Over the past couple of weeks, I've revisited some music from the past decade that had been gathering cobwebs in the distant corners of my iPod. Here are my scattered thoughts on some of the best of them:
Freelance Hellraiser - A Stroke of Genie-us
I heard about Freelance Hellraiser's mash-up of Christina Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle" over The Strokes' "Hard To Explain," well before I actually heard it. As a big fan of The Strokes who hated just about everything about bubble gum pop music, the very idea of combining one of my favorite bands - a band that was redeeming real rock music performed by real musicians with real instruments from the terrible schlock that was on the radio at the time (does anybody remember Train?) - dumbed down for the teeny bopper set offended me. But when I finally got around to hearing it, I was amazed - it sounds as if those lyrics are written to go with that music, and the entire thing is just fun. You can tell that Aguilera and The Strokes approved, because neither made any effort to take it down off of the internet or shareware programs. I recently heard it again for the first time in a while, and it still holds up:
David Bowie - "Slow Burn"
Every time I heard that an aging baby boomer was about to release a 9/11 record, I cringed a little bit, fearing the utter travesty that, fortunately, never really happened. David Bowie's "Slow Burn" was the best of them, bringing immediacy to current events in a way that rock music had failed to do since the early days of U2.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Throw Away Your Television"
For a while in the early years of the last decade, the newly sober Red Hot Chili Peppers, reinforced by John Frusciante and coming off of the success of Californication, looked ready to take over unofficial mantle "Biggest Rock Band in the World" from U2. That never really happened, but Californication and By the Way are excellent albums, if albums that are slightly less than the sum of their parts. This song begins with a bitchin' bass solo by Flea, turns into a Duke Ellingtonesque dance hall stomp, and builds to a climactic Frusciante guitar solo that he reached into the future and pulled back to stick into your ears. Had they come up with six or seven songs like this, they might have stuck around for a few more albums.