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The CHIRP Blog

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Prince Edition

He’s enigmatic, charismatic, and a-u-t-o matic. Prince turns 54 years old today, and while he hasn’t wowed anyone with his new recordings lately, he is still a king on the concert stage, and why not? With his deep catalog, ace bands, killer guitar skills, amazing dance moves and total command of an audience, he is one pop music’s all time great live attractions. On top of that, he built a musical empire in the ‘80s. A studio rat, he played everything on his earliest records, mixed funk with new wave sounds, and pushed the envelope lyrically and visually, taking an androgyny page out of the David Bowie playbook. Then, in the mid-80's, he was one of the biggest stars, and deservedly so. I still remember the electricity at the Yorktown Theatre, watching Purple Rain in packed movie house, everyone going nuts when “Let’s Go Crazy” kicked in. In honor of this legend, please grab your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle, and share the first 10 songs that come up.

  1. Kwyet Kings – Don’t Pull Me Down (Singles ‘n’ Shit): The Kings were a fun Norwegian garage band from the ‘90s. Their music actually incorporated some power pop into the garage rock riff fest, and that’s well illustrated on this tune, which contrasts a muscular chorus with melodic verses.
  2. Rank And File – I Don’t Go Out Much Anymore (Sundown): A twangy sweet tune from the first Rank And File. On the first album, the band found a nice variation on the rhythm that fueled so many Johnny Cash songs, which makes a nice foundation that they play around with.
  3. Le Hoodoo Gurus – Leilani (Do The Pop!): This is the original version, under the original name, of a cool garage rock epic from this great Oz band. This song still sounds so different today, with the tribal drumming (augmented by handclaps) and western guitars, mixed with some surf and garage elements. Doug Falkner never really equaled his earliest material, but that’s because it was so amazing.
  4. The Nomads – Motorhead (Showdown! (1981-1993)): Clever cover, as the Swedish garage band takes the Lemmy composition that lead to Mr. Kilmeister being booted from Hawkwind (though they recorded it), and does an acoustic version. While it’s not the song of the century, The Nomads prove there is a song there.
  5. Kathy Greenholdt – The Hawk (Lowly Violet): Local singer-songwriter, who has always had a way with words and melodies and really came into her own as a vocalist on this disc. This song has a nice slow build to it, and the brass accompaniment on the chorus is the perfect addition.
  6. Franz Ferdinand – What She Came For (Tonight: Franz Ferdinand): I thought the third Franz Ferdinand album was pretty good, as they certainly showed they have some more dance rhythms in them. This song has a bit of a Bowie disco feel to it, while Alex Kapronos sounds more Bryan Ferry-ish than usual.
  7. The Pretty Things – Private Sorrow (S.F. Sorrow): A pretty piece of psychedelia from one of the first ever rock operas. It’s amazing how the Pretties so quickly evolved from one of the most primal bands of the British Invasion into an act that could come up with an arty tune as cool as this one, with its nifty circular melody and chorus.
  8. The Box Tops – Cry Like A Baby (The Best of the Box Tops: Soul Deep): Another Box Tops song where it’s hard to believe how young Alex Chilton was when he was singing great R & B pop tunes like this one. The song is solid, and his vocal puts it over the top.
  9. The Kingsbury Manx – Zero G (The Fast Rise and the Fall of the South): This North Carolinian band makes simply lovely music that defies genre. I hear some ‘60s psych influences and the vibes of Big Star and R.E.M., among others, but there’s no one obvious comparison band. This song is enveloped by an organ part, with warm vocals and delicate acoustic guitars.
  10. Slow Jets – New Sour (Worm Into Phoenix): Always a pleasure to hear this quirky East Coast rock band. They were a mid-point between Guided By Voices and offbeat college rock denizens like Big Dipper and Hypnolovewheel. Bands like this always sound a bit wobbly with a smattering of dissonance, but find a way to hold it together, with hooks that come out of nowhere – this short tune has more than it’s share of catchy bits, without ever approaching pop.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, mp3, prince

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