Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Move With Me

Song: Move With Me
Artist: Neneh Cherry
Album: Homebrew

From the start I loved Neneh Cherry. Her debut single, “Buffalo Stance” back in 1989 sounded like the future to me. It was hip-hop, but her smart, confident female voice was something different in an era of MC Hammer, Candyman, & Biz Markie. Her debut album, “Raw Like Sushi” must have been a surprise hit back then. It certainly wasn’t safe and didn’t fit into the pop landscape of the time. Yet there was no denying the catchiness of “Stance” or follow up single “Kisses on the Wind.”

Cherry was born in Stockholm, Sweden in the mid-sixties, daughter of a West African percussionist and artist, raised in Sweden and New York City by her mother and step father, jazz figure Don Cherry. She relocated to London after dropping out of school at fourteen and joined such varied bands as the Slits, the Nails, the Cherries, Rip Rig & Panic, and their spin off group, Float Up CP. But it wasn’t until she hooked up, both musically and romantically, with Cameron McVey (AKA Booga Bear.) Together they co-wrote much of what would comprise “Raw Like Sushi.”

Despite the hit songs, and the world waiting to see what she would do next, Neneh was sidelined with Lyme disease and it would not be until 1992 that she would release her sophomore album “Homebrew.” The album is an eclectic mix of trip-hop, dub, jazz, you name it… this kitchen sink style album, while much more quiet than her debut, is Cherry’s definitive statement, and one of the best albums of the 90’s. This time Neneh acted as chief songwriter, collaborating with Lenny Kravitz (who is rumored to be the subject of the biting “Buddy X”,) Michael Stipe, Gang Starr, as well as writing and production help from Geoff Barrow of Portishead. It is too varied to be placed in any one category, but it is a musical journey well worth taking.

I first heard “Move With Me,” in dub remix form on the Until The End of the World Soundtrack. It was only then that I realized that Cherry indeed had made a follow up to “Sushi.” The song is pure trip-hop with a cinematic open-spaces vibe. Lyrically it is more straight-forward than a lot of her work, yet it is very smart and emotional, balancing the sometimes cold aspects at the essence of trip hop.

It would be another four years until Cherry released the European only “Man” in 1996. That album was a flat out disappointment, especially after the high of “Homebrew.” She has yet to release another follow up, instead working with a variety of collaborators as vocalist and co-writer, with such artists as Timo Maas, Speech of Arrested Development, The The, One Giant Leap, Groove Armada, Pulp, Gorillaz, and most recently, Stockholm’s the Teddybears.

Neneh is an amazing artist and I really hope she puts together a new album in the future.


Monday, October 30, 2006

That's Just What You Are

Song: That's Just What You Are
Artist: Aimee Mann
Album: I'm With Stupid

I love Aimee Mann. Formerly of ‘Til Tuesday, Mann went solo and released her debut album “Whatever” in 1993. While I knew “Voices Carry,” the most popular ‘Til Tuesday song, it was not until the release of the “Magnolia” Soundtrack in 2000 featuring her songs (which inspired the stories from the film) that I really took notice. That soundtrack, as well as “Bachelor No. 2” also released that year, comprise my favorite of Mann work although I have also enjoyed her aforementioned debut and its follow up, 1996’s “I’m With Stupid.”

Despite mediocre sales, Mann has continued on releasing albums of pitch-perfect folk-pop songs. While I have liked some more than others, with Mann there is bound to be a couple gems no matter what.

“That’s Just What You Are” was a mild hit from “I’m With Stupid” and is one of my favorite songs. Included on the Melrose Place soundtrack (?!?!) the song perfectly illustrated Mann’s songwriting prowess. She literally amazes me sometimes with the way she chooses words that fit her melodies while still being smart and relate to the theme of the song. Her words coast on the hooks of her tunes so effortlessly. Just amazing.

The defining moment of Mann’s career was probably her nomination for an Academy Award in 2000 for “Save Me” from the Magnolia Soundtrack. She of course lost, as the song was not a hit anywhere, but it fits the bill in my book what a Best Song Oscar is all about. I literally can not hear it without thinking of its placement at the end of the film, perfectly summarizing everything the characters had been leading up to until that point. Beautiful.

If you like this, start with that Soundtrack or “Bachelor No. 2.” Both excellent.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Wind it Up

Song: Wind it Up
Artist: Gwen Stefani
Album: Sweet Escape

Sounds like a mash up of "Milkshake," "My Humps," and well... I guess "Hollaback Girl." Gwen's got a new single, which seemed to come out of nowhere, with another album coming out in December. It's got yodeling and the lyrical weight of, well... "Hollaback Girl."

I actually absolutely loved Gwen's solo debut, "Love, Angel, Music, Baby" and monster hit "Hollaback" aside, it contained some of the best 80's influenced pop I'd heard since that became cool again. Semi-ballads "Cool" and "The Real Thing" felt like lost classics to me, which I assume is exactly what she was going for.

While "Wind it Up" seems to be going for the urban market, and biting a style she semi-created, I still look forward to the new album, as I am sure it is bound to hold a surprise or two that will elevate things from the Fergie level that I feel this song is on. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.)


Friday, October 27, 2006


Song: Lovelight
Artist: Robbie Williams
Album: Rudebox

Lately it seems that the joy of creating music has been somehow lost. With the decline in record sales, artists are being asked to create the perfect songs and perfect albums that sell, sell, sell. Art doesn’t really work that way and many a good artists or bands bend under this pressure and implode while facing the daunting task o following up a hugely successful album. I am reminded of Coldplay, whose last album, “X & Y” was built for commercial and artistic success. I read countless articles about how hard Chris Martin & Co. worked on creating the perfect album. And while I enjoyed parts of “X & Y,” in the end I found it to be a disappointment, trying to be too much for too many people and while a song like “Fix You” was built to be the next “Scientist” and pull all the right strings, it comes across as too constructed, too… perfect.

Given the massive success Robbie Williams has had in the beginning of his solo career, the pessimist would say he was heading for this as well. I fell in love with Robbie when he released his first State side offering, “The Ego Has Landed.” I really liked everything that he was doing, until his last two albums. Starting with “Escapeology,” the first album under his record breaking 80 Million Pound deal with EMI, it was built to be a huge success. It had to be. It might have been the pressure of 80 Million Pounds (Hello Dave Chapelle!), or the fact that this was the first album without the complete help of long time co-writer Guy Chambers, but “Escapeology” was very flat to me, jumping from style to style in a way I found very distracting, a complaint that had dogged his albums in the past yet one I found refreshing… because I thought they still worked, until now. Even worse was last year’s “Intensive Care” which again showed Robbie trying to be everything for everyone. Both of these releases are not without a couple good songs, and lead singles “Feel” and “Tripping” are some of my favorites of his.

