Thursday, May 09, 2013
I have never been much of a fan of traditional country music, but I do have a soft spot for the angry white chick sub-genre that popped up in the middle of the last decade. One of the best songs of the genre was Pistol Annies Hell on Heels (lead Annie Miranda Lambert may be the angriest of the angry white chicks), I do not even care if it was an ode to maneating. Their follow up album Annie Up starts off promising; you know just by the title alone you know I Feel a Sin Comin’ On is going to be good. And though it is not in the angry white girl vein, the laid back, front porch sing-a-long does not disappoint. The rest of Annie Up does disappoint, filled with songs that would not be good enough to appear on their first album. I was hoping the alleged marital strife between Lambert and husbandBlake Shelton, even if was unfounded, would produce better music.
Annie Up gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
The Dixie Chicks pretty much swept the 2007 Grammy Awards taking three of the top four awards (naturally they were ineligible for Best New Artist) and promptly took an extended brake. The two sisters in the group released an album under the moniker Court Yard Hounds in 2010 as they waited for lead singer Natalie Maines got the writing itch again. Seven years after releasing Taking the Long Way, Maines may not be ready to write with the Chicks just yet (though supposable something is “in the works”), but she is ready to record some music, as she just released a cover album Mother with songs from Eddie Vedder, Jeff Buckley, and Semisonic. There is one Dixie Chick song, Come Cryin’ to Me which was from the Taking the Long Way sessions which sounds about as good as a song that did not make that album would be. But the best of the set is the haunting title track version of the Pink Floyd classic and the new Ben Harper penned Trained where Natalie duets with the songwriter on a barn burner of a song. Though it is hard not to listen to the album and hope a proper Dixie Chicks album will not be far behind.
Mother gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
It is really apropos that She & Him named their third album Volume 3 (the first two naturally were entitled Volume One and Volume Two; do not ask me why they spelled out the numbers on the earlier albums but opted for the numerical styling now) because their most recent outing sounds exactly like its predecessor to the point I was suspicious that it was just the same songs with different titles just to throw people off. Except it could not have been a complete rehash because there is nothing as catchy as In the Sun on the new album. It does not help that I went to look how much longer the album was the first time I listened to it and was shocked that I was not even half way through the forty minute album yet. Really the only song that stands out in this set is Together which features Zooey Deschanel singing in French (I think, I did not do very well in the subject back in high school).
Volume 3 gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Back in 2006 someone asked me what I thought was the best song of the year was and I responded that Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy wasn’t just the best song of the year, but it was the greatest song of the decade. It was at that moment I thought about doing a Greatest Songs of the 00’s list and started a playlist that ended up with around 1400 songs four that I then widdled down to my favorite even thousand. If you have not done so yet, head over to The 1000 Greatest Songs of the 00’s for the complete list. Here is how the list broke down by the numbers. Now if excuss me, I need to get started on my list of the 1000 Greatest Songs of the 10's.
Artist with Double Digit Songs:
Kanye West - 22
Jay-Z – 17
U2 - 17
Coldplay – 16
John Mayer (Trio) - 15
Alicia Keys - 14
Dixie Chicks – 13
Dave Matthews (Band) – 12
Snow Patrol - 12
Jack Johnson – 11
Michelle Branch (The Wreckers) – 11
Nelly Furtado – 11
Beyoncé (Destiny's Child) - 10
The Roots – 10
Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) – 10
Songs by Genre
Pop - 204
Rap – 159
Alternative - 155
Adult Contemporary – 142
RnB - 97
Country – 40
Electronic – 12
Songs by Year
2000 - 91
2001 – 94
2002 – 96
2003 – 77
2004 – 96
2005 – 91
2006 – 90
2007 – 116
2008 – 124
2009 - 125
Top 100 by Year
2000 – 12
2001 – 12
2002 – 11
2003 – 10
2004 – 11
2005 – 9
2006 – 9
2007 – 8
2008 – 11
2009 – 7
Top 100 by Genre
Adult Contemporary – 28
Alternative – 19
Rap – 19
Rock - 12
Pop – 8
RnB - 8
Country – 5
Electronic - 1
Most Songs in top 100 – The Killers (5)
100’s – John Mayer (5)
200’s – U2 (3)
300’s – Jack Johnson, Jay-Z (3)
400’s – Alicia Keys (5)
500’s – The Roots (4)
600’s – Coldplay (3)
700’s – Dixie Chicks (4)
800’s – Kanye West (4)
900’s – LeAnn Rimes (3)
Artist with 1 Song: 201
Number of Cover Songs: 34
Number of 00’s Cover Songs: 6
Television Theme Songs: 4
Shortest Song: Fell in Love with a Girl (1:50)
Longest Song: I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab for Cutie (8:36)
Time it would take you to listen to the 1000 Greatest Songs of the 00's: 2 days, 17 hours, 14 minutes, and 46 seconds.
