You Call That A Shuffle?

Quick thought on last weekend’s Super Bowl halftime show before getting to the Shuffle.  They should have just skipped Coldplay and gone straight to Beyonce and Bruno Mars.  Chris Martin seemed like he was genuinely trying but Coldplay’s music doesn’t have the oomph or charisma needed for this particular event.  My favorite part of the whole thing was the montage of acts that have played previous Super Bowls.  My second favorite was when Bruno Mars was singing  “Got Chucks on” in Uptown Funk just as he and his dancers did a choreographed spin that highlighted their Nike sneakers.  Oops, missed opportunity for Converse.

New Order, World in Motion from (The Best Of) New Order.  Three Stars. Oh boy this is not New Order’s finest hour. This song was written for England’s 1990 World Cup campaign. They ended up in fourth place so I guess the song worked?  This song veers into cheesy territory immediately and then dives headfirst like an Argentenian striker into full-on bad taste with a rap by English national teamer John Barnes. Fun fact: Barnes beat out several other teammates to get the honor of “rapping” his verse. I would love to hear those audition tapes. Second fun fact: this is the only New Order song to hit number 1 on the UK singles chart. Blue Monday is in my top 10 favorite songs of all time and this treacly mess is their only number 1. We live in an unfair world. I should probably reclassify this as a two star song; it really doesn’t have much redeeming qualities.

Pixies, U-Mass from Death To The Pixies (Disc 1).  Five Stars. I’d argue this song is in some ways just as dumb as the New Order song above.  About half the song is Black Francis shouting “it’s educational” and the lyrical content is more literal than some of his other songs (my take is he’s smirking at the twin pillars of college life, idealism and hedonism).  But unlike the by the numbers approach of the song above, this track actually builds to something other than a terribly corny rap. It has a great guitar riff, some sneaky fun bass work (check around the 1 minute mark), the usual shrieks and surly emotion of Black Francis singing, and a frenetic guitar breakdown that’s over before you know it to end the song.

Leroy Hutson, All Because of You from All Because of You 7″.  Four Stars.  I also have the full 7 minute version from his Hutson album, so not entirely sure how I came across this version.  Hutson was lead singer of the great Impressions (post Curtis Mayfield).  This song is a good representation of 70s soul/R&B.  An appropriately funky drum break introduces the song, then a piano jumps on top, and you’re soon in the middle of a jam.  Hutson’s voice is made for this type of song and the strings in the middle work well as an extension of his vocals.  Put this in your Valentine’s mix this Sunday.  You’ll thank me later.

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