Saturday, 17 December 2011
More uncommon sense.
It's been a great decade for Lonnie Lyn AKA 'Common', the artist formerly known as 'Common Sense'...hell it's been a great career. From telling one of hip-hop's greatest stories in 'I Used To Love H.E.R.', to going from the underground to the mainstream with the release of 'Like Water For Chocolate' this rapper has become even more common, going from being one hip-hop's cult icons to becoming one of it's biggest stars. The later 2000's saw two back-to-back Kanye West produced classics in the form of one of raps greatest albums 'Be', and further timeless greats on 'Finding Forever'. Now off the pages of an awesome autobiography 'One Day It'll All Make Sense' Com' releases more 'Forever Music' with 'The Dreamer, The Believer'.
This is Common's first album in three years. Some critics gave Common's last experimental album ('Universal Mind Control') the 'Electric Circus' treatment. In reality however, both these envelope pushing albums were great. Still, Common's inspirational, feel-good, spiritual rap is what fans like the best and believe that it's back in another classic album beyond your wildest dreams. Spurred by the scorching, hot, old-school to the artwork (look up the young Nas and Common single cover) Summer single 'Ghetto Dreams' this highly, hotly-anticipated, long-awaited album is big and is the legendary makings of this rap icons lasting legacy.
"Pretty with her eyes low, bunny buy a Bible/This the type of b$%#* that BIG said he would die for/It's type that I'd ride or stay alive for/Tatts on her back, looking all tribal/She know shoes like she know survival/Well put together, she weathers the storm/Seen her brother die so forever she strong/Hear Beyonce’s song and she gotta perform/Whether f$%*^ or fighting: we getting it on!" Common raps with a new honed style, swagger and confidence. Nas counters with some classic rhymes of his own, spitting like his 'Nasty' days; "But I’m still single, looking for Cleopatra/African Queen, yo look at me, I’m a bachelor/Y’all n#$%@ in trouble, keep your girls behind closed doors/Cross your fingers, be happy I haven’t chose yours/She loves glamour bought her Vera Wang sandals/Valentino bags is my etiquette/My man is half hood, half class/Photographers, cameras caught us out there/The spotlight, I hope she can handle". This long awaited collaboration is set with chemistry and charisma. It's no wonder the two will be collaborating for a big album ('Nas.Com') that we can't wait for next year.
Still back to the now and this classic album Common begins things with 'The Dreamer' featuring the perfect prose of prolific poet Maya Angelou. It's clear to hear that Common's writing and rapping has got even better from it's already legendary status as Common get's creative rhyming; "Ferrari testers, Armani dressers/Exquisite thick b$%#&*$ that body bless us/Rest assured, we getting festive in Miami now/Told my n$%# ‘Ye I’m about to win the Grammys now/Getting Johnny Cash old white folks know me now/Standing close to the mic like I’m Kobe now". Common's confidence swaggers further on the clear, inspiring single 'Blue Sky', as he get's even more creative "Aston Martin king, Luther with dreams/The young Denzel the way I move through scenes/I’m like a preacher that once was a fiend/A story of change that came with wings/Pretty as the skyline, the sky is my eye line/Son of the most so from up high I shine/Suited in Prada, stay mellow like LaLa"
More Common Sense and his wonderful wordplay take his competition to school on the perfect insult 'Sweet'. then with more sickly rhymes Common strikes 'Gold', before the lyrical lament of 'Lovin' I Lost'. With iconic producer No I.D., collaborating throughout this classic, Common channels raps greats like Rakim and KRS-One. He spits fresh on 'Raw (How You Like It)', before hitting us with a big three of the opposition cloaking 'Cloth', the victorious 'Celebrate' and the opening 'Window'.
Still this album really hits it's highest note with its last one. As Common pitches for a collaboration with fellow G.O.O.D. Music great John Legend. 'The Believer', book-ends the 'The Dreamer, The Believer' album as well as 'The Dreamer' opener does. As Legend sings "They will talk about us/Like they talked about the kings before us", rap and souls best further their legacy. Of course no Common album would be complete without some of 'Pop's Belief' and of course no recent Common album wouldn't be complete without a platinum plaque and classic accreditation, which this C.D. is certain to garner along with the awards. The best hip-hop has to offer is back with one of his greatest yet. You can believe in 'H.E.R.' once again. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
More ambitious motivation.
The Snowman is back just in time for Christmas. One of Atlanta and modern-day rap's greatest is back with his first studio album in three years since his hard-hitting 'The Recession'. Young Jeezy returns to conclude his 'Thug Motivation' trilogy with 'TM103: Hustlerz Ambition', another great album to add to the epic set that includes his breakthrough classic 'Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101' and 2006's influential 'The Inspiration'. Although Jeezy's still being popping with various mixtapes like his 'Trap Or Die' series, it's great to have his energetic, motivating, power-bar, protein shake, trap music back for our fulfilment in this hard, harsh Winter.
Hi third dose of 'Thug Motivation' begins with 'Waiting', and this slow, flow burner is worth the much anticipated, long-awaited release. While 'What I Do (Just Like That)' and 'OJ' featuring hip-hop's juice in Jadakiss and Fabolous give the fans even more music worthwhile of their wait. 'Nothing', 'Way Too Gone', 'Supafreak' and 'All We Do (Smoke & F%#$)' are buzz tracks worthy of their selection, but it's halfway through this disc that the C.D. shows it's really worthy of being an album over just another mixtape.
