Music Video Playlist February 27, 2010

A couple months ago I posted, “A Few Thoughts on Music Videos”, anyway, I just watched a few music videos in succession, and thought I’d post the playlist along with a bit of text commentary if you will.

Here is the playlist:

Brick & Lace – Bad to Di Bone
Pink – Funhouse
Rah Digga – Breakfool
Sugababes – Overload
Sugababes – Run for Cover

I liked the Brick and Lace video for the sole reason the singers Nyanda and Nailah Thorbourne are in it. The video was nothing too special, but Nyanda and Nailah Thorbourne are definitely easy on the eyes! It was the first time I saw the video for that song. It seems it was one of two songs that was released on the re-release of their album that was not on the original Love is Wicked album.

Pink’s video for “Funhouse”, again nothing too spectacular. The video provides imagery that works with lyrical content. I was watching the uncensored version thank you very much! Oh, and Ms Moore is not too bad looking in the video either!

I had never seen the video for Rah Digga’s “Breakfool”. It was nice to see her. It is too bad her album from circa 2004 Everything Is A Story never saw the light of day. The video version I believe is slightly different from the LP version. The video version seems to have more pronounced beats.

The last two, old Sugababes videos from the original line up, and first album. “Overload” being the first singe, and “Run for Cover” the third single. “Overload” is a pretty good video, as it is mostly just the group members singing their respective parts. And assuming it is true to the studio version, we get to see exactly who is singing when, and who is involved in the vocal melodies. “Run for Cover” is not too great, but not a bad early Sugababes track.

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Song Name’s the Same for $200 Alex

So, for the second Song Name’s the Same post, the track is “Girl”, a version done by Destiny’s Child, and a version done by Beck.

Starting with the Destiny’s Child version.

I like the intro, it sounds like it is going to be a promising track. For the most part it is. I kind of feel the weak aspect is Michelle Williams singing the bridge. Not that she doesn’t have a good voice, but as her solo material would suggest, it is more suited towards gospel material.

I’d have to say I prefer the Beck song with the same title. The Beck track was written and produced by The Dust Brothers, while the Destiny’s Child song was written by a slew of people, including the group itself, Rodney Jerkins, Patrick Douthit, etc. The latter producing alongside Beyoncé.

Both tracks were singles, and released in 2005. March 16 for the Destiny’s Child one, and July 4 for Beck. The album “Girl” appears on for Destiny’s Child, Destiny Fulfilled, aptly titled for their last, was released November 15, 2004. While Guero, where Beck’s appears, was released March 29, 2005.

Beck, the multi-instrumentalist he is, shows off his guitar playing in the track (I am assuming it is him), with some slide elements in there.

Lights – The Listening (LP of the Week)

Look up synthpop in the dictionary, and I think Lights will be pictured! That is not to say she is the only synthpop artist out there, or even the defining one. I am just referring to the fact the synthesizer plays a huge part in her music.

Slowly but surely, she has made a name for herself here in Canada. Of course she is Canadian, Toronto based, although born in Timmins, Ontario, where Shania Twain was.

“Drive my Soul” was her lead single from her self titled debut EP, and is also found on The Listening. After hearing her later singles, it really is not a stand out track, yet it fits well on the album. Her second single, “February Air”, one that continued to aid her rise to fame, has more of a single feel to it. And it characterises her music better.

“Ice” is a track that brings back the day when the synthesizer was the primary weapon of choice in music. However with the slick production of today, and her voice, keeps it current. As is the case with some elements from “Second Go”. For example the element used a few times briefly (for example about 12 seconds in) and the hand clap sounding sample used in the background. Ice being one of my favourite tracks on the album. I like the bridge how she sings quickly, and she ends it singing “ice ice baby!”. I wonder if that was intentional or not!

Some slower tracks take a little getting used to, yet still for the most part satisfy. And are probably necessary in this sort of album, although I have no doubt an album filled with all up tempo and catchy numbers would have worked. However since she is the primary songwriter, with writing credits on all tracks rounded out by either Thomas Salter or Dave Thomson, I do not have any qualms! The title track, “The Listening”, fits nicely in between, a well done mid tempo track.

