James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix, “Purple Haze”
You know somebody is kind of fierce when they just like set guitars on fire and destroy them on stage! Hey, you paid for concert tickets — you want a show. “Purple Haze” has always been my favorite Jimi Hendrix track because of the way the twang of the guitar storms in with a steady pulse and sets the pace against the beat of the drum that makes you furrow your brow and cock your head on the beat. It’s kind of a diva song if you really listen to it. Plus, nobody can fuck a guitar like Jimi Hendrix. Nobody.
James Blake, “The Wilhelm Scream”
James Blake (hot) is the Goldsmiths-educated electronic music producer whose colorful yet slightly melancholic sound chest includes cloudy vocals, R&B, vocoders, and dubstep. Blake’s minimalist electronic style plays with, inverts, and recapitulates sounds in new and interesting ways. Where “The Wilhelm Scream” succeeds is in how cooly beautiful and sparse it is. Just goes to show that a good tune doesn’t have to be packed to the brim with all kinds of mess to keep it interesting. Sometimes less really is more.
LCD Soundsystem (James Murphy), “45:33”
There are a lot of amazing LCD Soundsystem songs out there, but “45:33” always takes the cake for me. It starts off with slow, minimal droplets as it builds up to the excerpt above, which is my favorite part of the whole song. There’s something about the chord progression and the chill disco beat that makes me want to go to there. The full song is a continuous mix that clocks in at something like 46 minutes long, which makes it the same length as some of the greatest symphonies out there.
James Brown, “Hot Pants”
James Brown was Soul’s greatest diva. Just look at him work those legs! And boyfriend knows he is WORKING that shirtless blue tuxedo, gone ‘head. James Brown was a performer’s performer, and he knew exactly what to do to rile an audience up because soul music riles an audience up. “Hot Pants” will make you want to get on up and do what you want to do.
James Taylor, “Fire and Rain”
In addition to being incredibly attractive in his prime, with a fabulous head of luscious dark hair, James Taylor is an accomplished Grammy Award-wining singer-songwriter who was once married to Carly Simon. Taylor was so committed to his music that Carly gave him an ultimatum — you either cut back on your music and stay at home with your kids, or I want out of this marriage. Well guess what? In 1981, Taylor dropped a new record Dad Loves His Work, and with that, the marriage was toast. How’s that for dedication to your art?