Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Musical oddities and little treasures (and a U2 parody)

I'm preparing to DJ the wedding of two friends this weekend. Mostly that means, lining up the 'Greatest Hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today!' (pronounced in your best radio voice). It's stressful to line up just the right songs. In this case (it will be a culturally mixed crowd widely variable by age), it might even be impossible. Some will want Abba, others will want the latest Bollywood numbers (as in, Rishi Rich's "U&I" from Hum Tum).

As a way of procrastinating the real work of delineating a tasteful, 'memorable experience,' I've found myself flipping through my collection and enjoying oddities, all of which are utterly unusable:

1. Orlandivo, Onda Anda O meu Amor, from Soul Samba 70s. Somewhere between samba and the Isley Brothers ("Between the Sheets")

2. Ozzy and 'Madonna,' "Crazy Train," white label mix. A hard house beat, sampled guitars from Ozzy Osbourne, and a woman singing bowdlerized Ozzy lyrics (throwing in random riffs to the effect of "show me that your love is for real," etc.). This is supposedly Madonna's voice, and it sometimes even sort of sounds like her. But it's not Madonna.

3. Britney Spears, Madonna, and Rishi Rich, "Me Against the Music (Bhangra mix)." Yes, an authorized remix of Britney Spears with Dhol. It makes the whole thing a little noisy, but it might be playable to a certain crowd under certain conditions.

4. Henry Rollins, "I Hate U2." This is Rollins, doing live stand-up comedy in Dublin. In this bit he's trashing one of Ireland's (many) sacred cows. The parts about U2 are hilarious. The parts where he talks about what he thinks about when he's working out are less so.

[I know U2 is pretty widely liked and respected by most 20-30 somethings out there. Rollins, as a veteran rock n roll guy, has his own beef. And I shouldn't be glib; I have a long history with this band (The Joshua Tree was the first LP I ever bought). But look at these lines:

"I have spoke[n] with the jungle angels
I have held hands with the devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone"

Bono loves the juxtaposition of opposites. He also likes to keep it very, very simple. But can't we do better than angels, devils, warm, and cold? The meanings cancel each other out, leaving only a goopy, indeterminate emotion as a residue.

To illustrate, here are my U2 parody lyrics:

You were on the inside, but now you're out
This world seemed hard before it all went soft
I asked for too much, but now I got nothing,
You were right, baby, you were right
You got to cut to black
before you see the white light


Does it sound U2 ish? ]

5. Yo Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin, "Ave Maria." My man is on the cello. And Señor McFerrin shows he can sing much more than trite reggae-pop. Si, Señor.

6. Grupo Batuque, "Tabla Samba," off the Indica Brazilia CD. Everyone goes, "What is this?"

7. Ursula 1000, "Ram Balram" off the Bombay 2: Electric Vindaloo CD. It might make you laugh, but it's still funky.

8. Jack White, songs from the Cold Mountain soundtrack. Jack White of the White Stripes did a bunch of 'old-timey' style songs for Anthony Minghella. They're nice, in kind of an "O brother, how on earth did you get this gig?" kind of way.

9. Nelly Furtado, "Party's Over (Reprise Mix)" off the Ultra Chilled 2 CD. Listen for all the goofy noises she makes!

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