Author Archives: Michael

The Friday Five: February 3, 2012

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:

“Like a Virgin” by Madonna (from Celebration, 2009)

Goddamn it, Madge. I want to run that Seth Myers skit where he rattles off a rapid-fire salvo of insults followed by the quizzical “really?” So, tell me, Madonna: why do you find it necessary to include your name in your lyrics, is it because you are worried someone might mistake it for an Avril Lavigne or Gwen Stefani tune? Oh, and M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj? Really? REALLY?

“Picture in an Exhibition” by Death Cab for Cutie (from Something About Airplanes, 1998)

Is anyone else looking forward to the next Death Cab for Cutie record?

“Deep” by Pearl Jam (from Vault #1: 1992-01-17: Moore Theater, Seattle, WA, USA, 2011)

This is an amazing show. Well worth seeking out.

“1901 (Alan Wilkis remix)” by Phoenix (from 1901, 2009)

It’s been awhile since we’ve visited with Alan Wilkis! If you haven’t been keeping up, he is in the midst of a new project called PRINTS, where he shares his funk with the likes of Bay-area rapper, Lyrics Born. Hit the link and dig in!

“A Letter to Elise” by The Cure (from Wish, 1992)

“And every time I try / to pick it up like falling sand / as fast as I pick it up / it runs away through my clutching hands” No one, but no one, does resigned desperation like Robert Smith. i can’t quite say why, but I’ve always held this song as the example of why I love The Cure as much as I do. Along with the equally forlorn “Pictures of You,” it ranks among my favorite songs, period.

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: January 27, 2012

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:

“A-Punk” by Vampire Weekend (from Vampire Weekend, 2007)

Opps! Somebody forgot to hit shuffle before hitting play! I imagine that this is the first song in many folks library —sorted by track, that is. So let’s add that to the sharing today: if you sort your library by song name, what is the first track?

“Right on Time” by The Brothers Johnson (from Right on Time, 1977)

Hot damn, if I don’t love me some Brothers Johnson. Funkier than Dave LIfton’s gym socks, the one-two combo of Louis’ monster bass lines, and George’s fluid guitar work absolutely kills.

“Running With the Night” by Lionel Richie (from The Definitive Collection, 2003)

I can’t listen to this without the video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PnhlXLHKAE&w=600&h=407]

“Cold as Ice” by Foreigner (from The Very Best…and Beyond, 1992)

Matt Wardlaw has ruined Foreigner for me.

“Out 4000″ by Rappin’ 4-Tay (from Don’t Fight the Feelin’, 1994)

I rarely rate tunes with one star. This is a one-star tune.

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: January 20, 2012

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:

“Stay” by Erykah Badu (from Live, 1997)

“I’ma test this out…” admits Badu at the beginning of this track, copping to the fact that she intended to cover the Rufus classic at the Soul Train awards show, but “got scared.” She then proceeds to absolutely kick the type of performance that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.

“Pope” by Prince (from The Hits/The B-Sides, 1993)

“You don’t understand … I ain’t scared of you mutha fuckers!”

“Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen (from Greatest Hits, 1995)

I suppose I’m beholden to discuss The Boss’ new tune in this space, but I have only listened to it once or twice. The jury is still out, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not a bad song, it just seems a little heavy handed. While not as big a Springsteen fan as most of you that read the Five, I still felt the absence of Clarence at the close where his solo clearly should have been.

“Home Sweet Home” by Mötley Crüe (from Theatre of Pain, 1985)

Vince Neil recently played a show locally. I don’t know why that matters, I just found it odd to think he’s still out there trying to sustain some form of a career without the Crüe. I suppose that will all stop once their Vegas residency starts.

“Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis & The News (from Time Flies… The Best of Huey Lewis & The News, 1996)

“Stuck With You” is only behind “If This Is It” in my list of favorite Huey Lewis tunes.

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: January 13, 2012

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:

Nothin’ Comes Close” by Journey (from Arrival, 2001)

“Nothin’ Comes Close” is a perfectly serviceable bit of AOR that just seemed completely out of place in 2001. I always liked Augeri’s voice, though. He sounded like Perry enough when he had to, but had enough of his own identity that he didn’t seem like a puppet on the end of Schon’s hand.

Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night” by Bon Jovi (from Cross Road, 1994)

Oh, it’s going to be like that, huh? I can’t say I care much for this tune. I recall thinking it was pandering when it was initially released.

God” by The Smashing Pumpkins (from The Aeroplane Flies High (disc 3: Zero), 1996)

I’m beginning to question what I ever saw in The Smashing Pumpkins.

