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Posts tagged ‘Music’

Talented Musicians on Rising Star

As a music fan, one of my favorite new television addictions of the summer is ABC’s innovative music competition Rising Star.

And of the several highly-talented artists that made it into the second round of competition, these two young ladies are among my favorites. Both have overcome some challenges and both have something amazing to offer.

Megan Tibbits

came out in the first round, and has since advanced to the third with the help of voters on the West Coast who got her through her initial audition, came out with a harp. Yes, I said a harp. And with it she sang and played a unique a beautiful rendition of what is most likely to be one of the year’s top wedding songs, John Legend’s “All of Me.”

April Lockhart

got through the first round easily and compelets in the second tomorrow night. She too offered a unique spin on a song by the Spice Girls (anybody remember them?) called “Say You’ll Be There.” And while Megan’s challenge may have been the use of an unusual instrument, April’s was the fact that she learned to play the guitar and excel at it with just one hand.

So, you’re not a rap fan?

“I don’t like rap.”

It’s a phrase I hear quite often, especially from members of an older generation. While I can understand ang appreciate that if, your reasoning is sound. For example, if you don’t like the stylistic elements and you’d rather tune in to some jazz, blues, rock or country. However, I can’t stand when anyone makes a blanket statement about ALL of one music genre or another.

That being the case, here are five rap/hip-hop songs I think might just surprise some of the naysayers.

Avril Lavigne’s new album show artistic growth while maintaining pop punk persona

Avril Lavigne is back with her latest album simply titled “Avril Lavigne.”

Avril Lavigne

Over the years, her fans have seen and heard Lavigne grow from a teen to a woman in both her life and her music. In her latest release, she seems to maintain a good balance between her signature pop punk sound and attitude  and a number of other qualities she seems to be experimenting with as well.

Several songs seem to continue her tradition of  punk rebellion and loud music. Others are more simplistic and emphasize the vocals and the an emotional connection with the lyrics. Some even come across with an extra edginess through more explicit wording and even some serious sex appeal.

I rank the songs as follows:

1. “Rock N Roll” – A+

This track has a cool beat with a rebellious tone. It’s loud, it’s fun and it’s classic Avril.

2. “Here’s To Never Growing Up” – A

The song is catchy and has a nice hook, one of the standard qualities of her songs.

3. “17” – B+

This one is a bit more poppy and comes across with a nostalgic feel.

4. “Bitchin’ Summer” – C

It seems to have a more stripped down quality and is pretty average overall.

5. “Let Me Go” – C+

This one is deeper and more emotional which may be due in part to the fact that she’s singing it with her husband of Nickleback fame.

6. “Give You What You Like” – B+

The track comes across with a bit of a slower, haunting feel.

7. “Bad Girl” – C+

It’s kind of a flashback to 80’s rock with a bit of a retro vibe.

8. “Hello Kitty” – C-

There’s too much emphasis on rap/hip-hop qualities. it’s highly unusual for her and very synthetic.

9. “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” – C+

This song features a pop rock sound and isn’t bad overall.

10. “Sippin’ On Sunshine” – B+

It’s a simple, fun and catchy tune with a feel good quality about it.

11. “Hello Heartache” – C+

This song focuses on vocals more than anything and comes across with a very sincere vibe.

12. “Falling Fast” – B+

The light, serious simplicity and pure vocals makes for a good song.

13. “Hush Hush” – B+

She closes out the album with a track that is both soft and sweet.

All in all, I would recommend this album to long-time Lavigne fans as well as those who might be interested in seeing a different side of this pop punk princess.

Angry chick songs that this male blogger actually likes

In the world of music, there are no shortage of “angry chick” songs in which a woman rocks out some level of either rage of discontent regarding relationships with men. While many of these may annoy those of us with a with a “Y” chromosome, there are some occasions on which the song is so catchy or the rage comes across as so attractive that it’s hard not to like the song.

With that being said, here are a few such songs that I really do enjoy:

99 Times

By Kate Voegele

Crush, Crush, Crush

By Paramore

Everything Back But You

By  Avril Lavigne 

I knew You Were Trouble

By Taylor Swift 

Do you like “angry chick” music? What are some of your favorite songs that fit this vibe?

The fantastic musical talent of Janelle True

While I really enjoy a diversity of musical artists…

once in a while you come across someone who is either new on the scene or simply a talent that you have never heard of before. This was the case for me with the artist  Janelle True.  As it turns out, I found out about her through a random email and took a moment to listen to a few of her clips from Youtube. All I can say is, wow!

From the little that I’ve learned, her sound comes across as simple and sweet with a beautiful melodic tone. She’s young but her vocals sound like those of someone well beyond her years (in a good way) and she herself states that her many influences include jazz and the blues.

She’s due to release her debut album in mid-September and if what I’ve seen and heard so far is any indication, I suspect it will be a critical and financial success.

