Friday, 27 January 2012
The newest, biggest star of the moment; Lana Del Rey is shining so bright right now and not only is she a modern day pop queen, she's also a throwback to real music of decades gone. Lana knows this, even dubbing herself as a "Gangster Nancy Sinatra". So in her honour let's take a look at some of the work of Frank's incredibly talented daughter. Sinatra senior may be the man when it comes to music and cool, but the gleam in the old blue eyes has made a great singer and star too. It's unusual that our 'Album Select Of The Week' feature looks at a 'Greatest Hits' package but Nancy's collection is just that good. The woman that "shot down" the 'Kill Bill' soundtrack with a beautiful "bang, bang" was definitely her father's daughter. From collaborating with Dean Martin perfectly on 'Things' (and pops too on 'Something Stupid') to showing her contagiously confident charisma, treading on male ego's and leading independent women on the cult classic 'These Boots Are Made For Walking'. Check out her steps with Lee Hazlewood and snaps on 'How Does That Grab You Darling' for more favourites from the femme fatale and music starlet. This leading lady made music sound like Hollywood and the entertainment industry hasn't been the same since. Come on boots. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 26 January 2012
The playlist of our favourite songs this week. 'Side A' features some latest cuts, while the classics make the 'B Side'.
LANA DEL RAY-BORN TO DIE: Lead single off the same titled, first big release of 2012 from this years biggest, new star.
BRUCE SPRINSGTEEN-WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN: Our ‘Song For The Moment’ for January. The Boss is back…and it’s BIG.
INCUBUS-IF NOT NOW, WHEN?: Critics criticised this album, but with depth and beauty like this…why?
TYRESE Feat BRANDY-REST OF OUR LIVES: Even with the debate about which version is better (this or Melanie Fiona’s?), this track should have made the ‘Open Invitation’, Tyrese’s and last years greatest R&B album
COMMON-BLUE SKY: With inspiration and forever music like this Common has still got that true hip-hop sense. BE-lieve that.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN-BORN TO RUN: Back to ‘The Boss’. It’s time for those introspective Springsteen classics to come back to radio and his tour next year. Get your banner requests at the ready.
NANCY SINATRA-THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WALKING: Lana Del Rey’s inspiration was ‘gangster’ too. In her own confident, ‘walk all over’ way.
GWEN STEFANI-EARLY WINTER: The last, great pop princess before Del Ray…No Doubt. Before you look for her bands new album this year, find this unheralded album gem from ‘The Sweet Escape’.
MICHAEL HUTCHENCE-GET ON THE INSIDE: Australia and world icon Michael Hutchence would have turned 52 this week. In memory let’s hear just how charismatic and charming he was.
INXS-NEW SENSATION: Tonight let Michael “live baby live”. Hutchence’s band will never be the same. He remains one of music’s all-time greatest front men. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Perfect Pop, Reborn & Alive.
They call her the new 'IT' girl. She cites everyone from 'The King' to 'The Boss', Britney Spears and Kurt Cobain as her influences. One things for sure; Lana Del Rey is THE new artist of 2012. Despite some criticism of a 'Saturday Night Live' performance Lana has received no lick to her credibility. All the hype and buzz is justified. With one of the first and most eagerly anticipated albums of twenty twelve it's no surprise that the starlet singer hasn't been able to avoid those dreaded Youtube and Internet leaks. Still what that gives us is a preview of an album we should all buy next week. A near perfect debut that makes for the best pop music we've heard in years. This is what the genre should sound like. The perfect mix of nostalgia and future, influence and inspiration.
'Born To Die' leads with the big single and album title track. 'Born To Die' lies hauntingly over a heartbeat beat that evokes the feeling of a dying love, like the great video and Lana slow kissing her leading man in a speeding car. The vivid vocals lament the loss of love as she harmonises "let's take a walk on the wild side/let me kiss (f%$£) you hard in the pouring rain/you like your girls insane". The passion and power of this song comes through the speakers.
On 'Off To The Races' Del Rey polishes her nails with a pop princess confidence fit for a queen. While on 'Blue Jeans' she wears her 'Gangster Nancy Sinatra' style with fitted pride, referencing James Dean and talking about "loving to the end of time" on a cut that wont fade anytime soon. The first single 'Video Games' still plays well like 'Halo'. From its Youtube made video to its buzz and hype generated this is a cult classic for the culture of the modern crowd.
