Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday Random Ten

I can't say for certain, but I'm fairly certain that this album cover from Butch Yelton and Upbound was the inspiration for the movie Frailty, in which Bill Paxton swings his own little gospel axe and sends a bunch of demons back to the fiery depths of hell. Or maybe it was Bill Pullman. Hard to say.

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 control
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
Got it? Alright, here's mine:

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.

11 comments:

jt said...

1. Bruce Springsteen, "Candy's Room" -- from a live recording.
2. Kris Kristofferson "Me and Bobby McGee" -- althought this song is associated (with good reason) with Janis Joplin, KK actually wrote it. His is a very good version, too.
3. Sputnik "Hello" -- normally this kind of poppy rock is a little too mushy for me, but I like this one
4. A Mighty Wind "Start Me Up" -- "you make a grown man cum-by-ya." Needn't say any more.
5. Johnny Cash "I'm Bound for the Promised Land" this is from Unearthed IV: My Mother's Hymnbook.
6. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals "Friends." I was underwhelmed by Cold Roses at first, but I'm liking it more and more these days
7. Moments in Grace "Broken Promises" Um ... no.
8. Kevin Kinney "Everything's So Different Now" -- I have no idea how this song got in my playlist, but I don't hate it.
9. Ben Harper & Blind Boys of Alabama "Where Could I Go" -- more gospel ... weird. This, too, is a good one.
10. Son Volt "Medicine Hat (Live Acoustic Cafe)" -- Son Volt, early SV especially, rocks.

man -- not too good today. I'm thinking 3.1415 for my score.

Otto Man said...

4. A Mighty Wind "Start Me Up" -- "you make a grown man cum-by-ya." Needn't say any more.

Classic. I don't think I realized how dirty the original was until I heard the cover.

Norbizness said...

When's the last time something got under a 5? Remember: without darkness, there is no light. My LSD told me that.

Otto Man said...

When's the last time something got under a 5? Remember: without darkness, there is no light. My LSD told me that.

On one of my lists? It's been a while. There was a Bee Gees tune a month ago that earned a 3, and a crap indie song that got a 4 sometime back. Other than that, not a lot.

The problem here is that, unlike my last laptop, in which I put everything I owned on CD onto the iTunes, this time around, I only loaded up the songs I really liked. And that's why so few under-five songs appear on my FRT here -- there are so few of them to begin with on my iTunes.

We'll be back with more "Behind the Music" after these commercial messages.

Thrillhous said...

so cool you want to walk into a bar in slow-motion to it

Classic.

Thanks to incessant Fox News watching, I tend to lurch between the highest ratings and the lowest ones. I'm all about extremism. Pinhead!

1) Invisible Sun - Police. See what I mean? I don't like that many police songs, but this is my favorite. Stupid Ireland. 8/10

2) Baby Be Mine - MJ. I think this is the theme song of the K Street project. 4/10

3) I Know Somethin' - Alice in Chains. From back when hair bands roamed the earth, a super great song. 10/10

4) Long Distance Runaround - Yes. This is from Yessongs, the long version that flows into a ridiculously long bass solo by Chris Squire. 7/10

5) Run Like Hell - Floyd. Nope, still not digging the Wall. 2/10

6) Sweet Dream - Jethro Tull. I got a fever, and the only cure is more flute. Oh wait, that's cow bell. Man could this song use some cow bell. 2/10

7) Let's Get Rocked - Leppard. I must admit I haven't plumbed the depths of this song's subtle lyrics, but at least you can dance to it. 6/10

8) Ever Since the World Began - Survivor. Never listened to it. Like everyone else who has this album, I just wanted the Rocky song. 1/10

9) Coming Home - Scorpions. An awesome song of their most awesomest album, Love at First Sting. 10/10

10) (-) Ions - Tool. 4 minutes of what sounds like a bug zapper. 1/10

George Soros sucks!

Otto Man said...

I'd like to thank Thrillhous for showing the range of coolness that's present here. Clearly, he's a man who understands it all -- the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, and the creamy middles.

The Doc said...

Thanks for the handy ranking scale, Otto. I think I've been using a more subjective "how much do I like this song right now" scale; I'm going to have to keep this one in mind.

