– If you’re not on board the Marina and the Diamonds bandwagon yet, here’s your chance: “I Am Not a Robot” is the iTunes Single of the Week here in the US. The full-length is also released today, so if you haven’t checked it out, now’s a great time to.
– Tonight is the season finale for American Idol season 9, and you can hear the collective yawn around the country from people who really don’t care. I have gotten pulled in this past week based on Lee DeWyze’s version of “Hallelujah”, which by all rights should be retired and put out to pasture, but he does a great version of it. He’s definitely got a David Cook vibe, although I gather he will be a bit more like Dave Matthews in his own musical style. If you like the live version, I strongly recommend the studio version as well.
– June is going to be an amazing music month, with full-lengths from Robyn, Scissor Sisters, Crowded House, Christina Agui…oh, wait. No one seems to care about that one anymore. Anyway, my most anticipated release for the month is not anything current, but the 20th Anniversary reissue of the Cure’s Disintegration. I was convinced back in 1990 that I was “deep” because of my love of this record. I now know that it was more the vibe than the sentiment that I really related to, but that CD was played on more than a few late-night road trips. To celebrate, why don’t we take a look at what used to be one of their lesser known singles here in the US until it became a go-to track for Hewlett Packard, “Pictures of You”.
– It looks like Michael Buble has shown enough longevity with “Haven’t Met You Yet” at Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 formats that the single is now being officially worked to Top 40 radio now. Are songs like this and Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” a sign that the pop format might actually be expanding a bit? Or are these just abberations used to break up the constant Autotune action?
– Speaking of Lady Antebellum, I have heard the full-length several times, and while a review is on the way, I am now able to say that the CD lives up to the promise of its first single. I am loving “Hello World” at the moment.
– A few months ago, I looked at the chances of a couple of male UK acts in the US, and decided that Taio Cruz stood the best chance. Well, Island/Def Jam must have thought the same, because “Break Your Heart” is officially stateside now. In fact, you can get a free copy of the Wideboys Mix, which includes Ludacris to warm up the crowd, via Masterbeat.com. Just head on over, register for an account if you don’t have it already, and download away. You will get a total of six tracks for free, including current and recent club hits by Rhianna (“Hard”), Mariah (“Obsessed”), Noisettes (“Don’t Upset the Rhythm”), The Bravery (“Time Won’t Let Me Go”), and Utada (“Dirty Desire”). If you go digging, you might also be able to find a free version of Madonna’s “Celebration”.
I have been attempting to find a way to appropriately wrap up the New Year mentally, and I have failed miserably. 2009 has been an intense rollercoaster filled with severe disappointments and undeniable joys, and while every year is distinct, this one is truly like no other year I have experienced in my 40 years of existence. Fortunately, I received an email from the group Raining Jane this morning that handled all of this in one fell swoop.
There’s nothing like a starry sky to send a wish upon
A twinkle in a darkened night becomes the hopeful dawn
Together for the countdown, hold our spirits high
Suspended in a moment held between the hands of time
My love of these ladies just continues to grow, and I would expect nothing less than the instant classic “New Year” from them. Instead of their usual expansive sound, this is a stripped-down performance with an acoustic guitar, a little bit of what sounds like a xylophone, and some of the sweetest harmonies I have heard this year. Normally I would say that the best part of the song is that it is free to download, but I would absolutely pay for this.
All that’s built will bend
All that’s broke will mend
All that starts will end
Let the New Year begin
I know I am not alone in my relief of seeing 2009 become a Wiki entry, but rolling over and blocking out the world isn’t an option, either. We continue to engage with people and events that make our lives richer, because that’s what living is about. The community and family that I have found through this blog has been one of my biggest joys over the past two years, and I thank each of you for stopping by to see what one lone music dork has to say. I wish each of you a safe and joyful New Year’s Eve, and a remarkable 2010. Here’s to many more musical revelations and debates in the New Year.
Looking back on all that’s been said and done
The chances that were taken and the battles overcome
Memory lives on long after conversation ends
And what I will remember is your love, my friends
A few months back, Paul at Fizzy Pop was raving about Dan Black’s “Symphonies”, and at the time I recall liking it, but not really being swept off my feet. Then I heard it in the car on Radio 1, and I was hooked. You’ll recognize the “Umbrella” hook instantly, but it’s all of the extras that will reel you in, including his very distinct vocal delivery.
So you’re interested, right? Well, head on over to iTunes and pick it up, because it’s the Single of the Week, which means it’s free. Better yet, check out his full-length UN, which is also available at a discounted price, or his iTunes Live collection that was recorded last summer in London.
This week has been stress with a capital S, and when you throw in a little bug for good measure, it’s a perfect recipe for the holiday blues. There has been a feeling of homesickness creeping up on me the past week, but not feeling well just opened the floodgates. So it really was perfect timing when Will-W. posted his version of “Blue Christmas” last night. No gospel choir singers or bombastic arrangements are necessary when you have a quality singer singing a quality song, right? And to sweeten the pot, the song is available for free on his website. That fits PERFECTLY into my gift-giving budget this year!
While we are talking about free Christmas songs, make sure you check out Amazon’s 25 Days of Free promotion, where they are giving away a free Christmas song every day through the 25th. Among those already available for download are selections by Tori Amos, Lady GaGa, Jars of Clay, and Todd Agnew. It’s a bit hit or miss on the quality (really, did the world need GaGa’s take on “Deck the Halls”?), but with the selection they are offering, there’s probably something there for everyone’s taste. My favorite so far has been Richie McDonald’s take on “O Holy Night”. You might remember Richie as the former lead singer of Lonestar, whose hit “Amazed” crossed over to the pop charts in a big way in 1999 and 2000, both in the US and the UK.