Sunday, April 29, 2012
"THE BOSS", THE VIRGIN, THE RIGHTEOUS BABE, AND THE LITTLE INDIE BAND THAT COULD. NEW MUSIC FOR 2012:
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - WRECKING BALL:
Imagine my surprise when my favorite new cd for 2012 was by Bruce Springsteen. "The Boss" has always been there. However, I never really gave him attention. His latest studio release, Wrecking Ball changed that. Here Bruce updates his all-American-working-man-appeal. We get Irish folk, strange drum intros that are reminiscent of Trent Reznor, inspirational ballads, and an all around solid rock album. "What's a poor boy to do in a world gone wrong, I woke up this morning shackled and drawn" Bruce, sings. Like his predecessors, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, he represents the struggle as much as the victory. This is the perfect cd to put on when you simply don't want to go to work and deal with the day.
MADONNA - MDNA:
Madonna, like Bruce Springsteen has always been there. We know her more as a pop diva than a great songwriter. Without Madonna there would be no Lady Ga Ga. I recently read a review of this album that said she is sounding too much like mainstream pop than the innovator she used to be. Think about that though...she created the mainstream pop sound that has been imitating her for years. With MDNA she is as strong as ever. Great beats, fun choruses, and insightful lyrics. "I tried be all you expected of me, and if a was a failure...I don't give a..." she sings on I Don't Give A. There's plenty of the Madonna we all know her for - controversy that you can dance to. I find it hilarious that she can get away with making a pop song called Gang Bang and I'm totally tapping my feat. You go girl!
ANI DIFRANCO - WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON:
Ani Difranco is an artist that constantly surprises and puzzles me. I don't find her always accessible but I do love her uniqueness. Sort of like jazz, when I'm in the mood it's great, but sometimes it's not easy to digest. Which Side Are You On took me into the softer side of Difranco and then kicked me in the ass. I love love love this album! Difranco started playing live at the age of nine in Buffalo, New York (performing Beatles covers nonetheless!) In 1989 she started her own record company Righteous Records and has refused many offers to sell out to major labels. Why she is not as huge as Dave Matthews is a mystery to me because their sounds and approach to music are very similar. Folk art and pop with a rock twist, and with a message. I really wish there were more albums like this.
Remember that scene in the movie Garden State where Natilie Portman puts the headphones on Zack Braff and says; "This song will change your life" ? The song was New Slang and it was by The Shins.
I was blown away when I heard it. Very Simon and Garfunkel with a modern indie sound - I have been into them ever since. Yet another band that should be much more famous than they are. The little indie band that could. They continue to put our great material that has a way of saying what's right on the tip of our tongues, but we just can't find the way to express it. When you have a rough break up or a really horrible day The Shins will help you celebrate and deal with the emotions rather than making you feel worse. I suppose that's what all music should do.