R&B leading man Ne-Yo gives the platinum rapper another diamond hit with 'Leave You Alone'. The singer who can song-write from the underground (Ghostface Killah's 'Back Like That') to the mainstream (almost every other song on the radio), shows he can cater his style towards any artist for any song. 'Everythang' continues Jeezy's cool street slang, before Neo-Soul artist Jill Scott gives the ATL trapper another sure-fire hit with the release 'Trapped'.
Young Jeezy and fellow Atlanta, trap rapper T.I. superstar celebrate on 'F.A.M.E', as they rap their rags to riches tale with chemistry and charisma seen on the strength of their previous collaborations. Then the big feature record comes as Young stands next to Jay-Z and Andre 3000's legend on 'I Do', with the confidence and lyrics to be put in the same sentence as the pair. "Promise if I get locked, you’ll come and pay my bond/If you hear some n$%#*& plotting on me, you’ll remain loyal/And errytime you give it to me it’s gon be the bomb/And in these unlucky streets you’re gon’ be my lucky charm" Jeezy spits. While Jay rhymes in matrimony; "Lets tie the knot, lets grab us a pot, lets make a baby/Looking back, I don’t know who threw this bouquet to me/But I walk down this aisle faithfully, cut that cake for me" and Andre three-stacks finishes this collaboration marriage rapping it up with a perfect toast saying; "Crazy I tell you all of this in the middle of a club/Where words tend to get thrown around lightly like like like love/And friend and rockstar and so and so’s a genius/So him vow to never utter him do unless he mean it".
The big records don't end there as our favourite motivator goes for some 'Higher Learning' with Snoop Dogg and Devin The Dude. Some Trick Daddy ('This One's For You') and Lil' Wayne ('Ballin'') songs keep the guest feature heavy album finale strong. Then things get real deluxe with 'Never Be The Same', '.38' and the Grammy nominated, bass boosting, Plies collaboration 'Lose My Mind'. This headstrong classic helps this album become a strong set to add to a discography of work that's bound to sell on the streets for years to come. Hip-Hop's motivational speaker still knows how to move a crowd. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Andrew Jones and company have Christmas all wrapped up.
If the endless cold or toil for presents isn't leaving you festive this year then never fear, a C.D. has arrived to put you right in the Christmas spirit. Andrew Jones 'Searching For Dandelions' record label has come out with a spirited release just in time for the holidays. Sure, not much beats Rat Pack record this season, but 'A Searching For Dandelions Christmas' is a compilation of the label's artist roster that is both original and a perfect homage piece to great Christmas tunes. From covers to new tracks this is the ideal accompaniment to a warm fireplace and egg nog.
Andy and Liz's Just By Chance open things up with the warm 'Winter Wonderland'. This great cover is opened brilliantly by Liz's beautiful vocals and the prolific Andy Jones is on fire yet again. He keeps the fire burning on 'My Christmas Card To You', a beautiful devotion laid-out delightfully by the artists solo side.
Then we are treated to a Just By Chance original in the form of the outstanding 'Walking Tall' which takes the group further. Over lulling and beautiful acoustics the pair sing in perfect harmony "walking tall/without falling down on me". This two minute track is short, but ever so sweet. Orchids of Borneo tread more ground on the atmospheric, instrumental 'Winter Walk'. Before we are treated to a 'White Christmas' American Country style, as The Ben McCraven Band team up with Andre Auguste for a whiskey smooth, traditional cut. Someone break out the Jack Daniels.
'Homily' is another original Jones great, as Andrew pays homage to those we should remember this festive period. As this great stocking, album filler comes to a close the reigns are handed over to one of dandelions youngest and best artists as Krystina wishes us good tidings with 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'. This merry message is sung beautifully by a singer who sounds and feels more mature thn her years. With artists and releases like this done when other people are putting their feet up this Christmas it's clear the future of 'Searching For Dandelions' is one that's going to blossom. Its going to be a happy new year. TIM DAVID HARVEY
The Glacier Child.
