Tuesday, 19 November 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S PERSONAL PLAYLISTS - "PRINCE" PART 4 (FINAL PART)"

A NEW FEATURE ON NEW MUSIC EAR.  THE PLAYLISTS ON MY IPOD FEATURE LOTS OF VARIOUS ARTISTS SO I THOUGHT I WOULD SHARE MY PLAYLISTS WITH YOU.  HOPE YOU SEE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITES!
 
PRINCE


PLAYLIST PART 4 (FINAL PART)

1996's album release, the massive 3 cd, 36 track set is huge and full of magical tracks and also much Prince experimentation.  I chose 7 tracks from this set for the playlist.  The guitar driven classic Prince tracks "In This Bed I Scream" and "Damned If I Do" are included as well the spiritual single "The Holy River".  The superb cover of The Stylistics' "Betcha By Golly Wow" and the almost Pop Soul of "White Mansion" make the list.  The final two tracks are the pumping Funk of "Get Yo Groove On" and the sweet "Soul Sanctuary".


When "Crystal Ball" was released in 1998 I snapped it up online which contained 3 "previously bootlegged" material on 3 discs, with "The Truth" cd and "Kamasutra" coming in a nice see through cd case.  Anyway, I have chosen 6 memorable tracks from the 3 discs and added them to the playlist.  The funky "Acknowledge Me" and "bit of everything" track, "Days Of Wild".  The soul track "Last Heart" reminds me of early Prince releases while "Da Bang" is half Blues half manic Rock.  Epic Prince guitar Blues features on "The Ride" while the last track chosen is the "Interactive".



"The Truth" album was a great Prince album, although given with "Crystal Ball" in 1998, it was the album Rock fans would have actually appreciated and accepted him as a fantastic guitarist.  From the 12 tracks I picked 5 tracks for the playlist.  The Acoustic and true statements of the title track and "Don't Play Me" are just superb while "The Other Side Of The Pillow" is a much softer, soulful track.
"Comeback" takes you back to Prince's debut album "For You" with its simplicity and falsetto vocal.  The final track is "3rd Eye", probably a nod to his later backing band, 3rd Eye Girl and great brisk, Funk/Blues hybrid.



After the low key "The Vault - Old Friends 4 Sale" release in 1999 came "Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic" in the same year.  Ironically the only real stand out tracks involve other artists.  I chose the duet with Sheryl Crow, "Baby Knows", really love this track and also the cover of her track, "Everyday Is A Winding Road".  Gwen Stefani appears on "So Far, So Pleased" which I love.  I am fans of both of these artists so they were a real treat for me, just like Prince's duet with Madonna on "Love Song".



2001's "The Rainbow Children" was a big disappointment for me so no tracks were stand outs for me and the triple Internet releases I bought, "Xpectation", "C-Note" and "N.E.W.S." were mostly instrumental jams which are pretty much for music indulgement value on certain occasions.  My playlist is for memorable sing-a-long and lasting tracks.  2004's "Musicology" was also a disappointment for me but all I could choose were the two singles, the funk workout title track and the brilliant "Cinnamon Girl".



I also bought "The Chocolate Invasion" and "The Slaughterhouse" from Prince's online store and although I liked the albums they lacked a certain something that makes the songs really memorable.  "3121" was released in 2006 and was the last album that I scooped more than 2 tracks from during the man's last few years.  The Rock track "Fury" and the extremely funky "Black Sweat" are here along with the gorgeous "Te Amo Corazon".  "Lolita" is also here, reminding me of The Time a little bit with its quirky fun.



"Planet Earth" was released at first free with the UK's "Mail On Sunday" newspaper, I have this version and the global normal release.  I chose the delightful and chirpy "The One U Wanna C" and the stomping, ironic Rock sound of "Guitar".  Prince's last years seemed to be full on experimentation so it has been hard to choose really memorable tracks as in previous albums.



It was getting much harder to find outstanding tracks in these next ablums, on "Lotusflow3r" from 2009 I managed to choose two tracks that stood out for me.  "$" was similar in tempo to Prince's debut single "Gotta Stop (Messin' About)" so that was a plus for me.  The other song I picked was the stunning and brilliant cover version of Tommy James And The Shondells' classic "Crimson And Clover".  


