Friday, 27 July 2012

My Musical Diary XXII

Hola! I'm back after a week-long hiatus and so are my blabbings on the music in my life. Here we go!

Sugababes - Run For Cover (Acoustic, cca 2001)

The original line-up of Sugababes announced re-formation last week under the very clumsy name Mutya Keisha Siobhan. I used to like Sugababes around the time of their debut One Touch album but I never bought it or any of the subsequent ones. I only got myself One Touch last week and boy, is it a good album, definitely ahead of its time. Run For Cover, together with Overload were massive hits on Czech radios back in 2000/2001. I think I favoured Overload back then but would say I prefer Run For Cover these days. It's amazing such a mature song was co-written by girls who were cca 15 at the time. I discovered this particular live acoustic version on Youtube a few days ago. Chill-inducing. I hope Mutya Keisha Siobhan is a success even though it will be hard to artistically surpass One Touch, but these ladies already proved a decade ago they have a buttload of talent.

John Lennon - How Do You Sleep

John had done 'How Do You Sleep?' and I nearly did a song called 'Quite Well, Thank You.' - Paul McCartney

I spent last week with my high school friends at one of theirs cottage and on our way home we played some Lennon, Harrison and Simon and Garfunkel. How Do You Sleep is a song that stands out for me from that ride in particular because I hadn't heard it in years (not really a Lennon fan...and though I definitely think McCartney can be a total bitch...gun to head - no pun intended - I'd join his team rather than Lennon's). I personally hate Yesterday and quite like Another Day, so I think Lennon's point in this song is invalid (but hey, he was entitled to his opinion...that many people share) but How Do You Sleep definitely has a lot of musical attitude (if such thing exists) and therefore is definitely enjoyable to listen to...well, would be if it didn't go on seemingly forever.

Boy George - Video Games

Boy George has released his version of Lana Del Rey's magical single Video Games, complete with a great video. Sadly BG's version is not as good as the original. He does does share a certain old timey film star vibe with Lana but he isn't as mysterious, and neither is his version of Video Games. The song's otherworldliness is its biggest appeal for me personally. BG accentuates the song's sadness and melancholy more - and that's perfectly fine. His amazing voice fits the song well...but the production makes the record too MOR for my taste. I wanted to love this: I love Boy George's voice, I love the song, and I think they are a good fit - maybe I should wait for an a capella version. Or one which BG will perform just with Antony's piano...something like that.

Iggy Pop - Baby

This past Monday I finally completed my turntable set. I bought a lovely pair of Audioengine speakers, connected the beauties with the turntable and put my vinyl copy of Iggy Pop's Idiot album in...but because I'm a newbie the first song that started playing was not track no. 1 - Sister Midnight, but track no. 4 - Baby. Unless you have this album you probably don't know the song (well I hadn't before I heard the whole album). Just as most of The Idiot, Baby has a dark, industrial cabaret vibe. It's an excellent prelude to the following China Girl.

Marc Almond - Gone But Not Forgotten

Haven't listened to Marc's excellent "Russian album" Heart on Snow for ages. But I got reminded of it just today as I was watching the newest episode of Project Runway. The current season features two contestants of Soviet descent - a Ukrainian girl Elena with passion for the avantgarde and a Belarusian ex-ballroom dancer Dmitry who actually reminds me of Marc a little bit. And that's how I've arrived at the realisation I need to listen to this album again ASAP.

Gone But Not Forgotten is the only original song written specifically for the album and it's one of my Marc favourites.

All that matters will live on
Sadly gone but not forgotten
In our hearts where they belong
Ours forever
Never gone

Marc is singing about Russia in this song, about its people's struggles over the centuries...but isn't the above lyric the way we wanna think about ourselves and our lives?


A shootload of new videos came out recently, videos to songs I've featured on my blog. So I decided to post them here along with my short commentaries.