If you thought we were done blogging about Charlotte Eriksson AKA 'The Glass Child' then you were wrong. If she keeps releasing incredible music like this, we'll keep writing too. Now after a great follow-up E.P. ('This Is How Ghosts Are Made') Charlotte has given her fans an extra gift just before Christmas in the form of the hauntingly beautiful, gracious, free download of 'Winter'. This cover of an Ingrid Michaelson record is honed and owned to a beautifully harmonic version by the ever epic Glass Child. She shatters any notion that her youth is anything to hold her back with a mature and incredibly perfect vocal. As she repeatedly sings "Is love alive"? She brings the feeling back to life with no question. You can't doubt a singer like this. One that is grown up and a throwback to the greats. This will become a rare, collectible gem for fans to dig out once Charlotte becomes the star she's destined to be. Taking you to the moon and back, this song's atmospheric feel and beauty is out this world...like this singer. Just try to stop listening to a Winter warmer like this on a cold December's night. Truly epic and seasonally evoking. Charlotte Eriksson is a creature on another level. Merry Christmas...for it's her New year. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Review: THE GLASS CHILD: SONGS OF AN INSOMNIAC-EP
Review: THE GLASS CHILD-THIS IS HOW GHOSTS ARE MADE
ONE TO RECORD-CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON
SONG FOR THE MOMENT (NOVEMBER): CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON-I WILL LEAD YOU HOME
Friday, 16 December 2011
Common is our 'Artist of the Week' with his latest album 'The Dreamer/The Believer' set to be another great, so let's take it back to another classic. One of hip-hop's greatest albums of modern and all-time comes from one of the greatest and most underrated artists in the genre. This is the perfect sound of the Summer and now it's officially here it's time to get your tape decks ready for this one. This Kanye West executive produced classic is Grammy certified G.O.O.D. music. Right from the uplifting 'Be (Intro)' this Windy City rapper breezes through with effortless cool, blowing down any past or present competition with this seriously soulful hip-hop album. With the sensational single 'The Corner', the ready-fire collaboration with John Mayer ('Go!') and the most beautiful, heartfelt, soulful hip-hop track 'Love Is' (that samples the greatest artist Marvin Gaye) this album has and is everything. John Legend adds his legacy to 'Ye and Com's classic on 'Faithful' and 'They Say' while the pair awake a live version of 'The Food' from 'Chappelle Show' which is as legendary as the show itself. If that wasn't enough Common tells a crime story that paints a better picture then most television dramas with 'Testify', and also drops an anthem for his hometown Chicago with 'Chi-City'. Every track on this timeless album is incredible. One of the realest people in music made it his world in 2005 with a groundbreaking album that was just pure and simple art, from the covers artwork to the artists inspired, shining delivery. Thank God we received the sense this uncommon rapper sent our way. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Common and Nas took it back to the mid-90's with the sound and even the artwork on Common's sensational single 'Ghetto Dreams' this year. Now with a new Nas album out in the New Year and Common's latest 'The Dreamer, The Believer' coming out next week. If that wasn't enough then 2012 should see the release of the pairs collabo album 'Nas.Com'. So let's celebrate this weeks 'Shuffle' with their classics songs going head-to-head.
I USED TO LOVE H.E.R.- Common's classic dedication to the game resurrected his life and gave him a career in hip-hop.
THE LIGHT Feat ERYKAH BADU- With his former beau Badu, Common turned on audiences and enlightened a genre.
RETROSPECT FOR LIFE Feat LAURYN HILL- Com's collabo with the Fugees legend is a hard-hitting education on abortion. A necessary listen.
LOVE IS- One of raps, most beautifully deep tracks. This is life. This is love.
FOREVER BEGINS- Epic, inspiring and influential, complete with Pops this is the real feel-good anthem.
IT AINT HARD TO TELL- It's easy to see that this Michael Jackson sampler is the king of hip-hop classics.
IF I RULED THE WORLD (IMAGINE THAT) Feat LAURYN HILL- Ms. Hill joins the G.O.D. this time for a heavenly partnership.
ONE MIC- Huge, ground-breaking, epic and thought-provoking. On his own and against the world with his microphone Nas didn't need anything else.
MADE YOU LOOK- The only underground anthem worthy of gun-shots ringing over it. Number one with a bullet, without a doubt. Check the remix.
HIP-HOP IS DEAD- In declaring the death of his genre with this classic, Nas actually brought 'H.E.R.' back to life. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
The Glass Child is still awake with talent.
Christmas has really come early with all that Swedish singer/songwriter Charlotte Eriksson is offering us. Our new artist of the year has just released her second, stellar E.P. 'This Is How Ghosts Are Made' to rave reviews. Not bad for a young girl who moved from her native Sweden to London in an effort to get herself out there when she was just 19. Not bad at all. Now those fans who have purchased the 'Deluxe Box' edition of the Glass Child's smashing new release can unwrap an extra special gift, four bonus tracks under the E.P. name 'Songs For An Insomniac'.
If you think tracks like 'Tell The World' and 'The Devil's Sin' off 'This Is How Ghosts Are Made' are great then you haven't heard anything yet. These 'Insomniac' tales begin with 'Insomnia', an awakening, evocative track were Charlotte hums lulling harmonies over sweet strums. "Too slow/will this night ever end/I'm avoiding/your side of the bed/and the wind is/screaming your name" she sings with mid-night hour beauty.
Then on 'Blood On The Concrete' The Glass Child tells us a tragic, moving tale which reaches new depths. Painting the picture of a family, singing; "Then there's Sarah a little quiet/only wants one thing/to get to know her Dad he left when she was young/he even took her mother's wedding ring" anyone with real heart will be hard pressed not to shed tears with every strum and stroke of this artists brush.
On 'Shades' Eriksson laments lost contact with a friend, but from the beautiful way she writes and the way she sings it's clear the devotion of true friendship is still bonded. "You always used to say/life will find a way", she repeats, remembering it all. As she sings "there's something in the way/people look at me these days/like they know I've lost my fire/like they know I've lost my way", however it's clear to hear this notion isn't true. This hot talent's shine is still burning bright. Charlotte Eriksson has found her life's own way.
