Hunh? Well, I was on the phone all day Wednesday with my new Norton friends, plucking out a virus from the bowels of my computer. Best laid plans and all that. But who's to say we can't take the Shuffle out for a Sunday drive?
1. "My Love" / Paul McCartney and Wings
From Red Rose Speedway (1993)
Now, you know I love Paul McCartney. But this song may be too schmaltzy even for me. Gorgeous melody, hideously overblown production, embarrassingly adolescent lyrics. What exactly is IT that his love does so well (or, excuse me, so "good")? As if we couldn't guess.
2. "Secondary Modern" / Elvis Costello and the Attractions
From Get Happy! (1980)
And now the antithesis of schmaltz -- Get Happy!, my favorite EC album. This song always makes me think of a creepy janitor ("down in the basement") molesting high school girls. Just listen to Elvis' heavy-breathing vocal, and that stalker bass line. How this manages to be such a fun track is beyond me.
3. "Personality Crisis" / The New York Dolls
From New York Dolls (1972)
More snarky fun. I completely missed the Dolls, but it doesn't really matter when you got on the David Johansen train -- once you're aboard, it's time for fun. Arch those eyebrows, honey. Who knew drag queens could rock out like this?
4. "Let's Pretend" / Greg Trooper
From The Williamsburg Affair(2010)
Time to dial down the irony now. "Let's go down where the rivers meet / And pretend we never moved to Lonely Street" -- behind this gently rollicking roots rocker lies a ton of wistful wishful thinking. Like "Dead End Street" with less satire, a tale of two losers still trying to live on love.
5. "Get Back" / The Beatles
From Let It Be (1970)
Proof that Paul McCartney doesn't need to wallow in schmaltz. A part of me will always be on that Mayfair rooftop, with John Lennon in his fur coat and Paul in full black beard, treating London to the greatest free concert ever. Get back, Loretta!
6. "D Is for Dangerous" / The Arctic Monkeys
From Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007)
When the first Arctic Monkeys album came out, British critics were raving that they were the best band ever. Well, here's the acid test -- just listen to the Arctic Monkeys right after the Beatles. It's no contest. A nice hectic bit of BritPop, though, and I do love those thick guttural accents.
7. "Pink Bedroom" / John Hiatt
From Two Bit Monsters (1979)
Didn't we have this on the last Shuffle? The iPod must really like early Hiatt. Well, her bedroom's still pink -- and so is the Barbie Ferrari.
8. "Think Sometimes About Me" / Sandie Shaw
From The Collection (compilation)
Now here's schmaltz done right. Those 60s girl singers were never afraid of drama -- listen to the lovely Sandie fling her heart into the ring, making that ex-boyfriend wonder why he left her.
9. "Indoor Fireworks" / Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello
From Live At Slims (1994)
Not fair, really -- a bootleg of a concert where Elvis came on as a special guest. "This is a song Elvis wrote, and I stole off him," Nick introduces it. Well, for the record, here is Elvis's version; Nick's is on Rose of England. I happen to know that Nick and Elvis did a whole show together in San Francisco last Friday night, singing each other's songs -- I'll bet this one was on the set list. It KILLS me that I missed that show.
10. "Gai-Gin Man" / Nick Lowe
From Party of One (1995)
Oh, come on, Shuffle, twist the knife!! I know he's still out on the West Coast, singing to other people than myself. From the greatly underrated Party of One -- Dave Edmunds, producer! -- a spanking little rockabilly number about a tall blue-eyed man touring Japan. (Remember what a big hit "Bay City Rollers We Love You" was in Japan?) A bit of a novelty number, maybe, but trust me, it's more fun than a barrel of Arctic Monkeys.