Monday, April 17, 2017

THE RETURN OF THE POP PRODIGY


Lorde has already given us a little taste of her upcoming second album, "Melodrama" with "Green Light" , a song burning up the charts right now.  In an in-depth profile written by Rolling Stone writer, Jonah Weiner for the New York Times Magazine, the young singer discusses what she had been doing in the four years since her breakout debut album, "Pure Heroine" and the fascinating process involved in the creation of her new music which is due out in June.

Click below to read:

The Return of The Pop Prodigy

As a bonus, here is another song from the album, "Liability", a ballad she performed live during her recent appearance on an episode of "Saturday Night Live":

Saturday, April 15, 2017

WAY BACK


TLC, one of the biggest girl groups of all time that ruled the charts back in the 1990's,  has just returned with new music after taking a recording hiatus following the tragic death of member, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in 2002.  With the use of Kickstarter to help raise funds to record what will be their fifth and (apparently) final album, the surviving members, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas have released the first single, "Way Back" that features a rap verse by Snoop Dogg. The song delivers a nostalgic vibe with lyrics that reminisces about the past while name-checking some musical greats like James Brown and Michael Jackson. This is a great jam that really should return TLC back to the charts.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

WELCOME BACK

BLONDIE


Blondie began as a scrappy New York punk band in the mid-'70's before "Heart of Glass", their worldwide smash rock/disco hybrid, transformed them in to a slightly glossier pop-rock outfit yet they managed to maintain their rebellious spirit. The group, with a line-up at the time that featured Nigel Harrison on bass guitar, Jimmy Destri on keyboards, Frank Infante on guitar, Clem Burke on drummer, Chris Stein on guitar and his girlfriend at the time, Debbie Harry who was the official voice and unofficial face of the band, enjoyed mainstream success for a few years before jealousy, in-fighting and Stein's near-fatal illness drove them apart by 1982.

Each member went on to explore their own musical endeavors, including Harry's moderately successful solo career, before the original five band members of Blondie (which includes Gary Valentine on bass before he was replaced by Harrison in 1977) came back together first for a few live performances in 1997, an international tour the following year and then a new album, "No Exit" in 1999 although Valentine had left the band again before the recording of it.

Now down to Harry, Stein and Burke (with Leigh Foxx on bass, Matt Katz-Bohen on piano and Tommy Kessler on guitar filling out the rest of the band), Blondie has kept plugging away ever since and are preparing to release their eleventh studio album, "Pollinator" in May.  The first single, "Fun" features the early propulsive energy of the band while feeling quite modern.



DEPECHE MODE


The members of the British band, Depeche Mode dabbled in rock and acoustic before moving on to exploring synthesisers in the early '80's. The quartet, consisting of Martin Gore, Vince Clarke, Andy Fletcher and Dave Gahan, helped usher in the new wave-synthpop scene in England and reached the top twenty on the UK chart with "New Life", "Dreaming Of Me" and "Just Can't Get Enough" from their debut album, "Speak & Spell" in 1981. Due to his apparent discomfort with their pop success, Clarke left Depeche Mode although he quickly went and formed Yazoo ("Yaz" in the U.S.) with Alison Moyet and later Erasure with Andy Bell. Clarke was replaced with Alan Wilder in 1982 and he remained with the band until 1995.

The sound of Depeche Mode has evolved over the years with the utilizing of more guitars and offering songs with far weightier subjects. The trio have just released their fourteenth album, "Spirit" and are speaking on these politically charged times. The first single, "Where's The Revolution" pretty much says it all. The band has returned to filmmaker, Anton Corbijn to create the video for the song.



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

RANDOM SIGHT + SOUNDS

After her New Year's Eve performance fiasco, Mariah Carey seems eager to put that out of people's minds with some new music. Clearly inspired by her recent break-up with former fiance, billionaire James Packer, "I Don't" is a bitter "her" side of the story backed up with an old-school r&b beat with YG adding a rap for a modern touch. I'm really digging the song but the cartoon sexuality in the music video is just too much. The forty-six year old mother of two directed this clip and it simply features endless shots of herself in ridiculously revealing outfits gyrating and flipping her hair seductively. I know the over-the-top, sexy diva image has always been her thing but it's getting a little sad now. "I Don't" is the first of several singles that will be released throughout the year with an album that will likely happen depending on how well these songs do.