And now, rather quickly after “Intensive Care” we have “Rudebox,” his sixth album of original material. It is by far the messiest, silliest, and most out-there thing this king of pop has done. And it’s his best record in years. Done on the quick, “Rudebox” has an anything goes feel to it. Robbie basks in some of his goofier tendencies, rapping on several tracks in a variety of accents, reasons unknown. It is going to be proof positive for a lot of people that he has lost his touch but I disagree, from the first couple listens I was immediately drawn to it as it seems for the first time in a long time, Robbie is actually having fun. A lot of the songs are hands down ridiculous, but the breezy air makes it all the more enjoyable. Thankfully, we don’t have an “Angels” re-tread that he seems to think he needs every album. Sure “Angels” has been by far his most popular song, but like Coldplay’s “Fix You,” songs like “Advertising Space,” “Better Man,” and “Something Beautiful” can’t overcome “Angels.” You can’t keep re-writing a popular song, you’ve got to do something different.

Different is all over “Rudebox” and I completely expect people to dislike a lot of it. But the rushed anything-goes vibe is refreshing to me, and I just simply enjoy these songs this time around. An 80’s loving electro-pop album that mines the past to make pop of the future. “Lovelight” is what George Michael has been doing on his last couple of releases, while “We Are The Pet Shop Boys” sounds like… well, the Pet Shop Boys (With backing vocals by PSB’s Neil Tennant.) “Bongo Bong And Je Ne T'aime Plus” manages to be more ridiculous than “Escapeology’s” “Me And My Monkey” and sure to be sighted as a low point in his career. Yet when he sings “I’m the king of the bongo baby” it makes me smile… this is Robbie having a blast and not taking himself (or that 80 Million Pounds) seriously. On “The Actor” he randomly names actors, “Streep, Close, Burt Reynolds, Joaquin , Joaquin, Joaquin, Joaquin.” It’s so silly… I love it.

This is not a record for everyone, but if you want to just buckle up and enjoy a very British electro-pop ride, “Rudebox” has your ticket.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Don't Rewind

Song: Don't Rewind
Artist: Barbara Manning
Album: One Perfect Green Blanket

Barbara Manning is a sort of indie-er Liz Phair. She’s a woman comfortable enough to follow her own muse and jump from band to band (More than eight in total.) Born in San Diego and raise in Northern California, Manning is most notable for her work with the SF Seals and solo albums. Her most well known work is her “debut” solo record “Lately I Keep Scissors,” a lo-fi indie-pop masterpiece that bristled with equal parts feminine charm and creepy personal psychological analysis. It’s a trip, and one of my favorite records.

“Don’t Rewind” is taken from the long-for-an-EP, EP “One Perfect Green Blanket” which was released on Heyday partnered with “Scissors.” It’s a great double bill that works together, which couldn’t be said of some of her subsequent releases. Like Phair, Manning’s personal confessional lyrics invite the listener to places that some of our best friends wouldn’t ask us to go, questioning life, herself, and the world around. “Brave” hardly describes her songwriting.

I am also a fan of her 1997 Matador release “1212” which stands for her birthday (Dec. 12th) and also the police code for fire. The album has references (and sound effects) of burning, metaphorically of course. The production is way more polished than on “Blanket/Scissors.” It’s one of the strangest records I own, the type that isn’t strange just to be strange, you realize Manning is quite serious, which makes it all the more interesting and frankly, scary.

I recommend her highly, hadn’t listened in quite some time but was happy to pull the album from the cabinet and take a long lost listen. After some research I realize she’s released some more records since those that I have, I might just have to check them out.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Song: Oversleeping
Artist: I'm From Barcelona
Album: Let Me Introduce My Friends

The internet has had such an impact on the record business with changes happening it seems almost every day. First we had Napster, now we have MySpace. People are using the internet to obtain music legally and illegally, and like it or not, the times are changing, sales are dropping, and the question on everyone’s mind is “What’s next?”

I have given much thought to downloading music, the ethics of this, and what it means for the artists making and performing music. I do download music (both legally and illegally) and feel okay about this. I love that I can read about a band or new artist, download a few songs, have them live on my iPod for a while and then decide if I want to buy the album. See, in the past, a record label could introduce a band or artist with a great single, and load the rest of the record with mediocre to awful filler. They would get tons of album sales, but the consumer ends up being disappointed in the end. Is downloading a good way to help the consumer sift the gold from the crap?

Hands down sharing music hurts record sales and the record business. And with the way technology is now, sharing music is as easy as it can possibly get. Buy a CD, rip and burn it for all your friends so they don’t have to. Can’t wait for the new album from your favorite band to come out? Good chance it has leaked to a peer-to-peer site, or a leaked album website. At this point, if it exists it’s probably out there. (Recently the highly awaited new Shins album got leaked… and it is not set to be released until January!)

I can understand how maddening this must be for an artist, especially after doing so much work and prep to release something new, to work towards a specific date, only to have the entire thing blown because everyone you expect to buy your record already has it downloaded. It seems quite impossible for release dates to stick anymore, especially in our new iPod culture where a CD isn’t even played anymore, just ripped to iTunes and therefore available as a file that can easily be copied and distributed.

But what about the upside of internet music sharing? Bands such as the Artic Monkey’s were literally able to become huge overnight through a site like MySpace. By simply writing catchy songs that people liked they went from teenagers who play in a band to touring the world. No need to hustle yourself to a record label who probably won’t listen to your demo anyhow, or will make judgments (by committee) that they wouldn’t know how to market you. With the internet you can literally write songs, upload, and try to get a buzz happening… which can sometimes take on a life of its own. Soon you could go from writing songs in your basement to playing for an audience, skipping the middle man and red tape of corporate (or indie) record labels.

