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The Friday Five: April 9, 2010

Friday Five

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.

The Five:

“One More Try” by George Michael (from Faith, 1987)

Oh, the overwrought teenaged melodrama that accompanies this tune in my memory bank. I could fill pages, upon pages, of the tales of the end of the world, listening to Chicago, Richard Marx, and so much more wuss-rock. It’s a wonder I didn’t get my ass kicked every day. (It was every-other day.)

“Runaway” by Bon Jovi (from 7800º Fahrenheit, 1985)

I never really gave a shit about Jon-Bon until Slippery When Wet, but I was fully aware of the band during the pre-slippery era thanks to the VCR tapes my aunt would send with 8 hours of MTV content.

“Feels Good” by Tony! Toni! Toné! (from The Revival, 1990)

This song was inescapable during the summer of 1990. In retrospect, I don’t think that I liked it then quite as much as I do now. To be fair, in 1990 I was likely still heavily under the influence of the crew of metal-heads that I associated with. I was forced – peer pressure is a bitch – to keep my guilty pleasures under wraps, stashing my Prince and MJ records in lieu of the latest Megadeth and Metallica.

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga (from The Fame Monster, 2009)

While on some level I agree with M.I.A.’s recent assertion that Gaga is “the industry’s last stab at making itself important,” I can’t help but secretly enjoy the hell out of her over-the-top shtick.

“The Dragon” by The Guggenheim Grotto (from Happy the Man, 2009)

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ireland’s Guggenheim Grotto twice in the last month. With any luck, I’ll be seeing them again this weekend. If it seems a bit obsessive: I’ll fully admit it is, and with good reason. The duo’s songs are poetic and intimate, and tug at the heartstrings like few others can. If you are in the NYC area, I highly recommend making it to at least one of their upcoming shows. They are setting up residency at The Bowery Electric each Wednesday in June, and there is a good chance that you’ll run into me – and maybe Jason Hare – at any one of these shows.

What’s on your shuffle today?

Side Note: What do you guys think of the lala.com embedded tracks?

Published inFriday Five

12 Comments

  1. Shannon Shannon

    I’m late on this, but it’s Monday and this is a nice brief diversion from work. Here goes (nervous that the first song is going to be a dud):

    Cake, “Long Line of Cars” – Cake is like a Honda. Enjoyable, reliable, not flashy. I love them.

    Justin Timberlake, “Lovestoned/I Think She Knows” – Um, yeah. Groovy, better than “Sexyback”. Good for running.

    Bonnie Raitt, “Two Lives” – I found Bonnie in the early 90s, and a friend introduced me to her older stuff. Sweet Forgiveness was the first 70s album of hers that I bought. I got the rest soon afterwards. She should have been a superstar back then. This track isn’t the best, but it’s still great, with lots of celeb backing from the Warner Brothers artist roster.

    Beck, “O Maria” – I have a mild Beck addiction, but this is from Mutations, which I don’t often listen to.

    James Brown, “Lost Someone” – OK, so I have the 2-disc 40th Anniversary Collection, but haven’t heard all the tracks (including this one) in their entirety. This sounds like an earlier hit, with the soulfulness of “Try Me” but not the funkiness of his more well-known tunes. Like!

  2. Larry Larry

    David Gray – Sail Away
    —– I love this guy and got to see him in Oakland once. The new album was my most looked forward to album of the year. Kinda Let down – nothing new

    Late – Kanye West
    —– love to get a chance to comment on this guy. The US is such haters. This guy has more talent than 99% of all artist currently. Love him. Love my artist to love themselves. No one needs a lack of confidence artist.

    Monkey Man – Stones
    —- one of the top 20 songs of all time. YES

    Choctaw Hayride – Allison Krause and Union Station
    —- Jerry Douglass is the best mondo player of all time.

    One Wing – Wilco
    —- great song from new album. Layers and Layers of music that only vinyl can help you find. My favorte band in the last 30 years.

  3. Gosh, I love me some Guggenheim Grotto, and am very excited to see them tomorrow…despite having to drive 2 hours each way!