Check out the video below:

Unlikely mergers of musical styles

So, I am currently visiting my brother in the wonderful state of North Carolina. And while here, I’ve had the opportunity to experience my most recent dose of rural living. The small town in which he lives has a weekly concert (usually bluegrass or country) every Friday during most of the summer. And while attending one session, I ran into one of the neighbors and during the course of conversation he mentioned an interest in County Rap which sounds like something completely fictional. But you know what, it’s real. This got me thinking about a few genres that probably don’t seem like they go together but exist nonetheless. In fact, in some cases, they’ve even become rather mainstream and produced very popular artists.

Here are just a few examples of such musical styles and the artists that fall into them.

Country Rap

This style seems to combine two completely different worlds and cultures. Also sometimes called hick-hop, the emergence of this genre is sometimes credited to artist Bubba Sparxxx staring around 2001. More recently Cowboy Troy has been a rather notable figure while some other bands include The Lacs and Boondox.

Bubba Sparxxx

Pop Punk

While pop is by it’s nature, popular among the masses, punk has often been considered counter culture. But it turns out that sometimes , you can actually be a little rebellious and somehow still sort of mainstream. The princess on Pop Punk is Avril Lavigne and a few others categorized in this style are Blink 182, Paramore and No Doubt. 

avril lavigne

Christian Rock

With the origin of rock in the 1950’s, much of America and the rest of the world was outraged. Many even considered it evil. Back then who would have thought that Christian music could have ever merged with this rebellious style? Lots of people and bands apparently. Some of which include Jars of Clay, Reliant K and Fireflight.

Jars of Clay

Upbeat song, not so upbeat content

There are so many catchy songs out there.

But quite often, we probably get caught up into the fun, upbeat music without paying all that much attention to the lyrics. But if you take a moment to stop and really listen, you might be surprised that the content of the song you love doesn’t necessarily match the upbeat feel of the background music.

Here are a few examples for your consideration:

Broken Hearted by Kamin

The age old story of unrequited love.

Broken Hearted Karmin

Follow Me by Uncle Cracker

A happy go lucky ode to infidelity.

Uncle Cracker Follow Me

Payphone by Maroon 5

Maybe a sad breakup story can actually sound quite happy.

Payphone Maroon 5

Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin

There’s nothing like a fun and catchy tune about a murderer.

Mack the Knife Bobby Darin

Fun factoid about rap music

Rap music is often known

for it’s hard edge and abrasive content. The themes routinely reflect the struggles of youth living in impoverished communities and the challenges of urban life.  You might very well have any number of words or terms you may use to describe this style of music but “poetry” probably isn’t even close to the first thing to come to mind.

But, if we trace back the history of this genre, which is commonly said to have officially begun with the song “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang back in 1979, the acronym that is RAP might surprise you.

RAP stands for Rhythm And Poetry!

The Sugarhill Gang

The Sugarhill Gang

Taylor Swift live at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh

As many of the readers of this blog probably already know, I am a huge fan of country-pop artist Taylor Swift. And with that being the case, it should be no surprise that I took in her concert at the amazing Heinz Field in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

While watching the show I decided to create a few clips to share at least a bit of the experience with others as well as to relive the memories myself for years to come.

I hope you enjoy these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Idol Top 7 week recap

Every year I look forward to rock week on American Idol. You never know how things might turn out. For some contestants, rock is certainly in their wheelhouse. For others, not so much. But all in all, it’s always interesting and entertaining.

Angie Miller American idol roock week

Angie Miller singing “Bring Me To Life” during the Top 8 week on American Idol. Photo Courtesy of Hollywoodreporter.com

Here’s how I rank last night’s performances:

1. Angie - Perfect song choice, great fit for her. The singing was amazing and she continues to improve each and every week.

2. Amber - She shocked me last night. She showed off some excellent vocals and was really dead on. Almost definitely her best showing yet.

3. Candice - Powerful as always. This song was also a perfect fit. It seems like she can sing any genre.

4. Kree - Good song choice. Her power vocals and country sound meshed well with the rock style of Janis Joplin.

5. Lazaro - He also pleasantly surprised me. It was a tough song to sing but he got off to a good start and maintained that momentum throughout.

6. Janelle – Another good song choice. It was a nice vocal overall and brought out the fun and confidence in her.

7. Brunell - Good song but he was way out of his comfort zone. Not good but it could have been way worse.

Group Performances:

1. Amber, Janelle and Kree - Simple and not flashy but not too bad overall.

2. Angie and Lazaro - Interesting pairing. I sort of expected a disaster but it turned out to be sort of OK.

3. Burnell and Candice - Candice did well with her bluesy, soulful side and Burnell was rather awkward when they sang the solo parts. It was really bad when they sang together.

Final thoughts:

Once again the ladies dominated the night. While I still find it hard to believe that all the guys will leave before a single girl, in all honesty that is probably what should happen. Before last night, I would have thought the girl in the most jeopardy would be Amber. And based on her entire body of work, that probably still holds true. But, based on last night alone, that certainly would not be the case.

All in all, the solo performances worked out well. The group ones are a different story. None of those came across as particularly impressive.

With only a few more weeks that the save is in play, I’m about 90% sure that the judges may use it tonight. I’m almost certain they will save any girl if one somehow happens to be at the bottom. They may also possibly save a guy if one lands in the bottom so as to keep the gender balance at least somewhat even.

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