The A.V. Club (which is part of the satirical newspaper The Onion) has a column called Random Rules -- semi-famous people (they might be really famous, but I've only heard of David Cross and Moby) "set their MP3 players to shuffle and comment on the first few tracks that come up -- no cheating or skipping embarrassing tracks allowed". I've been enjoying the shuffle function on my little toy and it doesn't look like anything too embarrassing came up ('cos, you know, I didn't just download two Asia songs):
1. Rank Stranger -- The Knitters -- The Modern Sounds of the Knitters
I heard about The Knitters from a review on the A.V. Club. I mean hello? The Knitters? It gets better: they are Joe Doe, Exene and DJ Bonebrake of X, Dave Alvin of the Blasters, and Jonny Ray Bartel. And they are doing some straight up rockabilly country. This is my favorite song from this album, I love Exene's voice on the track. It's punk and country and so utterly cool.
2. Let's Go Crazy -- Prince -- Purple Rain
I blew out my dad's stereo, twice, with this album. The movie is terrible (I own it, of course), but I think this is one of the crucial albums from the 1980's, a decade when there was so little crucial music. This song makes me want to do a crazy little spastic dance.
3. Greenville -- Lucinda Williams -- Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Musically, this is such a sad, spare song, but the lyrics are pretty pissed off. I just love her voice, it isn't beautiful, but it's the voice of someone who been around the block many times. This album is a classic.
4. New Slang -- The Shins -- Garden State Soundtrack
This is such a pretty song. This is the song that's playing when Natalie Portman hands Zach Braff her headphones and tells him this song "will change your life". I don't know about that so much, but it is such a sweet song and fits that moment perfectly. I remember feeling that way about music.
5. Shake the Chandelier -- The Gourds -- Heavy Ornamentals
The Gourds. Good god I love this album. It's so cheerful and fun, without being stupid.
6. Dreams are Not My Home -- Roseanne Cash -- Black Cadillac
I got this album a while ago but haven't listened to it often enough. So I can't really comment on this song. I am very fond of the album, though. Moody, sad, dark, but not oppressively.
7. It Wasn't Me -- Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins -- Rabbit Fur Coat
Some friends gave this to me a couple of weeks ago; I don't know it by heart yet. The album made it on to several Best-of-2006 lists, and it's easy to see (hear?) why. It's a gorgeous album.
8. Dear Someone -- Gillian Welch -- Time (The Revelator)
Gillian Welch has one of those voices that I just love, like Lucinda Williams' and Paul Simon's, it isn't pretty not does it have any frills. She has a plain songwriter's voice. This song has a lullaby feel to it.
9. Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show -- Neil Diamond
I quit being embarassed by liking at least some of Neil Diamond's music after seeing that he performed in The Band's The Last Waltz. His music isn't all Heartlight and You Don't Bring Me Flowers (a song I knew well enough, by the way, that I could sing it to the single's B-side, which left the singing off. My best friend and I would duet, I don't remember who was Neil and who was Barbara). Anyway, this song wasn't overplayed in my youth, so I still like it a lot.
10. Run That Body Down -- Paul Simon -- self-titled
My love for Paul Simon is pretty well documented. This is a nigh on perfect album. I feel like his attempts at falsetto in this song should annoy me, but they don't.