Sex Pistols/Public Image Ltd.

I’ve already given the Sex Pistols their due, so I’ll use this space instead to give a shout out to my all-time favorite album review. It’s for Public Image Ltd.’s album This Is What You Want … This Is What You Get, and it reads, in its entirety: “If this is what you want, this is what you deserve.”

Sex Pistols AllMusic page

Public Image Ltd. AllMusic page

Ry Cooder

Award-winning director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) went to the same high school as my kids, and he and Max actually graduated together. So I am only two degrees of separation from actor Michael B. Jordan, which means we are clearly destined to meet one day. Score!

Ry Cooder is a different person entirely.

Ry Cooder AllMusic page

Ruth Brown

You know what would have been fun? Growing up when mambo was a thing. Can we bring that back? And while we’re at it, can we bring back singers who sound like Ruth Brown? Thanks.

Ruth Brown AllMusic page

Roy Orbison

PEOPLE! How is this possible? Hundreds of lists, thousands of listens—and nobody … not one of you … busted on me for skipping Roy “Mr. Crying/It’s Over/Only the Lonely Himself” Orbison in round one! I even threw everyone (myself included) a clue by including Van Halen’s lame cover of “Oh Pretty Woman” on their list! I’m embarrassed … for all of us.

Roy Orbison AllMusic page

Residents

The big shtick about the Residents is that the group members always wear masks or crazy headgear that covers their faces in public, so nobody knows what they look like. You can see the joke that’s coming: “If I made music that sounds like that, I’d …” Except I have no idea what their music sounds like, so I can’t comment. Check back with me after track 4 or so.

Residents AllMusic page

Quiet Storm Divas

The reigning queens of 90s quiet storm (anyone remember when that was a thing?) present a study in contrasts. On the one hand, I actually really like Anita Baker, although more than one person has pointed out that it often sounds like she is singing with a mouth full of pebbles. On the other hand … I once read a review of Sade’s album Stronger Than Pride that read, in its entirety: “… and faster than Sominex*.” I couldn’t agree more.

*For you youngsters out there: Sominex is what we used to help us fall asleep before they invented melatonin.

Anita Baker AllMusic page

Sade AllMusic page

Psychedelic Furs

Here we have the whole Gordon Gano/Violent Femmes thing all over again. Richard Butler supposedly said he wrote “Love My Way” to celebrate gay people, but he supposedly isn’t gay. Come on now: Psychedelic Furs? That just sounds like a 60s lounge act named in honor of Joan Collins. No straight man would name his 60s lounge act in honor of Joan Collins.

Psychedelic Furs AllMusic page