Tag Archives: pop music

Album Review: Michael Jackson’s “Michael”

Michael reached number 3 on the Billboard album chart

The first release of Michael Jackson’s since his death a year and a half ago, and the first album with all new material in nine years, Michael is an amalgamation of tracks. Many sound similar to different albums of his career with small touches to make them sound more modern by various people though it’s hard to tell what was changed by ear alone.

The most modern sounding of these tracks is “Hold My Hand” and “Monster”, thanks to appearances by Akon and 50 Cent respectfully.  Unfortunately, the weakest song is his duet with Akon which was to be originally released on Akon’s 2008 album, until the unfinished track was leaked. The first track to chart on the Hot 100, it reached the Top 40.  “Monster” on the other hand is much better, with anger and persecution in the vocals you would find in the last three of his studio albums.  Indeed,many of the songs sound as if they came from these albums. “Best of Joy” sounds like a song from Invincible, “Hollywood Tonight”,with its opening reminding one of “Who Is It” and a catch phrase and spoken vocal reminiscent of “In the Closet”,from Dangerous.  Originally recorded for Invincible, “(I Can’t Make It) Another Day” sounds as though it came from Blood on the Dance Floor or HIStory. It was produced and written by Lenny Kravitz with guitar and background vocal by Kravitz.

The three best songs on this album are “Breaking News”, “Behind the Mask”, and “Much Too Soon.”  The latter two were both written or cowritten by Michael during the Thriller era and it’s not hard to tell.  “Behind the Mask” is the best track on the album, with the sounds of a concert crowd  opening the song.  It includes a sample of the Yellow Magic Orchestra song of the same name.  Yellow Magic Orchestra was a pioneering electropop group from Japan, who released their original version in 1979. The only criticism is that the saxophone on the track may be a little cheesy for some.  The album closes with the song “Much Too Soon”, the title  seeming to comment on Michael’s untimely death.  However,the lyrics itself have nothing to do with the death and instead talk about love lost.  The finale harkens back to Michael’s solo songs before Off the Wall, but this time with a twenty-something voice.

Overall, the album has received reviews that were neither strongly negative or positive.  Personally, I would recommend it especially for fans of MJ.

 

Tony

Theodore Adorno – On Popular Music

I just got done reading this essay by Theodore Adorno. According to wikipedia, he “was a German-born international sociologist, philosopher, musicologist, and composer“. But who cares, right?!

stop being so cool, ted!

The essay is called “On Popular Music”. Basically… it’s an essay written in 1941 about “popular” music compared to “serious” music. It starts of as just a sort of comparison of the two, but ends up as an analysis of the popular music industry and its consumers. Although I don’t agree with everything he states, I found the whole thing to be an interesting read.

GIVE IT A TRY!

(and then we’ll have a scholarly discussion in the comments section)

scott

Blog Roundup!

It just occurred to me the other day that I know more than several people personally who have their own blogs.  And while we have a “blog roll” to the right, I have my doubts if very many people actually pay attention to it.  So here are some blogs/websites run by some good friends of mine…and if I forgot you and your blog, forgiveness please!

Weekend Records

This an off-shoot blog for the Sunday night DJ fest (of the same name) that occurs at the Lift in Des Moines, Ia.  They usually, nay, always spin a good mix of stuff and this blog reflects that. They upload tracks straight (and only) from their personal vinyl collection and usually have a few wise words to share on the songs. I like to think of it as a cousin to Greg’s Singles Club feature.  WR is made up of John Solarz, Adam Ferry, both of design duo Flatform, Alex Brown, who is the guitarist from influential 80’s hardcore band Gorilla Biscuits, Aaron Omlie, and Nick Lambert.  At one time there were rumors that former drummer for Pavement, Bob Nastanovich, might join the crew (no joke!), but so far nothing has become of that.

Manned Missles

Beat blog for former producer/programer/dj of  Cleo’s Apartment, Jeff Blanchard aka Jazzcop aka The Handsome Prince aka Manned Missles.  He just started it up, but he’s already making some headway so it’s definitely something to keep your eye on.  Oh yeah, the gent also did an ill remix of  “Girl Friday,” which will be included on Quid Pro Quo.

So Not Original

Yeah, I’ve mentioned John’s blog sometime earlier, BUT he pulled up stakes and moved on over to tumblr, so I thought I could redirect you all there. Plus, he hasn’t updated in a few weeks, so I figured this might be the kick in pants needed to post something new.

Therine – They’re An Inspiration

Good pal Katie has this blog dedicated to all things that inspire here for her own fashion design.  This can range from people, places, music, movies, current styles, etc.  And you can check out her Etsy account, where all of these influences and inspirations come together. She makes a pretty mean guitar strap.

Renee’s Shoreline

If you know Patrick Tape Flemming (guitarist/frontman for Poison Control Center, co-owner of the now defunct indie pop label, BiFi, all-around gentlemen), then you pretty much know what you’re getting into with this blog.  All sorts of ramblings about pop music, pop culture, and Woody Allen.  Much like the man himself, always entertaining and worth a read.

And of course, don’t forget Scott and Natalie’s picture blog, Laconic Oration, and my demo blog, I’ve Got an 8-Track Mind.

Ryan

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Michael Jackson Auction; Photos

last month, michael jackson decided to auction off over 1,000 items from his neverland ranch. i would have LOVED to have been in the same room with all of these personal belongings, but there’s always the next best thing… One Lucky Guy’s Flickr Page.

here are some of MY favorites from HIS favorites:

michael jackson et george washington abraham lincoln albert einstein mona lisa painting

michael jackson knighted painting

michael jackson prince painting

michael jackson throne

michael jackson chess set

michael jackson statue

michael jackson neverland ranch sign

and if you want to see more, you can check out the official auction site.

EDIT: turns out… michael CANCELLED the auction at the last minute, so, luckily, he can keep his peter pan power strip…

EDIT 2: by popular demand, here’s one more gem jackson won’t have to worry about parting with… a lifesize michael-jackson-as-batman statue:

scott

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CANON SONIQUE: a mixtape (15)

continuing the online mixtape.
[(1).(2).(3).(4).(5)]
[(6).(7).(8).(9).(10)]
[(11).(12).(13).(14)]

song (15):

The Knife“Heartbeats”

this song is off of the 2003 album, “Deep Cuts”. i think you can buy it on their website.
the knife deep cuts album art

the knife is a brother/sister duo from sweden. they don’t like mainstream music, and although they’ve won multiple awards for their music, they refuse to take part in all the crazy shinanigans that come along with it. examples: they avoid public appearances, refused to play live until recently, and wear masks in most of their promotional photos. they also boycotted the 2003 grammys, where they won best pop group of the year, sending in their place two people wearing gorilla costumes. supposedly this was a protest against male dominance in the music industry, but i’m not sure i understand what gorillas have to do with that. regardless… i support this anti-social behavior.

Heartbeats Live:

A Successfully Creepy Video:

And A Cover Of Heartbeats:

scott

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