Archive | October, 2016

Certain Songs #686: The Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back”

jackson-five-i-want-you-back Album: Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5
Year: 1969

One of the greatest career openers ever starts with a piano glissando that explodes instantly into a guitar/bass/piano standoff that’s easily as dramatic as the climax of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Then, as the percussion and the strings come in and establish what they’re going to do for the rest of the song, that voice — neither young nor old, neither male or female, but utterly bursting with enthusiasm and soul — kicks in, and a star is born.


Certain Songs #685: Izzy Stradlin & The Juju Hounds – “Shuffle It All”

izzy-stradlin-and-the-ju-ju-hounds Album: Izzy Stradlin & The Juju Hounds
Year: 1992

Leaving the band he co-founded just after the Illusion twins were were birthed couldn’t have been the easiest decision for Izzy Stradlin to make. But it was clearly the necessary decision, as even the most cursory perusal of a song like “Pretty Tied Up” would indicate.

And while it was a surprise that he put out a solo album so swiftly, it wasn’t really a surprise what Izzy Stradlin & The Juju Hounds sounded like: straight-ahead, Stonesy rock ‘n’ roll, loose by design but tight in execution.


Certain Songs #684: Isaac Hayes – “Theme From Shaft”

isaac-hayes-theme-from-shaft Album: Shaft
Year: 1971

What’s the #1 hit single that broke all the rules by taking nearly two minutes to get to the first vocal?


Who’s the subject of the Oscar-winning jam with the most instantly recognizable wah-wah guitar & hi-hat pattern ever recorded?



Certain Songs #683: Interpol – “PDA”

interpol-turn-on-the-bright-lights Album: Turn on the Bright Lights
Year: 2002

What if Ian Curtis had hooked up with Will Sergeant instead of Bernard Sumner?

That seems to be the question that Interpol was trying to answer with “PDA,” the one — to cynical old me, anyways — undeniable track from their much-acclaimed 2002 debut, Turn on the Bright Lights.


Certain Songs #682: The Individuals – “Walk By Your House”

individuals-fields Album: Fields
Year: 1982

Driven by Janet Wygal’s bass rumbling around her brother Doug’s insistent, tom-filled drum beat, and peppered throughout by backwards guitar, “Walk By Your House” is one of the most sympathetic songs ever written about stalking someone.

Which sounds horrific on paper, I know, and yet, maybe because of the male-female trading off of vocals, and the overall melancholy mood “Walk By Your House” sets, it doesn’t come across that way.