– Ton of traffic coming through the blog for the review of Tino Coury’s “Diary”, so it’s probably safe to say that this track actually has some buzz going on. Tino premiered the video for “Diary” over on Yahoo! Music yesterday, so make sure you check it out. For those of you who liked the promo pic in the first post, you probably won’t be disappointed by the video. Tino’s website isn’t fully functional at this point, but you can get signed up for the mailing list or link to fan pages there.
– Folks are talking about the Christina Aguilera single “Not Myself Tonight”, and it’s not all good. While the single is not a dog by any means, it sure doesn’t add anything to the conversation about Christina’s sound maturing. In fact, the beat sounds a lot like Chris Brown’s “Forever”, and the vocals have a Britney-style quality to them in spots. No surprise on the beats, as they share the same producer in Polow da Don, but we just expect more from Christina than to follow the trends. Here’s the track if you haven’t heard it yet…and let’s hope that future releases show the evolution that everyone seems primed for.
– Train is back at #1 on iTunes with “Hey Soul Sister”, which got me thinking about what makes a hit record. Is it a ukelele? Train uses it, and Train’s producer also utilized it on Jason Mraz’s ubiquitous “I’m Yours” in 2008. Even Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” became a minor hit after it was used in several commercials in the mid-2000s. Maybe Mariah should consider a ukelele-based CD, now that her remix CD Angels Advocate has been scrapped. Anyway, here’s a good reason to post Iz’s version of “Somewhere”. If this doesn’t put you in a good mood, I don’t know what will.
Life is a highway, life sucks, choose life, live your life. So many people speak about the quality of life, the length (and brevity) of life, and the pitfalls of life, but what do we really do about it? That’s the eternal question, and until there is a definitive handbook on life, we will all wonder, as will future generations. So why am I waxing philosophical on a music blog? Because as questions are asked in our everyday lives, those same questions are also asked in lyrical musings. As I was enjoying an enjoyable and partially productive Sunday afternoon, Sam Sparro’s “Still Hungry” came up on shuffle. For those not familiar, “Still” is a hidden track on Sam’s self-titled debut, and it reveals a more subtle R&B influence than what is funked up and electrocuted on most of the record. Rather than a full production, Sam goes with an acoustic feel and a jazzy keyboard as his only accompaniment. If you haven’t heard it before, I strongly suggest you listen.
Well I enjoyed all the food on my plate
And believe me when I say it taste great
But I’m still hungry
Besides reigniting my desire to hear new music from Sam, it also made me think about my life, and where it’s going right now. I am making a lot of decisions about my life’s direction at the moment, and some of it has to do with whether or not I am making the most of what I have in front of me. That is a pretty cryptic comment, but we all do this at some point. Life is good, things could be so much worse, and yet we want more. I want more. Not possessions or money in the bank (although the money helps, doesn’t it?), but experience and fulfillment. So here’s what I’ve got: a good job, a wonderful partner, amazing family and friends, an incredible mountain range that I wake up and fall asleep to every day, and the wonders of the world closer than any other generation has ever had them. Life is good, indeed.
So the next song that popped up was by the Indigo Girls, which then reminded me of “Galileo”. While I don’t know if I believe in reincarnation, I am unable to discount it, either. How does one explain deja vu, memories of events that never occurred, and feelings that we have been somewhere, knowing that it just isn’t the case?
How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of Galileo
King of night vision king of insight
For those of you who have never heard the Girls live, you must. End of discussion. Listen to the crowd singing along…there is an amazing connection with the crowd at every Indigo Girls show that gives me chills just thinking about it right now. But this song in particular resonates, and I wonder if it is because it is a well-crafted and hooky pop song, or because of the subject matter. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Who knows. From my perspective, anything that makes us think about our existence and where we are going is not a bad thing at all.
