The Friday Five: March 21, 2014

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:

“Cult of Personality” by Living Colour (from Vivid, 1988)

<Beavis voice> Yes! Yes! Yes! </Beavis voice>

Seriously, how many metric tons of ass does this opening riff kick? Vernon Reid’s tone is a curious thing; overdriven, but completely articulate with that reverb that doesn’t so much echo, as envelops the sound. As much as I’ve always been a fan of this record, I’ve really grown to appreciate the underlying politics as the years have passed and the messages have become more clear.

This is a helluva way to kick off a Friday Five.

“If I Ruled the World” by Kurtis Blow (from Tommy Boy Presents: Hip Hop Essentials, Volume 8 (1979-1991), 2006)

And to you sucker MC’s that sing my song
And it’s a song that’s strong about right and wrong…

Eleven years before Nas would set the world on fire with his ‘cover,’ Kurtis Blow was schooling MCs and making the world a happier place for all the good B-Girls and B-Boys.

“Baby-Baby-Baby” by TLC (from Now & Forever: The Hits, 2003)

If I had to choose a favorite TLC track, this might be it. Well, today, anyway; on other days we might be talking about “Creep,” or “Red Light Special.” Oh, hell … there’s no point in trying to pick a favorite. That “Oh baby” that Chilli drops in the Anita Baker range at the end of the tune just kills me.

“Untitled (Love Song)” by Counting Crows (from Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow, 2013)

I’ve never heard the original The Romany Rye version of this tune, but I sure to love the Crows’ version.

“Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News (from Live at 25, 2005)

There is something so antiseptic about this entire record that it completely obscures what a great live act Huey Lewis & The News are. As someone who has been to see the band more times in the last 10 years than he’d care to admit, I’d have to say this is not a good live record.

What’s on your shuffle today?

  • Mordalo

    I’ll toss out a quickie for old time’s sake.

    1) Wu-Tang Clan – Clan in Da Front

    2) Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis – Night Life

    3) Engelbert Humperdinck – Les Bicyclettes de Belsize

    4) Van Halen – And the Cradle Will Rock…

    5) Dean Martin – Ain’t That a Kick in the Head

    If you’re not suffering from Five Whiplash after this Five, you never will…

  • Phil

    “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour (from Vivid, 1988)

    Great song, great album, great band, and great guitarist. Vernon Reid was one of those guys (much like Alex Lifeson) whose playing was so insane at times you just couldn’t figure out what he was doing.

  • Phil

    4) Van Halen – And the Cradle Will Rock…

    “Have you seen Junior’s grades?!”

  • Phil

    Queen – “Play the Game” (The Game, 1980)
    One of the first albums “I” bought with “my own” money (actually, my mom bought it for me since I probably had no money at 10 years old), and if memory serves, I got it at a grocery store in the town near where I grew up in the rural Mississippi Delta. I had received News of the World for Christmas the year before from an aunt, so this was a purchase based on name-recognition only and not influenced by anything I may have heard on the radio. I don’t remember my initial reaction, but I’m sure I was surprised by how different much of this album was from NOTW . This is not a go-to song or album—my favorites were and still are “Dragon Attack,” “Coming Soon,” and “Sail Away Sweet Sister”—but I still quite like it.

    Eureka Machines – “Everyone Loves You” (Do or Die, 2008)
    I didn’t quite remember how I originally stumbled onto these guys (a quick peek at my blog reminded me it was via The Paranoid Squirrel Rock Show podcast), but I’m glad I did since they’ve become one of my favorites of a handful of bands and artists most folks have never heard of. I have covered them quite extensively on my blog, the video for this song being the second thing about them I ever posted. How can you not like a band with pop sensibilities and a sense of humor that knows how to rock, who dress in matching black suits with white ties, and whose frontman plays an Ibanez Iceman and sports a mohawk (long since abandoned due to the same hair-loss affliction I suffer from)?

    Queen – “Bicycle Race” (Greatest Hits I & II, 1995)
    Another Queen tune? This is turning out to be an interesting Five. Classic Queen track that I’m way too familiar with to provide any kind of objective opinion. I love it.

    Lizzy Borden – “Visual Lies” (Visual Lies, 1987)
    Lizzy Borden is one of those acts I latched onto back in the early days of my musical experimentation and interest in bands that were just different enough that most of my friends had never heard of them (some things never change, huh?)—bands like Anthrax, Flotsam and Jetsam, Queensrÿche, Metal Church, and Grim Reaper. For those of you who might not be familiar with them either, Lizzy Borden was a theatrical metal band with a lead singer who had adopted the same name (ala Alice Cooper), and they were just weird and heavy enough not to get lumped into the hair metal scene. Their theatrics were fairly derivative of KISS, Alice Cooper, Ozzy, etc., but their music was really good, and I loved their first three albums. Visual Lies was their third release, had much slicker production than the previous two albums, and featured guitarist Joe Holmes, who would go on to enjoy a short stint with Ozzy. This title track is a slower, less metal, mid-tempo number, and while not my favorite, is not a bad track at all.

