The Friday Five: March 28, 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:

“Bi” by Living Colour (from Stain, 1993)

Will you look at that! The boys in Living Colour lead off the Friday Five for a second week, with this week’s entry again shining a light on social commentary. “Everybody loves you when you’re bi…” croons Mr. Glover with a wink and a nod. I’m not sure why, but I recall this song being more funky that it actually is. Maybe there was a remix?

“Always on Time (feat. Ashanti)” by Ja Rule (from Exodus, 2005)

Raise your hand if there is at least one Ja Rule tune in your library. For what Ja lacked in lyrical skill he certainly made up for in “earworm” factor. That is to say Mr. Rule was probably one of the whackest MCs to get over on the general public, but he did so with such pretty window-dressing that it almost didn’t matter.

“Labels” by GZA/Genius (from Liquid Swords, 1995)

“We form like Voltron and GZA happen to be the head.” While ther members of the Wu-Tang Clan have gone on to significant commercial sucess, its (easily) most skilled MC has never found his niche. He’s released a handful of records in the last 20 years with only two—1995’s Liquid Swords, and 1999’s Beneath the Surface—have move over 500K units. I’d be willing to bet more people are going to hear that new Wu-Tang record than GZA’s last, and that’s a damn shame.

“These Beats Are Made for Breakin'” by The Chemical Brothers (from Elektrobank, 1997)

The Chemical Brothers were always good for releasing singles chock-full of worthwhile b-sides. Man, I miss singles.

“Needle Hits E” by Sugar (from Besides, 1995)

Another ’90s-centric Friday Five has come to pass, this time on a pretty dour note. Mould’s songwriting in Sugar always skewed towards the dark side, with a bright and poppy sheen over it. “Needle Hits E,” which originally appeared as a b-side on the “Helpless” single, is a plea to a “brother” to pull himself together. How this one got relegated to a b-side is beyond me, but clear indication of how great the material written for that first Sugar record really is.

What’s on your shuffle today?

  • Phil

    Coldplay – “Daylight” (A Rush of Blood to the Head, 2002)
    Coldplay seem to catch a lot of grief, but I quite liked them up through X & Y, and I think they are better musicians than they get credit for being. For some reason I never got on board with Viva la Vida. To be totally honest, I never really heard much of it other than the song they “stole” from Satriani, so I may well have loved it, but by that point they were so huge, I would have probably lost interest anyway. I think I played AROBTTH fairly extensively when it was released—my iTunes play counts got so jacked up I had to start over at some point—and “Daylight” is a good song with a bit of a groove to it.

    I Mother Earth – “Earth, Sky & C.” (Scenery and Fish, 1996)
    A friend of mine turned me onto IME’s debut album Dig, and it was different enough with its jam band feel and Latin-influenced rhythms that I promptly borrowed every album he had and liked them all enough that I started buying them for myself. Easier said than done. Even though the band put out only five albums, a couple of them must be out of print, because all I could track down at the time were used import copies for about $45 each. I decided I didn’t like IME that much. This isn’t a particularly bad track, but it’s not great either. I remember liking this album way more than my actual listening of it reveals. Memory is a funny thing.

    Anthrax – “Discharge” (Persistence of Time, 1990)
    Persistence was the last album to feature Joey Belladonna on vocals during his first run with the band, and it was probably the hardest album for me to get into at the time. Their previous albums had been funny, and despite being very heavy, had catchy melodies and choruses—at least as catchy as 80s thrash got. But this album was dark and serious and heavy in a completely different way, and it took me awhile to really appreciate it despite its having some excellent material that showcases Anthrax at their most progressive.

    Kansas – “Don’t Take Your Love Away” (Drastic Measures, 1983)
    Looks like I’m the one with a case of Friday Five Whiplash today! Since I was hitting my musical stride in the 80s, the John Elefante-fronted Kansas is the version I was introduced to, somehow either not having been exposed to “Dust in the Wind” or not realizing it was a Kansas tune until my youth pastor made me a couple of mixtapes with Kerry Livgren’s and Elefante’s more overtly Christian lyrics and themes. I think the two albums with Elefante at the mic get poo-pooed more than they deserve, despite this one not standing the test of time very well with its definite early-80s vibe. There is a huge stylistic difference between Livgren’s three songs and the remainder of the album written by Elefante and his brother Dino. This is one of the better tunes on the album and one of my favorites.