Monday, May 10, 2010
It is a tricky situation when you are in a band and one of the members isn’t up for recording but doesn’t want to leave (with the exception of Jack White who will just start a new one every year). But it has been four years since the last Dixie Chicks album and sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire were itching to get back to work though lead singer Natalie Maines wanted some more rest.
So the sister went with another animal themed side project Court Yard Hounds (not to be confused with the Junkyard Dog). Their self titled debut sounds exactly like what you would expect a Dixie Chicks album without Maines would sound like, very Chicks like, especially circa their Home era, but still mellower affair and songs do not get much mellower that the album opener Skyline. Even faster songs like Ain’t No Son still sounds restrained with Robinson taking over the vocals from the spunkier Maines (whose in her hands would have sounded something like Sin Wagon).
Some stand out tracks include Delight Something New Under the Sun and its funky guitar riff and wall of sound at the height of the song. See You in the Spring, a duet with Jacob Dylan, fits right in with his new folksier sound. Then Didn’t Make a Sound sounds like the most fun the sisters have had on a song a decade. In the end, Court Yard Hounds should be right up the alley of even moderate Dixie Chicks fans, especially the ones that jumped off the bandwagon when Maines started on her Bush tirade, though it is hard not to think how the album would have been better with her behind the microphone.
Song to Download – Didn’t Make a Sound
Court Yard Hounds gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Record executives recently realized that the only time people actually buy music these days are when they are buying it for someone else and so there are an overabundance of titles that come out in the fourth quarter, big releases in the other three are far and few in between. Here are the five that will be released over the next couple months followed by a broader chronological list. Please note that release dates are subject to change. Click the album name (or album artwork) for an album is available for pre-order on Amazon. Click the artist’s name for their iTunes directory.
1. Brothers – The Black Keys (May 18): Inevitably whenever you make a list a hundred deep, no matter how much research you do, you are bound to forget something. The day after I posted The 100 Greatest Duos of the 00’s, I was in the shower and realized, oh crap, I forget Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. I am sure I will be beating my head even more when I get a listen to their latest. The boys are back to their do it yourself esthetic after their turn to Danger Mouse who produced Attack and Release (he is back for one track, the first single Tighten Up).
2. To the Sea – Jack Johnson (June 1): Thankfully the greedy record execs are not holding this out for Christmas time because if there is an artist that should be listened to during the summer not while there is snow on the ground, it is Jack Johnson. Look out for the new single You and Your Heart coming to an adult contemporary station any day now.
3. Court Yard Hounds – Court Yard Hounds (May 4): You may not recognize the band name, but you know it members, the sister two thirds of the Dixie Chick. Emily has taken over the singing and writing (with the exception of Marti who takes lead on one track). The album will also feature a duet with Jakob Dylan.
4. Bionic – Christina Aguilera (June 8): Like most double albums, Back to Basics could have sufficed as a single disk. Four years after that release, Christina is back and brought with her an eclectic group of songwriters and producers for Bionic including M.I.A., Sia, La Tigre, Polow da Don (The Neptunes (rumored) and longtime collaborator Linda Perry who co-wrote You Life Me up which debut during the Haiti marathon.
