Friday, June 4, 2010

Misc. Singles III

Here are some new singles (including one from Jack Johnson, as you can see), which were obviously chosen fairly randomly- it’s all about what I’m interested in and from there I recommend what I think everyone should listen to. Read on…

· OMG (Usher) – I’ve liked Usher in the past and this song has been #1 on iTunes recently. It is pretty catchy and you’ll find yourself singing to yourself. I call artists like Usher hip hop lite, not too hardcore.

· Rill Rill (Sleigh Bells) – I had never heard of Sleigh Bells, but I read two reviews of their album in two days earlier this week. They’re a pretty new male/female due from New York and have a cool, kind of quirky sound. The actual vocals belong to a female with a really pretty voice, and the lyrics are clever and unexpected. I’ve read that this song is actually their least “alternative”, but I like it and might try the whole thing.

· You and Your Heart (Jack Johnson) – If you are a Jack Johnson fan, you are really never going to be disappointed with a new song because one of his greatest strengths is his predictable mellowness. He is a Hawaiian surfer dude, not a rocker, so he has perfect music to relax to and you don’t have to work very hard to like his songs. The downside is that you’re never really going to be surprised by what you get. That being said, this song is actually a bit livelier than his usual, meaning there is some electric guitar action and he sings a decibel or so louder than usual.

· Southern Pacifica (Josh Ritter) – I have seen this name around and was elated when I saw that the song was being offered free at Starbucks since those songs are often by artists I’ve never heard of. What luck that it was one I’ve wanted to try anyway! He has a cool mellow song but with a bit more of an edge to it than a Jack Johnson, for instance. I’d definitely try other songs by him, although I have to stop thinking that he used to be on Three’s Company.

· Not Afraid (Eminem) – One thing you can say about rappers is that they should never need therapy because absolutely every thought and emotion comes straight out their mouths- and beware of the “explicit” versions (I have no idea how they make a song like this “clean”). This song is no exception, but one thing about Eminem is that he has really interesting lyrics if you’re not offended by them. This song is basically about Em getting his life together, cleaning up and coming back to his fans after a hiatus. It has a good message but requires some concentration to sort through it (I’m always distracted by the complexity of his rhymes!). I tend to like Eminen because I think he’s actually really talented, but he’s never for the faint of heart.

· You’ve Got a Friend (James Taylor and Carole King) – due to absolutely no forethought about the sequence of my playlist, this song followed Eminem. James’ voice always feels like being wrapped in a really comfy blanket, especially after being emotionally exhausted by the previous song. This album is from a 2007 live show he and Carole King did at the same theatre where they first performed in 1970, the Troubadour in West Holleywood, California. This album contains some of his songs and some of hers. They sound great together, just as they always did, so you can’t really go wrong if you like either of them. One thing that’s always fun about live albums is the bits of chatter that’s included, which this has.

· My First Kiss (3Oh!3 with Ke$ha) – I’ve been reading about this 3Oh!3 guy (I think he chose to do the duet with Ke$ha because he was drawn to the special characters in her name- kindred spirits) and discovered that his “name” refers to his area code (303 in case you are having trouble interpreting it) as he’s from one of my favorite places: Boulder! I don’t really picture Boulder as producing sounds like this, but it’s pretty lively and will be a temporary chart topper but doubtful on a long-term presence. Good to dance to (if I was about 20 years younger).

· Rock That Body (Black Eyed Peas) – I think the Black Eyed Peas are just systematically going through every song on this album and when one starts to dry up they release another, so this is the latest, although none are ever going to beat I Gotta Feeling. Not crazy about what sounds like The Chipmunks singing on this song, but all Black Eyed Peas songs are clever, memorable and different- they can’t be accused of doing the same song over and over.

Recommendations? None that I really disliked from this group, but the ones I particularly liked are:

· OMG (Usher)
· Rill Rill (Sleigh Bells)
· Southern Pacifica (Josh Ritter)

Here is the song Rill Rill, although there’s no video. At least you’ll hear the song.

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