The other album packaged with "Lotusflow3r" was "MPLSound", a lot of experimentation and various styles, a lot of instrumentation.  I did pick out the almost comical but funky and memorable "Chocolate Box". 



"20Ten" released in, obviously, 2010 was also largely disappointing with me only able to choose "Everybody Loves Me".  This track just takes me back to the "Contoversy" and "1999" albums with its style.  The rest of the Prince official album to follow I could not choose a track from.  These incluse "Plectrumelectrum", "Art Official Age", and both "Hit N Run" albums.  I think Prince was experimenting a lot with very different styles to try to get his edge back, there were some bright moments but also some pretty basic tracks which was disappointing.


I later added the full length "Erotic City (Make Love Not War Erotic City Come Alive)" extended version and the fantastic classic B-side "17 Days" from the posthumous collection "Purple Rain (Deluxe)" set.



I AM SURE MANY FANS WILL BE DEBATING THE INCLUSIONS AND THE TRACKS NOT INCLUDED, BUT I HOPE YOU FOUND THIS PLAYLIST INTERESTING, CHECK BACK FOR MORE ON NEW MUSIC EAR!

Sunday, 27 October 2019

NEW MUSIC PROFILE - INDIE POP BAND "ANTEROS"

Anteros are an Indie Pop band comprising of Laura Hayden, Joshua Rumble, Jackson Couzens and Harry Balazs.  After a handful of E.P.'s they released their debut album, "When We Land" in March 2019.  Their sound brings back the sound of 80s Blondie, but also hints of later bands like The Cardigans and Garbage.  There is a little bit of everything in the music for all tastes.


In Greek mythology Anteros was the god of requited love and you will certainly love this band.  I first heard the debut song, "Anteros" from the first self titled E.P. and thought it was almost Dream Pop with something a little extra, so intriguing it got me looking for more music. Another track I love is "Bonnie" which is a kind of The Cardigans' Rock Pop hybrid meshed with Garbage Grunge.




Hearing the album is like a flashback to when music was great, tracks like "Ordinary Girl" and "Drive On" are surely hints to Blondie's soft and Punk-ish side.  It's not only the bands I mentioned at the start of this summary review, there are also hints to Elastica, Fleetwood Mac and Echiobelly in the sound as well as Electronica, Rock, Pop Punk.  This band are going places.



 Laura's vocals are surely going to be compared to early Debbie Harry as she matches the soft, sultry vocals with the confident Punk tougher sound.  It has took a while to get this far and produce a debut album with such class.  The hard working band have been touring the album since March and taking in some festivals.  Look forward to the second album!






Friday, 11 October 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: ABBA

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE.

ABBA


ABBA were always one of those bands that when I was growing up you secretly liked among the so-called "cool" genres of Punk, Ska, New Wave etc.  A guilty pleasure for most people. music you only played in the comfort of your own home.  I find it hilarious now because almost everyone I know likes ABBAUsually the cool kids would say, "oh they are not my cup of tea, but the the blonde girl is a stunner".  Hiding the fact that they obviously listened to ABBA on the sly, but obviously for most hot blooded males, Agnetha was the epitome of a goddess, well until Debbie Harry came along and was more than a match for her in looks and adulation.

Benny and Bjorn are obviously fantastic songwriters, I have mentioned before that Roxette are also a similar type of band, if for a later age.  The knack of writing Pop songs with unforgettable hooks, choruses and also faring to experiment including other genres.  I never liked The Beatles, I heard every album but still didn't get it, but I have liked some cover versions of their songs.  The difference with ABBA is, that their songs remain ABBA songs, covering them would be a travesty.  No offence to Erasure but their ABBA songs were, shall we say, a bit corny and naff.  Their Synth Pop music is class but they should have left those classics alone!

If I mentioned here song titles like "Dancing Queen", "Waterloo" or "Money, Money, Money", you would instantly have their choruses in your head and sing along...you're doing it now aren't you? I love listening to ABBA, I have lots and lots of favourite artists, totally diverse but their songs always make me happy, a real feel good factor emerges no matter what mood you're in.

