mercredi 22 juin 2011

The Playlist Of The Week

Turn on your iPod, press "Shuffle Songs" and see what happens...

"I Want You Back", Jackson 5

This is a classic. I love the introduction and the song basically, although, I must admit, I've never really liked Mickael Jackson... I know he's talented, he did some great stuff (especially his Off The Wall) but I've always hated his beats, repetitive and shadeless. It feels like the song is lifeless, empty. For me, he is responsible of the crappy things we can listen to today, highly inspired by the schema he created for his songs: the same beat from the begining up till the end, crappy background instruments to support the voice and very poor lyrics... He had something else of course, something the others don't have and that's why it kind of worked for him (musically of course, since regarding the sales of his records, he could scare everyone...) but it doesn't for the others...

"Blues For Barclay", Django Reinhardt, Pêche à la Mouche

Django is the best guitarist of all time. He invented it and nobody ever reach the same level of virtuosity. Plus you have to know the guy left the use of two of his left hand's fingers meaning he was the greatest guitarist of all time and could not use half of his hand! As a Gypsy, Django was living in a trailer, in North of France when one night, it took fire with him inside causing him the burning of his hand. The guy was initially playing the banjo and learned to play the guitar because it was easier for him after the accident... He was one of these men that can do anything, one of the few men that conquered the world and made everyone agree on his genious...

"Love That Girl", Raphael Saadiq, The Way I See It

Raphael Saadiq started as a producer and decided one day to make his own record. A good one with that with a lot of guests (Joss Stone, Stevie Wonder...). However, if I like the effort, I have to admit I don't like this new trend of doing new records with old stuff. That's basically what Saadiq did here: he wrote some oldies and recorded them with a good old sound and it's great but it's also showing the huge lack of creativity and imagination of our generation. It shows that we haven't done anything better than what's been done in the 60s-70s... and I believe it is sad for one and also not very true... you just have to know where to look...

"Someday We'll All Be Free", Donnie Hathaway

This is only chance! This is a very good example to support what I was saying about Saadiq! The very same kind of thing has already been done before, and it sounded better... I love Donnie Hathaway. I don't know much of him but the few songs I know are great and his voice is unbelievable. This is some good old sound and it doesn't sound made up since it actually was the sound of that time.

"See The Sky About To Rain", Neil Young, On The Beach

This record is brilliant. One of my favourite Neil Young records. Although this song is not so good according to me... A bit too kitschy. That's the thing about Neil Young: there are some stuff I really dig, I really love but some other I really don't and sometime on the very same record! But it's still good to listen though. "Walk On", here is a song I love!

samedi 18 juin 2011

The Playlist Of The Weekend

Turn on you iPod, press "Shuffle Songs" and see what happens...

"Sit Down, Stand Up (Snakes & Ladders)", Radiohead, Hail to The Chief

To be honest, after listening to King of Lymbs (see the following review: ), I'm still pissed at Radiohead. This song is brilliant though and so is the album. Hail to The Chief  was scary and beautiful and I didn't think they could do better. They did with In Rainbows which built up my high expectations torn down by King of Lymbs. The end of this song is brilliant, the change of rhythm and of atmosphere is like a deep and wonderful breath. That's the kind of madness that made me like Radiohead in the first place and that we don't find on the last record.

"Red Sky at Night", David Gilmour, On An Island

This song sounds just like the introduction of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond"! However, the rest of the album doesn't sound at all like anything he did before with Pink Floyd. It is a magnificent piece of music with the genious of an appeased and aged Gilmour. We can even find David Crosby and Graham Nash taking part in one of the song of this record.

"Sha-la-la (Make Me Happy)", Al Green

Al Green has one of the most brilliant voice ever and he is also is a great composer. The arrangements on his songs are unbelievable. You can very often find a sound of Hammond organ, warm and vibrant giving the whole a sound back from the good years. Al Green was able to groove just as good as Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield... maybe even better.

"Freedom And Its Owner" Kings of Convenience, Declaration of Dependence

I've already had the chance to talk about the norvegian duet. Declaration of Dependence is their last album. This is a beautiful piece of music. Nice colors, nice songs, and I love the way they manage to mix both their voices and the classical and acoustic guitars. This is not the best song of the record however but it's still nice. You can really feel the coldness of their country in their sound but the rhythm and the guitar sounds give a nice impression of warmth. I recommand this record to anyone who like that kind of acoustic music.