"I packed my life in a bag" Eriksson sings to start the final, fitting track 'Leaving and Never Coming Back'. The courageous, honest singer reveals yet another real personal side of her as she tells us the story behind her leaving home. It doesn't get much deeper, realer or more poignantly beautiful then this. "This town has taken too much from me/oh I think I failed my youth". As The Glass Child stares right at success, she isn't afraid to reflect on the troubles of her past to make her stronger. Now how many young women in their twenties are that brave? This emotion of hers is as strong as her beautiful voice or her genuinely heartfelt lyrics. With a "one way ticket in her hand" Charlotte Eriksson AKA The Glass Child is on the path to success and there's no looking back. It's only up from here. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 12 December 2011
The Roots of hip-hop could never be done.
The Roots are hip-hops greatest band, hey they may be hip-hop's only band. The Legendary Roots crew are eight members, eleven albums and two E.P.'s strong. From guys named ?uestlove to 'Tuba Gooding Jnr' and iconic albums like 'Things Fall Apart' and their wonderful 'Wake Up' collaboration with soul icon John Legend there really are no acts like this band. The collective have even spawned Incubus members and Rahzel, one of the best beat-boxers of all time. If that wasn't enough they also act as the house band for the 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' show which is getting even better by the day. There musical accompaniment has brought the best out of guest artists from all genres, ranging from soul icon R. Kelly to the legendary boss himself Bruce Springsteen and his E Street band. If you didn't think greats like that could sound better than look up their performances with this group.
As if that wasn't enough The Roots are now back with their third album since their late night gig...and people said they're output would wane with their new job. 'undun' may be one of their best sets yet. This live act really come through the speakers from the 'Dun' intro to the 'Possibility', 'Will To Power', 'Movement' interludes and the 'Finality' outro. In all it's movements this concept album feels like a classic. 'Sleep' is a track that gets up where 'Wake Up' left off, if you can't open up your eyes and ears to this number than you probably don't like music.
Lead M.C. Black Thought's lyrical skills are kept in the forefront of his mind as he stands next to Big K.R.I.T. & Dice Raw perfectly on 'Make My', before having his day on 'One Time' with Phonte & Dice Raw. Greg Porn and Truck North join the group on the classy 'Kool On', while Greg Porn gets down again with the beautiful voice of neo-soul leading man Bilal on 'The OtherSide' an album standout. Featuring great lyrics like "Yo, we obviously need to tone it down a bit/Running round town spending time like", Black Thought's rhymes on Roots classic 'The Seed (2.0)', 'You Got Me' and 'Boom' may have met their battle worthy match.
Porn's good enough for a third look on the Just Blaze assisted 'Stomp' which is ready for the conscious clubs, this big number is followed by another look-out from Dice Raw on 'Lighthouse', a far-reaching effort that shines brightly with beautiful, introspective lyrics like "I'll leave the memories here, I won't need them/ If I stop thinking and lie, now that's freedom". Dice Raw becomes a collaborating heavyweight on 'Tip the Scale' which is 'Tipping Point' (look up that back catalogue classic if you haven't already) good. Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens handles the writing on 'Redford' a beautiful dedication attributed to Yia-Yia and Pappou in the credits which begins with some awesome orchestration, only from a band like this.
This is a fitting finale to this aforementioned concept album about the death of Redford Stevens in reverse. This story rap is socially conscious, thought-provoking and influential. This fictional character is reportedly based on a few real people, so there is something here everyone can relate to. From the struggle to the closure this narrative not only makes for great music, it makes for great storytelling. After all isn't that what rap is all about? Not many paint a picture through hip-hop scriptures better than The Roots of rap. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Back to the great basics.
Anthony Hamilton is a rare breed, ever since So, So Def's Jermaine Dupri introduced him to the world with the complete classic 'Comin' From Where I'm From' mainstream music finally began to hear what real soul music sounded like. With a distinct, unique voice that only Otis Redding could rival and a sound that would make Marvin Gaye or grassroots blues proud of, Hamilton truly became a throwback. If he lived in decades gone he'd probably be one of the worlds biggest stars, but instead today he shows a modern audience just how good music used to...and can still sound. After more releases, Hamilton has been off the scene since his great 'The Point Of It All' release and his work on the Denzel Washington movie 'American Gangster's' soundtrack, still now he's back with 'Back To Love'.
This album begins with this feel-good, up-tempo album-titled track and from there we are immersed in the soul satisfying world of Anthony Hamilton. Let his gravelly voice take you down a road of real music built from a mix of hard-times blended with high-spirits. Close your eyes and you'll have no idea where you are. It could be middle America or the mid-seventies. 'Writing On The Wall' further inscribes this notion, while 'Woo', will have you whooping and hollering in harmony all night long. 'Pray For Me' and 'Best Of Me' stir the soul further as this singer bares all of his. Even with five tracks in, we already have a real good album...early.
Hamilton keeps it going on the freeway, with a musical accompaniment for car journeys fitting any mood. On 'Never Let Go' (featuring the star power of young R&B princess Keri Hilson) he never lets up, so just sit back and take in all the great music. Hamilton's crazy talent gets stronger on 'Mad', before he breaks it down on the dedicated devotion of 'I'll Wait (To Fall In Love)'. On 'Sucka For You' and 'Baby Girl' Anthony keeps the heart beating on his love songs, before getting real personal and at his most perfect on the bluesy questions of 'Who's Loving You'.
