Anyway, the appearance of supergroup Butch Yelton and Upbound -- man, that name just rolls off the tongue and right to Jesus's ear, don't it? -- means that it's time once again for the Friday Random Ten.
Audience participation has been slacking, as you people have devoted your attention to time-wasters like "work" and "family." So here's a refresher course on the FRT.
First of all, get out whatever thingamajig you use to play those new-fangled electronic songs, set it on random, and give us the first ten songs that come forth from the spirit world.
And, as always, if you're ready to run with the big kids, give us a Coolness Self-Audit as well. Remember, the audit is an optional feature for the FRT, sort of like power windows and curly fries. But if you decide to go with it, here's a handy rule of thumb:
0: painfully uncool, the musical equivalent of losing bladder controlGot it? Alright, here's mine:
1-4: bad, the kind of song you'd get out of bed to turn off
5-6: classic tune, but one everyone knows
7-8: somewhat cool, a little off the beaten track
9-10: so cool you want to walk into a bar in slow-motion to it
1. Ray Charles, "Tell Me How Do You Feel" -- Some classic Ray Charles from the late Atlantic years. The song starts with a blistering bit of Hammond organ, and then segues into the usual Ray-and-the-Rayettes call-and-response rhythm-and-blues. (I think I just sprained my hyphen button with that last sentence.) Anyway, solid stuff. 7/10
2. Smashing Pumpkins, "Ava Adore" -- I'm a little ambivalent about late-career Pumpkins, but the chunky bass line in this song always works for me. There are rumors the Pumpkins might be getting back together, but it'll probably be some bastardized version that includes Billy Corgan, Tommy Stinson on guitar, some guy from the laundromat on bass, and a drummer to be named later. Eh. 6/10
3. Handsome Boy Modeling School, "The Truth (featuring Roisin and J-Live)" -- This is one of my favorite HBMS tunes, largely because of the odd stuff it combines -- a spare piano and drum background, the sultry vocals of Roisin Murphy of Moloko, and a jargon-filled hiphop interlude by J-Live. "Now presiding in this court of hiphop / Justice, my rap forte/ Is judge, jury and prosecuting D.A./ Et ceteras, paraphrase / My modus operandi / is carpe diem / whether de facto or de jure / Comprende?" Never has making no sense sounded so cool. 10/10
4. The Radio Dept., "Against the Tide" -- This song is so ethereally dreamy it even has chirping birds in the intro. Breathy lyrics, lush instrumentation, and sugary soft beats. WARNING: Should not be listened to while operating heavy machinery. 6/10
5. Jets to Brazil, "I Typed for Miles" -- Off their first and best album, this song is angst set to 4/4 time. You've got to wonder the story behind a song that ends with screams of "You keep fucking up my life!" repeated over and over again. 8/10
6. Lou Rawls, "Season of the Witch" -- Apparently, Lou is reaching out to us from beyond the grave. This is one of his many excellent, velvet-voiced covers of counterculture rock tunes. Beautiful stuff. (If you'd like to hear more from Lou, check out the commentary on the DVD for "Anchorman." He makes an appearance about halfway through, and has no idea why he's there. Will Ferrell and company just ask him about his singing career and completely ignore the movie. Terrific.) 7/10
7. The Velvet Underground, "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" -- This is an early rambling tune from VU, one that sounds like it could've been performed by the Grateful Dead or another late '60s jam band. Pretty good stuff. 8/10
8. The Killers, "Under the Gun" -- Normally, the Killers' new New Wave revival is something I enjoy, but this particular song just seems a little empty and trite. I guess that's a pretty accurate representation of a lot of the original New Wave stuff, but it doesn't work any better now than it did then. 6/10
9. Jerry Reed, "Another Puff" -- I always had a soft spot for the Snowman, so this monologue-song about his lifelong love of cigarettes may be higher in my book than most people's. Still, you have to love a song that has Reed greeting his nic fits with an "IloveitIloveitIloveit." If only his dog Flash was involved somehow. 7/10
10. John Lee Hooker, "Key to the Highway" -- From the otherwise great album Burning Hell, this is a fairly standard blues strummer from Hooker. Not bad, but not great either. 6/10
Alright, that gives me a 7.5 on the coolness scale. I'm not sure what three-quarters coolness means -- I've got an image of Fonzie strutting out of his office/men's room with toilet paper on his boot heel -- but that's apparently where I'm at.
Let's see where you're at, too. Drop your own FRT in the comments below and, if you've got the stones, throw in a self-audit as well.