Friday, March 6, 2009

Doing the Friday Shuffle...

Someone over on Facebook started a group called "Friday Shuffle", where members are encouraged to put their iPods on a random shuffle, and jot down the first ten tracks that play. I don't exactly know why this is an attractive exercise, but for some reason, I got sucked into it.

And rather than just list the songs (showing off how extensive one's taste - or lack thereof - can be), I'm going a step further and offering a little commentary on each track. And before you ask, yes, I actually own these CDs.

If you dig it, cool. If not, hey, it's only a blog!

1. JORN - "Christine" from Worldchanger
~ One of the best voices in heavy metal. It is sad that he is widely unknown in America. He's like David Coverdale, Ronnie James Dio, and Ian Gillan all wrapped into one. The glaring difference is that he's not over 50. His work with MASTERPLAN was amazing, but his solo material always comes across as more soulful.

2. THE AMAN FOLK ORCHESTRA - "Main Title" from Subspecies soundtrack
~ We need a little cheese every now and again. That said, the Subspecies soundtrack is one of the creepiest horror soundtracks out there. It's sad that the film series never achieved any mainstream success (did ANY Charles Band flick??), otherwise this album might not be out-of-print today.

3. THE GAME - "One Night" from Doctor's Advocate
~ I think that sometimes rap music grounds me, especially the stuff that is based in reality. A lot of the stories these guys spill are quite humbling, but I can understand if it comes across as too abrasive for some people. Honestly, THE GAME can sound quite depressing at times.

4. GREEN JELLY - "Carnage Rules" from 333
~ Sometimes, in addition to cheese, we need to be downright silly, right? I don't think GREEN JELLY (JELLO) ever released a serious song, or ever could. "Carnage Rules" is one of those little ditties that blends punk and metal and makes you want to bounce around the room like a complete idiot.

5. SCAR SYMMETRY - "Seeds of Rebellion" from Symmetric In Design
~ And speaking of abrasive...I've always had a fondness for Scar Symmetry, because they remind me of what EDGE OF SANITY could have evolved into, had the band continued to exist and if Dan Swanö didn't have a penchant for 70s folk rock. SCAR SYMMETRY is also among the very few bands that can combine death growls and silky clean vocals in the same song and make it sound perfectly natural.

6. JAMES HORNER - "Genesis Countdown" from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan soundtrack
~ Yes, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to movies, and like those fellows in Free Enterprise, I hold Wrath of Khan in very high regards. And it's not just the movie itself that makes the film great. I feel that Horner really peaked with this one, and although he's done some great things since 1982 (Aliens, Willow, Clear and Present Danger, Apocalypto), I will always see this as his crowning achievement. It is actually kinda sad that the very next year (1983), he would plagiarize his own work when he scored the soundtrack to Krull.

7. DURAN DURAN - "Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)" from The Reflex single
~Yeah, it's an obscure DD song, and a live recording at that. I don't know, there was always something about DD that intrigued me - their sense of melody, the combination of eccentric synthesizer work with incredibly underrated bass guitar work and smooth vocals. They just always sounded sincere, even if their lyrics never made any sense. I think another part of their charm is that no matter what they do, whenever I listen to them (current album excluded), I feel like a little kid again, plopped in front of the television, watching the equally confusing videos on MTV.

8. PAUL DI'ANNO - "Wrathchild" from The Classics: The Maiden Years
~ it is sad that nearly 30 years later, poor ol' Paul is still shilling his brief work with Iron Maiden. Yeah, he only appeared on 2 albums, but they were pivotal albums in the band's career. And I don't care what anyone says, no one can sing those songs with the fervor that Paul brings to them (sorry, Bruce). I guess when you are involved with a band that big, no one cares what else you do. I don't think Paul has had an album of original material released in America in over 10 years. I could be wrong, so don't quote me on it.

9. PABLO FRANCISCO - "Mentos" from Knee to the Groin
~ This guy is just hilarious. The guy could read the obituaries, and I think I would still chuckle. This is his take on how ridiculously cheerful the people in Mentos commercials are, regardless of the situation they are in. It's only a 43-second track, but it's a riot.

10. BLACKMORE'S NIGHT - "Shadow of the Moon" from Shadow of the Moon
~ And closing our set today is one of the most charming, most inventive songs by Ritchie Blackmore's (guitarist for Deep Purple and Rainbow) current musical incarnation. The combination of folky, medieval sounding music with Candice Night's Stevie Nicks-meets-Loreena McKennitt, ambient vocals make this track simply enchanting. I feel like taking a barefoot walk through a forest right now. If only it weren't 40 degrees outside...

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