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The A+ List: 6-21-14

Wanda Jackson And Duane Eddy

Wanda Jackson And Duane Eddy

1. Wanda And Duane – Marshall Crenshaw – All of Crenshaw’s gifts are on display here, a Dave Alvin of the Blasters original covered by Marshall on the sublime Live… My Truck Is My Home, the original is a rough and tumble rockabilly rave up you can just imagine the Blasters charging through. But Crenshaw… man, that guy finds the heart in everything and something about the way the couple stays together in the end suggest a deep seated neediness at work: if the lives are stupefied and the emotions dead, still… the couple remain together and this is Crenshaw’s gift, he never misses the humanity in people.

2. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) – Daryl Hall And John Oates – I trashed this in the Village Voice when it first came out. I was wrng of course but my problem wasn’t disco as such, or Hall’s falsetto or Oates harmony, it was the bridge I couldn’t here: the change in tempo put me off. In 2014, however, I certainly can go for that

3. Bedroom Athlete – James Chance And The Contortions – Insanely contorted spurts of wild noise, like mini cardiac arrests, that sounds like there is no music brain behind it till it doesn’t sound like that and is more like James Brown meets Ornette Coltrane meets Phillip Glass.

4. N.Y. State Of Mind – Nas – Listening to this in 2014 and you realize something that has been lost through the years, the art of rapping: it isn’t his flow, he isn’t smooth like Tupac and smartass like Billie, it is a staccato rat-a-tat to a brooding sample. Yes, THAT INFLUENTIAL.

5. Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell – If the song was half this good, the central image would be enough to make this song one of the all time greats. A hard working blue collar guy in the middle of Kansas gets up on those huge poles and fixes telephone lines and all he can think of is the woman at home, so what happens is the song, like the airwaves, like the vibrations in the air, is alone and adrift and trying to fine a way home.

6. I Can Change – LCD Soundsystem – Possibly the most important EDM track of the last five years because it isn’t an EDM track at all: for all its construction space, it is a song devoured by the oneness of the computer. The “I can change” is a clinging deconstructive meltdown and really the most James Murphy moment in his entire career.

7. Easter Parade – Judy Garland And Fred Astaire – Judy has become defined by her fragility as the years leave her further and further away, but the thing is, she was, not unlike Fred Astaire, first and foremost a song and dance gal, and this is a song and dance song. It lives outside our sadness.

8. It’s Not Unusual – Tom Jones – The remarkable thing here is that Jones exudes an invulnerable tough guy sexuality, he was like the Liam Neeson of pop, all swagger and sexiness. And he swaggers through this sexy song, except, for all his singing, he is very very insecure.

9. Get Lucky – Daft Punk – I know I felt than like it was Daft Punks success and it feels now like it’s Pharrell’s success, but the song belongs to Niles Rodgers. It is Niles success given by daft Punk as a gift to the remaining half of Chic.

10. Nursie, Nursie – Ambrose And His Orchestra – Around the start of WW2 and a harbinger of the horrors to come, this song about an unrequited love of a soldier for his Nurse is a distraught wordplay.

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