Saturday, 28 April 2012
With Norah Jones' new collaborative sound with Danger Mouse coming out this week (the album 'Little Broken Hearts') this weeks 'Tape Deck Shuffle' is dedicated to her. 'Side A' looks at her classics. While 'Side B' explores the new styles on her forthcoming and previous album.
COME AWAY WITH ME-The classic song and album that won and started off everything. Beautiful.
DON'T KNOW WHY-Another legacy making classic covered here.
SUNRISE-Not much feels better than waking up to this.
ROSIES LULLABY-The sweetest dedication.
ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT (LIVE)-Today's queen channels the king. This live cover of Elvis deep classic reaches a new high.
HAPPY PILLS-The new sensational single off the new album is pure musical ecstasy.
GOOD MORNING-On 'Little Broken Hearts' Miss Jones and Danger Mouse awake a new, vintage esque sound.
SEASONS TREES (With Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi)-Off the romantic 'Rome' collaborative L.P. The sessions that spawned this new sound and perfect partnership.
YOUNG BLOOD-Off Norah's last and one of 'The Fall's' highest points. Uplifting.
LIGHT AS A FEATHER-"Heavy as the weather". With the help of Ryan Adams, Norah cuts the perfect break-up record. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
With Jack White's recent release of 'Blunderbuss' and Norah Jones new album with producer Danger Mouse ('Little Broken Hearts') out this Monday, let's take it back to our review of their colloboartion in 'Rome'.
'Rome' is beautiful. Hear it for yourself.
Get your tape decks, CD changers and mp3's ready for a musical collaboration like no other. Now we all know that producer Danger Mouse has pushed the envelope to the letter, (see Gnarles Barkley, 'The Grey Album') collaborating with everyone from Beck to MF Doom, but these days he is writing arguably his best productions. Now teaming up with influential, Italian producer Daniele Luppi, Danger Mouse drops 'Rome', a capital exclamation. This instrumental album is so hauntingly beautiful and epic it may as well be a soundtrack to a film as these two musical directors fine-tune this ground breaking recording. They also make this cinematic feeling classic a star-studded affair casting this musical generations heavyweights Norah Jones and Jack White for their unique, individual vocals.
This perfect piece is introduced with 'Theme of Rome', an evocative, epic, evoking track that begins this musical trail. Then on 'The Rose with the Broken Neck' Jack White's vocals bloom on a bone-to-concrete track that goes to the toughest of introspective depths. Then there's a little break after Jack's first of three appearances. The 'Morning Fog' interlude comes into view with beautiful, awakening keys. While the song 'Morning Fog' itself clears the highest expectations you could put on these cult, classic chasing producers with it's sheer brilliance.
As Norah Jones first of three performances is planted, 'Season's Tree's' show a growth in the sultry singers already genre-versatile vocals (it almost doesn't sound like her until her trademark tones shine through). Norah's heart and soul produces one of the albums most beautiful vivid tracks. Air, Royksopp, Zero 7 and Groove Armada would all be proud even on their best day. The interlude 'Her Hollow Ways' is full of depth and beauty, sounding like a real unforgettable muse inspired it. While the song itself expands the concept and the albums theme even more with it's terrific testament. Also an album favourite, 'Roman Blue' is an incredible instrumentation bringing both sadness and inspiration to this introspective but uplifting project.
As the pair pick up Jack White again for the collaboration 'Two Against One' you have a single-worthy sound that still fits the pattern of this albums piece. This song is so diversely appealing Jack could have penned it for The White Stripes, The Raconteurs or even his darker band The Dead Weather. After these big collaborations, the pair go it alone, putting 'The Gambling Priest' on the table. A different but confident roll of the dice. While 'The World (Interlude)' is holy musical purity. Amen to that.
Norah Jones smooth, soulful, sincere vocals illuminate the bluesy 'Black' as Miss Jones returns beautifully to convey the songs emotion and tone perfectly. 'The Matador Has Fallen' is another track that would fit perfectly on any movie's soundboard from a Tarantino piece to a Kubrick one. This soundtrack feeling composition scores big once again on 'Problem Queen', as Easy Listening royalty Jones brings the drama and devotion to her songwriting and singing craft. The album finishes on 'The World' and this track just like it's interlude keeps this cohesive, classic set going with earthly, musical expansion for the ears.