'Diet Mtn Dew' avoids copyright laws and goes down smooth as another pop culture hit that's sparkling like the singers contagious charisma. While the fireworks go off for 'National Anthem' as the flag bearing singer continues her patriotic streak with a new sound and style for today's Americana. It's 'Dark Paradise' however that is the best, 'press repeat' track on this album. As Lana clings on to the thought of a lost love, yearning "there's no remedy/for memory" she shines and illuminates the heaven sent, atmospheric feel of an album that sees the darkness but doesn't shadow from hope or mainstream scope.
'Radio' is bound for some plays on that medium, as it spins the styles of billboard favourites with ones from the jukebox days. 'Carmen' is an individual great with it's own identity as Lana sings a story we can all accept and identify with. 'Million Dollar Man' is a cinematic classic. Casting agents need to take notice. This writing talent has directed herself in the vain of a screen siren. Another album favourite is 'Summertime Sadness'. This track turns it up a notch and almost feels brighter, despite the tone. It's a beautiful struggle. It's HOT! She sings "feeling electric tonight/cruising down the coast going about 99", adding "I know if I go, I'd die happy tonight". Need we say anymore?
'This Is What Makes Us Girls' is the new independent woman anthem, boys and Beyonce beware. Then when the album gets deluxe, it really expands. 'Without You' is a song with heart and soul in abundance, making for the perfect break up record. 'Lolita' runs and runs away with more style and envelope pushing, stamp licking style, sending the mainstream her way. While the closer 'Lucky Ones' chimes a new positive beat. It's a celebratory, walking song of a woman who now runs this pop game. Sorry Lady Gaga and others. Juliette Lewis owes Lana Del Rey an apology. We need to be thankful for this new star. She's welcome. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 23 January 2012
It's in black and white, that's it.
By Tim David Harvey
That can't be it. The hiatus was just meant be a break, Jack White's side projects exactly that, Meg's troubles behind her. We were supposed to be expecting a brand new album last year. Still, instead one of rock and rolls greatest bands, The White Stripes, called it quits. After an incredible 13 years, we the fans have been nothing but lucky.
Right from the start, Jack and Meg, where original, innovative and ahead of the pack. A two-piece able to rock crowds just as much as a full, heavy ensemble. A group before their time, all whilst sounding like a classic act. These two played music by their own rules, and the hallmarks of the rock industry was changed because of this. Pure rock and roll, these White Stripes, saw red and wore what they wanted on stage. From colour schemes, to 'Are they sister and brother, or lovers', Jack and Meg compromised for no one. They revitalisied modern day music, all whilst showing new MTV generations what mum and dads old records used to sound like, without risking their reputation or status from the charts to the ipods.
Back in the early 2000's The Stripes, along with The Hives and The Strokes where responsible for bringing the old sound of rock and roll to the modern day mainstream. This had repercussions, from the way kids dressed to the records they brought and dug up. It wasn't about having to be new anymore, vintage was back in and a new fashion and culture was in effect. Sure The Hives brought the self assurity and The Strokes brought the style, but The White Stripes brought the substance. There was just something about them, Jack and Meg where on a different level and they weren't stopping there. From their self-titled debut to 'De Stili' and 'White Blood Cells' the pair, doubled up on their success with a trio of terrific discs. From 'One More Cup Of Coffee' to 'Death Letter', with incredible album tracks, the band got up and delivered a rich quantity of quality right to the end. It was the single 'Fell In Love With A Girl', however that really took the duo places. Sure the track was barely a minute and a half long, but it was so catchy it felt like more in an enjoyable way. Then with fans falling in love with the pair the Stripes where bordering on greatness. That's when the 'Elephant' came into the room.
This animal was a monster two, their biggest an arguably best record, The White Stripes stripped it all down and bared true rock and roll in all it's glory. Who needs computers when you have a guitar, a drum kit and a 'Seven Nation Army' behind you? With an incredibly inventive song and video to boot it was clear this boy and girl from Detroit where about to become more of an influence. You can still see today from car adverts to young bands with scraggly hair and attitude that these carbon copies are as readily available as credit card storage facilities. Still no matter the numbers, there hasn't been an army as strong as Jack and Meg. They gave the Motor City of North America it's first real sound since Motown.
The 'Elephant' didn't stop stomping there however. With hits like the bluesy 'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself' and the catchy, instrumental growing, 'The Hardest Button To Button', the Stripes made a home on the mainstream. They showcased their ability to write simple, but thought provoking songs that where catchy enough to hold the ear of the charts. Their ability to do this mirrored rock and roll's forefathers like The Beatles and The Stones and this will be reflected further over the coming generations.
