Wednesday, 30 January 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S PERSONAL PLAYLISTS - "BLONDIE/DEBORAH HARRY" PART 2

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!

BLONDIE/DEBORAH HARRY


PLAYLIST PART 2


1980 saw the penultimate album (before the comeback) released, "Autoamerican".  Although containing the hit singles "The Tide Is High" and the groundbreaking "Rapture" I could only choose "Susie & Jeffrey" from the bonus tracks to accompany them here.  I found the album too experimental and not that memorable.  I could see why the next album would be the last.



Deborah Harry released her debut solo album, "KooKoo" in 1981, a year before the last Blondie album.  I only really liked "Backfired" with its funky style (thanks to Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic!) and cool video so only one song from this set appears on the playlist.

 


So the final album from Blondie appeared in 1982, "The Hunter".  Only the Calypso inspired "Island Of Lost Souls" and almost classic Blondie track "War Child" really were memorable to me.  Apparently it was a concept album but it just confirmed to me that Blondie split at the right time, the edge was lost but what a 6 year ride of domination!



Fast forward 5 years and Deborah came back with her second album in 1986, "Rockbird".  I quite liked this album and chose 4 tracks from it for the playlist.  The obvious and most popular solo track by Ms Harry is the great Pop of "French Kissin' In The USA" and I also included the lovely "Free To Fall" and the Asian experimental sound of "In Love With Love".  The Rock N' Roll style of "Buckle Up" is also chosen.




I chose only the 3 singles from "Def, Dumb & Blonde" released in 1989.  I really liked the lovely "Brite Side" and Electronica dance sound of "Sweet And Low" and also here is the Blondie style disco of "I Want That Man".


From 1991's megahits package of Deborah and Blondie, "The Complete Picture" (also with a great video package) I picked off the only single not released on an album, the awesome "Call Me" from the film "American Gigolo" in 1980.



I picked 1 song from Deborah's 4th solo album, "Debravation", released in 1993. "Standing In My Way" took me back to Blondie's original sound.



Although I only chose 2 tracks from this album, it was fantastic to have Blondie back.  The "comeback" album, "No Exit" was released in 1999.  "Maria" gave me goosebumps when I first heard it, it was like Blondie had never left.  Deborah sounded as great as ever and it was perfection.  I have also added "Nothing Is Real But The Girl".  The Blondie of today are experimenting with various genres as they always did, but the Hip Hop and such genres just don't appeal to me.  However any Blondie throwbacks are greatly appreciated!



From 2003's "The Curse Of Blondie", only 1 track called to me to be included in my ultimate favourite playlist.  The Dance Pop of "Good Boys" was the only single from this album and is alone here too.



I added the brilliant Rock Pop track "Two Times Blue" from Deborah's fifth solo album released in 2007 entitled, "Necessary Evil".



2011 saw the release of Blondie's next album, "Panic Of Girls".  The two most Blondie-like tracks are included here, the quite brilliant "Mother" and equally so, "What I Heard".  Like I said previously, I love the new tracks that hark back to the good old days of Debs and the boys.



I did not choose any tracks from 2014's "Ghosts Of Download" (the songs just didn't grab me although there are some good moments not enough to make me choose a memorable track) so move onto "Pollinator" released in 2017.  The two stand out tracks I chose are "Long Time" and "Fun".  



 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!








NEW MUSIC EAR'S PERSONAL PLAYLISTS - "BLONDIE/DEBORAH HARRY" PART 1

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!

BLONDIE/DEBORAH HARRY


PLAYLIST PART 1


Blondie released "Blondie" in 1976 and were so far ahead of their time that it was full of great songs.  From the 11 tracks I chose 8 for this playlist.  The 3 singles are here, the Punk Pop of "Rip Her To Shreds" and "X Offender" as well as the delightful Motown-esque "In The Flesh".  I incuded the manic "In The Sun", the 60s inspired "Look Good In Blue" and "Little Girl Lies".  "Man Overboard", the 70s style track finds a spot as does the Country vibe of "Rifle Range".




I picked 6 tracks from the second album, "Plastic Letters" from 1977.  The Rock N' Roll style "Kidnapper" is here along with the other two classic Blondie hits, "Denis" and "(I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear".  The pure Punk album tracks, "I Didn't Have The Nerve To Say No" and the mad pumping beat of "Detroit 442" also appear.  The whimsically charming "Fan Mail" completes the sextet from this album.