I am surprised they have not reformed like most of the 70s and 80s bands have, I think they still have a big appeal and would still have massive hits.  On the other hand, I respect their wishes, and it proves that unless the music is right, the time is right it won't happen.  I am sure they could make millions from a comeback but Benny and Bjorn are all about the music, not money, it always has been.  From guilty pleasures to all, they suddenly became finally recognised for their impact on music in general.  I can't remember when it happened but suddenly ABBA were cool. respected and not just known as just another "bubblegum Pop" band, they were and still are music legends.



Wednesday, 25 September 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: CYNDI LAUPER

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE.

CYNDI LAUPER


Cyndi Lauper always seemed to be immensely successful, everyone knew it but nobody talked about it.  She was always likened to Madonna because they arrived at the same time and wore "street cred" clothes.  The similarity pretty much ends there.  Madonna is also a favourite artist of mine but her and Cyndi are vastly different on many counts.  Cyndi was always more Rock Pop oriented while Madonna was more Disco and Dance Pop.  Both have experimented in styles but while Madonna veers towards the more Electronic Dance, Cyndi has tried Folk, Blues and Jazz.

Cyndi alwasy came across as a genuine nice person and a true artist.  I have all her albums and still marvel at her vocal range.  On the Twelve Deadly Cyns Tour 94-95 I had the pleasure of seeing her live in Liverpool.  The big notes she took in her stride and I realised this lady was an amazing vocalist.  She joked with the audience, gave that flirty, kooky laugh often and absolutely loved performing to a crowd.  I don't think she has got the credit she deserves from the music press although her peers and music business professionals have praised her.  I still feel her input has been largely ignored.

I did not know but her song "Time After Time" has been covered by over 100 artists and is #22 on Rolling Stone's Best Songs of the Lat 25 Years and #19 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs Of The 80s.  "True Colors" is also the LGBT anthem and was the idea to name True Colors United, advocates for homeless and runaway youths.

She has also acted in various roles, mostly cameos as herself, happy to send herself up which shows she doesn't take herself too seriously.  Still singing and performing today she has influenced the likes of Katy Perry, Vanessa Paradis and Tegan And Sara.  Although her video persona was always the cute, vulnerable but quirky, crazy girl she is extremely intelligent and is very knowledgeable about all forms of the music business.   Her albums matued each time until she had enough knowledge and savvy to branch into other genres.  If you listen to her 5th album, "Hat Full Of Stars" from 1993 it so much more complicated and more adult than the debut "She's So Unusual".  An experienced and intelligent artist and real professional with a warm sense of humour and outlook, that's Cyndi.







Thursday, 19 September 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: TORI AMOS

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE.

TORI AMOS


Since seeing the video for "Silent All These Years" on TV I have been a massive fan of Tori Amos and have snapped up all her albums she has released.  I remember the video was very quirky, almost looked like it was a DIY video, and this cute red headed girl was singing so pure, almost whispering but haunting vocals over a sparse piano led backing track.  It did remind me of Kate Bush a little but there was something more from this lady.  Every non Tori fan just says she is a copycat of Kate but they are totally different.

Whereas Kate has this Progressive, Hippie Pop vibe, Tori is more a Rock chick.  Her pianos and organs are played like guitars and her lyrics are provocative and about real life and the hardships that come with it, her religious upbringing and even rape issues are brought to the fore in her lyrics.  Tori is no Pop princess, she says it as it is.  Her cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the first time I actuallu heard the lyrics and understood the song, it was brilliantly done.

I had the pleasure of seeing Tori play live on the Dew Drop Inn Tour in 1996 at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, a perfect Acoustic venue for the sound.   I did not know what to expect after only hearing her on record but it was unbelievable.  She has this strange, sexy way of playing the piano, swirling er legs about and whispering just behind the mic with a firty gaze.  I guess its her way of playing the guitar and swaying around grimacing Rock style!  The sound was incredible, she was playing organ and piano at the same time, one behind one in front and the gig had so much energy.  You don't expect this from someone playing a piano!

Tori has released 15 studio albums, 12 of original material since 1992.  She is such an original artist with some great songs in her catalogue and better than the originals' cover versions!.  Tori was the first national spokesperson of RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) after she had also been raped at knifepoint at age 21 (the song "Me and A Gun" recalls this horrible night although it was a knife, not a gun, which mislead some critics).

In my mind, Tori is very underrated and not praised enough or hailed enough as an extraordinary performer, songwriter and musician.  There are many undeserving accolades going to the likes of Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Justin Bieber and others, but this lady is miles ahead of any of them in talent and craft.



NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: BRYAN ADAMS

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE.

BRYAN ADAMS


From 1980's debut album "Bryan Adams" until the 4th album in 1984 "Reckless" I was a huge fan, I played all these four albums to death, loving every single track.  Classic songs such as "Cuts Like A Knife", "Kids Wanna Rock", "Summer of '69" and "Somebody" were being played constantly.  The song that got me hooked was "Run To You", it seemed a unique Rock song to me, atmospheric guitars and pulsating beat.  After hearing this song I quickly snapped up his previous three albums as well.  Then came "Into The Fire" in 1987 and I was disappointed, for some reason the album just did not measure up to previous recordings.

Then after a four year gap came the single for the Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves film, "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You " in 1991I still hate this song, 16 weeks or something at the top of the UK charts and 6 minutes long, by the end I was switching off the Top 40 rundown before it got to the song.  I was so used to Bryan's Rock stompers and almost ballads but I always thought Jon Bon Jovi did the "arena" ballads better and Bryan rocked better.  This song put me off listening to the next few Adams' albums, only picking them up years later to find some gems.  Kevin Costner is the worst actor around in my opinion and he and his films are long and boring as well.  It wasn't the reason why I didn't like the song but it sure made sense when I found out what it was written for. Bet boring ol' Kevin loved it, I did not!

I know Bryan is a great photographer, producer, philanthropist and many other things and also that he always comes across in interviews as a genuinely nice guy.  So because of this one song and the previous disappointing album I didn't hear Bryan much at all.  I have since acquired all of his albums and gave them a listen (not a particular song of course!).  Bryan Adams is one of Canada's biggest selling artists of all time and is still going strong.  I do play all his albums now and like many songs, its just a shame that annoying song put me off for a long time, but I am back on track now.  Bryan Adams is still a rocker, great artist and top dude!





Wednesday, 11 September 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: ROXETTE

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE.

ROXETTE


Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle aka Roxette made great Pop Rock records.  They, in my opinion are that genre's answer to ABBA.  Brilliant melodies, catchy hooks and choruses with many memorable songs.  Since I heard "The Look" in 1988 and bought the album, "Look Sharp!" I couldn't get enough of the band.  From power ballads, quirky Pop, Classic Rock and sing-a-long hits the duo brought fun, emotion and class to the end of the 80s which was full of Stock, Aitken and Waterman productions, too many boybands and dreadful Acid House etc.

After buying this album I instantly bought every album following and sought the debut album, "Pearls Of Passion".  Both Marie and Per were likeable, always seemed friendly and engaging in interviews, no scandals, just two people who clearly loved making music.  Even through the awful brain tumour that Marie suffered in the early 2000's did not stop either from doing what they loved.  Even though Marie is unable to perform live anymore,  but thankfully, she is ok.  I was wondering why the band were so quiet and then found this out and was quite shocked and felt sad for her.  I am sure that the 2016 album, "Good Karma" may not be the last we have heard from the pair.  Both have released solo albums, some in Swedish and Per had revived his original band, Gyllene Tider.

I know my comparison to ABBA could be construed as , "well they are Swedish".  So are a lot of artists and bands but I just think when I listen to my Roxette playlist, all my favourite songs from every album, it's just classic and clever songwriting.  Per is the lead songwriter in both Roxette and Gyllene Tider and he is very underrated.  I used to write songs and poems, in fact have over 300 sets of lyrics so I know how hard it is to write a song.  If you listen closely to the Roxette tracks, there are unusual references, added vocal clips and rhymes that normally you would think just do not go.  This is clever songwriting, knowing how and when to put in the odd quirk but still make the song memorable.

Roxette never really get the credit they deserve, they areot  just a run of the mill Pop band, as I said, their albums contain a variety of genre.  Unlike ABBA in some ways, Roxette's sound cannot be defined into one type.  Roxette's hits collection, "Don't Bore Us, Get To The Chorus", does define them, a memorable band with memorable hits and two very talented and genuine people.