I’m From Barcelona (who are from Sweden, btw) are an example of just this. According to their MySpace page, lead Emanuel Lundgren simply wrote some pop songs, gathered his friends and recorded an album. He then organized all of these friends to get together and perform the songs live as a one time only affair, only to have the word grow, the songs downloaded from the internet, and suddenly he had a record deal and an album climbing the charts. This is how I heard of the band, and have been really enjoying the songs I have been able to find, “Oversleeping” being my favorite. I plan on purchasing the album next chance I get.

So what is wrong with that? Because of the internet I am able to discover something new and different that someone is doing and wouldn’t have without it. I have always been a mix tape guy, giving them as gifts or presents from when I was in my teens. And I know for a fact that based on these mixes, people have gone out and bought the album from a band or artist they hadn’t heard of. Shouldn’t that be what music is all about? Thanks to blogs (fortunately or unfortunately more popular than wecastmusic) new bands, some completely unsigned, are getting exposure simply because they are being talked about and offering up a free download.

The internet is the new radio. FM has been high jacked by corporations that are being paid to play certain music and determine what you listen to. Because of this, satellite, podcasts, and internet radio stations have popped up because people do not want to be told what to listen to by someone in marketing; they want to do things their way. The internet is putting music back in the hands of the people.

As someone that understands art and what it is to be an artist and try to make a living from it, I do realize that if you make a product, you don’t want it stolen. But how much of a product is music supposed to be? If I was an upstart musician I would first and foremost want people to hear my music, and build a fan base from there. But everyone wants to make money, and nobody wants to be cheated. Though I think that as a musician you should be playing live and working for your audience. Artists that tour make their money there, vs. record sales. It is really the record label people shaking in their boots from you stealing music because that is how they make their money, yet I know for a fact that record label people don’t buy a lot of records, they um… share them with each other, their friends at other labels. (the original peer-to-peer service.)

In the end, when I hear superstar musicians complain about loosing record sales from downloading, my argument comes down to this; the lifestyle difference is so unbelievably different how does someone like me that needs to budget my record and concert going, care if your annual income is $2 Million instead of $3 Million, or $35 Million instead of $40 Million, or $100 Million instead of $150 Million? We get to watch you re-enact a devil-may-care spendthrift lifestyle in music videos while we work fifty hours a week to buy your latest product. This is of course is a generalization, but the truth is that working musicians, once they have the audience are making so much more money than the people that support them it does not seem quite right. Sure, there will always be the rich and there will always be the poor. But when you rely on those poor people to spend their hard earned money on your concerts etc, doesn’t it seem like you should cut them a bit of a break? And who makes the decision that being a musician who gets to tour the world, see new cultures and places, and live a pretty cushy lifestyle is more important than the bus driver that gets your kids to school, or the butcher that cuts your meat? They’re the ones making your career happen; shouldn’t they get some free music too?


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

All Will Be Fine

Song: All Will Be Fine
Artist: Small Sins
Album: Small Sins

This past Saturday I saw the Scissor Sisters at the Manhattan Ballroom on 34th Street. An odd but rather nice venue, the show was killer, and I really enjoyed the opening band “Small Sins.” They hail from Toronto, and are a “band” as much as Nine Inch Nails is a band. Like NIN, Small Sins is really one guy, Thomas D'Arcy, who wrote and performed everything on their self titled debut record. He tours with four other guys live, who happened to all wear white pants and white t-shirts. Sort of a minimal gimmick, but they are trying… and it works.

Small Sins sound a lot like the Postal Service, keyboard-based emo with less guitars but remaining melancholy. They rocked a bit more live than they do on record, which seems to be something D’Arcy admits as read on their MySpace page. Although I saw a few fans that have listed that as a complaint. I like the songs I have heard and am interested in the record as a whole. “All Will Be Fine” has stuck out from these that I heard, and yet I can’t seem to match any of these songs with the ones I heard live. Although I am sure they played that one. I do remember thinking that the next to last song was really great and then the final was a little bit of a letdown. Regardless, I quite enjoyed them, enough to research them a little.

I was really excited to see the Scissors new live show since getting the new record and they did not disappoint. They unfortunately could not get their main stage centerpiece, a large wood faux-elevator (from Ta-Dah’s cover) into the venue because (ironically as Ana Matronic pointed out) it didn’t fit in the elevator! Their set list was a good mix of old and new, all the hits, with only some favorite album tracks missing. The entire show was very energetic and the crowd was just loving it. Standouts include “Land of 1,000 Words” which came across better than on the album, and Ana’s “Kiss You Off” which live sounded like the great lost Pat Benatar song that it seemed to want to be. The biggest standout to me was “Comfortably Numb” though. While I have seen them probably over twenty times and each time they perform that song, they really brought the house down. They just know how to do it.

What I really took from the concert though was how much the Scissor Sisters care about their fans and the community that they have created. They waved hellos to the familiar faces in the crowd and welcomed the new ones. And thank you thank you Ana Matronic for getting the crowd to realize that the fun is where you make it. “This might be the best party you’ve ever been to, but it’s up to you. We just provide the soundtrack” she said about half way through the show. One of many fun and great things she and Jake bounced off each other all night. If you haven’t seen the Sisters live yet, I urge you to. It might be the best party of your life.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Can't Get Enough

Song: Can't Get Enough
Artist: Infadels
Album: We Are Not The Infadels

The Infadels are yet another London based indie-dance-rock act currently burning up the charts in their home country. I fell for “Can’t Get Enough” early this summer and am pleasantly surprised with their full album, “We Are Not the Infadels.” They write very catchy pub rock (a la Keiser Chiefs) with a more dance music spin. Shouldn’t surprise me, but the album is not currently available in the U.S. and from what I could find, there is no U.S. release date set. Their sound is very British, and I suppose if the new Robbie Williams record isn’t being released here, what chance to the Infadels have?

I like this record though, and “Can’t Get Enough” is a killer track.


Friday, October 20, 2006

No Complaints

Song: No Complaints
Artist: Beck
Album: The Information

While I was a little unsure when I first heard two tracks off the album, after spending a little over two weeks with it, I am once again in love with Beck’s latest album. “The Information” has been in the works since 2003, so some of these songs date further back than the tunes on last year’s “Guero.” Produced by Nigel Godrich, who helmed the more acoustic-folk albums “Mutations” and “Sea Change,” the album was intended as “Beck’s hip-hop record,” though the final result can only be described as typical Beck. Song styles change from song to song and sometimes within a single song.

