Archive for January 10th, 2007

Mark your calendars.

A couple of be-on-the-lookout dates:

Daughtry’s new music video, “It’s Not Over,” will be added to VH1’s rotation as of January 15th.

Katharine McPhee’s new single, “Over It,” officially goes for radio station adds on the same day. It’s already gotten some decent radio airplay.

Regrettably, Taylor Hicks’ people don’t seem to be as on the ball as Kat’s and Chris’s, as the most we’ve gotten in news about “Just To Feel That Way” is that it will be impacting radio “soon.” I do trust that Arista knows what it’s doing, but it’s frustrating for a fan. And I don’t even listen to radio. In any event, there have been reports of “Give Me Tonight” being played in Japan, of all places. Hmm…


Spotlight on: Neil Diamond (SERIOUSLY!)

He’s not hip, he’s not cool, he’s not current, Timbaland won’t be sampling any crying babies on his album, but Neil Diamond’s 12 Songs, released in 2005 and re-released with some bonuses this year, is one of the best damn albums I’ve heard in years. And kids, this ain’t your father’s Neil Diamond. This isn’t flashy, Vegas-y, sequined jumpsuited Neil. This isn’t “The Jazz Singer.” No, this is a quieter, simpler, more introspective Neil.

Perhaps the change can be attributed to Neil’s work with producer Rick Rubin–a ZZTop-bearded hulk of a man also known as one of the most respected music producers in the business (his resume includes working with The Dixie Chicks, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash on the American Recordings series, Jay-Z, Shakira, Slipknot and Justin Timberlake). And though Rubin’s production list is diverse, he’s perhaps best known for the stripped-down, minimalist sound that defines both Cash’s last series of albums and Diamond’s latest treasure. Rubin sought out Diamond, who had only recently begun writing songs again, and together they embarked on an intensive process that included listening to hours and hours of music, starting with classic rock and roll and moving on to some of Diamond’s older albums. Writes Diamond in the liner notes of 12 Songs

…Rick had a list of my old records that he wanted to talk about, mostly stuff I hadn’t listened to in years. Things he liked, things he didn’t like, and things that just made him want to know what the hell I was thinking.

The process continued. Diamond would write, often wearing down pencils to the nub. He’d show Rubin what he’d come up with, Rubin would approve or disapprove, critique, send him back into the studio. Empty coffee cups and discarded legal pads littered the ground. Rubin’s goal, according to Diamond, was to “strip down the songs to their very essence,” to the barest of the bare, to something completely honest and raw, completely without gloss or pretense. Said Diamond, “I loved the sheer freedom of creating music for its own sake.” (Music for its own sake. Aaaaaand thus begins my own personal campaign to get Rick Rubin to produce Taylor’s next album.)

And the finished product? There is some amazing stuff on this album. Simple, universal, accessible to be sure, but Diamond’s songwriting is surely a far cry from the vague tenth-grade-diary lyrics that define modern pop. I have three favorite tracks: “Oh Mary,” with its simple chord progressions, “Delirious Love,” prominently featuring both Diamond’s rasp and carefree acoustic guitar work that for me evokes memories of crisp winter nights at the fair with my high school sweetheart, and finally, “Men Are So Easy,” a lyrical gem that, while offering no earth-shattering revelations, is so simple and honest that it hits you as deep in the gut as any more complex or more difficult to decipher song might.

Diamond’s on AOL Sessions this week; be sure to check it out.

January 2007
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What the kids are sayin’

"I hate them all. The judges, TPTB, the blatant manipulation, the songs, the contestants, everything. I'm a die-hard Cook fan, but for the love of god, at least try to look like you're enjoying yourself up there! Please? Syesha was awesome but she ruined it by being completely shameless and disgusting. Yes, being on American Idol is exactly like the civil rights movement, except for the part where you're fighting to make the world a better place."

"All I can say after the disgusting display tonight of favoritism towards the mediocrity that is David A. - good luck trying to market and make money off of that kid, American Idol. (Not to mention good luck dealing with his father.) All the teeny boppers may buy up his American Idol coronation single, but they will quickly forget about him before the album comes out. And I shudder to think of a David A. album - song after song of unrelenting sameness and heavy breathing. Why they are pimping him for the win is beyond me."

"This show was simply a hot buttered mess tonight. And Jason "needs to be arrested for what he did to I Shot the Sheriff. But I hope he stays. He amuses me. "