5. How I Got Over – The Roots (June 8): I believe I included this in my album rundown last fall, here’s hoping it finally reached the light of day this summer.
Women and Country – Jakob Dylan
I Learned the Hard Way – Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Midnight Souvenirs – Peter Wolf
Leave Your Sleep – Natalie Merchant
My Best Friend Is You – Kate Nash
Tears, Lies and Alibis – Shelby Lynne
Country Music – Willie Nelson
Rise Up – Cypress Hill
Nobody’s Daughter – Hole
Sparks Fly – Miranda Cosgrove
Live at the Troubadour – James Taylor and Carol King
Tonic – Tonic
Pulse – Toni Braxton
Uni-5: The World’s Enemy – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Sea of Cowards – The Dead Weather
Night Train – Keane
The Archandroid - Janelle Monáe
Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots
Distant Relatives – Nas and Damien Marley
Shout it Out – Hanson
We Are Born – Sia
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Destroyer of the Void – Blitzen Trapper
The Laws of Illusions – Sarah McLachlan
The Sellout – Macy Gray
No Release Date Yet (So I would not expect them until fall)
Songs of Ascent – U2
Hot Sauce Committee, Pt 1 – Beastie Boys
Life Styles - Nelly Furtado
Hands All Over – Maroon 5
Everything Comes and Goes – Michelle Branch
The Business – Mark Ronson
100 Miles to Memphis – Sheryl Crow
Mojo – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Relapse 2 - Eminem
Fresh – Devo
TBA – Sara Bareilles
TBA – KT Tunstall
And of course, what would a music preview be with the obligatory; maybe this will be the season that we actually get to hear Dr. Dre’s Detox.
Friday, December 21, 2007
While watching Live Earth earlier this year with all the great music, it crossed my mind to come up with the greatest live performances of the past twelve month. And with the Grammy’s, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the thousands of other pat themselves on the back events that the music business throws for themselves, it wasn’t hard to populate a list. I did throw out the talk show performances because 99% of them are just boring rehashes of their album versions. But here are the best of the best of 2007 with links to YouTube where available (and if you have the mp3 of any of them shout me a holla because there are a couple I would like that I haven’t hunted down yet):
1. Gimme Shelter - Keith Urban and Alicia Keys (Live Earth)
2. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley (49th Annual Grammy Awards)
3. Check the Rhyme/Award Tour - A Tribe Called Quest (2007 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors)
4. Like a Star/Coming Home/Gravity - Corrine Bailey Rae, John Legend and John Mayer (49th Annual Grammy Awards)
5. Darling Nikki - Cee-Lo and Foo Fighters (2007 MTV Video Music Awards)
6. Big Bottom - Spinal Tap and an Army of Bassists (Live Earth)
7. Bonita Applebum/Electric Relaxation/Scenario - Common, Pharrell, Lupe Fiasco and Busta Rhymes (2007 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors)
8. Man on the Moon - R.E.M. and Eddie Vedder (2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony)
9. No One/Freedom ’90 - Alicia Keys (2007 MTV Video Music Awards)
10. Not Ready to Make Nice - The Dixie Chicks (49th Annual Grammy Awards)
11. Roxanne - The Police (49th Annual Grammy Awards)
12. Sabotage - Beastie Boys (Live Earth)
13. Go Your Own Way - Carrie Underwood and Lindsay Buckingham (Fashion Rocks)
14. That’s the Thing about Love - Alicia Keys (Live Earth)
15. Message in a Bottle - The Police, John Mayer and Kanye West (Live Earth)
16. Shut Up and Drive - Rihanna and Fall Out Boy (2007 MTV Video Music Awards)
17. Mercy Mercy Me - Corrine Bailey Rae and John Legend (Live Earth)
18. White Lines/Good Times/The Message - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony)
19. Drummers - SOS All Stars (Live Earth)
20. For the Love of Money/Living for the City/Mercy Mercy Me - Alicia Keys (Live Earth)
21. Waiting on the World to Change - John Mayer (Live Earth)
22. Bleed it Out - Linkin Park (2007 MTV Video Music Awards)
23. Rehab - Amy Winehouse (2007 MTV Movie Awards)
24. Babylon - David Gray and Damien Rice (Live Earth)
25. Heart of Glass - Blondie and Lily Allen (The Today Show)
Monday, February 12, 2007
The Grammy’s are always the best award shows of the year, but going into this year’s event you had a sense that the show would be an off year considering that 2006 wasn’t the best year for music in recent year. I first realized this as every year I make a mix tape for my sister of the best songs of the year for Christmas but this past year but only came up with about forty-five minutes of music. I ended up filling the rest of the album with seven different versions of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy. In the end this year’s Grammy’s were solid but were missing a big water cooler event. In fact the only unannounced performers were Earth Wind & Fire jumping on stage with Ludacris. The show may have been better off not announcing The Police reunion instead tease something big. But anyways. Her are some more thoughts on the big show:
- The big show starts off with the much hyped reunion of The Police performing their very first hit Roxanne. If I had a complaint it would be they only performed one song. Well, at least Quincy Jones’ daughter didn’t jump on stage to sing Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.
