Sunday, May 22, 2016



With her sixth studio album, "Lemonade", Beyoncé continues to form her own path on how she will present her music to the world. First, on April 23rd, she released an hour-long HBO film that presented all of the new songs together as a "visual album" which featured striking imagery and poetic interludes covering many subjects involving race, gender and marriage. Shortly after the television premiere, the album was released exclusively for on-line streaming on Tidal (which she's a co-owner) before it became available to everyone two days later.

The title of the album references that old saying that when life serves you lemons, you gotta make some lemonade and that's exactly what the multiple Grammy winner has done. Without ever being specific, Beyoncé seems to have used some difficult times in her marriage as well as her parent's acrimonious break-up to create a searing collection of songs involving betrayal, anger, revenge, hope and ultimately, forgiveness. The music blurs and twists together many genres, perfectly complementing the lyrics with edgy and offbeat sounds. "Lemonade" is far from comfortable, easily digestible pop music. The album makes a bold statement and I think it's the singer's strongest work to date.


I can't believe it's been thirty years since Pet Shop Boys released their debut album, "Please". The record featured the now classic tunes "Suburbia", "Love Comes Quickly", "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" and still my favorite track from them, "West End Girls".  There is no doubt that their early sound can be attributed to the current popularity of electronic dance music. Now, the boys, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, are back with their thirteenth album. "Super". With production duties once again handled by Stuart Price, the band dives deeper in to pure electronica yet retain much of their pop sensibilities. The first single, "The Pop Kids" takes a nostalgic look back at the dance scene in the '90's when they first started out. This song also became Pet Shop Boys' eleventh number one song on the U.S. Dance Club chart.

"The Pop Kids" - Pet Shop Boys (2016) mp3

Tegan and Sara, those formerly alt-rocking Canadian twins, continue to move in an eletropop direction. With their eight album, "Love You To Death" due out in June, the ladies may be seeking commercial success but only want it on their terms and the single, "Boyfriend" clearly indicates that. The song involves a love triangle with a confused girl caught between a boy and another girl.

"Boyfriend" - Tegan and Sara (2016) mp3

After taking some time off to have her second child, Alicia Keys is finally back with some new music since 2012's "Girl On Fire". The first single, "In Common" is a smooth dance hall-flavored track that should easily put the artist back on the charts. For the music video directed by Pierre Debusschere, Keys is lovely and fresh-faced in this slick black& white clip featuring energetic dancers in a pseudo-cityscape.

Finally, Justin Timberlake is not only lending his voice to the upcoming animated film, "Trolls" (due out later this fall) but he has also just released a song for the soundtrack. "Can't Stop The Feeling", co-written and produced by pop wizard, Max Martin, has already reached the the top of the charts in seven countries including the U.S. The song feels very similar to "Happy", another catchy, feel-good song for an animated film that swept the globe. Even the music video, directed by film maker Mark Romanek, features average people dancing and singing along to the song.


During a loving musical tribute while receiving this year's lifetime achievement award from BET, we were reminded of what an amazing ...