Take out your iPods and iPhones and hit shuffle! Here’s the first five songs that we came up on ours this week:
1. Ra diohea_d RainyDayz Remixes by Amp_Live: ’15 Stepz’ (ft. Codany Holiday)
Even though Radiohead has said recently that they no longer feel the need to produce album length work, the way they released In Rainbows on the last minutes of my birthday a few years ago was genius: pay what you will, fans, and download it now. They followed the album with In Rainbows 2, a shorter release and a variation on the original theme, and then came the Remixes. I loved that In Rainbows continued to keep coming back at me in differing variations; I never wanted the album to end. ’15 Stepz’ totally re-envisions the kinetic first song of the album with downbeat tempos and soul vocals.
2. The Charltans: ‘A Man Needs to Be Told’
The chorus of this song is lovely, with its distorted ‘do do do do do do dos’ and sweet lyrics to remind a man there’s a whole lotta world going on.
3. Michael Jackson: ‘The Girl is Mine’
Love this song, love the video, love that Michael and Paul fight over the same woman. It crescendos with Paul’s ‘I don’t believe it!’ and you think MJ might just have this one in the bag.
4. Cat Power: ‘Ramblin’ Woman’
Chan does Hank and it is earth-shaking. That crazy broad’s got the voice to do this song, and the past to make it real.
5. Radiohead: ‘Mk1’
Please see #1.
1. Radiohead: ‘All I Need’
Honestly, I can’t say much about this song. I still haven’t given In Rainbows a fair listening to. Dare I say it, but I’m a little Radiohead’d out.
2. The Beach Boys: ‘Here Today’
I should listen to this song more often. I am all for a good anti-love song.
3. PJ Harvey: ‘Rid of Me’
PJ making psycho sound sexy, like she always does. This was the first PJ Harvey album I ever owned. It was just what I needed in high school.
4. Tony Galla & The Rising Sons: ‘In Love’
One of the random old soul songs that I have. I don’t believe one can own enough old soul, so I just keep acquiring more and more. I love it when one pops up on shuffle. They always put me in a very distinct frame of mind.
5. Guns n’ Roses: ‘November Rain’
I laughed out loud and thought “YES!” when this one popped up. My second thought was about how I’ve never taken this song on during karaoke.
1. Daniel Johnston: ‘I’m Nervous’
This song is from one of my favorite Daniel Johnston albums, Welcome to My World. It’s a compilation of what I think are some of his best, older songs, but it also includes a few newer gems. Critics have debated Johnston’s musical prowess, but I think he’s a superb songwriter. His lyrics possess a vulnerability that I can certainly relate to. Maybe you can too. He’ll be playing at the Highline Ballroom on October 14th. I wish I could go.
2. Lambroula Maria Pappas: Donna È Mobile
This was definitely an impulse purchase. It’s from the World’s Very Best Opera for Kids… in English! I bought it while I was pregnant, thinking that I would play it regularly for my daughter, but I’ve come to find that I cannot stand opera in English. It just sounds awkward to me.
3. Language Addicts: ‘Characteristics (Recognize)’
This is a recording of common Greek expressions used to describe physical characteristics. I’m trying to learn Greek so I can eavesdrop on all of my husband’s relatives. They always look like they’re saying something really juicy. I listen to this album all of the time while I’m working around the house.
4. Elizabeth Mitchell: ‘Three is the Magic Number’
Now here’s a song that I love, love, love! The original Schoolhouse Rock tune has been covered over and over again, but I absolutely adore this version by Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton. This is another record that I purchased for my daughter while I was pregnant, but I play this one for her almost every day and she loves to sing along and dance to it. My heart gets really warm when I hear this song because I think of what a beautiful trinity my little family is. If you have children, know someone who does, or just like mellow, lo-fi music, you can listen to and find out more about Elizabeth Mitchell here.
5. Booker T and the MGs: ‘Jellybread’
One of Stax Record’s greats! I can’t listen to Booker T and the MGs and be in a bad mood at the same time. There are undoubtedly funkier songs on this album, but ‘Jellybread’ still makes me shake my rump.
1. Lucinda Williams: ‘Fruits of My Labor’
Love, love, LOVE her. Saw her play at Radio City a few years back and was blown away. She’s an amazing poetess who is uber-country but all attitude. Makes me want to wear red cowboy boot shit-kickers. I can’t help but sway and swoon every time I hear this song.
2. Crooked Fingers: ‘Destroyer’
I have a very soft place in my heart for Eric Bachmann. Like many bands, they remind me of Gainesville because I saw them play at the Covered Dish, circa 2000-ish. This song is a slow ditty with lots of croons and electric guitar.
3. The Evens: ‘All These Governors’
I love this duet, but of course I’m always a sucker for a guy/girl duet, plus this one has the added bonus of the two singers being sweethearts. Oh, gush, gush. The Dischord sound always fondly reminds me of living in D.C.
4. Lifesavas: ‘Shine Language’
This is from the “Gutterfly” Soundtrack. I honestly didn’t even know I had this in iTunes; I don’t think I’ve ever even listened to it and I haven’t seen “Gutterfly!” That said, on first listen, it’s not bad hip-hop, I guess I have to put “Gutterfly” in my Netflix queue.
5. Jawbox: ‘Reel’
Reminds me of living in a dormitory my freshman year in college, back when I really didn’t know what music I should like. At the time, I was being introduced to so many new, great bands who weren’t being played on the ever-so-plentiful classic rock stations of Central Florida. It all seemed so fresh and interesting. So, a good feeling tune.
1. LCD Soundsystem: ’45:33′
Me, my brother, and a group of his friends usually have a Nike+ challenge (the whole iPod pedometer thing) going on. From time to time Kevin also finds/creates running playlists and shares them. This one is a little too dance/trance for my musical tastes, but it did entertain on one 45-minute run to check it out.
2. Aretha Franklin: ‘Respect’
Great live album. I think every track is 10 minutes plus. Each track is its own mini-performance. I like listening to it on weekend mornings, puttering around the house.
3. The Quantic Soul Orchestra: ‘Barbarabatiri’
No idea what this group or track is. About 75% of my iTunes is music sent to me by brother that I download from SendSpace, but then never get around to listening to.
4. Amy Winehouse: ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine’
From the days of my Amy Winehouse obsession a few years ago. I still really like her voice, but thinking of her makes me a little sad. So much potential!
5. Dana’s Hip Hop: ‘Dana’s Hip Hop 2’
Oh, the days of mixed CDs without track names, but with such inventive names for the CDs (not!). This was from a CD made by one of my college roommates, Dana. On listening, this is Q-Tip’s Vibrant Thing…”Yo, you such a vibrant vibrant vibrant a vibrant thing.” Definitely got some play at college house parties. Now, it might make it into a running mix every once in a while.
1. Stephen Malkmus: ‘Freeze the Saints’
Perfect example of why this Top 5 is genius. I swear, it’s like I never heard this song before — partly because the song names never imported. This is Malkmus at his poppiest and softest. He’s almost Wilco-esque. Love the intro piano and the drums in the chorus.
2. Neil Young: ‘Lotta Love’
From Autumn’s 2009 Mix CD — my favorite of the year so far. Young is so vulnerable here and love needs to pull him through.
3. The Pretenders: ‘Thumbelina’
Not a fan of this one. I don’t dig the zip zip zip, country-rock vibe. Skip.
4. The Buzzcocks: ‘Soul Survivor’
1:41 of classic punk rock.
5. Deep Purple: ‘Black Knight’
I feel like I’m in Freaks & Geeks.
What are your First Five?