- No host this year, but Jamie Foxx takes it upon himself to do a short monologue anyways that includes a funny Snoop Dogg left because he heard The Police were there joke.
- Natalie Maines defiantly looks better as a brunette. Although the darker hair didn’t help her fashion sense as the ruffles on her dress was a bad idea.
- Wow, two Prince sightings in as many weeks. And only he could have save the bland Beyoncé performance. Should have gone with Irreplaceable and put Prince to wok with his phallic guitar instead B.
- If there were a Jump the Shark equivalent in music it would letting the chick from Kids Incorporated in the Black Eyed Peas. Need to come up with a catchy name though.
- It is nice to know that anyone with a record contract, a hand held camera, and a YouTube account can win a Grammy as OK Go takes home the Best Short Form Video Award.
- Can anyone explain to me why Justin Timberlake needs three piano players on stage with him when he is playing one too? But I like how he tried to convince everyone that the song What Goes Around... was written in voice of a friend of his. What I didn’t need though was the extreme close up during the Interlude part of the song.
- In the biggest shock of the night, in awards handed out earlier, “Weird Al” Yankovic didn’t win Best Comedy Album. I demand a recount.
- I wasn’t quite sold on it when I first heard it, but after sleeping on it, I appreciate the collaboration between Corrine Bailey Ray, John Legend (whose Coming Home stole the segment) and John Mayer much more. Although I am now convinced Mayer is purposely making the Joe Cocker faces during his guitar solos, not coming naturally. And after hearing his acceptance speech for Best Pop Album I’m also convinced that his IQ is dropping fast since hooking up with Jessica Simpson.
- Who invited the chick from The Pussycat Dolls? (Fun fact, the only chick that sings in that group was also in the reality made group, Eden’s Crush, um not that I remember them either.)
- Yeah Shakira basically did the same performance as the one she did at the VMA’s this past year except instead of Indian garb her and her dancers wore golden breast plates for some reason. They also edited something out of Wyclef’s rap which to me sounded like he was trying to say, “I move the crowd like I’m Obama.” A network censoring someone shouting out Barack Obama, what is this Fox?
- Leave it up to the liberal commies of the music industry to give the Song of the Year to the anti Bush Not Ready to Make Nice over the pro-God Jesus Take the Wheel. Fascists. And was that the dude from Semisonic up accepting the award with the Dixie Chicks?
- Wow, CBS held out its blatant product placement until the second hour with the chicks from How I Met Your Mother out to present Gnarls Barkley. The costumes were a little bit of a letdown as I’ve already seen the airport theme, but they by far had the best performance of the night.
- In categories handed out earlier, Ludicris takes home Best Rap Song for Money Maker with lines like, “It took yo momma nine months to make ya, so ya better shake what yo momma gave ya.” Did someone forget to tell the voters that this was a songwriting award? Luda then picks up the Grammy for Best Rap Album and gives the best shout out of the night that wasn’t censored thanking Oprah and Bill O’Reilly.
