It was very clear our most loyal readers could give a flying shittake about new and unknown music, and I respect that. But praising music is my teeny tiny way of trying to save the world, one beautiful catchy note at a time. I cannot throw away this need, so I only hope our regulars will politely tolerate this.
So here’s a new feature: Old, New, Borrowed and Blew. Or ONBB for short.
I will review, in semi-brief, one “classic” album, one recently-purchased album, something sent to the Bottom of the Glass mailbox, and a song or album or band that blows.
White On Blonde (mp3)
It blows my mind that an album that has sold almost 2 million copies in the UK barely even cracked a radio across the pond in America. Especially when the band behind that album is named Texas. Especially when lead singer Sharleen Spiteri looks like a delicious mix between Gina Gershon and Natalie Imbruglia. Spiteri’s sultry alto is the punch on a collection of mostly mid-tempo R&B-infused dance numbers.
This album grows on you, and I highly recommend experiencing it as an album. But, if you must know, the biggest hit on the album was “Say What You Want.” Other standouts include “Insane,” “Put Your Arms Around Me,” and “Black-Eyed Boy.”
It’s been four years since “The ‘59 Sound” rocked my world. The song remains near the top of my list of best rock songs of the 21st Century, and the album was a great mashup of punk riffs with a classic rock heart (that sounded more like Springsteen than I felt like admitting, apparently). Their follow-up, American Slang, failed to hit its mark with me. Too few stellar hooks in a 34-minute collection that felt too redundant. Don’t misunderstand. I still liked it plenty, but it was a downgrade.
Handwritten is what I expected in their follow-up. Much like The ‘59 Sound, the catchiest moments here bookend songs that carry plenty of punch and passion, but the best hooks open and close. Best songs: “Here Comes My Man,” “Mae” and “Handwritten.” (My original list of “best songs” was ⅔ of the album. That's a good sign.)
Cara Mitchell - Passing Sun (mp3)
The opening guitar was enough to keep me listening, maybe because I thought it could have been a cast-off song from Patty Griffin’s Living With Ghosts. And then her voice. Her odd, note-drifty 16-year-old signature ghostly voice, with a tinge of brogue. Her voice would never survive American Idol or The Voice, and thank God for that. It’s real. “Well our past is behind us, but it could always come and find us.”
Maroon 5 - One More Night (YouTube)
When Adam is on “The Voice,” I mostly like him. He seems to have a good ear for talent and manages to be both honest and considerate more often than not, which is a tough line to walk. But when the man sings, especially when he sings with Maroon 5, I honestly feel like I’m listening to the music that could compel me to jump off a large building. If I needed that extra musical motivation to work up the nerve (or cowardice, or anger) to off myself, I wouldn’t turn to Judas Priest or Marilyn Manson. I’d play a few Maroon 5 songs. Probably this and “Moves Like Jagger” would do it for me. (NOTE: I only linked to the YouTube video because Minka Kelly is in it. But even she isn’t enough to make me want to listen to the whole song. I muted it 52 seconds in.)