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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Musical Change of Pace

Once in a while, as I've mentioned before, I enjoy exchanging the crunching guitars and double kick drum action that typically fills my ears for something a bit less hectic, musically speaking. A few artists, some new and some old, have been filling more space on my iPod as I branch out and let my ears recover.

Following the release of Adele's debut album "19" in 2008, the British soul powerhouse started earning praise. The album won her 2 Grammy Awards including Best New Artist. Her second album "21" kicks of with "Rolling In The Deep", the song that got everyone talking about her with its haunting buildup and message of empowerment for anyone amidst a breakup. Her music caught the eye of a friend of mine and it wasn't long before I gave in. After seeing a mashup of two of Adele's songs, "Someone Like You" and "Rumor Has It" on the TV show Glee, I knew I had to give her album a try. The contrast between "Rolling In The Deep" and "Someone Like You" brilliantly bookends the album as the first and last tracks. Her strength in the opening track, a bit of a "tell off", is stripped away in "Someone Like You", a vulnerable take on the relationship that inspired much of the material on the album. A stripped down cover of "Lovesong" by The Cure is a welcome surprise, and "Turning Tables" and "Rumor Has It" are other highlights on the album.

Vocal problems caused Adele to cancel two planned tours in October 2011, and she underwent laser microsurgery in early November. She has already written seven songs for her next album which she intends to write, record, produce and master all on her own and says she wants it to be acoustic and piano-led, as much of "21" is. Her performance at Royal Albert Hall is available on Blu-Ray, DVD and CD formats, and according to reviews is a very intimate performance filled with very colorful banter from the singer. The setlist covers songs from both albums as well as a few covers.

Another current artist I've favored recently is Lady Antebellum. The title track from their second album, "Need You Now", is instantly catchy and probably the song that most will know them for. Their latest album "Own The Night" is an excellent followup, which kicks off with the title track followed by the album's first single "Just A Kiss". I think my wife has already worn a groove in the CD after only a week.

A recent release from an artist whose popularity peaked in the 80's caught my attention and after giving a listen, I'd categorize Christopher Cross's 2011 album "Doctor Faith" as a "return to form" or "rebirth". Chris' 1980 self-titled debut album swept the Grammy Awards that year, and his hit "Sailing" is one of my favorite songs of all-time. That album has several great songs and a few guest spots, including Don Henley, Michael McDonald and guitarist Eric Johnson. Chris brought McDonald and Johnson back for "Doctor Faith", so in that sense he's come full circle back to the beginning and the tone of the album mirrors that concept.

While there is certainly no shortage of great music from my favorite Rock bands, and even new releases already planned for 2012, I'm still on the lookout for new music and these artists and albums have found their way in.

What new artists or albums have your attention lately?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have to delve into the indie scene, my friend!

Bands like Band of Horses, Silver Sun Pickups, Iron and Wine; singers like Damien Rice, Erin McKeown.

Also the more well-known such as David Gray and Snow Patrol (Oh, my goodness, Snow Patrol!).

And take a listen to the more recent Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder releases. They're doing some different, yet still wonderful, stuff these days.

There are a lot of great bands to be discovered out there. My recommendation is that you listen to It's Seattle's public radio station and they are one of the best ways to hear bands you never would have heard elsewhere. And they're all pretty great.

... or email me. I'll send you some good stuff.

Hope you find something good, enjoy!