When I was just a little guy, this is the first jam I remember my big sister and I singing over and over and over and over again…
6. Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City
Alone in my room, I recall headbanging to this song so hard I made myself physically ill and had to sleep it off for a few hours.
7. Bro Hymn – Pennywise
A true South Bay hymn, this song marked my first mosh pit. A girl I was dating took me to a Pennywise show and when this jam came on she clutched my arm and chucked us both in this insane jet-engine whirlwind. By the end of the song, I had been bruised and battered, but she was having an asthma attack. I rushed her outside, stuffed her breathalizer in her dome, then sloppily made out for an hour. I still associate this song with violent boners.
8. Fiona Apple – Sullen Girl
Not may are aware there is a very sullen girl who lives inside me, and loves to be moved by sweeping, soulful vocals. Fiona Apple’s album ‘Tidal’ didn’t leave my CD player for probably a full year back in the day.
9. Mazzy Star – Five String Serenade
Hope Sandoval’s voice always slays me. It seemed to butter up sorority girls too *wink, wink*
10. Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should Have Come Over
There was a moment when I was as gay for Jeff Buckley as anyone alive.
11. Maxwell – Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)
I remember being on vacation with my family, when suddenly on the hotel TV, this video for this jam came on and set me off on a Neo-soul revolution for years to come.
12. Marvin Gaye – You Can Leave, But It’s Going To Cost You
While at CalArts, I ended up keeping pretty stupid hours. Basically, since I had just met Ali, she and I were attached at the crotch for the first couple years, and I wouldn’t actually start working on my films until late at night. What typically kept me company was a radio show on a local urban station, hosted by local DJ, Kevin Nash. Every night he did this thing called the “Midnight Massage,” where he would lead a soft, sexy, spiritual exercise, typically using Maxwell’s ‘The Suite Theme’ as a sonic backdrop. Anyway, one night he devoted the entire show to Marvin Gaye’s “Here, My Dear” album, and I gained such a new appreciation for how authentically heartbreaking and nakedly exposed an album could be. It’s worth looking up the backstory while listening for all those interested.
13. Teena Marie – Portuguese Love
I was fortunate enough to see one of Lady T’s final performances before she passed away in 2010. She was a force until her last breath!
14. Ambrosia – How Much I Feel
Karaoke and my own wanna-be blue-eyed soul vocals have been a side passion for a few years, and I’ve been told that Ambrosia is truly my spirit animal (or spirit creamy salad?).
15. Jeffrey Osborne – You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)
Another karaoke staple. Jeffrey’s the one hombre in the ‘We Are The World’ lineup that everyone seems to have forgot. I actually just saw Jeffrey, Freddie Jackson, and Peabo Bryson in concert late last year, and all are still INCREDIBLE!
16. Tom Jones – I (Who Have Nothing)
When I want to blow the roof off the karaoke dive, this is a jam I may turn to. Betta’ back the hell up!
17. Kenny Loggins – Nightwatch
Many a night, after a hard day’s work, I may be found with a tumbler of good scotch and the warm crackle of vinyl to keep my company. The night has always been for soft, inspiring jams, and the next few are some of my faves.
18. Art Garfunkel – The Same Old Tears On A New Background
Pure as the driven jizz.
19. Bee Gees – Lion In Winter
If Robin Gibb isn’t an E.T., then they simply don’t exist. He is as feral and raw as I’ve ever heard a life form in the final crescendo of this amazing song.
20. Scott Walker – Duchess
A gorgeous night-capper from one of the finest vocalists of the 20th century. Period.