I actually had a number of Christmas album covers to choose from for the Big Day, but this one just seemed a little bit more demented than the others. There's something about a grown man in dress shorts and a bad orange wig that brings to mind the classic comedy of Telemundo's Sabato Gigante! (You know, the Spanish-language insanity showcase where all the characters seem like inspiration for Chesperito?) And what's more all-American than that?
Alright, time for this week's Friday Random Ten. For those of you who've suffered memory loss due to excessive nog consumption, here's how it's done: Open up your iTunes, set it on shuffle, and give us the first ten presents that pop up. It doesn't matter if they're reject songs from the Island of Misfit Toys, give them to us all the same. If you're really feeling the yuletide spirit, go ahead and throw in a Coolness Self-Audit as well. (But be honest. Santa's watching.)
1. The New Pornographers, "The Laws Have Changed" -- As a card-carrying music hipster-doofus, I know I'm supposed to adore this band, but for some reason it just doesn't click. It's fine enough indie pop, but I'm not floored by it. Meh. 6/10
2. Black Keys, "10 A.M. Automatic" -- Some nice distorted guitar rawk from the Black Keys here. This song will not only kick your ass, but it won't even remove the unfiltered Pall Mall from its lips as it does so. 10/10
3. The Cure, "Killing an Arab" -- This may be the very embodiment of mid-'80s college rock. It's hard to outgeek a song based on French existentialist Albert Camus's L'Etranger, but when you perform it as men with eyeliner, that pretty much seals the deal. Nice job, Nerdlinger. 7/10
4. Bloc Party, "This Modern Love" -- I generally like Bloc Party quite a bit, but this one doesn't really do it for me. It's a little too light and airy, and just reminds me of a lesser song by Blur. Meh, again. 6/10
5. The Roots, "Thought @ Work" -- A nice little driving groove from the uneven Phrenology CD. Not my favorite Roots song (I'm detecting a theme here) but still solid enough. 7/10
6. The Stanley Brothers, "Just a Little Talk with Jesus" -- Pretty straightforward bluegrass from the legendary Stanley Brothers. They toy around with the tone and tempo throughout, moving from slow, deep-pitched vocals to fast-as-Hades, high-toned ones. It's all over the place, and peversely nice. 7/10
7. Pete Rock and CL Smooth, "It's Like That" -- A sweet song from the classic Mecca and the Soul Brother. What the hell happened to these guys? 9/10
8. The Replacements, "Little Mascara" -- I think Tim was the peak of the Replacements' career, and this tune certainly explains why. It has just enough rock and just enough angst to make for a great adolescent anthem. Well played, my friends. Well played. 8/10
9. Gorillaz, "Latin Simone (original version)" -- While I enjoyed the album's version with Ibrahim Ferrer providing the vocals, I actually think I prefer this version with Damon Albarn on the mike. Maybe it's the sadder-sounding English lyrics. Maybe I just hate people who speak Spanish. Who knows? 9/10
10. The Beatles, "Baby, You're a Rich Man" -- For those of you who've never heard of this group, they're an obscure pop band from England. They played in the 1960s, and I believe one of their members was later in the supergroup Wings. This is a great, if largely neglected, tune from Magical Mystery Tune. Nice stuff, but I suppose the Beatles are not exactly cool. 6/10
Alright, that gives me a typical 7.5 average. I'm apparently running at three-quarters coolness, which is pretty much par for the course. Boo!
Sick of talking to your relatives? Then go ahead and drop a Random Ten of your own in the comments, and be sure to give the gift of a Coolness Self-Audit as well. Baby Jesus would've wanted it that way.