I am in a weird place with music at the moment…either a new song is not worth mentioning or it is the best thing ever. There have been a few best songs ever in the past few weeks: Adele’s entire CD 21, “Moment 4 Life” by Nicki Minaj and Drake, and my current obsession “How To Make a Heart” from Bright Light Bright Light. I feel a bit repetitive raving about BLx2, especially since I sang their praises last year on the eve of releasing his first single “Love Part 2.” Until the world becomes hip to this electronic-with-a-soul music, I doubt I’ll shut up.
According to Bright Light Bright Light‘s frontman and sole member Rod Thomas, the video (created by Gavin Leisfield) is one of several videos we will see of songs from BLx2’s upcoming album Make Me Believe In Hope. This album cannot come soon enough, as every morsel released has been just as engaging and awe-inspiring as the last. Rod will be in the US in March, appearing on Sirius/XM OutQ’s “Morning Jolt,” as well as playing a few showcases at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas. While I would love to see him live this time around at some small club in Austin, I have a feeling this won’t be the last trip Mr Thomas will make to these shores. To hold you over, the video is available as a free download here.
Hey all…I know the silence has been deafening around here, but I promise you that I haven’t been living the life of luxury these past few weeks. In fact, it’s been a pretty busy time for me writing for about.com. While I do still plan on posting more personal items here, my main gig at the moment is providing content of a more Adult Pop nature. Here are a few of the posts I’ve recently written:
An Interview with Wilson Phillips
Top 10 New Holiday Songs for 2010
Michael Buble – Hollywood EP Review
Review of Ingrid Michaelson’s “Parachute”
And my favorite so far…an interview with Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls
As I joked yesterday, I don’t know where I go but down after interviewing Amy and the ladies of Wilson Phillips, but it has been a blast so far. Hope you all are doing well, and that the holiday season is one for recharging and relaxing. There’s too much hustle and bustle the rest of the year to waste such a great time of the year running yourself ragged. Make sure you check out Paul’s list of new Christmas music, and also take a listen to one of my favorite solo Amy tracks, “Bus Bus.”
For all of you who slept on Melanie Fiona’s first CD The Bridge, shame on you. Sadly, I’m one of you. I came around this summer, but it was too late, and the project is done from a promotion standpoint. One missed opportunity of epic proportions is that “Priceless” was not a worldwide #1 hit. You would think that I wouldn’t want to go that far out on a limb, but it’s the truth. “Priceless” checks all the boxes for a classic soulful pop tune that should be catapulted up pop charts all over the world, but it only saw a limited release and promotion in North America. Enough of my praise, though. Time to put my money where the music is.
With all of the music that’s out there right now, you would think I could let go of an album cut, but this song keeps rising to the surface, begging for attention. Melanie has been keeping busy in advance of her sophomore CD The MF Life dropping in 2011, including an appearance on John Legend and the Roots’ “Wake Up Everybody,” which seems very appropriate. Wake up, everybody. Melanie Fiona is not going anywhere, so you might as well just give in now.
It was a year ago this week that Lady Antebellum performed “Need You Now” on the Country Music Association (CMA) awards show, and we all know what happened after that. Fun fact…the song went top 10 in seven other countries beside the United States. I can’t think of a country artist that has done something close to that since Shania Twain ruled the pop and country charts in the late 1990s/early 2000s.
In the music business, it’s all about finding the next (fill in the blank). So where do you go when you have a country song that becomes such a smash that it goes 4x Platinum on sales of well over 4 million singles? I’ve been wrong before, but my money right now is on the next single from Jason Aldean’s fourth CD My Kinda Party entitled “Don’t You Wanna Stay”. And go figure, the song was performed on the CMA awards this past week…
I’ve been a fan of Jason Aldean’s way back since “Hicktown,” but it was “Amarillo Sky” that cemented the idea that this guy could connect with a country song with some depth. It is very clear that Aldean connects with “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” and big props to him for having the vision to ask Kelly Clarkson to take a song written for a solo artist and turn it into a killer duet. While I don’t know if this song will go worldwide, I don’t think it’s a big stretch to hear this song on Adult Pop stations, with an outside chance of Top 40 stations coming along for the ride. I saw the song get as high as #18 on iTunes, but it currently sits at #31.