Second Canadian LP of the week in a row, and second quality debut in a row! I am thinking of actually trying to post weekly too!

Basia Bulat February 12 L’Astral, Montreal

This was the first time I saw Basia live. I had been listening to her debut, Oh, My Darling, for quite some time. So upon hearing she had a new album on the way, and was going to be in town for a show, well, it was a no brainer.

Basia, and her band took the stage to applause. She started playing right away with the title track from her new album, Heart of My Own. Seconds into it, I was already impressed. She has a really great voice that is not as obvious solely listening to her album. I have not heard the new album yet, I did purchase it there, so I am looking forward to it (future LP of the week surely!), “Heart of My Own” is a very good song. And I can tell it will be a quality album from the selections she played from it. Not to mention all the favourable reviews I am already seeing.

I knew Basia was very fond of the autoharp. I did not not realise how much of a multi instrumentalist she is. Acoustic guitar for much of the show, semi acoustic I believe too (hey, I’m no musician myself, although I do want to learn guitar among others!), hammered harp, and ukulele. Of course this in addition to her great voice and writing very good songs.

She broke a string on her acoustic, and had to improvise, that was when she broke out the ukulele. She played “Before I Knew” with the Ukelele. It had the crowd keeping the rhythm with hand claps.

Her brother Bobby Bulat is on drums. The playing of “Snakes and Ladders” and later on, “I Was a Daughter”, both from her debut had my feet getting busy. She also went into some sad songs that still had people excited! Note, Basia had a good sense of humour, and to hear Basia sing, regardless of the song style is a treat.

The show ended with “I Was A Daughter”, before Basia, et. al. came back on stage very quickly before very enthusiastic applause had ended.

The encore ended with her doing an acoustic track, and finally a song she used to start shows with, however now ends with it. It was one without a microphone and just her vocals without accompaniment, save for her well timed boot tapping, and hand claps.

Very very worthwhile concert. I highly recommend checking her out on upcoming tourdates. She’ll be doing a couple dates in the Midwest, in Chicago and Minneapolis, along with western Canada. And more US dates, playing South by Southwest, and the eastern US.

Tour dates can be found at her official website, basiabulat.com. And check her out on Myspace.

Shakira – She Wolf

Shakira returns with her fourth album, that is since she became a global star, and sixth overall. There is no escaping the first single, “She Wolf”, well, that is to say it is a love or hate track. And I quite enjoy it.

Four tracks were produced by The Neptunes, and co written by Mr. Pharell Williams (tracks 2 – 5). John Hill (of The Apples in Stereo fame, and also a major producer/songwriter for Santigold’s debut) and Sam Endicott of The Bravery are the ones that helped write “She Wolf”, while Hill helped produce. As is the case with “Men in This Town”.

The album is fairly eclectic, from the calypso elements of “Good Stuff” to the rock tinged “Mon Amour”. “Gypsy” does a good job of sounding like you may expect a song with that title would. Well, hard to really know what to expect, however it sounds like it fits well regardless.

After several listens, many tracks have been stuck in my head on numerous occasions. The very catchy “Did it Again”. “Men in This Town” with dance beats, unique delivery of the chorus, and the bridges with slight vocal modification ending with almost video game like sounds, does not disappoint. The Wyclef collaborated effort, “Spy” is another good example.

The Spanish version of “Did It Again”, “Why Wait”, and “She Wolf” all to a very good job of replicating the English version. I assume it is that order. Jorge Drexler helps out with the Spanish songwriting.

The All Music review sums it up well, the album “is giddily addicting”!

Music on Television this Week

Music on television this week. I’ll try to make a point of posting this every week, and adding to it. Personal picks are in bold.

Monday February 8

The Bravery on Jimmy Kimmel (not live)
Paolo Nutini on Last Call with Carson Daly

Tuesday February 9

Sade on The Late Show with David Letterman
Regina Spektor on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Matisyahu on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien
The XX on Last Call with Carson Daly

Wednesday February 10

Allison Moorer on The Late Show with David Letterman
The Editors on Jimmy Kimmel
Anya Marina on Last Call with Carson Daly
Michael Buble on Ellen

Thursday February 11

Kenna and Franz Ferdinand on Last Call with Carson Daly

Friday February 12

Dashboard Confessional on Jimmy Kimmel
Selena Gomez on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Saturday February 13

Them Crooked Vultures on Austin City Limits

Annie – Don’t Stop review

I am on only the third listen of Annie’s sophomore effort, however it is growing on me very quickly.

