Singles File: Brazilian Girls, Gainsbourg, P.O.S., Jane's Addiction, Young MC
A weekly playlist for the listener with a one-track mind.
This week: Special all-retro back-to-the-future edition!
Brazilian Girls featuring David Byrne: "I'm Losing Myself" A Talking Head turned ubiquitous arbiter of hip, Byrne makes every track on which he guests sound simultaneously warmer and cooler just by showing up. Here, he assists the Brazilian Girls on a new iteration of their slinky '08 lounge-disco gem, originally sung partly in French.
Serge Gainsbourg: "Melody" Gainsbourg was a louche, loutish French troubadour whose "Lolita"-inspired concept album, "Histoire de Melody Nelson," became a much-sampled touchstone for artists like Beck years after its '71 release. Richly instrumented, packed with double and triple entendres, the disc gets its first stateside issue this week. If our rusty French is any indicator, its opening track is about as mysterious, and as skin-crawlingly perv-licious, as you would expect.
P.O.S.: "Why Go" (Pearl Jam cover). The improbably flannel-shirted rapper P.O.S. turns in a heartfelt, bravura cover of the Pearl Jam classic. Originally commissioned by MTV2 as part of its homage to the new "Ten" reissue, it's both a revelation (who knew the song had so many words?) and a starmaking turn.
Jane's Addiction: "Mountain Song" (Radio Tokyo demo). Jane's Addiction always vacillated between good and god-awful, sometimes in a single song. Packed with outtakes and rarities, like this little-heard demo of the band's iconic "Mountain Song," the upcoming odds-and-ends collection "A Cabinet of Curiosities" offers an often cringe-worthy, often fascinating look at how the sausage got made.
Young MC: "Bust a Move" (Don Rimini Ravekid remix). "Bust a Move" was one of several harmless late-'80s hip-pop hits that made it okay for white folks to like rap, partly because it had no curse words and contained a Bette Midler sample. On the eve of its 20th (!) anniversary, it's now one of those songs most people will admit only to liking ironically, but if this recent remix is any indication, it still holds up.
-- Allison Stewart