Search This Blog

VIDEOS

Loading...

Monday, May 23, 2011

LADY GAGA RETURNS WITH AN ALBUM THAT PUSHES FORWARD BY TAKING US BACK.

 Inspired by 90's techno, industrial, 80's dance, 80's metal, Madonna, Whitney, and electro, Lady Gaga returns with an album of epic scale.  "Born This Way," christened "album of the decade" by Gaga herself is a mash-up in concept.  80's metal tracks from the likes of hair bands like Motley Crue and Bon Jovi collide with tracks from early 90's techno/rave groups like 2 Unlimited and 80's pure pop tracks from Madonna and Whitney.  On first listen, the edgy aggressive sound may be hard to swallow as it doesnt sound anything like her previous two, multi-million selling albums, but as you let the album unfold  and take you on its journey, you start to wonder if Gaga hit the nail on the head with this project and if this is where pop music is headed next.  You start to realize that you miss hearing grand and inspiring choruses and real vocal strength in music and then you realize that by breaking rules and not giving us another album of mainstream pop hits, Gaga just gave us the next pop sound.  I haven't heard a 74 minute album (if you get the deluxe edition) since the late 90's/early 2000s and as far as I'm concerned it is still not long enough.  This is a full story album...THIS is bionic.  Highlights on the album are:
Scheiße
Bloody Mary
Bad Kids
Fashion of His Love (Why isn't this fab track on all versions of the album?)
You And I
Edge of Glory

TRACK BY TRACK:
1- Marry The Night - This sounds like an amped up 80's metal/rock/dance version (claps and all) of Cutting Crew's 1986 hit "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight."  
2 - Born This Way - Title track and first single from this album becoming Gaga's 3rd #1 Billboard Hot 100 and staying in the pole position for over 8 weeks. 
3 - Government Hooker - Electro pop dark dance track with blips and all.  I expect to hear this type of sound at an industrial/goth dance night.  Very metal, distorted vocals, She sings in a lower register, there are spoken vocals, cold male spoken vocals, creepy laughs throughout.  Its somewhat anti-climactic but does help to establish a cold industrial tone early on.
4 - Judas - This ones already been broken down and analyzed a million times.  Truthfully, I like it.  Its a faster Bad Romance with a highly addictive chorus.  She collaborates with "Just Dance/Pokerface" hit-maker RedOne.  The video on the other hand....hot mess. 
5 - Americano - This track is sung in a very annoying campy "broadway" style.  It's her one latin-inspired dance track with pulsating drum beat, trumpet, guitar, and violins in the far background but is just too busy with the distorted screamy vocals, the pulsating latin dance beat, the guitars, the horns.  Think Madonna's Deeper and Deeper on steroids meets "Me No Speak No Americano". This one goes to the bottom of the list for me.
6 - Hair - The first time we hear the sax on this album.  This was released before the album came out on iTunes so we've all had the opportunity to digest it.  Its a fun party track with  electric guitar, piano, hard pulsey drum machine and sounds like it came right out of the late 80's.  Throw your hands in the air dance anthem.  This track seems to fuse the industrial goth elements of the album with the 80's dance, metal rock inspired tracks.
7 - Scheiße - One of the strongest tracks on the album, once again, reminiscent of a previous Gaga track.  Great vocals, spoken, singing, takes me to an early 90's techno, industrial place ala "Twilight Zone" "Who Shot JFK."
8 - Bloody Mary - Mid tempo, operatic; the cold, industrial goth "Ladyton-esque" sister to "The Fame's" Ace of Base inspired "Alejandro." This is a major highlight on the album. A+ dark moody mid tempo synth dance track.
9 - Black Jesus - Amen Fashion - very electro-rock, distorted spoken chorus, meets very 80's sounding melodic verse/bridge meets an uninspired chorus that is almost reminiscent of Gaga's previous soundtrack song, "Fashion" mixed with title track "The Fame."  Another track I could easily live without.
10 - Bad Kids - pulsating disco beat with electric guitars reminiscent of Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff" and another disco gem that I can't think of at the moment.   Half-spoken, half sung verses meets a glorious synthy chorus which is mixture of 80's and 90's classic jams.  This track reminds us of Gaga's melodic sugary pop genius. A+ Highlight!
11 - Fashion of his Love - This one almost sounds like it was inspired by "Express Yourself" as well, but upon further listen you realize that it was THIS song where she pictured "Whitney Houston."  This is the young sister to classic 80's #1 track, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."  Lady Gaga sings fashiony lyrics over a hot 80's freestyle (think of Whitney's "Dance w/ Somebody" meets Shannon's "Let the Music Play."  One of the best songs on the album.  The double disc special edition comes with a Fernando Garibay mix which is completely dance/club ready.
12 - Highway Unicorn (Road To Love) - Another 80's dance rock track.  Not fond of the distorted vocals.  I feel like if she included more melodic softer vocals it could have balanced this hard track.
13 - Heavy Metal Lover - Dark sleek sexy dance track.  One of the most easily accessible tracks on the album.  Similiar in style to "Government Hooker" but much sexier.  This song is almost a culmination of the different styles that inspried this record and this song perfectly balances all elements and highlights all of Gaga's strengths.
14 - Electric Chapel - Electric guitars, pulsating electro beat, sexy dreamy vocals.  This could have been a track on Madonna's Confessions On A Dance Floor record and sounds similar to "Forbidden Love" from that album.
15 - The Queen -fast paced 80's pop dance track ala gogo's but the melody also reminds me of Cher's "Song for the Lonely."  The pace drops midway and this goes from being a dance track to a slow to mid tempo pop track with an electric guitar solo that closes the number.
16 - You and I - Epic, gem, the speechless of this album. Major highlight.  The only true "ballad" on the album and very similiar in structure to a Bon Jovi track or even actually reminds me of "What It Takes" from Aerosmith.  Showcases Gaga's stunning vocals and melodic mastery.
17 - The Edge of Glory - fast paced, hi-energy, feel-good electro dance track highlight and because it was so successful during the iTunes countdown to Gaga pre-release, it is officially the third single for this release.

