Thursday, 27 September 2018

NEW MUSIC EAR'S PERSONAL PLAYLISTS - "ABBA"

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!

ABBA


 PLAYLIST


From the debut album released in 1973 by Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid is of course the title track, which is classic ABBA material and the Folk style 60s track "People Need Love", which was in fact their debut single



From the second album in 1974, obviously the Eurovision Song contest winner is on my playlist, the fabulous "Waterloo".  The band were just turning heads at this point and the "classic ABBA" sound wasn't quite dominating the charts.  The only other track I chose from this album is the other single  "Honey Honey", a track which was also recorded by Tina Charles.  It is one of those tracks that you know you have heard but didn't know it was in fact an ABBA written song.  



Worldwide recognition had come with 1975's simple title "ABBA" and it shows within in my playlist.  Well known tracks like "S.O.S", the awesome "Mamma Mia",  the jazzy "I Do, I Do, I Do" and the 70s style Pop Rock of "Rock Me" are all here.  The unusual Electronic Disco of "Man In The Middle" and the Europop styled "Bang-A-Boomerang" , as well as the Glam Pop inspired "So Long" make up this album selection.



After already releasing a Greatest Hits album came the next studio album, "Arrival" in 1976.  The classic singles are included, the song of many school discos and parties, "Dancing Queen, the melancholic, atmospheric "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and quite lovely, medieval sounding "Fernando".  The powerful "Money, Money, Money" is also here as well as two more album tracks, the Folk style upbeat "When I Kissed The Teacher" and the Glam Rock Pop of "Tiger".



ABBA's fifth album came in 1977 with another simple title, "ABBA - The Album".  Containing 3 more world famous singles which are all on the playlist.  There is the pumping Pop of "Take A Chance On me", the laid back but powerfuly emotive "Name Of The Game" and the musical inspired "Thank You For The Music" (used as part of their mini tour musical "The Girl With The Golden Hair").  The awesome fantasy sounding "Eagle" is one of my favourite ABBA tracks and finalising the set from this album is the funky, electronic Pop of "Hole In Your Soul".



1977's "Voulez-Vous" is in my opinion, the best ABBA album, I scooped 7 tracks for my playlist, it was just a piece of class.  The title track is a pumping Disco singalong track and is accompanied here by the equally pulsating "Does Your Mother Know" with a notable lead vocal from Bjorn.  The quite beautifully sung "Chiquitita", the positive and uplifting "We Have A Dream" and Classic Pop of "Angeleyes" could not be left out.  The final two songs are the poppy "Lovelight" and the brilliant, Disco/Pop Rock hybrid "Summer Night City", also one of my favourites.



After yet another Greatest Hits compilation, three years later in 1980 came "Super Trouper", ironically being the top selling album in the UK in that year.  I say ironically because it was also the last great album by the band before the break-up ("The Visitors was the final album but not worthy of the word great).  Included are the singles, the inspiring "The Winner Takes It All", the light Pop Disco of "Lay All Your Love On Me" and the quite brilliant, memorable sound of the title track.  The medieval sound of "The Piper" had to be included, I remember playing this often as the B-side of my "Super Trouper" single.  70s styles "On And On And On" is here as well as the throbbing Disco beat of "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)" which is included on the remastered album.



1981 brought the final studio album by ABBA.  Maybe in hindsight they could have gone out on a high after "Super Trouper" but this last offering was patchy at best.  I did manage to choose a couple of songs for my playlist that I really liked.  "One Of Us" the first single from the album was a gem and to complete the playlist I chose the quirky Pop of "Head Over Heels".




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!





Friday, 21 September 2018

NEW MUSIC EAR'S PERSONAL PLAYLISTS - "A-HA"

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!

A-HA


PLAYLIST


From 1985's poppy electronic debut album, "Hunting High And Low" I chose the four singles, the stunning debut "Take On Me", the more rockier "The Sun Always Shines On TV", "Train Of Thought" and the title track.  The only other track I chose is the brilliant "Here I Stand And Face The Rain".



