Continuing a good thing (or at least, a moderately enjoyable thing), this is my monthly series called “Five on Shuffle” where I attempt to reconnect with my iPod by using it regularly throughout the year and using it only and continuously on “shuffle.” Once a month I’m going to stop at a completely random interval, snap photos of five songs in a row, and then post and write about them here. The writing may be heavy or light, depending on whether or not I’ve anything remotely clever to say about any given song.
1. It Ain’t Easy – David Bowie
I could swear that I’ve covered this song before, as it’s featured on two Bowie albums that I know are on my iPod. But searching brings up no mention of it, so perhaps I’m just delusional. Or in love with David Bowie. Likely both. Either way, this is a fantastic tune, one that invokes well a familiar sense of “easier said than done.” But it’s all done up in an electrically bluesy way, which is as thought-provoking as it is just provoking.
2. I Got Life – from the musical Hair
One of the important things to remember about the musical Hair is that it was a product of its times. While its messages about war and equality still ring true today, its sense of “us” versus “them” was quite different. In the case of “I Got Life,” “us” were the young people of 1969, while “them” were the fuddy-duddies of 1949. In the song, the 1969s emphasize the importance of simply being human to the 1949s, who favor their materialistic and capitalistic ways that were borne out of the post-WWII era. In today’s age, the song sounds a little hollow, because it seems like the sense now is yes, you have life, but simply existing isn’t enough. It’s what you do with your life that’s important. Which is kinda stressful when you think about it.
3. Cry Baby – Janis Joplin
Why yes, I do adore Janis Joplin. I often hear that people can’t seem to get past her voice, but I love every gravely, growly, heartfelt syllable. Even taken against the song’s original R&B version, I still love Janet’s version. Next year we’ll be marking the 50th anniversary of her untimely death at the young age of 27. Damn if that doesn’t this song even more poignant.
4. Readymade – Beck
Oh Beck, you know how just how to get under my eardrums. I’ll have this little diddy stuck in my head for days now without even knowing why. This song, apparently, is about the rigors of touring, which I can totally believe because I wouldn’t know what the hell else it could be about anyway.
5. It’s Like That – Handsome Boy Modeling School
Handsome Boy Modeling School seems to be becoming a regular feature here. Which is fine, because every single song on both their albums is a banger, as the kids say. “It’s Like That” is an awesomely chill tune that features some great samples over which Casual’s lyrics nicely flow. Good shit, indeed.