The Friday Five: October 7, 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:

Water Runs Dry” by Boyz II Man (from Motown Milestones in Music, 1995)

Oh, Boyz II Men, whatever happened to you? My wife’s statement upon hearing this: “Are you actually going to make this public?” Which she followed closely with, “this is what is wrong with kids today, they don’t any sappy break-up songs to listen to.”

Words” by Umphrey’s McGee (from Saftey in Numbers, 2006)

Jammy goodness from Umphrey’s 2006 effort.

Back to the Earth” by Rusted Root (from When I Woke, 1994)

Okay, the shuffle is just messing with me now. I can’t recall the last time that I heard this record, but the recent inclusion of “Send Me on My Way” in a commercial nabbed my son’s attention, who asked me to add it to his iPod. I’m drawing the line if he asks for a hacky sac.

Lemon Meringue” by Fishbone (from Give a Monkey a Brain…, 1993)

That’s more like it.

So Appalled (feat. Jay-Z, Pusha T, CyHi Da Prynce, Swizz Beatz & The RZA)” by Kanye West (from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2009)

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is almost a year old and still gets played once every other week in the Parr household.

What’s on your shuffle today?

Gonzo’s Top 10 of the Decade

Hello Ickies! I know I’ve been absent from posting for far too long. I shall try harder in 2010 (though I think I said the same thing last year).

The first decade of the new millennium produced some great music, from established artists and from new folks. Keeping with the format set forth by Mark and Pete, I offer my top 10 of the decade. Narrowing it to ten was a near impossible task. I adopted Pete’s “one album per artist rule,” which helped. Also know that these are in no order whatsoever. I simply can’t rank them. We’ll go chronologically. That seems fair.

First, I’ll briefly plug my two-disc Aughts (oughts?) mix that Pete mentioned. Check it out and enjoy!

Outkast – Stankonia (2000)
Still my favorite Outkast record. I am certainly not one to knock Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. But for me, Stankonia has held up better as the new decade dawns. That might just be a product of having played the hell out of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. But personally, I feel like when Outkast hit, they made us realize that hey, you can actually have really good hip hop in the top 40.

Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)

Speaking of albums that I overplayed in the earlier part of the decade, Daft Punk’s sophomore effort is certainly another example. There were so many big songs off this – whether their bigness was represented in college airplay or appropriation by television commercials. “One More Time,” “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” “Digital Love,” “Something About Us,” “Face to Face” … Lord. This was essential weekend grooving for a good 2 years of my college life.

Sigur Ros – ( ) (2002)

This album blew me away. At the time, a friend described Sigur Ros as music to watch glaciers move by (or something along those lines). I was impressed first with the laboriously slow tempo of the tracks. More than that though, was the emotional depth in an album of songs who had no true lyrics to speak of. You may recall that the songs are sung in “Hopelandic,” wherein the idea was to go for the phonetic sounds that seemed most effective rather than a language proper (though structurally Hopelandic is based on the band’s native tongue of Icelandic).

The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)

This album cemented the Flaming Lips in music history. They’d had some success with “She Don’t Use Jelly” and more recently, The Soft Bulletin. But Yoshimi took them to the next level. Although their follow up (2006’s At War with the Mystics) was great and their current release (Embryonic) is also quite good, it all goes back to Yoshimi. It’s their masterpiece.

Jay-Z – The Black Album (2003)

“S’ya boy!” Speaking of canonic, career-defining albums, there is little doubt in my mind that Jay-Z’s Black Album is his magnum opus. It almost makes me think that maybe he was serious about retiring, and put everything into what was to be his swan song. Of course that isn’t the way things panned out. Nonetheless, the album is a hip hop classic, track after track.

White Stripes-Get Behind Me Satan (2005)

I love the White Stripes. No, really. And I’ve gone on record as naming Jack White the artist of the decade. The Stripes have yet to disappoint me. Sure, 2007’s Icky Thump didn’t live up to its predecessors, but even their worst album is still pretty damn good. I didn’t think they could top Elephant, but 2005’s Get Behind Me Satan did just that. I love that they aren’t afraid to experiment – they relish the chance to step outside of their blues-rock/garage comfort zone. Satan was all over the place stylistically, and each fore was a success. The summer that this came out, I seriously listened to it at least twice a day for a month.

MIA-Arular (2005)

Pete might be onto something in saying that MIA is a love her or hate her type of artist. I love her, though I’ve played her for others that remain unimpressed. I was floored upon hearing Arular – it was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. It sounds cliche to say, but MIA is truly a hybrid artist, meshing so many genres and cultural flavors into one. 2007’s Kala is also amazing, but not quite the sonic dance floor assault that Arular is. She’s allegedly at work on the third album, so here’s hoping.

Chromeo – Fancy Footwork (2007)

Quite possibly my pick for best party album of the decade. They’re cheeky, funky and they’ve mastered the Minneapolis sound. Fancy Footwork just makes me want to dance, from start to finish. There is not a bad track on the album. They’re also a good time live, and they’ve slated a new disc for a summer 2010 release. I can’t wait.

Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours (2008)

More dancing. Aussie electropop outfit Cut Copy harken back to the 1980s synth dance of groups like New Order, but manage to do so in a way that takes them beyond being a mere retro or ripoff act. In essence, Cut Copy effectively takes emotive 1980s dance music and updates it for the new millennium. (Can I still refer to this as the new millennium ten years on?)

Santogold – Santogold (2008)

A year ago, I claimed Santogold’s self-titled debut as my favorite disc from 2008, and my feelings have not changed. The Brooklynite alternately incorporates hip hop, new wave and ska influences among others, all adding up to one of the most refreshing albums of the decade. And she keeps good company – Diplo, Switch, Spank Rock, Amanda Blank…I very much look forward to what Santogold/Santigold offers up in the new decade.

The Friday Five: August 28, 2009

The world will look up and shout

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.

The Five:

Björk – “Headphones (Ø remix)” (from Telegram, 1996)

I can only admit to being a pedestrian fan to Björk‘s career after this record, but Debut and Post rank high on my list of favorite records from the ’90s. Telegram was essentially the remixed version of Post with the exception of “The Modern Things” and “It’s Oh So Quiet”. Out of all the tracks on the record The Brodsky Quartet version of “Hyperballad” was my favorite and was featured on many of my mix tapes of the era.

Jay-Z – “Girls, Girls, Girls” (from The Blueprint, 2001)

I have a strange love/hate relationship with Jay-Z. If you were to peek at my library you’d see every single record he’s put out since 1996 but I’d be hard pressed to name even one album cut outside of the singles. I’ll buy The Blueprint 3 when it comes out and will listen to it twice and it will get cataloged with the rest. This track is irresistible though. Featuring Q-Tip, Slick Rick and Biz Markie on the hook and Hov flowing with more swagger than Al Pacino in Scarface it’s an instant classic.

Megadeth – “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” (mp3) (from Rust in Peace, 1990)

In retrospect, Rust in Peace has aged considerably better than most metal records from that time period – I’m looking at you Metallica‘s Black Album – and this track in particular has resonated time and again. While the timing of it’s release made most assume it was commentary on the first Gulf War, Mustaine has gone on the record stating that the inspiration for the song was the ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland.

Primitive Radio Gods – “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand” (mp3) (from Rocket, 1996)

The ’90s produced more ‘One-Hit Wonders’ then you can shake a stick at. Primitive Radio Gods fell in alongside acts like Sneaker Pimps and Ruby with a mix of downtempo beats juxtaposed against alternative leaning instrumentation and vocals. Built off a sample of  B. B. King‘s “How Blue Can You Get?” the track managed to peak at #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and #7 on the Hot 100 before the Primitive Radio Gods faded into obscurity.

Paramore – “Misery Business” (mp3) (from RIOT!, 2007)

The first time I heard Paramore‘s Hayley Williams‘ voice it instantly had my attention. How could this tiny (then) teenage girl have such a huge voice was my first thought. The second thought was that they were going to be huge. Williams‘ voice combined with the killer hooks the band is known for have brought them tons of fans and critical praise, not to mention an opening slot on the No Doubt reunion tour.

Five down, who’s got five more to share?

A Nudge in the Right Direction

I swear I was only going 60!!

Editor’s Note: Ah Sunday, it’s time to relax and you know what that means a glass of wine, your favorite easy chair and of course a few nudges in the right direction.

  • The All Points West Music & Arts Festival is taking place this weekend at New Jersey’s Liberty State Park. Jay-Z took up the Friday night headliner slot vacated by the Beastie Boys and paid tribute by opening with the classic “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”. (link)
  • ChordStrike has what could be the oddest “cover” that you’ll ever experience with an unlikely take on M.I.A.‘s “Paper Planes”. (link)
  • It looks as if Foreigner has gone the Journey route with a Wal-Mart exclusive triple-disc new + greatest hits package and Matt over at Addicted To Vinyl has the details. (link)
  • Jeff Vrabel introduces us to the ‘redonkulous’ trailer for Guy Ritchie‘s Sherlock Holmes and proved that even hundred old characters have fanboys. (link)
  • Popdose chart master Jason Hare drops a Chart Attack from 1992 featuring En Vogue, Boyz II Men, Jon Secada and quite possibly one of the worst tunes ever. (link)

American Music Awards

The American Music Awards were on tonight. I watched a little bit. Quick observations:

  • I still don’t get Mary J. Blige or Jay Z. Jay Z played his Budweiser song. It made me think of a Budweiser commercial.
  • I respect the Dixie Chicks for standing up to the right wingers and all, but the song they performed tonight? Zzzzz…
  • I really like Jimmy Kimmel’s sense of humor. And his show.
  • I felt very sorry for Barry Manilow during his performance of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “What the World Needs Now”. Out of place (and out of face, for that matter – plastic surgery gone a wee bit too far).
  • The show was so tame and safe that I actually enjoyed Fall Out Boy’s performance. Finally, a little rock & roll.
  • Nelly Furtado is hot.
  • I’m writing like Larry King in his USA Today column.
  • I realized that I’ve grown a little too old for the AMA’s. My heyday for the AMA’s was the 80’s, and I still remember this 1985 performance; to this day, my favorite live performance of “Purple Rain”…