From 1986's more rockier Pop album, "Scoundrel Days" I selected 7 of the 10 album tracks which shows what a good album it is.  The singles are here, the unusual Rock Pop ballad, "Manhattan Skyline", one of my all time faves, "I've Been Losing You" and the quirky Pop track "Cry Wolf".  The title track is included, a superb track along with the "The Swing Of Things" that returns back to the Pop nature of the debut album.  The final two tracks are the upbeat poppy "Maybe, Maybe" and the simply wonderful "We're Looking For The Whales"



From yet another brilliant album, 1988's "Stay On These Roads" comes 7 tracks.  I have included an in depth review of this album on the New Music Ear pages.  The title track is obviously here, I really loved this more mature A-ha with more Rock to the fore. The singles are all here, "The Blood That Move The Body", "Touchy!" and "You Are The One".  Also here is the James Bond theme, "The Living Daylights", in my opinion one of the better Bond themes, even though it wasn't for a great film.  The two remaining tracks are the lovely ballads, "There's Never A Forever Thing" and "This Alone Is Love".



1990's "East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon" sees only 4 tracks incuded in my playlist.  The Everly Brothers' cover "Crying In The Rain" is simply brilliant and is obviously here.  The two Pop Rock singles, "Early Morning" and "I Call Your Name" make up the singles.  The final track from this album is the stunning "Sycamore Leaves".  One of my favourite tracks by the band, proving the boys can play Rock as well as any other genre.


Two tracks were selected from 1993's "Memorial Beach" and both are the singles.  The funky style Rock of "Move To Memphis" is another of my top favourites and the other track is "Dark Is The Night For All", a powerful Rock ballad.



2000's album "Minor Earth, Major Sky" contributes 3 songs to the playlist.  The utterly fabulous and beautiful "Velvet" is just a great song.  The other two songs are "I Wish I Cared", insimilar emotive vein to "Velvet" and the brilliant almost Folk style "Barely Hanging On".



"Lifelines" released in 2002 brings us two tracks to be included, both are the singles, the superb Rock track "Did Anyone Approach You?" and the atmospheric soft ballad title track.



"Analogue" released in 2005 has just the title track included in my playlist.  A storming pure Rock ballad that is one of my favourites.



2009's "Foot Of The Mountain" gives us "Nothing Is Keeping You Here", a track in similar vein to "Analogue" and that completes my A-ha playlist.



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, 4 September 2018

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW - PRINCE - "PURPLE RAIN"

THESE ALBUM REVIEWS ARE FAVOURITES FROM MY OWN VAST AND VARIED ECLECTIC COLLECTION! I AM A FAN OF THESE ARTISTS SO MY OPINIONS MAY NOT BE ON A PAR WITH YOUR OWN BUT PLEASE ENJOY AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ALBUMS YOU MAY LIKE TO SAMPLE FOR YOURSELF OUT OF CURIOSITY :)

PRINCE


"PURPLE RAIN"


It is no surprise to regular readers of my blog that Prince features for the fourth time in an article, also to fans that this album is finally getting a review.  After the success of my "Sign "O" The Times" review on New Music Ear I return to the legend's back catalogue.  Much has been said about this album and I won't bore anyone with the usual things, this is my experience of this iconic set.  I had been hooked a little by Prince's music ince "1999" and "Little Red Corvette" but when "When Doves Cry" came it was inspirational, so unique, so different, I had never heard anything like it before.  Then of course came the film, one of the best Rock movies ever made.  The music, the settings, the mysterious sexual, sensitive but traumatised Kid battling through to be finally called a "star" among his peers and his band.  The enigma that was Prince had took hold of me and lasted until the day he died.  This album just brought home what a genius this guy was and how far ahead he was of te rest of the music world