What has struck me with this new record is how much Beck has grown as a songwriter. While I adore his early very popular albums “Mellow Gold” and “Odelay,” the lyrics seemed to be nonsensical filler that just fit best for the music behind them. Beck always understood how words needed to flow together, but it seems now that he is not just putting words together because they sound good next to each other, he is taking things a step further and making it all MEAN something. This is partly while I thought “Guero” was such a milestone, a real jump in his song-craft. I can’t say that I like “The Information” better than “Guero,” not even close, but slowly certain songs are really getting my attention.

“No Complaints” has recently stood out as a highlight on the album, and the perfect breezy pop-ish confection to have you sail into a pleasant weekend. I love the whistling, and the fun strummy vibe. Lines like “No complaints but it's harder to believe in the truth” are a good example of the idea for the record. “The Information” specifically takes aim at the flood of information we are subjected to these days, and how it is effecting us. I haven’t quite deciphered what Beck’s conclusion is as I’m just too busy enjoying these songs for just how much fun they are. Other album highlights include “I Think I’m in Love,” “Strange Apparition,” “We Dance Alone,” and “The Information.”

This is an album you need to go out and buy for a few reasons… first, it’s very good, and if you like Beck even a little you won’t be disappointed. Second, it has some of the most ingenious packaging I’ve seen in some time. The CD cover is a blank booklet on tech paper and includes six pages of stickers for you to design and make your own cover. Also included is a DVD with low budget music videos made for EVERY song on the record. They’re silly, simple, and seem to be made specifically for stoners, but I am so glad they are included… and something you can’t get if you download the album. Go buy it! (And the album is not more expensive because of this, got mine at Tower (R.I.P.!) for $9.99.)

While this may mean I am just a super-fan, to me Beck has yet to release a “proper” album that I haven’t liked. Scratched that… LOVED. I am happy that he seems to no longer be just trying to make genre records. While one could argue that this made them more distinctive, I think it was also limiting as Beck is about much more than that. From his start with “Mellow Gold” he’s been about fusing many styles and watching how they bounce off each other with deft skill. With “Guero” and now “the Information” he is broadening his pallet to simply make Beck records, where anything can go at anytime. While I can appreciate the sustained mood of sad-sack “Sea Change” or even the party funk of “Midnight Vultures,” I like when things are a bit more unpredictable.

And while I think that “The Information” is another great Beck record, I must say I have been very frustrated with reviews of the album from the media mostly because they seem to have decided this is the Beck record to champion, and in turn call it a return to form after the “disappointing” “Guero.” (Which I still think is his best.) I don’t understand how or why this happens as they mostly seem to be all on the same page. (Did they get a marketing plan form his record label that I didn’t?) This is specifically annoying because at the time of its release “Guero” was met with good to extremely positive reviews. Oh well, I need to let this go and stop trying to push “Guero” on people. May it be the last time I mention it! (Good luck with that.)


Here is an example of one of the videos on the DVD:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Black Gown

Song: Black Gown
Artist: The Lemonheads
Album: The Lemonheads

Remember The Lemonheads? Evan Dando and Co. burst on the scene in the early 90’s first as a punk band, but soon morphed their sound more towards guitar pop, scoring Alternative rock hits such as “Into Your Arms,” “It’s a Shame About Ray,” “Confetti,” and of course their cover of the Simon and Garfunkel’s classic “Mrs. Robinson.” “Into Your Arms” was used in about a hundred and fifty romantic comedies, Mr. Dando was model attractive, not something found often in indie rock, and also had a pretty healthy appetite for heroin. Needless to say, this really sidelined the band. (The heroin mostly.)

In 1996 the band released “Car Button Cloth” which didn’t really make a dent anywhere. In 2003 Evan released a solo album entitled “Baby, I’m Bored” which is an absolutely awful title on many levels, and now we have a brand new Lemonheads record, despite the fact that Evan is the only remaining member from the old band. I’m giving a big “who cares” to that because I think this record is actually pretty good. It’s very much in line with their “It’s a Shame About Ray/Come on Feel The Lemonheads” era which was my favorite part of their history. It feels like 1993 again!

I haven’t really followed Dando and his myriad problems with drugs so I don’t know if he is clean, using, etc. Whatever his state, this self titled album is a return to form, even if it took ten years to get it together.

If you know nothing about the Lemonheads I highly recommend their best of, “The Best Of The Lemon Heads - The Atlantic Years.” It’s a great collection and a good showcase for Dando’s talent… despite the smack.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ooh La La (Benny Benassi Extended Remix)

Song: Ooh La La (Benny Benassi Extended Remix)
Artist: Goldfrapp
Album: We Are Glitter

I can’t quite explain why dance music can be so huge all over the world and yet it has such a hard time getting ground here in the States. For a genre of music to be that big in so many parts of this planet you would be surprised that it has such a small fan base in America, only maintaining small audiences in large cities. (Which are no doubt partly comprised of foreigners.)

So while it was no surprise to me that “Supernature,” the third and best album from UK dance hit-makers Goldfrapp had an almost year-long delay from when it was released overseas to when it came out here, the big surprise is that the remix album, “We Are Glitter,” was simultaneously released yesterday both in Europe and here in America. “Glitter” is a complete re-work of “Supernature” from such varied stars of the remix world as the DFA, Benny Benassi, Alan Braxe & Fred Falke, T. Raumschmiere, & even the Flaming Lips. Like “Supernature,” it bounces from more upbeat club worthy re-imagines of the songs to more stripped down, ambient takes.

“Supernature” by itself is an absolute triumph within the world of electo-dance pop. There have been four chart topping singles from the record in Europe, and it was one of the best reviewed records of the year. For the most part, dance albums are usually comprised of a few good singles and then a LOT of filler, sometimes instrumentals, that really are just an excuse to have a full record of material out. Goldfrapp have never done their albums this way, and after the more trip-hop chill out vibe of their debut, 2000’s “Felt Mountain,” they refined their sound and moved in a more dance-pop direction that saw their second record, 2003’s “Black Cherry” become a huge hit overseas and the single “Strict Machine” become a colossal international hit. Here in the States the best exposure “Strict Machine” got was placement in a few popular car commercials, which, come to think of it is the only way that dance music gets any wide play here in America.

