Paul McCartney, Sloan, Waterfalls, Coming Up

Posted in Paul McCartney, Youtube Favs on July 25th, 2011 by Willie

TLC ripped it off.  No doubt about it.  This song, “Waterfalls,” was a hit in England, but it was the first song of Paul’s unable to reach the top Billboard 100 despite the previous single, “Coming Up” reaching #1 in the US.  Hmm…”Coming Up” is one of my favorite songs ever, but I can’t embed it on my website!! Click that link above and watch it too, it’s the song that made John Lennon jealous and motivated his return to pop music, unbelievable.  Anyway, “Waterfalls,” from the same album, McCartney II, was released in the magical year 1980, and was Paul’s first post-Wings record.  It’s a slow thoughtful ballad recorded only with a Fender Rhodes electric piano and a synthesizer.  The lyrics are pretty good too, and so is the music video, but it all pales in comparison to Sloan’s driving and insanely catchy version of the tune, which I’ve thoughtfully included.  Sloan really brings out the genius of the song’s melody and lyrics.  They do it so much justice, that’s its clearly superior to Paul’s original.  Amazing.  So check out both versions of the song, and “Coming Up,” and seep in the elegant misty glory of “Waterfalls.”

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Michael Jackson, Leave Me Alone

Posted in Michael Jackson, Youtube Favs on June 12th, 2011 by Willie

Soul week comes to a close with part 87 of my ever expanding youtube countdown.  Today, I have my favorite Michael Jackson cut of all time, “Leave Me Alone,” from Bad. Released in 1987, “Leave Me Alone” was actually left off the American version of Bad, but was later added as a bonus track.  This, I’ll never understand.  It was clearly the best song from the session, representing a clear, concise, and true message from the King of Pop.  It’s basically his banner, more than “Billie Jean,” or “Beat It,” and he should have played it at every live show.  Actually, I don’t think he ever performed it live, which is a shame, because its the hardest rocking piece of funk MJ ever came up with.  The thing that grabs me most are first few seconds.  That 80s snyth keyboard intro is nothing less than hardcore 80s psychedelia.  In fact, this whole song is the closest Jackson ever got to psychedelia.  It’s a swirling, paranoid, personal, foray into his inner demons set to pop music, and it rules.  Anyway, enjoy the music video, which is also one of Jackson’s best.

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Marvin Gaye, Sexual Healing, 1983 Grammys

Posted in Marvin Gaye, Youtube Favs on June 9th, 2011 by Willie

Part 85 my soul people, back with more Marvin Gaye like I promised.  This time, its a special performance of “Sexual Healing,” sung live at the 1983 Grammys.  This was Marvin’s last worldwide smash hit, eventually peaking at #3 on the Billboard 100 after dominating the R&B charts.  There is a lot of tragedy and joy to be found in the creation of this record.  It’s a reflection of Marvin attempting  to embrace a healthier more peaceful life through sobriety, exercise, and  Sadly, just as he was in the midst of his triumphant comeback, he was gunned down by his father in one of the more bizarre rock and roll assassinations.  It reminds me a lot of John Lennon’s demise after he completed Double Fantasy. It’s really painful to think of the three icons; Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, and Bob Marley, all dying in the early 80s.  They left a tremendous void.  Anyway, this song was almost entirely produced by Marvin himself outside of the rhythm guitars.  It’s a true masterpiece that touched on elements of doo-wop, snythpop, reggae, funk and gospel.  This performance, a lot like the song, is a triumph.  Marvin reminds the music elite that he is an absolute God, taking them to school by defining what pop music is and can be.  RIP Marvin.

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The Magnetic Fields, Grand Canyon

Posted in The Magnetic Fields, Youtube Favs on April 22nd, 2011 by Willie

In part 43 of my youtube countdown, I present to you the Magnetic Fields singing “Grand Canyon,” one of their great songs off their epic 69 Love Songs album.  The Magnetic Fields are the brainchild of serially depressed genius Stephin Merritt.  To me, Stephin is lyrically as brilliant as Bob Dylan..yes, I know what I just said, but its true.  He is a master pop lyric craftsman and probably one of the top 3 contemporary songwriters in the world today.  He sings in a very low Sintra-esque voice, which, to me, adds a timeless quality to his very original music.  “Grand Canyon,” a breathtakingly brilliant song about rekindling lost love, is one of 69 songs from his aforementioned triple album.  The album, which you all should get, and which I’ll probably do a big feature on soon, is one of the greatest pop albums of the past 20 years, and deserves to be heard by all, so check it out.  In the meantime, let the brilliant simple words of “Grand Canyon” serve as your introduction to this band of geniuses.

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