There’s a whole lot of stuff out there in the music world that I do not care for…and I’m probably wrong. The widely-revered Sonic Youth, for example, is just not my cup of tea. (No, not even Daydream Nation.) I find Radiohead 20% tolerable background music, 80% powerful irritant. My contemporaries look at me like I’m a criminal when I say I find the Pixies a big fat “meh.” These are my own personal blind spots, and I own them.
Then there’s the artists that I know deep in my bones I’m right about not liking, and their legions of fans are wrong.
And I’ve tried. I’ve given some of these guys dozens of chances and re-listens. But at this point, no one is going to convince me that the spacey noodlings of Pink Floyd, stretched to ungodly lengths and anchored by a second-rate drummer and a third-rate keyboardist, are worth another minute of my time. Similarly, the “poetic” brain-dead bellows of noted jackass Jim Morrison, anchored by a second-rate keyboardist and third-rate drummer, are best left to those who peaked in high school.
But…there’s a couple of songs by those artists that, when they come on the radio, I find myself not reaching for the button. Not choosing a commercial, or static, or silence in their stead. Letting them play on. Maybe even deriving a modicum of pleasure from these aberrations from their usual plodding path of sub-mediocrity. It may not be the joyous surprise felt by those kids in that old cereal commercial (“He likes it!”), but it at least gives me a tiny insight into those misguided souls who think the usual stuff barfed up by the likes of the Grateful Dead is acceptable.
1. “Unchained” – Van Halen
from Fair Warning (1981)
2. “King of Pain” – The Police
from Synchronicity (1983)
3. “Jesus, etc.” – Wilco
from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001)
4. “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd
from Beauty Behind the Madness (2015)
5. “Friends in Low Places” – Garth Brooks
from No Fences (1990)
6. “Somebody To Love” – Jefferson Airplane
from Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
7. “Style” – Taylor Swift
from 1989 (2015)
8. “People Are Strange” – The Doors
from Strange Days (1967)
9. “The Scientist” – Coldplay
from A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
10. “Friend of the Devil” – The Grateful Dead
from American Beauty (1970)
11. “Wild World” – Cat Stevens
from Tea for the Tillerman (1970)
12. “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd
from The Wall (1979)
13. “Boys of Summer” – Don Henley
from Building the Perfect Beast (1984)
14. “Suspicious Minds” – Elvis Presley
released as a single (1969)
15. “Hold On We’re Going Home” – Drake
from Nothing Was the Same (2013)
Hi-Fi Fifteen is a callback to the “5 in 5” playlist game that MMDG, holybee, and djlazybear used to play on their lunchbreak. They’re all in different professions now, and don’t even live in the same counties, but quickly throwing together playlists on rotating themes is still fun as hell.