Thursday, 30 October 2014
'1989'! Back then you where probably gearing up for the nineties golden era for music and movies by getting rid of that Bon Jovi perm and matching pants, all whilst convincing yourself and everyone around you that there will never be a film quite like 'Back To The Future' (there kind of isn't)! Taylor Swift? Well...she was born then! Feel old? Well you're about to feel even older! In her 24 years Taylor has moved swiftly along. She was released 5 albums and sold 65.5 million digital singles. Following her breakthrough 'Our Song' and self titled debut, the girl from Reading, Pennsylvania, has been adopted by the country 'Music City' of Nashville, Tennessee following her mega-multi albums 'Fearless' and 'Speak Now'. Still the country strong star saw 'Red' like an old Bruce Willis film two years ago and realised she had a platinum pop pedigree with her biggest hit and probably best high-school break-up song of all-time, 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' (admit it you've sang that one in the shower after the worlds worst date). Now following this, leaving Nashville and adopting as well as singing 'Welcome To New York City' (there's the new generations 'Empire State Of Mind' anthem) Swift is going all pop in her new album named after the year she was born.
Call her 2014 a rebirth! With her latest, great new single looking to eclipse her last Taylor is remade as she shows all the critics and exes she can 'Shake It Off' like Mariah Carey....and we all know how great that was for Mimi in her emancipation. Poking fun at every other pop star in a video even more popular than the billboard powerful song, country pop music has never been this tongue in cheek fun since Shania Twain felt like a woman. From this moment on too T.S. is the biggest country to chart crossover since S.T., impressing much. No wonder this girl can stand up to the powerful pop queen that is Katy Perry like an aspiring princess, but let that publicity drummed up cat fight go. When it comes to the art of pop, these girls are showing the genre giving way to rock and R&B is still alive. Just like when rappers rock, or movie star sing this bold new direction from Taylor is the pitch perfect making of 'Glee' like video and dancing performances and sectionals showcased songs. With a great year for guitar greats releasing albums from Bruce Springsteen to Prince and Ryan Adams to Maroon 5, this girl who wasn't even graduating when the youngest of these where great shows she can chart top them all.
Even the polaroid perfect album artwork shows this young starlet who is already making movies understands the power of nostalgia. Just like the stadium synth-pop number of 'Out Of The Woods' that sounds like she was a star in the making a few years before she was born. This is her new classic and with lasting lyrics its also in tune to why she's a part of the songwriting Hall Of Fame. The country one is bound to follow like Dolly and Cash. Even the 'Like A Prayer' era Madonna would put her hands together back then for a hit like this. Sure inbetween 'Style', 'Blank Space' and 'All You Had To Was Stay', there's a lot of synth similar songs, but when it all sounds this good it all just plays perfectly. Besides no one complains when a Black Keys album flows this fondly. Now they may be leather boot smooth, but Swift is geek cool. All the way to the white tape in the middle of the black rimmed glasses and in this age of Avengers what more fo you want? Vengeance is also on the cards as this young woman answers all and any hate, growing up and airing out any 'Bad Blood'. 'I Wish You Could' and 'How You Get The Girl' continues this diva, redefining trend. While the epic, evoking 'Wildest Dreams' could wake up some Beyonce numbers. After the signature Swift 'This Love' shows more 'Red' than Maroon 5 it all comes to a close on 'Clean'. Unless you go deluxe and fall down the 'New Romantics' and 'Wonderland' rabbit hole. It may just be worth the spare change for those 'Voice Memos'. It's no coincidence that Taylor Swift brings out a new album inspired by the pop music with more meaning from her birth year, like the Eurythmics, the same week as Annie Lennox brings out her new one. With 'Woods' lyrics like, "Remember when you hit the brakes too soon/twenty stitches in a hospital room" this girls bringing more meaning too, like the classic couplets, "I walked out, I said, I'm setting you free/But the monsters just turned out to be trees". In taking it back, Taylor moves forward and shows she can play pop like her string roots. Besides if Lionel Richie can go all Willie Nelson for an album, this little bit of rock and roll can go the other way round. Real pop music is back and it came from this country. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 27 October 2014
Lets Get Remarried.
