Various Artists, Various Artists, Various Artists, Martina McBride, Vampire Weekend, Dead By Sunrise, Taylor Swift, Weezer, Twisted Sister, Novalima, John Mayer, John Michael Montgomery, Maestros del Joropo Oriental, Royksopp, Various Artists, Lydia, Various Artists, The Wailin' Jennys, Various Artists, Disturbed, Chicago
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Various Artists "2010 Grammy CD" Capitol/EMI
THE HIGH FIVE!!
- Bobby Valentino "Beep," Blu Kolla Dreams/EMI
- Moraine "Manifest DeNsity," Moonjune
- RG Royal Sound Orchestra "Impact" RG/Select-O-Hits
- Papa Roach "Metamorphosis," DGC/Interscope/Universal
- Gypsy Schaeffer "New Album," Peacetime
The spirit of The Big Easy revs up for Mardi Gras revelry all year round with this collection of classic tunes. The sultry sounds of the French Quarter moves the masses for one special week every year, that debaucheries party the world round envies.
This celebration and the cobble stone streets have developed a sound all it's own over the years, and here's a compilation that delivers, from old jazz standards like Louis Armstrong and His Hot Fives' "West End Blues" to New Orleans' own Dirty Dozen Brass Band and they enigmatic "Down By The Riverside." No matter what your mood, you can't resist the call of hot jazz and soulful R&B calling you back to the bayou.
Valentine's Day follows the intertwining story lines of a group of Los Angelinos as they find their way through romance over the course of a Valentine's Day. The soundtrack is packed with 18 songs including brand new songs from Taylor Swift and Jewel. Taylor also has a role in the movie. Lots of oldies, some done by current artists, some by the original artists, and I loved the inclusion of "On the Street Where You Live" by Willie Nelson. An awesome soundtrack for a sweet romantic comedy.
The hottest chart topping singles of 2009 come together on one CD to relive the biggest year of Pop in a decade. The best and the brightest musicians who have been nominated for a Grammy get their due on this jamming album. 2009 produced some of the biggest hits for some long time artists while pushing new artists quickly into superstardom.
The Black Eyed Peas' feel good ditty "I Got A Feeling," which was inevitably THE song of graduations, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and celebrations of all kinds throughout the year, gets the top track just as it deserves. Lady Gaga, whose fame grew to monstrous proportions this year with hits like "Poker Face" is also here? Album also includes Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody," Taylor Swift's "You Belong To Me," Beyonce's "Halo" and many more
EDITOR'S NOTE: Eminem shows a penchant for arresting detail; a remarkable ability to switch between conversionational flow, left-flow role-playing, or rage-fueled torrents at a moment's notice; and bouts of surprising self-awareness. He's done it again.
Shine is Martina's 10th album to date. Though historically a country performer, this album has a lot of electric guitars that really give it a great pop/rock sound. It includes the current hit Ride, and of course it's Martina's vocals that make the song. A seasoned songwriter, it is the emotion she puts into her songs that allows the listener to really relate. Catchy up-tempo like Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong, Sunny Side Up and the edgy You're Not Leaving Me keep your head bobbin'. Of course there's also some ballads like the beautiful I Just Call You Mine. At the same time, Martina can do better. It's great to know that she is happy in life but her lyrics at times come out too light hearted- sometimes sounding like it should be directed to middle scholars. Shine is an excellent album overall with lots to love and lots to explore.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Martina always delivers a set of neo-traditionalist country and county-inflected folk songs that showcase her ability to get to the heart of a song and turn it into something communicative and thought provoking. The "Independence Day" women with her incredible vocals and unmatched artistry reinforced her musical dominance with new songs.
So what does that sound like, exactly? Following on the footsteps of first record, an underground sensation in the indie music sphere, Contra is noticeably more developed, precise, and nuanced than before. The African rhythms and song structures are more pronounced, and just two tracks it strongly recalls back to Paul Simon's Graceland album, and does it well. These Harvard grads are really putting their heads together for an amazing combination of bouncy drums; funky bass and pop hook that you just can't get enough of. Vampire Weekend are poised to give us enjoyable, creative music for many years to come.
"Out of Ashes" is the debut album from Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington's new band/solo act, Dead by Sunrise. Eschewing the rap-rock for some new wave and pop influences, "Out of Ashes" teams Bennington up long-time collaborators and electro-rock outfit Julien-K. Most of it sounds like it could be the sequel to "Minutes to Midnight." It's exactly the kind of polished radio-rock you would expect from Lincoln Park itself. But without the rap, Dead by Sunrise has a chance to explore more intricate songwriting.