To end this album Anthony Hamilton inspires with all his rags to riches influence on 'Life Has A Way'. This is the kind of 'What's Going On', 'A Change Is Gonna Come' type record that's been passed down from the generations of legends like Marvin and Sam Cooke, as Anthony Hamilton proves he could go down next to the best of the past it's important not to ignore or cast him aside now. Whether you're a hardcore fan or just heard his distinct drawl on the radio for the first time, thinking; "when was this record made"? It's important to recognise real music that's still very much alive today like the memory of the real soul artists whose sound has been borrowed and stole by some modern artist who aren't worth their salt or status. This original, soul man is worth his however. It's time to be re-introduced to real music of depth and devotion again. Music that can make you feel good, sad, but more importantly make you think. It's time to be re-introduced to realness. His name is Anthony Hamilton. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Carl Thomas really is one of Chi-town's finest. Even in the shadow of the king of R&B R. Kelly, fellow Chicago native Thomas has proved to be one of grown-up souls leading men. Back in the day of Puff Daddy's Bad Boy records Carl was more than just a chorus man for guys like Biggie or Black Rob. Following his smash, break-up single 'I Wish', Carl got real 'Emotional', with a classic debut that sampled Sting and helped Mario Winans budding career. Carl's sophomore success, 'Let's Talk About It' introduced a happier side of the singer, (with tracks like 'She Is', 'Anything' and 'My First Love') and it was truly a heart-warming, feel-good, follow up. After Bad Boy Carl became 'So Much Better', with his third album that mixed and blended together the elements of the first two albums perfectly. Now the stirring soul singer finally returns with 'Conquer' his fourth album. A formidable piece that proves he's still up-top of the grown R&B game that he helped pioneer to the mainstream.
'The Night Is Yours' begins this perfect piece that sounds tailor made for the after hours. Then on 'Long Distance Love Affair', Thomas gets even more personal as the lights get low. The album lead track really stands out, while 'Round 2' proves this man can go on and on. More songwriting skills are honed on the emotional 'It's Not The Same'. Then on 'Don't Kiss Me' (which has a nice remix to end the album) Carl opens this love letter with a lament Marvin would be proud of singing; "Why it take so long/Can't wait to have you, dear/Cause your love is so strong/I need you with me here". He's barely begged this bad ever, and he sounds all the better for it.
This is real soul music, bore by a modern-day great. Carl Thomas further reaffirms his status as one of musics most genuine talents. Even with almost a half-decade of absence the singer shows he can still produce the kind of timeless music that really stand the test of the years. Proving he can stand next to his peers with his quality and creative control Carl's style remains untarnished and honed to the highest levels of satisfying soul.
'It Is What It Is' is soul in all its greatness, while 'It Aint Fair' is a fitting love and war story. Carl sings "I can’t believe that I’m so anxious/Infatuated so far gone/I couldn’t take my eyes of that girl/...she looks like love", as he goes through the motions and emotions of falling in love. Then on 'Sweet Love' Thomas gives us a tremendous track that could find itself between classic tracks like 'Cold, Cold, World' and 'Come To Me' off his iconic 'Emotional'. Thomas hits the ground 'Running' to end this L.P. and what we are left with in the wake of his trail is another strong, solid, stellar set that will keep playing as long as this great soul man's career keeps running...which with timeless music like this, should be decades to come. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
'El Camino' is on the right path.
The Black Keys are hitting all the right notes right about now. The American rock duo have mixed all sorts of sounds and music styles to sell millions of records and garner some pretty big cult status. 'El Camino' is the seventh release since 2002 from prolific duo vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney. Most recently they released the classic 'Brothers' was a commercial breakthrough and now the pair bring their creative, collaborative partnership together once more as they look to travel further on this 'El Camino'. This coupe utility vehicle makes for one hell of an album.
Mixing classic, decades back rock styling with some soulful grooves the Keys keep it going on the sublime single 'Lonely Boy', a huge track that should garner them even more fan company. 'El Camino' and The Black Keys would be nothing without cult, iconic producer Dangermouse joining them on the ride, and once gain he hitches the musical boards with a great sound scape for these artists to travel on. His co-writes keep this great road album alive on tracks like 'Dead and Gone' and the all singing, all shining 'Gold on the Ceiling'.
Going under and taking things higher this group push the envelope end reach new depths on 'Little Black Submarines', while 'Money Maker' is bound to shake things up bring them even more dollars and sense, even in this mixed up mainstream. 'Run Right Back' furthers the pace of taking music back to the good, ole days of decades and genre's gone, while 'Sister' will become another familiar favourite for the 'Brothers' boys. 'Hell of a Season' and 'Stop, Stop' keep the heaven sent music rolling.
This road tested album boldly goes where no bands have been before, trekking through blues, hip-hop, rock, jazz and more with fearless and effortless brilliance. The concise piece plays like one of you mom's and pop's favourite records from back in the day. This C.D. is deserving of more than just vinyl, this jukebox classic is worthy of another platinum plaque.
