27 August 2008

Something to Blog About, The Song Shuffle

OK, I'm firing up the Zune software, and I'm hitting shuffle on the entire music collection, no restrictions, let's see what pops up, and I'll write about each song for as long as it plays (only to look for links after I get tired of this experiment) . . . (listed by artist, song --- album)

1. Bob Marley, Duppy Conquerer --- Songs of Freedom, Disc 1
Yeah, that's the stuff, good start, not one of his more well known songs, but it's got a nice easy loping riddim. And if you don't own the 4 disc Songs of Freedom set, what's wrong with you? Good thing this is a short song, I don't really have anything else to say about it, now it's just waiting to see what pops up next . . . . . . . . . . What the hell is a "Duppy" anyway? (that will haunt me till I look it up, if I get a long song next, that's what I'll be doing)

2. Cut Copy, Saturdays (Reprise) --- Bright Like Neon Love
No such look, this is just a snipet, I don't think I've even listened to this whole album yet, sounds like it might be good though, I sample most any new release that looks half way interesting, I like the 'all you can eat'-ness of Zunepass

3. The Cure, The Blood --- The Head on the Door
Damn, mighty fine album, this. Starts with a Spanish guitar riff, add in a dose of depressed sounding Robert Smith, layer on a heavy dose of a solid rhythm track, and you've got yourself something good. The Cure are much better than their fans would make you think they are. You don't have to be a depressed adolescent addicted to kohl eyeliner to enjoy their music (but it sure as hell helps) Still no time to look up what the hell Duppy means, at least this is a good song that I haven't heard in years, yeah shuffle!

4. Sam Butera & the Witnesses, Pennies From Heaven --- Ultra Lounge, Vol.1
Hey, I went through a lounge phase back in the early 90s, didn't everyone? (and I was into the neo-swing thing a few years before "Swingers", I had been to most of the joints in the film before Favreau and company even thought of that film)

5. Sia, Little Black Sandals --- Some People Have Real Problems
Sia, she's good, she's a bit of a change of pace after Sam Butera, but that's the nature of randomness (not that switching gears from The Cure to Sam was exactly normal, either). This is one of the better tracks on this excellent album. Go ahead, click over to your favorite seller of MP3s, and buy yourself a copy of the whole album, you won't be sorry. She's got a solid voice, an interesting way in using it, and a solid band behind her. She seems a bit goofy from TV appearances I've seen (I missed her live when she blew through town).

6. Haircut 100, Boat Party --- Pelican West/Plus
This was their attempt at Spandau Ballet-ish smooth grooviness. It was a B-Side on their big hit Favourite Shirts. It's been long enough ago that this no longer sounds so dated. Funny how that works. Some songs from ten years ago sound ancient, but other songs from 25 years ago sound fresh. Damn, this song is more than 25 years old, now I feel old. I don't think people now really appreciate just how 'funky' some of the early 80s British new wave bands were. There were the heavily electronic outfits, but there was also some nice organic sounding stuff, too.

7. The Untouchables, Twist & Shake --- A Decade of Dance (Live)
I dislike live albums generally, but there's no other Untouchables available on Zune, and I can't not have The Untouchables. They were local gods for a few years during my Junior High School years. I saw more than a few shows, they used to play all sorts of festivals back in those days.

8. Kodo, Nanfushi --- Tataku (Best of Kodo II, 1994-99)
Drums, the whole drums, and nothin' but the drums (Japanese style). This song sounds more 'drumline'ish than Japanese. It's an interesting melding of drumming styles, though. Wouldn't want to make a steady diet of this stuff, don't think I could sit through an entire album of just drumming, but as an occasional song, it's a percussive blast of energy. OK, this song is only half over, it better go some where soon, cause it's starting to lose me. Nice quiet bridge, now it's building towards something, don't remember hearing this before, so I don't know ahead of time where they're taking me. That's always interesting. Kodo is best experienced live, I think, it's different when you can see it and feel it throughout your whole body, then nothing but drums for 90 minutes is no problem at all. OK, some nice syncopations and big beats at the end, good finish.

9. Steely Dan, My Old School --- Countdown to Ecstasy
Ohh, smooth sounds and bitter lyrics. I know, big surprise coming from Steely Dan. Seriously talented, great studio musicians, great headphone music, also stuff of this ilk is directly responsible for punk and new wave. Kids can't aspire to 'smooth', this ain't 'rock' anymore, it's professionals getting together and trying to out do each other. There's a place for that, and it sounds good, but it ain't 'rock', that's for sure. But hey, it still has cowbell, so it can't be all bad. And even in a minor Steely Dan song you can expect to hear some interesting changes, tricks, and licks, and this song is no exception. This song is about 90 seconds longer than it needs to be, but I don't hate it, just wish they'd be more to the point, and less masturbatory.

10. Cuby & the Blizzards, Your Body Not Your Soul --- Nuggets, Vol 2
I love me some garage, even from foreigners. Vol. 2 of Nuggets is all un-American bands, and it rocks hard. It's a bit more psychedelic than the first collection, but both rock hard and are worthy additions to the library of any person who considers themselves a fan of good music. This song is a straight ahead rave up, solid stuff.

11. Funkadelic, A Joyful Process --- Music For Your Mother, Disc 2
An instrumental from earlier Funkadelic. Not too polished, and that's a good thing, has some nice strings+horns accents. Both bouncy and orchestral, strange juxtaposition, but it works. Great drumming, too, along with a fuzzy bass line. If Barack Obama strutted out to this song at tomorrow's appearance, I might even switch my vote (OK, not really, but if dude really does break out with Springsteen and Bon Jovi, he definitely loses my vote)

12. Carla Bruni, L'Amour --- Quelqu'un M'a Dit
Ohhh, L'Amour. Damn, Sarkozy's one lucky little President of France. She's got a seriously seductive purr of a voice, and even if I barely understand a word, I'm still totally won over by her (and her band's not too bad, either). She came out with an English language album this year, but the French language album this song is from sounds better (but both albums are very listenable).