    Goo Goo Dolls – “Slide” (Dizzy up the Girl, 1998)
    “Slide” helped sell a gazillion copies of this album and catapult the Goo Goo Dolls into superstardom. And while this track, along with “Iris” and “Black Balloon,” received the most attention, there is some other very strong material here—”Dizzy,” “Broadway,” “Bullet Proof,” and “All Eyes on Me” being the ones I’m most drawn to.

  • 1001Songs

    Thanks to my blog, 1001Songs, I live, musically, in 1974. So I thought I’d shuffle my 1500+ song “1974 playlist” and see what kind of boogaloo comes up.

    1. Pilot “Sky Blue” ( Pilot, 1974) the last track from the debut album by a Scottish band with a knack for Beatlesque melodies. The single “Magic” reached #5 in the summer of ’75.

    2. Ronnie Lane “You Never Can Tell” ( Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance, 1974) A Chuck Berry cover from the Small Faces founder’s second solo album. Laid back and smooth.

    3. Bob Marley and the Wailers “Them Bellys Full” ( Natty Dread, 1974) The first Wailers album without Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, Natty Dread is also one of the best. This song’s warning that “a hungry mob is an angry mob” should unsettle the top 1%-ers in the land.

    4. Electric Light Orchestra “Poor Boy” ( Eldorado, 1974) My fave ELO album. Someone said Eldorado made him feel like playing the air cello. Great stuff!

    5. The Sweet “Teenage Rampage” (single, 1974) One of the biggest hits of 1974 in the UK, the Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman penned single did nothing in the US.

  • Rock_dawg

    I probably saw I Mother Earth live more than any other band at the time and played the shit out of Dig and Scenery & Fish. “Levitate” was the ultimate moshing song!
    When original lead singer Edwin left, I gravitated more to his solo album Another Spin Around The Sun than Blue Green Orange, even though it was much poppier than the IME albums, then quickly lost interest in both of them, not playing any of those CD’s until a little while ago when I started putting together a 90’s Rock playlist. Happily, I still liked most of them.
    Apart from a compilation I didn’t know they released anything else! The band regrouped (without Edwin) a couple of years ago and put out a pretty solid one-off single, “We Got The Love”, last year on their website.

  • Phil

    I love “Levitate,” but I lose patience with some of Dig‘s longer songs because there’s just not enough there to hold my interest. I definitely need to be in the right mood to listen to IME these days. And this coming from someone who can manage to stay focused on the crazy-long antics of The Mars Volta on De-Loused in the Comatorium!

  • Rock_dawg

    Guess I’ll be refreshing the songs on the work iPod this weekend: all day the tunes have been pretty uninspiring and I’ve tried three times to find five songs in a row worth writing about.

    “Salvation” – The Cranberries, Big Shiny 90’s Vol. 2 compilation
    Dolores O’Riordan’s vocal tics always grated on me too much to ever be a Cranberries fan, but this rocking track has too much momentum to ignore. Is there an instrumental mix out there?
    “Yearning” – The Trews, Den of Thieves
    Some meat and potatoes rock straight out of Nova Scotia.
    “Youthanasia” – Megadeth, Youthanasia
    If my friends and I were driving around in 1995, it’s a pretty good bet that this was in the car. (As would be R.E.M.’s Monster and the Tragically Hip’s Day For Night.)
    “Lovely One” – The Jacksons, The Essential Jacksons
    Oof! Normally whiplash doesn’t bother me (they’re all songs I decided I want to hear after all), but that was a bit of a harsh transition. Some of the stuff that MJ was doing on family albums Destiny and Triumph was just as great as the stuff on Off The Wall and Thriller.
    “I’ve Been Waiting (Live)” – Matthew Sweet, Girlfriend [Legacy Edition]
    I love Matthew Sweet and the sound of his records, but I also enjoy the rawer sound on the live tracks on Goodfriend and Son of Altered Beast.

    Happy weekend, Fivers!

  • Rock_dawg

    Very true. I remember at the time thinking Dig had better singles (“Levitate”, “Rain Will Fall”, “Not Quite Sonic”) but Scenery & Fish was a better album overall.

  • Phil

    “Youthanasia” – Megadeth, Youthanasia

    Megadeth had completely fallen off my radar by the time this album was released, so I had to jump over to Spotify to remind myself how this one went. While I was there I decided to sample the entire album, and despite having much of it in my library, I didn’t recognize anything other than “Train of Consequences” and “A Tout le Monde,” a song that the local heavy/alternative station played so much, I would be just fine if I never heard it again.

  • jcb7472

    Quickly, as I run out of the office. FRIDAY Y’ALL!

    1) Dirty Gold: “California Sunrise” (Roar, 2011) – Chill, indie pop song
    2) Muddy Waters: “Herbert Harper’s Free Press News” (Electric Mud, 1968) Classic blues rock album
    3) Viva Brother: “Darling Buds of May” (Famous First Words, 2011) Brit rock/pop
    4) Girl Talk: “Shut the Club Down” (Feed the Animals, 2008) GIrl Talk is the best mash-up DJ
    5) Buddy Holly: “It’s Too Late” (The Chirping Crickets, 1957) Oldie but goodie

    Have a great weekend!

  • geezlouisexo

    It’s been a hot minute since I posted last and I should warn that my list is limited as I recently got a new iPhone. That being said, here are my 5:

    1. Sam Smith – “Money on My Mind”
    Confession: I had no idea who this guy was until one of my favorite YouTube channels had him featured in a little ditty they like to call “everyone heres a good song dont listen to anything else today bye”. (Thank you, SUPERFRUIT.) I’m fairly obsessed now. This song specifically is my jam. Like, this song is going to be featured in my life’s soundtrack. I’m going to listen to this at least two more times before moving on…

    Moving on.
    2. Phox – “Noble Heart (Live)”
    A little bit sullen, a little bit whimsical. Phox satiates my love for bob-your-head indie music with a dash of angst.

    3. Typhoon – “Hunger and Thirst”
    Perfect example of the limitations of my playlist at the moment. I saw these guys for the first time in concert last week and now my ipod runneth over. I can’t get over the BIG-ness of their sound. This particular tune has that great balance of smooth electric jamming with some sweet lady harmonies accompanying and loud, cymbal-clashing, yelling with violins a’blazing.

    4. Laura Stevenson & the Cans – “Caretaker”
    I love the realness of this song. The lyrics could just as easily be spoken as though in a story to a friend while the music plays melodically in the background. Even as the drums enter into a slow waltz, the story goes on.

    5. Movits! – “Fel del Av Gården”
    A Swedish hip-hop swing band? Count me in! I found these guys shortly after I found myself really into the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis record. There was alot about this particular song that felt like the up beat, bordering satirical riffs of “Thriftshop”. I can’t understand a word, but music is a universal language, isn’t it? Fun. Just fun.

  • jhallCORE

    1) Lauryn Hill — “Everything Is Everything” (The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, 1998).
    2) Sting — “Brand New Day” (Brand New Day, 1999).
    3) Gonzalo Rubalcaba — “Contagio (Live)” (Imagine: Live In America, 1994).
    4) Anita Baker — “You Bring Me Joy” (Rapture, 1986).
    5) Sue Foley — “Same Thing” (Love Comin’ Down, 2000).

    Enjoy the weekend.

  • B-ROCK

    What a perfect Friday! The Friday Five capped off by my Cards kicking Cat ass later tonight! On to the show…
    Or as Al Bundy would say, “LET’S ROCK!”
    Guided By Voices – “Dragons Awake” (Do The Collapse)
    No matter what the detractors think, this is a great record.
    Robert Pollard – “Stiff Me” (Elephant Jokes)
    A Bobby twofer! This Five is starting off great.
    Johnny Cash – “She Used To Love Me A Lot” (Out Among The Stars)
    It’s hard to believe that they can still come up with great JC songs long after his untimely death. Rock on, Johnny!
    Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – “Royals” (3-2-14 Aukland, NZ)
    Is there nothing this man can’t do? If he ever decides to cover “Happy Birthday,” watch out.
    Drive-By Truckers – “Dragon Pants” (Dragon Pants EP)
    Patterson Hood idolizes Jimmy Page and those pants he wore in concert with the dragons on them. He also, like Mr. Page, wanted to “drink whiskey out of crystal glasses, do cocaine off of strippers’ asses” and “play that guitar with a bow!” Great Five ender.

