The Friday Five: March 15, 2013

The Friday Five

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:

“Cameo Lover” by Kimbra (from Vows, 2012)

Singing the killer verse on the year’s biggest tune certainly opened up some doors for New Zealand vocalist Kimbra. Similar to her “Somebody That I Used to Know” partner, Gotye, Vows was actually released in her native geography in 2011 where it was quite successful. “Cameo Lover” was the second single released and is easily the most accessible cut on the album. I don’t usually gush over pop records, but this is pure gold. There are echoes of everything from Phil Spector and The Ronettes, to Björk; all with a hook that will stick for days. What is great is it isn’t even really indicative of what you’ll find on the record, which is an eclectic mish-mash of pop, alternative, avant-garde, and electronic music. This was one of my favorite records of 2012.

“Drive” by The Cars (from Complete Greatest Hits, 2002)

There are few tunes that can take me from joy to melancholy as quickly and efficiently as The Cars’ “Drive.” There is something so disconcerting about the juxtaposition between the detached, synth-heavy track and the emotive vocal delivery of the late Benjamin Orr. Damn, now I need a hug.

“You Be Illin'” by Run-D.M.C. (from The Essential Run-D.M.C. (disc 2), 2012)

He gave a quarter and his order: small fries, BIG MAC!

27 Years later and I can still recite this rhyme like I wrote it myself. Hell, I could probably start at “Peter Piper” and not skip a beat through the last verse of “Proud to Be Black.” Raising Hell was one of the seminal records of my youth; one that still gets play to this very day. Recently I sat down and started to curate an “Essential Hip-Hop” playlist to share with my 14-year-old. He recently started showing interest in Hip-Hop and I figured that it was my job to ensure he had the proper eduction. When I last left off the playlist is 150 tracks deep and I haven’t made it past 1993 yet.

“Welcome Home” by Elle Varner (from Perfectly Imperfect, 2012)

Miss Varner has that inexplicable ‘thing’ that I so desire in my R&B ladies. Maybe it’s the bit of bite to her voice, as if to say “hey, I can be sweet as pie, but don’t think I haven’t fucked a boy up for crossing me.” Her songwriting is definitely tight, though occasionally it borders a bit to cliché for my taste. She’s just starting out, though, so she gets a pass.

“Treat ‘em Right” by Chubb Rock (from The Hip-Hop Box (disc 1), 2004)

This is another cut featured on the “Essential Hip-Hop” playlist, and my cue to get the heck out of here. Have a great weekend, my faithful Fivers.

What’s on your shuffle today?

  • Phil

    Recently I sat down and started to curate an “Essential Hip-Hop” playlist to share with my 14-year-old. He recently started showing interest in Hip-Hop and I figured that it was my job to ensure he had the proper eduction.

    I tried getting my at-the-time 11-year-old to listen to some of the pre-teen-friendly catalog of Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys, and LL Cool Jay just so he could see where it all started. Heck, I even tried to introduce him to DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, but alas, he wasn’t interested and didn’t get it.

  • Phil

    Ramones – “You Should Never Have Opened That Door (Demo)” (Ramones (Expanded), 2001)
    Meh. It’s a demo. A good demo mind you, but still a throwaway for the Ramones. They could probably have written a song like this every day.

    Dio – “Shoot Shoot” (Sacred Heart, 1985)
    Not my favorite tune from Sacred Heart. That honor would have to go to album opener “King of Rock and Roll” or the title track. One of the weakest tracks on the album, “Shoot Shoot” was probably not the best choice for an album closer, and while his playing was always phenomenal in Dio, Sacred Heart was probably not the best way for Vivian Campbell to have departed the band.

    Eagles of Death Metal – “Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang)” (Death by Sexy, 2006)
    This has all the hallmarks of a Josh Homme project. I was just never able to get into it enough to really care despite the rave reviews from music sites and friends. My favorite part on this track is probably the drums. Silly me, I figured it was Joey Castillo behind the kit, but it turns out it’s Homme on this one. Go figure. He’s one super-talented dude.

    Queens of the Stone Age – “Give the Mule What He Wants” (Queens of the Stone Age, 1998)
    Another one from Homme, this time the pre-Oliveri Queens of the Stone Age. I really like the groove on this one. I came late to the QOTSA party, Songs for the Deaf being my introduction, and I doubt Homme will ever top that effort in my opinion.

    Counting Crows – “I Wish I Was a Girl” (This Desert Life, 1999)
    Counting Crows closes out this strange Five with one of Duritz’s trademark tunes made up of deep, almost depressive lyrics about Elisabeth, Hollywood, and being alright (when he’s really not) with a sleek, glossy, sticky-sweet coating of pure pop that makes you almost overlook the darkness beneath. Almost.

  • Mordalo

    I think it’s an acquired thing. I know I didn’t seriously get into hip-hop until later in life. Have the list ready for when he’s ready.

