Content tagged 'Pop'
PAUL SHAFFER & THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS BAND (Album of the Day)
Already renowned as the keyboardist in the “Saturday Night Live” house band, Paul Shaffer formed what soon became dubbed The World’s Most Dangerous Band back in 1982 and, for over three decades, they ruled the late night landscape as David Letterman's musical foils. After a 24-year gap since their Todd Rundgren-produced debut, the eponymous PAUL SHAFFER & THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS BAND features appearances by an all-star lineup including guest vocalists Dion, Jenny Lewis, Bill Murray, Darius Rucker, Shaggy and Valerie Simpson. Executive produced by Seymour Stein, the new Sire Records collection was helmed by legendary hitmaker Richard Gottehrer, whose career stretches back to the 1960s Brill Building era (and whose song “Sorrow” is included here as a tribute to David Bowie).
Closeup (Album of the Day)
The Raw And The Cooked (Album of the Day)
Fine Young Cannibals had talent to burn - guitarist Andy Cox and multi-instrumentalist David Steele were veterans of the English Beat, and frontman Roland Gift was a vocalist as distinctive as Sam Cooke or Al Green – and 1989's THE RAW AND THE COOKED shows the U.K. trio going out in style. The second and final FYC studio album neatly balances such retro-soul numbers as “Good Thing” and such Prince-influenced dance cuts as “She Drives Me Crazy.” Both of those tracks became No.1 hits, and the remaining songs (all original except for a convincing cover of Buzzcocks' “Ever Fallen In Love”) are also single-worthy. A double-Platinum smash, THE RAW AND THE COOKED remains among the most listenable albums of the 1980s.
Album 1700 (Album of the Day)
For their seventh studio set, named ALBUM 1700 after its Warner Bros. catalog number, Peter, Paul and Mary took some cues from pop culture, starting with a Bonnie and Clyde-inspired cover pose. The music was also in keeping with 1967, featuring fuller folk-rock arrangements with backing musicians (including Paul Butterfield) and a Top Ten single, “I Dig Rock And Roll Music,” that name-checks several contemporary hitmakers. As on the group's earlier releases, magnificent harmonies take center stage, and there's an interesting take on Dylan (“Bob Dylan's Dream”), though the collection's most famous track spotlighted then unknown songwriter John Denver – whose “Leaving On A Jet Plane” would give PP&M their only No.1 hit. Of course the politically aware trio also included some social commentary on ALBUM 1700, making it a good one to spin on a local election day.
Rock Spectacle (Album of the Day)
The success of Barenaked Ladies has always been driven by fans; before they were signed to a label, the band's demo tape sold well enough to become the first indie release to go platinum in Canada. The quintet's sales in their native land proved tough to translate to the U.S. - until Reprise Records rolled tape while BNL did what they do best before a live audience on ROCK SPECTACLE. Cut during concerts in Chicago and Montreal, the 1996 collection was the group's commercial breakthrough in the States, powered by a surprise hit single in “Brian Wilson.” With such other favorites as “If I Had $1,000,000” among the originals here, ROCK SPECTACLE captures all the energy, humor and spontaneity for which the band is beloved.
Killing Me Softly (Album of the Day)
Fight Songs (Album of the Day)
With their second Elektra album (and fourth overall), Texas quartet Old 97's came up with their most accessible set to date. Recorded in New Orleans, FIGHT SONGS features more polish to the production and more structure to the material than previous releases, and “Murder (Or A Heart Attack),” “Oppenheimer” and “19” are among the many standouts. For a band so linked to the No Depression movement, singer Rhett Miller sounds pretty forlorn in places (“Lonely Holiday”), but his feisty determination never wavers. There's no shortage of country licks on FIGHT SONGS, but the 1999 album delivers a knockout punch to anyone who would consign Old 97's to an alt-country pigeonhole.
Rickie Lee Jones (Album of the Day)
A singer-songwriter who can bring the spirit of beatnik jazz to a variety of musical styles, Rickie Lee Jones has always known her way around “Coolsville.” After working the Los Angeles club scene for a few years in the mid-1970s, a demo tape earned Jones a deal with Warner Bros., and producers Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman pulled out all the stops for her self-titled debut. RICKIE LEE JONES features some of the city's top jazz session players (along with Dr. John, Michael McDonald and Randy Newman) and Jones' songs put them to good use - “Young Blood” was a Top 40 hit and the breezy “Chuck E.'s In Love” reached #3. A Platinum-selling success, the collection also brought the performer four Grammy nominations (including a win for Best New Artist), and RICKIE LEE JONES' colorful sketches of L.A. characters and dives remain irresistible.
Love Language (Album of the Day)
After a string of hits for Philadelphia International – and a serious auto accident - singer Teddy Pendergrass reemerged on Elektra Records in 1984 with LOVE LANGUAGE. The R&B crooner remains a master of romantic balladry, and these eight tracks pair that distinctive voice with top-tier songs (several co-written by Brill Building greats Gerry Goffin or Cynthia Weill) and some stellar guests. Fellow hitmaker Luther Vandross produced the set's "You're My Choice Tonight (Choose Me)," which was also featured in the Alan Rudolph film Choose Me, and on "Hold Me," Teddy duets with Whitney Houston a year before her debut. When it came to LOVE LANGUAGE, few spoke it more enticingly than Teddy Pendergrass, making it the perfect soundtrack for Valentine's Day.
Low-Life (Album of the Day)
After POWER, CORRUPTION & LIES and "Blue Monday" propelled New Order to prominence, LOW-LIFE took the quartet a step further in terms of accessibility. From the 1-2 punch of opening tracks "Love Vigilantes" and "The Perfect Kiss," the 1985 collection neatly straddles the urgent rock of the band's Joy Division roots with the synth-driven dance grooves for which they'd become more closely identified. As catchy as the album is, it's also filled with strange beauty ("Elegia") and, thanks to Bernard Sumner's plaintive vocals and Peter Hook's melodic bass work, plenty of soul. Many see LOW-LIFE as a high-water mark for New Order, so we'll cue it up again in celebration of Hook's birthday.