Overall bringing the elements of Luppi's Italian influence and Danger Mouse's musical movie making together create a perfect potent mix. 'Rome' is as rich, vivid, old fashioned and beautiful like it's cities namesake in the incredible, inspiring country of Italy. This album sounds and feels like more then any old record. Epic, deep and haunting, this album will stay with you as it really is a timeless classic. the pair work perfectly together but it's the 'Starring Role' additions of White and Jones that complete this project, taking it to extraordinary ranges. Norah and Jack fit so well here-they are more then just guest features-they are part of the album, just check the promotional photos. The platinum pair should record an album together and let's hope this isn't the last time this whole group of talent gets on the same hymn sheet. Still if this is it, it truly is one-of-a-kind for the ages. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Big Complete Love.
9 time Grammy award winner Norah Jones can expect her 10Th on her dark but delightful, decedent new disc. The greatest female singer/songwriter of our generation and one of the best in the world ever-of any gender-over the last few years has turned breakup into hard work and classic material. The artist that released the classics 'Come Away With Me', 'Feels Like Home' and 'Not Too Late' went electric in 2009 with the release of the rising 'The Fall'. Since then she has collaborated and pushed musical envelopes even further.
The lady who has recorded on wax with everyone from Willie Nelson to Andre 3000 put a duets, compilation album on record ('...Featuring') and last year provided backing vocals to key tracks off 'Dear John' co-writer Ryan Adams' latest hot album 'Ashes & Fire'. Also-if that wasn't enough work already-she's already released an album this year with her country cover outfit The Little Willies ('For The Good Times'). If that wasn't enough Norah travelled on a musical journey with Jack White to 'Rome' featuring on Danger Mouse and Daniel Luppi's album project. Now following a sensational solo album from rock leading man Jack White (the brilliant 'Blunderbuss' released last week) comes this leading ladies latest. What's more prominent producer Danger Mouse returns to the studio for more sessions with Miss Jones manning and boarding the whole album.
Danger Mouse helps expand Norah's new eclectic, genre bending style that made 'The Fall' so welcome, all whilst maximising the chemistry and sound they experimented with on classic tracks like 'Seasons Trees' off 'Rome'. Sure Danger's scoring here almost gives credit to this being a full on collaboration, but despite the influence and inspiration this is still all Norah and despite the change in style, the substance of who Jones is as a person and performer is not compromised and that's a great thing.
From the 'Sin City' style sexy and sultry artwork (actual inspired by the movie 'Mudhoney'), to the 'Mad Men' fashioned, murder mystery video for the perfect, popping single 'Happy Pills' Jones and mouse take it back to the simpler sounding, vintage, hallmark good ole days of music. If you thought the incredible Lana Del Rey took it back then you'll have to listen further to Norah on songs like 'After The Fall' (if you're talking about your last album Norah then the answer is 'yes') and the aptly titled 'Take It Back'. Her smoky, smouldering trademark vocals, verve us back to the velvet past of blues and alternative rock and soul, while her breakup inspired, deadly humorous lyrics bite sharper then the 'Gangster Nancy Sinatra' dubbed Lana. Just check 'Miriam' or the 'She's 22' for further reason to this rhyme.
Any great singer would be proud of Norah Jones latest effort. Its a straight classic. The atmosphere created from the combination of her beautifully haunting voice and Danger Mouse's bold brooding backdrop can be breathed in through the speakers. The gorgeous steamy 'Good Morning' awakens this album like the classic 'Sunrise' did 'Feels Like Home' but unlike the former hits light rise, this is a more foggy feel. Still like the great 'Say Goodbye' and the album titled follower it all sounds so much better.