"All Along The Watchtower", Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland

Aaaah.... that's the stuff... I've always loved the original of Bob Dylan but even he recognizes this version is way better. I've already said what I think of Hendrix ( ). This song is the perfect example of all the thing I like about him: this warm great and powerful voice and this sound from outer space he has with the guitar. I've heard some people said Hendrix wasn't so good in his solos. Just listen to that track, you'll know. The guy is litterally inventing electric guitar here and it seems pretty easy for him... The rhythmic of Mitch Mitchell has a lot of responsibilities in the success of Hendrix's music though according to me. 

mercredi 15 juin 2011

The Playlist Of The Week

Turn on your iPod, press "Shuffle Songs" and see what happens...

"Just A Simple Melody", Ella Fitzgerald

This is the first time I'm listening to that song. Ella has always been opposed to Billie Holliday according to me. One was joyful, warm and full of life, the other cold as ice, biting and hard, both of them being equally talented and beautiful. Some days you will need Ella, some others Billie, that's all.

"In The Flesh", Jurassic 5, Jurassic 5 EP

As I told you last time, I don't know much about Hip-Hop but I've got some friends giving me some fine stuff. Jurassic 5 is one of them. The music is great, real instruments, good sound and the flow is brilliant. That's the kind of Hip-Hop I love, smooth and well done. Some old school stuff, the real stuff not the fake things made on a computer by producer richer than kings.

"Moving In The Right Direction", Count Basic

Once again, this is something a friend of mine gave me. Some very good stuff once again... I have very good friends... That is some grooving music made by brilliant musicians. I love the sound of Count Basic, very smooth, pure studio sound but in a very good way. The arrangements and structure are amazing. The only thing I'm a bit annoyed by in that kind of music is that it's a bit too serious for me. But that remains some really good music.

"Keep On Pushing", The Impressions

That's the first time I'm hearing that song... My iPod is full of surprises. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to understand from the lyrics but I'd rather not think about it too much. This music is not very sophisticated but correspond to a certain time, a good time. But that's not the best example of what you could here then. Somehow, it reminds me a bit of Curtis Mayfield...a little bit...

"Love Dog", TV On The Radio, Dear Science

TV On The Radio is a great band. The guys are coming from New York and make some really new music by mixing all sort of influences (hip hop, pop rock, electro) in a very good way. The voices of the two singers are incredible. I've been a fan since the very first album of that electrical frenetic sound they have. They manage to mix successfully electronic rythm with brasses and strings and voices for a touching and yet rhythmic music. It is good nowadays to have some people taking some risks and trying to get everybody to listen to something fresh and new that does not look like everything else.

samedi 11 juin 2011

The Playlist Of The Weekend

Turn on your iPod, press "Shuffle Song" and see what happens...

"Cry Baby Cry", The Beatles, The White Album

This is the first time I'm hearing this song. I know some other parts of The White Album. This is a good old classic song from the band with a kinky rhythmic from Ringo and a classic Beatles piano. This record is completely crazy. There were all going appart and arguing. The different personalities were taking over the band's spirit and it gives us this schizophrenic records. I really think some songs like "Rocky Raccoon" or "I Will" are some of their bests. I also love the story about "Back in U.S.S.R." recording: everybody was laugthing about Ringo for some reason, he got mad and left... McCartney is playing the drums on that track!

"Love Me Two Times", The Doors, Strange Days

This is one of my favourite songs of the Doors. I love the biting guitar and the ironic Morrison. This is a classic that never gets old. Morrison seemed at this time to have understood it all, the entire man kind and he was speaking as a priest to preachers supported by the best men. I've read a book on his life and I've been quite surprised to see that he wasn't so depressing or dark... in the end, he was quite funny!But he was clearly ahead, ahead of his band mates, aehad of his generation, ahead of life unfortunatelly...

"Little Sister", Rufus Wainwright, Want Two

This is a pure gay song performed by the gayest. Rufus Wainwright is one of the most talented man alive. His voice is unbelievable and he is one of the most respected songwriter and he proves his brilliant talent in this song. Its classic arrangements are crazy, brilliant and beautiful. The only thing that could have make it better was this low and powerful voice.