The bands fourth album also featured a set of memorable, diverse album tracks that will be favourites among fans memory banks for years. 'Little Acorns' was the perfect pick me up and who would of thought you could feel better about yourself by 'being like the squirrel'? If you thought Jack's voice was distinct then 'Elephant' prepared you for what else the group had in the trunk. Meg's beautiful, vocal ability was displayed in the seductively, sincere 'In The Cold, Cold, Night' and the playful 'It's True That We Love One Another', where Jack and Meg had fun with the family, friends or more debate.
After a devilishly good release, the Stripes followed up with the heavenly, 'Get Behind Me Satan'. After such a big album previously, fans and critics where asking if the guys could do it again. The couple answered the call with the ring of the infectious 'Doorbell', which showed that they didn't just have their foot in the door, they had kicked it down. The critics, fans, chart and industry as a whole wanted to hear from them. The Stripes responded loud and clear, planting 'Blue Orchid' and 'The Denial Twist' into the conscious of the mainstream. Plus with great tracks across the board like the haunting, 'Little Ghost', the illuminating 'White Moon' and 'Take, Take, Take', the pairs success was a given.
Then came a brief break and some things on the side, but in 2006 Jack and Meg got back together for 'Icky Thump', their last album (excusing the lavish live CD/DVD set 'Under Great White Northern Lights'). The title track off the album was a fantastic, few guitar solo, formidable, return to form. The 'out there' act pushed the envelope further with the classic, 'Conquest' and evoked an epic sound on 'Catch Hell'. Even after all this time The White Stripes where still red hot and on top.
The group have always had an ear for timeless music, as well as other peoples classics. Their incredible take on Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' can attest to that. They also had a knack of writing and singing catchy songs that instantly captured the audience. Those kind of sweet and innocent songs that sound like they've been around for years and could perfectly fit in jukebox's of decades past. The nostalgic 'We're Going To Be Friends' is a gentle favourite that Jack Johnson and others have covered. It's such a timeless classic, that you have to look twice at the credits and realise it's a Stripes original, that's just how good they are. The group on the flip side of the coin could still go mettle to metal with the heavier tracks, like 'Little Cream Soda'. Even on short, interlude like tracks such as, 'Passive Manipulation' the band made the most. Their concentrated style was the perfect mix.
Even on their B-sides the band brought a collection of classics for the discography. Just check out 'Shelter Of Your Arms' off 'The Denial Twist' single. It's good to know that the bands record company plan to release B-side material over the years, but still it just won't be the same. With great videos from bull fights to Kate Moss, the Stripes did whatever they wanted, all whilst staying in fashion. The fashion they helped create. Jack and Meg even branched out. As Meg got married Jack found solace, 'A Quantum Of Solace' that is with Alicia Keys. White crossed styles and genres for the stellar Bond theme 'Die Another Day'. Jack also built more houses with two great bands. First he went 'Steady As She Goes' with the incredible Raconteurs. Then he joined a fellow Raconteur, with a Queen Of The Stone Age and a female front that 'kills' for the dark, heavy group, The Dead Weather. Both side projects, where and are great bands in their own right and two great albums each can prove that. This writer was lucky enough to attend a Dead Weather show in 2009 and as White headed from the skins (oh yeah, he drums two) to the stage to sing 'You Just Can't Win' (another great B-side) the crowd went wild. They went wild, yes for a legend of rock that has made the most out of everything he's done, but one who also was birthed by a little group, with his very good friend Meg. All in all there's no Jack without Meg and no Meg without Jack.
You see there is just nothing quite like The White Stripes. If this is truly it, no Hives, Strokes or new acts work will replace Jack and Meg, no matter how good they are. Sure, the classics will always exist as long as we play them, but after 'Icky Thump' and White's recent run, the new album that was supposed to come out was and really will be more sought after now. Maybe they'll change their mind and head back to the studio for one more for the fans, besides it's hard to stop Jack from working. Plus groups get back together all the time, even pop acts that swore they would never rekindle get back in the studio, even if no one wants them to. Still as of right now, The White Stripes are done and without them lining our hi-fi's, C.D. racks and playlists anymore, the state of music today is a little less brighter...again.
Sunday, 22 January 2012
With one swing the greatest American singer/songwriter defies age and once again comes back with a tailor-made, worn jeans and boots rock record for the blue collars of all ages. With one swing this man brings his old seventies and new millennium style together to produce another timeless classic. With one swing this man brings 'Born To Run' and 'Working On A Dream' to a new record. With one swing this man echo's the spirit of the late, great big man Clarence Clemons. With one swing this man brings E Street back to the main street. With one swing this man unites Chicago, New Orleans, the shotgun shack and the Superdome. With one swing the man that played the last gig in the N.Y. Giants stadium brings another thundering, swinging rock tune ready to fill arenas. With one swing this man could bring down the Superbowl again. With one swing this man gets those in London ready for 'Hard Rock Calling' and those around the world ready for the tour. With one swing this man gives us the first great song of 2012 and the most anticipated album of its first quarter. With one swing this man, this spokesman for troubled times and the everyman carries the flag and takes care of his own. With one swing of the 'Wrecking Ball' Bruce Springsteen returns. The Boss is back. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL. WE LOVE YOU!