So what happens when we do get to the end, and does it even matter? Once again, the magic iTunes answers, in the form of “Everything Must Change”, recorded by Oleta Adams. My first taste of Oleta’s remarkable voice came on the Tears for Fears album The Seeds of Love, where she stole the show on “Woman In Chains”. Oleta had three hits from Circle of One, including the top 10 classic “Get Here”. However, the show-stealer on the album for me was “Everything Must Change”, which was originally recorded by Quincy Jones and Bernard Ighner in the ’70s.
The young become the old
And mysteries do unfold
Cause that’s the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged
It seems almost cliched to do so, but I want to wrap up with a quote from the quotable and infamous Ferris Bueller. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Amen to that. And now I’ve got some living to do.
I am fortunate that people sometimes think that this blog would be a good place to introduce new music, as most of the music I write about is already established in some form. I am glad to pass on my feedback, but in most cases I take a pass on writing about it because music really needs to resonate with me on some level to warrant a post. That’s why the email I received about up-and-coming artist Tino Coury’s new song “Diary” was such a surprise.
“I read your diary
And it said that you weren’t in love with me
And yeah, baby, I wish that I didn’t see
That you fell in love with him”
So right off the top, this song is radio-ready. It fits what’s hot at the moment, and the similarity to last week’s #1 from Taio Cruz hit me straight away. However, the lyrics go deeper than your typical pop song, and Tino gets points for one of the best lines I’ve heard in a while: “My heart is bleeding/Paper cut from reading/Page one”. The pain of discovering the woman you love is in love with someone else is clear, which puts it above a lot of other songs where the hook comes first and the lyrics are just there for filler.
I do have one complaint about the bridge, where the lyrics get a little harsh (although they’re edited for the radio mix). Having said that, there’s plenty of that on the radio right now, so it shouldn’t be an issue. Tino’s got a sound and an image that definitely can translate into the mainstream, with an assist from Alex Cantrall, the man behind JoJo’s “Leave (Get Out)”. While we keep having conversations about whether a boy band can be viable in this environment, maybe a solo artist with a similar sound is the way to go. But don’t mistake Tino for the face of a producer behind the scenes, as he composes his own music as well as performs. If you want to see the guy in action, check him out in this short clip:
“Diary” going for radio play now, with the single available for purchase in May, and a full-length release later this year. You can check out the video here.
It’s the first day of spring here in Denver, which means it’s a beautiful day outside, as long as you love sunny, cold days with a lot of snow on the ground. The high on Monday will be in the 60s…welcome to the Colorado rollercoaster!
– It’s been interesting to watch the parallel climbs of American Idol Season 8 winner Kris Allen and the Script up the Pop airplay chart over the past two months. For those not familiar, Kris’s “Live Like We’re Dying” is a Script original that was the b-side to their debut single “We Cry”. I really like the Script’s debut, and “Breakeven” has always been my favorite track on their debut, but I am not a fan of their version of “Live”. Seems like a win-win situation for everyone…Kris gets a top 20 hit out of the box, and the Script get a natural boost after their US debut “Man Who Can’t Be Moved” didn’t quite set the charts on fire. Here’s the Script version of “Live”:
– Mr Hudson will score his first US top 40 hit next week, but only as a featured artist on Jay-Z’s “Young Forever”. The single comes in at #41 this week on the Billboard Hot 100, up a strong 18 spots from last week. Island/Def Jam still has Hudson featured on the front page of their website, so maybe he’s still a priority.
– I was watching Chelsea Lately this evening, and a makeup commercial used Paloma Faith’s “Stone Cold Sober”. Is an American invasion in the cards for Paloma? With fellow Brits Jay Sean, La Roux and Taio Cruz making strong runs at the American pop chart, maybe this is the time to have a go at it. By the way, do you think La Roux’s success on Cherrytree here in the US has anything to do with labelmate Lady GaGa? Just wondering…
And while we’re also speaking of Chelsea, I saw her live last weekend. Let’s just say that I would have been better off using that money for one of my upcoming shows in April. With Miike Snow and Sia on the slate, it should be a good music month.
