After last week's outstanding debut, I can literally feel the reversal of Fortuna's Wheel bearing down on the I-Pod. The suck lurks just inside the shuffle function. Oh well, what can we do? Not all of my wonderful tunage can appear in any given day. Sometimes they're shy. Oh whatever, I'm rambling yet again. Letter' rip:
1. "Monkey Gone To Heaven" -- The Pixies (Doolittle).
Ah'ight, not a bad leadoff effort. This wouldn't even qualify as one of my 4 or 5 favorite songs on the CD, but let's not forget, this album is loaded. Doolittle is among the Abbey Roads or Dark Side of the Moons of that magical late-80's/early-90s period that I can't stop blabbing about.
2. "A Mistake" -- Fiona Apple (When The Pawn . . .).
Yeah, like I'm writing out that CD title. This is a good song, a real winner from a somewhat uneven album. When you think of those unique, pretty-but-rough things that Fiona does especially well -- off-kilter cadences & phrasing, jaunty rhythms, aggressive-but-erudite lyrics -- this one's got it. This album isn't as good as her initial effort, which had non-stop great songs. And it's not in the league of her latest effort, simply because it doesn't have anything to match the sublimity of "Extraordinary Machine." But it's a decent album, and this is one of its best songs.
3. "La Chinita" -- Manu Chau (Proxima Estacion Esperanza).
Sweet! We're rocking the house so far. A solid effort from everyone's favorite Spanish-speaking Frenchman. Whether it's one of his solo efforts, or with Mano Negra, this dude brings the musical chops. I highly recommend checking him out. Funky, rocking songs & trilingual lyrics about girls, music, chiba, and his own weird philosophical musings that make little sense in any language.
This one's less complex. La Chinita literally means, "Little Chinese Girl," and Manu sings about how she likes to dance. Of course he sings it in Spanish.
4. "Money Won't Change You" -- Aretha (do you need a last name?) (Lady Soul --Bonus Track).
I don't know this song well, but it has all the expected ingredients: the rock-solid Memphis sound (if that's not Steve Cropper on the guitar, it's a helluva imitation), tight-as-hell grooves, soulful backup singing, and of course, the Queen herself rockin' the mike. What more do you need? If you've never heard this song you still know exactly how it sounds.
5. "I Would For You" -- Jane's Addiction (XXX).
I know the real name of this live album is Jane's Addiction, but we always called it "Triple X," after the label's name. This was Jane's first album, and it contains lots of great stuff: a little suite of "Sweet Jane" into "Sympathy For The Devil" which played a major role in getting this "classic rock junkie" into modern music back in the late-80s. Also different versions of "Pig's In Zen" and "Jane Says" than you'll find on Nothing's Shocking. I love the disc, but this slow number is only a so-so effort. Nothing wrong with it, but it lacks the gut-punch that most of the other songs deliver.
6. "Life Is White" -- Big Star (#1 Record/Radio City).
Like most people that own Big Star on CD, my version has the first two albums on one disc. This is the second song on Radio City, essentially an Alex Chilton solo effort, since Chris Bell died after the first album (the #1 Record, you might say). It's an ok song, most notable for its arhythmic barrelhouse piano solo in the middle. It ain't no "September Gurls," that's for sure.
7. "Lady Day" -- Lou Reed (Rock n' Roll Animal).
Another so-so cut off a fantastic album.
(Ahhh, the pitfalls of The Shuffle).
Actually, this isn't a bad song at all. It just isn't the best on the disc. Anyhow, if you don't know this album, it's really great: Lou Reed doing some of his best Velvet Underground & early solo songs, backed by a top-notch band. Excellent stuff.
And, by the way, is this about Billie Holiday, and if so, how many songs have there been about her?
8. "Sincerely Diana" -- Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers (A Night In Tunisia).
Blakey's backed by Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Bobby Timmons, and Jymie Merritt on this session from 1960. A fairly typical early-60's jazz sound: Blakey's distinctively powerful drumming, and that angular, pushing-the-modern-jazz-sound in the trumpet and the sax solos.
(Oh whatever, I barely have any idea what I'm talking about. I love Lee Morgan, and all I'm thinking is that I wish I was listening to one of the cuts off his own album right now.)
9. "Annie" -- Elastica (Elastica).
Elastica! Wow, this album was really popular in 1995. I wasn't crazy about "Connection," the hit off this disc, but I liked the rest of it a lot. Hell, I even saw them at Tramps in NYC that spring. Helluva show actually. They were very energetic, very tight, Justine Frischmann was a natural-born performer, and the place was absolutely crawling with hot chicks. Oh, to be 27, single, and listening to good live music at a NY club.
(A moment of reflection for me, if you will . . . ok, I'm back. Let's move along)
10. "When I Get Home" -- The Beatles (Hard Days Night).
Whoa. This week's Random Moment™. Last week's first song was "Things We Said Today," and this is the next song on the same album. And a good song it is. John really "rock stars" this one in the raspy frontman voice he busted-out on certain numbers back in the Beatles early days. Plus, he's not singing about holding hands or anything like that in this one -- "When I get home/I'm gonna hold her tight/I'm gonna love her til the cows come home." Go Johnny go.
Plus, as a bonus this song just roars out of the opening, and has some good George backup vocals.
11. "Blood" -- Pearl Jam (Vs.).
And yet another Random Moment™. Hmmm. Last week we had back-to-back Pearl Jam songs, including "Rats," which appears only two songs after this one on the same album.
To repeat from last week: I own only two Pearl Jam albums (out of ~375 I've loaded into I-Tunes) and yet they've appeared in 3 of the first 22 songs in this series so far.
And I don't even like Pearl Jam that much! Just when it looked like I'd escape Fortuna's Wheel . . .
Anyhow, an ok second effort. Plenty of good artists and good albums too, but we managed to miss a lot of good songs. Feel free to add comments, criticisms, stories, or your own 11 songs.