Saturday, May 27, 2017

YOUR SONG


Americans probably know Rita Ora more for her fashion-forward looks on a red carpet (including her recent appearance at the Met Ball), her acting roles ("Fast & Furious 6", "Fifty Shades of Grey") or for her short stint as the host of the revived "America's Next Top Model" show. However, the twenty-six year old Brit began her career as a singer with her first two singles from her 2012 debut, "Ora", "How We Do (Party)" and "R.I.P." going to number one on the UK pop chart. Although she provided the hook for Iggy Azalea's hit, "Black Widow", Ora's own music didn't get much attention here in the States.

Ora is wanting to change that and has just released a new song entitled "Your Song".  This is her first solo single in two years and seems to be the first music from her long delayed follow-up album (although part of that had to do with her successful lawsuit to release herself from contract with Roc Nation Records). The singer has teamed up with a fellow Brit who is quite popular here, Ed Sheeran along with producer, Steve Mac to help write this song. The Sheeran connection is interesting and will certainly get people to pay some attention but I don't think "Your Song" is strong enough to get Ora to stand-out in this tough pop musical landscape.

"Your Song" - Rita Ora (2017) mp3

And as a bonus, here is the video for Ora's 2012 first single, "How We Do (Party)' which I really liked and don't know why it didn't do better here:

Thursday, May 25, 2017

NUMBER ONE FLASHBACK


U2 are in the middle of a thirty anniversary tour in celebration of their 1987 album, "The Joshua Tree". This critically acclaimed record, produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, reached number one in over twenty countries, won two Grammy Awards including Album of The Year, sold over twenty-five million copies and, most importantly, turned the band in to full-fledged rock superstars.

This number one flashback is "With or Without You", the first single from the album which stayed in this position for three weeks and became U2's first number one hit in the U.S. Bono wrote the lyrics that details his struggles with being a rock musician and a family man and how he can, ultimately, manage to be both. With his inspired vocals and The Edge's electrifying guitar work, the song builds to an intensity that makes this rock ballad soar to an incredible height. The follow-up single from "The Joshua Tree" , "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" also made it to top spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NEW SOUNDS

CAMILA CABELLO

After leaving one of the hottest girl-groups out right now, Fifth Harmony last December, Camila Cabello has wasted no time getting her solo career in order. The twenty year-old singer has already hit the top-twenty this year by providing vocals on Shawn Mendes' "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and Machine Gun Kelly's "Bad Things". And now she has dropped her first single as a solo artist. "Crying In The Club", using an island-flavored beat and a sample of Christina Aguilara's "Genie In a Bottle", is about the power of music helping to make it through heartbreak. This mid-tempo ballad is hardly groundbreaking and if it makes you think of a Sia track, that's because the singer co-wrote the song with Cabello along with current hit-makers, Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat and Happy Perez. Let's see what else will come as Cabello's debut album, "The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving." is due out this fall.



KATY PERRY

Katy Perry has just released a third song from her upcoming fifth studio album, "Witness". But what makes this tune, "Swish Swish" most notable is that it may be a swipe at fellow pop princess, Taylor Swift who apparently penned a thinly-veiled attack on Perry with her 2015 song, "Bad Blood". Just like Swift, Perry does not confirm nor deny this claim but will say it's about anti-bullying with a '90's inspired dance beat. She was the musical guest on the season finale of "Saturday Night Live" and here is a live performance of the song:



IGGY AZALEA

The Aussie rapper, Iggy Azalea is back trying reignite her music career with a new track. Her latest single, "Switch", that features Brazilian pop star, Anitta delivering the hook, is certainly catchy but I don't know if it's enough to get her back on the pop chart. Time will tell but have a listen to judge for yourself:

"Switch" - Iggy Azalea featuring Anitta (2017) mp3

SELENA GOMEZ

Finally, we have my favorite out of this batch of new songs. Selena Gomez has returned with "Bad Liar", a slinky, beat-driven ballad from the team of Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter who brought us the singer's hits, "Good For You" and "Hands To Myself".  Using the bassline from Talking Heads' 1977 song, "Psycho Killer" as inspiration, the song has Gomez singing about unconvincingly denying her feelings for a new love interest.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

RANDOM SIGHTS + SOUNDS

Miley Cyrus has certainly caused a little whiplash with her drastic image shifts. She was introduced as the cute "Hannah Montana" character then becoming a more natural, sweet country-rock princess before shocking everyone as a raunchy, pot-smoking provocateur. Now the twenty-four year old singer has evolved once again. With a semi fresh-scrubbed, drug-free persona and leaving hip-hop far behind, Cyrus has returned to her pop-rock roots with a new song, "Malibu". Inspired by a reconnection with her former fiance, actor Liam Hemsworth, the guitar-driven song is about her falling in love again. I really like this and find "Malibu" a refreshing sound for pop radio.



Here are some recent music videos of follow-up songs from artists with new albums on the horizon:







I had mentioned earlier of TLC releasing new music but there is another female r&b group from the '90's also making a comeback. En Vogue, who brought us such hits like "Hold On", "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" and "Don't Let Go (Love)". are back with a new single, "I'm Good". Now down to a trio which includes original members, Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron along with Rhona Bennett,  the song may not be as memorable as when they were riding high on the charts but it features a classic soul vibe and their perfect harmonies. En Vogue's seventh studio album, "Electric Cafe", which feature production assistance from Raphael Saadiq and the group's original founders and producers, Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, is due out later this year.

"I'm Good" - En Vogue (2017) mp3

Finally, let's go back in time with a few of my favorite songs from the 1990's:



"Can We Talk" - Tevin Campbell (1993) mp3



"Get On Up" - Jodeci (1996) mp3

"All Night Long" - Faith Evans featuring P. Diddy (1999) mp3

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

WANT YOU BACK


The Haim sisters, Este, Danielle and Alana, have been performing music together professionally since they were children, singing and playing multiple instruments at churches, hospitals and weddings. The group known as Haim released their first major label album in 2013 , "Days Are Gone", a fascinating collection of songs they wrote inspired by their musical parents' 1970's rock albums and modern pop and hip-hop.

After taking their time, Haim has finally returned with some new music. "Want You Back", which is once again produced and co-written with Ariel Rechtshaid, is a tasty slice of classic California rock made for the 21st Century.

This first single will be on Haim's second album "Something To Tell You" which is due out on July 7. Be sure to catch the band previewing their new music live on May 13th as they are slated to be the musical guests on that evening's episode of "Saturday Night Live" with host, Melissa McCarthy.

NEW SOUNDS

WHITNEY HOUSTON Words cannot express how much I miss the glorious voice of Whitney Houston . It's been five years since her passing...