15 May 2011

Playlist: Hammertime!

Between Hammertime, the short-lived reality TV series and the buzz concerning his concert appearance last year at Great American Ballpark before and after a Cincinnati Reds game (which I was actually able to attend!), I've had a resurrected interest in M.C. Hammer the last couple of years.  I've found his music still feels good to hear, and my iPod is better for having added his music to it.  Seriously, I asked it and it danced across my desk, spun in the air and kept dancing.  Here's my "Hammertime!" playlist, culled entirely from material recorded and released between 1988 and 1991.

"Here Comes the Hammer" (7" Edit)
from Here Comes the Hammer single
I like to show off on my playlists some non-album edits and such, and this is one of those times.  This mix was only available on the single release of "Here Comes the Hammer."  I don't normally open playlists with something more obscure like this, but "Here Comes the Hammer" is an obvious album-opener and kind of demanded to be here.  I originally had the "Uh-Oh Here Comes the Hammer" mix here, but the 7" Edit retains the flavor of that mix with a shorter run time.

"Let's Get It Started" (Radio Edit)
from Let's Get It Started (Extended Mix) Single
This song opens Hammer's debut album with which it shares its title.  I consider this a continuation of the previous song.  Now that Hammer's here, what's he gonna do?  Turns out, he's gonna get it started.  I selected the radio edit because the album version opens segueing from "Turn This Mutha Out."

"Yo!! Sweetness"
from Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
This was always a guilty pleasure.  A guy like me has no business singing along with a song like this; it's just not happening.  Fun, though, to imagine myself as possessing that kind of boldness.

"This Is the Way We Roll"
from Too Legit to Quit
This song is just pure fun.  I've always wanted to blast this in a convertible on a warm Spring day.  Maybe stop and get some ice cream.

"Turn This Mutha Out" (Edit)
from Greatest Hits
I picked this version because it's significantly longer than the album version found on Let's Get It Started.  Love this song.  It makes me feel like good times are imminent.

"This Is What We Do"
from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Another instance of me showing off my library.  Anyone who knows me knows of my predilection for soundtrack albums, and I just had to have the music from the first TMNT movie (second movie, too, if you're wondering).  "This Is What We Do" is a fun track that plays when we first visit the Foot hideout.  There's a raw, visceral energy here that I always liked.

"2 Legit 2 Quit" (Legit Remix 7" Edit)
from 2 Legit 2 Quit (Single)
It's entirely true.  Last year, Hammer played five songs before the Reds game, and then did five after the show (technically repeating four of them).  Then they set off a fireworks display, and Hammer came out during the finale and performed this song.  Pure awesomeness.  I'm still appreciative that my friend who was driving that night was willing to stay till the very end instead of leaving with the rest of our entourage.  I picked the Legit Remix 7" Edit for its run time (4:01 vs. the LP Verion's 5:34, and the other mixes are even longer).  The essence of the song is still preserved, but shaves off a minute and a half.

"Cold Go M.C. Hammer"
from Let's Get It Started
I've never been able to understand or articulate why I dig this song, but I do.  I think it has to do with the sound.  Maybe it's just brainwashing me.  Whatever the reason, it had to be on this playlist.

"Pray"
from Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
I actually have the single release of this, but I've always been partial to the album version.  This song's history actually mirrors Hammer's career: it was huge early on, became something of a punchline for a while, but has been acquitted by time.  "Pray" is a genuinely solid cut.  Bonus: it makes washing dishes less tedious.

"Have You Seen Her"
from Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
This isn't technically a straight-up cover of the Chi-Lites song.  Rather, it's a song in which Hammer tells us he's going around town looking for a girl, living out a scenario straight out of the original song, and that he's even got it playing on his radio while conducting his search.  Most people forget this and just remember it as a cover song.

"Dancin' Machine" (Club)
from U Can't Touch This (Remix) single
A fun, energetic romp, and another chance to flash the depth of my Hammer library.  I'm shameless, I know.

"Feel My Power"
from Let's Get It Started
Like "Yo!! Sweetness," I could never have convinced anyone if I had been the performer of this song.  But that's the appeal, I think, of music in general and rap in particular: sometimes it can just be a manifestation of our fantasies, exploring a part of ourselves that we will never actually realize.  So for 3:07, I'm not to be trifled with...until the song is over and my coach reverts into its natural state as a pumpkin.

"Addams Groove" (LP Version)
from Addams Groove single
For my money, this song was easily the most enjoyable part of either live action Addams Family movies.  Cousin Itt is characterized as "a perm with feet, standing about three feet tall."  Hammer's vocal inflections throughout this cut crack me up every time I hear it.

"She's Soft and Wet"
from Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
This song is about as risqué as Hammer's music gets.  I was 11 when I got hold of the album, and I found this song absolutely titillating.  I remember I also had my hands on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition that year, and married this song with images of bikini-clad Elle MacPherson.  The funny part is, I had entirely forgotten about that until literally just now as I was typing this!

"They Put Me in the Mix"
from Let's Get It Started
I generally shy away from songs that keep repeating the same verse, chorus or line, but I just can't help enjoying singing along with "They put me in the mix!  They put me in the mix!" ad nauseum.

"Son of the King"
from Let's Get It Started
Despite my often lukewarm religious inclinations, I have always respected sincere expressions of devotion and I feel this is one of those instances.  There's a message of humility and solidarity here that resonates with me.

"U Can't Touch This"
from  Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
This one was inevitable.  It would have been easy to place this earlier in the playlist, but what I like about ending it here is that by the time it plays, I've gotten so into the rest of the music that I've largely forgotten I haven't already heard this when it begins playing.  That's a common sequencing strategy of concert set lists, because by not playing the obvious, big hit there's a sense of anxiety each time a new song begins, until eventually the energy crescendos.

"Pumps and a Bump" (Radio Edit)
from Pumps and a Bump Single
I originally hadn't intended to include any material from after 1991, but this song is too much fun.  How much do I dig this song?  Enough that I went with shorter cuts of some other songs just to accommodate the 4:06 radio edit of this one as an encore track.  Bonus: This song makes cleaning a bathroom suck much less.

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