Remembering One of the Last True Rock Stars.
“Put the pieces back together/every moment back together/In your quiet moments/Looking back in tears/Can I count the nights you’ve lived/That you’d live again”. Michael Hutchence: Put The Pieces Back Together.
Icons don't come around everyday, believe that. Don't be fooled by the who's who of today. Some stars today are merely 'role models' and their not doing a very good job at that either. Sure there are icons still around, but sometimes the phrase 'iconic' is thrown around all too much. Michael Hutchence, however was iconic. It’s hard to believe it’s been 14 years since he was found hanging in a Sydney hotel room on November 22ND, 1997. Today, (Sunday January 22ND) he would have turned 52, so let’s look back and celebrate the man.
Celebrate and not speculate because when Hutchence burst on to the scene with his band INXS back in 1979 it was this mans personality and not his personal life or troubles that people were attracted to. His energetic, magnetic and sensual persona is what gave him a presence on the world’s biggest stages. A presence that extended from the small pubs and hotels INXS played coming up in 1977 to the sold out stadiums they made it to when they truly broke out. His enigmatic personality, coupled with his good looks and his confidence, matched with the blueprint of a true rock star persona made sure all eyes where on him. Then the lyrics he wrote, cultivated with the way he sang and the ways he moved about the stage did the rest. A true star that sang some of the best songs and made some of musics most memorable moments became an icon. A guy that just like AC/DC before him and Heath Ledger after him was iconic not just in his native Australia but all around the world.
INXS first commercially hit in the 80's with their self-titled debut. 'Just Keep Walking' was their first hit. Their success came from their own hard work. They played sold out shows almost every day of the week. As attention grew people wanted a piece of this band even before the press got wind. The bands hard work was rewarded with a gold plaque for their debut and more importantly their name on everyone’s lips. INXS were playing 300 shows across Australia during the release of their sophomore album 'Underneath the Colours'. When their third album 'Shabooh, Shoobah' hit they broke America, making the billboard charts behind great music and the dynamic, provocative personality of Hutchence.
INXS first number 1 in Australia was 'Original Sin'. 'Sin' had lots of rhythm with fast paced drum rolls, quirky saxophone and even stranger ad-libs from Michael. The great lyrics from Hutchence completed the song perfectly and the hometown heroes took seven Australian Countdown awards and a double platinum plaque for the songs album 'The Swing’. The first three albums established the band, but with this swinging success Michael, Garry, Andrew, Jon, Tim & Kirk truly planted their feet.
With their feet firmly in place it was time for INXS to break new ground. They did this in the mid-80's with the release of two albums, one definite and one definitive. By 1985 INXS were in the mid-90's of degrees of hotness. The bands first million seller in the States came with 'Listen Like Thieves'. The albums title also spawned a hit single and more radio play was garnered with the funky hit 'What You Need'. A song so funky that the artist always known as funk, Prince covered it back in 2007, during his legendary, 21 dates in London.
The album 'Listen Like Thieves' featured memorable hooks and intriguing lyrics. Like many rock greats before him, Michael was a master at writing love songs. Michael indulged a lot in his life but it seemed like love was really his biggest motivator. INXS songs were the type of catchy tunes that only after a few listens on the radio listeners would know word for word. Michael's passion for writing about love was fuelled with his lyrics. Even if the songs were about loss they still had an element of positivity to them. Songs like 'This Time' >("We are hoping/yes we are praying/this time will be the last time/that we will fight like this") and 'Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain)' ("Playing in the dirt/we find the seeds of doubt/don't water them with your tears/don't think about all the years/you'd rather be without") epitomize the beauty in the hope and belief of love. Michael was able to translate this into song seemingly effortlessly with the help of writing partner Andrew Farriss.
INXS biggest selling album propelled them even higher. 'Kick' in 1987 expanded their already wide and diverse fan base even further. Millions of copies were sold and 5 MTV Awards and a Grammy nomination came. Some of the bands biggest singles, 'Mystify', 'Need You Tonight', 'Never Tear Us Apart' and 'New Sensation' helped make this album a rock and roll classic. From the success of this album came a lot of buzz, a lot of excitement and even more touring around the world.