Liars! Jagged Edge said they couldn't "take another heartbreak", but here they are again. It's time to renew the vows with the 'Lets Get Married' hit-men because this really is a remarkable remix. Following naming their last release after a track off their greatest album and Grammy winning 'Jagged Little Thrill' ('The Remedy'), the boys from the ATL go one better, getting back in the studio with hit Usher and Mariah Carey producer Jermaine Dupri for something truly 'So, So Def'. In this 'Blueprint' age of sequel albums in rap and R&B trying to reestablish a buzz, the band of brothers Jagged Edge, (who have nothing to do with a 1985, Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close Oscar winning movie) return in classic black and white, hallmark, nostalgia with 'J.E. Heartbreak 2', complete with 'Remedy' reminiscing 'Jagged Little' motorcycle jackets. The sequel L.P. to a multi-platinum, classic album from the salad days that laced us with 'Promises' and the 'Keys To The Range'. An album that gave J.E. the keys to the game along with fellow Atlanta, Georgia quartet, 112. A new album that follows classics like 'A Jagged Era' and 'Hard'. An album that also begins with actor and singer Tyrese Gibson talking about the state of R&B being "insecure" to camera flashing, Notorious 'To Live And Die In L.A.' B.I.G. style sampling openings. Tyrese and his Ginuwine and Tank, TGT supergroup may have come together and successfully brought real R&B back, but this Chris Brown, "ain't loyal" club age that is a long way from the magic of Motown misses Teddy Riley guys like Blackstreet and the Boyz to Men like J.E. who bridged this gap to the modern day mainstream of urban music. With 'Heartbreak 2' the heartbeat is back too. And the beat goes on...
14 years after the original, this eighth wonder of an album from the four is a personal, passion project from producer Jermaine Dupri as he welcomes us back to Atlanta with Georgia on his mind with this labour of love is the product of R&B's heart and soul. Serving as a twin to its first album, just like brothers Bryan and Brandon Casey and their Quick and Wingo partners this 'Heartbreak' is now double decadence at its beautiful ballad finest. The first album may have been foremost with tracks like 'Did She Say', 'He Cant Love You', 'What Ya Tryin' To Do' and 'Girl Is Mine' featuring Ja Rule, but the follow up is still formidable thanks to the fantastic fours songs and the hit making of Dupri and songwriter Bryan Michael-Cox. After offering us 'Hope' with the inspiration of their influence in the form of a buzz single and a black and white set of promo photos like their piano cover of the original-but taken to an airstrip-these boys are practically and literally taking off. As they sing "Hope she sees all this love that I’m filled with/All I wanna do is/Come up with this little plan/Put her hope back in a man" it's clear they are on the right flightplan. After a traditional 'J.E. Intro' comes 'Future', a perfect opener that engages itself with 'Lets Get Married' and makes a vow for the rest of the album and lives. The guys then get 'Familiar' with the clubs, as the 'Dance Floor' kings cut a rug in celebration to one of their greatest album achievements. Things get even realer and deeper on 'Things I Do For You' a characteristic devotion and 'Love Comes Down' which rises towards these power players peak.
The relationship between men and women that have been the all belts and braces foundation of this group, genre and even globe continues on the candle holding revelation 'It's Been You' that's hot like fire and the ode to every Juliett, 'Romeo' that can be found singing up to the balcony from the backyard. Singing "I wanna be your superman in everything you know" they soar with heroic, poetic lyrics like, "Like a wave on a summer day heat/Beauty cant describe/The things that I see". Where art thou? Where you at? These boys are back after the June-bug buzz that just seemed all too like a mid-Summers night dream. Their fans wishes have come true this fall however. Still it's not all peaches and cream for the only group out of the urban music scene in Atlanta (see Ludacris, T.I. and more kings of the south) that can hold room with 112. On 'Getting Over You' the boys move to the break-up ballad, lamenting a lost love that will stay with them for the rest of their lives like that one that got away for better or worse. Then the real 'Ready' is the remedy for raw tears. This all come to a crestfallen crescendo of classic couplets with the cool closers 'Make It Clear' and the confirmed 'No Half-Steppin'' as these Jagged boys get their Big Daddy Kane on as these smooth operators set it off with another victory. Time to throw the confetti and get this album ready for the favourites catalogue to have and to hold. R&B isn't dearly departed yet. So long as the 'Lets Get Married' heartbreakers are in harmonious matrimony with music. The definitive act of last decade may not be getting any younger but they're still doing it. So meet them at the altar in your white dress because they have more wedding songs for you and yours. Award proof, you think this is dedicated enough for another walk down the aisle? I do! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 5 October 2014
The 'Alright' Album.