I highly recommend all three of their albums, would probably start with “Supernature” as every song is a keeper. But seek out “Strict Machine” as I am sure you will recognize it from said commercials. I haven’t had much time with “We Are Glitter” but am digging their selections of remixes as some are such departures from the “Supernature” versions it feels like a completely new album. (Not unlike Bjork’s “Post” remix album “Telegram.”) “Glitter” ends with Goldfrapp’s own remix of “Strict Machine,” a version that I have read was used on tour and a fan favorite. (And many were disappointed it never made it onto any of the “Strict Machine” singles.)

“Oh La La” was the lead single from “Supernature” (used in a Coke-a-Cola ad here, the one where the girl drinks a Coke and then cuts her hair short. ???) and Benny Benassi’s remix is a dance floor ready club attack. He kicks up the B.P.M.’s and just lets it go. Very fun. I have also been blown away by the DFA’s epic cowbell infused take on “Slide In.” Although, clocking in at just under thirteen minutes… it’s a pretty big commitment.

My only disappointment is the lack of a great mix of “Number 1,” the last and best song off of “Supernature.” The Alan Braxe & Fred Falke version, previously found on the “Number 1 EP” that was released here in the states just prior to “Supernature,” was the best of that bunch despite being just okay. The new “Mum Remix” also found on “Glitter” is short and forgettable, mostly a stripped down vocal take on the song. The original is so great maybe the prefect remix just isn’t possible.

PLEASE look into Goldfrapp if you like dance-pop at all. I’m seeing them tonight here in the city for the first time, and I will come back with a full report!


And just for fun, here is the AMAZING video for "Number 1:"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Four to the Floor (Thin White Duke Remix)

Song: Four to the Floor (Thin White Duke Remix)
Artist: Starsailor
Album: Four to the Floor, Pt. 1 (Single)

In my opinion it’s pretty rare when a remix surpasses the original work. Maybe it’s because of my pop tendencies, I don’t know, but I find that while I can be down and truly enjoy a killer remix, usually the (for the most part) shorter album or single versions work better on the iPod while going to work, or even in the car. I’m pretty convinced that the majority of remixes are made specifically for people on mind-altering drugs, which is fine I suppose but for the most part, in my life, I am not on mind-altering drugs and therefore don’t need a fifteen-minute extended remix of “Sexyback.” Come to think of it, most music that is made specifically for those under the influence pretty much blows anyhow. (See Pink Floyd)

[And yes I said Pink Floyd. While I can go along with a couple of their tunes for the most part “boring” doesn’t even begin to describe how plodding and uninteresting their music is to me.]

Speaking of boring… the original version of Starsailor’s “Four to the Floor” was absolutely delivered straight from Snore City. The song, taken from their second album “Silence is Easy” released in 2004, is just another woozy shoegazer tune like most of their material. I haven’t heard this whole record, I fell for the positive reviews of the debut, 2002’s “Love is Here” but found it to be consistently boring throughout. Maybe it’s just not my thing. (They have a new album that came out this year as well, although I haven’t heard one song off of it.)

But, as I started to say, along comes the always dependable Thin White Duke to do a remix that truly outshines the original. Maybe because it’s so epic, and really takes you on a journey does it work beyond the basically grounded album version. While it is long(ish) it builds and builds slowly making the lyrics hold more weight than in the wishy-washy original. The song seems to be about a man suddenly understanding his love for a woman while he reflects on the mess his life was, with what he imagines for their future. It’s pretty simple, but with the way this remix is built you feel every word. “I could have it all, whenever you are near.” That’s a great line, sums up love pretty well no?

And, I suppose that this one is pretty good on drugs as well.


Monday, October 16, 2006

You Only Live Once

Song: You Only Live Once
Artist: The Strokes
Album: First Impressions of Earth

The Strokes are a good example of how hype can breath life, and then a quick death for the careers of bands, despite how good or bad they are. When their debut “Is This It” came out in 2001 it was hard NOT to know who The Strokes were. They were at the forefront of a supposed New York resurgence in the rock word (did that ever come to fruition?) and were the poster boys for the “new alternative.” The record was good, they were getting great buzz for their live shows, and they were all cute in a semi put-upon hipster way. There was no place to go but down… and this was just their debut album.

Despite getting on the whole pretty positive reviews when it came out, the follow up, 2003’s “Room on Fire” is now considered a big disappointment, a perfect example of that dreaded sophomore slump. The same magazines and websites that had general good things to say about the record at the time of its release backpedaled when the latest record “First Impressions of Earth” came out earlier this year. That “Earth” was the “return to form” after the “disaster” of “Room on Fire.” I for one find this ridiculous.

“Room on Fire” didn’t sell nearly as well “Is This It,” and I believe that is part of the reason for this revisionist history. While music, film, and literature are art, it is the selling of this art that creates “entertainment” which is then barcoded, sold, tracked, and put into charts that tell us just how successful that particular piece of “art” is. Again, ridiculous. For me “Room on Fire,” while basically a re-tread of the debut, was a better album. I listened to it more, liked the songs better… they didn’t re-invent the wheel but if they had, what would people have said then? It probably would have been a lot worse no doubt.

With “First Impressions of Earth,” after that “disastrous” sophomore record, The Strokes do decide to stretch themselves a bit. A little more 80’s new wave sound (Thank you Killers!) Julian’s voice isn’t distorted as much (or should I say that it is just distorted differently?) there are signs everywhere that they didn’t want do the same old thing again. Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t hold up to the spectacular opener “You Only Live Once.” Somehow in trying to please everyone they lost their way and made their first mediocre record. Don’t get me wrong, it is not bad… and holds a few strong songs but in my opinion is the lesser of the three albums.

I’m not sure what is up next for The Strokes. Their albums have now consistently sold less and less (specifically, “Room” sold half of what “Is This It” sold, and “Earth” has sold less than half of that.) Maybe it will take an “O.K. Computer” style record to change their career path. Something that proves they can write more than just catchy garage rock, but they can create an album with a thematic wholeness to it, something that will outlast the hype that made and now has tried to kill them. I think if they keep thinking in the vein of “You Only Live Once,” they might have a chance.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Embassy Row

Song: Embassy Row
Artist: Pavement
Album: Brighten the Corners

I consider Pavement one of the quintessential indie-rock bands. They road the wave of “alternative” acts that made it big when Nirvana broke, but they stayed close to their indie roots, made Smashing Pumpkin jokes, and aside from the very minor alt radio hit “Cut Your Hair” from 1994’s “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” they never achieved anything above cult status. I think that this was pretty intentional, despite the more pop direction of their last two albums, as for lead singer Stephen Malkmus, indie was a sensibility, as well as way of life.