1978 brought the third album, "Parallel Lines", critically acclaimed and noted as the breakthrough album into world domination.  The album that made me aware of Blondie and fandom.  Of the 12 tracks I chose a massive 9, it was just too good an album to ignore.  The megahits are here, "Heart Of Glass", "Sunday Girl" (the very first single I bought with my own money!), "Picture This" , "Hanging On The Telephone".  The original "One Way Or Another" which was crucified by One Direction you may remember (or erased from your memory!) is also here.  Included is the laid back Rock of "I Know But I Don't Know", the 60s style "Pretty Baby" and the gorgeous "Fade Away And Radiate" which Deborah's voice reminds me a little of Karen Carpenter and shows her versatility.  The uptempo Punk of "Will Anything Happen" completes the set.



"Eat To The Beat" released in 1979 is one of my favourite albums and there is a review on New Music Ear of every track in a prior blog.  I added to the playlist 11 of the 12 tracks, only "Victor" missed out as it isn't one of my favourites.  However, the classic Blondie hits are in, "Dreaming", "Atomic" and "Union City Blue".  Also here is the "The Hardest Part", (with an awesome video of Deborah as brunette looking as always, amazing!) and the beautiful lullaby style of "Sound-A-Sleep".  The Reggae style of  "Die Young Stay Pretty" and "Slow Motion" could easily have been massive hits as could "Accidents Never Happen".  Completing the set are the lovely "Shayla" and power Punk of both "Living In The Real World" and "Eat To The Beat" with its great harmonica solo!


 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, 29 January 2019

NEW MUSIC PROFILE - INDIE POP ARTIST "LOLLI WREN"

Lolli Wren is a young singer-songwriter based in Kent, London, and released her 5 track debut E.P. in 2015 called "Let Go" under the name "Wren".  Not content with one string to her bow she is also a dance, drama and singing teacher and a vocal coach tutoring singers on vocal techniques, vocal strength and performance among other things.


I first discovered "Wren" a few years ago, since her debut E.P. she has been working on new tracks, making great cover version videos for YouTube, seemingly exploring a variety of hair colours and changing her name!Check out some of her cover versions online of James Bay's "Let It Go" and Jessie Ware's "Say You Love Me".


On listening to her E.P., she has a very unusual voice, think of Tori Amos with a powerful yet cutesy vocal range of Ariana Grande with a little rasp in her voice like Stevie Nicks.  Hard to imagine? then you need to hear this lady.  The debut tracks are quite something.


"Maid Of Clay" is mystical and almost trance-like with soft vocals while "Let Go" is a brilliant track that could have come from Ms. Nicks' solo albums.  "1.43" sounds like a homage to Tori Amos and is a very powerful yet minimal musical track.  The whole E.P. is quite astounding as she made this at 18 years old. When I last contacted Ms Lolli on Twitter she said exciting new music was coming, let's hope so!



Saturday, 19 January 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S PERSONAL PLAYLISTS - "BIG COUNTRY"

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!

BIG COUNTRY


PLAYLIST


The incredible groundbreaking debut album by Big Country released in 1983 gives my playlist 5 tracks, including the anthemic "Fields Of Fire" and "In A Big Country".  I also included the debut single, "Harvest Home" which epitomises the Big Country sound and paves the way for the sound ahead.  Also included are the gorgeous ballad "Chance" and fast tempo almost Punk style of "Inwards".

  

A year later came the second album, "Steeltown", such a great album I chose 7 tracks from the albums's 10 tracks.  The band's lyric writing was becoming more and more polished as was the musical quality.  Amazingly, only the single "East Of Eden" reached Top 20 in UK, possible because it is the closest sound to the previous album.  The soft ballads "Come Back To Me" and "Girl With Grey Eyes" are included here as is the "Harvest Home" style of "The Great Divide".  I also added the brilliant "Just A Shadow" and one of my favourites, "Where The Rose Is Sown" as well as "Flame Of The West" with its cacophony of anthemic sound.



1986 came the release of "The Seer" and I have picked 4 tracks from the album, the lead single, the superb "Look Away" and the second album single, "One Great Thing".  The other single from the album, "The Teacher", with its almost New Wave sound is also here along with the title track, "The Seer" that features the one and only Kate Bush.



I have chosen 3 tracks from 1988's "Peace In Our Time".the rocky "King Of Emotion" and the delightful Rock Folk sound of "Thousand Yard Stare".  The third track is the Pop Rock ballad "Broken Heart (Thirteen Valleys)".



1991's album "No Place Like Home" gives me 3 tracks for my Big Country playlist.  The almost Progressive Rock of "We're Not In Kansas" and the bare bones Folk Rock of "Beautiful People" are included and the third track is the hard Country Rock track "Republican Party Reptile".



The sixth Big Country album released in 1993, "The Buffalo Skinners" gave me 4 tracks for the playlist.  Included are the brilliantly pumping "All Go Together" and Pop Rock of "The One I Love".  The other two tracks are the early 80s Rock sound of "Alone" and the epic Punk/Classic Rock hybrid "Long Way Home".


