Hello, and welcome to Round Two of the first season of Shuffle Roulette, a new gameshow series that exists on this blog and nowhere else, because nobody else has ever had an idea as fun as this one. If you missed the rules in our first installment, here’s what we’re doing:
Shuffle Roulette is a mixture of what we mostly do all the time on this blog and… The Newlywed Game? The rules are simple. Player One has to pull up the music library application of their choice and hit shuffle on whatever that app’s equivalent of an “all songs” or “faves” list is. They must then present Player Two with the first six songs that shuffle throws at them. No cheating. No mulligans. No re-rolls. I don’t care how embarrassed you might be. There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. First six songs. That’s the set.
Player Two will then give a gut reaction to each of the six songs. Player One will have a chance to respond and rebut.
Once all six songs have been covered, Player Two must then decide which song is…
The BULLET is whatever song Player One feels is the most killer song out of the set of six songs. Player One will then confirm or deny whether or not Player Two has correctly guessed The BULLET. If Player Two has not correctly guessed The BULLET, Player One will reveal the identity of The BULLET.
Best two out of three. Winner gets five bucks.
In the opening installment, Mike was presented a batch of six random tunes from Mark’s fave-songs shuffle. Mike failed to correctly identify THE BULLET, but made a very reasonable attempt!
It is now Mike’s turn to deliver a salvo of songs for Mark to react to, analyze and appraise, in his attempt to correctly identify… THE BULLET.
Beverly Glenn-Copeland – Reflections
Mark: Not super shocked that we’re kicking things off with an 8-minute song. Thanks, Mike.
I’m impressed by the vocal talent, but simultaneously don’t dig this kind of folky-operatic vamping. Use your good voice for good, not evil! That’s what I always say!
This is some very artsy-seeming stuff. Very poetic and already pretty structurally unconventional just two minutes in. The arrangement seems to be an acoustic guitar in one ear, and a harmonica player in the other ear who is just dinking around and can fuck all the way off, in my opinion.
A great voice, to be sure! But I think that this would have to work pretty hard to be any more not my thing.
Mike: I definitely LOL’d when the first song that came up was an 8-minute new age folk opus. This one is a standout track from a lesser album within Copeland’s canon. Nothing you’re saying is wrong, but I’m into it. Right down to the harmonica player.
7 Miles High – She’s Gone Away
Mark: This schmaltz is hitting me in a better way than the last track.
Great melody, big production. Also, I appreciate that this recording is obviously a digital dub from the vinyl record. Something about that sound just fits with the tune.
Haha. There’s a lot to like about this. Some really fun drum fills. The piano part is terrific. The rhythm section is super tight. And hooooly smokes, some of the pauses and stutters that the band pulls of in the back half of the song are rad as hell. And the tasteful slap-bass that brings everything home as the song fades out? Sublime!
Very catchy vocal performance that gets a little wild with its falsetto flourishes, but was overall kind of perfect for the tune. The backup vocals as well, are top-notch.
Cheesy in a good way. Had a lot of fun with this.
Mike: I love this song. I know exactly what you mean about the audio quality. When I first started listening to this track on a playlist by an artist I like I couldn’t really peg if it was somewhat contemporary or old (it’s old) for this reason. That piano part is fantastic, and I love when the strings/synth holds for a long time. Add in that wicked rhythm section and you’ve got a banger for the ages.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Rawhide
Mark: I don’t actually know much ODB material outside of the really obvious tunes, so kind of excited and scared of this.
The production is extremely… queasy. There’s a sickening warble to the loop, and the sub-bass hurts my weak lil’ tummy. But in a similar manner to grindcore albums that I’ve listened to that are so relentless and abrasive that they’ve made me feel physical ill… I find it hard not to be fascinated by musical things that make me feel bad!
I find it crazy that there are sections of the vocal performance here that are so unhinged, the vocals completely clip and distort in a way that seems unintentional and they just decided “Yep, that’s the take!” It’s very entertaining stuff. You’ve really gotta hand it to him. He was a true original.
Raekwon and Method Man both bring a more measured and controlled feeling to the song, which I think makes the ODB parts sound even more wild and freaky.
This is a pretty fun song that made me feel sick to my stomach!
Mike: This is not the most famous ODB song, but it’s my favourite. To me, this song sounds hazy. Like the sound of walking into a smoke-filled den. Like the man says: this is something old…and dirty.
