My copy of Paste magazine came in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and if you don’t know about Paste, they provide readers with a CD sampler in each issue. While checking out the latest offerings on this month’s sampler, one song in particular made me perk up my ears. Itâ€™s by a band called HoneyHoney whose song â€œLittle Toy Gunâ€ got quite a few spins in my car last week. The more I listened to the song, the more I played the music geek game of â€œSpot the influence.â€ The more I played the game, the more my mind started to find â€œsound alikeâ€ artists, and thus this mix was born!
Etta James, â€œSomethingâ€™s Got a Hold On Meâ€
I could have included the â€œOh, I love this songâ€-inducing â€œAt Last,â€ but why go with a top-of-the-hour cooker, when you can go with a sleeper and get more mileage out of it?
Adele, â€œRight As Rain”
Born in 1988, but Adele channels a sound that is clearly out of London in the mid ’60s. She’s one of those “old soul” singers who seemingly skipped over the last 25-30 years of music and went right to the fount of Etta James because she knew there wasn’t a better place to start.
HoneyHoney “Little Toy Gun”
I had no idea who this group was when I first heard this song. But after visiting their My Space page, I found out they are a duo based in L.A. whose label, Ironworks Music, was founded by Jude Cole and Kiefer Sutherland. While the other songs on their EP don’t have the same playful flavor as this song, I can forgive them because, quite frankly, I just love Suzanne Santo’s voice.
Christina Aguilera, “Ain’t No Other Man”
What can I say? Of all the Barbie Doll acts of the late ’90s, it was indisputable that Aguilera was the one who could really sing, but I pegged her, and not Britney, to crash, burn, and maybe even star in a porn movie years after her hey day. Okay. I was wrong. It’s a good thing I’m not a betting man. One thing I’m sure of, however: this song is good on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin.
Amy Winehouse, “You Know I’m No Good”
It’s clear that Amy didn’t get the memo (or watch enough episodes of “Behind the Music”) to know that your drug and booze fueled decent into the toilet is in Act III of your career — and not at the beginning. Her voice is not something that I would call soothing, but she does covey a sense of utter burnout in this tune.
Lauryn Hill, “The Sweetest Thing”
Forget all that tabloid stuff you’ve been reading about Lauryn, and just chill to Ms. Hill’s groove.