I got their second album “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” in high school and didn’t really think much of it. I liked “Cut Your Hair,” which was fun… but the rest of the record just didn’t grab me so I ignored the follow up, ‘95’s “Wowee Zowee.” In college, I fell for all the positive reviews and marketing for their next record, ‘97’s “Brighten The Corners.” I really loved the first single, “Shady Lane” and ended up really liking the record quite a bit. Because of this, I went out and got their fabled debut, “Slanted & Enchanted” which just about everyone in modern rock raved about as a modern. After trying desperately to like this record I gave up… thought it was awful, and still do. Oh well.

With “Brighten the Corners” it seemed they had finally kicked the idea of sounding super indie, and raw, or as I like to say… “under-produced.” “Corners” was a bright pop-rock record that retained what I liked best about Pavement, the humorous lyrics and odd song structures, yet they let things sound good, guitars in front, vocals properly recorded, less demo-like. They continued in this vein for what ended up being their final record, 1999’s “Terror Twilight.” Produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck,) “Twilight” is their most cohesive work and in my opinion, a sad testament that they are no longer making records. Malkmus has since released three solo records which I have not heard.

“Embassy Row” from “Brighten the Corners” is one of my favorite songs of theirs. It perfectly illustrates what Pavement is all about, yet also has the more pop sensibility that they were moving towards. There have been recent rumors of a reunion, which we’ll have to wait and see if that manages to come to fruition. In the meantime you’ll have to enjoy the older stuff, which is shockingly ten years old now.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Battle of the Album Covers

This is pretty wild, but a lot of fun.

Oops... I Did it Again

Song: Oops... I Did it Again
Artist: Richard Thompson
Album: 1,000 Years of Popular Music

Richard Thompson is a folk-rock legend. He has been at the forefront of the genre since he started making records in the mid-sixties with Fairport Convention. I will be honest and say that I knew little of him until 1991’s “Rumor and Sigh.” Since getting into that record I got subsequent releases and enjoyed them all. While he is put into the genre of folk, he does write straight out rock songs, sometimes with a country/rockabilly vibe.

“Oops… I Did it Again” comes from his 2003 live album “1,000 Years of Popular Music,” a concert of covers from… well, 1068 A.D. to now. While wink-wink ironic covers are the faves of the indie rock set, and covering Britney Spears has been done before (Travis’ also live, also pretty great “Baby… One More Time”) nothing has been done quite like this, put into this context.

This is by no means the best intro to Mr. Thompson, so here please find him performing one of MY favorite songs he does, “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” live at the Wickham Folk Festival. The song is from the aforementioned “Rumor and Sigh” and really highlights the kind of story teller/songwriter he is.

“Rumor and Sigh” marked the beginning of a three album trilogy with producer Mitchell Froom and engineer Tchad Blake that represent the favorites of what I am familiar with of his work. That album is a great place to start, but “Mirror Blue” and the sprawling double album “You? Me? Us?” are also pretty amazing.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Song: Hallelujah
Artist: Willie Nelson
Album: Songbird

My parents were really into Willie Nelson while I was growing up so I have a certain amount of nostalgic fondness for the man and his music. He was, and remains, and oddball within the genre of country. Never fitting the red state mentality of the majority of country artists, Willie has always been a hippie at heart. A very vocal supporter and user of bio-diesel as well as umm… “the herb” Willie unfortunately is known more as a personality rather than the amazing songwriter that he is.

Now in his fifth decade as a writer and performer, Willie has been responsible for some very important songs throughout his career. His “Always on My Mind” remains the definitive version of the song, his “Crazy” gave Patsy Cline the biggest jukebox song of all time (although I am not 100% sure if that record still stands.) He has consistently been recording and touring throughout his career and remains, despite being a little “different” a true country legend.

“Songbird,” produced by prolific indie rock staple Ryan Adams comes out at the end of this month. It is mostly covers, with one track written by Adams for the album, as well as two originals from Willie. It’s a great moody record that seems like vintage Nelson, more in line with his 70’s output than anything recent.

“Hallelujah,” as always, is just beautiful. I say always because this is now the fifth version of this song I have and the third to come out in the last four years. Leonard Cohen’s song was first covered by Jeff Buckley on his modern classic “Grace,” then by Rufus Wainwright for the Shrek Soundtrack, and most recently by k.d. lang for her covers record “Hymns of the 49th Parallel.” Rufus’ remains my favorite, more so because I just love his voice, but all the others are very good as well.

If you like “Stardust” era Willie I would very much recommend “Songbird.”


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Wicked Little Town (Hedwig Version)

Song: Wicked Little Town (Hedwig Version)
Artist: The Breeders
Album: Wig in a Box: Songs From and Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch

This weekend saw the release of the film “Shortbus” written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell, who created, Directed, and starred in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” I haven’t had a chance to see the film yet, but it is getting buzz for its controversial use of real sex within the story. It blurs the line between what is considered pornography and what is considered art.

“Hedwig” has slowly built a Rocky Horror type of cult following since it debuted on Broadway. I must say that I didn’t get all the way through the film, just wasn’t digging it, and never saw the stage production. Alas, I was given a copy of the Hedwig tribute album, “Wig in a Box” which has many killer bands and singers covering the songs from the show. With just diverse artists as Cyndi Lauper, Frank Black, Imperial Teen, Rufus Wainwright, Yoko Ono, and Bob Mould, the album is as eclectic as the subject matter. I fell in love with this record and have meant to go back and try watching the film once again, just haven’t done so yet.

The Breeders were one of my favorite bands in high school, and while they haven’t released much music since then, there are highlights. This includes “Wicked Little Town” a quiet, haunting song that I find to be quite beautiful. Kim Deal’s raspy voice really works on this song, which can work against her in some of her original material.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Run 4 Cover

Song: Run 4 Cover
Arist: Basement Jaxx
Album: Crazy Itch Radio

Basement Jaxx are comprised of production duo Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton. They met in the late 90’s and began creating house anthems that quickly garnered attention from all areas of the dance underground both in Europe and here in the States. After a single from one of their early EP’s (“Flylife”) became a top 20 hit in England in mid-1997, they were courted by every major label for their debut. Ultimately signing to indie XL Recordings, “The Jaxx” put out their debut record, “Remedy” in 1999.

