Tuesday, June 19, 2007

oh, the misery

Babies Makin' Babies 2: Misery Strikes Back ... No More Babies

Once a regular starfish and waffles feature, the untimely album review seemed to vanish into oblivion during that forgettable fall of 2005. Why? I can't remember. But this can only mean one thing ... it's been far too long since we've pushed our odd, eclectic tastes in music on the likes of you!

Enter stage left: Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson's Misery Strikes Back, a veritable mixtape of the type of old school, smooth soul that will only do after the love between you and your sweetie has died and gone to heaven. Wow, did I really just write that? You bet I did.

Probably best-known as the recognizable, afro'd percussionist of the superb Philadelphia hip-hop band, The Roots, ?uestlove is considered by many to be the finest drummer of our generation.

He also has an ear for putting together an excellent compilation album. Spanning the spectrum of the familiar (Al Green, Natalie Cole) and the obscure (D.J. Rogers, Syreeta), Misery Strikes Back is a triumph of breakup anthems everywhere. The evidence? If you're already feelin' heartsick blue, playing this album will make you feel worse.

Oh, the misery. Breaking up never sounded so good.

dingobear track selections:

1. Our Love Has Died. Ohio Players. What a way to set the tone: somber horns, bitter lyrics. "Burying our love six feet down / No mourners came around / And all the tears fell on the inside / Because our love has died."

3. Anti Love Song. Betty Davis. Unadulterated anger from Miles Davis' ex-wife and reigning queen of funk. "'Cause you know I could possess you body / You know I could make you crawl / And just as hard as I'd fall for you, boy / You know you'd fall for me harder / That's why I don't want to love you."

4. If You Didn't Love Me (Don't Go Away). D.J. Rogers. Dear God, now this is soul ... it may come from an lesser-known voice, but what a voice. Great find by ?uestlove and a reason in itself to buy this album because good luck finding the original 1976 track elsewhere. "Like a flower without rain / Like a song that doesn't have an end / Like a snowman, kept left standing in the sun / I would melt away /Well, that's how it'd be / If you didn't love me / Girl, don't go away."

5. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart. Al Green. Just because it's been a popular selection for many compilation albums doesn't mean it isn't still a classic. "I could never see tomorrow / I was never told about the sorrow / How can you mend a broken heart?"

8. I'm Sorry. Delfonics. Philly, doo wop soul, circa 1968. "My love I ran around on you / Yes, I broke your heart in two / And I want the world to know I'm sorry."

12. One Look Over My Shoulder (Is This Really Goodbye?) Average White Band. Self-effacing band name be damned, this Scottish group was one of the few white funk groups that had real funk credibility. Great song. "We've been through so much stormy weather / While we've been together / I can't totally walk away / I gotta have one look over my shoulder / One last look in your eyes."

In starfish and waffles' opinion, Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson is the best drummer in the world. He also has a cool 'fro and can put together a mean mixtape.


  1. I've got a few excellent Roots albums in my satchel of audibles
    (did I just write "satchel of audibles"? What IS that?), and I have to admit their tight rhythm owes a lot to the 'fro-ed drummer.

    That mix album, though, sounds horribly depressing. It almost makes me want to break up with my boyfriend, buy a box of cheap wine and soak my toes in a bucket of tears.

  2. -c, the fact you've got a few excellent Roots albums in your "satchel of audibles" only further confirms your über-coolness.

    But, yes, ?uestlove's mixtape is definitely depressing. Those who play the record more than three times a week should probably seek professional help.

  3. Oh...the mix tape days. You've really brought back a lot of memories.

    My personal favorite is "Tell me what it takes" by Aerosmith.

  4. Oh yes TSM, there was always a mixtape for every situation. We're going to have to bring 'em back.