O.K. Weezer fans don't you worry! Trust me! Or trust them, 'Everything Will Be Alright In The End'. I know you've grown up with this band and their college rock style. I have too. Through all the 'Greens' and 'Blues'...and even the 'Pinks'. More colours walking through than a 'Reservoir Dogs' line-up. All the way through high-school to your first 'real' job, whether dream or minimum wage. Now after all this time and even the recent 'Raditude' and 'Hurley' hot streak that seems like only a few years ago for these couple of pop classics...not around a half decade, here's betting you feel old. I know I do! It's crazy to think at a Jerry West 44, this Californian calcium kid Rivers Cuomo is just around a half decade from hitting middle-age. So don't worry about that impending 30 date. Plus with his forever young face and voice to this bands style and sound, they will always be two-strapping their way down school corridors all the way to the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. Even if they are told to get off their skateboards in their Hurley t-shirts.
Wheels up! Straight from L.A.X. these Santa Monica friends are ready to take their 9 million and change domestic sales and add a few million more to their worldwide tour of 17 times platinum plus. With this one they could hit 20 and 10 like basketball big men. These alternative rockers are 'Back To The Shack' of summer scorching singles with the power pop chords to strike one with the charts. More 'Cleopatra' (getting deeper for a band and chart some thought a little too friendly as they lament lost love and life singing "All the wine we tasted, all the love we made/All the strumming lyres will decorate your grave") for the California girls than a Katy Perry smash, these dark horses are back. Galloping through a tunnel of live through their Springsteen like, horror movie sampling 'Aint Got Nobody' opening of raucous riffs on record that leads them down the road and back to the shack. Their first single home of their 1994 roots of surf wax America. The band whose last release was the 'Death To False Metal' previously cutting room floored B-Sides album then write a 'Eulogy For A Rock Band' that's an epic, epitaph engraving before their 'Lonely Girl' lament helps the first part of this album move us back to their music like the monster of their 'Where The Wild Things' like atmospheric artwork. Through a forest fire of blazing bandsmanship, Rivers runs through it with his trademark 'Peggy Sue' glasses bringing back the happy days like a classic video. It's time to knock the juke once again. You'll be sitting on this box all the way through as they rock October. This records going to spin and spin!
'I've Had It Up To Here' Cuomo sings on track five, but you won't when this album barely hits the halfway mark. 'The British Are Coming' so get your crumpets ready. As are 'Da Vinci' for a chord code of art and a 'Foolish Father' that addresses some personal problems and domestic issues that really hit home with one of the rawest and realest records to date for a public-eye reclusive singer. Singing "hard to throw stones/when criminals are victims" it makes a hard rock in a tougher place point like 'Go Away' and these angst ridden ruffs ridicule any criticism that this band still aren't on top of their game or pain. It's brave, bold and a story that needs to be told, showing there's more to this band than 'Hash Pipes' and 'Beverly Hills'. Then to conclude this collection like a Muse 'Exogenesis Symphony', Weezer close this colourful album out with a trilogy of their own in this three-movie deal Hollywood age. 'The Waste Land' of part I is inspired instrumental, whilst part II is an 'Anonymous' but amazing vocal. Still as this track trifecta brings both its end and the one of 'Everything Will Be Alright', the 'Part III, Return To Ithaka' leaves you with no words...literally. Just like 'Pinkerton' and 'Maladroit' this album is as unquestionably unique like the brilliant band themselves as it unravels before your ears like a sweater whose thread is pulled as you walk away. Destroying every other modern day nostalgia band that stand in their way, from Maroon 5 to the Counting Crows and even the Gaslight Anthem 2014 is the year of rock and the memories that like the past classics will want to make you go back there before we head down the Foo Fighters 'Sonic Highways'. From Beck to Ben Harper and Lenny Kravitz to two Prince and of course Ryan Adams and the boss Springsteen, these youth legends give an album of the year nominee with their legacies latest. These buddies of Holly find their 'Island In The Sun' again in the end. Say it 'aint so? These heartbreakers told you everything was going to be alright. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 3 October 2014
STOPWHATEVERYOUAREDOINGRIGHTNOW! It's time to drop the needle on why you love stuff like this! Nobody...NOBODY makes music like this! Nobody but the greatest purple icon to come out of the heart of Minnesota, and we're not talking about the former Minneapolis Lakers in Los Angeles. Sorry Kobe! Sorry Hollywood! This man isn't just Prince. He's the king...and he's about to make pop his throne. M.J. Rest peacefully Michael, the artist has got you. It's all symbolic. It's all art and in this age. It's official. Now what a 'Hit and Run' year its been for Prince in 2014 by royal appointment. The man who started Revolutions and New Power Generations with 'Purple Rain' and 'Diamonds & Pearls' has been a guerrilla with his tour-de-force concert setlist that has played and played to the polar opposite length of how quick it has sold out. The epic artist of 30 plus albums for 30 plus years, not even looking a quarter of his middle age has made cameos in 'New Girl' and records with Zooey Deschanel. This man in the name of woman has been known to do things in twos. From free albums in U.K. newspapers ('Planet Earth' and '20Ten') to his last dual releases ('Lotusflow3r' and 'MPLSound') that joined protege Bria Valente's 'Elixer'. Now after waiting all year for the new hotly anticipated and eagerly awaited new Prince album, just like waiting all day for a bus, TWO brand new Prince albums have come along all at once. So get your hands up!
