‘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.”
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.
‘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”).
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.
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.
‘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).
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.