Monday, May 16, 2011

LOS ANGELES / SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CONCERT CALENDAR MAY 2011



5/20/2011 KYLIE MINOGUE - HOLLYWOOD BOWL Ticketmaster

5/21/2011 YELLE W/ FRENCH HORN REBELLION - MUSIC BOX - Ticketmaster

5/23/2011 YEASAYER W/SMITH WESTERNS AND HUSH HUSH Ticketmaster

5/26/2011 Stevie Nicks - The Wiltern Live Nation / Tix still avail!

5/27/2011 Prince: Welcome 2 America / 21 Nite Stand GET TICKETS/ THE FORUM

5/28/2011 Prince: Welcome 2 America / 21 Nite Stand Get Tix for the 28th

5/29/2011 Prince: Welcome 2 America / 21 Nite Stand Tix for 29th/ Forum

5/31/2011 LYKKE LI - WILTERN Live Nation Tickets

6/6/2011 ADELE - GREEK - Ticketmaster

6/7/2011 Death Cab for Cutie - El Rey Theatre ticketmaster

6/20/2011 Britney Spears / Nicki Minaj STAPLES Center Los Angeles, CA Ticketmaster

6/28/2011 RIHANNA w/ CEE LO - Ticketmaster 

8/10/2011 SIA - The Wiltern - Live Nation

8/19/2011 Sade with very special guest John Legend STAPLES Center Sade 19th

8/20/2011 Sade with very special guest John Legend STAPLES Center Sade 20th

8/21/2011 Sade with very special guest John Legend STAPLES Center Sade 21st

9/17/2011 TEAR FOR FEARS - WILTERN - Live Nation Tickets

Sunday, May 15, 2011

KATE BUSH - DIRECTOR'S CUT 2011 - THE REVIEW


PROS:
- A new release from Kate Bush
- She reinterprets and for the most part successfully breathes new life to 11 tracks from her past catalogue.
- This Woman's Work
- The original lyric version of Sensual World now titled "Flower of the Mountain"

CONS:
- The cons for me are essentially song selection.
- I would have preferred she replaced "Never Be Mine" and "Red Shoes" with:
1 - "Why Should I Love You" - I think it would have been amazing if Kate got back together with Prince to re-do their, now very dated sounding, "duet."
2 - "You're The One" is amazing. Maybe it doesn't need to be redone. Maybe its perfect already but I would've liked to have seen where she would have gone with this track.