The Killers - Runaways video

I think it was SPIN Magazine that tweeted this video stars Brandon Flowers's leather jacket. And they are right. There are also some stars and highways and the other 3 dudes in the band (Dave, Ronnie and Mark). It's pretty much a performance video - with a travel twist. It's nice. Not as good as the videos for Mr Brightside or Read My Mind but definitely not bad either.

Little Mix - Wings video

Little Mix have finally released the video to their debut single Wings - and it's not bad at all. Young, fun...all of the girls get to shine here. I watched it twice, voluntarily, so just for the fact alone the video should get some award.

P!nk - Blow Me (One Last Kiss) video

And we have a winner! P!nk's new video had me hooked right from the first second. When I saw the link today I was in an urgent need of a toilet (just a no. 1, don't worry) and I was just gonna peak. But the video got me so hooked I ended up risking a bladder explosion. It was worth it. Interesting, funny...with a bit of attitude. My kind of video. Well done!

Questions? Queries? Comments? If you play nice you're welcome in my comment section. ;)

Till next week....Peace, Love & Ringo!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

New Musical Diary in 2 Weeks

I'll be away between this Wednesday and this Sunday, so a new addition of my weekly music blog will most likely be out no sooner than next Friday. I'd love to post XXII tomorrow but doubt I'll have the time before I take off, so...sorry guys, Friday 27th it will be.

Thanks for reading these musings btw, guys. You're amazing. x

Peace, Love & Ringo!

Friday, 13 July 2012

My Musical Diary XXI

This has been a week of two birthdays and a few musical discoveries. Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys turned 58 on Tuesday and Marc Almond turned 55 on Monday. Unlike Neil, Marc celebrated his birthday with a show in Shepherd's Bush Empire and pretty much everyone loved it, including himself - he called it one of his 3 favourite gigs of his, EVER. Both birthday boys are featured in my top 5 musical diary this week (Marc twice, because he's Marc).

There were two new songs this week as well: after Marcus Collins, Misha B and Little Mix, another of last series's X Factor alumni decided to unveil a debut single: none other than Amelia Lily. And The Killers have released their brand new single Runaways to the radios, after a 3-year hiatus.

Quite a week.

Marc Almond - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Yep, obviously it's originally a Soft Cell song but my favourite version is this one from 1991 which is Marc's solo effort. Definitely one of the best songs ever written. Curiously Marc didn't play it on his birthday concert. Oh well, with his discography it's easy to omit one great song or two.

Pet Shop Boys - Rent

Another of my favourite songs ever. Lyrically it's in a similar vein to Say Hello, even though the story in the song is a bit different. Also the music has a similar melancholy feel to it. Obviously Pet Shop Boys owe a lot to Soft Cell (which 80's pop duo doesn't), even though image-wise they went into a different direction, and as much as I love Marc as a songwriter, Neil Tennant is simply a lyrical genius.

But to be honest, while the lyrics to this song are great, Neil might have written better ones or ones that are more interesting. The real killer part of this song is the music (do they use some special chords that unlock my heart or something?!), and the atmosphere of the record. There's just enough theatricality in it (Liza Minnelli's cover is great but definitely more theatrical), enough emotion and enough tension. I know Neil has been called an emotionless singer but for me his voice works in the exact opposite way: I get more emotion from him than from a wailing diva or a desperate busker.

Happy Birthday Neil! x

The Killers - Runaways

I'm a Victim. I love this band. One of the few bands I listen to a lot that have more than two members... So I was REALLY excited about them finally releasing some new music together after quite a while...and I was quite unsure about Runaways after a few listens. That didn't make me a happy Victim at all. But I should have known better. I can't think of many of their songs that I liked on the first listen. With some it even took me years. With Runaways it took me 3 listens. two listens I kept going: oh, I dunno.....definitely not as bad as the new olympic Muse single but I don't love it. Third listen: Yes! I can feel the love now! I love this song, maaaaan!

Pretty much.

Well, it's not a radical departure for the band, it sounds like The Killers. And there's a story. Brandon Flowers is good at writing stories. He's a country singer trapped in the 80's in a Mormon body of an Anglophile who's in love with Bruce Springsteen.

