East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Top ten: I say yes when I oughta say no

I predict I'll end loving one, hating another and being indifferent to the third of the potentially annoying Bedingfield/Ellis Bextor/Lavigne trilogy in the also-rans. But which will be which only time will etc.

1. Dragonette, "I Get Around": Hot lead singer who happens to be the daughter of Ontario's Minister of Finance: check. Eurythmic-synths leading to best chorus in recent months: check. Massive wardrobe budget for video pandering to Sapphophiles: check. UK chart placing: #92.

2. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, "Menoon Yaar Manawan": Despite its unwieldy title, The Ultimate Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The Early Years, Vol. 2, covering 1983-1984, has made me forget my past struggles with the hippified portion of his oeuvre and convinced me the Greatest! Voice! Ever! boosters might be on to something. On this 18 minute track, as well as the 29 minute "Yaad-E-Nabi Ka Gulshan", his flight is sweetened with hooks. Funkier than Pavarotti.
3. Paul Nabor, "Naguyanei": Nabor's song for his dying sister is the informal anthem of the Garifuna people of Belize and neighbouring regions. The rest of the compilation From Bakabush suggests they're not as miserabilist as that suggests. Sure, they worry about the kids, but they'll make sure there's a band at the funeral.
4. David S. Ware Quartet, "Ganesh Sound": From the last U.S. performance of the best sax-led quartet since, wot, Coltrane's: Ware, Shipp, Parker and their Spinal Tap-like revolving drummer. Ware gets into and out of the groove on this moody slow-burner. No one weighs their chords more precisely than Shipp. And Parker, here leading Guillermo E. Brown through the beat minefield, should never be taken for granted.
5. Fountains of Wayne, "New Routine": Writing verses that flow seamlessly into choruses is about as easy as restarting one's life in Liechtenstein. FoW are resented for making everything seem too effortless, which for me is a necessary fantansy. Keep your sweat to yourself.
6. Mariem Hassan con Leyoad, "Id Chad": Hassan is a big-voiced Saharawi in exile. Her first husband wouldn't let her sing, so she ditched him, Sharia be darned.
7. Steve Lacy Quartet, "The Crust": The dodgy audio of this 1975 live recording makes it sound even more cacophonous. Second Steve Potts on second sax has particular fun taunting noise control. 20 mins.
8. Lil Wayne, "Upgrade": If I don't yet believe the greatest rapper alive shit, I'm starting to think there's enough to it to make wading through infinite mixtapes worthwhile. Got love a guy who disses Jay-Z over a Beyonce-borrowed beat, especially if he also takes time to mourn Apollo Creed.

9. Fanny Brice, "Becky Is Back in the Ballet": You might know "My Man", but Holiday if not Streisand did it better. Brice was better as a funny girl, and what's funnier than dancing injuries?
10. Dondolo, "Dragon (Shit Robot Firebreathing mix)": Disinterested female recites: "Dragon. Rawr." Still less sexy than Dragonette.

Ten more: Natasha Bedingfield, "I Wanna Have Your Babies"; Sophie Ellis Bextor, "Me and My Imagination"; The Federation, "18 Dummy"; Fountains of Wayne, "Somebody to Love"; Golem, "Charlatan-Ka"; Mariem Hassan con Leyoad, "Yasar Geidu"; Avril Lavigne, "Girlfriend"; Lil Mama, "Lip Gloss"; Papa Noel, "Cafe Noir"; Timbaland, "Oh Timbaland".

Good but not that good: Field Music, "Give It Take It Lose It"; Lady Sovereign, "Hoodie"; LDA, "The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)"; Modest Mouse, "We've Got Everything"; Sir Douglas Quintet, "Mendocino"; Rachid Taha, "Rock el Casbah"; Justin Timberlake, "What Goes Around (Comes Around)".

You should respect a 40-year biz veteran who writes a song from the point of view of Elvis addressing his stillborn twin, but you shouldn't listen to him: Scott Walker.



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