The super 'Nova Baby' and the unforgettable closer 'Mind Eraser' finish off this journey perfectly. It's going to be hard to not remember or listen to anything else after another great record for The Black Keys. As the tandem and Dangermouse go through the genres, decades, instruments and inspirations what we are left with is one fantastic album to add to a formidable collection. It's clear to hear from the back catalogues to the new records set that The Black Keys are going to keep playing for a long time. The road continues with 'El Camino'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 11 December 2011
Amy's legacy lives on.
Just months after great British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse's tragic death comes her posthumous album. Still, fans needn't worry. This isn't another case of people cashing in like with the case of Michael Jackson post-death merchandising. Instead this is more like rapper Tupac's post-death releases. With her producer partners manning the boards, 'Lioness: Hidden Treasures' continues this sublime singers lasting legacy that still has so much to give after a short life, much like the late, great Shakur. Mark Ronson, Salaam Remi and Amy's family have done great work in producing a cohesive, concise collection for this album.
Like 'Body and Soul', the classic collaboration with iconic crooner Tony Bennett that was her last work but also her greatest. Standing and singing proudly next to a real legend she bares her all and it's worthy of the Grammy award that should in all rightness come with the nomination. She struck a chord and touched Bennett's heart and soul and it's clear to hear on this beautiful, traditional record. This delightful duet was meant to happen.
The second and third singles ('Our Day Will Come' and 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow') are further examples of Amy's greatness. They prove that not only did she sing like a throwback of blues singers from decades back, but that she wrote like them too. This is further evident on the creative and tongue-in-cheek titled 'Between The Cheats' or the haunting 'Like Smoke'. This collaboration with Remi's frequent collaborator and friend Nas has the legendary makings of the iconic rapper and our singers status. As Winehouse's spirit lingers on the track, she hums; "Like smoke, I hung around in the unbalance/Whoa, ohhhh", while Nas exhales rhyme totes that take this track higher, rapping; "Y’all know the story, y’all know the commentary/I kick the narrative, this is legendary/The good Samaritan, hood thespian/Like a polygamist, with a twist." Another duet leads to another classic.
Just like when Amy beautifully covers the classic 'The Girl from Ipanema' but with a cool, modern twist. Or Leon Russell's 'A Song For You', which Amy owns and wears with pride, before ending with a nice tribute to soul legend Donny Hathaway. This is the perfect closer to a fitting album that opens up new favourites like the perfect blues number 'Wake Up Alone', the love tormented lament 'Best Friends, Right?', or the Remi produced 'Half Time'. Still the 'Hidden Treasures' really hit gold on the movingly, blues beautiful 'Tears Dry On Their Own', which evokes all the purity and pain of Winehouse's songwriting art. The 'Lioness' also reveals more of her pride on the perfect ''68 Version' of Mark Ronson's 'Valerie', which is stripped down to it's bare, beautiful essentials and in some way is better than the original.
Sure after the classic 'Back To Black' and Winehouse's incredible career this album has a tough act to follow. Still this album shows it has the strength. Who knows how Amy would have wrote this chapter of her career if she was still here. Still with her friends and family handling creative control it probably would have sounded a lot like this and this is what it's important. It's not just Amy's legacy that is kept on record here, it's her dignity too. You couldn't imagine a tribute more beautiful. Even with her passing she says it best herself. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 9 December 2011
This year saw the release of the '10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition' of this woman's worthwhile, classic debut and from 'Songs in A Minor' to 'Element Of Freedom' and other diary entries Miss Keys really has had the talents to help her become one of the best singer/songwriters of current and all time. Still 'As I Am' was the album that the R&B star was at her most seriously, sincere soulful self. The hot, lead single 'No One' was a sublime, classy chart smash, and you could tell from the black and white, personal portrait on the front cover that 'As I Am' was going to be an in-depth classic. Marvin would be proud from the powerful, heart-breakingly appreciative reflection points of 'Like You'll Never See Me Again' (which had a terrific second take on a Ludacris remix) to John Mayer's simply awesome, 'It's Alright' vocals on 'Lessons Learned' along with the heroic, female rally-cry of 'Superwoman' and it's world-wide inspiration to the love lament of 'Where Do We Go From Here'. Every track on this album was perfect from the upbeat drumbeat of 'I Need You' to the angelic, 'Saviour' off the albums 'Super Deluxe Edition'. This record is timeless like Smokey and Stevie vinyl's. All in all this take of Alicia as she is was more then just the real thing, it was the truth. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Here's a warm, Winter's Christmas treat. This weeks playlist in our 'Tape Deck Shuffle' takes it back to the cool of The Rat Pack. 'Side A' has to be Frank, 'Side B', Dino and how about some 'Bonus' Sammy for good measure?
SIDE A-FRANK SINATRA
I'VE GOT THE WORLD ON A STRING: Inspiring, 'the world is yours' number.
ONE FOR MY BABY & ONE FOR THE ROAD: One of great depth to drown your sorrows too.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK: The ultimate dedication to Broadway, so good you'll have to play it twice.
COME FLY WITH ME: Truly epic, this is movie making big. Catch me if you can.
MY WAY: THE classic.
SIDE B-DEAN MARTIN
THAT'S AMORE: That's love.
MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS: Moment evoking, nostalgic bliss.
RIO BRAVO: From the same-titled movie that showed he was a real actor and a real star.
HOW D'YA LIKE YOUR EGGS IN THE MORNING?: For those new and in love, time to start your day right.
NIGHT TRAIN TO MEMPHIS: Bold and beautiful, another reason why-'to be Frank'-this guy was better than Sinatra.
BONUS-SAMMY DAVIS JNR
NEW YORK'S MY HOME: Play it again Sam! Another great dedication to the worlds best city.
EEE-O ELEVEN: This classic made both the movie 'Oceans Eleven' and Sammy himself huge.
SMILE DARN YA, SMILE: Why not with this uplifting jam?
SAM'S SONG Feat DEAN MARTIN: Sammy and Dean jokingly argue over who's tune this is in another delightful duet.
YOURS IS MY HEART ALONE: A true devoted love song to end this playlists dedication. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 5 December 2011
After all the love & war, Thicke still evolves.
Robin Thicke has come a long way, from the long hair/don't care days of his decedent debut 'A Beautiful World'. Evolving from his last name moniker 'Thicke' to giving us his full-title and exposure, his sensational sophomore release; 'The Evolution Of Robin Thicke' became an instant classic thanks to an awesome new sound that sounded something like a young Elton John meeting the world of R&B and hits like 'Got 2 Be Down', 'Wanna Love You Girl' and 'Shooter', featuring Faith Evans, Pharrell and Lil' Wayne respectively to go along with the beautiful introspection's of '2 The Sky', 'Angels' and 'Lonely World'. Since then Thicke has worked with all sorts of people from Lil' Wayne to Will Smith and Usher to Mary J. Blige.
He's also released more great albums like the sublime 'Something Else' and the creative concept album 'Sex Therapy' that really was something else. Soon this megastar will be joining his beautiful actress wife Paula Patton on Hollywood's biggest screens, but now he joins fellow actor/singer Tyrese, Carl Thomas and Anthony Hamilton by releasing an album ('Love After War') to close out the fall, joining these mature R&B stars with his own significant status seated next to the greats of the modern, soul music day.
After his experience with the 'Sex Therapy' sessions, Robin goes back to his traditional, hallmark piano perfect, poetic songs with 'Love After War'. The albums lead single of the same name shows just how great this man's own unique style is. As he bares his soul over Marvin Gaye influences and beats of his own heart he singles out one of the best records of his career. His second single 'Pretty Lil' Heart' is no small number either. It's a real good look to the start of this album. A track that once again shows the chemistry between frequent collaborators Thicke and Lil' Wayne, who last collaborated on the New Orleans rappers introspective look on Hurricane Katrina ('Tie My Hands') off 'Tha Carter III'.
'Love After War' begins with the beautiful, spiritual ballad 'An Angel on Each Arm', before unleashing 'I'm an Animal', 'Never Give Up' and the powerful 'The New Generation' from this young pop prince. Robin then writes with Mary J. Blige as they wrap together seamlessly on the track 'All Tied Up'. The husband of 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol' star Paula Patton cruises on the cool 'Mission' before he sheds more introspective suited ballads on 'Tears on My Tuxedo'. As Robin harmonises "Don’t make me close my heart on all your bad news./You got me breaking all my rules," he moves as well as soothes his audience and muse with his music and lyrics.
The track 'Boring' is anything but, while 'Lovely Lady', 'Dangerous' and 'Full Time Believer' evoke more energy and emotion from the solo, soul man. 'I Don't Know How It Feels To Be U' takes a closer look at the singers love for women, while 'Cloud 9' takes 'Love After War' even higher. 'The Lil' Things' and 'What Would I Be?' close out this C.D. perfectly without question before this album goes deluxe. It really is the little things. 'Stupid Things', the direct 'Compass or Map' and the close closer 'We a Family' bring everything together perfectly. The war is over for Thicke to end this album and it's clear it's all about love. How can anyone hate that? It's clear this man's heart will be in soul for a long time to come. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
The Glass Child's style and spirit will not be broken.
Charlotte Eriksson is 'The Glass Child'. If you don't know anything about this smashing, sensational singer/songwriter by now then you either aren't familiar with this little blog, or you aren't familiar with incredible rising talent. To say that this Glass Child is the next big thing is not an overstatement. It's evident in her music. To say this young 20 year old is mature beyond her years however is an understatement. It's clear to hear she's so much more than that from her lyrics to the scoring, soaring sound of a talent that moved from her home in Sweden to London and started her own record label, putting out her own music when she was still a teenager.
That's not the only amazing thing about this young lady. Take her last EP-the moniker self-titled 'The Glass Child'-for example. From songs like the crazy, good 'Insanity' to the secret, solitary, solo number 'I'll Never Tell' this was a breakthrough success from the Glass Child that broke more new ground then a girl moving from country to country. Or how about her song for her nation in the inspiring support of 'I Will Lead You Home'? A song that raised money for her home-country Sweden's cancer-organization Ung Cancer in support of young victims. This was good enough to make the number 2 spot on the Swedish iTunes chart and is great enough for us all to lend a helping hand and download in support.