New protégés come in the form of 3RDEYEGIRL. Third eye blinding vision of Hannah Ford, Donna Gratis and Ida Nielson. One revolution of a rocking band of new girl power for this generartion that don't give a funk anymore. These plectrums are going electric like Dylan after the harmonic with an audible sensory output that plugged into any amp will beat to the 808 all night and the day that proceeds the next one. From its 'WOW' beginning that rocks you to the symbols, to its 'PRETZELBODYLOGIC' that is as arty as the kalidascopic front cover. Two things are for sure here, Prince doesn't like gaps between his music, like his Musiq Soulchild song titles and this is an all capital affair. Just like 'WHITECAPS' or the title track of triumphant testament. From 'AINTTURNINROUND' to 'FIXURLIFEUP' there's some amazing musical advice to go with just the best axe work you've ever seen on wood since Fenders and Gibson's where carved out of trees. From the tongue-twisting word wizardy of 'BOYTROUBLE' to the musical carriage of the never ending marriage of 'STOPTHISTRAIN' even vocally these girls can hold a note next to the love symbol guitar of the God of funk-n-roll! Still things get real and a deal more definitive when Prince advices you to find 'ANOTHERLOVE' and gives one of his catalogues and best in years. Just like 'TICTACTOE', tit for tat this goes toe to toe with some of the artists best work, live or in the living colour of the studio. Whether sounding like the groups of Prince past (you could easily find some of this music on a 'Parade' down 'Alphabet St', 'Under The Cherry Moon') or out of this world like 'MARZ'.
It's the formidable, fond new favourite 'FUNKNROLL' and its brutally brilliant, grand guitar breaks that bridge the gap between these two albums to the "ooh wee" of their different, versatile versions. From now on Prince and his new band should finish one of their encores with this top ten number. If that's the case then he should definitely open the concerts of his latest tour with the 'ARTOFFICIALAGE' opener 'ARTOFFICIALCAGE' which unlocks a sample of every soulful and funk filled realm of rock and hip-hop history. As Prince announces to the world "welcome home class, you've come a long way", its clear the most satisfying sound you've heard in decades from any artist is now in sonic session. The atmospheric 'CLOUDS' continues this stratospheric journey before 'BREAKDOWN' literally does that in a form of a beautiful ballad that is as classic Prince as the hook to speakers chorus. 'THE GOLD STANDARD' continues his relationship with 'Gold Experience' record label Warner Brothers, before the pretty as a percussion perfect picture 'U KNOW' takes us somewhere else as Prince sings "for the record let me state I never a reason to break contractual endeavour or sever relationship with anyone I pleasure" without breath for these albums greatest lyrical moment in a songbook of tongue lashings lavishings. The only thing cooler is his classic response to Dave Chappelle's classic basketball skit, by having the comedians picture of his 'Purple Rain' Prince pancake offering on his 'BREAKFAST CAN WAIT' artwork. Save your fork, we ain't done yet! Dinner can also be put on hold to for the equally genius 'THIS COULD BE US' and 'WHAT IT FEELS LIKE'. Still before the perfect 'TIME' piece closing number things get truly inspired on the metallic beat and android theme of 'WAY BACK HOME' and some affirmed interludes of a nursing back to reality from a soulful friend with a British accent. Prince may have found three new girls, but its one from London, England who can't believe her luck stealing the show and being all over this album like the next big thing in music. She really is this though. Lianne La Havas deserves this. You may remember Prince literally announcing his guerilla, hit and run tour live from this girls living room. Now like Prince's good eye and sounding like the voice off the end of 'Gold' she's now a part of the New Power Generation. Welcome to the dawn! Still no one looks better from the 'Plectrum' to the 'Art' than Prince. It's official...its still his age. Long live Prince's day. The age of electrum. TIM DAVID HARVEY.