The singles themselves became classics around the world. 'Never Tear Us Apart' showcased Michael's ever improving writing ability. At his worst Hutchence was honest, at his best he was poetic. INXS may have recorded their best love song with lines like, 'We could live for a thousand years/but if I hurt you I'd make wine from your tears". Lines that are so soulful, just check out modern day legend, Ben Harper's take on them. The jam 'New Sensation' seems to be a motivating, mainstay at sporting events and 'Need You Tonight' was another provocative hit that helped Hutchence become a hit with the housewives. The video for this song furthered this. Striking black and white images and Michael’s colourful personality helped this become yet another classic visual for a band that was becoming known for their unique music videos. The camera loved Michael and Michael loved the camera-sometimes maybe a little bit too much- not that the housewives minded.
The video of 'Need You Tonight' also blended in seamlessly to the track 'Mediate' which furthered the display of Hutchence's lyrical ability. Michael effortlessly rapped cohesive words and sentences that rhymed with the word 'Mediate'. Not many rock singers had done this before him and again this was an example of Hutchence’s self-assured swagger, which is why he appealed to so many people. Confidence is one of the most attractive features and whether on the microphone, the screen or the stage Michael had it by the bucket load. Even performing for Jools Holland, sprawled across a piano, with shaggy hair, workman jeans and baggy clothing he was still the perfect man for those housewives tuning in on a Friday night.
This hot streaked continued for Hutchence and INXS as their follow up 'X' was no slouch. The album spawning hits such as 'Suicide Blonde', 'Bitter Tears' & 'Disappear', which helped INXS leave their successful decade on the 80's on a high note coming into the 90's. Although the last decade saw fewer releases and tragedy for the band and its lead singer, the 90's still had high notes for INXS. In 1991 the band headlined Wembley Stadium in London with Michael's magnetic on stage persona attracting a crowd of 74,000 excited fans, more than half of them probably female.
With the release of 'Welcome To Wherever You Are' INXS pushed the envelope further both musically and visually with their second, definitive album. The band included an orchestra on the hit 'Baby Don't Cry' offering appreciation to other forms of music. They also however received heat again for the video of the hit 'Taste It', with Michael again raising the temperatures of female fans and music television networks alike, albeit in very different ways. 'Beautiful Girl' was yet another classic love song from the band with genuine and endearing lyrics from their front man. A song, like all love classics still relevant today (just check the trailer for hit movie, 'Love & Other Drugs'). The positivity in Michael's writing again shined through. Too many songs these days about love or lost love focus on all the negative, back then however Michael begged to differ. He even described the complications in relationships perfectly on the classic, album take 'Men and Women'.
Approaching the mid-90's INXS cooled off a little bit but they still remained relevant and true to their style with the release of 'Full Moon, Dirty Hearts' in 1993. One of the bands most aggressive songs 'The Gift' was full of heavy guitar and fire, especially in their award winning, ground-burning video. Now it was getting even harder to cool off Hutchence or his fan base. The album also featured a couple of guest appearances but Michael more than held his own alongside strong personalities like Ray Charles ('Please (You Got That...)') and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders ('Full Moon, Dirty Hearts').
A couple of complimation albums came and then years later there wasn’t much noise from INXS and their outgoing singer. This was apart from his often time written about private life and problems. Hutchence’s drug and relationship problems with celebrities was something the tabloids couldn't’t resist prying into, the music heads however wanted to hear something new, something true, something public, not private.
In 1997 came the last album from INXS with Hutchence, 'Elegantly Wasted'. The album may have not been a commercial success but it showed that the band had moved with the times. Musically and lyrically they remained relevant and true to themselves despite a harder, more mainstream, American sound. They showed in that respect they could stand next to other rock acts from Dave Matthews Band to Pearl Jam.
The albums title track was a hit and songs like 'Shine' showed that they could even move with the times with their speciality of rock and roll tracks infused with funk. Songs like 'Searching' (“Have we lost direction/washed our hands of blood/I’m in need of sensation/is there more to this love”) and 'I'm Just A Man' (“I’m just a man/my will is so strong/When I’ve got plans/I close my eyes to the pain”) showed Michael Hutchence’s introspective style of writing in a much stronger and more poignant light. Bold but beautiful, dark but decedent.
This writing ability was then seen even more with the release of the last studio album from Hutchence, his self-titled solo LP. Cuts like 'Possibilities', 'Fear', 'Put The Pieces Back Together' and 'All I'm Saying' stirred the soul, But he also had fun to. Songs like 'Get On The Inside' and 'Let Me Show You' gave fans the fun loving, sexy Michael they were used to. It was clear however, that this was a very personal album, especially as it was a solo piece. The haunting 'Flesh & Blood' (“All of the days we thought would come/all of the words we thought had gone/all of the pain & pleasure gone without you”) and 'Slide Away' (with Bono) showed a much deeper side of Hutchence's thinking. This resulted in beautiful, yet saddening tracks to hear straight from the mans heart.