Wednesday, 4 September 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S PERSONAL PLAYLISTS - "PRINCE" PART 3

A NEW FEATURE ON NEW MUSIC EAR.  THE PLAYLISTS ON MY IPOD FEATURE LOTS OF VARIOUS ARTISTS SO I THOUGHT I WOULD SHARE MY PLAYLISTS WITH YOU.  HOPE YOU SEE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITES!

PRINCE


PLAYLIST PART 3 




1991's "Diamonds And Pearls" is one of Prince's best albums as is shown by the 9 tracks I plucked from it to add to this playlist. Obviously the sexually provocative "Gett Off" is here with the equally saucy "Cream".  The other two singles featured are the socially aware "Money Don't Matter 2 Night" and the simply fabulous title track, which is one of my favourite slower songs.  I also included "Live 4 Love" co-written and featuring rapper Tony Mosley.  I became a lesser fan of rap but Prince used it well in small doses.  The gorgeous Gospel Soul of "Willing And Able" is here with the equally sweet "Strollin'".  The final two tracks are the funky "Daddy Pop" and the quirky but strangely engaging "Walk Don't Walk".



I picked 7 tracks from 1992's almost conceptual "Love Symbol" album, also named by his unpronounceable symbol name as he took on Warner Brothers' methods head on.  The monotonous but weirdly compelling "7" and the two big singles, the James Brown inspired "Sexy MF" and the funky (obviously) "My Name Is Prince", all included in the list.  Two slower tracks appear with the Reggae style of "Blue Light" and the delightful "And God Created Woman".  The jazzy Rock OF "The Morning Papers" is added, as is the epic monster that is "3 Chains O' Gold" which has everything that the album is about!.  Sometimes said to be Prince's "Bohemian Rhapsody", even though Queen and he are totally different legendary artists.



"The Hits/The B-Sides" was an immense package of Prince's back catalogue on 3 discs released in 1993.  I picked 11 of the 56 tracks, obviously most of the previous songs were also included.  The very first single by the man is here, the trademark sound of Prince's early career in "Gotta Stop (Messin' About)".  The brilliant B-sides such as the beautiful "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore", the saucy and Psychedelic Rock of "She's Always In My Hair" and the "Glam Slam" reverse track, "Escape".  The no holds barred sexual romps "Feel U Up" and "I Love U In Me" are included as well as the cheeky (excuse the pun) "Peach".  The throbbing beat of "Irresistible Bitch" is added along with the atmospheric "Power Fantastic" (akin to Prince's "Parade" album sound).  Two of my favourite songs I chose, the superb "Pink Cashmere" and funky "Shockadelica", both played far too many times to count for me!



After the two mega albums in 1991 and 1992 came the disappointing "Come" in 1994.  It's an "ok" album in Prince terms, such as his high standards.  I only chose two tracks from it, it seems very dark and maybe the wrangles he had with Warner Brothers at the time back this up.  It was to be Prince's last named album after himself in his contract with them.  He would not use his name again until the dispute was over many years later.  The tracks I chose are the laid back Jazz Funk of "Letitgo" and the pulsating "Pheremone".



1995's album "The Gold Experience" was Prince back to his best after the average "Come".  6 tracks were chosen for the playlist from this set including the immense and epic title track finale, "Gold".  Obviously included is Prince's first ever number one, the lovely "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World In The World".  The other tracks range from the almost Acoustic ballad "Shy" to the atmospheric Pop Rock of "Dolphin", also one of my favourite songs.  The last two songs included are the frenetic guitar fest that is "Endorphinmachine" and the Motown Soul style of "Shhh".



One of the better Prince albums released during his dispute with the record company was the collection "Chaos And Disorder" .  I have chosen 5 tracks from the album, the brilliant guitar Blues of "Zannalee", and the equally pulsating guitar licks of "The Same December" and the title ttack.  Completing the selection are the sweet "Dinner With Delores" and the Classic Rock track "I Like It There".


I AM SURE MANY FANS WILL BE DEBATING THE INCLUSIONS AND THE TRACKS NOT INCLUDED, BUT I HOPE YOU FOUND THIS PLAYLIST INTERESTING, CHECK BACK FOR MORE ON NEW MUSIC EAR!

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: KANYE WEST

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE.


KANYE WEST

I heard Kanye West's name thrown around in music magazines and on music programmes many years ago and had no idea who he was.  I had heard he was some kind of producer but mostly I thought he was just a hanger-on in music circles and certain stars knew of him.  Next thing I know he is with Kim Kardashian and that awful Kardashian family (more people who got famous for pretty much nothing).