Now after giving so much Eriksson is looking to take centre stage. This breakthrough indie artist of the year has just released her second EP titled 'This Is How Ghost's Are Made' and its is one spirited, heaven sent release. Taking inspiration from everyone from Björk to Paramore and the Counting Crows to Ben Harper, this incredible writer mixes Gothic stylings with lyrics from a songbook of beautiful language like no other. Take the atmospheric 'Tell The World'. The opening lines "A journey on a a broken piece of glass/On my own in a town that has no soul/Learned how, to breathe alone," draw you in like no other as you really get a feel and spirited sense of just how fragile but at the same time strong this young singers heart really is. As the song ends on the note "Like a soldier I resolve/I found a way on my own", it's evident that this strong-minded pioneer and innovator is ready to show us all just what she's made of.
The great 'Best Part Of Me' and the angelic harmonies of 'The Devil's Sin' show us exactly what she's made of. Creative contrasts that are classically considered and not confused or conflicted. Charlotte blends the dark and the decedent, the light and the shadow and the good and the bad all seamlessly into her lyrics and music and it all sounds so great. It all sounds so natural, not worked or hashed out, just her, honest, pure, genuine and spirited most highly. The real best this EP has to offer though is 'Hypnic Jerk', a beautiful ballad that shows just how good this artists brushes of songwriting and strokes of singing can be. As she laments "I'm too numb to feel you/I'm to numb to see you". We feel and see someone who really is a talent of great depth and devotion.
The Glass Child is not another transparent young artist with a guitar, she's someone baring her soul over acoustics for all those willing to see. Take a look now at someone that's taken a different route to get to the mainstream and someone that's going to shatter the notion that success is all about 'industry' or watered down throwaway music. The Glass Child has broken through with some music of real depth for her fans to keep. This is how music is going to sound good again. 'Ghost's' shows the makings of an icon. I believe. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
ONE TO RECORD-CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON
SONG FOR THE MOMENT (NOVEMBER): CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON-I WILL LEAD YOU HOME
Saturday, 3 December 2011
This year Miss Jones has helped Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi and Jack White craft a classic in 'Rome', aswell as expanding ehr range of 'Duets' by working with Tony Bennett, so for this weeks 'Album Select Of The Week' let's take a look at one of Norah Jones finest records. Now every one of her platinum plaque albums are perfect and obviously the best is her classic, diamond debut 'Come Away With Me' but let's pop her latest work 'The Fall' in the player. Partly a break-up record and all a change of heart in Norah's style (she even cut her hair into a beautiful bob) this different stroke from Jones was a master craft. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, all the legends went electric in their time so it's only right that this eclectic, best of our generation singer followed suit and put the lid on her beautiful piano for a few tracks. From the quirky, lead, lead strong single 'Chasing Pirates' to the hilarious, cute, 'all men aren't as good as dogs', 'Man Of The Hour' closer this record tracks the opening up of Norah. With new classics like the vibrant, red 'Young Blood', the decedent 'December', the single story 'Stuck', and the ode to home 'Back To Manhattan' this album had it all. The gorgeous gems; 'Even Though', 'Missing', 'Waiting', 'I Wouldn't Need You' and 'It's Gonna Be' rounded out this real classic timelessly. Make sure you pick up the deluxe edition for some 'Live From The Living Room' takes on some of these best album tracks and some cool covers from this welcome household name. From a heartfelt homage to Johnny Cash's 'Cry, Cry, Cry' to her familiarly fantastic cover of The Kinks 'Strangers'. A beautiful take and an unheralded new Norah classic. On 'The Fall' Miss Jones truly rose. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
By Chris Lawhorn
The Top 10 Workout Songs For December
Fort Wayne, IN – Dec 2, 2011 – Given that they've both passed on now, it's been a surprise to see both The King and his son-in-law (The King Of Pop) drop club hits this month.Elvis turns up in a remixed version of “Suspicious Minds.”It's the latest in a series of re-worked Elvis tracks that began appearing after Junkie XL had a crossover hit with “A Little Less Conversation” from Ocean's Eleven.And, Michael Jackson's “Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'” also gets the remix treatment—though the changes are subtle—as part of the new MJ-themed Cirque du Soleil production Immortal.
Other highlights from the top 10 include Katy Perry's latest single, two tracks featuring Lil Jon, and a curious collaboration between Will.I.Am, J-Lo, and Mick Jagger.
Here's the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred--the web's most popular workout music blog.
Calvin Harris - Feel So Close (Benny Benassi Remix) - 131 BPM
Katy Perry - The One That Got Away - 135 BPM
Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds (Can't Walk Out Remix) - 121 BPM
Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Immortal Version) - 123 BPM
LMFAO & Lil Jon - Shots (Dummejungs Remix) - 128 BPM
Rihanna & Jay-Z - Talk That Talk - 84 BPM
Will.I.Am, Mick Jagger & Jennifer Lopez - T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) - 106 BPM
Alexandra Stan - Mr. Saxobeat (Maan Studio Remix) - 126 BPM
Laidback Luke, Steve Aoki & Lil Jon - Turbulence - 129 BPM
Dev - In The Dark (DJ Kue Remix) - 126 BPM
To find more workout songs--and hear next month's contenders—folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.