After really enjoying her self titled debut, the first listen was almost a little disappointing, or weird anyway, as I was expecting it to sound similar.

For starters, I am happy it has been released, and especially on a non major label (Smalltown Supersound). She was on Island (owned by Universal), however she “never felt they were that positive” to her ideas (from her Myspace blog).

In an interview with Elle, she said “I’m happier with the melodies and lyrics on this one.” I may not have thought of it so much in that light, but I do agree with what Erin Clements wrote to introduce the interview, “Don’t Stop, a more polished effort that’s just as much fun as the first, doesn’t disappoint.”

I recall when her debut came out she was pretty big in the underground. I think it is safe to say this could be her breakout album, all while staying popular to the underground. Of course this is a little harder to judge over here in Canada/North America, as she does not receive much rotation, at least not in the same way top 40 receives.

I like how “Hey Annie” starts the album, possibly a reference to her debut where she dropped the lyric “Hey Annie” a fair amount in the catchy “Chewing Gum”.

“I Don’t Like Your Band” feels like it would have fit well onto her debut.

“Songs Remind Me of You” has a distinct synth background, giving it a throwback feel, and has a great melody. It was produced by Richard X, who has produced his fair share of Brit Pop (Sugababes, Rachel Stevens, Alesha Dixon, Róisín Murphy), including Annie’s “Chewing Gum”! Also some sweet M.I.A tracks, “Amazon”, “Hombre”, and “10 Dollar” from Arular. Don’t Stop leaked in 2008, and although I did not realise it did, “Songs Remind Me of You” seems to have been well reviewed, as that was one of the first tracks revealed from the new album in 2008.

Upon reading the BBC review (I normally read reviews after I write mine, so as to not plagiarise, or copy any ideas, mostly unintentionally, but still), I read that “My Love is Better” was produced by Xenomania. It actually was supposed to have featured vocals from Girls Aloud (a prominent UK girl group), but it did not end up so in the end. I would have liked to have heard that version, and compared with the one that made the album.

Xenomania have also produced a fair amount of Brit Pop, so, with Girls Aloud on my mind, I felt “Loco”, also Xenomania produced, had a very Girls Aloud feel to it. “When the Night”, and “Heaven and Hell” are the other Xenomania produced tracks.

Overall, a very poppy, catchy, well produced album. I can’t really see why the major label would not have been interested in releasing it, hard to tell with them, I suppose it must be there is more than one good song! I’m kidding, as I do like a lot of major label releases. Seems the person who was representing her left to work at EMI UK, and the new person did not understand Annie. At least it was not an album that ended up in limbo.

The All Night EP continues with the album, containing the singles, “I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me”, and “Anthonio”.

Shiloh – Picture Imperfect (LP of the Week)

A surprisingly very good album from the 16 year old Canadian. I say surprisingly for the fact she is 16 years old.

As a whole this album is very solid, something I don’t think a one Ms. Lavigne could say about her debut (okay, I am a little biased, but I think she improved over time), and she was 17/18 when it was recorded and released. From the semi-serious third single, “Alright”, and “You’re Not Alone”, to the serious “I Remember” to the playful and catchy “Goodbye, You Suck”, Shiloh does a very honourable job performing all the styles and emotions.

“Strong Enough to Cry” is a slow paced almost ballad like song, yet executed well.

Like Shiloh said in a Youtube video, the album really isn’t one genre. Well it is for the most part a pop album, however “Operator (A Girl Like Me)” is heavily tinged in ska. “Get to You” has a fair amount of pop punk in it.

“Raise a Little Hell Now” is a good track that is a fun track as it sounds. I could not see it being a single for her, as it does not quite have the catchiness of her other two catchy ones (the singles), and has hell in the title. That does not mean it is not as good though. Also,
“Fight” is a positive kind of fight song.

With a quality debut under her belt, I’m looking forward to seeing what her future holds.