1. The Village In The Morning - The Magnetic Fields. A little underdone, but it's a nice start. 7/10.
2. Around This Corner - Sarah Harmer. I absolutely love this woman. She goes into tangents live, but still an excellent musician. 7/10.
3. Alpha Surfa - Man or AstroMan. Surf music was cool for about 20 minute, total. I still like it, but not cool. 5/10.
4. Depression - Black Flag. Punk rock, baby! Never one of my favourite bands, but good for a thrash. 7/10.
5. Superman - R.E.M. A song that most people don't even realize is a cover. 6/10.
6. Muddy Waters (live) - Howlin' Wolf. Ooh, I love me some blues, but at 6.5 minutes, this song is about 3 minutes too long. 6/10.
7. Sidecar - I Have Known Love. What a song. Slow electropop, like a warmer Depeche Mode with a female singer. 9/10.
8. Set Yourself on Fire - Stars. The kind of song that makes you think of high-speed travel montages. In a good way. 8/10.
9. Because - The Beatles. I've been in the process of arranging this for my a cappella group for over 3 years. It's hard to make it sound good, because it's so delicate. 7/10.
10. Little Red Corvette - Prince. Now, it may not be surprising that I have a Prince soft spot, and as much as I love this song...it's just not that cool. 5/10.

Today's FRT leaves me with a decent average of 77/100, right up there with the toilet papered Fonz.

Otto Man said...

Superman - R.E.M. A song that most people don't even realize is a cover.

Well, that's news to me. (See, I told you folks I was like most people.)

Who did the original, Doc?

alex supertramp said...

the LSD never lies .. wait, maybe that's always lies, I usually get confused...no time for witty banter ..i'm late, I'm late, and tom petty has alreaady started cutting the chick cake..

1- leave the city - magnolia electric company

2- rock and roll fantasy - pink mountaintops

3- ride it on - mazzy star

4- after the gold rush - neil young

5- seven days - azure ray

6- hit it and quit it - funkadelic

7- geezers need excitement - the streets

8- ugly roses - devils wielding scimitars

9- slide your ass - the spinanes

10- god of love - bad brains

ORF said...

I'm back, bitches. And today, my iPod has assumed the identity of a black man trying a variety of ways to get laid. In the words of one Ali G., CHECK IT:

1) In the Jailhouse Now-Soggy Bottom Boys-7/10
Ok, this one doesn't apply to my "black man" theory, altho I suppose it could be ABOUT a black man. (Sorry, that was terrible.)

2) Eternalists-Talib Kweli-8/10
One of the strongest tracks off his first solo album. Note to the iPod: take it a little slower than Talib on the output.

3) Swing My Way-KP & Envyi-4/10
This is from the "Can't Hardly Wait" soundtrack (you shut up!) I think my iPod is a young, first-timer of a black boy on this track trying to get me to dance all close at the seventh grade mixer. That movie, by the way, AWESOME!

4) Talkin'-Mos Def & Pharoah Monch 7/10
Speaking of Mos...always a safe bet. Now we're talkin'

5) Doo Wop (That Thing)-Lauryn Hill-6/10
Ok, back up. This song was WAY overplayed and just in case anyone was looking for pointers, I would probably NOT sleep with you if you asked me over and put this song on all smoove like. Plus: the song's about NOT being a slut. So Lauryn would totally just talk me out of it anyway.

6) Bullet Proof Soul-Sade-9/10
This is one of her best. And what I said about the lack of effectiveness of number 5 would probably NOT apply to this one. I'm just sayin'

7) Chicago-Sufjan Stevens-8/10
I am still enamored of this album. And I bet this incarnation of my blackmanipod wears some nerdy-yet-sexy glasses anc quotes Cornel West and Frederick Douglass. Just steer clear of the Maya Angelou, ok?

8) Boogiedown-Mos Def-8/10
When in doubt...like I said, always a safe bet

9) The Tide is High-Blondie-6/10
Reggae-lite. For help bringing the white chicks into the fold. Best served with a little Courvoisier.

10) Farewell Ride-Beck-5/10
The title of this is so hilarious in light of the theme I've given today's FRT that I can't even believe it...it's like we went from the first time to the break-up sex in one fell swoop!

Ok, on the whole, my fine black iPod came up a little short today. Which is a shame because I'm usually easy to please. Better luck next time, brother.

TravisG said...

Great coolness parameters, by the way.

1. "Sunplus," J.O.Y. -- Clanging, yet fun, dancepunk. 8/10

2. "Miss Hesitation," Jesse Colin Young -- The Youngbloods' namesake leader struck out on his own with mixed results. This one is real nice, though. 7/10

3. "Saved By Zero," The Fixx -- One thing leads to another, yet always ends up at zero. 3/10

4. "E Preciso Perdoar," Ryuichi Sakamoto -- I'm not entirely sure what this is, but it's really great. 9/10

5. "Suck and Run," Console -- Like a German Garbage. 7/10

6. "Happy Today," The WoWz -- Great song, terrible band name. 8/10

7. "Do Ya," ELO -- Do I? Prolly not. 3/10

8. "Talking Dust Bowl Blues," Woody Guthrie -- I don't know how to rate this, really. 7/10

9. "The Red Telephone," Love -- Critical favorite, cult classic, blah blah blah ... It's fucking great is all you need to know. 8/10

10. "Too Many Creeps," Bush Tetras -- See entry for #1. 8/10

Aggregate: 6.8