Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vinyl Vednesday 8/31/2011

[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick-measuring contest, but it usually turns out that way. As always, e-mail with your own big finds!]

Rick James’ Street Songs (1981) on black, Ida Maria’s “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” seven-inch (2008) on clear red, and Mean Jeans’ “Tears in My Beers” seven-inch (2010) on black.

Place of Purchase:
eBay for James ‘n’ Maria. Mean Jeans was a promo from the Trouble in Mind label for review.

Thoughts: Music journalist Michelangelo Matos is pretty much my spirit guide when it comes to R&B. In addition to penning a most excellent book about Prince’s Sign O’ the Times, he also wrote an illuminating essay on music from 1981 that introduced me to Rick James. Obviously, James was already in my consciousness, first for “Super Freak,” then for his appearance on Chappelle’s Show. But it was Matos who turned me on to “Give It to Me Baby,” a song so undeniably funky and sexy and funny and awesome that I had to buy the record it appeared on. I used to think James was a bitter beauty queen for hating hip-hop so much. Then I heard Street Songs and realized he really just hated it because rappers couldn’t touch what his songwriting. While I wouldn’t put him on the same level as Prince or Michael Jackson, Street Songs is still essential listening for people who like sexxxy musics. Blasting this record makes me feel so good.

Unlike Rick James, whom I instantly fell in love with upon hearing “Give It to Me Baby,” my courtship with Ida Maria took a few months. She honestly first came into my view when “Oh My God” was used in the trailer for It’s Kind of a Funny Story. I found the song to be addictive, adrenaline-pumping fun, but my fiancée Michelle swore that Maria’s debut album was terrible. But I couldn’t get “Oh My God” out of my head, and soon I picked up the single on eBay. I decided that I would buy a second single and, should it be as good, I’d commit to the record. “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” is just as catchy and, like James, super fun/sexy jam. The B-sides are mighty fine.

Said it before, said it again: Mean Jeans made a great mini-concept album about dranking back the year 2010. “Tears in My Beers” is a zesty Ramones tribute of a tune, while “Cool 2 Drive” is more somber. That’s relatively speaking, of course. Still, of all the Ramones rip-offs over the years, Mean Jeans are my favorite. They just have a raw yet hooky pop-punk delivery that never gets old for me.

No comments: