Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Van Hunt - Popular

As some of you may have heard, Van Hunt has been dropped from Blue Note/EMI. This does not come as much of a surprise since EMI was one of the latest of the Big Four to have massive layoffs and his previous two albums, Van Hunt and On The Jungle Floor, failed to garner much attention. In such hit-starved times, Mr. Hunt would eventually be the odd man out. The news of his departure from Blue Note came only several weeks before his third LP, Popular, was to drop, leaving the album's release date in limbo.

I can't say how much of a shame it is since Popular is one of the finest albums I have heard in this young year. Building on the wild and daring attitude of On The Jungle Floor, Popular continues in the same boundless vein with a collection of dark and sexy songs sure to please his fans.

Van Hunt's kinkier side has been hinted at in a few songs and the sound of his compositions have never lacked sex appeal, but he has become more explicit in his thoughts. Before, Hunt simply replied "Yeah" three times to a woman who asked him "If I take you home, will you still respect me in the morning?"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

American Idol Shocker: Songs That Don't Suck

I have not tried to hide the fact that I'm an American Idol fan. I think it has always made for fantastic television and once the competition starts, it's hard not to get addicted. Now, I'm also a music fan, and sometimes good music and American Idol don't neccessarily go together. Some contestants have gone on to release decent albums (Fantasia, Carrie Underwood) and only one, in my opinion, has had a legitimately good recording career (Kelly Clarkson). But every now and then, you'll hear a song from a former contestant that's surprisingly solid and repeat-worthy. After the first season only yielded one star, a song from an Idol runner-up comes pre-packaged with low expectations. It's expected for the winner to have at least one strong song, but whenever the runner-ups release something good, it's always a shock.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

When Ad Execs Show Hip Taste #1

I love how over the past decade, the songs in commercials have become incredibly chic and hip. I'm not the kind of person that will decry the use of a song in a commercial just because I view it as selling out (a term that gets thrown around too loosely nowadays). I actually welcome it as long as it makes sense artistically and the commercial doesn't overly bastardize the theme of the song. A lot of my favorite artists don't get mainstream attention, but that doesn't mean that I don't think people should know about a good unknown song.

While The Chemical Brothers aren't neccessarily obscure, it's not often that the casual music listener will come across one of their album tracks. "Dream On" is the closer to their last great album, 1999's Surrender, and it provides the soundtrack to the latest commercial. Good deal, Monster!

To buy Surrender from Amazon, click here

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Live Blogging the 2008 Grammys

Okay, I got in the house a little later than I expected, but I recorded the first 10 minutes, so I will get back to them at the end of the night

7:19 First off, great to see Morris Day & The Time onstage again. Along with Rihanna nonetheless! Singing "Umbrella" over "Jungle Love" and then seguing into "Don't Stop The Music". If there is a better moment tonight, this will already be better than last year's ceremonies.

Also, for those wondering whether Amy Winehouse would take home one of the big 4 categories, I think her win for Best Pop Vocal Album at least secures Best New Artist and/or Record Of The Year.

7:25 I love The Beatles and all, but didn't we just have a Beatles tribute on the Grammys a few years ago? Hopefully they do a better job this time around. Oddly enough, Pharrell Williams on drums was the only thing that made sense.

7:29 Okay, they've somehow made the tribute from a few years back look like a stroke of genius. This whole Cirque du Soleil thing just doesn't translate well at an awards ceremony, even though I'm sure it would be amazing live. The best thing about this I guess is that there are probably some kids out there who were listening to "A Day In The Life" and had their mind blown.