In fact, most of the album can be appreciated on the most basic level, provided you can forgive the massive amount of gloss. Underneath the layers of synthesized guitar and keyboards, the songs stand strong on their own merits. While the bulk of "Out of Ashes" resists the urge to break the mold, it's still a well-played and well-produced piece of music with more than a few gems to unearth.
Country singer/songwriter Taylor Swift's amazing album Fearless gets a makeover for this special edition CD/DVD release. The Platinum Edition, so named for the original album's success going on to achieve 4 million records sold in 2008, the highest selling album that year, gives fans a rare treat to unreleased tracks, six music videos including "Change," "The Best Day" and "You Belong To Me," as well as behind the scenes videos and photos from her 2009 Fearless world tour.
Weezer is back with a solid album. They are pushing forward with their style instead of staying in the past. The "red" album felt more like experiment to find where they fit, but with Raditude, I believe they have found where they really want to be... which by all accounts is in pop music.
The production is strong, the songwriting spot-on, and frontman River Cuomos sounds as youthful as he did in the 1990s. Although as great as a songwriter Rivers Cuomo is, it does seem as though he dumbed things down a great deal for this album. They also experiment with Middle Eastern sounds on "Love Is The Answer" and wrap things up with the rather bland "I Don't Want To Let You Go".
This new CD/DVD twin disc set marks the first uncensored Twisted Sister concert released in 25 years. Fans of loud drums, scorching solos, and big hair rock are going to love reliving this huge concert experience. Dee Snider brings the heavy glam metal pain with his buddies for your enjoyment. The Long Island, NY crew heated up the charts with debaucherous, middle finger waving music early in their career and made themselves legends with youth rebellion anthems like "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "The Kids Are Back". The CD comes combined with the DVD video of the same concert, which is a hoot to watch and head bang along in your living room. So if you're thinking to yourself, "You know what I want to do today? I Want To Rock!" then look no further.
Afro-Peruvian tradition collides with modern production techniques to create an infectious hybrid. When the Peruvian band Novalima released their album Coba Coba, it quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed Latin and world music albums of the year. Now comes a remix version of that album.
Featuring top producers from all over the world remixing Coba Coba's excellent tracks, this album will keep your booty shaking to the Afro-Latin electro beats. If this is the future of Afro-Latin music, then we have nothing to worry.
For fans, this album is a familiar continuation of the work John Mayer has released throughout the decade. Although different instruments are occasionally added to the mix and various styles and influences filter in throughout, the real feature remains his guitar. Many of the songs have parts that you will want to sing along with. That is always a good thing, even though some will call it too radio-like.
However, I feel John Mayer set the bar too high on the last album and falls short of that high standard on this one. A lot of his songs are good, but there's nothing here that has the punch of Continuum, which was probably is his finest work and an absolute masterpiece. While many of the tracks are initially acceptable, they are rarely truly completed in their arrangements.
One of country music's most beloved artists, John Michael Montgomery comes back to life with his tenth CD release, Time Flies. Able to relate to fans like very few artists can do, John Michael Montgomery hits home with these tunes, with a believability that carries along on his distinct baritone croon.
With a knack for picking hits, this album kicks off with "Mad Cowboy Disease," a rocking tune of partying in the nightclub with that unique sense of humor that fans have come to love. The country charts won't know what hit em' when this plague comes to town. His songwriting is a strong as ever, even 10 albums down the line, with witty nuances and observations on life that have made him a star.
This group of musicians is an "all-star" group and each has their own ensemble back in Venezuela. They truly are "los maestros!" Each has a unique mastery over their instrument, and all are wonderful improvisers. The music is incredibly rich with elements of European waltzes - lots of stringed instruments in the European tradition - but also has a very Caribbean feel with the maracas providing percussion. These masters of the string-driven, highly improvised, local music can spin out endless threads of artful melody woven into a rich rhythmic fabric.
Technopera electronic duo Royksopp return with their hotly anticipated new album Junior. This album fuses the laid back, lazy Sunday afternoon feel of earlier works like Melody A.M. and the upbeat, up-tempo The Understanding into a new rocking album that will be as at home in the club as it will at home laying in the sunshine.