Two tracks were taken from 1995's "Why The Long Face", the Country twang of "Take You To The Moon" and Heavy Rock styled "Message Of Love".



The final album to feature Stuart Adamson on vocals (he sadly died two years later) was released in 1999.  It is also the last studio album I would take tracks from, as Big Country without Stuart's vocals just wasn't Big Country for me.  Anyway the album was called "Driving To Damascus" and was entitled "John Wayne's Dream" in the USA.  The 3 tracks I chose are the Blues driven "Driving To Damascus", the Country tinted "Dive Into Me (Rafe Mix)" and the softer Pop Rock of "See You".



From 2001's compilation album, "Greatest 12" Inch Hits" I added one of my favourite tracks not featured on a studio album, the epic version of "Wonderland" and the Santana-esque "Save Me".



My final Big Country playlist tracks come from the "Under Cover" album released in 2001.  Added here are the guys' covers of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen", Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and of course the cover of Roxy Music's classic "Prairie Rose".


 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!





Monday, 7 January 2019

NEW MUSIC EAR'S PERSONAL PLAYLISTS - "BILLY JOEL"

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!

BILLY JOEL


PLAYLIST


From Billy's debut album, "Cold Spring Harbor" I only chose one song, the Folk-style foot tapper that is "Everybody Loves You Now".



1973 brought the second album and it was the one that got Billy Joel noticed.  4 of the 10 tracks have been picked for my playlist which obviously includes the brilliant and well loved title track from which fans dubbed Mr Joel throughout his career.  Also here are the uptempo Folk style of "Travelin' Man" and the soft ballad "You're My Home".  Completing this quartet is the anthemic Soul of "Stop In Nevada".



After the disappointing backward step of 1974's "Streetlife Serenade", Billy pulled the critics back in a little with "Turnstiles" in 1976.  I took two tracks from this album, the classic "Say Goodbye To Hollywood" and the moody epic and one of my favourites, "New York State Of Mind".



Billy's fifth studio album released in 1977 brought him right back in the groove where "Piano Man" put him.  The singles, "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" and "She's Always A Woman" are included.  Two other more well known singles have been chosen, the classic soft Rock of "Just The Way You Are" and the Jazz/Pop of "Only The Good Die Young".



I selected 3 songs from the 1978 album, "52nd Street".  My playlist includes the famous classic Joel songs, "Big Shot" and "My Life" as well as the poppy "Half A Mile Away".



Billy Joel was firmly establishing his music credentials by the time of "Glass Houses" in 1980.  The album is a brilliant set of tracks hence my choosing of 6 of the 10 tracks.  Five were released as singles, including the superb rocker "It's Still Rock And Roll To Me" and The Rolling Stones' sound-a-like "You May Be Right".  The keyboard rocker "All For Leyna" is included as is the almost Pop Punk of "Sometimes A Fantasy".  The fina two songs from the album are "I Don't Want To Be Alone" and the bare bones sound of "Don't Ask Me Why".



The 1982 album release, "The Nylon Curtain" has added 3 songs to the playlist.  The lovely "Allentown" and the epic "Goodnight Saigon" were both singles and are worthy memorable additions.  The third track I chose is the laid back, cool soft rocker "She's Right On Time".



1983's "An Innocent Man" was tour de force, it was the album that prompted me to look up ll Billy's back catalogue and also in my opinion his last and best album.  Out of the 10 tracks I chose 7, six of these were singles.  The most famous 80s classic sound of "Uptown Girl" and "Tell Her About It" obviously have to be on any playlist of Billy Joel! The gorgeous "An Innocent Man" with its Drifters' style sound and the doo-wop homage "The Longest Time" are also here.  "Leave A Tender Moment Alone" and "Keeping The Faith" make up the 6 singles and both give throwback sounds to the 50s and 60s.  I also added "Easy Money" from the album for its James Brown tribute style!



"The Bridge" released in 1986 only gives me one track, after the mega success of "An Innocent Man" and the "Greatest Hits Vol 1 and 2" this was a disappointment and signalled the popularity slide of Billy.  The song I chose is "A Matter Of Trust" which is clssic Billy.



1989's "Stormfront" gave us a glimpse of the Billy Joel we know and love with the brilliantly creative "We Didn't Start The Fire", a quick fire list of certain events and people between his birth in 1949 t 1989.  This is included on my playlist for sure along with the Springsteen like "I Go To Extremes".



"River Of Dreams", released in 1993 proved to be the last original studio album by Billy Joel.  Not including "Fantasies And Delusions", the Classical album in 2001.  The song "The River Of Dreams" is here bringing memories of "An Innocent Man" back.  Also is the rocky "No Man's Land" and the quite brilliant "Blonde Over Blue".



I did choose one extra track, Billy's cover of Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love".  The song actually was released a month before Dylan.  


