Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Hump Day Shuffle: 1980

1. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Redemption Song - Legend (originally on Uprising)
Hot damn we started off this week on a high note. This is without a doubt one of the greatest songs ever written.

2. The Ramones - Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? - RamonesMania (originally on End of the Century)
The Ramones broke away just a bit from their straight-forward punk sound on this one, adding some pop elements, courtesy of Phil Spector's production. Still, it's catchy as hell and undeniably the Ramones despite any embellishments.

3. U2 - Shadows and Tall Trees - Boy
I just got this album and while it's not exactly all that good, it's fascinating to hear what U2 ditched on their way to being the biggest band in the world. For one thing, they pretty much abandoned any sort of darkness, which is the best way I can describe Boy. It doesn't have the despair of Joy Division, but there's a post-punk type of edge that overrides most of the album, with the band's future pop sensibility peaking out just occasionally.

4. Billy Joel - You May Be right - Greatest Hits (originally on Glass Houses)
This one breaks up a pretty smooth shuffle. This one hit when Billy Joel was about the biggest star in the world. I really dug into his hits my first couple years of college, so I have a bit of nostalgia for his piano-based rock songs (moreso than the ballads, which get sappy), but my Billy Joel listening is almost non-existent nowadays.

5. AC/DC - Back in Black - Back in Black
These guys are kinda the opposite of Billy Joel for me - I couldn't stand AC/DC until just a few years ago (might have something to do with that karaoke waitress who'd sing "You Shook Me All Night Long" while dancing on the bar...). Now I fully recognize and celebrate the fact that AC/DC brings the rock like nobody else.

6. U2 - Stories for Boys - Boy
This one sounds much more like the U2 that would create War, with the Edge's distinctive guitar in the forefront. Still, there's a definite Cure vibe, especially in the chorus. This one and "I Will Follow" are the only songs I'd heard from this album up until just the last month or so.

7. The Serfers - Green On Red
I don't really know where this one comes from, but I tracked it down a few years back in a search for all things Tucson music. The Serfers were fairly short-lived, but took the title of this song for their new band name - and Green On Red enjoyed a fairly acclaimed career after relocating to LA. This tune is a tense punk/new wave tune, with a menacing organ riff, sounding like a cross between Jonathan Richman and the X type of punk rockers emerging out on the coast.

8. U2 - Twilight - Boy
I think shuffle is telling me to purchase the new deluxe reissues that U2 just came out with for the band's first three records. Sheesh. I'd have preferred to drop one or two of these Springsteen and X songs that are coming up right around the corner.

9. Neil Diamond - September Morn - Greatest Hits (originally on September Morn)
Despite owning the Greatest Hits and being somewhat of a Neil Diamond defender overall, I have no memory of ever hearing this song. And it sucks. This is the type of shit that makes it hard to defend Diamond for his much greater earlier work.

10. John Mellencamp - Ain't Even Done With The Night - Words & Music: Greatest Hits (originally on Nothin' Matters And What If It Did)
I can't say much good about the early Johnny Cougar stuff either. The guy had enough good songs through the middle 80s to have earned his Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction. But this song could fit proudly and unmemorably into any John Hughes movie.

U2 - Redemption Song
The Serfers - Green On Red

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