    Here’s my five:

    1) Simon Townshend, “Goodbye Everything.” I must be the only person in this realm who knows this song, let alone Simon Townshend. Yes, he is Pete Townshend’s brother, and has been a part of the Who for the past 8 years, but he’s also a solo artist with a killer voice and a knack for a great hook. This isn’t one of my favorite of his songs — his best is called “The Way It Is,” from an album called Among Us that stayed in my CD player for the majority of 1997. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of it is available for online listening.

    2) Amiel, “More or Less.” Second obscure artist in a row! Amiel is hard to define. He’s a power-pop-y artist with a unique voice. I met him randomly; I was helping a friend check out an apartment she was looking to rent, and Amiel happened to be hanging out with the guy who owned it. I noted the guy’s collection of Jellyfish and XTC discs, and Amiel said “You have to listen to this” and shoved his disc, Accidents By Design, in my hand. I didn’t expect much when I put it in my CD player, but I was taken with it the minute the first track, “Circles,” came on. Instrumentally, it sounded like something right out of Pet Sounds. “More or Less” is a beautiful, gentle ballad from his first disc, Amiel, and of course, I can’t find it online for you to hear. 0 for 2.

    3) Pete Townshend, “A Legal Matter.” This is taken from his solo show at the Fillmore in 1996. I wasn’t at that show, but I was at his show a few days later at the Supper Club in NY. I was a college freshman in Buffalo and a somewhat new (but obsessive) Who fan. I didn’t have the money or a car to get down to NYC for this show, but after seeing Pete perform on Conan a night or two prior, I knew I had to be there. I borrowed money from a friend and took an eight-hour bus ride down for the concert, without telling my parents I was in town (ooh, rebel!). I didn’t pack a change of clothes, as I was planning on going home right after the show, only to find out that midtown had flooded due to a water leak. I spent the show soaking wet and never noticed once. Anyway, Pete’s solo shows around this time were pretty eclectic and unpredictable, as shown by his choice to do a very early Who song here.

    4) Genesis, “Turn It On Again.” Oh fuck yes.

    5) Styx, “Lorelei.” Uhhhh…who put this on my iTunes? Someone’s fucking with me, right? Okay, just kidding. At least it’s not “Let’s Get Rocked.” I remember when that album came out too, Rob. I remember looking at my buddy Andrew quizzically (and disappointingly) when we heard the lines “Don’t shake my tree” and “I suppose a rock’s out of the question.”

  4. 1. “Get Out Of My Life” by the Gas Company, Reprise 0512, 1966. Garagey pop that I must have gotten in an anthology. Not bad.

    2. “Humdrum” by the Dream Academy from “Remembrance Days,” 1987. Swirling strings and earnest vocals. Very pretty, but maybe a bit too much so.

    3. “Violets of Dawn” by Eric Andersen from “‘Bout Changes and Things,” 1966. Nice folk by one of those who was saddled with the label “The New Dylan.” He wasn’t that good, but he was pretty good.

    4. “Elevation” by Elliot Lawrence & his Orchestra, Columbia 38497, 1949. Jazzy big band sounds with some nice saxophone.

    5. “Angel” by the Jeff Healey Band from “Cover to Cover,” 1995. Nice cover of the Hendrix tune.

  5. My five:

    1) “Lonely Tonight” by The Power Station: Robert Palmer’s voice was very well suited to Eighties synth-funk. “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On”, “You Are in My System” and this.

    2) “Phenomenon” by LL Cool J: From the brief period when LL aligned himself with Puffy and the Bad Boy camp. Sample is from Creative Source’s remake of Bill Withers’ “Who is He and What is He to You” (one of the most pissed off soul songs ever). LL is rockin’ the whispery delivery here. This is probably the only rap record in history that mentions Chappaquiddick.

    3) “So Ambitious” by Jay-Z: Produced by The Neptunes. This song is supposed to carry an empowering message, but the chorus goes “I’m so ambitious/I might hit two sisters”. Empowerment FAIL. And the fact that I love Jay-Z is totally cancelled out by the fact that I hate Pharrell Williams.

    4) “Taking You Home” by Don Henley: Appreciating Don Henley’s music is difficult because he seems like such a cocksnot, but damn is this a pretty song.

