Tuesday, May 20, 2014

HOT AND FRESH OUT THE KITCHEN


LILY ALLEN - "SHEEZUS"


The teenage Lily Allen was considered just cheeky when she released her debut, "Alright, Still" back in 2006 but now with her third album, "Sheezus",  Allen has become a full-grown bad-ass. This witty Brit has always had a strong opinion on a variety of issues and never been afraid to give it voice. The title track (which is a nod to the title of Kanye West's last album) not only takes aim at the current pop princesses but the state of popular music in general while "Hard Out Here" focuses on the pressures of being a female in the male-dominated entertainment industry. Allen has once again teamed-up with Greg Kurstin, one of the main producer/co-writer of her previous works and together bring to life her quirky version of pop music.

"Air Balloon" - Lily Allen (2014)

The video for "Hard Out Here"  has some controversy surrounding  it due to the use of scantily-clad black dancers. There were accusations of exploitation and racism but Allen remained defiant and unapologetic as this clip was intended as a statement on the images of women in entertainment:




LYKKE LI - "I NEVER LEARN"


The busy Greg Kurstin also lent a helping hand to the latest from Lykke Li.  "I Never Learn" is the third album from the Swedish artist and Li has stated that this is the final chapter of a musical trilogy.  The writing of this record was inspired by the demise of a relationship with the spare songs feeling like raw, deeply emotional confessionals. With each album, Li has grown more confident in her quiet yet dramatic voice to surround it with minimal accompaniment.

"Gunshot" - Lykke Li (2014)

CHROMEO - 'WHITE WOMEN"


Dave 1 (David Macklovitch) and P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) make up the Canadian electrofunk duo, Chromeo and they are back with their fourth release, "White Women". The title was inspired by photographer, Helmut Newton and they describe this album's sound as "Larry David funk" because all the songs have a kind of neurotic funky groove to them. Beyoncé's baby sister, Solange, Toro y Moi and Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig all add their voices to a few tracks.

"Jealous (I Ain't With It)" - Chromeo (2014)

After providing songs for the films, "The Great Gatsby" and the upcoming, "Maleficent", Lana Del Rey is finally preparing to release the follow-up to her debut, "Born To Die". Due out in June, "Ultraviolence" is produced by The Black Keys', Dan Auerbach and the first single, "West Coast" is a sleepy ballad with a surf-rock feel. The music video adds an eerie energy to the song as Del Rey is seen frolicking on a sunny beach with an assumed lover but later rides around at night in a convertible with an older man:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

MICHAEL JACKSON IS BACK?


I didn't know what to make of the news that the late, great Michael Jackson has a new album coming out. This release, "Xscape" was cobbled together using discarded demos the singer made over the years with several producers taking this material and reworking them in to new songs. My first thoughts were that the idea seemed unnecessary, monetarily motivated and slightly ghoulish. However, after listening to a few tracks, I feel more reassured that this project was truly designed to honor the lasting legacy of the King of Pop and give his deeply devoted fans a fresh opportunity to hear that thrilling voice once again.

The eight-track album, overseen by Epic Records chief executive, "L.A." Reid, features impressive production work from many of the top producers of the day, some of whom previously recorded with Jackson including Timbaland, Dr. Freeze, Stargate, Rodney Jerkins and Babyface. There will also be a deluxe edition available that will feature all the original demo versions of the tracks as well as another take of "Love Never Felt So Good" (co-written by pop legend, Paul Anka) that is a duet with Justin Timberlake.

Listen to a couple of songs and let me know what you think:

"Xscape" - Michael Jackson (2014)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY



Today is the day we celebrate that special lady in our lives; our mother. I lost my mother last year so this holiday is going to be a little difficult.  I'm not going to dwell on any sadness and only remember what a warm, beautiful and caring person she was. My mom had my back no matter what (and I know I made it hard for her sometimes) and she always made me feel I could do absolutely anything. I miss her and will love her always. If you're able, spend some time with your mother, enjoy her company and remember what she means to you.

"Mama Said" - The Shirelles (1961)

"Dear Mama" - 2Pac (1995)

NUMBER ONE FLASHBACK

I can't believe it but it's been forty years since " Best of My Love " by The Emotions landed at number one on the pop...