Week of 1/2/2012:

“Teengenerate” by The Dictators

“The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!” is a very funny album, but the songs are good enough that I’m able to keep coming back to them.  Of course, most people didn’t get the humor in 1975, and that might still be true today, unfortunately.  (Although having your lead singer drunkenly sing “I Got You Babe” as a duet with a guy named Handsome Dick Manitoba, for example, isn’t exactly subtle…)  In any case, if you like “Teengenerate,” you’ll probably like all nine of the tracks on “Go Girl Crazy!” — and indeed, if you have even a passing interest in ’70s punk, this is definitely an album that you should own.

Week of 1/9/2012

“Rock & Roll” by The Velvet Underground

Lou Reed has written some really inaccessible songs, especially when collaborating with John Cale, but he sure can write great pop/rock songs as well.  “Loaded” really was loaded with hits, or at least it should have been.  Maybe if Lou sang lead on “New Age” instead of Doug Yule?

Week of 1/16/2012

“Hidden Charms” by Howlin’ Wolf

Howlin’ Wolf is one of my favorite bluesmen, but this isn’t a blues song, really; in fact, I would classify it as an upbeat rock ‘n’ roll tune.  Written by Willie Dixon (Chess Records’ most prolific songwriter), the song itself is a pleasure to listen to; it’s taken to the next level by Hubert Sumlin’s absolutely smokin’ guitar solo.  Phenomenal.

Week of 1/23/2012

“Plainclothes Man” by Heatmiser

If it seems that I tend to gush about these songs of the week, there’s a good reason:  I think that they’re all great songs.  However, this song is not only my song of the week but also one of my ten favorite songs, period.  Written and sung by Elliot Smith (who split singing/songwriting duties in the band with Neil Gust), this song is sad but beautiful.  Beyond what I’ve said already, I’ll let the song speak for itself.  If you like this, the rest of the album (“Mic City Sons”) is worth a look.