Tracks like the classic verse chambers of '4 Broken Hearts' and the musical landscapes traversed on 'Travellin' On' and 'Out On The Road' help make this fifth formidable album an American classic. This well written journey like Kerouac goes deep into the heart and soul of love, life, music and lyrics and with Danger Mouse riding shotgun we can only hope these two artists travel together again on another L.P. that sounds and feels like the perfect soundtrack. Down the road this won't only be one of Norah Jones most experimental albums it'll be her best. Ending with 'All A Dream' this mid-nite hour evoking set seems just too good...and its all true too. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 19 April 2012
Jack White may be this generations definitive and greatest rock star. The pioneer really did music a favour for the rock ages when he and she (she being Meg) formed the legendary White Stripes and gave the new millennium the good ole days of rock and rolled too success. It may not seem like long since they first came onto our scenes dressed in red and white but since then they've changed music for the better. From taking modern rocks sound back to the golden age of the 60's and keeping everything original by recording without the use of computers, the White's 'Seven Nation Army' of talent took modern rock away from the corny and gave it a cooler sound. Classy and hallmark to the past, the Stripes pushed the envelope, opened doors and kept a foot in for like minded bands like The Strokes and The Hives.
If that wasn't enough of a musical revolution. From 'Fell In Love With A Girl' to 'Icky Thump' the group kept the classic records playing. The house that Jack built had plenty of rooms for more acts too and the singers side projects where more than just extra curricula activities. The Raconteurs showed with just two albums that they were a serious band themselves and the dark, Kills led The Dead Weather, where just too cool. From the leather jackets to the dark shines of their tone and style they where more than just slick. Jack even found time to record a bold, brilliant Bond theme with soul superstar Alicia Keys and form his own record label (Third Man Records) signing seriously sensational acts like Seasick Steve.
Its on this record label that white releases his first solo album 'Blunderbuss' one of the most anticipated releases of 2012 and the first album since The White Stripes split early last year. It's a musical tragedy that the band are no more, but even without his Jill, Jack is more than all right. There's no blunders here. The dark toned, but laid back first single 'Love Interruption' and the sublime second 'Sixteen Saltiness' showed us this and the rest of the album carries on in the same strength with no hindrance.
This albums even darker then the promotional press photos for it of Jack standing in a bathroom with a cut throat razor, but still its delightful and a slice above the crop of rock competition that still can't mess with the best. Even after a band break-up and another divorce, Jack is the one climbing the musical hill, whilst everyone else sounds like damaged goods or broken records.
The sound of music begins with the complete 'Missing Pieces' the singles and the lyrical growth and expanse of 'Freedom at 21'. When the album reaches its self-titled 'Blunderbuss' track the tone, energy and quality of the album steps up to an even greater notch and it doesn't skip a beat or track until the last second has counted down on the last track. 'Hypocritical Kiss' is classic White, from the drums to the perfect piano licks. This song was produced to last like Rolling Stone lips t-shirts.
'Weep Themselves To Sleep' and 'I Guess I Should Go to Sleep' lulls us further towards Jack, as the former bandsman shows his great rock legacy won't rest just like R.E.M. 'I'm Shakin'' brings the beat up a little, while the bluesy 'Trash Tongue Talker' shakes things up further. 'Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy' is classic, 'On and On and On' epic and 'Take Me with You When You Go' the perfect closer to the right opening to the new doors of this solo singers second career. At the start of this album you may think its not the same without Meg, but after the middle portion of this set makes this album truly great by the finale you'll come to see here and here on out it all begins and ends with Jack. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 16 April 2012
A Little Bit Country.
Lionel Richie is more than just a pop/soul music legend. He also might be the most genuinely nice man in entertainment. Some called him corny...they really meant to say classy. The guy has sold millions and millions of records for decades since 1968. From the classic Commodores era to still looking like a young man at 62, Richie is not arrogant or cocky. He's humble and kind...he's Lionel. So it's no wonder a man like this doesn't forget where he's come from and his roots. So with that comes 'Tuskegee' an album named after his hometown in Alabama. An album of country versions of his classic hits with some of the genres most iconic artists from Shania Twain to Kenny Rogers.