Remember” by Bryan Adams (from Anthology, 2005)

I’m not going to lie: I kind of dig this song. This is Adams before he started growling his way through every damn song. He definitely has a knack for writing a hook that sinks right in.

Outshined” by Soundgarden (from A-Sides, 1997)

One of the handful of Soundgarden tracks I actually like. You know what my favorite part is? The pre-chorus with Matt Cameron’s background vocal!

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: January 6, 2012

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:

Dreams” by Van Halen (from 5150, 1986)

This tune brings to mind two thoughts. First, how fucking thrilled is everyone to hear the new Van Halen tune? By the time you are all reading this, I’m certain that the internet will be flush with eye-witness reports from Thursday night’s gig at Cafe Wha?, which will only serve to fan the excitement. Second, how excited I was to listen to the new Chickenfoot record after reading the feature about it in this month’s Guitar Player. Satch and Michael Anthony talk a good game, but that record still bored me to (AOR)tears.

Sara Smile” by The Bird and the Bee (from Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates, 2010)

Oh, Inara George, how I love your unaffected gaze. How I long to curl up in your voice and sleep for awhile. Singing the songs that I grew up loving, with only the slightest trace of irony; just let me … oh, sorry everyone. I digress.

With or Without You” by U2 (from The Joshua Tree, 1987)

This takes me squarely back to my early, angst ridden, teenaged years. Was there ever a song more wrought with the type of heartbroken melisma that Bono delivers at the close of the song; ripe for use as the theme song for the adolescent heart?

Wasted Years” by Iron Maiden (from Somewhere Back in Time – The Best of: 1980 – 1989, 2008)

I’d submit that this was the exact moment that Maiden lost millions of hardcore metalhead fans, and gained that many, and many more, hard rock fans. Listen to that chorus! That is straight out of the AOR handbook. Someone must have slipped Steve Harris a copy before he sat down to write ’86s Somewhere in Time.

Top of the World” by Van Halen (from The Best of Both Worlds, 2004)

Bookend Van Halen tunes? I’d venture that my trusty iPod is trying to send a message. Okay, show of hands: how many of you know where the riff that kicks “Top of the World” quotes? Okay, now those of you that didn’t Google it just now, keep your hands up. Do you have your hands down? Good, use them to start up Van Halen’s “Jump.” Listen to the majesty of those keyboards! Revel in the jubilant chorus! When you get to the end, pay specific attention to the guitar and you’ll find your answer.

Oh, the rest of you can put your hands down now.

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: December 30, 2011

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:

How about we take a shuffle through 2011?

The Healing Tree” by Kensington Prairie (from The Healing Tree, 2011)

This little EP was enough to tide me over, but I’m sincerely hoping for new material from Kensington Prairie in 2012.

“A Simple Song” by Colin Hay (from Gathering Mercury, 2011)

Gathering Mercury is easily one of my favorite releases of the last twelve months.

Maybe Baby” by Justin Townes Earle (from Rave On Buddy Holly, 2011)

This record has been sitting on my desk for months and I have had no strong urge to actually listen to it. Listening now, I may actually go back and listen to the rest. It could just be the good fit of Justin Townes Earle’s tenor with the material, but this isn’t half bad.

Anything (feat. Swizz Beatz)” by Musiq (from Musiqinthemagiq, 2011)

Mr. Soulchild stepped outside of his neo-soul wheelhouse for this one, with mixed results. The addition of a Swizz Beatz feature just makes the whole thing feel contrived. This record didn’t make a whole lot of noise (despite moving 33,000 copies its first week.) Here’s hoping Musiq goes back to the drawing board in 2012.

Stick Around” by Mayer Hawthorne (from How Do You Do, 2011)

I don’t know, this Mayer Hawthorne cat leaves me cold. I get what he’s trying to do, but it just feels like he’s trying too damn hard. The arrangements hit all the right markers, the vocals are serviceable, but it’s all too clean.

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: December 23, 2011

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:

“Santa Claus” by Throwing Muses (from, Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Xmas, 1996)

This does not bode well. Here we are at the start of the final holiday themed Friday Five, and iTunes shuffles up the angst ridden in my library.

“It Must’ve Been Ol’ Santa Claus” by Harry Connick, Jr. (from, When My Heart Finds Christmas,1993)

Okay, this is a little bit better. Before Bublé came along, ol’ Harry was the crooner’s only hope. Which, of course, mandated that he release a holiday record every other year. This one, his first, was not awful.

“Last Christmas” by Wham! (from Music From the Edge of Heaven, 1986)

Somewhere in Manhattan, Jason Hare’s ears just perked up.

