Friday, July 30, 2010

New Picks of the Week August 1, 2010

David Garrett is one of these artists who is trying to bring orchestral music to the popular music audience of the 21st century. In that sense, he is doing a great job. Covering the likes of Metallica, Guns N Roses, ACDC and Nirvana is going to draw a lot of us to his music. The question for me is the cheesy factor. I guess it’s a no brainer that it is corny, but this 28-year old German violinist is darn good. And his album “Rock Symphonies” is not just a bunch of remakes of songs by some of the most popular rock bands of the past 30 years. It also includes rock-infused arrangements of Bach’s “Tocatta” and the theme of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. He also has his rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and the Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” (which is much more like the Run DMC version from 1986 not the Aerosmith original). Check this out and see if it’s too silly for you or if you find his technique cancels it out.

Yes I am a fan of electro hop. I keep saying that if this is the direction hip hop is going to go, I am going to become its biggest new fan. So this new single from L.A. newcomer Bruno Mars called “Just The Way You Are” is totally my style. It’s got a nice piano hook with a fun beat and harmonies both instrumentally and vocally. That is always my second biggest problem with hip hop (after the crudeness of it) is that it is so minimalistic. It’s also no surprise I like this song since Bruno also was featured on B.o.B’s “Nothin’ On You” and Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” which are both solid tunes.

Florida rock quintet Anberlin has a nice solid rocker that has just come out called “Impossible”. The band was signed to Tooth & Nail Records but doesn’t classify themselves as a Christian band necessarily even though they are all believers. Their music explores many areas connected to their faith and real life situations. They have sensed move on to Universal Republic Records. Their last album “New Surrender” reached the Top 20 on the album chart. And now here they go again with a great lead single from the album “Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place”.

Now on to the charts. Eminem is perched atop the pop chart again this week with “Love The Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna. It is the rapper’s third #1 single in his career. One of his other chart toppers, “Not Afraid”, is sitting at #11 this week.

If you’re looking for a song that is out to catch Eminem, check out Usher’s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” featuring Pitbull which debuted last week at #19 and this week cruises up to #12. Usher has already hit #1 this year with “OMG” featuring which slides down to #8 this week.

“Love The Way You Lie” knocked “California Gurls” by Katy Perry out of the top spot after a 6-week run. This week the California girl has the highest debut in the Top 40 with “Teenage Dream” at #20. It is the 25-year old pop star’s sixth Top 40 hit dating back to her only other #1 hit, “I Kissed A Girl” in 2008.

Usher’s 7-notch move is tied for the biggest move in the Top 40 this week. It’s tied with “Misery” by California rock quintet Maroon 5 which leaps from 28-21. “Misery” also debuted last week. It’s from their upcoming album “Hands All Over” due out in September.

Also debuting this week in the Top 40 is “Magic” by B.o.B. featuring Rivers Cuomo at #27, “Secrets” by OneRepublic at #35 and “Pretty Boy Swag” by Soulja Boy Tell’em.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Picks of the Week 7-25-10

I am not much of a movie guy. I probably see about two or three new films in the theater a year. So it should come as no surprise, that I have no intention and seeing the new thriller “Inception”. It’s not that I don’t think I wouldn’t like it. In fact, from what I’ve heard, I probably would like it. Nonetheless, like most movies, I am all over the soundtrack though. This one was written by living legend Hans Zimmer. The 52-year old composer from Frankfurt, Germany is known for music from movies like “The Lion King”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “The Da Vinci Code” and “Rain Man” just to name a few. I love the them from this soundtrack. It has creative and unique chord movement and a sort of electronic beat to the uptempo stuff. And the low brass is amazing. I would say that, wouldn’t I?

I might not like the football team from Dallas, Texas, but I sure like this band from Cowboy country. The band is The Afters. They have been making music for over a decade now. I first stumbled upon them two years ago with their hit “Never Going Back To OK”. Their latest album “Light Up The Sky” is great. More middle of the road well produced rock with a great message. My favorite track from the album is “Runaway”. It’s sure to be a hit at Christian radio and probably something Heidi and I will be playing for special music at Fairview in the near future.

Sting has done it again. He is combining his love of unique pop stylings with symphonic overtones. This time he has recorded an entire album with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Most of the songs are covers of his own music. My absolute favorite is “We Work The Black Seam” which is Sting accompanied by brass ensemble. The brass arrangement is very cool although somewhat repetitive. It makes me want to transcribe the whole thing and play it with some group. But who? I must figure this out. The rest of the album is also a treat. Sorry to just focus on one song!

Eminem (pictured left) has returned to #1 for the second time in his career. This week he moves from 2-1 on the pop chart with “Love The Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna. It is Eminem’s first trip to #1 since 2002 when he spent 12 weeks on top with “Lose Yourself”.

Add another hit to Usher’s career list as he debuts in the Top 40 at #19 this week with “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” featuring Pitbull. It is the 19th career Top 40 hit for the 31-year old Tennessee native. Four of those have come this year including the #1 smash “OMG” featuring which is at #5 this week.

One of my past picks of the week also debuts in the Top 40 this week. Maroon 5 is at #28 with “Misery”. It becomes the California rock quintet’s fifth Top 40 hit. Other former picks of the week in the Top 40 this week include La Roux’s “Bulletproof” (#12), Taio Cruz’s “Break Your Heart” (#15), Ke$ha’s “Your Love Is My Drug” (#16), Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” (#17 in its 42nd week on the Top 100) and The Script’s “Breakeven” (#31).

Also debuting in the Top 40 this week is “Jar Of Hearts” by 23-year old pop newcomer Christina Perri and “The Only Exception” by Paramore, their third career Top 40 hit.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Picks of the Week August 11

“Voices In The Night”, Silverline. Check out this new British band that is a combination of Christian rock and alternative with some psychedelia. The lyrics are definitely Christian in nature with an anthem type feel. Gets the heart and spirit pumpin’!

“Club Can’t Handle Me”, Flo Rida featuring David Guetta. Thank you David Guetta for getting dance beats right. And not only that, but thank you for harmony. That is what modern day hip hop and dance has lacked for so many years. I know a lot of people dis electro hop for it’s lack of musicality. But I think it is much more musical than some of the popular hip hop that’s out there today. This one is great!

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Monday, July 5, 2010

New Picks for July 4, 2010

“The Imagine Project”, Herbie Hancock. Jazz great Herbie Hancock has put together a great collaboration project. Some of the highlights are a recreation of John Lennon’s “Imagine” which features Pink, India.Arie and Jeff Beck amongst others. Also on the album is a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” also featuring Pink along with John Legend and a mysterious collaboration with Dave Matthews called “Tomorrow Never Knows”.

“Misery”, Maroon 5. Oh they are back. Just love these guys. Of course I don’t know if they can top “Sunday Morning” which is my favorite Maroon 5 groove of all time. Their new release “Misery” sounds a lot like their chart topper “This Love”. And I like it just as much. Can’t wait for the new album.

“Fire With Fire”, Scissor Sisters. This New York quintet is hard to describe. They combine pop with glam rock with electronica and almost sound Broadway show like at times. I love this single “Fire With Fire” which is an example of what I just described. It has a little retro feel to it as well.

“No Matter What”, Kerrie Roberts. Here’s the latest Christian pop sensation to hit the scene. She has a voice and sound that will make you think of Leona Lewis and a message in her songs that is much like that of Nicole Nordeman or Sara Groves.