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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Of Note: ‘More Than A Feeling’ by Breanna Rubio

Of Note: ‘More Than A Feeling’ by Breanna Rubio

Hailing from Denver, CO, Breanna Rubio was discovered in 2014 at a Big Talent Showcase in Orange County, CA.  She’s been a very busy girl ever since.

Her first single, ‘Fly Alone’ (feat. Fat Joe and D.One), had no trouble breaking into the Top 25 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play Chart.  And ‘More’ seems to be having no trouble following in its footsteps, as it is currently sitting at #15.

A truly solid dance track, ‘More Than A Feeling’ slinks by on a chunky surge of synths, while Rubio’s vocals are as sweet as they are smooth. 

Currently a Sophomore at Colorado State University, Breanna sings the national anthem at many sporting events and is a headliner at concerts and local coffee shops in Fort Collins. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Of Note: ‘Generate’ by Eric Prydz

Of Note: ‘Generate’ by Eric Prydz

Oh, my… how time flies. 

In 2004, Eric Prydz ‘Call On Me’ which sampled Steve Winwood’s classic ‘Valerie’ was inescapable.  Two years later, the same was true of his ‘Proper Education’ which sampled Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’.  Folks, we are talking about worldwide smashes! 

Both are still in my CD collection and on my Gen 1 IPod. 

Mr. Prydz has enjoyed numerous club hits and has been releasing music on the three labels he owns: Pryda, Pryda and Friends, and Mouseville, since 2002. 

‘Generate’ finds him in classic form.  There’s a bit of the grandiose, sterile, ghost in the machine, atmospherics of classic U2, or, perhaps, more so, classic Styx or The Alan Parsons Project. 

It’s repetitive, for sure, and, for some, that is enough to damn it.  That’s why I would suggest sticking with the radio edit, rather than the seven minute plus full-length version. However, with the radio edit clocking in at 2:45, it serves as the perfect palate cleanser. 

All those icy synths.  Brrrrr… it’s like living in a world made of stainless steel.

‘Generate’ is currently sitting at #9 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play Chart, after having peaked at #8.. 



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Of Note: ‘Caution Tape’ by Starling Glow

Of Note: ‘Caution Tape’ by Starling Glow

Starling Glow (Liz Hill) is a relative newcomer, having only been on the scene as an artist since 2013.  Her music casts a wide net, including alternative, pop, rock, dance, and electronica.  She writes her own material and has a knack for seemingly insightful lyrics wrapped up in a healthy serving of pop du jour. 

Her first single, ‘We Are Infinite’ peaked at #19 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play Chart.  She has since released her self-titled debut album and a second single, the propulsive, slyly knowing ‘Caution Tape’.

It’s Dave Aude’s remix work that makes this track click and Ms. Hill’s vocals are all the better due to his atmospherics.  The song itself is good, but Aude supplements something lacking in the original with his surging electronics. He did a similar job on ‘We Are Infinite’. 

I love the builds and the chunky synths as much as I love the subject matter. 

Personally, I like the idea of someone ‘discovering’ someone – revealing the good that lies in another person, despite the risk of rejection.  Redemption can come at the hands of another – their bravery and the effort spent when reaching out to someone who is living in self-imposed emotional exile on a psychological island of sorts demonstrates to the person being rescued that something of value lives there.  

Something the other would rather not live without.

Recluses are frequently high quality people.  They’re simply a bit more prickly, no doubt still licking their wounds, stinging from life’s bitter lessons. In that state of mind, it’s so easy to reside alone, to get set in one’s ways. It takes a very brave soul to break down those walls in the hope of proving that life is more worthwhile in the company of others.

It isn’t always successful.

But it is certainly an admirable and worthwhile effort.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Of Note: ‘Invincible’ (7th Heaven Radio Mix) by Kelly Clarkson

Of Note: ‘Invincible’ (7th Heaven Radio Mix) by Kelly Clarkson

Who doesn’t love Kelly Clarkson?  She’s real.  She’s relatable.  She can sing just about anything. In a way, she’s America’s sweetheart.

Sure, she’s had her battles: Clive Davis (he is kind of a dick), body-issues (when you can sing like Kelly, who cares), and indifferent material (ummm, yeah)… but all that only makes her even more lovable. The most divisive the lady has ever been is when she voices her choice for the presidency. 

 ‘Invincible’, is merely the latest in a long line of likable, easy to digest, upbeat singles issued forth by Ms. Clarkson and her handlers.  Singles that come easily, sound pretty much the same, and fade into radio memory fairly quickly.  They’re the musical equivalent of Twinkies, but with a shorter shelf life.

One could argue that those life-empowering anthems hold great personal meaning to many a listener.  One could argue that her songs reflect Ms. Clarkson’s own personal struggles.  You could argue that, but – given history (both that of pop music’s and artists like Ms. Clarkson) – you’d be wrong. Someone sets them up, and she, with her incredible pipes and unerring sense of pop smarts, knocks them out of the park.

Not that there’s anything wrong with delivering up sugary slices of pop-infused sponge cake.  Nor is there anything really wrong with the term ‘Secretary Rock’, although it is frequently used in a sexist manner, typically only referring to upbeat music performed by female artists.  Me?  I think of acts like Train, when that term comes to mind.

I keep thinking that Kelly is going to come into her own someday. 

And that day, is today.

With the completion of her contract with Mr. Davis, the lady is on her own – she has the opportunity to call her own shots.  Will she?  She loves to sing songs written by others and even made popular by others.  Her in-concert covers demonstrate a breadth, cleverness and a talent for recognizing great material.  Not all singers are meant to write their own material.  I have an inkling Ms. Clarkson falls into that category.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

For years now, Kelly has clocked in and done as told, singing the soon to be Top 40 staples crafted for her by the folks at her label.

So, what now, brave voyager? 

Country music?  You’ve demonstrated that you like to dabble.  You toured with your mother-in-law, Reba.  You did a duet with Jason Aldean. It seems your voice would lend itself nicely to that sort of country-pop, perhaps bringing a level of talent to the whole genre.

Or, are you happy being the Kelly Clarkson you’ve worked so hard over the years to develop? 

No matter what you do – you will succeed, because America’s got your back, kid.

And America has never really had an American Sweetheart age without falling off that pedestal (Amy Grant springs to mind.)

Avoid being shrill.  You can afford to sing songs without resorting to the very top of your register every time.  You’re not Jessie J.  You’re not Arianna Grande.  You’re not Katy Perry.  You’re Kelly Clarkson.

Avoid being angry.  America is full of anger.  We don’t need any more.

Ummm… and avoid that whole goth thing.  (See ‘My December’ – the only time you ever asserted yourself.)  That didn’t turn out very well, now did it?  But you’re older and wiser now. 

So, America holds its collective breath.

Who will Kelly be?