“Santa’s Beard” by The Beach Boys (from The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas, 1987)

I don’t care for this song, nope. Not at all. See Also: Fuck Mike Love.

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love (from A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector, 1963)

Ok, I cheated. I broke the cardinal rule of the Friday Five. I purposely played this track. I did it, however, for a good reason: to remind all you good boys and girls to watch Late Night With David Letterman tonight to see Darlene Love perform her holiday classic. It has become a long standing tradition in the Parr household, and it really just isn’t Christmas until we sit down at that late hour to watch Ms. Love perform my favorite Christmas tune.

And with that, we conclude 2011′s holiday Five. I’d like to take a minute to thank every one of you that continue to support the Friday Five, and wish each of you a very merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, and a joyous new year.

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: December 16, 2011

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:

I’ll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams)” by Frank Sinatra (from Christmas With the Rat Pack, 2002)

This is a perennial favorite. The (somewhat) ironic thing is: this was not part of the music that I grew up with. Sinatra was, in the words of my parents, “old people music.”

Winter Wonderland” by The Andrews Sisters (from The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas, Volume 2, 1987)

Without Bing, I don’t know that I care much for The Andrews Sisters.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Michael Bublé (from Christmas, 2011)

Damn you, Michael Bublé. Damn you straight to hell.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Leon Redbone & Zooey Deschanel (from Elf, 2003)

Wait up, Bublé; make room for Ms. Deschanel. Okay, to be fair, I love this version. Despite a deep, burning—not unlike the time Dave Lifton’s mom gave me the clap—dislike for Will Farrell, I love the film it comes from. For more unbridled scorn of Zooey head over to Popdose for today’s installment of Jeff Giles’ & Jason Hare’s Mellowmas.

The Little Drummer Boy” by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (from A Very Special Christmas, 1990)

I take no issue with Bob Seger’s overwrought, overproduced version of the holiday classic. Listen to those swelling synth pads and gospel choir vocals! This is what Christmas is about, y’all.

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: December 9, 2011

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:

Winter Wonderland” by Peggy Lee (from Ultra-Lounge: Christmas Cocktails, 1996)

This is a positively swinging take on the holiday classic. A secret Santa dropped this under my Christmas tree last week and it has been in heavy rotation ever since.

Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight)” by The Ramones (from The Big ’80s Christmas, 2001)

YES!

“What Can You Get a Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)” by Meco (from Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album, 1980)

Double YES! This song couldn’t be more awful if it were sung by young Bon Jovi. (For those not in the know, the single “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas” was, in fact, sung by a teenaged Jon Bon. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.) I was actually listening to this song before I started the Friday Five, and had posed the question on Facebook. My friend responded with “a Flobee.”

Christmas Time Is Here” by Steve Vai (from Merry Axemas: A Guitar Christmas, 1997)

This sounds exactly like what you would think it does. Imagine “For the Love of God” with a holiday slant. Oh so dramatic! I can see Vai’s contorted “O” face as he laid this down. Damn, I kind of feel dirty now.

White Christmas” by Bing Crosby (from The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas, 1987)

What better to close out this Holiday-themed Friday Five than with a classic from the indisputable King of Holiday croon.

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: December 2, 2011

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:

Being that it is December, I’m going to start shuffling exclusively through my holiday tunes!

“Rexroth’s Daughter” by Winterbloom (from Winterbloom: Traditions Rearranged, 2009)

I’m not certain how this qualifies as a Holiday record. Winterbloom was a one-off collaboration between singer/songwriters Natalia Zukerman, Antje Duvekot, Meg Hutchinson, and Anne Heaton. Apparently, this is a cover of a Joan Baez tune about poet Kenneth Rexroth’s daughter. Again, I’m not certain how this qualifies as a Holiday record. Next!

“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo (Malibu remix)” by Billy May (from Merry Mixmas: Christmas Classics Remixed, 2005)

Did he just say Halle Berry? What is this! I’m going to go out on a limb and say the only reason this is in my library is for the remix of “All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth).”

“White Christmas” by Tommy Emmanuel (from All I Want for Christmas, 2011)

This is the most recent — and most welcome — addition to my Christmas music library.

“White Christmas” by Darlene Love (from A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector, 1963)

It’s a toss up between A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector and A Charlie Brown Christmas for the nod as my favorite Christmas record. I can, and do, listen to either album multiple times over the holiday season without any hesitation. I’d have to say it is a tie!

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Michael Bublé (from, Christmas, 2011)

Ah, Michael Bublé … the cougar’s Justin Bieber. I’ll cop to having this at my wife’s request. Wait, does that mean my wife is a cougar? Crap.

What’s on your shuffle today?