Let the leaks begin! With a hat tip to Paul over at FizzyPop, yesterday marked the first song to leak out onto the Internet from Shayne Ward’s third album in the form of “Crash“. It is a slow-burning ballad that sounds great, but definitely doesn’t scream “first single”. That honor is supposed to go to “Tonight”, and according to @shaynetward on Twitter yesterday, the record label is gearing up for the promotional push on his upcoming releases. Speculation is that “Crash”, reportedly produced by Stargate, and Darkchild-produced “The Way You Are” are just hype leaks designed to get the masses talking about Shayne again, and it appears that it worked. Not that some of us ever stopped talking about him, but you get the picture.
While we are talking about upcoming projects, another album that is supposed to drop later this year is the fourth release from Jesse McCartney. Rap-Up.com posted an interview with “How Do You Sleep” producer Sean Garrett, where he described hooking Jesse up with some “swag”:
“I wanted to give him real songs, but also give him some shit that has some real swag to it. Girls will be like, ‘Damn, I need to call up Jesse. He’s somebody I need in my life.’ And not just from a corny pop perspective, the Mr. Cool song, but more so like, ‘Damn, I need to see dude.’”
Jesse himself has been a bit tight-lipped about subject matter, but he’s lived a lot since Departure first hit, including weathering a nude photo scandal back in January. Who knows what direction it will go, but while he’s writing material for himself, is he also writing for an American Idol? Here’s his thoughts on season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert:
“I think he’s so talented. I would like to work with him one-on-one and find a focus for him, ’cause he’s dope,” McCartney offered. “I feel like he tried to make a statement with what he did. I would really like to write something for Adam.”
Lady Antebellum’s march across the musical formats continues, as a Jason Nevins-credited remix of “Need You Now” has leaked. If this turned out to be a fraud, I wouldn’t be surprised, but let’s go with that for the moment. I’m not sure what I think of the idea of remixing the song, as it is now a bona-fide pop smash (#2 on the Hot 100 this week, with a solid chance of topping the chart next week), but Nevins brings nothing new to the track. In fact, it’s one of the most flat remixes I have heard in a long time. You could potentially hear Lady A’s management say “let’s not make it TOO clubby”. I can easily see an anthem-style remix, with a big crescendo at the bridge, but this one relies more on subtlety than anything else. Check it out and decide for yourself…worthwhile or a waste of time?
– How is this for making a statement? Taio Cruz’s “Break Your Heart” will jump from #53 to #1 on tomorrow’s Hot 100 chart, marking the highest jump into the top spot ever for a brand new artist. This bodes very well for Taio’s success here, and while it sounds a bit like the Akon School of Hit Singles, it still is a bit of freshness at the top of the pop charts compared to what has been there recently. According to Universal’s website, a release date will be determined in the next couple of weeks, but you have to imagine a slightly-retooled version of Rokstarr will come sooner than later. Now let’s see if Taio’s duet with Ke$ha “Dirty Picture” starts picking up airplay. There is no way that track will not end up on the US release of his album. However, whether the full-length can be a hit is a different matter…
– When is a #11 album debut considered a failure? When it is the debut CD from Jason Derulo, who has already scored two top 10 hits with “Whatcha Say” and “In My Head”. Shouldn’t that translate to at least a top 10 CD debut? I would not have bet against it, but Jason just misses this week’s top 10, coming at #11 with 42,000 units sold. Some might call this a flop, but it could actually be worse. Jay Sean’s All or Nothing debuted at a lowly #39 upon its release, despite having a similar track record on the singles side of things. Adding insult to injury, Derulo’s total was bested by the likes of Danny Gokey, whose debut CD moved 65K units. Sad, but true.
It’s been an interesting week where I really haven’t had anything musically inspire me, but then DavidCookOfficial.com posted a new tune by the Cookster called “You and I” that he performed at the Morongo Casino in California over the weekend. While it’s not a studio version, the song definitely shows promise, even though his vocals sound a bit rough in a couple of spots. Sign of things to come? You decide…
David recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly and said that he expects his new album to come out mid-2010. Click through to check out the full interview, including him name-checking Max Martin and Ryan Tedder for wishlist collaborators.