This week on the Talkhouse Weekend Playlist, crate digger extraordinaire RJD2 shares a mix of jazzy pop from MJ and Quincy Jones, Chicago soul from Charles Stepney, lopsided rap and ethereal prog. His latest album, Dame Fortune, is out today via Electrical Connections.
Michael Jackson — “Human Nature”
One of my favorite things about MJ’s catalog is how often he was able to pull elements from outside of pop into songs that became pop staples. This song is a great example of a chord structure that gives a nod to jazz, but melodically took a path that made the whole song fully approachable. Quincy and MJ were an unstoppable force.
The Dells — “Free and Easy”
This record was produced by Charles Stepney, who coaxed some of my favorite recordings out of a nondescript room in Chicago. Great song, great feel — this will trick you into thinking all is right with the world, if just for a moment.
Deodato — “Also Sprach Zarathustra”
I’m a sucker for a good jazz tune that keeps you right on the cusp of being bothered by a feeling of dissonance or atonality, so this one here does it for me.
Homeboy Sandman — “Talking (Bleep)”
This dude is nuts. He can rhyme his ass off, but, more importantly, he makes songs that basically demand you to pay attention through their sheer unorthodoxy. I really like how honest this song is, as well as how the arrangement is lopsided.
Brownout — “Flaximus”
At first glance, I thought this was a fairly straight-ahead, “over the plate” funk revival type of tune, but then the horn arrangement hit me and won me over on the song as a whole. Really nice phrasing and melody to the brass here.
Captain Beyond — “Sweet Dreams”
This song has a really cool ethereal, “otherworldly” mood to it. A standout tune from a what seems to be a fairly revered prog group.
Flora Purim — “Open Your Eyes You Can Fly”
There are songs that randomly pop into my head periodically WITHOUT hearing a single note and stay lodged there for hours. This is one of them, rightfully so.
Antonio Carlos Jobim — “Marina”
A pretty little instrumental for when you need an antidote/palette cleanser to more “standard” song arrangements.
Manfred Mann — “Snakeskin Garter”
If you can deal with a non-traditional sounding singer, there’s a nice groove and great horn section to be had here.
Heart — “Magic Man”
A true FM rock radio staple. I love the pocket on this tune, the synth lead, the guitar work, the vocals. Yea, everything about this tune fully works for me.
Photo credit: Nick Fancher