  • Phil

    Oh, he’s into hip-hop and rap. It’s practically all he listens to. He just has no desire to discover where it came from. He thinks it’s all too cheesy. He’s into guys like Lecrae, Trip Lee, and KJ-52. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Mordalo

    Okay, this week’s a bit better. No gloom, no doom, and a Five that’s, well, normal. Yes, I peeked.

    1) James Taylor – Only a Dream in Rio
    This, to me, has been one of JT’s best songs. It’s dreamy, it”s airy, it evokes Rio quite well, even though I’ve never been there. So what do I know, then? Still, I like this song.

    2) fun. – Carry On
    I heard fun.’s We Are Young like everyone else in the world did, but the hook in the song made me want to check out their album. I’m glad I did. It’s one of the best records I’ve heard in recent memory. There’s really no bad tracks. Really, if you haven’t heard it yet, give it a listen.

    3) Four Tops – Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over)
    I am so digging this Five. Great tunes. Even though he’s suffering such great loss, this song is so upbeat, you’re feeling his pain, but you’re tapping your toes. Great dichotomy.

    4) Buena Vista Social Club – Chan Chan
    First Rio, now Cuba. I’m such a world traveler this week in my Five. Another amazing song.

    5) Dr. John – Iko Iko
    And we end the Five this week with a visit to New Orleans! Laissez les bons temps rouler! I love this version of Iko Iko, a bit better than the Dixie Cups rendition. Such a good ending to this week’s Five. I’m just gonna go enjoy this shuffle, and I took a sneak peek at #6…Tower of Power! Yes! Have a great weekend!

  • Mordalo

    Oh, I got’cha. Yeah, I’ve tried to convince my step-daughter to listen to some older music, the origins of Rap and Hip-Hop as well, but she’s 20 and knows everything…sigh…

  • Rock_dawg

    Raising Hell is a touchstone album for me too. “It’s Tricky” is the only one I could recite from memory, but I could probably make a good go at “You Be Illin'” too. “Front row seats, IN FREE!!!, no pay” is a line that has stayed with me since I first heard it for some reason.

    “Cabo Wabo” – Van Halen, OU812
    Does this song need to be 7 minutes long? Probably not, but it’s a great riff and the harmonies on the chorus sell it like nobody’s business.
    “Call It Even” – Vertical Horizon, Running On Ice
    Before arena pop success with “Everything You Want”, there were simpler, acoustic based albums like this. There are some great songs on this album and some so-so ones. This falls in the later category.
    “I Don’t Want To Get Hurt” – Donna Summer, Another Place And Time
    Donna put herself so completely in the hands of Stock Aitken Waterman for this album and the result is a pleasant dance pop record with very little Donna Summer in it. Kylie Minogue, Bananarama or even Rick Astley could have sang this, it sounds just like anything else SAW did in the era.
    “Last Night When We Were Young” – Tony Bennet, The Great American Songbook
    Wow, I’m kind of all over the place today, aren’t I? I could listen to Tony Bennett sing the contents of a phone book.
    “The Lucky One” – Laura Brannigan, Self Control
    Listening to this now (no idea where this mp3 came from, but I remember we had this LP when I was a kid), I was thinking how dull it was: so synthy and early 80’s, nothing too special about it. Then the chorus hits you with all the subtlety of a freight train.

    Have a good weekend, Fivers. And don’t let no girls leave you standin’ in your illin’ stance.

  • Rock_dawg

    Something I couldn’t help but notice in my CD store days is that no one seemed to care about hip-hop catalogue. While you’d see someone pick up the occasional old school compilation or maybe an early Jay-Z or Nas title, most people only cared about what was new.

  • Rock_dawg

    For me, “Only A Dream In Rio” is the soundtrack to taking a deep breath and a long, slow exhale. (See also Donald Fagen’s “True Companion”.) Follow that with an uplifting song like “Carry On” and that sounds like a great way to reboot a lousy day! Glad this week is a little brighter for you.

  • jhallCORE

    1) U2 — “Walk On (Live)” (America: A Tribute To Heroes, 2001).
    2) Ben Harper — “Better Way” (Both Sides Of The Gun, 2006).
    3) Iris DeMent — “Livin’ On The Inside” (Sing The Delta, 2012).
    4) MeShell Ndegeocello — “Dred Loc” (Plantation Lullabies, 1993).
    5) Patty Griffin — “Long Ride Home” (1000 Kisses, 2002).

    Enjoy the weekend.

  • MC_Snocap

    Just mindin’ my own business, eatin’ food and finger lickin’ …

    1) “It” by Prince (1987, Sign O The Times)
    Join me in using The Secret to convince Prince and WB to somehow, someday sign a truce and issue remasters.