With a clever angle at song writing that delivers the electro-house pop sounds with a more theatrical finish, Royksopp weaves in strings, horns and ballads with their dancey back beat and electronic fills. The synths are in full effect and they execute hooks with ease and flair. Featuring numerous guest including Robin, Lykke Li, and Karin Dreijer of The Knife, all contributing their gorgeous vocals to such luscious beats.
Africa is the source of some of the most rhythmically inviting sounds on the planet, and here's your gateway to its rich musical treasures. This compilation of various artists gives the world over a taste of extensive afro pop, from Ethiopian jazz to the stirring vocals of late South African diva Miriam Makeba. Wasis Diop covers the Talking Heads' "Once in a lifetime" with a tribal beat, which is a gem to listen to.
Arizona indie rock band Lydia return for their second Illuminate. Their trademark male and female dual vocals are back for more ambient and moody wall of sound style rock that is timeless in an ever-changing music scene. With a tender approach to songwriting, this new set of compelling songs brings the melodrama front a center, for all those brooding folks out there. Articulate, passionate tracks like "This is Twice Now" and "I Woke Up Near The Sea" will mend broken hearts for years to come.
The Putumayo series of world music collections brings yet another collection of enchanting music to our ears. Brazilian Caf showcases together a wonderful selection of traditional Brazilian music, with samba, bossa nova and Latin jazz represented. The seaside cafes that inspired the heart and soul of Brazil's music come together in this CD. The strong connection between food and music that the Putumayo series represents is in full form, with a recipe for a Brazilian coffee desert that is as famous in the cafes as is the music that wafts from their windows. Includes legendary singer songwriter Djavan and jazz star Rosa Passos.
The Wailin' Jennys originated out of a guitar shop in Winnipeg in what was supposed to be a one-time performance, but since then have become one of the world's premier acts in contemporary roots music. The vocals are first rate and the harmonies are nothing short of stupendous - not only can the Jennys produce tight and faultless harmonies in the studio, but in a live setting they are flawless as well.
That's especially remarkable because "Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House" was recorded during a single day, rather than being compiled from an entire tour. But maybe that's really not so remarkable: as thousands of concert-goers and millions of Prairie Home Companion radio listeners have discovered, every single Jennys performance is magical. Finally some of that live magic has been captured in a recording.
The Official Presidential Inauguration Collection commemorative CD/DVD set features stunning performances from some of music's hottest artists. These musicians all banded together to campaign for Barak Obama, which culminated in the historic election of the first African-American president in America's history. Here is the sound track to that special day he was sworn into office.
Featuring the fantastic performance by Jennifer Hudson of "The Star-Spangled Banner" she performed at the Democratic National Convention, plus many other inspirational tracks. Performers like Stevie Wonder, will.i.am, Maroon 5, Sheryl Crow and many others celebrated this historic time in our country's history.
Starting off their newest CD with a air raid sound and machine gun fire, you can already tell that Disturbed isn't going to give us anything new. These two sound bites are so trite at this moment in 2010 that it's hard to take them seriously that they're got anything to offer the music world. Though radio hard rock is big business, and it's easy to make new songs with the same sound pandering to agro folks who just want to hit something, it doesn't make it good to listen to.
Formed in its namesake city in 1967, Chicago is the first American band ever to chart albums in Billboard's Pop Top 40 in five consecutive decades. This new album salutes their 40th anniversary with a newly compiled 2-CD collection that spans their entire recording history, from the stellar 1969 debut to XXX. Unfortunately, this collection should have been titled: "Chicago: 40 years of radio hits" - so that many of you would have not have been fooled into thinking it was something the collection is not. In reality, this collection does not have any full album length tracks on it at all, but all of the shortened radio-friendly length tracks instead. In this way, I would say skip this album, especially for Chicago fans.
POLITICAL SONG OF THE WEEK
Artist: Woody Guthrie
Song: "I Ain't Got No Home"
I ain't got no home, I'm just a-roamin' 'round,
Just a wandrin' worker, I go from town to town.
And the police make it hard wherever I may go
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.
My brothers and my sisters are stranded on this road,
A hot and dusty road that a million feet have trod;
Rich man took my home and drove me from my door
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.
Was a-farmin' on the shares, and always I was poor;
My crops I lay into the banker's store.
My wife took down and died upon the cabin floor,
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.
I mined in your mines and I gathered in your corn
I been working, mister, since the day I was born
Now I worry all the time like I never did before
'Cause I ain't got no home in this world anymore
Now as I look around, it's mighty plain to see
This world is such a great and a funny place to be;
Oh, the gamblin' man is rich an' the workin' man is poor,
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.