My one big fear is The Killers will slowly become U2 and I won't notice. Don't think the moment's come yet though. Or has it.

Amelia Lily - You Bring Me Joy

Up until today I only kept hearing a weird chopped-up version of this song and was unsure about it. This proper finished version is...quite great, actually. Yes, it still has those three-note verses but it has an intro and a bridge and adlibs and everything. I will buy this. Xenomania definitely scored with this one. Hope it's a hit for Amelia, she has a commercial potential and this sound is a good direction for her (rather than trying to be a P!nk copy).

Marc Almond - Paint It, Black

Marc has covered many songs in his career. Made international hits of some of them. But I didn't know about the existence of this Rolling Stones cover up until this week. Did a quick search before writing this blog and found out it's from a 1998 Mike Batt production's album called Philharmania with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Marc was among the guest singers included.
Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of the Stones but ever since seeing The Devil's Advocate I've been a fan of this song. Thematically and musically it fits Marc like a glove...this cover makes so much sense, so why have I only heard about it now? (Actually, given my shitty memory I might have read about it years ago and because I had no way of finding a copy I forgot about it: definitely a possibility).

Happy Birthday Marc! x

If you've made it all the way to this sentence, thank you for reading. If you have any comments, questions or musical suggestions for me, feel free to comment!

Till next week....Peace, Love & Ringo.

Friday, 6 July 2012

My Musical Diary XX

Wow. I've been doing these weekly posts for roughly 5 months now. I'm impressed with myself. However, while I'm going to keep the form and the content of the posts the same, I've decided to change the name of them - from now on they will be called My Musical Diary. This title expresses the content of the posts better than Top 5 Songs did...This week's 5 songs are mostly mainstream poppy, let's see if I manage to be more left-field next week. ;)

Fun Boy Three - The Tunnel of Love

I was watching Being Human a few days ago - the UK version - the episode in which Annie's trying to find out why she's a ghost, with a little help from a fellow ghost. The ghost happens to be a bit of a music snob who gets off on listening to a lot of depressing 80's music, including my beloved Marc Almond. This was the first TV series I've seen so far in which non-Tainted Love Marc Almond sung songs were played. Kudos. Anyhoo, they also played this song by, for me, an unknown 80's band (which only released 2 albums and they managed to do it before I was even born, so no wonder I don't know them). The Tunnel of Love sounds so much like Marc Almond from this time period it's not even funny...but the song's good. It made me want to check out those two albums of theirs.

Don Henley - The Boys of Summer

I heard this one on the radio the other day and amongst all the shit that gets played there (and by that I by far don't mean just the current pop) it was like listening to heavenly music or something. I've always been fond of this song (even if it makes me depressed) and now thanks to the often shitty and boring radio it's back on my iPod... One of the best melancholy songs ever released.

Little Mix - Wings

Little Mix have finally unveiled their debut single's not a disaster! It's not exactly Sound of the Underground either though. Just like a lot of music these days it has a retro feel and the girls actually get to sound like human beings in it (and not automatons) - and I do sing along to it now, after having listened to it a few times, but it didn't make me go WOW. Which is the way I feel every time Sound of the Underground comes on my iPod or on the radio. Still interested in the album though. I like these girls. Go ladies! Wish you only the best.

Aiden Grimshaw - Curtain Call

Aiden's second single which should be buy-able in August, I think. And while the first one was surprisingly good but not my cuppa, this song was love at first listen for me. Nice. Especially when you listen to it in a softly lit room at night. Interested in the album now, too.

P!nk - Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

And another new song has been unveiled this week. P!nk's got a new single out on the interwebs and a new album will be out in September. I for one like this one (had no idea she could sing this high!) & I'm sure it will be one of the songs like So What for which I'll be in the mood to freak out to whenever it pops up on the radio. Been a fan of this lady for over a decade now and she's still my kinda mainstream female singer: smart, sassy, funny, a great songwriter and even a better singer.