"Purple Rain" the album reached a peak of number 7 on the UK album charts, which pretty much proved how the British people really didn't know what to make of Prince or his music.  The whole world knew and understood him but as with some other global artists, here we were behind the times.  This album was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry, sound recordings that were "culturally, historically or aesthetically important". The first single "When Doves Cry", the one that really made a breakthrough reaching number 4 in the chart.  The song was unique, a kind of 80s Dance song but with no bass line, was it Rock? Pop? nobody really knew, it was just one of those songs that sounded brilliant and nobody really knew why they liked it! It was Prince's creativity and inventiveness to do the things nobody would have tried, genius.  The title track was the second single released and reached a creditable 8 placing on the chart in 1984 and reached number 6 in 2016 after his death.  "Purple Rain" is an epic, this is Prince's "Bohemian Rhapsody" moment, nearly 9 minutes long on the abum, totally emotive, even more now he is gone.  A pure Rock ballad of gargantuan proportion. The guitar extended guitar solo will make a grown man weep, it is one of the best solo's you will ever hear on record.  It always used to annoy me, that on the radio they would cut the song off just before the solo, blasphemy! "I Would Die 4 U", the third single could only manage a paltry number 58 on the chart.  It is an upbeat Pop Rock track that is just under 3 minutes long, if you can find the extended version of this, it is a mega jam and vastly superior.  The final single from the album was the opening song, "Let's Go Crazy", reaching number 7, (also released as a double A side with "Take Me With U") which considering most people had the album already, some achievement.  It's memorable opening line, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today..." well you all know the rest! A powerhouse of a track, blistering guitar solos and a backdrop of spiritual spoken words about God and all things religious.  Just a superb track which has many "air guitar" moments for the wannabe Rock stars, even though by their blinkered standards he was never thought of as a Rock guitarist....hilarious really.


 "Take Me With U" is a sultry Pop ballad sung with Apollonia Kotero.  Jill Jones, Wendy and Lisa sung on backing vocals to add "sexy fullness" to Apollonia's vocal.  It was released as a double A side with "Let's Go Crazy" and was often played on the radio as an alternative.  Allegedly it was going to appear on an Apollonia album.   Romantic, sultry and sexy, all in the best possible Prince taste!

"The Beautiful Ones" is a harsh, sometimes angry song about the anguish of a boy wanting a girl to choose between him and her.  Lots of things going on in this very experimantal, falsetto based track.  The vocals becoming more and more intense until Prince is positively screaming to the target of his affections.  

"Computer Blue" is another song with a bit of everything, searing guitars, throbbing drumbeats.  The spoken intro between Wendy and Lisa was like some weird Dominatrix leanings.  After the initial dark overtones it drives into a mega guitar and keyboards Rock fest.  Add some Electronic effects and this is just an awesome song.  The guitar solo was based on a piano piece by his father John L. Nelson. 

"Darling Nikki" is a track I always used to play a little quietly when my mum and dad were home! I used to giggle at the lyrics but now I don't bat an eyelid.  At the time it was known only for its explicit lyrics and masturbation references.  This song was the forerunner of Tipper Gore and the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) placing Parental Advisory stickers on records.  Today it is nothign compared to some of the rappers's lyrics, but then it was a major thing.  The song is quite dark, sensual and unnerving at the first listen and tells of "sex fiend" Nikki.  After following Prince for years, this kind of unusual, sexy, sensual, romantic imagery is nothing new!

"Baby, I'm A Star" is the song that everyone realises that Kid is definitely a "star" at the end of the "Purple Rain" film.  It's fast, bright, an ego trip for a rising star and danceable.  Played live so many times and it always gets the crowd on their feet.  The almost jam like quality of the guitars, keyboards and brass make it a raucous positivity laden smash.



CHECK NEW MUSIC EAR FOR MORE COLLECTION FAVOURITES!


Monday, 3 September 2018

NEW MUSIC PROFILE - ELECTROPOP ARTIST "JAZZ MINO"

Based in London, raised in Somerset but originally from Manchester, Jazz Mino is an Electropop busker/singer who regularly can be found busking with her ukulele around Piccadilly Circus!  With her catchy songs, infectious charm and unique dress style she has been enchanting audiences around the capital's music scene.


The music press started taking notice of this talented lady after her debut single "The Dorkiness in You" was released.  She has a growing fan base and won the KISS FM Music Cube Competition in 2014.   Jazz followed up this single with "Blue Eyes". 


Jazz has the music style of Imelda May with a little cute craziness of Miss Li.  A powerful soulful voice matches the quirkiness of her incredibly catchy songs.  The lady has not only captured the British hearts, she has promoted the art of busking as part of the "Sofia Welcomes The Streets Of London" project.  This meant TV time on Bulgarian media!


 Following successful singles such as "Crush", a cover of Jennifer Paige's track, "Warriors" and "Misunderstand" this lady is blazing a trail in the music business.  Jazz is also raising awareness for diversity and mental health issues.  She started a "colours campaign" using a multi-single multi coloured background to her songs.