Next thing I hear he has been a prat at the VMA Awards being pretty rude to Taylor Swift.  Apparently all this time he had been making "records" though I had never heard of anything he has ever done or of anything noteworthy from this person.  I know I am not big in Hip Hop circles, apparently he is a "rapper", who knew?

Then as a big fan of Prince I hear West giving a half baked insult "tribute" to the great man saying he was "the best the world has ever seen, present company excluded".  So basically he was saying that Prince was the SECOND greatest artist of all time behind HIM!.  I realised this man was a bit of a joke in music circles as everyone seemed to be making fun of him for stupid things he has said or done.

When I looked at his Wikipedia I was shocked, 21 Grammys won from 69 nominations???.  I had never heard of him! I have since heard some of his music, all relatively dull fare, run-of-the-mill Hip Hop that Grandmaster Flash would laugh at.  None of his music is extraordinary, quite average.  The man believes in his own hype, his Wikipedia states " West is among the most critically acclaimed artists of the twenty-first century, receiving praise from music critics, fans, fellow musicians, artists, and wider cultural figures for his work".  Did he write this himself? None of the artists I like have ever mentioned this person, nobody I know thinks he is great.  All I know he is husband of a person who gained fame from a sex video and a massive bottom.

I did see some fashion show he had on MTV I think to show his new clothes line, really that was hilarious.  The man sure has balls to actually think he is that popular.  All I can say is kudos to his promotion team because the hype does not reflect the man.  I don't know who is buying his records but I suggest that maybe they should aim higher.  I have heard ten times better rappers and Hip Hop music than the dross this man is, for some reason being praised for.

Sometimes hype buys you fame, notoriety buys you fame, sadly in this case, talent did not buy him fame.  His views nobody cares about but himself.   I saw him on Ellen DeGeneres' chat show once, and that was enough, what a self centred, arrogant prat who loved the sound of his own voice.  Sadly nothing of note came out.



NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: PINK

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE.

PINK


I first heard about Pink like many people with the song, "Get The Party Started" and since then have been a massive fan.  The cool thing is my wife is also a fan so Pink's music is one we can both enjoy listening to together.  Even now I look back on all the albums I am still surprised at the difference in the debut album, "Can't Take Me Home" compared to the later more Rock orientated material.

The first album was (no offence to Pink) pretty average fare, typical R n' B and Britney Spears-like Pop music.  Since the "Missundaztood" album with the aforementioned "Get The Part Started", "Just Like A Pill" and "Don't Let Me Get Me" Pink has in my opinion, soared as an artist.

I recently read that Pink consciously changed her music style because she was being pencilled in with all the other bubblegum Pop artists around and wanted to be taken seriously as a songwriter and artist.

She used to come across as this tough cookie, no shit tomboy character but since having her children we have seen a more vunerable side.  I have always found her interesting, she is knowledgeable about the world at large, intelligent on serious matters and will always give an opinion, whether it is provocative or not.  Her lyrics are always thought provoking with positive messages, twisted romanticism and personal battles.  As a lyricist she is up there with the best.

Pink has a unique sense of fashion, she is a trendsetter, she breaks down taboo boundaries just like one of her idols, Madonna used to do.  She is forthright on all subjects and a keen supporter of animal welfare, LGBT rights and involved in a variety of charity organisations.

Her concerts are a sight to behold, energetic, and she can REALLY sing live, unlike some of today's artists.  I consider Pink and Taylor Swift as the two top major female players in the music industry taking over from Lady Gaga and Beyonce, both without the publicity stories and hype that surround the previous two.  Pink and Taylor are genuine artists, songwriters and can both smash it live, they aren't pretentious and say what they think.

Pink's albums of late have been sets of hit after hit, an amazing and clever transformation from "Can't Take Me Home", she really took stock and built up a tremendous back catalogue and legacy.  She can make you want to battle, love, be angry at the world or cry with her, her voice can transcend genres.



 

Thursday, 15 August 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: RUSH

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE.

