So, I really hate fake applause to start a track, and also any talking or fucking around after the track is over. It’s why, as good as The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is, I can’t listen to it start to finish – the classroom scenes after each freaking track is insanely annoying. Can’t it just the music? Do we really need the fake context?
However, I have two tracks with this fake applause/bullshit after the song on my list this month. It’s part of a So Hot Right Now list that is filled with musical paradoxes – stuff I’ve always avoided I now like, stuff I wouldn’t put up with anywhere else but here, and bands I’ve always claimed to dislike I’ve found favor in. The big one of these is the inclusion of Justin Timberlake.
I’ve never been a huge fan of popular music, both the genre of pop and music that everybody liked (in fact, I used to be super hipster about it and figured if it had universal appeal, there was something wrong with it), but Justin Timberlake’s new album is surprisingly good. And not just in the way pop music can happen to be good, but actually musically good, by basically staying in the lines. He doesn’t wow anyone with new sounds, just perfecting that great soul-meets-r&b-meets-dance music sound that modern pop music seems to be straying away from. I’ll never understand – that sound is what made Michael Jackson so good, why not do it again? The lead track on this list, “That Girl,” isn’t quite like a Michael Jackson sound, but it has that thick, deep soul sound that came around with the aforementioned Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo and Jill Scott (notice a pattern there that Timberlake isn’t a part of?) and has big horns. If we were ever to get a Real Funk Revival, it would have to be lead by Mr. Timberlake.
As much as a shock as liking JT’s album was, that’s the kind of feeling I got when I heard the opener to Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside’s new album, Untamed Beast, “They Told Me.” I had been drifting around in a fog for the past few weeks, not really happy or sad, just doing, and Spotify’s radio was playing the same crap it always does (has anyone noticed how bad that service is? It repeats songs all the damn time.) and then that big guitar, thick with reverb and echo, something like out of a nightclub in LA in the 50′s smashing into a nightclub in Seattle in the 90′s, shot through me like .50 caliber hollow-point. It’s a shocking track, even though the sound is fairly similar on their first album – similar, but nowhere near as good. This song shows the sound that band is meant to make, and the sound that could make them.
A few quick hits:
- I have never liked much of The Rolling Stones’ stuff, but “Loving Cup” is fantastic, and more than likely showing up on a list later this week.
- Yes, I stole both “Keep the Car Running” and “When U Love Somebody” from Claire’s So Hot Right Now list. Fucking sue me. Also, I got to see The Decemberists cover the latter song, on a tour where they had been touring with the Fruit Bats. And they performed their cover on the same nights as the Fruit Bats played! That’s a real kick in the nuts, if you ask me.
- The Band’s cover of “Don’t Do It,” originally by Marvin Gaye, is exceedingly good. It may be the only time I prefer a white man’s vocals. RIP Mr. Helm.
- The penultimate song, “Spanish Moon,” came on WTMD the other morning, and I had to Shazam it – I did not know that was Little Feat. That is some deep funk.
- The new Dawes track sounds exactly like it could be playing over a “figuring-it-out” montage from an 80′s movie. It’s pretty good, I just can’t shake that image.