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!