Cheap Trick - "Need Your Love" (Dream Police, 1979)
Being of a certain age, Dream Police was my introduction to Cheap Trick right after Budokan. Having already accepted the strangeness of KISS, the weird white police uniforms and quirkiness of Rick Nielsen did little to deter me from loving this album. This song didn’t hurt either.
Glen Phillips - "Better Off Here" (Glen Phillips (with Nickel Creek) Live at Joe’s Pub 8/18/2002)
I find very little to criticize or complain about when it comes to Glen Phillips, especially live Glen Phillips, where I think he truly shines. Funny that I’ve never actually seen him live, though.
Jonathan Coulton - "My Beige Bear" (The Aftermath, 2007)
Widely regarded as one of the first internet superstars and global ambassador of geek culture in the music world, Coulton is a wildly talented multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter. And though his lyrics often border on the nerdy side of things, the man can write a darn good pop song, as evidenced here. And I think I hear a ultra-distorted bass line in the background, so that gets extra points as far as I’m concerned.
Devo - "Cameo" (Something for Everyone (Deluxe Version), 2010)
Umm, OK. This is a quirky as it gets, folks.
Missing Persons - "Words" (Spring Session M, 1982)
“Do you hear me? Do you care?” 3 words for you: clear plastic bra. Amiright?! Gimmicks (and quirkiness) aside, Missing Persons actually had some decent songs.
Looks like today is Quirky Friday for me. Hope you have a quirky one, too!
The Beatles - “When I’m Sixy-Four” (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
Queensrÿche - "You" (Hear in the Now Frontier, 1997)
I quite like the groove on this one. You know, this album really isn’t as bad as everyone made out back in the day. Sure, it’s Gen X, Alternative Queensrÿche Lite, but what the heck were they supposed to do at the time?! Most of the dinosaur acts that tried to continue in their post-grunge, pop-metal/prog-metal genre are gone these days anyway. Well, I guess you could argue that Queensrÿche is gone too.
At The Drive-In - "198d" (This Station Is Non-Operational, 1999)
One of my favorite ATDI tracks. Delicate yet screamy, it has just the right mix of what I liked about this band.
Queensrÿche - "Sacred Ground" (Q2K, 1999)
In contrast to the previous ‘Rÿche tune, here’s one from an album I remember liking (and playing) quite a bit when it came out, but it hasn’t aged as well. Not that it’s that bad. It’s just that there’s not much here to grab you. I think the big difference is DeGarmo. This was the beginning of the long, slow, painful march to the end.
Whitesnake - "Young Blood" (Saints and Sinners, 1982)
I’m not too familiar with this one, but it seems a little weak to use as the album opener. Supported by several quotes from then guitarist Mickey Moody, this is the sound of a band that was tired, broke, frustrated, out of ideas, and ready to throw in the towel.
Jars of Clay - "The Chair" (The Long Kiss Goodnight: Music from the Motion Picture, 1996)
Decent soundtrack tune from one of my favorite CCM artists. For what it’s worth, I never saw the movie.
Eureka Machines - "The Story of My Life" (Do or Die, 2008)
Eureka Machines is one of my favorite musical discoveries of the last 5 years. Do or Die is a great album; frontman Chris Catalyst is a song-writing machine who has enjoyed stints with The Sisters of Mercy, Mariachi El Bronx, AntiProduct, and Ginger Wildheart; and EM have built a rabid following via their DIY ethic and grassroots efforts while remaining virtually unknown by the public at large. If you haven’t checked these guys out, you need to do so.
Iron Maiden - "Remember Tomorrow" (Iron Maiden, 1980)
Maiden had some great tunes on those first two albums, but then Bruce came along blew it all away for me to the point that I forget he’s not their original singer. It’s nice to revisit the Di’Anno years from time to time.
KISS - "Christine Sixteen" (Love Gun, 1977)
The older I get (coupled with the fact that I have a daughter), the creepier this song gets.
Keaggy, King, Denté - "Isle of Skye" (Invention, 1997)
Cool, mostly-acoustic instrumental from three of the best guitarists in the CCM music scene, at least at the time of its release.
The rock and roll geek Michael Butler gives us a track-by-track review of the eponymous debut release from the latest “supergroup” to hit the scene, the Empty Hearts. In this episode, Michael outs the Romantics as one of his guilty pleasures, reveals his love of frontman Wally Palmar, and explains how a tasty solo from Cars guitarist Elliot Easton can elevate a track from a +½ to a +1 in the scientific Rock and Roll Geek Grading Scale.
