My Random Rules
The Onion AV Club, a.k.a. one of the best entertainment sections anywhere, just introduced a new feature called "Random Rules" where they ask celebrities to put their iPods on shuffle and write about the first 10 or so songs that come up. I loved this feature so much that I did one of my own. Hope you like, cuz here it is.
1. "Baby Blue," The Beach Boys
A heartbreakingly pretty Dennis Wilson song sung by Carl Wilson. I love the Beach Boys, but this is probably the toughest band ever to be a fan of. They have put out far more garbage than treasure over the years, and just embarrassed themselves over and over again. (How many people think of "Full House" before "Pet Sounds" when they hear the Beach Boys?) Still, the good stuff is so good that you forgive all that. And this song belongs with the good stuff.
2. "Love is Only a Feeling," The Darkness
This song reminds me of hanging out at the Sunset Park swimming pool during summers in the late 1980s, which is strange because the song came out in 2004. I didn't buy the latest Darkness album because the tracks sounded pretty bad on iTunes. That's OK, though. This band needs to make only one good album.
3. "Dirty Work," Steely Dan
Man, I love this band, and I would have kicked my own butt for saying that five years ago. Once upon a time, Steely Dan epitomized "dad rock" in my mind. It was one of those bands you hear on classic rock radio and wonder who the hell likes this stuff. (I'm still there with any Scorpions track that isn't "Rock You Like a Hurricane" or "Winds of Change.") But the Dan is just so damn sly and sexy in a nerdy way, and Donald Fagen has become one of my favorite singers. (I decided to date my last girlfriend because she thought Fagen was a stud.) Fagen doesn't sing on this song, so I usually skip it. But I like that Tony Soprano sang along to it in a "Sopranos" episode once.
4. "I'll Take You There," Staple Singers
Awesome track, and from the same year as "Dirty Work." I'm telling you, the iPod shuffle has a mind of its own. I'm loving soul music lately, mainly because I'm a clueless white boy who is playing catch up. I'm also kind of sick of rock right now, but not really.
5. "It's No Use," (Alternate version), The Byrds
The Byrds are probably my second favorite American band (after the Beach Boys) of the 1960s. I hate almost every Dylan cover (aside from covers of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," a song so incredible not even Scott Stapp could ruin it), but I like every Dylan cover the Byrds ever did. Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark and David Crosby wrote some great tunes, too. This one, from their first album, is decent, but definitely filler.
6. 'White Punks on Dope," The Tubes
When you have 12,113 songs on your iPod, you are bound to hear songs on shuffle you don't know very well. For example, this song. It's an OK song, but a little too long. I'm just surprised this is the Tubes song I have on my iPod. If you can only have one Tubes song, it should be "She's a Beauty."
7. "Everybody Got to Believe in Somebody," Sam & Dave
Yes, some more soul! You are my soulmate, iPod. I don't need to tell you about the genius of Sam & Dave. Just as nobody can ruin "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," not even the Blues Brothers could suck the coolness of "Soul Man." This song is a deep cut (a D.C., as the Schwi puts it) from a greatest hits CD, and it's got everything you could want from a choice Sam & Dave selection: call and response vocals, snappy horns and a killer groove.
8. "Candy Man," Roy Orbison
Just so you know, I do have music released post-1972 on my iPod. The shuffle must be feeling the oldies right now. I'm not complaining, especially since Roy is getting the tap. Simply one of the greatest rock ballad singers ever, and a cool-looking mutha to boot. This one is a rocker about candy, recorded about 40 years before 50 Cent went to the candy shop.
9. "Way Out West," Big Star
Here's the deal: If you don't already own it, you need to buy "#1 Record/Radio City" by Big Star RIGHT NOW. Pretty much every guitar band that plays sad, melodic pop songs was influenced by it. You will hear this song on the disc, and you will like it. Honest.
10. "Shoot Your Gun," 22-20s
A new band! Hooray! Unfortunately, the 22-20s released a self-titled disc last year and broke up soon afterward. Can't say I was surprised. I saw them at the Annex in Madison and they looked miserable. And the show sucked. But the album is good, and this is probably the best song. If you like the Animals/Yardbirds/early Stones, look no further.
Next 10 songs: "Nighttrain," Guns 'n' Roses; "Bomb in the Bee-Hive," Guided by Voices; "Somebody Got Murdered," The Clash; "The Surfer Moon," Beach Boys; "Whiskey River," Comets on Fire; "Hey Mama," Kanye West; "Sweet Thing," The Shaggs; "Don't Doubt Yourself, Babe," The Byrds; "The Boso (The Kickdown)," Snowglobe; "Tall Dark Stranger," Buck Owens.
If you own an iPod, try this yourself. And post what you get on my blog. DO IT!