I was having brunch at Stone Bowl, a Korean place, and the food, the décor, the lighting, and the people were all lovely—the only downside was that the music seemed a little too loud for that early, and I wasn't liking any of it—so I decided to pick the next random song and see if my phone could identify it. Once again, I was unable to tell what was the song title, the band, or the album until I got home and did some research, but it turns out it was a song called “FXXK IT” by the band BIGBANG from their album MADE (they have TONS of videos on the internet, and most often this song and band name are in ALL CAPS). It's from 2016, I think, and they are a South Korean boyband, I guess. This song has a repetitive chorus in English, something like, “I'm gonna get down,” and then there are some rapping parts in a language I'll presume is Korean. It's a catchy song, kind of annoying, but I was just mostly thrilled it was a Korean band (I had no sense of that from the song) since I heard it in a Korean restaurant. There isn't much else to say about it, except that it has a percussion part that really annoys me; it's that currently trendy (or maybe it's yesterday-trendy by now) sound that sounds likes someone spinning a ratchet wrench. I don't know how else to describe it. I spent an afternoon awhile back trying to describe this sound to Google so that I could articulate it, but I couldn't come up with a term or word (as with the “Autotune” voice thing, that previously annoyed me so much). I found somewhere someone saying it was the “hi-hat” part of the percussion, but really sped up, which I guess makes sense. It's something a drummer could never play, but a certain percussion instrument might (ratchet wrench) or of course, a computer. I know nothing about this kind of music, but it seems like it could really date certain music to a certain time, looking back from the future.

“I Think I Love You” The Partridge Family

My secret random system for radio shows (involving playing cards and a calendar) was yesterday employed with the “What You Need” radio program on WRUW Cleveland, and landed on the 1970 hit single, “I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family. This was the first song I ever associated directly with a crush (or possibly second—as Tommy Roe's “Dizzy” came out a year earlier) (but either way, they both were associated with a mad crush on someone that even to this day, I won't admit publicly, out of respect). As a ten-year-old, though, I remember putting this record on and marveling how the lyrics so closely matched my feelings. It's a super catchy song, by one of my favorite songwriters, Tony Romeo (and also contains the dreaded “brain/insane” rhyme). The song may have actually given my feelings their first words: “I love you.” The “think” part, for me, was not questioning the intensity of the feeling, but rather: was this what love was? The Partridge Family TV show came on the air at almost the exact time the record came out—I'm not sure where I heard the song first—and my feelings of romantic love for this girl my age were then mixed with a crush on Shirley Jones—kind of weird, since she was the mother—but then the show only barely toned down the incestuous mother/son subtext, played for as much heat as they could get by the censors. I was the same age as Danny, the bass playing hobbit, but I related much more to the heartthrob Keith (David Cassidy) whose romantic adventures (am I remembering this correctly?) were constantly derailed because none of the young ladies could hold a candle to his mom. It wasn't until several years later that I realized that I could actually have a crush on Susan Dey, and I did, but by that time, beer was my new mistress.

"Shiver" Run River North

The music was a little bit getting on my nerves at the Bella Caffe so I decided I'd review the next song that came on, and to my surprise I actually liked it! Maybe this a good strategy. My phone told me it was a song called “Shiver” and was performed by Run River North (at first I thought it was a song called “Run River North” performed by Shiver). It turns out it's a Coldplay song (which I obviously didn't know) from back near 2000, which still seems like yesterday to me, but to young people is ancient history. It's kind of brutal how the years are advancing, and soon songs from the 2000s will be on “oldies” stations! The lyrics are a little stalkerish, but this is a truly beautiful song. If I had to take a wild guess, first hearing it, I'd have guessed it was Jeff Buckley. I'm talking about the Run River North version, which I like infinitely more than the Coldplay version. It's really quiet and dramatic, it's got piano, some kind of strings, and it goes down to a voice and acoustic guitar in parts, and then it swells, but not too much. I know nothing about this band, Run River North (and I'm never going to remember that name—I'll probably call them A River Runs Through It). They look young, from LA, maybe Asian-American, two women and three or four guys. I might just look them up and pay attention to them in the future.

“Aladdin Sane (1913- 1938- 197?)” David Bowie

4000-some songs on my computer, somehow (weird, since I don't ever remember putting them on there, but you know, over the years, transferring from one computer to the next...) Anyway, this is the song that came up first, on “shuffle” (don't be fooled by the “A” in the title). This is that song from Bowie's 1973 Aladdin Sane record that kind of starts off as a song and then goes on for the rest of its five minutes in a repetitious two note thing, while on the left side, the piano goes off on its own into outer space, and on the right, the sax does, too (I suppose, trying to replicate the “troubled mind”—though for many of us, it's music to our ears). Though lovely, I always sort of thought of this as that song that you get through—between one great song and another—you know, while thinking, “OK... A Lad Insane... I get it.” I have no idea what the dates in the song title mean, but I'll wager you can find that discussed on the internet. Ray Speen has a theory that 1973 was the best year for everything—from music to sit-coms to diner waitresses to corn dogs; I'm not convinced, but I can't help to dwell on that now. Richard Myers made a film titled “37—73”—referring to the year he was born, and the year he made the film. My favorite Bowie albums are Ziggy Stardust (1972) and Diamond Dogs (1974)—obviously, this one sits right in the middle, and is also great. Anyway, I'm glad for this opportunity to isolate this song, and re-appreciate it. “Paris or maybe Hell (I'm waiting).” This song has gone up several notches (I don't really have notches). That guy playing piano, did he have the best day of his life that day, or what?

Intro to SONGS

The “Vinyl” page is gone, but you can still read Ray Speen's record reviews (LPs & 45s) on his long-existing site: DJ FARRAGINOUS.

This new “Songs” page is reviews of songs picked randomly. I have devised several methods of random selection of songs from: my record and CD collections, my computer, the Internet, various radio stations and shows, and even grocery stores and restaurants. We have songs coming at us all day long (did you ever notice that?) and it's about time to start asking some questions.

I considered a structure, such as “Random Song Thursday” or something, but you know that's not going to happen. So... new posts here will appear randomly, as well.

Randy Russell 12.1.17