Friday Five : |ˈfrīdā – fīv| : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button in iTunes and 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 the media player of your choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

“Mercy Street” by Peter Gabriel (from Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats, 1990)

What an ominous way to kick of the first shuffle of 2015.

I have the sort of relationship with Peter Gabriel’s music that I can easily enter into that unencumbered state of utter surrender within the first few notes. The cinematic quality of the track makes it easy, really; putting you exactly where Gabriel wants you.

“For Once in My Life” by Barbara McNair (from The Complete Motown Singles, Volume 7: 1967 (disc 36), 2007)

It’s difficult to reconcile “For Once in My Life” at this tempo. McNair recorded her version in 1965, a good few years before Stevie Wonder recorded his (arguably) definitive version of the Ron Miller tune. What is even harder to comprehend is the fact that Tony Bennet also recorded a version of the tune—also at its intended tempo—in 1967 and rode that recording onto the Billboard Pop Singles chart.

“Back Chat” by Queen (from Queen on Fire: Live at the Bowl (disc 1), 2004)

If anyone doubts just how deep the influence that Chic had on Queen they need only listen to “Back Chat.” While “Another One Bites the Dust” is clearly a take on a Bernard Edwards bass riff, “Back Chat” ups the ante with Brian May doing his best Nile Rodgers imitation in the verses.

“Together ’til the End of Time” by Brenda Holloway (from The Complete Motown Singles, Volume 6: 1966 (disc 28), 2006)

Double-dipping into the Motown well is a heck of a way to start the year off! I’m really only aware of Miss Holloway’s hits, so this tune was new to my ears.

“Halcyon” by Ellie Goulding (from Halcyon, 2012)

“Halcyon” is a beautiful song marred by the production techniques of the day. Goulding’s vocal is nuanced and vulnerable, and the backing track is as cold and artificial as can be.

What’s on your shuffle today?