"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Friday, January 20, 2006
This week's Random Ten follows the usual course from the sublime to the ridiculous:
1. "Marquee Moon" (Television): Ten and a half minutes of brilliance. At a time when punk/"new wave" rock was all about the two minute ditty, these guys served up a guitar tour de force (literally, "tour of force") that owes as much to the bombastic drama - and I mean that in a good way - of Led Zeppelin as to the avant garde influence of, say, Glen Branca. A nice way to start the day.
2. "Plum Dumb" (Dead Milkmen): Speaking of two minute ditties.... Fun and stupid, just as you would expect.
3. "Hippychick" (Soho): Oh, oh - there goes the hipness factor. I still remember the first time I heard this, at a Was(Not Was) record release party at the Mayan Theater in LA. I couldn't believe that anyone had the yarbles to sample "How Soon Is Now." It sounded great over the P.A. as the crowd was filtering out (something about the bubbly bass line that grabbed me), and ever since then I've liked the song. I wouldn't want to argue the point on the merits, however.
4. "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" (Bob Dylan): Along with the Stones' "Gimme Shelter," one of the scariest songs I know. In a sane world, no one would ever try to cover this song (Axl Rose, I'm talkin' to you!); the original simply can't be improved upon.
5. "Best Friend" (English Beat): Kinda lightweight, but who cares. This one always gets me moving.
6. "Jerusalem" (Emerson, Lake & Palmer): I just finished reading Karen Armstrong's Holy War : The Crusades and Their Impact on Today's World, so now I have yet another reason to laugh at this turkey. ELP is perhaps the guiltiest of all my guilty pleasures.
7. "Pink Houses" (John Mellencamp): Of course, a good argument can also be made that John Mellencamp is actually the guiltiest of all my guilty pleasures.
8. "Please Stop Me" (Guadalcanal Diary): In order to fully appreciate the horror of this song (sung from the point of view of a serial killer), you need to hear it in the context of the original album, where it follows a song called "Cattle Prod" - a humorous little jingle about a guy who enjoys the company of barnyard animals. Songwriter Murray Attaway is one sick puppy - and again, I mean that in a good way.
9. "Paper Words and Lies" (Tommy Keene): I never understood how this guy managed to avoid becoming a star.
10. "Stumblin' In" (Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman): Not my favorite Suzi Quatro tune (that would be "Lipstick"), but her biggest hit. People who knew Suzi best as Pinky Tuscadero's big sister, Leather, on Happy Days mostly had no clue that she was actually a pretty credible musician. Hey, everyone has to eat.
As always, the comments are open. Not that you care.