I purchased “Remedy” in my last year of college just as I was beginning to start DJing parties. I hadn’t gotten into techno, didn’t know what “house” music was, actually aside from L.A. Style’s record, I didn’t get a techno record until Fatboy Slim’s breakthrough “You’e Come A Long Way Baby.” “Remedy” was a revelation to me as I honestly had never heard anything like it before. The States aren’t as big into dance music as they are in Europe so without going out and buying these records, you can’t really hear them. Songs such as “Red Alert,” “Bingo Bango,” and “Rendez-Vu” careened at such break-neck speed, but beyond that, each song was something new, exciting, and completely modern and fresh.

Subsequent albums proved just as innovated and better yet, good from start to finish. It’s odd to have a dance outfit have much more than a few great singles. The Jaxx actually made great dance ALBUMS. I would recommend all of them.

This month saw the release of their fourth full length album, “Crazy Itch Radio.” I must admit, this record has not blown me away. I suppose I have come to expect them to re-invent dance music with each new release which is admittedly unfair. There have been a few tracks I have really liked off this record but it doesn’t seem to be the track for track blockbuster that they have been able to accomplish with their last three albums. Despite this, I am having a hard time picking which track to highlight. After going back and forth I’ve decided to select “Run 4 Cover” which is their “Grime” song. (One of the things that is remarkable about them is how they seem to be able to tackle any genre, and make a killer song out of it.) “Run 4 Cover” does showcase what the Jaxx are all about, very British non-stop noise, and a beat you can not resist.

I suppose it might be best to start with last year’s “The Singles” collection if you are really interested in Basement Jaxx, which includes their pre-XL singles, as well as all the hits from the first three albums. If you like this at all you’ll love that entire collection.

This one will keep you moving all weekend.


Thursday, October 05, 2006


Song: Kelly
Artist: Van She
Album: Van She EP

Not yet on their debut album, Sydney's Van She take everything you remember from the 80's and whip it together for some fun forward-thinking pop. This is the only song I've heard from them but by the sounds of it... might be a band you'll be hearing more from in the future.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

That I Would Be Good

Song: That I Would Be Good
Artist: Alanis Morissette
Album: Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie

While The Scissor Sisters and The Killers have beaten the sophomore slump artistically, sales are another matter, and mean more it seems to the media than actual quality. Two acts, Alanis Morissette and Hootie And The Blowfish came out with their debut albums around the same time, has massive success, and then a massive crash & burn.

Looking back it seems darn near impossible that Hootie sold 10.1 million copies of their debut, “Cracked Rear View,” an absolutely amazing amount of records to sell. Their follow up, “Fairweather Johnson” did remarkably worse, selling just over 2.3 million copies. To be fair, as record sales are hurting right now, many albums with that figure would have been considered a hit, but not then. In Hootie’s case, I think they didn’t have much more to say, cranked out another disc of the same-sounding stuff and people just weren’t up for a second helping. They have since watched their sales drop to nothing with subsequent and the lead singer starred in a Burger King commercial. Ouch.

Like most enormous hit debut albums, nobody saw Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” coming. That monster sold 14.5 million copies and scored several hit songs. She was labeled as the voice of a new generation, garnered a huge fan-base, and after an extensive world tour, the public wanted more. To her credit, the single “Uninvited,” despite not having the catchy hooks (or melody at all) of “Pill” was a huge success and helped the “City of Angels” soundtrack become a hit.

Possibly because she felt like she could do no wrong, or really felt the pressure of following up a 14.5 million selling album, the official follow up, “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie” was a colossal mess. The first single, “Thank U” failed to have much spark, and neither did subsequent attempts at a hit. The album was overlong, oddly sequenced, but mostly was missing the killer hooks and angst that fueled her debut. Despite this, I will take “Junkie” over “Pill” any day. It is way more interesting lyrically, not the lashing out “You Oughta Know” bitterness of the first record. (And yes I am one of those people that constantly bring up that fact that everything she lists in “Ironic” isn’t really ironic… they just sort of suck. But maybe she was trying to be ironic herself. Ugh… way to meta.)

I think the problem, even though the song is catchy, is that “Thank U” seems to be partly about her overcoming the pressure of being a star. People don’t really relate to “Wow I totally had to go to India to have a spiritual awakening to follow up my gazillion selling record” as much as “you cheated on me, I’m pissed, and now I am going to hurt you.” But even though it’s scattered, there is beauty on “Junkie” such as “And I Would Be Good,” a beautiful simple self-realization song which uses the straight forward “this is what I’m feeling” style of songwriting she used on “Pill” yet with a deeper sense of self and maturity.

Since “Junkie,” Alanis released what I think is her finest album, “Under Rug Swept” which was super catchy, smart, and best of all… only had eleven songs. That album barely sold a million copies and her latest, “So Called Chaos” did less than half of that. Is this do to a fickle public? Or did she just never quite get over that sophomore slump?

Alas, enjoy this diamond in the rough.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bling (Confessions of a King)

Song: Bling (Confessions of a King)
Artist: The Killers
Album: Sam's Town

The Killers “Sam’s Town” has been one of the most hotly anticipated of the year, and it is out in stores today. The band shot to the top of the charts with their debut “Hot Fuss” which included the smash singles “Somebody Told Me,” “All These Things That I’ve Done,” and “”Mr. Brightside.” I really liked their debut record, despite thinking that lead singer Brandon Flowers is way too full of himself. For whatever reason I didn’t expect much more from these guys, as much as I liked their record, I thought it was pretty weak lyrically, and thought maybe that this Las Vegas based synth pop band had cashed in all their chips and had no more cards to play.

I was wrong.

I have been half way obsessed with "Sam's Town" lead single “When You Were Young” since it came out a month ago, as well as the not-so-different but dancy-er Jacques Lu Cont remix which was released about two weeks ago. Not only do I think it’s the best song they’ve ever written I think it is downright classic, as in like “Born to be Wild” classic. Although the true touchstone is “Born to Run” of course as Flowers specifically said he was trying to write an epic Springsteen record. After seeing them play Webster Hall here in NYC a little over a week ago, I soon was all-out dorky excited for this record.