Overall, I highly recommend this album just to witness and hear Kate's amazing vocal prowess, and her studio wizardry. This album will also help show why she has not only influenced so many artists from so many different styles of the music spectrum but also continues to regularly have her timeless music covered by other artists (Maxwell and Placebo come to mind.) Here is my track by track review:

1 - Flower of the Mountain - Originally titled "The Sensual World" from her 1989 album of the same name. Kate Bush enthusiasts will appreciate the new lyrics, which are direct passages from "Ulysses" which in '89 she didn't get permission to use but in 2011, finally gets permission to use the lyrics she had originally intended to. Thanks James Joyce (or whoever is handling his estate now.)
2 - Song of Solomon - one of my fave tracks on the "Red Shoes." Is it because she curses in the chorus with strength and conviction? Maybe. Her stunning vocals on this new version are even stronger and clearer than the 1993 version. The soft vocal styling is as perfect as a lullaby; the hard edgy vocals are as intense as ever if not more. The actual pace of the track seems a bit faster but overall has not changed much.
3 - Lily - Another track I really enjoyed from the Red Shoes feels like its lost some energy and has slowed down a bit in this bassier version. Though this version is a welcome edition especially for the ending when Kate just lets loose and starts wailing, I still much prefer the original.
4 - Deeper Understanding - From 1989, a song about a woman turning to her computer for companionship as people grow colder....WOW! Kate just knew where we were headed, huh?! The song makes more of an impact for me this time as the chorus is no longer sung by a choir but instead by a computerized vocal from Kate's son, Albert. Gone is the piano from the original, replaced by a harmonica. Definite winner.
5 - Red Shoes - Very little has changed on the title track to her only 90's album. With that said, it seems to be sung in a lower register and feels slower. This song could have really benefited from a complete overhaul or not been included. This would be my least fave track on this album.
6 - This Woman's Work - One Word. Stunning. One more word. Haunting. The 80's version is undeniably, one of, if not the most epic track of Kate's career, and this new version is a welcome edition. There is no organic piano on this track, limited background vocals, and essentially the "80's" has been stripped out of song. I honestly have to say, the woman has outdone herself. If you are going to get just one song from this album, this is the one.
7 - Moments of Pleasure - The 2011 version doesn't even come close to the magic of the 1993 "Red Shoes" version. In the way Kate removed the "80's" from This Woman's Work, she seems to have removed the chill inducing "drama" from this gorgeous track. For me, that drama came in the form of violins, which are now missing along with singing (and towards the end belting) in a high register, which is replaced by a deeper slower moody vocal. Get the remastered version of this song from the "Red Shoes" instead.
8 - Never Be Mine - This song never did much for me on "The Sensual World" and was usually skipped. The 2011 "Director's Cut" version gets a darker, moodier, softer, acoustic treatment and fares much better than "Moments of Pleasure" did, with this mood shift. A mediocre track becomes stronger.
9 - Top of the City - Another fave from 1993's "Red Shoes," Kate slows the track down a bit and sings it in a lower register but essentially this track stays very true to the original and still gives me chills with the roller coaster of energy, from slow haunting vocal and piano to the drums and belting vocals kicking in. This song is a winner all around.
10 - And So Is Love - This could possibly be my favorite track from "Red Shoes" and so any re-vamp would be fine with me as I love when an artist revamps or reinterprets song I love from their library. I like options. With that said, this 2011 version is also sung in a lower register which I don't like as much. I think removing the guitars (Eric Clapton's guitar solo) from this track for this modern reinterpretation could have really been beneficial. Love this song but don't love what the small tweaks did to this version.
11 - Rubberband Girl - The new 2011 version sounds much more organic, more classic rock ala Rolling Stones. The original 90's alterna-pop sounding version sounds very dated when I listen to it now so this was a much needed and well done revamp.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

