Lana Del Rey is a singer you are probably familiar with. She recently released a new single called “High by the Beach.” It is the second song featured in her future album entitled “Honeymoon.” Prior to the release of her single, Del Rey teased her fans with details about songs from her forthcoming album that is due to be released in September. This information as well as the cover art for her single is featured on her Instagram account. There is also a rumor that she will be featured on a new album by Weeknd and possibly even the subject of a new book being written by actor James Franco. This book is entitled “Flip Side: Real and Imaginary Conversations with Lana Del Rey.” It will contain real life interviews with Del Rey and some made up ones as well. There are also numerous portraits of Del Rey which were taken by her photographer and sister named Caroline “Chuck” Grant.
Lana Del Rey was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. People know her by her stage name “Lana Del Rey,” or sometimes as Lizzy Grant. She started writing songs when she was just 18 years old and then signed a recording contract in 2007 with the record company “5 Points Records.” Her first digital album was called “Lana Del Ray” and was released in January of 2010. In July of 2011, she signed a joint contract with Polydor, Stranger Records and Interscope. One year later she released her second studio album entitled “Born to Die,” which debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 at number two. It was also the fifth best selling album during the entire year of 2012. Del Rey’s career took off nicely after this as she continues to have a growing fan base thanks to the internet.
Del Rey has come a long way in such a short period of time. She overcame a problem with alcoholism by the time she was 20-years-old. This dark part of her past inspired the lyrics to her song “Born to Die,” which is mainly about her wilderness years as a youth. Many great artists who write songs often reflect their own personal hardships in their lyrics. This is what makes audiences so attracted to songs like hers because they can relate to the pain she went through and the obstacles she overcame. Del Ray is only 30-years-old and she has already become a legend. The next 30 years are bound to be even better for her.
“Gimme All Your Love” slows things down musically. Howard’s vocals attack over a larger range during this track, really highlighting her abilities as a vocalist. The song highlights the more soulful part of the band, and has some similarities to some of the music the Afghan Whigs have done in the past. Howard does a tremendous job matching her voice with the intensity of the music. One of the great things on this track is how it takes off instrumentally during the last 90 seconds, really highlighting how the band has evolved with their sound. Once Brittany comes back in during the last 30 seconds after a great guitar solo, you realize the song has now risen up to a whole new level. This is the type of music I can get excited about hearing, unlike what you would have heard on their first album.
“Don’t Wanna Fight” is a very smart choice as the first single on the new album, since it is probably one of the best songs that will be released this year. This is not your typical radio fodder. The track is driven by an almost funky bass and drums, along with some nice guitar riffs. The music pushes the track forward but still has an open breeziness about it. Brittany’s vocals start in with a little squeal before she launches into the first verse. Her vocals provide a great contrast to the music during the verses. Then she launches into a falsetto during the chorus that takes the song up to the next level. The only line in the chorus is “I don’t wanna fight no more” but the way Brittany sings it, that’s all that needs to be said. I can’t see this track not appearing on my 2015 best of compilation.
Alabama Shakeshails from Alabama, and they have a blues-based rock sound with some Southern soul and a little country baked into the mix. The band has drawn comparisons to the Black Keys, Drive-By Truckers and even Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. They are led by Brittany Howard on vocals and guitar, and she has a unique and powerful voice. The rest of the band is Heath Fogg on guitar, Zac Cockrell on bass and Steve Johnson manning the drums. The band first started when Brittany and Zac were in high school together and they met after school to write songs. They grabbed Johnson on drums who was working at a local music store and they started recording some songs. Heath joined the band after hearing some of their demos. After they released their first EP, the band started getting a lot of attention, and they played at the CMJ Music Marathon industry showcase in New York and it all took off from there. More shows, a song was picked up for a TV ad, and then the band signed to Rough Trade Records in the UK and ATO Records in the U.S. Their debut album came out in 2012 and the band earned a lot of acclaim with it, peaking at #6 on the U.S. album charts and earning three Grammy Nominations, including Best New Artist.