Just as the Scissor Sisters have, The Killers have beat the sophomore slump with “Sam’s Town.” I’m not sure it’s the classic that Flowers have proclaimed it to be, multiple listens seem to indicate that there is nothing else as outrageously good as “When You Were Young,” but it’s got its fair share of sing-a-long anthems in waiting. I don’t know if I buy this neo-western look they’ve adopted for the marketing of this record, it comes off a bit contrived and I think that that hurts the music. But on its own, the music holds up to the stuff on their debut, and sometimes surpasses it. At least they are trying here, to make an album’s album (again like the Scissor Sisters) rather than just a collection of sure-fire singles, which I get the impression that they could do pretty easily. They’ve decided to raise the bar for themselves, and I respect that.

The songs on “Sam’s Town” often run out of room to soar. They build and build and build until there is nothing left. This doesn’t make them bad, it is just vary obvious how much they wanted to write an album of stadium size anthems built for massive audience shout backs. I’m reminded of INXS, not that there is similarity in the music, but The Killers take their throne as that fun rock band that isn’t quite U2, but write decent enough songs and are a lot of fun live. Give them a few more albums, if they can keep it up, and they could be the next Duran Duran. Regardless, the Greatest Hits in fifteen years should be as essential as The Pretenders or the Police. Is that too bold?

Songs such as album opener “Sam’s Town” and “Bones” have killer choruses and opaque lyrics that sound cool as long as you don’t think about them too much. Actually, while I’m thinking about it, for all of my rapturous prase of “When You Were Young” I think it rides the line of daft “what is he talking about?” poetry a little too closely. As Springsteen-y as it is, there isn’t a line in there that matches the simple yet sublime “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.” You can put yourself into “Born to Run,” “When You Were Young” is a little too obtuse. But trust me, put it on loud and drive down the highway… it works.

They try to do U2 on “Bling (Confessions of a King)” and equal parts Queen and Springsteen for “The River is Wild” and “For Reasons Unknown.” You find yourself singing along for sure but what is it all about? Flowers says “Run to the hills before they burn,” “Higher and higher, we’re gunna take it down to the wire,” what is he talking about? Maybe it doesn’t matter really, they’re just words that work for the sing-a-long. I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but that is truly what these songs are built for. And in that, they succeed.

I'm sounding a little flippant here. This is a good record, and I think it will continue their success. I guess because their so... THE KILLERS that it's easy to make fun of them. You be the judge.


She's My Man

Song: She's My Man
Artist: Scissor Sisters
Album: Ta-Dah

“Difficult second album.” This phrase often comes up when a band or artist has a huge amount of success with their debut and fold under the pressure to match that success and/or top it. It’s understandable that the pressure can get to, or break, a band or artist in this day and age. The media loves the hot new thing, and once that has run its course they turn, because there isn’t much story in a continuing positive direction… but there is in the breakdown. If you’re going to follow up success, you have to do it better, bigger, and MORE than you did before.

The Scissor Sisters of 2004 were the hot new thing and while they didn’t make the impact over here that they did in Europe, they had five top twenty singles from their debut and narrowly beat out Keane for the most successful album of that year in the U.K. A massive globe trotting sold out tour established them as one of the new major players in the music industry, they garnered a lot of famous fans, including Elton John, and for two years the three million people that bought their debut all wondered what they would do next.

If their debut was their first Greatest Hits, “Ta-Dah” is their first album. “Scissor Sisters” was the introduction to a band that could do many things; Elton style honky-tonk (“Take Your Mama,”) future disco (“Comfortably Numb,”) electro ballad (“It Can’t Come Quickly Enough,”) club banger (“Filthy/Gorgeous.”) One different sound after another, but all very “Scissor Sisters-ish,” and all… good. While it did feel all over the place, things were held together by the cohesive theme of who the band was and the types of stories they wanted to tell with their songs.

This time around they aim to make an album like they use to in the 70’s, yet giving it all the Scissor Sisters sparkle, a one up on production, and a new focus on what they want to say next. And this time, they’re in love. Each song wants to express a new side, or new story on love. Opener “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” is the ode to a lover you’d rather stay home with, “I Can’t Decide” explores when someone you love frustrates you to anger, and “The Other Side” a love poem from the afterlife. Love can be beautiful and wonderful and dark and difficult. The Scissor Sisters understand this and that is what “Ta-Dah” is about.

Musically things are a continuation of what was happening on their debut. “Dancin’” is so catchy and fun there are no surprises that it’s become their first number one single. “Paul McCartney” continues the party vibe of “Filthy/Gorgeous” but isn’t a re-tread. Come to think of it, while you can make stylistic comparisons to some of these new songs to those on their debut, there is usually something extra, something a little more complex lyrically or musically. Once again they borrow from the past but use it to make something new. “She’s My Man” is a cross between Elton’s “I’m Still Standing” and Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It,” except it’s about a murderous cross-dressing Madam from New Orleans, sung by the man that loves her. “Land of A Thousand Words” is a James Bond theme without the movie, “Lights” a lite-funk bounce that recalls “Stayin’ Alive” Bee Gee’s. Only “Ooh” feels like a true re-tread of B-Side “The Skins” from their first album. Sure it’s fun, killer baseline, but it is 2004 Scissor Sisters.

The big surprise for me is “Might Tell You Tonight,” a beautiful straight-forward love ballad that could be called this album’s “Mary” but better, more complex in its up front emotional honesty. It could be a wedding song, sans the schmaltz or their Adult Contemporary smash here in America… if they wanted it to be.

Album, and I would guess concert closer “Everybody Wants The Same Thing” is the finale, a bring us all together sing along with a “can’t we all just get along” message. It’s a fitting end and a reminder what the Scissor Sisters are all about; it don’t matter where you’re from, how you dress, or what you look like. Everyone is invited to the party because we’re all here for the same reason. “Love is what I want, Love is what I give,
Right here's where I'm finding it, That's how I'm gonna live.”

I think they’ve beat the sophomore slump and prove not only that they can still write hit songs, but that they can put them together and make an album. I don’t quite understand the title, as “Ta-Dah” seems more apt to describe their debut, as in a “here’s what we can do” declaration. But maybe it is their proof to the world that they have more in them, that they have what it takes to be an important band ten or twenty years from now. Hit songs are one thing, and if there is on lesson they may have learned from Elton it’s the importance of staying power and mattering in a fast food you’re up, you’re down culture. “Ta-Dah” is their second album, but could be the first of their legacy.