With the power of the incredibly funny Yacht Rock retrospective still pulsing through my veins, I had no choice but to make Herbie Mann this week's album cover.
While Herbie wasn't technically part of that "smooth music" genre, I think a smooth jazz flautist deserves an honorable mention. And with his balding, mammoth-chested, oil-lubed, porn-mustachioed raw sexuality, he certainly belongs smack dab in the middle of the Kenny Loggins-Michael McDonald-Ron Burgundy pantheon. Face it, with a look like that, he had no choice but to title the album Push Push and you, gentle ladies, have no choice but to submit to his smouldering velvet-haired sensuality and cry out the name "Herbie!" in ecstasy.
Anyway, the appearance of Herbie the Love Bug on this site can only mean it's time for the Friday Random Ten. You know the drill by now, so let's just get this thing going.
1. Victoria Williams, "You R Loved" -- Nice little tune, and a solid antidote to the type of Christianity being peddled by the Religious Right. "Jesus walked on the water, He turned the water into wine / Went down to the drunkards, told them everything is fine / You are loved, you are loved, you are really loved." Suck it, Falwell. 7/10
2. Beck, "Broken Drum" -- I really love the Guero album, but this is probably one of my least favorite songs from it. A little too slow and drony for my tastes. Eh. 6/10
3. Air with Hope Sandoval, "Cherry Blossom Girl" -- Don't let the credits fool you: This sounds a lot more like the breathy acoustic stuff that Sandoval's done so well with Mazzy Star than it sounds like the soft electronica of Air. It's soft and gorgeous, like Farrah Fawcett's hair. 10/10
4. Prince, "Kiss" -- This may be His Purple Badness's first appearance on the Friday Random Ten, and what better song for the debut? Not exactly cool, but still solid. Tom Jones covered it with Art of Noise. 'Nuff said. 6/10
5. Superchunk, "Precision Auto" -- Back when I still owned a working record player, I had a series of 7" singles that gave a different spin to this song. This is the standard version, but it still rocks in Superchunk's pogo-pop ways. (The song title refers to an auto repair shop in the band's hometown of Chapel Hill. Thank you. I'll take "Obscure Indie Rock Trivia" for $200, Alex.) 8/10
6. Dead Kennedys, "Moral Majority" -- Well, there's a nice coincidence. Two bits of Falwell bashing in a single post. The song itself is pretty disappointing, but anything with a chorus of "blow it out your asses" directed at the MM works for me. 6/10
7. Merle Haggard, "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" -- There are some Haggard songs you can admire from an ironic place, and some that are just great tunes. This is one of the latter. Speed on, brother! Hell ain't half full! 7/10
8. Parliament, "Chocolate City" -- One of the funkiest anthems from the Black Power era, and one of the most politically even-handed too. (After all, he does ask God to bless not just the chocolate city, but also its vanilla suburbs.) Man, we made the wrong Clinton president. 10/10
9. Blackalicious, "Aural Pleasure" -- And the funkitude continues. From the phenomenal Blazing Arrow CD, this is a nice groove with Jaguar doing guest vocals alongside Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel. Absolutely great stuff. 9/10
10. Muddy Waters, "Little Geneva" -- Some classic Chess-era blues with just brilliant guitar work and powerful vocals, from one of the all-time greats. 9/10
Some last minute coolness saves me from what would've been a new low. Instead, the Coolness Self-Audit leaves me with my standard C-plus score of 7.8.
Think you're better than me? Bring it on. Drop your own Random Ten in the comments below, with or without the Coolness Self-Audit. (And I should note that had we elected George Clinton president, the Internal Revenue Service would do nothing but Coolness Audits. You had your chance, America, and you blew it.)