For the first time here at the Friday Random Ten, I'm featuring a bizarre album cover that I actually used to own. Well, technically, my parents owned it, but I'm pretty sure it was purchased for my benefit. If not, me and my Dad really need to have a talk. Or an intervention.
At the time, I'm pretty sure I didn't catch the Springsteen reference -- I was four, so cut me some slack -- but I have to think that the good people from E Street might have been unsure of how to react to this honor from the good people of Sesame Street. On the one hand, you've clearly made it big when you're the basis for a spoof like this. On the other, you can't be too thrilled with the muppets cast to play you. Seriously, who should be more pissed off? Clarence Clemons, who is replaced here by the semi-retarded, bakery-addicted Cookie Monster? Or the Boss himself, who is replaced by a dorkily-dressed meganerd with an odd fondness for pigeons and his longtime male companion?
And don't get me started on who's missing. How do you have a Sesame Street album called "Born to Add" without featuring the Count? Ouch.
Anyway, it's time to add up ten songs here for the Friday Random Ten. Let's do this thing, Mr. Blooper!
1. Bill Haley, "Thirteen Women (And Only One Man in Town)" -- A nice bit of early rock'n'roll from a man most of us associate with the opening credits of "Happy Days." The song's all about how sweet it would be if the world were destroyed by atomic bombs, except for Haley and his harem. You know, you rarely hear about the upside of nuclear war. Good for you, Bill. Good for you. 7/10
2. Al Green, "Simply Beautiful" -- One of my favorite songs by the Reverend Al. This sultry soul tune is so damn seductive, I just made out with my PowerBook. I couldn't help myself. 9/10
3. The Roots, "Star/Pointro" -- The opening track off their terrific Tipping Point CD, this tune begins with some nice sampling from Sly Stone's "Everybody is a Star" and a simple guitar hook, and then Black Thought just runs away with it. Excellent. 10/10
4. Lou Reed, "Street Hassle" -- A different sort of sound from Reed here, with a string section and some plodding bass lines alternating. Nice stuff, but it goes on for eleven minutes. Eh. 5/10
5. The Kinks, "Johnny Thunder" -- From the incredibly uneven album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, the album with "Picture Book" and other early semihits. This one has its moments, but there's just too much of the "lalala" and "bababa" lyrics to make it work. 6/10
6. Erick Sermon, "Music" -- When this song came out, I was convinced it had to be a different Erick Sermon. I loved EPMD, but those guys had really been out of the spotlight for a decade or so when this tune started chewing up R&B radio here in New York. But it's the one and the same man -- the Green Eyed Bandit, Erick Onassis, the E-Double. Nice to have him back. 8/10
7. Silver Jews, "People" -- I'm one of those people who's convinced that everything the guys in Pavement did was all downhill from the first album on. (For the record, I choose to believe they've gotten lamer, not that I've gotten older.) Two of the Pavement boys glommed onto this band in the mid-90s, and I've never gotten into them. This song, however, does get points for apparently being the inspiration for the band name Suburban Kids with Biblical Names. 4/10
8. Björk, "I Miss You (Photek Mix)" -- I've got a couple other remixes of this song, and this is easily the worst. Very stripped down, with some awkward horns and a drum-and-bass rhythm that was apparently smuggled out of 1998 inside an Oasis CD. Pfft. 2/10
9. Silversun Pickups, "Well Thought Out Twinkles" -- One of their songs where the similarities to the Smashing Pumpkins move from "slight coincidence" to "label lawsuit." If you're waiting for Billy Corgan to get his bizarre shit together and put out a new Pumpkins CD, you might as well kill some time with this one. Solid, if unoriginal. 7/10
10. Fatlip, "What's Up, Fatlip?" -- Another old rapper making a comeback. Fatlip was part of the Pharcyde back in their all-too-short career in the '90s. I have a few tracks off this new album, and they're all pretty solid, like this one. 7/10
Somehow this turned into a very special "Where Are They Now?" edition of the FRT, and even with a collection of hasbeens and neverweres, I still managed to pull out a decent 6.5 average. I can live with that.
Feel free to reminisce about the mid-'90s in the comments below or, better yet, drop your own FRT there.