Personally, I wasn’t impressed with “Boys & Girls” at all. Their main single “Hold On” was an ok track and hinted at the band’s potential, but I thought overall the album was a little boring and pedestrian. However, being a fairly open-minded person to music in general (although my daughter often pushes the envelope with her current never ending love of top 40 pop), I still checked out Alabama Shakes new sophomore album “Sound & Color”. I had read that it was a little less safe and took more chances than their debut album, so I was hoping these changes were for the best. I thought the band definitely could see some improvements by pushing the envelope some. Lo and behold, there are a number of very good tracks on the new album and the changes the band has made have all been for the best. The album slows down a bit in the latter half, but they have some very good material overall. I can now understand the excitement regarding the band’s potential. I’m highlighting 3 songs that all appear early on during the first 5 tracks on the album.
Van Halen made an appearance last night at the Concord Pavilion and it was the 3rd show on their 2015 tour. This is the third tour they’ve done since reuniting with original vocalist David Lee Roth 8 years ago. I took my son to the show,and the tickets were a birthday present that he had to patiently wait over 3 months to actually enjoy. The band’s current line-up is close to the original group – David Lee Roth on vocals, Eddie Van Halen on guitar, Alex Van Halen on drums and the newer guy – Wolfgang Van Halen on bass. That’s right, Eddie, his brother and his son are the current musicians. David Lee Roth is the odd man out, in oh so many ways with this band. I have a few comments regarding the show:
• Nice stage set-up, not too plain and not too much flash. I thought it was perfect for the band. It was interesting prior to when they took the stage since they had 3 or 4 guys out totally mopping down the stage floor. Even my son made the call on that – they were getting it very polished so DLR could “slide” around the stage with his dance moves.
• The band was playing very well, especially Eddie and Wolfgang. They even did a very nice job with all of their background harmonies. Eddie was pretty much flawless on guitar, he still has it even at his age. He seemed legitimately joyful to be up on stage playing, beaming throughout the entire show. He also looked like he was in much better health than during the 2012 tour, which is good to see. His guitar solo was amazing and he seemed genuinely touched by the crowd reaction afterwards. Interesting side note, Wolfgang right now is a doppelganger for a cousin of mine. If you told me that was my cousin up there playing with Van Halen, I couldn’t have disputed it just by looking at him.
• David Lee Roth is such a hot mess. He must be so frustrating to work with. While his vocal contribution is a unique part of Van Halen’s sound, he flirted with bringing down many songs throughout the evening. He did pull it together a little better for the final 25% of the show. Most of his banter was inane, he slowed down many of the songs and was killing momentum throughout the set. But I have to give Eddie credit for smiling throughout all of his shenanigans and replying to DLR’s stupid questions. DLR does have a lot of charisma, but the band right now is giving him a little too much leash. My son asked me towards the end of the show – “is he like this in real life or is it just an act?” I had to tell him, yes this is actually how DLR is all the time. His singing ability is pretty much shot, he doesn’t even try to fake it these days, he just kind of speak/sings or focuses on key works in lines. Right now, the band may be better off finding a DLR imitator like Journey did for Steve Perry and not have to deal with the rest of the package that DLR brings to the stage. I can definitely see why they experimented with other vocalists over the years. I’ve never been to a concert where I thought, “let me take over the vocals for this song because I’m sure I could do it better”. On the other hand, the riffs that Eddie wrote during the DLR era are timeless and unstoppable so you want to hear those songs.
• The 25 song set highlighted just how awesome this band was during the DLR era. Eddie wrote so many awesome guitar riffs. The band had a great set list, pulling some deep album cuts along with many of their most famous songs. They played two songs they’ve never performed live before, one which happens to be one of my favorite songs from the album 1984 – “Drop Dead Legs”. The other was “Dirty Movies”, a solid track from the album Fair Warning. They opened with “Light Up The Sky” which they haven’t played in 35 years. They also played “In A Simple Rhyme” which they haven’t broken out in 37 years. They are playing another show at Shoreline next week. If you like Van Halen at all, you should try to go check it out. This could be your last chance. You will be entertained.
