes? Damn that Like, Omigod box set. On the rare occasions I hear this song, I think about doing radio in college, freshman and sophomore years. We had a Top 40 show I’d DJ on occasion, and this one was in the stacks and played pretty much constantly [I also think of Information Society’s “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)” when I hear this, cuz both tracks were more or less ubiquitous]. We could play Escape Club once an hour with no complaints from management, but when I tried to squeeze in Thomas Dolby’s “Airhead,” I got in trouble. I did win once, though — I was the first to play Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy,” got yelled at, but was eventually vindicated when it became, oh I don’t know, the Number One song in the country. I had fucking EARS back then, man! But I hate Escape Club. Shit. Next?
Van Halen, “Unchained.” That’s more like it. My fave Van Halen song, whether performed by Roth, Hagar (on the ’04 tour — fucking awesome), or Cherone. I just think the riff is tops — one of the simplest and best Eddie VH ever conjured. Big fail, though — having Wolfie do the “C’mon Dave, give me a break” line on the most recent tour. Roth could eat that kid alive, and on occasion did. You’d think Ed would want to protect his only child from wiseacres like Roth. Perhaps ye olde parental instinct got burned out during one or another evening with the Schlitz Malt Liquor tallboys.
Jonatha Brooke, “Because I Told You.” The gods smile upon me. I love Brooke’s music, particularly the stuff from the Story through maybe ’95 or ’96. This is from her first live record, and it’s a gem. A track from Ten-Cent Wings, arguably her best solo record, the melody gives me chills every time I hear it (only other song to do so consistently: Springsteen’s “Bobbie Jean.” Man, when that sax solo kicks in at the end …). The sorta/kinda middle-eight is particularly beautiful: “You take the wheel for now / I’m too tired to drive this one home anyhow, for now.” Find this if you’ve never heard it — studio version or live. You’re welcome.
John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High.” Fuck you if you think this is wimpy. Just … I don’t want to hear it. It takes a man — a real man, one not afraid to mow his lawn in the nude — to come up with a chorus like this one. “I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky?” Are you kidding me? Fucking great image. I also like the AM radio vibe on this; it doesn’t matter what I hear this song on — computer, earbuds, boombox, or multi-component stereo system — it still sounds like I’m listening to it in my dad’s old Chrysler. The one with the manual transmission, shift on the column. But I don’t want to hear that it’s crap, or wussified pap, or unfit for man or Muppet. Great song. “Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high?” I could go for being around that campfire right about now.
So anyway, now that I’ve defended John Denver by telling you all to fuck yourselves, I suppose that I should ask forgiveness. But really, all I want to know is this: What’s on YOUR shuffle?