RUSH


Rush were one of those bands I got into late, mainly because I just thought they were one of those bands my brother used to play that I would never understand like Pink Floyd (still don't get it!) and to a certain extent Led Zeppelin.  These reminded me of a kind of "university" music that only posh kids and "higher education" could really understand, to me the likes of overlong instrumental hippie stuff was boring as hell.  It pretty much opened my ears to a different kind of Rock music.  Sneaking into my brother's room playing gems on his much better stereo than mine when he was out, playing loud stuff like Thin Lizzy and the ultimate Rock introduction compilation, "Axe Attack"! I was hearing Rainbow, Iron Maiden, U.F.O and other giants.

When I heard "Closer To The Heart" and "Tom Sawyer" I thought this new Electronic styled Rock was amazing.  I started to appreciate the musicianship of Rock players and Rush were so dfferent to anything I had ever heard.  The music they made kind of filled the room and whizzed round your head in a wall of sound.  I never thought I would like this kind of music, being into the New Romantic, Synth Pop and mostly Pop styled genres of the 80s.  This was kind of a guilty pleasure.

Rush and Thin Lizzy were the basis of my more Rock orientated favourites.  Rush had the Electronics wizardry and Thin Lizzy had the glorious guitar combos.  I have listened to more and more Rush over the years, the futuristic concept-style album "2112" is most fans' and my favourite set.  Love older tracks like "The Trees", "Bastille Day", "Working Man", "Freewill" and "The Spirit Of Radio".

Geddy Lee's vocals are like Marmite, high pitched at times. I suppose like Axl Rose, you either love that style or you don't.  It took a lot of getting used to, but with Rush's sci-fi sound it works perfectly.  I have heard a lot of Rock since and there is nothing out there that sounds like the band, they are very unique and difficult to imitate I guess.  That's another thing that makes them special and a one-off.

Playing the band's music in headphones is a great experience, you hear every little pure sound and realise there is a lot going on than you thought.  It's like a live experience and sometimes like watching a movie as the song's mostly have a lyric like a story so you are imagining the imagery while listening.

It just shows that if you don't give something a listen you may miss out on something great, its worth the risk to find some great music.  That's why I look up new bands and singers, there is some awesome stuff out there that may be out of your comfort zone but you may get to love.  I listened to The Beatles albums, every one, from one of my friend's dad's collection.  Just to see what the fuss was about, it didn't work for me, I still did not get it, I found the songs simple and more boyband-ish than classic songwriting, but that's just me.  With Rush I found a new sound just by sneakily exploring my brother's record collection, I recommend it!



NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: MADONNA

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE.

MADONNA


Love her or hate her, Madonna sure has divided the music industry and its listeners for many years.  Although my Madonna music collection almost matches my Prince collection, the excitement of any forthcoming album since the release of "Music" in 2000 hasn't been as great as before said collection. My comments on her new album and any material from "American Life" onwards have met with such abuse in Facebook groups who obsess about the lady and would like an album of her opening an envelope in different places if it means defending her.

Like I said, I have been a Madonna fan since seeing her perfom "Holiday" on The Tube programme in the UK in 1984 at The Hacienda club.  She was fresh, captivating and you could tell this lady was going to be a star and the song was damn infectious.  I began collecting her music since then, with Prince I collected everything I could.  She became a pioneer, an original, she broke boundaries about females in music and sex taboo subjects in general.  She was loved by males and females alike and also in the gay communities promoting their rights.  A real star and legend of Pop music.

She tried acting and with various success, I loved "Desperately Seeking Susan", "Who's That Girl" and in "Evita" she was awesome.  "Dick Tracy" showed her in a different light too alongside Warren Beatty.  Starting her own record company Maverick also paved the way for the success of artists like Alanis Morissette.  Madonna was a force to be reckoned with and was a major power in music.

The hits flowed with such originality and various provocative videos, every album was greeted with critical acclaim and I couldn't wait for the next lot of material and a new look and sound.  From "Madonna" ("The First Album") to "Music" in 2000 every album was a classic.  Since then, in my opinion, the music has detoriated gradually with each album, the creativity and originality that she was known for seems to be lacking more and more.  Although "Hung Up" was a huge hit, it seemed to be the start of using samples and more vocoded vocals, even after she improved dramatically vocally for "Evita", why waste this new talent?

