"Understand Your'e Swede"? Maybe they should first try to understand ow'er English. The title of this album is so badly botched I can't tell if it's a Swedish language instruction album or a introduction to Swedish culture for the new owners of Swedes who want to understand their servants' world better.
Either way, I'm not sure I want to understand anything about the Swedes. Apparently, their culture consists of snowbound games of Red Rover and drifters who roam the trails with a hatchet and a brown paper bag that, in all likelihood, contains a severed head. Or Swedish meatballs. Either way, not appetizing.
Anyway, the arrival of our disturbing Nordic friends from the North can only mean that it's time, once again, for the Friday Random Ten. You know the drill by now -- take out your iWhatever, set it on random, and give us the first ten songs that pop out. If you'd like to get self-reflective, add in a Coolness Self Audit as well, rating the songs on a scale of 0 to 10, with a zero representing the musical equivalent of the needle coming off the record and a perfect ten standing in for something you'd like to walk into a bar in slow motion.
Alright, here's mine:
1. The National, "Looking for Astronauts" -- I don't care how many goddamn hipsters tell me this band is great, the simple fact is that they're not. They are, in fact, one of the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked. I'd say more, but my damn wiener kids are listening. Get off my iTunes, and take those assclowns from Of Montreal with you. Boo. 2/10
2. The Magnetic Fields, "Love Goes Home to Paris in the Spring" -- This'll get the shitty taste out of my mouth. Beautiful indie pop from Stephin Merritt and company, off the excellent 5-song House of Tomorrow EP. The wheels have started to come off Merritt's music machine in recent years as he tries to front four different bands at once (Magnetic Fields, Gothic Archies, Future Bible Heroes and the 6ths) and still maintain the public profile of a slightly miffed hermit. But the heyday of the Magnetic Fields was nothing but gold, and this is right in the sweet spot. 8/10
3. Iron & Wine, "Waiting for a Superman" -- I normally love Sam Beam's mellow reworking of indie favorites ("Such Great Heights," "Peng! 33," etc.) but this is almost a little too mellow. In fact, I think he might be slipping into a coma around the third verse. Still, nicely sweet, especially the guitar solo. 7/10
4. Linda Lyndell, "What a Man" -- A scorching soul song that was later ripped off by Salt'n'Pepa for the chorus of their mid-'90s hit of the same name. The aftertaste of that Chippindalesque video aside, the original is a classic bit of soul. I found this on the excellent Soul Sides collection recently put out by the blog of the same name. Lots of great stuff there. 9/10
5. Dr. Octagon, "Ants" -- While I love the Zapp-like bass-bottom distortion here, that's pretty much all this hiphop tune has going for it. The lyrics aren't that great, the vocals disappointing, and the song rambles more than an Oscar acceptance speech. Eh. 3/10
6. Al Green, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" -- Not only is this a weak cover of the Beatles' classic, but it doesn't even sound like the Reverend Green. He seems to be doing an Otis Redding impersonation, and at times drifts into a little Sam Cooke. He's so all over the place in this song, I forgot who I was at the end. 4/10
7. Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" -- This is an obscure song by a grunge trio from the Northwest. I doubt they're going to go anywhere. This was once cool, but I think it's been played to death. 6/10
8. The Staple Singers, "Let's Do It Again" -- Lordy, lordy, lordy, do I love the Staple Singers. This is an alternately sweet and sexy soul number from the group in their prime. 9/10
9. Stevie Wonder, "For Once In My Life" -- I've always loved this song, but when it became the redemption song for superagent Ari Gold on last season's "Entourage," that kicked it up another notch. Hug it out, bitch. 8/10
10. Chico O'Farrell and Clark Terry, "Spanish Rice (DJ Dolores Mix)" -- This is from a new compilation of jazz tunes remixed by current DJs, called Impulse! The songs here are a little less dancy than the Verve Remixed series, and a bit more left field. The compilation is a little uneven, but this one is good. Our chef recommends that you pair this remix of "Spanish Rice" with the remix of Willie Bobo's "Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries." 7/10
Alright, I was all over the place today. I wound up with a 6.3 average, which represents yet another step in my slow but steady descent to craptacularity. At this rate, I'll be polling near the president by fall.
Let's see what you've got, folks. Fire up your newfangled electronical musical doohickeys and give us the first ten songs that spill out. And, if you'd like, throw in a Coolness Self Audit as well.