Since his death his legacy has lived on to the full in his music. A wealth of timeless classic songs, entertaining, loving and at times reflective have been the legacy of one man and his band. He was an icon in his life and his death marked yet another tragic case of an icon gone before their time. The rest of INXS have soldiered on and kept Michael's name and music alive. They have also tried to go on as a band. Terrence Trent D'Arby did a very good job filling in at the opening of the ‘Stadium Australia’ in Sydney but he rightfully made it clear that his performance was out of respect, as a guest and nothing else. Replacing this man has been a much harder task for the group. It always will be when some little known names follow in the footsteps of such a huge talent. Even the modern day staple of reality television produced a new singer and album, but even that was no good as J.D. Fortune ended up without a band- and as it seems a home -living in his car. Even as nice as tribute albums featuring the talents of INXS, French singer Loane and John Mayer are, nothing bests the original, real thing.
The reality is that the talent, charisma and confidence that burst out of Michael was all natural. It cannot be taught, trained or cultivated over a television series. Michael was nothing short of iconic, a phrase which when properly given is an exclusive one and not a doled out saying. Michael Hutchence epitomized both a true rock star and entertainer. He was born to do what he did and what he did in turn lives on a decade plus after his death. Plain and simple Michael Hutchence can not be replaced and he will always live on in his music and he will always be INXS.
“Live baby live/Now that the day is over/I gotta New Sensation/In perfect moments/Impossible To Refuse”. INXS: New Sensation
BY TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
(It's a new year for this one year old blog so let's run my very first album review unedited and unleashed)
ROCK FANS CAN REJOICE! 2006 marks the return of a band who are currently amongst the best in music as the Red Hot Chili Peppers release a new double LP entitled ‘Stadium Arcadium’. This is the first studio album from the band in over four years. It’s been a long four years for Pepper fans despite the release of the ‘Greatest Hits’ and ‘Live In Hyde Park’ albums in 2003 and 2004 respectively. ‘Stadium’ is the ninth release from a band who have been around the charts for just under 23 years. However with the release of their first double album (which was watered down from a proposed release of 38 tracks over 3 albums, each 6 months apart) does the band have enough material on their hands to remain relevant within their fan base and the mainstream charts.
The first disc ‘Jupiter’ starts explosively with the bands lead single ‘Dani California’ showcasing a great return for the band. The song concludes the story of ‘Dani California’ a female bank robber from Mississippi previously brought to our sound systems on the title tracks of 1999’s ‘Californication’ and 2002’s ‘By The Way’. The video for the song features the band paying tribute to eras and movements in the history of rock including funk, punk, goth and grunge. The sound of the track is typical chilli peppers, heavy but commercially viable with front man Anthony Kiedis on top form, great chemistry between guitarists John Frusciante and Flea and Chad Smith providing the perfect accompanying energy on the drums.
Throughout the ‘Jupiter’ disc the Chilli Pepper’s give the fans classic sounds including ‘Snow (Hey Oh)’, ‘Charlie’ and the title track ‘Stadium Arcadium’. The band however also give listeners a more traditional, laid back sound. ‘Jupiter’ doesn’t get much heavier than ‘Dani California’, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Tracks including ‘Especially In Michigan’ and ‘Hey’ fit nicely into the pattern of the sound of the album. However the standout track of the album is ‘Strip My Mind’, featuring great backing singing from John Frusciante combining with Anthony’s lead vocals giving listeners the best verses between the two since the 2002 single ‘Can’t Stop’. The strength of the song is punctuated by the best guitar riff from Frusciante in years.
Double albums normally come with problems. However the second disc ‘Mars’ takes you deeper into the Chili Peppers world. Mars starts strong with ‘Desecration Smile’ and the projected second single ‘Tell Me Baby’. Then comes the mellow ‘Hard to Concentrate’ this track and the standout ‘Animal Bar’ show’s the bands versatility. They do not feel like typical Chilli Peppers records however like on ‘By The Way’s’ ‘Cabron’ the band adopts many different sounds unafraid as ever to leave their comfort zone, but still feeling natural. Towards the end of the ‘Mars’ side of ‘Stadium Arcadium’ despite maintaining a consistent sound the album needs a pick-me-up. This comes courtesy of ‘Turn it Again’ a vibrant track that finishes the album off nicely alongside the slow ‘Death of a Martain’.