13. Prince, I Wanna Be Your Lover --- Prince
Damn, Prince and Funkadelic in the same shuffle. Not bad, not bad at all. This is one of his best pre-Controversy songs. His first hit, first of many (yet he deserves so many more hits than he's had, he has no equal over the past 30 years). It's two songs in one, really, the first part is a bouncy little song, then after the vocals end, the song goes on as a solid little jam. He was a freakishly talented young little freak back then. All of that still applies other than the young part. His guitar playing isn't given enough credit, either, you can hear his skill, even this early on. There's no way the next song can top this . . .

14. Cut Copy, Unforgettable Season --- In Ghost Colours
I'm not even sure why I downloaded this. It's kind of interesting though. Who are these guys? Guess I'm going to have to listen to both albums I downloaded from them now, this ain't bad. Crunchy guitars, vocals a touch annoying, but it's got a nice new-new wave feel to it. Part of the problem with being an old fart hearing stuff like this is you can hear all the bands that they're cribbing from as strongly (if not stronger) than their own material. It's hard to hear this stuff as being fresh and new, which is unfair to them, but unavoidable, must sound like a great discovery to younger ears, though.

15. Stevie Wonder, They Won't Go When I Go, Fulfillingness' First Finale
This is the least interesting album from Stevie Wonders ridiculously talented half decade. Still a great album, full of good songs, but hints of the crap he'd be putting out after this phenomenal period seeps out from the cracks. This song is a bit too serious, not too interesting, really. OK, I take that back, it's utterly ridiculous the more I hear it. Still a mystery what happened to him in the 80s and 90s. He had the most remarkable five album run in the early-mid 70s, but after that, it all kind of fell apart from a quality standpoint. Occasionally he came out with something good, but most of it was Ebony and Ivory or Woman in Red level dross. Seriously, this is a pretty (unintentionally) silly song both lyrically and in execution, what was he thinking? If I'm offending you with my opinion and this song touches deeply down to the depths of your soul, sorry 'bout that.

16. The Velvet Underground, Venus in Furs --- The Velvet Underground & Nico
Shiny, Shiny, Boots of Leather, Whiplash Girlchild . . . I wrote a paper on this song, back in the late 80s. My English Prof got a bit too excited over it, though. Turns out he was seriously "in" to the works of Sacher-Masoch. Never tried reading it myself, most later German-language romantic literature is a bit too mannered for my tastes. Goethe's not so bad, though. I love this song, and whole album, used to listen to it over and over and over again back during my high school, "I'm going to listen to the original bands that inspired the bands I like" phase.

17. Wendy & Lisa, White --- Wendy and Lisa
From their first solo album after "The Revolution" disbanded. They're really talented composers, and they've done well for themselves lately scoring film and TV soundtracks (they do all the score work for Heroes, they also did Crossing Jordan). This is very much of its time, has that mid to late 80s smooth but funky jazz feel to it. Don't think I'd make a steady diet of this genre, but the occasional reminder of this sound isn't bad at all. There's a real nice deeply buried guitar riff running throughout the song, but the lead instruments are sax and piano on this instrumental piece. It's getting late, I'm cutting this off at 20 songs, let's see if something truly embarrassing pops up (you'll have to trust me and assume that I haven't already censored any of the songs that have popped up). . .

18. Stone Temple Pilots, Trippin' On a Hole in a Paper Heart --- Tiny Music...Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop
By the time I'm done typing the band,song---album info for this song it's half over. Great song, title's too long, though. They don't get the praise they're do, probably cause they're a bit more 'commercial' sounding than their grungy brethren, but out of all the bands from that time period, they may have rocked the hardest and most consistently. Weiland is a solid vocalist, and the band could wail. But, some of the songs are kind of anonymous.

19. Hooverphonic, Club Monterpulciano --- Blue Wonder Power Milk
Groovy song, this. Groovy album, this. Groovy band, this. Their first album was amazing, this album was pretty good, too, but that first album was something special. Not much to say about this, it's a solid bit of euro-chill out music. Anyone out there remember 'chill out' rooms in clubs?

20. The Factory, Path Through the Forest, Nuggets, Vol.2
Another bit of late 60s psychedelica from a band you've probably never heard of. I love me some garage sounds, though. This one's got the fuzzy freak out guitars going for it, and an insistent beat. It's a good song, just on the edge of self-parody, but never goes over that edge. Remember back when every bad movie from the late 60s and early 70s had a bad club scene with a truly awful fake psychedelic band playing in the background?

OK, that's enough of this, good way to kill some time, and keep my fingers busy, if you've read this far, my apologies, don't you have better things to do?

(also, not going to bother finding YouTube links where available, the ones you've heard before, you know, the obscure stuff, probably won't be on YouTube, so I'm not going to spend time on the hunt)

(One last thing, before it keeps me up all night . . . Ahhh, so that's what Duppy means, I'm pretty sure I knew that at one time, and if I hadn't been so busy typing while the song was playing, I probably would have sussed that out from the lyrics of the first song on this list, oh well)

(that's your vocabulary word for the day, try and work "duppy" into a sentence some time before Thursday becomes Friday)

1 comment:

bill said...

She seems a bit goofy from TV appearances

In concert she was goofy and a bit of a squeaky-voiced airhead -- total ball of fun. Then when she sang, a powerfully strong voice that was at times stunning. My biggest problem with this CD is that it doesn't come close to the concert experience.