Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Misc. Singles II

Airplanes (featuring Haley Williams) and Nothin’ on You (featuring Bruno Mars) (B.o.B.) – This guy flew under my radar, but since two of his songs are on iTunes Top 10 purchases, I think that’s my bad. Nothin’ on You will sound familiar, and its success moved up the release of the album. Airplanes uses the tried and true formula of pairing him with a female, and it works here as it has for many others. I personally think B.o.B. sounds a lot like Kanye West, although I’m not sure his lyrics are quite as catchy. Kudos to anyone who manages to rhyme the word elephant in his song, though (elephant/relevant- pretty close). I would recommend both of these songs.

Little Secrets (Passion Pit) – I had heard this song on the radio once or twice and think this group has a very different, cool sound. The album this song is on actually came out about a year ago and this song topped out at #39. This is a relatively new band and they have a unique sound, so even though this song might not be the next great song, I think we'll hear more from this group. Despite the fact that I really like this song, I could not really understand any of it and had to Google the lyrics, which I also found a bit hard to interpret. Cool sound, though!

Crash Years (The New Pornographers) – Don’t be put off (or titillated) by the name of this band- it’s not Playboy on your iPod. This group has been around for quite some time but just came out with a new album this week. I’ve never really paid attention to or sought out this group in the past and I swear I think I really was put off by the name of the group, but the lead singer (on this song anyway) is Neko Case, who I really like. This particular song is energetic and you'll find yourself singing it to yourself after you've heard it a few times. This is a good song- get it.

1901 (Phoenix) – If you have felt inexplicably compelled to purchase a Cadillac before the age of 70, it might be because this song is used in their commercial, and if you watch as much t.v. as I do you’ll recognize the song immediately. I actually bought the song because it was recommended by a friend, not because of the commercial. I was not familiar with Phoenix before this song, so I was suprised to learn that they're an alternative band from France- cool! They actually won the Grammy this year for best alternative album for Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which contains this song. Good song and probably a band to watch.

The Weekenders (The Hold Steady) – The Hold Steady has been called the “new Bruce Springsteen”, and I can hear why that comparison would be made, but as Lloyd Bentsen would say, “Senator, you’re no Bruce Springsteen.” This isn’t a bad song, but I don’t love it. I theorized that this is more of a “guy” sound, a theory I tested on an adult male in my house, and I have to say that he immediately made the Bruce comparison all on his own, but he wasn't hooked either. Perhaps one song isn’t enough to judge, but so far The Weekenders doesn’t get me excited to hear more of the album.

Nothing But the Whole Wide World (Jakob Dylan) – This is another song I don’t dislike but don’t love either; kind of forgettable, nice background music to nap by. It has a slight country sound and there is some faint female backup vocals that sound nice (which I subsequently read includes Neko Case, also of New Pornographers), but this song just isn’t anything special in my opinion. If you liked the Wallflowers, which I was also kind of indifferent about, you will probably enjoy this.

Whole Lotta Love (Mary J. Blige) – Okay, this one was recommended by RS and I am a BIG fan of Mary J., so I didn’t hesitate. Perhaps I should have made the connection that this is a remake of the Led Zepplin song and I am NOT a Zepplin fan. She sings the song faster than Robert Plant and adds her hip hop zing to it, which I like, but there are still a lot of parts of the song that are pretty dang true to the original version. It took me a while to get used to the song and not continually feel like I was listening to Zepplin, but it’s growing on me now. If you happen to be both a fan of Mary J. Blige and Led Zepplin (and it turns out Mary J. IS a Zepplin fan and also did a cover of Stairway to Heaven) you’ll probably like this song, although I’m not too sure how many crossover fans there are.

Blue Blood Blues (The Dead Weather) – I am frankly getting tired of trying to keep up with Jack White’s various bands. This is his latest (following the White Stripes and the Raconteurs), although I have now learned that this is actually The Dead Weather’s second album- must have missed the first one. He does not have a gentle voice or sound, so one of things I have liked about previous songs is that they’re fast and interesting, but I don’t think this one is particularly either- it just seems like noise to me. If you’re a Jack White fan you’ll like this. If you’re a fair-weather Jack White fan (like I am) you might want to pass.

Better Things (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings) – This was one of those free cards I picked up at Starbucks and has turned out to be my surprise favorite of this whole group- great song! It has such a 60’s soul vibe to it, and you can almost picture them standing around the ‘hood singing (although I might have that image because of the cover). A little research revealed that Sharon doesn’t like to digitally enhance any of her songs, so they sound really true to the real sound. Also, the Dap-Kings contributed on more than half of the songs on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album, which probably had a lot to do with the overall sound on that album. I love how Sharon belts out “I’ve got better things to do than remember you”. Oh Sharon, you are so wise! If you happen to see one of these cards sitting around Starbucks pick it up, but otherwise it’s worth buying.


· Airplanes and Nothin’ on You (B.o.B.)
· Little Secrets (Passion Pit)
· Crash Years (The New Pornographers)
· 1901 (Phoenix)
· Better Things (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings)

· Blue Blood Blues (The Dead Weather)

· The Weekenders (The Hold Steady)
· Nothing But the Whole Wide World (Jakob Dylan)
· Whole Lotta Love (Mary J. Blige) – this one has the potential to move up to “Hit”

Have a good weekend and make it full of good music!

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