And here is a far more classier Carey paying loving tribute to the recently departed George Michael with an incredible live version of his ballad, "One More Try":



Here is a collection of some dynamic music videos of recent songs I've been digging:











Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2017 NATIONAL RECORDING REGISTRY

Judy Garland's classic ballad from "The Wizard of Oz", Barbra Streisand's classic ballad from "Funny Girl",  the original version of "Hound Dog", a collection of the greatest hits by the Eagles and the debut album from N.W.A.  are just some of the recordings that have just been inducted in to the National Recording Registry.

Since 2002, the Library of Congress have selected sound recordings that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important that informs or reflect life in the United States. The twenty-five selected this year feature a wide range of music, commentaries, radio programs, comedy albums and speeches. To date, there have been 475 recordings placed in the National Recording Registry.

Here is the complete list of the twenty-five recordings being inducted in the 2017 National Recording Registry:

The London cylinder recordings of Col. George Gouraud (1888)

Lift Every Voice and Sing” (singles) - Manhattan Harmony Four (1923) and Melba Moore & Friends (1990)



Puttin’ on the Ritz” (single) - Harry Richman (1929)

Over the Rainbow” (single) - Judy Garland (1939)



I’ll Fly Away” (single) - The Chuck Wagon Gang (1948)

Hound Dog” (single) - Big Mama Thornton (1953)



Saxophone Colossus” - Sonny Rollins (1956)

"The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds", announced by Vin Scully (September 8, 1957)

Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs” - Marty Robbins (1959)

The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery” - Wes Montgomery (1960)

People” (single) - Barbra Streisand (1964)



In the Midnight Hour” (single) - Wilson Pickett (1965)



Amazing Grace” (single) - Judy Collins (1970)



American Pie” (single) - Don McLean (1971)

All Things Considered” - first broadcast (May 3, 1971)

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” - David Bowie (1972)

The Wiz: Original Broadway Cast Album” - (1975)



Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)” - Eagles (1976)

Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha” - (Gunter Schuller, arranger) (1976)

Wanted: Live in Concert” - Richard Pryor (1978)

We Are Family” (single) - Sister Sledge (1979)



Remain in Light” - Talking Heads (1980)

Straight Outta Compton” - N.W.A (1988)



Rachmaninoff’s Vespers (All-Night Vigil)” - Robert Shaw Festival Singers (1990)

Signatures” - RenĂ©e Fleming (1997)

Monday, March 27, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARETHA AND DIANA



I didn't realize this but two iconic female vocalists (and two of my all-time favorites) celebrated birthdays over this past weekend.

"The Queen of Soul", Aretha Franklin turned seventy-five on March 25th while MISS Diana Ross turned seventy-three yesterday. I know it may not be polite to tell a woman's age but there's no reason for them not to be proud. I could go on and on about what amazing talents they are or how much each has greatly influenced popular music but there is no need. It's simply old, wonderful news.

To celebrate the day of each of their births, I have presented my very favorite songs from each performer. Enjoy:




Monday, March 20, 2017

25 SONGS THAT TELL US WHERE MUSIC IS GOING


It's a pretty bold move to try and identify what direction popular music is heading but for the New York Times Magazine's annual music issue, they have selected twenty-five songs that may possibly let us in on that idea. Not all of these songs are new, as some are a few years old or have been remixed to address our modern times but what many of these songs appear to share in common is a search for identity and where do we fit in this complicated and increasingly isolated planet.

I know this will sound like a really scratched record but there is no denying that this current state of political turmoil has made that question even more relevant and will effect the type of music that will come from artists in the future. Songs that reflect unease, desperation, sadness, outrage and anger will certainly be a more common occurrence as the divisive actions of this administration continues to unfold. Time will tell but in the meantime, check out these innovative and powerful songs.

Click below to read:

The Music Issue: 25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going

THE RETURN OF THE POP PRODIGY

Lorde has already given us a little taste of her upcoming second album, " Melodrama " with " Green Light " , a song ...