I was excited on my first listen of The Empty Hearts, but afterwards I was a little meh about the whole affair. Michael’s enthusiasm during this podcast has given me the kick in the pants I need to give this album another chance. Maybe it will do that for you, too.
P.O.D. - "On Fire" (Murdered Love, 2012)
I’m really hit or miss with most of P.O.D.’s catalog, The Fundamental Elements of Southtown and Satellite being the two major exceptions. I really like the RATM vibe in the verses, but the “STOP! DROP! ROLL! I’M ON FIRE!” chorus is almost too amateurish even for me.
Steeler - "Cold Day in Hell" (Metal Massacre (LP version, 1st pressing), 1982)
Not sure how I came across this piece of metal history, but I’m pretty sure it was for an early version of Metallica’s “Hit the Lights” with Dave Mustaine or Ron McGovney on lead guitar. This is a reasonably decent song, especially given the time period, and I would probably have dug it had I heard it back in the day. I much prefer this compilation version to the wankfest on the band’s debut album that features Yngwie Malmsteen on guitar.
Metallica - "The Judas Kiss" (Death Magnetic, 2008)
Speaking of Metallica, here’s an 8-minute slab of riffiness from their most recent studio album (no, Lulu most definitely doesn’t count). Geez, is this already six years old?! Personally, I loved Death Magnetic, and despite the furor over the album’s mastering, it never bothered me that much.
Metallic - "Metal Militia" (Kill ‘Em All, 1983)
Geez, iTunes, are you stuck in a rut?! I remember Metallica being one of the heaviest things I had ever heard when this came out, and I really wasn’t too into it. As I look back on it now, I’m really surprised at how melodic much of the album is.
Extreme - "Our Father" (III Sides to Every Story, 1992)
Hmm… I’m not familiar with this one. But it has that funky groove and harmony vocal thing the Beantown boys did so well. And no way Nuno is from this planet.
King’s X - "Visions" (Live Love in London, 2010)
I’ve never been a fan of this song until it breaks into the “jammy” section toward the end (as I said back in my June 13 Five). This live performance doesn’t change my mind in the least. The album, however, is one to check out for anyone with the slightest interest in King’s X.
Phil Keaggy - "Morning Snow" (Acoustic Sketches, 1996)
This “cleaning out the closet” album by CCM guitarist extraordinaire Phil Keaggy has appeared in three of my Fives—two (here and here) at Popdose and one (here) back in the IckMusic days—so I won’t belabor the point. Suffice it to say, if you are a guitar fan and you haven’t yet checked out Phil Keaggy, what are you waiting for?!
Anthrax - "Madhouse" (The Greater of Two Evils, 2004)
Interesting “live in the studio” take on a classic-era Anthrax tune featuring then-vocalist John Bush and then-guitarist Rob Caggiano. I get what Anthrax was trying to do with this album (at least I think I do), but in my opinion, despite my love for John Bush, few of the tracks are actually improved by this reimagining.
KISS - "Deuce" (KISS Demos)
Early demo on one of my favorite KISS songs (and one of my favorite Ace solos) from a collection of KISS-related demos that I acquired from a snobby music friend of mine.
John Davis - “Paranoid” (Arigato!, 2007)
Superdrag frontman John Davis’ solo album Arigato! has popped up in three of my former Fives (I’ll save you the linkage this time), so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I really like this one. You’ll have to take my word, though, as I can’t find a streaming version of this anywhere.
Telekinesis - "You Turn Clear in the Sun" (12 Desperate Straight Lines, 2011)
Given my affinity for a good pop song, you’d think that I would have given Telekinesis a much fairer shake than I have. You’d be wrong. And after listening to this, I’m thinking I need to give this one-man-band another shot.
The Beatles - “Something (Take 37)” (The Alternate Abbey Road, 1969)
I really dig these sneak peeks at the Beatles’ recording process, warts, warbles, and all. Seems to pull them down a bit from that pedestal I’ve put them up on.
Dokken - "Into the Fire" (Tooth and Nail, 1984)
Despite the constant reminders back in the day that “Dokken rhymes with rockin’,” this doesn’t rock nearly as much as I remember. Although it’s a good song, and even though George Lynch was at one point one of my guitar gods (and lays down a very impressive solo here), this really seems sterile and safe all these years later.