"It Was A Very Good Year", Frank Sinatra

I was always suspicious on Sinatra before I started listening to him. I mean, who was he to let people call him "The Voice"? The guy had the reputation of being supported by the Mafia and stuff so I thought he was a crook, nothing more. Then I have listened and learnt my lesson. Not only was he "The Voice" but, come on! he was "The Man"! He trully was the best and this song is one of my favourite. I remember the first time I've heard it, it was on the radio. I was drinving home around 3am, it was dark, it was raining and nobody was on the street. I was listening to the story of this man's life, deeply moved... I've left "The Voice" guide me home in the night...

"Thunder On The Mountain", Bob Dylan, Modern Times

Bob Dylan is my absolute idol. I'm not really fan of the last things he has done, a bit too country for me but he invented modern music and thinking. He has done it all, he has lived it all and most of all: he survived. He is a legend and yet very human. I've seen and read a lot about him and it seems nobody clearly say the same thing about him. Each time he's saying something different, entertaining himself always a few steps forward on everybody...even today.

mercredi 8 juin 2011

The Playlist Of The Week

Turn on you iPod, press "Shuffle Songs" and see what happens... 

"Bye-Ya", Thelonius Monk, Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane

Once again, Coltrane makes an appearance in the Playlist of the Week. The track begins with some hopping weird piano by Monk quickly joined by the drums and the brilliant sound of Coltrane. The rythm is ponctuated by different breaks then the sax takes of! Once again, I have trouble understanding the rhythmic of Monk but Coltrane's solo is pure and brilliant. The double bass and drum make a great job supporting it all. Monk seems to follow Coltrane and the mix of the two universe is unbelievable. Then that's the piano's turn. Once again, Monk plays a lot on silences and his solo is very complex. I've always had trouble with Monk's play but that one sounds haunted. We can even hear him humming while playing! The rhythmic section is ensuring a good work up till the sax comes back warm us up with the theme reprise. That's good jazz music folks.

"Transmission94 (Parts 1 & 2), Bonobo, Days To Come

Bonobo is a brilliant english DJ. His Days To Come is a magnificent soft electro music. I love the samples he uses and his sound. Here is a DJ that understands rythm and music. I've had the chance to see him perform once and no need to tell he was making some serious asses moving! This record is for me to be put aside great electro records of that kind that have had a commercial success such as Moby's Play or the You've Come A Long Way, Baby of Fatboy Slim. This is shaded electro music growing up, evolving. It seems almost orchastrated. 

"Vogliatemi Bene, Un Bene Piccolino", Maria Callas, Madame Butterfly

I have always been deeply mooved by Maria Callas' voice. She's way more than haunted and living the music she is singing. She IS the music, the caracter she is playing, the story she is telling. She had a power in her voice capable of mooving anybody: people knowing opera and people listening to opera for the first time. Her voice doesn't sound cliché as some other in the opera can. She feels true.That kind of music always makes me feel good. As if I was more awared that things go on, more relaxed about it...

"Growing Ocean", Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues

Here is a band I have recently discovered through their second record that came out few months ago. I've been struck by the maturity and talent of such a young band. They have known commercial and critical success without the help of a major label which make them even more interesting to me. This song as their album, is brilliant and beautiful. I can only invite you to listen to them more closely and read the review of their record here in french, soon in english : .

"All I Want", Joni Mitchell, Blue

"All I Want" is one of my favourite Joni Mitchell songs. It opens her amazing Blue. As soon as she begins to sing, you are taken far away, in the warmest embrace ever, dazzled by the brightest smile and the most beautiful music. This album is pure gold. This song announces what comes next. You will find for instance people like David Crosby, Stephen Stills or Graham Nash taking part in the production of this record. There not much more to say... just to listen...

samedi 4 juin 2011

The Playlist Of The Weekend

Turn on your iPod, press "Shuffle Songs" and see what happens...