This really makes for some classic rock-n-roll crossover. Lionel's favourite hits have always had more to them then just being soul records. With their rock and pop elements, they are tailor made like a good pair of jeans for an envelope pushing change of genre and the stars of America's country music help bring the best out of the best of Lionel. Blake Shelton comes out the gates with Richie on the signature 'You Are', before the Oscar winning, 'White Nights' movie song 'Say You, Say Me' is given extra gold with Jason Aldean. Things get real reinventing with Daris Rucker on the sublime 'Stuck On You' which is a great modern remix of the traditional classic.
The group Little Big Town join Lionel's new, big country home on the decedent 'Deep River Woman' before Kevin Chesney gives 'My Love' some more heart. This album from the smooth singer may be even more laid back with it's stetson low, boots up country feel but the funky singer still knows how to start a party. There's still 'Dancing On The Ceiling' 'All Night Long' courtesy of some help from Rascal Flatts and Jimmy Buffett and Coral Reefer Band respectively. Starting a barn burner of a party, Lionel still knows how to step in the name of love and cut a rug, even if it involves a little bit of line dancing...'Lionel Dancing' anybody?
If that's too corny, Lionel's massive hit 'Hello' is greeted with a complete reinvention with Jennifer Nettles, waving off notions that you can't completely rework a classic and sing it in a whole, new way. Lionel really brings out the big guns on 'Sail On' with Tim McGraw who really has shown his appreciation and love for Lionel and his inspiration during their studio sessions. Tim's a man who goes diamond in the country like it was nothing with his billboard sales. Then Lionel welcomes Shania Twain back (check the sessions) with a beautiful version of 'Endless Love'. Stepping into Diana Ross' shoes-with some added spurs-everything clicks as this really sounds like a Shania record that could have been on the massive, groundbreaking album 'Come On Over', but truly it's all Lionel.
Still, however 'Just For You', now with Billy Currington just may be the best track on record here. Before Lionel really makes his country legacy legendary with Kenny Rogers ('Lady') and the wonderful Willie Nelson on a harder version of 'Easy'. This truly makes this album even more greater than it is. An album that looks to have started a new, throwback trend (modern soul leading man Anthony Hamilton is crossing over to country for a C.D. too). Sure it may be missing a Norah Jones or two but what more could you want from a man who hasn't forgot his roots and in return a set of artists who have not ignored his devotion? Sure nothing beats what came first in Lionel's original classics but these refreshing reworkings are exactly that...original and this makes everything sound so much better here. Lionel Richie knows where he's going with his legacy lasting music because he's never forgot where he's come from...'Tuskegee'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Norah Jones is back good ladies and gentleman with the pure ecstasy that is her new sensual, smoky, smooth, slow burner, 'Happy Pills'. After last years European vaction and 'Rome' collaboration with Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi and Jack White, Norah hooks up with one half of Gnarls Barkley in super producer Danger Mouse for her own new disc 'Little Broken Hearts' due in May. From the first take it's looking and sounding like one of the coolest and best albums of the year too. Mixing the potent perfect score of 'Rome', with Norah's own marvellously mellow and seriously sultry sound makes for the perfect cocktail for a classic record. The stripped down, but simple and sexy mixture, 'Happy Pills' is popping with a vintage, throwback feel, from the beat to the almost 'Mad Men' styled video that shows a different side of Miss Jones. Voacal and vivid it's all so smouldering hot.The 'Come Away With Me' singer has been one of the hardest working women of late. After her last formidable more electric album 'The Fall', she's collaborated with so many people she even made a duets album (the favourite '...Featuring') and to begin this year her country side project The Little Willies reunited 'For The Good Times'. Now pushing the envelope musically once more with one of her boldest, bravest and best songs. Jones gives us a hallmark hit which looks to garner the Grammy queen more awards...and the winner is...Norah! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 6 April 2012
Nicki Minaj is FLAT OUT crazy...CRAZY...and that's good...REAL GOOD! Barbie's back and the lipstick is cocked and ready for 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded' the sequel to the album that put her right there with fellow Young Money artist Drake. Right there as more than just a Lil' Wayne protege, but a bonafide artist that could stand alongside Weezy and Drizzy as not only the best of the best of Young Money, but the best of the rest of the rap world too.