Jars of Clay - "Overjoyed" (Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage, 2003)
Laid-back, lounge-inspired interpretation of an already laid-back tune from the CCM band’s sophomore album. The first disc of this greatest hits/retrospective includes similar studio reimaginings of songs from their first four albums. I love this kind of stuff.
Superchunk - "Digging for Something" (Majesty Shredding, 2010)
Super-catchy tune from this super-talented indie band’s super-awesome “comeback” album. I’m super-embarrassed that I had not really paid attention to Superchunk until a super-snobby friend turned me onto them with this album.
The Cure - "A Short Term Effect" (Pornography, 1982)
I acquired the (at the time) complete works of The Cure from a friend back before Napster hit the scene and filesharing became the norm, but I can’t say that I’ve actively listened to much of it. Outside of Disintegration and Wish (and some of Bloodflowers), I’m mostly a fan of the band’s “hits,” though I can say there’s not much else like listening to Robert Smith wail and whine about one thing or another while banging away at website code in a dark room.
Iron Maiden - "The Duellists" (Powerslave, 1984)
By the time Powerslave was released, Iron Maiden could do no wrong in my eyes (well, maybe except for Back in the Village; I’ve never been a fan). Even the 13-minute epic “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” drew no ire from me. I love the “gallop” on this one (as the band calls it) and the staccato harmony intro to the extended (and excellent!) guitar solo section.
Van Halen - "Hang ‘em High" (Diver Down, 1982)
I was a little too young when it came out to fully appreciate Diver Down. I just remember the accusations from some of my older friends of selling out and going soft over “(Oh) Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Streets.” Yet those same guys absolutely loved the “Happy Trails” gimmick at the end of the album. Go figure. This track is classic VH.
The Cure - "Torture" (Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, 1987)
More Cure that I’m not familiar with despite its having been in my music library for nearly 15 years at this point.
Black Country Communion - “Black Country”/"One Last Soul" (2010)
Live performance of the two opening tracks from this supergroup’s debut. “One Last Soul” is the better track of the two, but damn if Glen Hughes doesn’t have a set of pipes on him. And Bonamassa has to be one of the best guitar players ever that looks like a normal dude you’d bump into on the street.
Still slammed at work, but I always have time to squeeze in a Five. Squeeze out a Five?! Whatever.
Led Zeppelin - "Whole Lotta Love" (BBC Sessions, 1997)
I don’t like the original much on a good day, so this is a skipper.
Led Zeppelin - "Celebration Day" (Led Zeppelin III, 1970)
Geez, what’s up, iTunes?! At least I like this Zeppelin tune.
Caedmon’s Call - "The High Countries" (Back Home, 2003)
OK, iTunes is definitely in a weird mood this morning. This is almost a little too chill for today, but I’ll let it play out.
Joe Satriani - "Summer Song" (Time Machine, 1993)
I love the original album version of this song. This live version? Not so much. I love Satch, but I really don’t see the point of seeing him live unless it’s something like G3 or a clinic.
Toad the Wet Sprocket - “Whatever I Fear” (KBCO Studio C, Volume 9, 1992)
Ahh…I love this stripped down, live in-studio version of one of my favorite Toad tunes. And bongos!
Here’s a quick Five from 12:30 this morning as I was wrapping up some work on a project that I am desperately behind on, hence the almost non-existent commentary from me. Enjoy the weekend. I know I won’t be unless I get a lot more done today than I have up to this point.
Black ‘N Blue - "Chains Around Heaven" (Black ‘N Blue, 1984)
Ah, this takes me back to my hair metal teenage days.
Andrew Osenga - "Wanted" (Letters to the Editor, Vol. 1, 2007)
Opening track of a really cool recording project by CCM artist Andrew Osenga that I wrote much more about in this Five.
De La Soul - “I Can Do Anything (Delacratic)” (3 Feet High and Rising, 1989)
Ugh. Does this have to count?! I grabbed this album a couple of months ago when De La Soul offered up its Warner Bros back catalog for 24 hours. I remember liking this album back in the day way more than I do now. Memory is a funny thing.
Queensrÿche - "Neue Regel" (Live at L’Amour East, Queens, New York City, 2/13/1987)
Very rough (and often off-key) live vocal performance of a track from one of my favorite Queensrÿche albums.
Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Hey Joe" (Are You Experienced?, 1967)
I much prefer it when Hendrix actually focuses on the song rather than using it as a vehicle to indulge in his guitar wankery. And I like this cover tune more than most of his original material. I know, sacrilege.
Metallica - "Of Wolf and Man" (Metallica, 1991)
I like the main riff and the galloping rhythm of this “Black Album” tune.
Led Zeppelin - "Down by the Seaside" (Physical Graffiti, 1975)
I don’t usually listen to this one all the way through for some reason, but today I’m glad I did. I like the “so far away, so far away” transition the song makes in the middle. Now I’m wishing I were down by the seaside instead of stuck here indoors in a corporate cubicle. A nice finish to a rather odd Five.
Where would you rather be?
Anywhere. Anywhere but here.
Amen (not here as in the Friday Five, but here as in work). And one of the stranger tracks on this (at the time) uncharacteristically different Rush album.
Ramones - "Too Tough to Die" (Too Tough to Die, 1984)
Can’t say I’m a big fan of this Dee Dee track.
U2 - "Lemon" (Zooropa, 1993)
I honestly thought the U2 guys had lost their minds when they released this album. I hated their new musical direction, I hated this song, and I hated the album, and therefore, I dismissed everything they did until All That You Can’t Leave Behind brought them back onto my radar. I’ve come to appreciate both Zooropa and Pop, and I think “Lemon,” with its electronic feel and Bono’s “Fat Lady” falsetto vocals, has actually stood the test of time better than some of their older “classic” material.
Toad the Wet Sprocket - "Walk on the Ocean" (Radio 104.5 Studio Session, 2008)
We end as we started, with one of my favorite bands, songwriters, and vocalists. I love this live performance with its lap steel slide guitar solo, but I’m not sure what I think about the song in general. One one hand, I’m grateful that FM radio and MTV played the absolute living hell out of it, because it (and a couple other Fear tracks) brought Toad the Wet Sprocket to my attention. On the other hand, I hate it, because FM radio and MTV played the absolute living hell out of it.
Ginger Wildheart - "The Beat Goes On" (Albion, 2014)
We start off today’s Five with a slab of pure power-pop from Ginger’s latest PledgeMusic-backed album. Of course, with Ginger, he just can’t resist the urge to change the key or time signature a couple of times or to insert a little weirdness into the mix. This track is light on the weirdness, but there are other tracks on the album that seem to go in several different directions all at once. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Rage Against the Machine - "Renegades of Funk" (Renegades, 2000)
I can usually only take RATM in small doses. While others might consider this Afrika Bambaataa cover track Rage Lite, I could listen to more of their stuff if everything was like this.
Keaggy, King, Denté - "Angel Treads" (Invention, 1997) Invention is a Dove award-winning, mostly-instrumental collaboration between CCM guitar wizard Phil Keaggy and fellow CCM artists Wes King and Scott Denté of the husband-and-wife duo Out of the Grey. Keaggy is a criminally underrated and overlooked guitarist (if you don’t believe that, just spend a little time on YouTube watching live performance videos of Keaggy playing along with himself by means of a looper) who has been on the music scene since the mid-60s. Apparently urban legends abound of Hendrix crediting Keaggy as the best guitarist in the world. Lest you think this is simply a vehicle to showcase Keaggy’s six string prowess, King and Denté are both amazing guitarists in their own right, and each of them brings a different approach to the instrument. It was interesting to me at the time to hear how King and Denté responded to the opportunity to show off and shine on the guitar in a way that was different from what I had heard previously as part of their “day jobs.”
Faith No More - "The Morning After" (The Real Thing, 1989)
I love this song—I think Billy Gould’s thumping, driving bass is what does it for me—and I love this album. I had a hard time getting into FNM’s subsequent releases, but The Real Thing was the perfect mix of weirdness, heaviness, and pop sensibilities, and it was way more approachable and accessible than some of their other work. I wonder if things might have gone better for them had “Epic” not completely blown up the MTV airwaves.
Tony Bennett - "Indian Summer" (Perfectly Frank, 2006)
Tony sings Frank. This was a purchase for my wife, whose musical tastes run completely different from mine. She’s not a huge fan of vocal standards like this, but she often likes to chill out to laid-back older tunes like this one. And it just might surprise you to learn that I’m not completely put off by this.