  • MC_Snocap

    1. “Out Go the Lights” – Spoon (2010, Transcendence)
    Love the Spoon. Hope “Veronica Mars” royalties make up for never (to date) nailing a deserved, across-the-board hit.

    2. “Rio” – Duran Duran (1982, off Greatest)
    As a song, “Rio” has never really connected for me; its glossiness and busy-ness hold attention as a record. By the time LeBon is doing that “Hey, now – Whoo! Lookie there!” shtick, I wish DD really were Chic meeting the Sex Pistols, with Nile Rodgers and crew laying down a bed for John Lydon caterwauls.

    3. “Friends Forever (Fickle Remix)” – Puffy AmiYumi (2006, Splurge)
    One of their Andy Sturmer-penned tunes. The remix (and semi-phonetic English) stiffens the band’s liveliness, though credit due for switching things up.

    4. “To Love Somebody” – Bee Gees (1967, off The Ultimate Bee Gees)
    OK, this is a record and a song.

    5. “Musique (version longue)” – Daft Punk (1996, off Source Lab 2)
    Didn’t quite get this when it came out; it wasn’t til “Homework” that I fell into their groove.

    Good weekend, all!


    I have NO Ja Rule in my library (except for a handful of featured appearances. SO THERE.

    1) “Swine” by Lady GaGa (from “ArtPop”, 2013): She is falling apart in most spectacular fashion, isn’t she? This is the first time I’m consciously listening to this song. It’s OK, I guess. I might delete this. She just gives off a vibe of “I’m trying way too hard” and it’s really off-putting to me.

    2) “Your Precious Love” by Erykah Badu & D’Angelo (from-I think-the “High School High” Soundtrack, 1997): A very pretty (and very faithful) re-do of the Marvin & Tammi classic. Probably the most conventional either artist has ever sounded.

    3) “Inside” by Toad The Wet Sprocket (from “Dulcinea”, 1994): Probably my favorite song from their catalog. And, because I’m a blooming idiot, I didn’t realize until I saw them live last year that Glen does not sing lead here.

    4) “T.I.T.S./F&J” by Terence Trent D’Arby (from “Symphony Or Damn: Exploring The Tension Inside The Sweetness”, 1993): If you checked out on Terence after “Hardline,” you missed some dope shit. This track is a good’un. BTW, just found this out the other day as I was doing research. TTD’s real name? Terence Howard. Hard out here for a pimp, indeed.

    5) “Wish That I Could Tell You” by Babyface (from “A Love Story”, 2003): A very pretty track from the unreleased ‘Face album (allegedly rejected by L.A. Reid.) Some friend, huh?

  • Michael Parr

    Tell me you don’t have “Thug Lovin’ (feat. Bobby Brown)” in your library! Again, the lyrics are dog shit, but it’s BOBBY BROWN. Who else put Bobby on a record in the ’00s?

    Funny, one of my favorite Toad songs, “Nothing is Alone,” is also sung by Todd. My favorite Toad song will always be “Windmills” or “Crowing,” depending on the day and my mood.

  • Michael Parr

    Oh, Andy Sturmer… why did we lose you to J-Pop?

  • Michael Parr

    Agreed. I had lost the will to suffer Mega Dave’s baloney by this point. While I love Marty’s playing the material lacked the focus of the previous two records.


    Nope!! No “Thug Lovin’!”

    The Murder Inc. folks must’ve had the high grade weed. Weren’t Whitney & Bobby in a Ja Rule video?

  • Phil

    “Inside” is one of my favorite Toad songs as well, along with a handful of others. It’s just too hard to pick one favorite.