The arrangement from the live performance buried almost every trace of “country” in the song, allowing the song to stand on its own as a well-written and well-sung song. You can call it country, country pop, modern country, whatever. At the heart of the song, it’s a pop song, and I mean that with as much respect as I can gather. Let’s see how John the Swami does this time around.
The buzz on Jessie J has reminded me of early Lady GaGa coverage, and we all know how that turned out. The interesting thing about having early exposure to an artist like this is that you can see the evolution of the image and the PR as the date of release gets closer. She’s a natural-born star, and the voice isn’t too bad either, is it?
Having said all of that, I’m not a fan of “Do It Like a Dude.” While the first US single is supposed to be ballad “Who You Are,” the money track for me is “Price Tag,” which she just announced a couple of weeks ago will feature B.o.B on the final version. Anyone hearing any Natasha Bedingfield up in here?
And what the heck…let’s get “Who You Are” up in here as well…
Why? Why would the group La Roux think that remaking their video for “In for the Kill” will help propel the single to the top of the American pop charts? Faithful readers know that I have a fascination with videos remade for release in the US after having been huge hits elsewhere. Not that the video is bad…in fact, it’s funky fresh. But a) is it better than the original, and b) will it even help its chances for success? Let’s go to the videos!
Video #1 – Clearly made on a shoestring budget, but works in a Berlin “Metro” tribute kind of way. Elly as both murderous motorist and arc-angel. Gotta love it.
Video #2 – Miles ahead of the original, both in budget and in impact, although I have no clue what a wacky hotel has to do with the song. Now if they had gotten John Cleese in there to give it a Fawlty Towers vibe, then I’m right on board.
So will this video get La Roux more exposure in the US? Well, the video is a shoo-in for VH1. They pretty much eat this stuff up. I doubt it helps the chart prospects of the single, but I also was a bit leery of “Bulletproof” breaking through, and it did so in spades. It would be great if they didn’t go down in the record books as another one-hit wonder, so any trick helps.
Once again, I find myself being sucked into the new season of X Factor, primarily because its US counterpart (American Idol) has become such a pitiful shell of its former self. While the X Factor tryout episodes are just as annoying at times as the US tryouts are, every once in a while you get a glimpse of talent so unexpected that it blows you away. Such is the case with 16-year-old Cher Lloyd, who blew the judges and live audience away with her performance of Keri Hilson’s cover of “Turn My Swag On”. To give some context, here’s the video for Keri’s take on the Soulja Boy original:
And then check out Cher’s intro and performance. This, my friends, is why I love the talent shows. Despite the fact that Cher is modeling her style and choreography off of Keri’s performance, she is a natural-born performer.
Honestly, I could watch that over and over and over again. If ever there was an example of someone having an X Factor, it’s Cher. Next stop is boot camp, and it has to be all but a given that she’s going to make it onto the main competition. If you watched the end of the audition video, you would swear that Cheryl was plotting some diabolical plan to steal either Cher’s talent or her soul. I haven’t decided which yet.
As for Keri Hilson, she should have an album coming out soon, although her release dates bounce around quite a bit if her debut CD is any indication. Idolator posted a new track called “Still a Girl”, and while Robbie likened the sound to TLC, I hear a LOT of Gabrielle’s “Dreams” in the backing track. Solid album cut, although I don’t think it has hit potential, but it’s an interesting direction for her. You have to wonder if “Turn My Swag On’ will end up on the new record, but in the meantime you can pick up the remix version of Soulja Boy’s track with Keri singing the hook at Amazon MP3 or iTunes.
What the heck…let’s close this out with a Gabrielle flashback. Rumor has it she is coming out with a new album in the near future.