 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, 4 January 2019

DEBATE ARTICLE - "HAS THE INTERNET MADE IT TOO EASY TO BE A MUSIC STAR?"

It has been said for decades by the "older" generations that the music now is poor and it was "much better" in their day.  From the 50s to the 80s and maybe half the 90s it has to be said that the music was much, much better than today.


When you see all the producers making records, and the DJ's making "featuring" an artist who they found to make money with you have to despair when you listened to music in the decades I previously mentioned.  When Ed Sheeran and Beyonce (I used to like Beyonce before she let Jay-Z in and she has become a parody of Rihanna) can release five or six single songs that all make the top ten at the same time and clog up the charts it is a little insane.  Justin Bieber and others got famous from YouTube videos of themselves.  What happened in the days before the Internet and Pop talent shows when artists had to earn the right to get a hit?

You hear all the stories in history how the great bands and singers had to work hard, learn their craft in dives and downbeat clubs and bars, sometimes facing torrents of abuse and violent attacks.  The clubs that made their names introducing historical artists, in those days the only way you could hear bands was on the radio or actually live (some of today's artists just don't know how to put on a show or play live anymore!).  CBGBs of New York, The Marquee Club in London, The Cavern in Liverpool, First Avenue and 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, Whisky A-Go-Go in Los Angeles, The Hacienda in Manchester and Blitz in London and many more all made or broke artists.


To achieve a Number One album or single an artist had to do tour after tour, promotion on many TV shows, physically promote their songs to radio with no guarantees of being played, and somehow make people actually go out of the house and spend their money on a physical piece of music, whether it be vinyl, cd or cassette.

Reaching the top 100 chart was a major achievement for up and coming bands as it meant they had a following.  Making people go out and buy 100,000 or 1 million copies of your single or album was a major feat.  Now you can just make a YouTube video to get a record deal!

I used to record the Top 40 every Sunday night on Radio 1 in the UK.  Any singles that really hit me I would save up my pocket money and go out and buy what I could the next weekend.  Albums were a lot more expensive so maybe I would ask for them for my birthdays or Christmas.  Seeing an artist on TV or a video being shown was a major thing for us in the 70s and 80s.  Since writing my blog I have discovered so many artists' music that wasn't always played on radio.

So I know what you are thinking, why I am I moaning about the internet in music because I wouldn't be able to write this blog if it wasn't here, with all the new artists I find.  True, but I also realise how bad the chart music is and how much really good, original music is being ignored and left out in the cold because the "popular" artists are just releasing what they like as downloads or streaming and it is making the chart look very ordinary.

Imagine how great all the artists of the 60s, 70s and 80s would be if they had the internet today.  They all had to fight to be heard, now all you have to do is put your music on iTunes and someone might hear your new song.



Pop Idol, X-Factor and all these shows have given an easy platform for "stars", although most have fell by the wayside since being in these shows.  Simon Cowell has made a career out of putting records out by these very average singers, making a bit of money and then dumping them.  There is the occasional bright light in these shows but for some reason they get "voted" out so are never heard.


I remember when Prince wanted to release a triple album every year to give his fans the music he made.  Warner Bros told him that he couldn't do that, he had to "keep something back" and it was too much music in the faces of the record buying public.  Now you see average artists like Beyonce, Bieber and Sheeran throwing everything at the charts.

Downloading was better when it was illegal, because when you downloaded the songs and liked them you more often than not actually went out and bought the official stuff.  Now people don't want to own music anymore in a physical form, they just stream and it is less personal.  I now only buy cds of my very favourite artists, pretty much how I did in the "old" days.  It means more.

Another reason I do my blog is to give new artists a push, they all don't have the publishing power of someone like Jay-Z or Puff Daddy, Diddy or whoever he is now.  All that Rn'B stuff is so stale and boring, they all sound the same.  The rappers make no sense, nobody hears the words, unlike the Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel classics.  We have had to suffer Oasis, Radiohead, Muse, Coldplay while there are original unkown fantastic bands out there playing some inventive sounding Rock.  Taping the Top 40 was brilliant, barely a song was left out unless it ws really awful.  Variety was the spice of life, that art has gone, just take a look at the charts, just the top 10 and see what I mean.  They are all vaguely similar.


So the Internet has made some average artists be very popular, and popularity more than talent sells records.  It doesn't necessarily mean it's good but that's just the way it is now.  The kids are lazy today, they don't listen for anything new and creative, they just follow trends like sheep.  My blog HAS used the Internet to come to life but it has also helped many artists be heard among the pap that is Sheeran, One Direction and Bieber.

My annoyance is that some of today's "stars" thanks to constant downloading and streaming are being hailed as legends among real legends when they are just a parody of the pre-Internet hard working superstars.