Tag Archives: will.i.am

Estelle

I’ve felt deluged by BritSortaSoul lately (Duffy, Adele, Amy, etc.), so I wrote the Estelle hype off without listening. Estelle herself has been bewildered by the fact that white girls in this BritSortaSoul craze have dominated “the sounds of blackness.” But if Soul Sides says she’s the real deal, then I’ll try her out.

Soul Sides hosts the mp3 for the song Come Over (download), but I like neither the echo effect on her voice nor the wind chimes in that tune. And let’s be clear: she’s hip hop, not soul.

I do like, however, her older Lauren Hill-like songs such as 1980. And I like this song No Substitute Lover off the new album, but I feel George Michael (who is inexplicably back on tour) should get some credit for the lyrics from Faith

You can listen to Estelle on her MySpace or watch the video of American Boy, her and Kanye West’s superhit. Her album Shine comes out in the states the end of the month (preorder/buy). In addition to Kanye, there are also tracks with Will.I.Am, Wyclef Jean, Cee-lo, and John Legend.

Of course, now there will be even more copycats. But luckily, we can still listen to real soul, funk, and R&B. Check in tomorrow for some old-school magnificence.

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Music in Presidential Politics

Obama and the Clintons have each won Grammys for reading their books.

Bill Clinton played sax. Mike Huckabee played bass guitar, with “his band” Capitol Offense, pissing Boston‘s Tom Scholz off when More Than A Feeling signals implicit endorsement.

There is interest to be found in the ramp-up and walk-off music at rallies, as in this great Daily Kos piece, as well as in the artists that perform at the rallies in unlikely small towns in rural America (e.g., I saw Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes do a lame set before a rally in Iowa, and, no, he didn’t play When the President Talks to God (jeez he’s trying to look like Jack White in that vid), but you can download the song for free from his label here).

will.i.am (of Black Eyed Peas fame) made two celebrity-riddled videos mashing up Obama speeches and chants with sung speech lines and heartfelt appeals: the most recent, We Are the Ones, and the first one, Yes, We Can. The alignment with Sí, Se Puede is intense (and I think they should have highlighted it better in the video, though of course Pat Buchanan is disgusted).

More direct than the Cesar Chavez reference made by Latino movie stars, Barack and Hillary each have a Spanish-language song. Listen to hers here; watch his here. Thanks for the tip, VSL.

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Filed under Covers, Politics

Michael Jackson

Last week the Michael Jackson empire rolled out Thriller 25, a remastered anniversary edition of the best selling album EVER. It includes a bonus track recorded with in the original studio sessions but previously unreleased, titled For All Time, plus some songs reworked by artists inlcuding will.i.am, Fergie, Beyonce, Wyclef Jean, Akon, and Pharrell Williams. You can buy it here, if you want to assure yourself the cover art of your choosing, or here where you cans stream clips of the new songs to judge them for yourself.

The video here pimping Thriller 25 features some of the artists and Quincy Jones; it’s fun to watch.

The reviews are mixed, but the general consensus is that the new songs look pretty bad next to the nine tracks that the world knows so well. Gimmicks? Sure. But I’m strangely comfortable with it; I’m just glad they’re reason enough for another generation to get on board.

The best bonus of all on the 25 is hearing Vincent Price’s maniacal laugh: “Michael Jackson is the Thriller. Can you dig it? Ha ha ha….!”

Also, it’s imperative you watch MJ’s 1984 Grammys performance of Billie Jean on YouTube. Rolling Stone hails that song’s influential pop brilliance thus: “Madonna made her own version of ‘Billie Jean,’ retitled ‘Like a Virgin.’ Stevie Nicks called her version ‘Stand Back,’ Pat Benatar called hers ‘Love Is a Battlefield.’ Bob Dylan called his ‘Tight Connection to My Heart.’ Yet none of them could touch the original.”

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Filed under Covers, Music Videos, New