"Bahia", John Coltrane, Bahia
Coltrane is one of the greatest artists of all time. This track is a perfect example of his incredible sound at the saxophone. This is still tradiotional jazz in the sense he's not experimenting too much on this album and the structure of the song is quite common. But you can already hear some crazy stuff there. The sonorities are largely inspired by Eastern Arabic or African music. The rhythmic and this repetitive theme are wild and let room for more freedom in the solos. Trane's one is amazing and the piano goes on pretty well too. The double bass makes a weird solo with the bow just like on Blue Train but this Bahia was released a few time after that. The main attraction of this track remains the warm and bewitching sound of Coltrane... pure magic...

"Autumn Moon", Keziah Jones, Black Orpheus
This is one of the most beautiful and dark songs of Jones. He sings with two voices (one high and the other low) and both of them are just incredible... This is done perfectly and the biting acoustic guitar sound beautifully completes the voices. I've been lucky enough to see Keziah Jones live once and I can honestly say that even if I don't like all of his music (especially his studio works), this is one of the best live performances I've ever seen. He is a great artist with an incredibly powerful personality and this song will reach your soul and haunt it immediately. 

"Politix", Lone Catalysts
I don't know much about Hip-Hop. A friend showed me this band and I really love their sound and samples very often borrowed to some jazz tunes. This is some smart smooth Hip-Hop that will make you think. I really love their most known track "Renaissance". That one is good too. 

"The Passenger", Kings Of Convenience, Quiet is The New Loud
I've discovered this duet last year with "Ms Cold". They are two really good musicians both from Norway. I really love the way they are arranging the two guitars and voices on each song. They have some brilliant melodies as well. This one is not one of their bests though. Nevertheless, it is always nice to listen to them. One of them has also a brilliant band called The Whitest Boy Alive with some more groovy stuff, good stuff too. 

"Lonely Stranger", Eric Clapton, Unplugged
I've never really liked Clapton and his music. However, this Unplugged has been played all along my youth. I've always loved the sound of an acoustic guitar and I must admit the guy knows how to use one. He sings pretty well too but I've never really liked his songs in general. I don't find them extremely creative. I've also never like the fact that everyone called him "God" when Hendrix humiliated him once by playing with him on a stage before being famous. Clapton asked never to play at the same time as him after that... Hendrix is "God". 

mercredi 1 juin 2011

The Playlist Of The Week

Turn on your iPod, press "Shuffle Songs" and see what happens...

“Don’t Explain”, Helen Merrill

When it comes to great jazz woman voices, everybody can talk about Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holliday but few people know Helen Merrill. The white New Yorker has nothing to envy to the black divas and is one of the most touching voice that ever sang. You get immediately taken away by her smooth and warm voice. This is a beautiful and complex jazz song with brilliant arrangements, soft rhythm, and a haunted voice that leads it all until the magnificent trumpet’s solo. A great moment that makes you want to thank your iPod for picking that track and the whole world for suddenly turning so beautiful…

“I Walked Alone”, James Brown, Please, Please, Please
This is the very first album of James Brown. 1959! What a carrier he had. His first hit names the album: “Please, Please,Please”. At this point, Brown was still in the trend and playing some cool Rhythm and Blues music. He’ll later become the crazy screaming and dancing guy that has revolutionized the music. Couldn't find the right song on youtube though...but this video is great!

“The Guru”, Ustad Vilayat, Darjeeling Limited OST
One of the crazy and brilliant Indian traditional songs present on this unbelievable movie’s OST. You are literally transported in India when you listen to it. Brilliant theme and arrangements. Indian music is so rich and I still have to discover so much of it…

“Mississippi Queen”, Mountain
This is one of the songs that have been sold really well during 1970. This is the first time I’m listening to it. A good all hard rock song. To be fair, this is not really my style... I feel like you need to be a biker to fully enjoy that but this is quite funny and revealing of the good old rock & roll sound of the time.

“Nearer Blessed Lord”, Nina Simone
One of the songs of Nina Simone I really love. The vibrant voice of Simone is crazy and makes that sweet sweet tune a bit less cheesy than it would have been otherwise. A pure and joyful gospel that makes you feel good and nostalgic of a better time that, in the end, has never really existed…

samedi 28 mai 2011

The Playlist Of The Weekend

Turn on your iPod, press “Shuffle Songs” and see what happens…

“Inside My Love”, Minnie Riperton
I think I’ve discovered that song in the brilliant Tarantino’s “Jacky Brown”. It’s a pure R’n’B song with the marvelous voice of Riperton in it. The bass and strings of the chorus grooves like hell and we can hear the highest and yet smooth note made by a human voice I’ve ever heard in a song. The composition of the song is quite interesting and the arrangements are pure Motown sound but the main attraction here is the vocal performance of Minnie Riperton combined to that incredible Motown sound.