"American Life" was a big disappointment for me, with only a handful of tracks that could have matched "Ray Of Light" for class, "Love Profusion" and "Hollywood" included.  "Confessions On A Dancefloor" has a couple of quality songs such as "Sorry" and "Hard Candy" was almost Madonna back to her best, with a few great tracks.  "MDNA", "Rebel Heart" and the latest offering, "Madame X" had moments of brilliance but mostly disappointments.  Collaborators that are not known globally, average songs, copycats of other other artists, too many samples with no substance to please the younger generation.  This woman duetted with Prince, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake now its relative unknowns such as Maluma and Quavo(????), who are these people?

I still buy every album Madonna releases to complete my collection and hopefully find a couple of gems and classic tracks among the less quality output.  I realise not every song can be a "Like A Prayer", "Into The Groove", "Secret", "Ray Of Light" or "Erotica" but surely if she didn't care so much about selling records to the kids, and putting out quality to keep her regular fans happy for music's sake it would be better.  Prince didn't care about sales or pleasing the "new generation", he loved music and had respect for his loyal fans.  Experimenting is fine but ultimately us older fans get these stars where they are and should be respected not left behind.  Keeping up with the times is ok too but if the quality suffers, older fans lose interest and that is where the problem lies.





Tuesday, 13 August 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S THOUGHTS ON: FAMOUS BANDS, NEW VOCALISTS?

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC.  THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND, MUSIC IS TO BE ENJOYED AND ALSO DEBATED.  WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITES AND IDOLS AND EACH GENERATION HAS DIFFERENT OPINIONS.  THESE ARE MINE.  SOME YOU MAY FIND INTOLERABLE, SOME YOU MAY FIND AGREEABLE. 

FAMOUS BANDS, NEW VOCALISTS?


I was thinking about this debatable subject when I came upon Spandau Ballet supposedly ditching Ross William Wild because it was "not working as we hoped" after only a few gigs.  I also found in some Facebook groups about Queen that fans were actually wanting Adam Lambert and others to "replace" Freddie Mercury.

In my opinion if you change a vocalist with such a famous voice like Tony Hadley and Freddie Mercury for someone else you should also change your band name, not pretend that its the same band that had all the hits before, it isn't!

The vocalists more often than not make those songs hits, yes the band members may change every now and then such as the guitarists or drummers but the vocals make the songs.  The only exceptions I can think of to this rule are that Bon Jovi lost a lot i their sound when Richie Sambora left, it was noticeable.  The same can be said with Slash, the Guns N' Roses' long awaited album, "Chinese Democracy" still had Axl as vocalist but that "special" unique playing style of the man in the top hat was sorely missed.

I digress slightly so back to my point.  If Spandau Ballet changed their name to Spandau or Second Ballet or Queen changed their name to Queen Two or something it would be ok.  This would show that they were not trying to be the same band because it will sound different.  When Fish left Marillion it wasn't the same sound when Steve Hogarth took over, although the music may still sound good, this was a different era and should be noted by a name change.  Gary Kemp said "this is a new chapter for the band" but it wasn't, it was Spandau Ballet singing the same songs that only Big Tone could sing immaculately, with someone else, it was a rehash.

Bands change singers regularly before they become famous, that's normal, such as Simon Le Bon replacing Stephen 'Tintin' Duffy in Duran Duran.  Adam Ant had to find a completely new band when Malcolm McLaren fiendishly stole the original Ants to form Bowwowwow but he kept the name and never looked back, even though the first album was decidedly dfferent from anything later.

Queen can never replace Freddie, or get someone else to sing the songs he made famous.  He was a legendary frontman, a big act to follow in any terms but trying with a new singer and keeping the same name, singing the same songs, to me disrespects the legacy he left.

Sometines it works, when AC/DC's Bon Scott died in 1980, they almost quit but Brian Johnson took over on vocals and the rest is history.  Bruce Dickinson replaced Paul Di'Anno after the first two albums for Iron Maiden and they had fabulous success.  When Bruce left in the 90s to be replaced by Blaze Bayley the songs lacked his power up front until he returned.

So, it sometimes works, mostly it doesn't if you are a top, top band with a succession of hits.  It is dangerous to still say, "this is still the same band" when the voice that pretty much sold the records is not there.  It's a crazy point but imagine Blondie without Debbie Harry, would they still be Blondie?, no chance!