Back on 'The Blueprint 2' Jay-Z rapped "Only dudes moving units, 'em, Pimp Juice and us", in reference to Eminem, Nelly and his Rocafella Records crew. Well 'Excuse Me Miss' indeed because it now seems to be just Wayne, Drake and this first lady of Cash Money making change. After mainstream mixtapes and declaring 'I'm The Best' to open her debut classic 'Pink Friday'. Darling Nicki proved her pink reign was pouring and the shower of singles success with Eminem on 'Roman's Revenge', 'Check It Out' featuring Will.i.am., 'Your Love', 'Moment 4 Life' (with Drake), 'Right Through Me' and the Rhianna assisted 'Fly' made sure even the competitions strongest of umbrella holders couldn't weather her storm.
Now 'Roman Zolanski' is back with another masterpiece, 'Pink Friday 2' unloads with a barrage of lyrical ammunition ready for a hip-hop mainstream game that's been firing blanks as of late. The crazy 'Roman Holiday' comes hot off the heels of Nicki's insane Grammy performance proving there's no vacation or down time for the leading lady of hip-hop. Then Minaj has a lyrical menage with Harlem and Miami by bringing heavyweight punchline kings Cam'ron and Rick Ross to the table for the charged 'I Am Your Leader' setting this album off right.
Ross boasts "Monday night with the raw/I'm Vince McMahon with the beat/Power slamming them hammers I get you handle for free", while Cam chips in with strong words from the clip, spitting "See the car is European but got imported from Tokyo/Looking like a shark, the nose call it Pinocchio". Leave it to Nicki to finish everyone off at the beginning however, starting this track hard with her lyrical shards. With lines like "Look sucker, this my gun butter/Street fighter b******, this the up cutter/Nunchucka', no time to ducka'/Sign of the cross, cause this is her last suppa'/Play with me, check who came with me/I bought a couple 9′s, plus the k's with me/I breeze through queens to check some bad b******/I stunt so hard, assess the damages" Lil Kim and the rest are in trouble.
'HOV Lane' keeps things on the Jay-Z track, while the title track ('Roman Reloaded') sees Nicki and her boss Lil' Wayne go big with lyrical guns blazing. If that wasn't enough she makes her brother Drake even prouder following their 'Take Care' collaboration with a massive cut featuring Nas, Young Jeezy and of course Drake. 'Champion' reaffirms the Queen of rap, the legendary status of the Queen's men on record and also gives us one of the best songs of this rap year. 2012 has another great single via Chris Brown and 'Right By My Side', while Lil' Wayne and Bobby V get back together with Nicki for the explicit 'Sex in the Lounge' which is bound to shake the mainstream up. It's off the charts...and there's more too. Did Chris Rock not tell these people that "there is no sex in the champagne room?"
'Starships' takes it out this world, while 'Pound The Alarm' further wakes up anyone who's sleeping or got their clocks still behind daylight savings. 'Whip it' and 'Automatic' keep it all going at a high-level until 'Beautiful Sinner' really gives us deadly beauty in all its guilty pleasure. 'Marilyn Monroe' is here too...and what a signature favourite track that is for the ladies. 'Young Forever' keeps this almost 30 year old down with everyone from the kids to the Jay-Z's of the game and 'Fire Burns' adds more scorches to the competition. This Miami hot, white heated track furthers Minaj's big three status along with the LeBron James and the Dwyane Wade of hip-hop in Lil' Wayne and Drake.
The 'Superbass' singer adds more fire with Beenie Man on the dance hall destroying 'Gun Shot'. There's also more 'Va Va Vooom' and Guetta on the Deluxe Edition of this record, but how better to set this C.D straight than finish with the single diss of 'Stupid H**'? As Barbie takes everyone to task with barbs like "I get it cracking like a bad back/B**** talkin she the queen when she looking like a lab rat" Nicki Minaj need say no more. As she places the crown back firmly back on her head, it's clear the rest of the female rappers out there where just wearing tiara's. All hail the queen. TIM DAVID HARVEY.