Today I start a new feature – “iPod Roulette”. I’m going to put the iPod on shuffle, and listen to the first five songs that come up. Sometimes the iPod is wise. Sometime it plays some strange stuff you don’t even know you have. And every now and then it pulls up a steaming pile from somewhere in the depths of albums you’d like to forget you bought.
1. Surfer Blood – “Catholic Pagans”. OK, I have no idea how this got on my iPod. Holly probably loaded it on there at some point, and this may be the first time I’ve ever heard this song or band. They’ve got a bit of a Dick Dale surf rock guitar thing going on that is cool, and the lyrics are kind of funny. These guys are out of Florida, and the album this is on (Astro Coast) came out in 2010. The last 30 seconds of this relatively short song is just guitar feedback, which frankly doesn’t add anything to it. Not a bad start.
2. The Ramones – “Outsider”. Yes! Some old school New York punk! When I was in high school, I always thought of all punk as sounding like hardcore, and I didn’t really start going back to the roots of the genre until recently. The Ramones really sound almost poppy today, not punk – but I wasn’t listening to this when it came out, so I can’t put it into it’s proper context, which is always tricky with music. The “outsider” message of the lyrics certainly fits how punks were viewed/felt at the time.
3. Eminem – “Soldier”. Great song. I’m not a huge Eminem fan, but I find his lyrics, even when brutal or misogynous, to be smart and well put-together. His pacing is amazing, and the music is nearly perfect. I mean, this song does have a lot of the typical thug gangsta rap lyrics about how tough he is and all that, but there’s still depth here. The sheer volume of his words is impressive. “I’m a soldier / These shoulders hold up so much / They won’t budge, I’ll never fall or fold up / Even if my collar bone’s crushed or crumbled / I will never slip or stumble”
4. The Crystal Method – “Keep Hope Alive”. I’m going to make a bold statement. One of those personal preference things that could open up hours of beer soaked discussion and argument. The use of this song in the opening sequence of the movie The Replacement Killers is, simply put, the greatest use of a song in an opening sequence of any movie ever made. Ever. It’s perfect. The location (dance club), the angles used to film Chow Yun-fat, and of course the start of the gun fight just as the song kicks it up a notch. I love the movie – I think it’s the closest thing to a true hybrid of Hollywood and Hong Kong action ever. I also think Mira Sorvino is insanely hot in it. This is a top notch dance track.
5. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – “The Boogie Bumper” (live). Switching genres again, this time going to swing with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a band that gained a lot of notoriety for appearing in the movie Swingers. Holly and I saw them live once at a small venue in Kirkland, Washington, and while the dialogue with the audience seemed overly rehearsed, I have to say the music was first rate. They’ve got some great horns in that band, and are well worth checking out if you are interested in swing (music, not “swinging”, so be careful when mentioning this to your spouse or partner…).
The iPod did a pretty good job here. One song I didn’t know, and no eye-rollers. A nice mix of different styles, plus two songs with tie-ins to a couple of my favorite movies. Good work, iPod!