You know how it works...
1. For a Fool / The Shins
From Port of Morrow (2012)
Well, this is easy -- I just wrote about this song a couple weeks ago!
2. Not the Same (Live) / Ben Folds
From The Best Imitation of Myself (2012)
So many tracks to dig from this brilliant retrospective album -- though originally this is from Rockin' The Suburbs (another album you really should own, assuming that you're as besotted with Ben Folds as I am). It's another of his score-settling songs -- warning: DO NOT CROSS this man, or he'll skewer you in a song.
3. Apeman / The Kinks
From Lola Vs Powerman and the Money Go-Round Part One (1970)
"I don't feel safe in this world no more / I don't want to die in a nuclear war / I want to sail away to a distant shore / And live like an ape man." Ah, Ray -- always trying to escape the pressures of modern life. With a wink, of course....
4. Exquisite Dead Guy / They Might Be Giants
From Factory Showroom (1996)
Okay, it's a little annoying that Amazon has an MP3 for this and NOT for "Apeman." But I do love TMBG, and this droll little tune is one of my favorites. Who else would adorn a creepfest story line, worthy of Vincent Price, with Bacharach-style "bah-bah-da-bah-bah" harmonies?
5. Careless / Amos Lee
From Supply and Demand (2006)
It's the old "You're Gonna Lose That Girl" storyline -- the guy who really loves the girl scolding the boyfriend who's treating her wrong. But with Amos' trademark rueful folk-soul spin, it's calculated to charm the pants off of every lonely single woman within a hundred miles. Oh, Amos, that's so awful she broke your heart -- what can I do to console you?
6. Da Boom / Nick Lowe
From Nick the Knife (1982)
Album filler alert! Normally I don't upload minor tracks like this onto my iTunes, but I'll always make an exception for Nick. Sorry there's no Amazon link -- until YepRoc sees fit to reissue this album too (as well they should) you'll just have to imagine -- but thanks to the ever-wonderful Greg Trooper I just found a YouTube version that'll satisfy your burning curiosity...
7. The Biggest Night of Her Life / Alan Price
From The Price Is Right (1966 or thereabouts...)
Funny the things you learn while shuffling. There's no Amazon MP3 for the Alan Price version of this peppy Randy Newman pop song about a girl preparing to lose her virginity, even though Alan Price was Britain's #1 interpreter of Randy Newman songs. But there ARE links to two other cover versions, one by Harper's Bizarre (best known for "Feelin' Groovy") and another by the Nashville Teens (as in "Tobacco Road.") Trust me, Alan's is the version you want.
8. Hymn to Me / Brinsley Schwarz
From Brinsley Schwarz (1970)
Do you need any more proof that this shuffle is unedited? Nick Lowe wrote it, and it's the lead track on their debut album -- but that doesn't mean it isn't totally derivative folk-rock drivel. Lucky thing he got better as time went on...
9. LoveWithout Greed / Graham Parker & the Rumour
From The Up Escalator (1980)
Thank god -- saved (again) by Graham Parker. A near-perfect fusion of soul and rock, with majestic piano fanfares (courtesy of Nicky Hopkins, as the divine Bob Andrews had apparently already jumped ship). Anyone who thinks that Bruce Springsteen invented his sound needs to listen to this album. Hell, Bruce even sings on this album, that's how much of a Parker acolyte he was. And while Bruce is still recycling this sound, GP has moved on, and on, and on, getting better and better every year. Really, do yourself a favor and just buy the entire Graham Parker catalog NOW. You will not be sorry.
10. Champion / Geraint Watkins
From In a Bad Mood (2008)
Maybe in the long run the greatest benefit of my Nick Lowe obsession will turn out to be the marvelous artists I've seen opening for Nick. Case in point: The ever soulful and divine Geraint Watkins, keyboard maestro extraordinaire. Yeah, there's a throwback quality to his music, as this courtly little waltz suggests. But he can be wicked funny, too, and his original songs (like this one) are total charmers. Buy, buy, buy!