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pop music

This tag is associated with 8 posts

Radio Free Metropolis (or Show Me The Monáe)

Janelle Monáe has something she wants to say, and it’s an empowering message of love and empathy (laced with a subtext that raises cautionary questions about our behaviour in the future…)

RIP…

If you don’t know them, get on Google and find out, and seek out the music – because each of these artists laid down some impressive work. From the avant-garde to classic-rock radio, in no particular order, let’s raise our glasses to the following cool cats…

Electric Light Orchestra – Eldorado, A Symphony (1974)

Jeff Lynne is a seriously talented guy. He is a brilliant songwriter (and arranger), a master producer, and has one of the most versatile voices in the world of rock/pop. Not only can he emulate Lennon/McCartney, but he also channels David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and The Beach Boys. Eldorado is a concept album, and its neo-prog structures are full of ornate orchestrations that fashion an atmosphere fit for an Off-Broadway smash…

It Might Get Loud

New film featuring Jack White, The Edge and Jimmy Page. Check it out: http://www.sonyclassics.com/itmightgetloud/

Spice Girls – Spice (1996) • Bat For Lashes – Fur and Gold (2006) • Kiss – Music from ‘The Elder’ (1981)

Though I’d say my favourite Spice Girls songs are “Spice Up Your Life” and “Too Much”, which are both on their second album Spiceworld (1997), you can’t go past their first album Spice for a non-stop pop-fest. (NB: By the time I’ve finished writing this – having listened to both again – I think I like Spiceworld more). In July 1996, with the single “Wannabe”, the girls hit the scene like Godzilla (if Godzilla was a massively marketed corporate girl-group in platform boots and Union Jack miniskirt)…

Marcy Playground – Marcy Playground (1997) • Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (2008) • Jaco Pastorius – Jaco Pastorius (1976)

One band that got lost in the shifting sands of the post-grunge years was New York’s Marcy Playground. They were never gonna be a revolutionary band, but I think they were certainly victims of bad timing, and changing trends within the industry. This, their debut, produced the single “Sex and Candy” which became quite a big hit and propelled them into the spotlight for a while. But it soon faded. And they seemed to disappear from the radar. The thing is, this band wrote some really good songs…

dEUS – Worse Case Scenario (1994) • Pocahaunted – Island Diamonds (2008) • Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygène (1976)

Deus should have been HUGE. Three or four years before Radiohead achieved legendary status with OK Computer and came to define the (somewhat clunky) term Meta-Rock, Deus produced this, their debut album, which was already pointing the way forward. Post-punk, post-rock, post-grunge, art-rock, no one really knew what to call it, but it sure was good. The Belgian band had obviously absorbed the soft/loud Pixies thing; the viola drone of The Velvet Underground; the greasy gravelly personas of Tom Waits…

Dire Straits – Communiqué (1979) • Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (1984) • Amy Winehouse – Back To Black (2006)

Though long considered by critics one of the daggiest groups of all time, Dire Straits produced a kind of post-Dylan soft-cock-rock that is still uniquely their own. (I suspect the tennis sweatbands had as much to do with that cynical designation, than just Mark Knopfler’s proclivity for solos). Despite the success of their first single, “Sultans of Swing”, I always felt they were more a mood band than a chart-storming hit machine…

Langley Parks: Soundscapes, Themes & Noise – free individual track download…

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