The inspirations for this double disc set are diverse. John Frusciante informs us to our surprise that hardcore hip-hop act The Wu-Tang Clan influenced a lot of his writing. Also the singing style on the record ‘If’ comes from John Frusciante being influenced by R&B singer Brandy. The biggest influence on this album though seems to be love. Kiedis admits that all the band members are settled down and in love. This is evident on many tracks such as ‘She Looks To Me’ and ‘If’. Now love is the bands drug of choice they may seem far-removed from the punk driven songs of their early years in the 80’s, however the band still stay true to their funk and diverse sound. The album was the first they recorded in Producer Rick Rubin’s famous LA mansion since their 1992 classic ‘Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic’. It seems like just under 15 years removed the Red Hot Chilli Peppers have another classic on their hands. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
By Chris Lawhorn
Fort Wayne, IN – Jan 2, 2011 – Kicking off the new year is a wealth of tracks from all over the charts.Daughtry checks in with stripped down rocker.Rihanna gets the remix treatment.The Downtown Fiction try a pop/punk version of Nicki Minaj's “Super Bass.”Avicii turns in an instrumental club banger.Grouplove pop up from under the rader with a buoyant track. And, Ke$ha trades dance grooves for a straight bass—dropping a posse cut, with some famous friends.
Here's the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred--the web's most popular workout music site.
Lady GaGa - Marry The Night - 132 BPM
Rihanna - We Found Love (Cahill Club Remix) - 128 BPM
Avicii - Levels - 126 BPM
Grouplove - Tongue Tied - 113 BPM
Daughtry - Renegade - 157 BPM
Hot Chelle Rae & New Boyz - I Like It Like That - 104 BPM
Mary J. Blige - Ain't Nobody - 107 BPM
The Downtown Fiction - Super Bass - 118 BPM
Gavin DeGraw - Not Over You - 71 BPM
Kesha, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, T.I. & Andre 3000 - Sleazy Remix 2.0 - 86 BPM
To find more songs--and hear next month's contenders—folks can check out Run Hundred's database of workout songs. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.
Breaking New Ground.
Last night Charlotte Eriksson AKA The Glass Child broke through further with a stunning and sublime live set at The Bedford pub in South London. The new and cult fans we're treated to a beautiful show of talent, grace and humility from the singer who is bound to fill more rooms by the fan-load at a venue near you as soon as possible.
If more people don't get onto this singer than there is something terribly wrong with the tastes in modern music because The Glass Child was smashing last night. Not only did she have pop style sensibilities to draw a new crowd in, the independent singer showed she was her own women with her own style, sound and feel for music. Clearly influenced by some artists but in no ways transparent, Charlotte compromised nothing. She is her own woman and she showed that last night in her young confidence and contagious enthusiasm.
The crowd was immersed in all her influence and inspiration last night as she took the stage and the crowd on a tour of deep emotion and angelic vocals. She said she was nervous to be performing but she more than held her own with confidence and charm, interacting with the crowd and giving her great backing band the just support and praise they deserved. The Glass Child even made way for her friend to close the set and what resulted was the public debut of another beautifully talented singer with a genuine sound and an incredible song to boot.
From rocking out over electric to sitting down and keeping it intimate on the acoustics Charlotte kept those in attendance in her pocket as she unloaded her catalogue and latest offerings from the epic E.P. 'This Is How Ghosts Are Made'. A personal highlight of the night is when Eriksson played 'I Will Lead You Home' her Swedish Number 2, charity song helping the fight against cancer. During that humbly moving performance we really saw this great individual in all her good graces and beautiful heart and soul. After giving us so much, it's time the music world offered Charlotte Eriksson more. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
ALBUM SELECT OF THE WEEK: CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON-THE GLASS CHILD
SONG FOR THE MOMENT (DECEMBER): THE GLASS CHILD-WINTER
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
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
"I learned that there's no reason why people decide they like music when they do. Even if you're the best singer in the world, there's a good chance no one will ever hear you. You make a decision to keep singing or to stop. I’ve been singing in Brooklyn since I was 17 and no one in the industry cared at all. I haven't changed a thing since then and yet things seem to be turning around for me. Perhaps the angels decided to shine on me for a little while. Lana Del Rey" .
It's no new news that the new artist to look out for in 2012 is Lana Del Rey, but still let's give credit where credits due. Lana is not the next great singer in pop music, she's that right now. With so much buzz and Youtube hits she's already a star and her highly-anticipated second album 'Born To Die' isn't even out yet. Still when it is released on the 27th January you can bank on it being the first big album of twenty twelve. If you thought 2011 was a good year. You 'aint heard nothing yet.