• I’m highlighting a couple of the lesser known tracks from the Van Halen catalog that they played live for the first time this week.
TheGuardian.com just named Strange Names as the new band of the week. The band is a trio of musicians and singers from Minneapolis who have been described as performing polished pop with a little bit of dark undertow. They are kind of similar to the B52s and the Talking Heads. The trio is made up of Liam Benzvi on vocals, Francis Jimenez on guitar and backup vocals and Fletcher Aleckson on drums. Like many great artists, they claim their music comes from a place of great pain. That is why they tend to touch upon dark lyrical subjects. Even the band members themselves claim their music is not too easy to enjoy. Between their dark infectious tunes and experimental tendencies, it has been rather difficult for them to gain a widely accepting audience. However, their music is catching on after the release of their EP and a single with the recording company “White Iris Records.”
Strange Names still thrives to be a major label in the music scene. One great thing about their music is that it can spread to almost any genre or era. They’ve used the pop culture perkiness of Only Boy and Supernatural Silence and the 60s pop surf harmonies of Overused Phrase. Some claim the music actually feels sunny and happy, and takes them out of a dark place. It makes them feel like everything is going to be okay. Basically, it all depends on the person. Their songs are not necessarily all dark and depressing, but it may take a little bit for some people to get used to. It really depends on how much you can relate to the pain that the singers are expressing in their lyrics. Some people may be able to relate to their pain more than others.
Overall, Strange Names produces songs that are danceable and contain the sound of pop rock to them. Many people from the older generation have listened to their songs and have liked what they heard. The same goes for the younger generation as well. This is why Strange Names will likely succeed in this business. They seemed to have captured the interest of all kinds of music lovers. Their only setback seems to be capturing enough interest in order to make a better name for themselves and become more successful. But with many critics and magazines giving them free publicity about the quality of their music, it looks like Strange Names might be the next big band that people talk about.
It looks like one of America’s favorite reality television shows “American Idol” is finally getting cancelled. This show was a singing competition that gave amateur singers from all around the country a chance to compete against each other and be named the winning singer of the season. It changed a lot of lives and entertained millions of people for over a decade. But after 15 years of success on the air, the Fox Network has decided that January of 2016 will be the last season for the show. Naturally this has fans of the show very disappointed. The host of American idol, Ryan Seacrest, has responded on Twitter about his thoughts on the show ending. He tweeted about how the show has been a big part of his life and that it would be hard to imagine not hosting the show anymore.
The last season next year will be a difficult one for Ryan and for all the people who love American Idol. But as you can probably imagine, the final season is going to be an unforgettable one. The emotions will be high with audiences and members of the show. What made American Idol so special was that it gave people a chance to pursue their dreams and give it their best shot. For some people, their dreams ended up coming true after they were chosen as the winner. For Ryan Seacrest, it made his own dreams come true as well.
American Idol used to be one of the most watched television shows of all time. But in recent years, the show’s ratings have decreased gradually to the point where they are almost flat. The FOX network, which airs the show, had to make a tough decision by cancelling American Idol. The show is more than just a television show that entertains people. It is a show that represents hope for thousands of amateur singers who never thought they would ever have a chance at getting noticed. Even though the show will be cancelled, the memories of its glory will last forever in the minds and hearts of its fans.
Speculators are debating what will replace American Idol after it finally gets cancelled. Will there be a spinoff series or some other variation of American Idol? It is hard to say right now because there hasn’t been much discussion on the aftermath. The show still has one more season left and that is what the fans of the show are focusing on the most right now.
Alanis Morissette is a woman of many talents. She is a writer and musician who got to go on an international tour for her record when she was just 22-years-old. This gave her a lot of responsibilities such as being a spokesperson, activist, leader, boss, celebrity and work addict. In almost an instant, she went from being an unknown who would watch people from park benches to being the one that people on park benches watched. This kind of instant fame was very shocking to her because she wasn’t used to people paying attention to her so much. It even got to the point where she stayed in her hotel rooms as often as she could in order to avoid being approached by people in the hallways. Sometimes when she would order food from room service, six people would come to her door delivering her food and would take her pictures at the same time. This caused her to develop an interest in cycling outside with a helmet on, so people could not see her face. And even if they could see her face, she would be going so fast that they wouldn’t be able to approach her in time for an autograph or picture.
