Archive for January 14th, 2007

Ten (or more) songs you need to download now.

I couldn’t pick just ten. So sue me.

John Legend, “Again”
Ray Charles, “Black Coffee”
MOFRO, “Blackwater”
Johnny Cash, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Madeleine Peyroux, “Careless Love”
Otis Redding, “Change is Gonna Come” (yes, the Otis version)
Debussy, “Claire de Lune”
Ray Charles & Count Basie, “Come Live With Me”
Neil Diamond, “Delirious Love”
Nina Simone, “Do I Move You?”
Ray Lamontagne, “Forever My Friend”
Ray Lamontagne, “Empty”
Taylor Hicks, “Georgia”
Joss Stone, “God Only Knows”
Taylor Hicks, “Hell of a Day” (Under the Radar version)
Joe Bonamassa, “High Water Everythere”
Marc Broussard, “Home”
Chris Whitley, “I Forget You Every Day”
Johnny Cash, “If You Could Read My Mind”
Taylor Hicks, “In Your Time” (In Your Time version)
Nina Simone, “Lilac Wine”
Neil Diamond, “Oh Mary”
Johnny Cash, “Personal Jesus”
Aretha Franklin, “Rock Steady”
Joss Stone, “Some Kind of Wonderful”
Nina Simone, “Since I Fell For You”
Taylor Hicks, “Somehow”
Li’l Son Jackson, “Sugar Mama”
Taylor Hicks, “The Right Place”
Joss Stone, “The Right Time”
Aretha Franklin, “Today I Sing the Blues”

Oh, and, uh…

Tom Jones, “It’s Not Unusual” (well, you know you have your guilty pleasures…)

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Kibbles ‘n bits.

Billboard Magazine will be doing a feature on Katharine McPhee in the next coming weeks, but for now, you can read this fairly short, straightforward article. It’s fairly non-controversial, but I do have a hard time believing that Katharine really thinks that 22-year-olds around the nation have cluttered their iPod with Timberlake, Fergie, Christina and Nelly Furtado. I’m not much older than Kat, as are my friends, and oh sure, we might have one or two songs by these aforementioned artists on our playlists…but most of us are into blues, metal, punk, folk, electric rock, Southern rock, or, regrettably, emo. I don’t really think Katharine is that out of touch with her own generation, so I’m going to assume that RCA is kind of putting words in her mouth here…because I don’t know any 22-year-old who, after experiencing the tumult of love and loss, is gonna run to get healed by Kat’s “Over It.” (Well…okay, I do have ONE friend whose CD collection is straight off the ClearChannel programming playlist. But just one.) I do know a couple of eighth-graders who might, though. (And that’s just fine…but let’s be honest about it!) Also, McPhee’s producer is busy getting together a live band for her television promo appearances this month. This should be interesting…since so much of her music is synthesized.

Billboard, like many other publications, is also running a feature marvelling at what a behemoth American Idol has become. Old news is discussed, most notably the new songwriting competition, which viewers will be able to vote on through the show’s website (so what happens if viewers vote through a horrible, horrible song like “My Destiny” that NO ONE could be able to sing correctly?). Also, be on the lookout for rawkers and “quirky” singers in the vein of Taylor Hicks and Elliott Yamin (Elliott was…quirky?) during the auditions. Oh, joy. Copycats. And naturally, the show’s creators tap-dance around their much-touted surprise that will “blow everyone away”:

And look for what Warwick describes as an “absolute mega-night” when the show trims the number of finalists to six contestants. “We’re a bit concerned at the moment that it will overshadow the final,” he says.

“Overshadow the finale,” hmm? Seems to me that it’s a guest performer he’s hinting at.

On with more gossipy news, the New York Post (a publication not known for its fact-checking; see the Taylor Hicks Relix controversy) supposedly interviewed ten different past Idol contestants to get the scoop on what life was really like behind the scenes. And as you might have imagined, it was pretty boring (or at least that’s what the contestants want you to believe). Jessica Sierra and Nadia Turner would have a glass of wine and watch TV! Josh Gracin and Paris Bennett’s mom cooked for everyone! Scott Savol took Anthony Fedorov to Hooters’! And Katharine McPhee snuck out of the compound to spend the night (or just visit? Thanks for pointing it out, Winnie, but I think the context is a little unclear) with her boyfriend (dangerous!). Not that it’s an egregious offense–many contestants complained about the harsh restrictions–but McPhee’s dalliances and disregard for the rules must have come as quite a kick in the nuts to those contestants who were stuck in the apartment because they didn’t have anywhere to sneak to. Hmm. Hey, remember that time that Kat’s mother reportedly threatened to pull her out of the competition if she wasn’t allowed home visits? (EDIT–it’s been brought to my attention that this was merely an unconfirmed rumor, so I’m deleting it.) Remember when Nigel Lythgoe commented that Katharine was “always on the edge of losing it?” Katharine tells the Post that no one ever knew that she snuck out, but I’m willing to bet that they did, and they let her, because they didn’t want to deal with her having a nervous breakdown on their hands. (That would be bad for business.)

And last but not least, contrary to popular (including my own) belief, Taylor, Katharine and Chris aren’t the only season five Idols to be putting out music these days. Paris Bennett will be releasing a single this Tuesday called “Ordinary Love.” I guess the song’s okay, but what’s going on with female Idol contestants in the recording studio these days? Taylor and Chris both sounded great, but Kat’s sounding tinny and child-like on her songs, and Paris is sounding…just bad. I don’t even think she’s singing her way through this song; it’s more like she’s shouting her notes. Then again, she was always a bit strident when tackling upper-range material; her best performances were when she stayed in her smokey lower range (like “These Foolish Things”). She’s got another song, too, called “Hold Up.” It’s more of a rap, and it’s hilarious, because while the backbeat is actually very hardcore, but the song itself is just…really…bad. Not only is the rhythm off, but singing “I ain’t cereal/you can’t milk me?” Umm…go back to jazz, Paris. We liked you there.

But you know who, by contrast, sounds really, really good–better than he ever did on Idol? Bucky Covington, who has four new songs on his MySpace. Bucky’s CD is being released April 17th, and his first single is called “A Different World.” While his voice is missing the gruffness (well, its kind of there on “American Friday Night”) that I really came to love on Idol (strangely, I think his best performance on the entire show was the little snippet he sang on “Taking Care of Business” during the finale), he undeniably sounds fantastic here.


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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. "
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