KATE BUSH REVISITS & REVAMPS HER LATE 80's EARLY 90's MATERIAL


Kate Bush returns this year with her new album, Director's Cut, being released on her own label, Fish People, in conjunction with EMI. Kate takes several tracks from her '89 LP, "The Sensual World" along with tracks from her '93 effort, "The Red Shoes" and gives us modern reinterpretations saving the key elements.

I've had the opportunity to hear several tracks from the album, which I will review later. Most Kate Bush fans are nervous and excited to hear what she's done with what could be considered one of the most influential songs of her career, "This Woman's Work." I never thought a cover of such an inconic track could activate the same emotion that the original did. I was wrong when I heard Maxwell's cover in 2001 and I am wrong again after hearing Kate's cover of her own track in 2011. I couldn't imagine this track to be anymore haunting or chilling but Kate seems to have done it again with ease and has now got me even more excited for her upcoming album of new material due later this year. More feedback to come but for now, listen for yourselves. The return of Kate Bush...

Download: Kate Bush - This Woman's Work - 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

JENNIFER LOPEZ MAY BE CONFUSED ABOUT LOVE BUT SHE SURE KNOWS HOW TO MAKE US DANCE!


JLO's new album "Love" has been in the making for quite some time. Remember last year when she tried releasing promo single "Fresh out the Oven" or the widely panned "Louboutins" as the first single with a premiere performance at the 2009 AMA's where she took that infamous tumble. She took a step back and saw that this mid-tempo r&b/pop-hop sound wasn't working for her like it used to and turned her sights on dance/pop hit-maker RedOne (of Lady Gaga fame) to give us club banger, dance-pop hit "On The Floor" which zoomed up the charts all over the world and became her first Top 5 in the US in almost a decade. Not only did she hit up Gaga's producer, JLO went straight to the source and gets assistance from Lady Gaga herself, who gets writing/production credits on two tracks on the album.

After listening to the album, I can clearly divide it into three musical genres.
Quite honestly, the R&B/Pop-Hop section sounds most dated and reminds me most of old-school J-LO tracks from the early 2000's. Good Hit and I'm Into You are the standout tracks from this genre.
The Dance/Pop section is the freshest and contains some serious gems, ie: Villains and Hypnotics along with first single On The Floor are standouts.
The Pure Pop section contains the title track, Love, which is a great HOT AC track. Except for the weak, Everybody's Girl, these are some great modern pop tracks and JLO hasn't sounded better.

Dance/Pop
1 - On The Floor
2 - Papi
3 - Invading My Mind - Co-Produced and Co-written by RedOne and Lady Gaga.
4 - Villains - This is a smoking hot track, in the vein of Jump Smokers meets - Cheryl Cole's "Fight For This Love"
5 - Hypnotico - Send this to RADIO ASAP - Should fit in perfectly in between a Ke$ha and Britney track. Another RedOne/Lady Gaga production.
6 - Charge Me Up

R&B/Pop-Hop
1 - Good Hit - Very Hot Beat - Standard R&B formula with label lyrics and all. Produced by Tricky & The Dream.
2 - I'm Into You feat. Lil Wayne - 2nd Single - This is JLO's "Rude Boy" produced by Stargate
3 - Run The World - Filler track produced by Tricky & The Dream
4 - One Love - Filler track from Danja who actually produced a total of 4 tracks with JLO. Only 2 made the final cut.
5 - Take Care - This bonus track is catchier than some of the fillers in this section. Produced by Tricky Stewart.

Pure Pop
1 - (What is) Love? - Written by Wynter Gordon
2 - Until It Beats No More
3 - Starting Over - Produced by Danja
4 - Everybody's Girl

To download the album sampler, go here! Otherwise, please support our artists and buy the album!