With a stunningly beautiful and epically evoking voice, Del Rey sounds like she's introducing a Bond movie or taking you back to the decedent decades of music everytime she harmonises the creative content of her lyrics. She is that good. They don't make music like this anymore...well, they do now. Call her hallmark or a homage to the good ol'days and you'd have a point but she's much more than that however with her own original sound and style that points fingers at no one but her. From her personal tailor-made fashion that harks back to classic American styles and her charismatic and contagious confidence Lana Del Rey is her own woman. Or as she likes to put it; a "ghetto" Nancy Sinatra.
Lana credits everyone from Elvis Presley to Eminem and Britney Spears to Bruce Springsteen as her musical influences and it's clear to hear in her incredible sound and influential music. From making her own clips for 'Video Games' to having the gumption and moxie to appeal to all ages this singer has it down. Just take 'Born To Die's' title track in all it's depth and devotion as an exact example. Even the video strikes a chord as it resonates with it's audience bearing this singers, blood, sweat, tears, body and soul.
As she sings "Let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain" for the radio friendly version really meaning "Let me f%$£ you hard in the pouring rain" even the mainstream can't screw with this husky singers intentions and character. With beautiful haunting lyrics like "Walking through the city streets/Is it by mistake or design?/I feel so alone on a Friday night/Can you make it feel like home, if I tell you you're mine/It's like I told you honey" the air and atmosphere of this singers hurt and pain comes through the speakers as the listener breathes in all the emotion.
At 25 tears old and following a great first album ('Lana Del Rey AKA Lizzy Grant' featuring the illuminating 'Brite Lites') Elizabeth Grant has her whole amazing life and career ahead of her. With a voice that echo's the old souls of generations gone and with the youth to last for decades we are about to be formerly introduced to the next big thing. Pop music can finally be justified as being 'popular' again. It's about to get so much better. This is the way it should be. This is the way it should have always sounded. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 6 January 2012
Our 'New Artist of 2011' and 'One To Watch For 2012' is Charlotte Eriksson. Charlotte Eriksson is 'The Glass Child' and she recently release her epic second EP 'This Is How Ghosts Are Made' at the fall of last year. Twenty twelve will see her tour and if there's any musical justice in this world become the bright star she's set to be. Her talent burns bright and is evident to see on her first, literally self-titled E.P. Beginning with a beautiful but 'Creepy Little Story' Charlotte's hallmark haunting lyrics and vocals made there debut to the world. The real, genuine talent and honest, heartfelt lyrics continue on 'Play Pretend'. 'I've Hidden So Well' reveals more before the sensational song 'I'll Never Tell' evokes pure emotion and beauty all in one as Charlotte lullabies her introduction, singing "It’s quiet now/Broken glass and pieces of me on the floor/I hear you now, please don’t be angry anymore/starring at that door". The depth of this cut continues as she laments love so vividly harmonising "I wear you on my skin/Open wounds form every fight, no one can win/You made me doubt my worthiness, believed your sin/Murder from within" As this EP closes perfectly with 'Stuck In My Mind' this singer remains so as well all anxiously await her L.P. which will play in record players for a long time to come. The same amount of time we can expect to be hearing from this girl from Sweden. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
SONG FOR THE MOMENT (DECEMBER): THE GLASS CHILD-WINTER
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
This week shuffle's through the majestic, classic Motown era. 'Side A' features the best solo artists work while 'B' listens to what the groups had to say.
MARVIN GAYE-WHAT'S GOIN ON: The master at his most magnificent, that's what's going on.
STEVIE WONDER-MY CHERI AMOR: This just might be the greatest love song...period. If there's anything better, he wrote it.
MICHAEL JACKSON-AINT NO SUNSHINE: Even little Mike could sing like a grown man, on one of his deepest records.
DIANA ROSS-AINT NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH: Her cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's hit earned her her first gold record and number one pop single as a solo artist. truly supreme.
JIMMY RUFFIN-WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKEN HEARTED: Big, classic and truly epic.
THE COMMODORES-NIGHTSHIFT: A beautiful, moving tribute to some icons. This is possibly the best work of Lionel Richie's collective and he doesn't even take the lead on this one.
THE FOUR TOPS-REACH OUT I'LL BE THERE: One of the acts and Motown's finest moments. Formidable.
THE TEMPTATIONS-GET READY: The ultimate party starter.
SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES-WHAT'S SO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE?: When it's this classic...everything.
THE JACKSON 5-I WANT YOU BACK: Need we say anymore. We miss you Michael. Rest peacefully. TIM DAVID HARVEY.