“I Love What You Do For Me”, Incognito, Live in Tokyo
That’s the first time I hear that song. A good friend showed me that great funk band that I don’t know well. This live in Tokyo seems amazing and hides some great tunes I have to listen to. Great song, great musicians, great singer but yet, something is missing for me. There ain’t nothing particular here according to me. That grooves well and the saxophone gets brutal in the end but I miss something.

“City Talks”, Syd Matters, Someday We Will Foresee Obstacles
Syd Matters are one of the best actual French bands. There not so famous yet but success is on its his way. They are in a way the French Pink Floyds but with a proper personality. This song is a very nice ballad on an old album. Their next album, Ghost Wispers, could become one of the greatest albums ever made and I strongly recommend it.

“Twenty-Four Hours A Day”, Billie Holliday
Nice. A good old song. I’ve always loved Billie’s voice. It’s like she’s activating a part of your brain you didn’t suspect when she starts singing: you listen to the lady. The band is brilliant and the song very nice and joyful. A good swing only that only misses Django aka the God of Swing. Solos are flowing very smoothly up till the end. Billie only sings for a few seconds there!

“This Is Not America”, David Bowie and Pat Metheny
I once was a huge fan of Bowie. I love his voice and this song is a brilliant expression of his talent of singer. That almost makes you forget about the all 8Os sounds. But the song is amazingly arranged and complex. The presence of Metheny in its composition might explain that. Although I don’t really see where the guitar genius intervenes here since the song remains quite pop and simple and there isn’t any guitar really. Pure Bowie spirit all along the song.

jeudi 26 mai 2011

The Shuffle Playlist Of The Week

Turn on your iPod, press “Shuffle Songs” and see what happens…

“Umfazi Omdala”, Johnny Clegg, Best Of Live at the Nelson Mandela Theatre
This is the typical African music played by “the white man”… the blackest of them though. Still sounds really good but a bit caricature of the black African songs but to be fair that’s what I like about this song: the fact that it doesn’t take itself seriously and assume that kind of burlesque aspect. The song is full of life and happiness. I really like the live version (that I haven’t found on youtube), less 80s like but still very kitschy. When the saxophone enters we have the feeling to listen the Cosby Show’s theme song or some TV show of that period. The voice arrangements are brilliant and the band is good and groovy. Good stuff…

“Don’t Stop ‘till You Get Enough” (Demo), Michael Jackson
To be fair, I’ve never really liked Michael Jackson’s sound. Sounds made up. The rhythm does move from the beginning till the end and it’s usually a loop so there ain’t no shades and everything sounds a bit alike. But on this demo version of “Don’t Stop ‘till You Get Enough”, recorded live, you get to hear what his music really sounds like and his voice as well and I have to admit it’s freaking amazing. This guy was really able to do everything he wanted with his voice. And the music sounds much better with that kind of live recording, much more human. This is really good.

“Ode To Billy Joe”, Bobby Gentry
This is a tube from the 60s. Quite cool and good. The singer’s voice is impressive. I like the weird rhythmic done with the guitar and the distant strings intervening here and there. Quiet and unusual song indeed…

“Not A Robot, But A Ghost”, Andrew Bird, Noble Beast
One of my favorite artists. This album is unbelievable. The song has been co-written by Andrew’s mad drummer Martin Dosh. His contribution is very audible since he’s the one responsible for the robotic weird rhythmic. The warm voice of Bird contrasts so well with the coldness of the rhythm here. The arrangements and recordings are amazing and endlessly delicate creating a very unusual atmosphere. This is music to listen to.

“Evidence”, Thelonious Monk, Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane
To be fair, that’s the first time I’m listening to that track. Coltrane seems to be at his best here. I’m less a fan of the weird stuff Monk does but still, this is brilliant jazz. As always, Coltrane’s sound enlightens the all track like a pure sunray. However the all track is hard to understand because of Monk’s play. Even his solo seems rambling and makes the whole track too experimental for me.