When Alanis went to buy her first house at 22-years-old, she didn’t know what to fill it with because she had no money prior to purchasing the house. It was such a new experience for her and so she needed her manager to help her pick out the dining room set and couches that were needed for the home. Eventually, Alanis came to realize that she could heal her insecurities and fears by helping her fans through her music. She never noticed it before, but the experiences she shares in her lyrics have actually helped people feel better about their lives. This made her realize that her songs weren’t just about entertaining people. They were also about encouraging and sympathizing with people as well. Now Alanis felt better about what she was doing, but she still had more healing to do. Then she realized that she needed more intimate relationships with people in order to ensure her healing. This meant she had to stop hiding in her hotel room and get out more in order to make new friendships. Not only did this work out for her, but now she is a wife and mother as a result and couldn’t be happier.
“Dirty Movies” – A track from “Fair Warning”, Van Halen’s 4th album and what I’ve always considered their “grittiest and dirty” sounding record. Maybe it has to do with some of the guitar effects Eddie uses on the album or the nature of the songs, but this has always seemed to be a darker album from the band. Even the album cover stands out as being different for them. When I was younger I didn’t listen to this album as much but now I enjoy it much more and listen to it as much as any other album. This is not an atypical track where Eddie starts off with some slower guitar work before breaking out into the main riff for the song. It’s always a nice rush when the main riff kicks in and the rest of the band locks in with the groove. This song is a little unique with the chorus being a bit slower and mostly featuring the harmonies of Eddie and on the album Michael Anthony and live Wolfgang. David Lee Roth is up to his usual antics on this song and has plenty of room to adlib during the live performance.
Scientific Study of 17,000 Hit Pop Songs Has Identified the Years to Remember – and the Ones Best ForgottenPosted by | Song Discovery, Uncategorized | No Comments
There have been many popular songs introduced to the world over the last few decades. A recent scientific study was conducted on 17,000 pop songs in order to find out which pop years were the best to remember and which ones were the best to forget. The first study looked at 1986 when Madonna sang “Papa Don’t Preach” and when Peter Gabriel sang “Sledgehammer.” It was concluded that 1986 was a repetitive year for pop music. But for pop music in 1991, the study found this to be the year that was the most revolutionary for the entire music industry. This was the year when rap became really popular. Not only that, but rap was responsible for widening the range of acceptable vocabulary that could be used in the lyrics of pop songs. All of these studies were performed by researchers at the Imperial College London and the Queen Mary University of London.
Now you are probably wondering how research scientists would go about conducting such a study on pop music from the past. With the help of the United States Billboard Hot 100 list and the music website Last.fm, these researchers were able to apply scientific methods to this source information to figure out the best and worst years. More specifically, their methods involved text mining and signal processing to analyze the songs’ musical properties. What they were looking for were trends in the music that had a lot of consistency, such as the use of drum machines and guitar solos.
You don’t have to be a scientist or researcher to figure out that 1991 was a revolutionary year in music. Besides the rap culture phenomena that sparked, hip-hop also emerged and got popular really fast. One of the main reasons why it got so popular has to do with the MTV series called “Yo! MTV Raps. People around the country got to recognize hip-hop and the variable speech patterns of the singers. It also had classic funky beats from the 70s and a lack of overused guitars.
Music lovers from the older generation might disagree with 1991 being the best year in music, and would instead say that 1964 was the best year. After all, this was the year of the “British Invasion” by popular British bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Some would call this the year of the rock revolution, but other critics claim they were just following a trend in the music industry. Overall, it is really up to each individual music lover to come up with their own conclusion about which year was the best. It all depends on your personal music tastes.