Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Random Ten

Let's say you've got a wholesome form of entertainment. It's a television sitcom ... about a hilarious Nazi prison camp ... starring celebrity sex fiend Bob Crane ... and future serial kisser and dirty immigrant Richard Dawson. Again, wholesome entertainment.

How would you capitalize on its success? Simple! Have the supporting actors rehash popular songs from the war! Who wouldn't want to be serenaded by the redneck private singing "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me?" Sure, we'd all love to hear Werner Klemperer singing "My Bratwurst Has a First Name," but apparently it just wasn't in the cards. You'll have to make due with LeBeau singing "Shoo Shoo Baby."

Good times, good times.

Alright, time for the Friday Random Ten. You know the drill. Don't make me bring Sgt. Schultz in here.

1. The Notorious B.I.G., "Hypnotize" -- Heh, I think I just made StudioDave's day. It's his secret shame, but he spends most of his time at work playing with his Biggie Smalls Action Figure. Can you blame him? 7/10

2. Nina Simone, "Feeling Good" -- Goddamn, what a great song. No one can wrench every drop of heartbreak and soul from a note from a jazz tune like Nina Simone, and this is probably her best vocal work, ever. She owns this one from beginning to end. 10/10

3. Mos Def, "Body Rock (featuring Q-Tip and Tash)" -- A light, jazzy bit of hiphop. This pairs two of my favorite vocalists with a nice catchy rhythm. Fairly solid, though a little predictable at times. 6/10

4. Hank Williams, "Hey, Good Lookin'" -- One of the all-time classic hits of country's golden era, before Nashville got a hold of the genre and shot it full of sequins and beard stubble. Actually, you can pretty much trace the decline of the country genre by following the Williams clan. Hank Sr. was an old-school legend, fitting his generation's genius. Meanwhile, his kids are a wreck. Hank Jr. is a boozy talentless sellout, and daughter Jett has pioneered the popular subgenre of lesbianish country singers. Bravo. 7/10

5. The Postal Service, "Against All Odds" -- A terrific remake of a nice piece of '80s schlock. I'll let the cast of 30 Rock do the honors. Tracy Morgan: "Dude, you did me a solid. I'm gonna make you a mix tape. You like Phil Collins?" Alec Baldwin: "I have two ears and a heart, don't I?" 9/10

6. Earth, Wind & Fire, "Serpentine Fire" -- Nobody better represents the excellent excesses of '70s disco-soul than the masters of EWF. Apparently, whenever they ran into trouble with a song, the solution was simple. More horns. And, if you listen closely, just enough cowbell. 8/10

7. James Brown, "Down and Out in New York City" -- This was the theme song to the classic blaxploitation flick Black Caesar. ("You had Black Caesar back at the crib? We coulda been rollin' with that the whole time!") The song makes more sense if you've seen the film (all the "gimme a shine, boy" comments, for instance) but it's still a scorcher. Anything associated with Fred "The Hammer" Williamson would be ubercool already, but this one wins it solely on the merits. 10/10

8. Jimmy Castor Bunch, "Hey, Leroy, Your Mama's Calling You" -- Damn, the iPod is really in a funk today. JCB songs are normally seven-minute tours through the band's bong, but this is a short and sweet number with a nice Latin rhythm. And once again, they're sticking it to Leroy. Poor bastard. 9/10

9. The Shins, "Phantom Limb" -- This is the new single from the band's forthcoming (?) sophomore album. A little more polished than the last one, with all the good and bad that entails. Pretty damn catchy, though. I think I like it. 8/10

10. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, "13" -- A little Canadian surf rock from the band best known for doing the theme to The Kids in the Hall. Truth be told, every time I hear a song from these guys, I think we're coming back from a commerical break fora Gavin sketch. 5/10

One of my better weeks in a long long while, I'm ending up with a 7.9 average. Not too shabby.

Feel free to drop your own FRTs in the comments below, or share your own warm memories of Fred Williamson. Whatever.


InanimateCarbonRod said...

Great, now I'm going to have "My Bratwurst Has a First Name" in my head all day.

Otto Man said...

The song's not as haunting as the image of young Rainier Wolfcastle in those short leiderhosen. Yikes.

Mike said...

