This was supposed to be the week where the whole guest columnist thing kicked off, but due to…uh, technical difficulties, let’s just say that ain’t happenin’. So you’re back to checking out my music collection this Sunday evening.
It’s been a good musical week for me.I finally located a copy of Ryan Adams’ “Heartbreaker” at a Best Buy in Virginia, I snagged the new Metallica CD, I saw my buddy Mitch Hood play a kick-ass show, and I relived my teenage years by watching VH-1’s Hip Hop Honors, only minus the pimples and the awkwardness.
For those of you new to the Sunday Seven, I place my iPod on shuffle and discuss the first seven songs that randomly pop up. I anticipate being able to do this for a while, as said iPod contains over 18,000 songs. However, again, I am entertaining offers for contributors, so if you think you have something interesting to say about your music collection, drop me a line. I’ll shoehorn you in as quickly as possible.
OK, enough of me blabbing. Let’s put the machine on shuffle and see what comes up:
Track 1: I’m the Magnificent by Special Ed (from Youngest in Charge, 1989)
Edward Archer, the rapper who went by the stage name Special Ed grew up mere blocks from me in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. When he hit with “I Got it Made” at the beginning of ’89, there was a definite sense of hometown pride. “Maginificent” is a remixed version of a song from his debut album. The video was directed by and features Malcolm Jamal Warner, who you probably know as “The Cosby Show”‘s Theo. Speaking of Cosby, Special Ed wound up appearing on several episodes of the sitcom as a rapper that Rudy snuck into a nightclub to see.
Track 2: Tonight’s the Night by Janet Jackson (from The Velvet Rope, 1997)
Welcome to Janet Jackson’s completely gender-fucked rendition of Rod Stewart’s 1976 smash hit. The fact that Miss Jackson (if you’re nasty) decided against changing the gender pronoun of the conquest addressed in the song set tongues wagging. Personally, I wouldn’t put a little carpet munchin’ past Janet. Shit, she’s going out with Jermaine Dupri, right? So she’s either a freak or blind or both.
Rod reportedly hated this version of his song. Considering that Mr. Stewart has spent the past ten or so years producing non-stop volumes of aural poo, I think he should have probably just kept his mouth shut.
Track 3: If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free by Sting (from The Dream of the Blue Turtles, 1985)
Hmmm. OK. I have nothing to say about this song, except that it reminds me of Live Aid for some reason. I’m not sure if Sting performed the song at the concert or if the two are just linked in my head because they’re from the same general time period. I will say that I really would like to see Sting in concert one day, since the only time I’ve seen the man live was during an abbreviated Police set at Live Earth. Live Aid. Live Earth. Does Sting only perform at events with the word “live” in them?
I remember reading that noted pompous ass Wynton Marsalis refused to speak to his brother Branford after Branford played on this record. I hope Branford sent Wynton a thank you card.
Track 4: The Life by Wendy & Lisa (from Wendy & Lisa, 1987)
Is the water warm enough? Yes, Lisa. Shall we begin? Yes, Lisa.
As many of you know, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman were members of Prince’s band, The Revolution, during the “Purple Rain” glory years. This dramatic ballad is from their debut album as a duo, coming a year after W&L quit the band, only to return and then be fired. This song is also the one good thing I remember from the “Dangerous Minds” soundtrack, unless you feel like putting the words “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “good thing” in the same sentence without the words “not a” in the middle. If you can nail down these ladies’ solo work, you should do so. Their work during this period (1987-1991 or so) is better than the work their boss did during the same period, excepting “Sign ‘O the Times”, of course. Have I mentioned recently that I think “Sign” is the best album ever made by anyone? I didn’t think so.
Track 5: The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me by Gladys Knight & The Pips (I have no clue what album this is on or what year it came out)
So, I’m assuming that you guys have seen the Geico commercial featuring The Pips, right? Well, the Pip in the middle? That’s Neil Taffe. Neil is not an original member of The Pips, which should be made obvious by the fact that he looks like he’s 100 years younger than the other two. At any rate, Neil grew up about 6 doors down from me in Brooklyn. I was certainly shocked as hell when I realized it was him in the commercial. It’s not every day that you see someone you used to play football with as a kid on TV. Well, considering where I grew up, I should maybe amend that to “it’s not every day that you see someone you used to play football with as a kid on TV-except for “America’s Most Wanted”. None of this has anything to do with “The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me”, but I figured telling that story was way better than talking about the song.
Track 6: Comfortably Numb by Scissor Sisters (from Scissor Sisters, 2004)
Yes, this is the Pink Floyd song. No, this cover sounds NOTHING like Pink Floyd. Actually, it sounds like Gilmour, Waters and company were put through a mind meld with Barry,Robin and Maurice Gibb. Anyone who has the balls to make an electro-disco cover of a song by one of the most pretentious prog-rock bands in history deserves props. The fact that it’s actually GOOD (I like it better than the original) is mind-blowing. The Scissor Sisters showed so much promise on their debut album. Too bad the follow-up sucked.
Track 7: F.N.T. by Semisonic (from The Millennium Collection, released ??)
F.N.T. stands for Fascinating New Thing. Semisonic is one of those criminally underrated bands that the term “criminally underrated” actually seems to have been made for. This song has a little aggressive post-grunge guitar action, coupled with heavenly Beatle-esque harmonies. These guys should be known for so much more than “Closing Time”. I got to meet Dan Wilson (who produced one of my favorite 2008 albums, Mike Doughty’s “Golden Delicious) earlier this year, and he couldn’t have been more polite and gracious. You should also check out drummer Jacob Schlicter’s hilarious and informative book, “So You Want To Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star?”.
That’s all for now, folks. See y’all next week when my vacation will have been over for 5 days and I’ll probably be as far from Happytown as you can imagine.