    2) “Lonely Days” by Bee Gees (1971, off The Ultimate Bee Gees)

    3) “Mayfair Song” by Air (2007, Pocket Symphony)

    4) “Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, BWV 1051 – Allegro” (Brandenburg Concertos, written 1721)
    This was chopped up on the first Handsome Boy Modeling School album. Now when I hear the original I keep expecting Chris Elliott to interrupt.

    5) “French Kiss (Back Up Your Conversation mix)” by Lil’ Louis (1989, converted from 12″)
    Still a scorcher, musically and, erm, otherwise. Good weekend to all.

  • Michael Parr

    I dig those early Vertical Horizon records. If you have the chance, check out the Richard Marx & Matt Scannell Duo records. The Live Duo record is especially entertaining.

  • Michael Parr

    Exactly, the culture seems to thrive on whomever is dropping the new hotness. If you go away for more than a minute you are old news. Even established acts have a short shelf life.

  • Michael Parr

    Everytime that skinny motherfucker with the high voice walks into a WB office he sets off a flurry of rumors. He was spotted just last year visiting a WB office in LA; sadly, there is far too much acrimony there for it to ever happen.

  • Michael Parr

    I was surprised by just how into it he’s been (so far.) I caught him reciting a bit of “The Message.”

  • Michael Parr

    I never bothered to pick up the Ramones remastered/expanded discs for that exact reason. I mean, really, how different can three chords and Joey’s voice sound? It’s not like they were banging out arrangements on acoustic guitars.

  • Sidney Hollandsworth

    Maybe try working backwards from what she listens to, rather than starting from the beginning? I had the same experience with a younger friend here recently (except he asked me to, as he’d never listened to any rap, really, and didn’t know where to start).

    First mistake was making the first draft the way *I* would want it: from origins to modern. We’ve had a lot better luck starting from new, pointing out specific things he liked in each track, and then taking those sounds back to where they came from. I think it helps get past the “dated” sound if you’re looking for elements that directly influenced artists you already like.

  • Phil

    And this one sounds surprisingly good and well-produced for a “demo,” although I’m not sure if that’s high praise for the demo or a knock against their album cuts.

  • Rock_dawg

    I have the first Duo and like it quite a bit. I never found their other release (releases?), but thanks for the reminder.

  • Tammy Greynolds

    First of all, I wanted to note that Vows was also one of my favorite 2012 albums. If you haven’t already, her acoustic version of “Cameo Lover” is flawless. Now to my five…

    (1) “Scream & Shout (feat. Britney Spears)” by (Scream & Shout)

    The first time I heard this was a link posted on Twitter that was read: “This new Britney Spears video is the equivalent of having glitter thrown in your face for 5 minutes.” I think that’s all the explanation needed.

    (2) “Upgrade U (feat. Jay-Z)” by Beyonce (B’Day)

    Ugh. Skip. Anyone else tired of hearing about this duo? Maybe I just read too much celebrity gossip. Don’t get me wrong: powerhouse entertainers right here. I’m very much looking forward to the Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z collaboration that’s coming to an iPod near you.

    (3) “Treat Me Like Your Mother” by The Dead Weather (Horehound)

    One of the many incarnations of Jack White. The garage-band rock and roll genre is not generally my cup of tea, but Alison Mosshart’s lead vocals really make it for me.

    (4) “Roda” by Céu (Céu)

    A little bit soul and a little bit jazz with a bossa nova twist. I don’t understand Portuguese, but it resonates all the same.

    (5) “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” by Tegan & Sara (Heartthrob)

    This T&S record comes in a close second to The Con for me. Angsty, but in an “I’m going to dance until my feet can’t move” kind of way.

  • Michael Parr

    Yes! I have the single with the remix and the acoustic version. So very good.

    I could safely go without hearing anything from Mrs. Carter for, I don’t know, a good 5-10 years. She is the queen of concentrated overexposure.

  • jhallCORE

    Please. Who do I look like baby? Yesterday’s fool?

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

    In addition to a remastered version of Prince’s best album, it would be nice to see the concert film on DVD as well.

  • Michael Parr

    It has been released, just not in the US.

    Seems about right.

  • EightE1

    AC/DC, “Send for the Man.” This ain’t no gun my pocket; I got the goods in my hand. Send for the man! Send for the man!

    Peter Gabriel, “Big Time.” I’m on my way, I’m making it. I’ve got to make it show, yeah! Send for the man!

    George Harrison, “I Live for You.” Only you keep my eyes open wide — Yes, it’s true! I live for you. Send for the man!

    The Cure, “The Walk (Acoustic Version).” I passed the howling woman and stood outside your door — send for the man!

    Caspar Babypants, “Ring Around the Rosie.” Ring around the violet — the airplane has no pilot! Send for the man!

  • Michael Parr

    Ooh, “The Walk” is among my favorite Cure tunes. Good to see you ’round here again, Mr. Smith.