OM - As you made your way through your best FRT in months, I swear I was on the edge of my seat. Like watching the late innings of a baseball game, trying to protect a one-run lead.

That album cover makes me think of one thing about "Hogan's Heroes": in WWII the US military was strictly segregated along racial lines. White units and black units serving separately.

Yet on this goofy TV series, the US military was integrated . . . in a Nazi prison camp! Oh, to somehow recapture the optimism of the sixties.

peb said...

Whoops! I wasn't expecting an FRT today since Otto visiting my town. Maybe he's just more prepared than I give him credit for. I'll try to fire an FRT up when I get home today. Unless Otto is at my doorstep already then I'll fire something else up.

Re: Hank Williams' bloodline failures - Opinions on Hank III? I haven't heard him but I've heard he does his grandfather more justice than his dad.

Nice 30 Rock reference. It's an underrated show that has made my Thursday night TV watching lineup along with Earl, Office and Sarah Silverman.

George said...

This Random Ten is worth it just for the KITH link. But, alas, "The Night of the Cow" isn't on YouTube. The Internets are not perfect.

peb said...

Hmmm, slow day for the FRT. I guess people aren't feeling it. I'll go ahead with my hastily arranged one anyway.

1. The Clash, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” – I love the Clash, but this isn’t really one of my favorite songs by them. Probably because this is every frat boy’s favorite Clash song. Still, the bass is pretty cool as are the Spanish lyrics in the middle. 6/10

2. The Steve Miller Band, “Fly Like An Eagle” – O.K. This is probably overplayed to death on classic rock radio, but I still think it’s still a pretty cool song. What? You indie rock hipsters disagree? Well, I saw Polvo cover it once. Does that make it cool now? 7/10

3. The Beatles, “Octopus’s Garden” – What, is my iPod tuned to Rock 92? Some children-friendly yet trippy stuff from the Beatles. I think this is one of two songs that Ringo wrote for the Beatles that made it onto albums. I heard somewhere that Ringo had the most post-Beatles #1 hits out of all the members. Take that Ringo-haters! 7/10

4. The Go! Team, “Junior Kickstart” – Finally, something from this century! Although frankly this sounds like something from the ‘70’s of the last century. This should have been a car chase theme from Starsky and Hutch. Which makes it awesome. 8/10

5. Pavement, “Forklift” – When I listen to early Pavement now, I can’t help but think how much they ripped off the Fall. Of course, I wasn’t really familiar with the Fall that much in the early ‘90’s so I thought Pavement was the best band in the world back then. But give them credit for ripping off a good band. 8/10

6. Al Green, “Love and Happiness” – Man, how cool was Al Green? He just seemed like the man in the early ‘70’s. Everyone must have loved to have sex to this back then. Wait a minute…I was born in 1971. When was this album put out? (checks Wikipedia) O.K. December 1972. This seems too hip for the folks anyway. 9/10

7. Stereolab, “Our Trinitone Blast” – Stereolab was right around their peak with this song. I guess that much like Pavement ripped off the Fall, Stereolab took a lot from the German krautrock bands like Can and Neu! But for some reason, that doesn’t bother me as much. Maybe having a hot French chick singing takes the edge off. 9/10

8. Led Zeppelin, “Stairway To Heaven” – Oh come on! Is this some kind of joke? Did someone reprogram my iPod? The world does not need any more words devoted to this song. 5/10

9. 50 Cent, “In The Club” – This is the most ridiculous FRT I have ever had. I’m not really a fan of “Fiddy” as I hear the kids call him, but this has to be one of the best songs Dr. Dre has ever produced. Great beat, the perfect amount of music around the beat and lyrics, great guitar lick at the end. Just great. But one point off for “Fiddy”. 9/10

10. Guided By Voices, “Auditorium” – Every time GBV shows up on my iPod, it’s always some song snippet that lasts maybe a minute. It sounds pretty good for the moment it plays, but I’m always depressed that it doesn’t last long. I suppose that’s the consequence of putting a lot of GBV on your iPod. 6/10

Today’s average is a 7.4 but I don’t think the rating reflects the sheer ridiculousness of my FRT this week. I hope you were as impressed/frightened/curious/appalled as I was.

sideshow bob said...

I like that song by The Shins, even though I don't want Natilie Portman said: It'll change your life!