    The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Manic Depression” (Are You Experienced?, 1967)
    “Manic Depression” is one of the only Hendrix songs I really like. *drops mic, walks off stage*

  • Rock_dawg

    “Road To Nowhere” – Talking Heads, Sand In The Vaseline: Popular Favorites
    A top pick for any road trip playlist.
    “I’m Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail” – Billie Joe + Norah, Foreverly
    I do love when Norah Jones sings this type of country torch song, but overall I find this album just OK.
    “Bobcaygeon” – The Tragically Hip, Phantom Power
    I spent a few summers in and around the small community of Bobcaygeon, Ontario when I was growing up. While I don’t relate to the story in the lyrics (something to do with coming back home there after a riot in Toronto), the laid back vibe of the song brings back many fond memories.
    “Eulogy” – Tool, Ænima
    A friend once said he wanted this played at his funeral. I don’t think the lyrics describe him at all (I’ve variously heard it’s for Bill Hicks, a bandmates father and L. Ron Hubbard?!) and if he lives to old age, I don’t know that he’d still want it played, but if I’m around, I might do it just to confuse people.
    “Love Is A Battlefield (Extended Version)” – Pat Benatar
    Well, this Five is all over the place, innit? Most of the time if anyone working near me has an odd look on their face, it’s becase of whiplash like this.

    Happy weekend, Fivers!

  • Mordalo

    Two Queen tunes in one Five? The gods love you, obviously.

  • Mordalo

    I considered picking up the Billie Joe + Norah album, but decided against it. What I heard didn’t impress me, but I was afraid I was the only one who felt that way.

  • Phil

    “Road To Nowhere” – Talking Heads, Sand In The Vaseline: Popular FavoritesA top pick for any road trip playlist.

    Back when I was in college (and when gas was $.88/gal), a buddy of mine and I ditched class a couple of times on particularly nice afternoons to drive a stretch of highway nearby that we dubbed “the road to nowhere.” We never did figure out where it led (anyone who has driven back roads in the Mississippi Delta will understand this), but we suspected that if we kept going, we would have had to have run into the Mississippi River at some point. And yes, we played this song.

  • Michael Parr

    Ouch. Seriously…

  • Michael Parr

    Vernon has a Jazz base to work from that makes his playing all the more confounding. Like Alex Skolnick of Testament, he has a chord voicing vocabulary that seems endless.

  • Michael Parr

    I don’t regret buying it, honestly. It’s a good “Sunday Morning” record, very easy to listen to and overall enjoyable.

  • Mordalo

    Five Whiplash is my specialty, it seems. I show up and everyone gets it…

  • jhallCORE

    1) Lucinda Williams — “Blessed” (Blessed, 2011). This song has been resonating with me a lot lately.
    2) TLC — “Diggin’ On You” (CrazySexyCool, 1994). Hard to believe this album is 20 years old but still dig it.
    3) Dee Dee Bridgewater — “Midnight Sun” (Live At Yoshi’s, 1998). Terrific live jazz album from a great performer at one of the great jazz spaces, Yoshi’s.
    4) Matthew Sweet — “All Over My Head” (Blue Sky On Mars, 1997). Not one of his best but easy and infectious.
    5) Lyle Lovett — “I’ve Had Enough” (Step Inside This House, 1998). Few do simply stated melancholy better than Lovett.

    Enjoy the weekend.

  • Rock_dawg

    Like Michael says, it’s a solid, mellow, laying-on-the-sofa-and-reading kind of record. And it’s not a *bad* album, I just find it pretty meh. I’d rather put on one of Norah’s Little Willie’s discs.

  • MC_Snocap

    1. “The State We’re In” by The Chemical Brothers feat. Beth Orton (2002, Come With Us)
    For a band best known for glowstick bangers, they manage less commanding stuff – like this – darn well.

    2. “Power to the People” by Public Enemy (1990, Fear of a Black Planet)
    Wow – I just dusted off the CD of this yesterday, blasting it with the windows down. This isn’t my favorite cut, but the album really stands up; the Bomb Squad production still captivating, the overall vibe still exciting.

    3. “Miss Gradenko” by The Police (1983, Synchronicity)
    I recall seeing someone single this cut off as dross. Hey, man, simple and unpretentious works sometimes.

    4. “Bombay 405 Miles” by Kalyanji Anandji (1980, off Bombay the Hard Way)
    Imagine Ennio Morricone in a groovy mood wanting to work in a sitar.

    5. “Unrelated Thing” by They Might Be Giants (1994, John Henry)
    Simple strikes again.

    Good weekend all!