- Your random presenters of the night are Mandy Moore, Luke Wilson and LeAnn Rimes as they give the Best Country Album to the Dixie Chick who quote Nelson from the Simpsons. Classy.
- It would be too easy to mention that naturally all Carrie Underwood did was last night was sing karaoke. But I swear her drummer is the black writer for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. She then walks away with the Best New Artist award. Be sure to say hello to the Starland Vocal Band on your way to obscurity.
- In categories handed out earlier, My Humps won a Grammy. Also winning a Grammy this year: Ike Turner. Feel free to discuss amongst yourself which is more disturbing.
- Samuel L. Jackson comes out and says his favorite words are “Rhythm and Blues.” C’mon Sam everyone knows one of your favorite words is “Mother.” If you are unsure of the other word check out my review of Snakes on a Plane.
- During the R&B section, Smokey Robinson comes out and sings one of my favorite songs of all time, The Tracks of My Tears. Then Lionel Richie sings one of my favorite songs of the eighties, Hello. Then some dude named Chris Brown comes out and proves Rolling Stone’s assertion that he’s a better dancer than he is singer. Then in the most inexplicable moment of the night Christina Aguilera finally completes her transition into a drag queen by singing It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World.
- Token Old Dude alert. Well at least he didn’t spend his time whining about illegal downloading like Michael Greene always did.
- Your random transition of the night goes to the Ludacris with Mary J. Blige and Earth, Wind and Fire morphing into James Blunt.
- They spent way too much hyping that lame Grammy Moment contest. If I wanted to hear mediocre singers singing other people’s crappy songs I’d watch America Karaoke.
- For those keeping track at home, Justin Timberlake and Carrie Underwood both got to sing three songs, The Police: one.
- In the second biggest upset of the night, Not Ready to Make Nice beats out Crazy for Record of the Year. I really need someone to explain what exactly what is it about NRtMN that makes it better than Crazy. And was I just not paying attention, did CBS do some crafty editing to not promote a show not on their network, or did the dude from Heroes show up late because I didn’t notice him up to this point.
- The break announcer said the Red Hot Chili Peppers were going to have the performance that everyone will be taking about today. Um, what exactly should I be talking about, that it snowed, a trick they pulled at the VMA’s circa the Dave Navarro era?
- I had to chuckle at Al Gore when he talked about environment friendly the music industry is considering the stage was just covered in fake snow which I doubt is too good for the environment.
- Scarlett Johansson is recording an album. But how bad can it be when people like Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Lopez have set the bar so low for actresses turned singers? She and Don Henley are out to give the Dixie Chicks a complete sweep for the night adding Album of the Year to names. Yeah they made a good album, but I wonder if people voted for them more because of their anti-Bush statements then the music itself.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
This year I was able to give a listen and review almost all the albums thanks to the record companies doing something right for the first time in years by letting fans listen to albums even before they are released. So here are the best albums I heard this year. And where most other music blogs unroll their best albums of the list full with artist you have never heard of, here is my list of pretentious free albums (okay the list is actually only 82% pretentious free, just had to put the Artic Monkeys on my list). Click on the album to buy the album in iTunes. If you like feeling the CD in your hands check out this list at My Amazon Store (including last year's list). Also if you want to read my orginal review, click the link below the album's name. Agree with my list? Disagree? Feel free to list your favorite albums of the in the comment section:
1. Continuum - John Mayer
It's Not a Silly Little Moment, it's Not the Storm Before the Calm
2. Eye to the Telescope - KT Tunstall
Her Face Is the Map of the World
3. We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions - Bruce Springsteen
Oh Mary Don't You Weep
4. Eyes Open - Snow Patrol
The Final Word in the Final Sentence
5. Taking the Long Way - Dixie Chicks
It's Been Two Long Years Now Since the Top of the World Came Crashing Down
6. Stand Still, Look Pretty - The Wreckers
The Radio's Playing Old Country Songs
7. American V: The Hundred Highways - Johnny Cash
He Said "John Go Do My Will"
8. The Believer - Rhett Miller
Sex in Wartime Is Sweeter Than Peace
9. Modern Times - Bob Dylan
Sing a Little Bit of These Workingman Blues
10. Blue Collar - Rhymefest
Who Rapper You Know Before His Album Drop Is a Grammy Winner
11. 9 - Damien Rice
She May Rise if I Lay You Down
12. Once Again - John Legend
Tonight I Wanna Groove and Let the Music Make You Move
13. Nothing Left to Lose - Mat Kearney
All I Had Was Just a Vision, All I Had Was My Ambition
8. Whatever They Say I Am I'm Not - Artic Monkeys
(Never Goot Around to Reviewing, Sorry)
15. Hip Hop Is Dead - Nas
If You Asking Why IS Hip Hop Dead There's a Pretty Good Chance You're the Reason it Died
16. Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae
Girl Go Ahead Let Your Hair Down
17. Broken Boy Soldier - The Raconteurs
You've Found a Friend That Knows You Well
18. The Road to Escondido - J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton
If You Can't Hear the Music, Turn it up Loud
19. Stadium Arcadium - Red Hot Chili Peppers
California Show Your Teeth
20. Game Theory - The Roots
I'll Make it Hotter Than Shaft in Africa
21. Bleeding Heart Graffiti - Nina Gordon
I Will Sing This Song and All My Friends Will Sing Along
22. The Greatest - Cat Power
No Wind or Waterfall Could Stop Me
23. Ten - Brian McKnight
When Was the Last Time You Were Truely Satisfied
24. Living with War - Neil Young
Let's Impeach the President for Lying
25. Like Blood for Honey - Holly Brook
Though I'm Young and Cynical it's Not My Only Crime
26. Love Their Country - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
27. Who I Am - Alice Peacock
Trust the Power in My Voice
28. Acoustic Extravaganza - KT Tunstall
I Don't Have to Raise My Voice
29. High & Mighty - Gov't Mule
Musings From the Back 9: Music Edition II
30. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
If I Keep Holding Out Will the Light Shine Through
31. Food & Liqour - Lupe Fiasco
Come in Hip-Hop We've Come to Resurrect You
32. Both Sides of the Gun - Ben Harper
The Only Songs to Sing Are Those Sung Again
33. Highway Companion - Tom Petty
If You Don't Run You Rust
34. Nightcrawler - Pete Yorn
Walk Me Out in the Morning Sun
35. Revelations - Audioslave
The Orginal Fire Has Died and Gone but the Riot Inside Moves On
36. Bird on a Wire - Toby Lightman
You're a Flower Blooming in the Desert Sunshine
37. Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies for the Film Curious George - Jack Johnson and Friends
There's No Stopping Curiosity
38. Year of the Dog… Again - DMX
We Gon' Get it, Get it Started Again
39. Move by Yourself - Donavon Frankenreiter
Don't Stop Doing What You Believe In
40. Coming Home - Lionel Richie
You Feel it, I Feel it, Let's Not Pretend
41. On the Outside - Starsailor
I Hear Them Screaming on the Radio
42. Feedback - Jurassic 5
We Would Say Our Rhymes to the Beat Right
43. Till the Sun Turns Black - Ray LaMontagne
Musings From the Back 9: Music Edition II
44. When Your Heart Stops Beating - (+44)
The Past Is Only the Past with the Lights On
45. Kingdom Come - Jay-Z
When I Come Back Like Jordon Wearing the 4-5
46. Show Your Bones - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Sometimes I Think I'm Bigger Than the Sound
47. The Evolution of… - Robin Thicke
Don't See the World Through Someone Else's Eyes
48. Sam's Town - The Killers
Nobody Ever Had a Dream Round Here
49. Under the Iron Sea - Keane
Love Is Just a Lyric in a Children's Rhyme
50. Loose - Nelly Furtado
I've Been Hurt by My Past but I Feel the Future