Song of the Day #3,782: ‘Steven’s Last Night in Town’ – Ben Folds Five

Funny coincidence as today’s random iTunes selection is a song my family was jamming to during a drive to the mall just hours earlier.

‘Steven’s Last Night in Town’ is a standout song on an album full of standout songs, Ben Folds Five’s sophomore release Whatever and Ever Amen. It’s about record producer Stephen Short, a friend of Ben Folds who came to visit and never left. As Folds recalls, “we must have thrown five or six going-away parties for him.”

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Song of the Day #3,781: ‘Automatic Systematic Habit’ – Garbage

‘Automatic Systemaitc Habit’ is the lead track on Garbage’s 2012 album Not Your Kind of People, their first record after a seven-year hiatus.

Garbage is very much a late 90s band, with their first three (and best three) albums coming out between 1995 and 2001. 2005’s Bleed Like Me was a misstep and for a while seemed like the end of the band. But this album showed a renewed spirit and a sound very much like the one they mastered back in the day.

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Song of the Day #3,775: ‘Everybody Loves You Now’ – Billy Joel

Here’s a great song from Billy Joel’s debut album, 1971’s Cold Spring Harbor. A live version was later released on the 1981 compilation album Songs in the Attic.

‘Everybody Loves You Now’ is a bitter serenade to a woman who hit it big and, in the narrator’s eyes, turned her back on the neighborhood (“you ain’t got the time to go to Cold Spring Harbor no more”).

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Song of the Day #3,774: ‘Love is Free’ – Sheryl Crow

The first three random songs that popped up on iTunes had already been featured on the blog: Aimee Mann’s ‘4th of July,’ Art Garfunkel’s live performance of ‘A Heart in New York,’ and The White Stripes’ ‘I Want to Be the Boy to Warm Your Mother’s Heart.’

When that happens, I like to go back and read the old posts, both to see if my opinions have changed and to enjoy the comment threads. In that batch, frequent commenter Dana took shots at Garfunkel, occasional commenter Amy took shots at Mann, and Jack White emerged unscathed.

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Song of the Day #3,761: ‘First Timer’ – Elliott Smith

The Random iTunes Fairy has a thing for Elliott Smith. Today’s SOTD is the seventh Smith tune to pop up on Random Weekends, and the third from the double album New Moon.

I don’t know how that stacks up against other artists. I’ve long regretted that I never kept detailed stats of Random Weekends so I could do exactly the kind of analysis I’m wondering about now. But my gut tells me Smith is better represented than most.

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Song of the Day #3,760: ‘Babies Makin’ Babies’ – Miranda Lambert

The Random iTunes Fairy is getting cute again, serving up a Miranda Lambert track the day after I posted the latest from Pistol Annies.

‘Babies Makin’ Babies’ is a cut from Lambert’s 2014 album Platinum, one of her most successful critically and commercially. The album ranked #12 on the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll and topped the Billboard 200 album chart. Esteemed critic Robert Christgau praised it as “apolitical de facto feminism at its countriest” (I love that line).

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Song of the Day #3,754: ‘Fill Her Up’ – Sting

Brand New Day, released in 1999, was Sting’s sixth solo album. It’s the last of his albums I chose to own, despite him releasing six more since.

I can’t argue that this album soured me on Sting because, looking at the tracklist, it’s damn good. ‘Desert Rose,’ ‘After the Rain Has Fallen,’ ‘Ghost Story’ and ‘Brand New Day’ are all top-notch. And ‘Fill Her Up,’ today’s random SOTD, is one of Sting’s most successfully ambitious efforts ever.

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