    5) “One Mo’ Gin” by D’Angelo: “Voodoo” is a good album, but it might have also been the most overrated album (in any genre) of the past decade. That said, R&B is in such dire straits right now that I really really want D’Angelo to stop chasing hookers and smoking weed and make another damn album.

    • “Cocksnot” is my new favorite word.

    • I held hope for D’Angelo for a very long time. Nowadays, I figure Maxwell is our only hope.

      “Cocksnot” is fabulous.

      • I can’t take responsibility for that word. De La Soul used it in one of their skits on the “De La Soul is Dead” and it’s been one of my favorites ever since.

  6. After an aggravating day and an aggravating week, it feels good to sit down with the Foster’s oilcan and Ye Olde iTunes and shuffle off to Friday Five-land.

    Cliff Richard, “Devil Woman.” Oh, fucking lovely. Actually, this is a pretty good tune; reminds me of the Bee Gees stuff from its era (late 70s). I’m impressed with what I believe to be a slide guitar, playing the melody on the chorus. This is Cliff Richard at his most faux dangerous; usually he sings about more heavenly fare. Now I’m looking at the listing for this in my iTunes, and I’m pretty sure I actually paid for this. Last year, in fact. Hmm. I also picked up “A Little in Love,” “Dreamin’,” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” I must’ve been fairly intoxicated on February 26, 2009, at 10:11 PM. Wow. I marvel at my judgment sometimes.

    Norah Jones, “I Wouldn’t Need You.” This is from her most recent record, which didn’t really move me. I can hear someone like Shelby Lynne get her pipes around this, but for some reason, Norah’s voice doesn’t seem right.

    AC/DC, “Nervous Shakedown.” Ah, now this is more like it. This is from Flick of the Switch, a sadly underrated AC/DC record. I mean, the joke is, of course, that each AC/DC record sounds just like the one before it, which sounds just like the one before it, etc. I kinda like that — I dig their brand of rock and roll, and the interchangeable nature of their sound and songs doesn’t really bother me. The distinguishing factor is usually the quality of Angus Young’s riffs (which are very good on this record) and how many double-entendres Brian Johnson (like Bon Scott before him) can scream out and rhyme. Flick of the Switch, if memory serves, came just after For Those About to Rock, which was a classic piece of crunchy metallic goodness, and its reputation suffers in that comparison. Flick is worth checking out, though, if you’ve never heard it.

    Pearl Jam, “Go.” To my ears, Vs. is their best record, and this track kicks it off perfectly. It’s a swirling tornado of noisy guitar rumble behind Eddie V., who is barely able to hold himself back on the verses, only to cut loose on the chorus. I remember leaving work at lunchtime to buy this the day it came out, back in ’93. I still play it pretty regularly (more than any other PJ record I own).

    Def Leppard, “Let’s Get Rocked.” Well … Okay, then. I don’t have much to say about this one, except I like how Phil Collen’s guitar sounds on just about anything. I also remember the day this record (Adrenalize, or Carmelize, or Suckalize, or whatever) came out, cuz Springsteen’s Lucky Town and Human Touch came out the same day, and I went to a midnight sale with a young lady I wish I still kept in touch with, to get the Springsteen discs. If memory serves, Def Lep debuted at Number One that week, with the Springsteen records right behind them. When you think about it, though, why would you want to put out TWO albums on the same day? Why not just make them a double record, or (God forbid) cut the two down to one decent record? Anyway, this is not one of my favorites. Sort of a weak way to end the Five for this week. The gods of shuffle are fickle, indeed.

    • “Let’s Get Rocked” is the song that makes me sad that I’m a Lep fan. You are right: Collen’s guitar is consistently awesome, though.

  7. Kristi Kristi

    I like the Lala embedded tracks 🙂 And as much of a non-fan I am of Lady Gaga, I will admit to having Bad Romance as the first song on my workout playlist… it’s a great song to run to.

    OK, my 5:

    1) Nothing to Worry About – Peter Bjorn & John
    2) Urgent – Foreigner
    3) Just Like Heaven – The Cure
    4) Reptile – NIN (featuring David Bowie)
    5) Ice, Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice… for real.

    Have a fantabulous weekend!

    • “Stop, collaborate and listen…”

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