EPMD – You Gots To Chill
Mark: I already like this song because it is repeatedly encouraging me to relax and maybe take a nap.
The last hip hop song in this blogpost had a beat that made me feel queasy. This one has a beat that makes me feel… easy! Like, easy does it! This bit isn’t working out.
The thing with this kind of very, very old school style hip hop is that I feel like I always enjoy listening to this kind of thing, but the majority of my enjoyment may be couched in some kind of ironic detachment or an enjoyment of the novelty of it. Enjoyment is enjoyment, though. So I’m having fun with this!
The video is helping. This is back when music mattered! The fridge stuff? Wow!
You know, these guys do seem pretty chill. Wait, one of them just very casually mentioned having a gun in his pants. That’s not especially chill, in my opinion.
The musical accompaniment here is very fun. Sampling “Jungle Boogie” is a really good idea. The beat has a nice laid-back bounce. Even with the sometimes incongruous mentions of how dangerous these guys are, this track indeed has me feeling like chilling.
Mike: I don’t even care that you’re speaking well of the song, that the words “ironic” and “novelty” are slipping through your lips here is just wild. This track is funky as hell. (The guns they’re packing are their rhymes; how does a guy who made up this song as bullet game not get that?).
Prince – Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?
Mark: Prince is maybe my greatest musical blindspot. I have many friends who adore Prince and I know only the absolute most famous prince songs and zero other ones. I have never heard this in my life.
This is a fun and bouncy tune! The harmonized guitar and synth riff that kicks off the song is very catchy. Great sounding band, and a quick Google has confirmed my suspicion that this is pre-80s. You can kind of tell by the way that the snare drum is produced. This is prior to that gated-snare sound that would rule popular music for most of the 80s for sure.
This is another track with a video that is enhancing my enjoyment. They really look like they’re having a good time, and the copious amounts of both slo-mo and gauzy crossfades are tasteless and tasty at the same time.
Amazing guitar solo, both sonically and visually. Whatta performer. Also, the vocal performance is tremendous. It’s like watching an actor chew the scenery. So, even though I don’t really get Prince, and I didn’t get into Prince when I was young enough to be influenced by the music, I can definitely understand what made this artist so compelling.
I really should admit, though, that this is not really like anything that I would choose to throw on and listen to by choice. Too upbeat! Gimme some downbeat!
Mike: This song is amazing. Prince is amazing. He was 20/21 when he did this, and played all the parts on this track.
Spellling – Always
Mark: I have heard of this band! And I have heard this band! Not really totally my thing, but I remember hearing a very well-produced and catchy song from Spellling at some point.
The nature sounds are a bit much, but I think “a bit much” is what this group goes for. The kick drum and bass hits sound great when the verse properly kicks off. The vocals are, for me, a bit overly affected. But really well performed.
I was going to type “this is the kind of song where I can anticipate every chord change”, but there’s actually a chord in the verse that follows the first chorus that I wasn’t expecting and it provides a really swell change-up to the song.
Overall, this is a very creatively produced song, and I thought that it was fairly good. Kind of a goofball vibe, but what am I to expect from a band that named itself “Spellling”?
Mike: I also LOL’d when Spellling turned up in this first batch, after your reaction to her song on my year-end playlist. Her music lives in the same space as what I like about musicals (when I like musicals). It’s a good melody and a strong vocal.
Mark: Knowing what I do about Mike, and judging by how fun this song was, I am pretty confident that THE BULLET here is “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” by Prince. I could be wrong, but that’s my pick. For myself? I think I may also pick the Prince song, although I really enjoyed the 7 Miles High song as well.
Mike: Direct hit. I mean, there’s lots of good songs here, but “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” pretty clearly stands out among them, imho.
END OF ROUND TWO
Mike: You’ve drawn first blood, Mark. Roll the next six songs and have your second contact my second.
Mark: I feel pretty great for having scored the first point, but I’m also feeling kind of sheepish that I had forgotten where I had heard Spellling, and I had also forgotten that I actually didn’t care for the other song that I had heard by Spellling.
Mike, you’ve got the next round to correctly choose THE BULLET and tie things up. Failing that, I’m afraid that I will be the winner of the first-ever Shuffle Roulette series. Which sounds great to me! But hey, who knows what’ll happen?
Thanks for reading!