Music, Music and more music

Annie Lennox released her new album, Nostalgia, on Monday. I cannot stop listening to it. Seriously, it is so wonderful! I cannot stop replaying “Georgia On My Mind,” (I never cared for the Ray Charles version, sacrilegious I know) “Summertime,” “I Cover the Waterfront (the arrangement is so beautiful) and the Billie Holiday classic, “Strange Fruit.” Thankfully NPR did a lovely piece with Annie and posted it on their webpage. I’m glad a listened to the interview before purchasing the album. So many of the songs she recorded for her new album were made famous by other artists, and many of these songs are indicative of a particular time in history.

But even music has its limits.

You cannot go back to the past, but you can perhaps musically comment on the present – Annie does that on her new album. In her interview Lennox says, “”And there’s a part of me — kind of, sometimes — wants to slow it down and go back. And the one thing you cannot do — and this is inherent, the sort of irony of the title — you cannot go back. There’s no turning back of the clock. You’ll never do that. So nostalgia is a dip into an imaginary space, really.” How many songs that were written so long ago still have an impact on listeners today?! It is the same concept and I am glad that Annie Lennox took the time to lend her voice to such timeless material.

Speaking of music, I was browsing through Mashable trying to figure out something to post on my blog. I found this gem on earworms and the new book by Joel Beckerman entitled, The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the way We Think, Feel, and Buy 

Mashable lists 33 musical earworms that most people find (or perhaps will find) difficult to stop listening to. Since I have been replaying Nostalgia all week, I think I will add the entire album to the list.

The Kate Bush Theme continues…

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Fish People, Kate’s record label, contacted me today informing me I was selected to purchase one the limited edition “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) 2012 Remix” vinyl picture discs.

Kate released the disc originally for this year’s record store day (April 20th).

Honestly, I had forgotten that I even registered. I liked hearing the remix during the Olympics, so I thought I would give it a try.

Words cannot express how excited I was to receive the email. In the midst of applying for countless jobs, I get a little present. Christmas in September, if you will.

Something new I get to add to my collection.

Music inspires me

It’s been awhile since I’ve written on my blog. I’m still looking for a new job, continuing to fill out job applications. I haven’t stopped, nor have I given up hope. I have wanted to several times, but to give up would be to admit defeat. One cannot give up. I’ve also applied to go back to school in the spring, for a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication, with an emphasis in Media Production.

I’m listening to Kate Bush’s 1985 album, Hounds of Love, and the song “The Big Sky” starts playing over my iTunes. I just closed my eyes momentarily and envisioned an ad for British Airways. Music makes me think of television ads and things. I realized then, at that very moment, that my idea to go for a degree in media production is a right choice. I’m no longer jealous of other people. We are all destined to do things. I think it’s silly that I was once, if momentarily, jealous of my contemporaries for their abilities to work in fields that they love. I’ve been down on myself, depressed and angry – but for what?! I should be happy in the fact that I’ve never given up. I’m not a quitter. I try and keep at it until something happens. I defy the rules. When someone tells me I can’t, I do it anyway.

Great things are going to happen!

Just an idea!

I love finding out when musical artists that I adore are readying new albums. A favorite british music group of mine, Pet Shop Boys, will be releasing a brand new album in June, entitled, Electric and it’s being produced by Stuart Price.  Now. I am tickled pink by this news. I love PSB, I have for years. Ever since I heard their two collaborations with Liza Minnelli and the late Dusty Springfield Results (1989) and Reputation (1990) I have loved, loved, loved PSB. Stuart Price is another musical genius that I just love,  his work on Madonna’s 2005 album, Confessions on a Dance Floor was nothing short of spectacular. Price has worked with all sorts of artists: Kylie Minogue, Scissor Sisters, The Killers,  et al.

But, I had an idea.

Since Stuart Price is producing the new Pet Shop Boys album, Electric, for their new record label. You know, I think Barbra Streisand needs a new POP album. A strongly produced project that has a ballad/dance theme to it. Stuart Price would be an excellent choice. I’ve loved his production values since he did Madonna’s wonderful Confessions On A Dance Floor in 2005. I think Barbra deserves new “earworms” that she can attach her signature voice to. After her two pop albums in the 1980s: Emotion (1984) and Til I Loved You (1988) both of which were marred with mediocre writing and too many producers, I think the best way to commemorate her 50th Anniversary with Columbia is a with a great album of new material.

I commend Columbia for the duets project, which is still ongoing; however, I think Tony Bennett effectively exhausted the “duets” idea with 3 albums worth of them for record label. Will the music buying public be willing to hear Barbra sing duets? Guess time will tell.
If MADONNA can still do dance oriented albums in her mid-fifties, why couldn’t Barbra revisit her disco days?

I think it’d be fun.

The Joy of Driving and Music

Since I got my Ford Focus SE after graduation, I have been finding all sorts of excuses to drive it all over the town I live in. Tomorrow, I’m going to Nashville to do some tech consulting for a medical corp. I work part-time for. I just really enjoy driving my car. It fits me and I like the way it feels on the road. When I used to drive my ’92 Jeep Cherokee, I was so afraid the vehicle would fall apart, or worse, not be able to make it on or off the interstate. These days, I’m content in the knowledge that my car can play CDs, my iPod, and even has airbags. My jeep didn’t have airbags at all. I guess its the little things we take for granted, but I am quite thankful and grateful that I have a new car to drive around in. Speaking of driving, apparently the Washington Post did a guide of the 10 worst cities for drivers. I’m glad I have audiobooks and music on my iPod to keep me company during traffic snarls. 

Last night, I attempted to post a review of the 2013 remaster of Barbra Streisand’s 1976 album, Classical Barbra. Unfortunately, WordPress had other ideas and decided not to allow me to post it. So without further ado here is my review: 

Due out  tomorrow, is the 2013 remaster of Barbra Streisand’s 1976 album Classical Barbra from Masterworks, the classical/broadway arm of Sony Music Entertainment. While managing to go GOLD in 1999, Barbra’s foray into Classical music is to some an enlightening experience, while others have been seemingly mislead by the album title. I read the review of one lady on Amazon.com who posted, “Listened to this one probably once, I guess I just like pop music, because this stuff really strained my patience!” Classical music isn’t meant to enjoyed by the impatient. No. Classical music is meant to be enjoyed with a glass of wine, and thats exactly how I intended to treat this new remaster of an already classic recording. However, I was dismayed when I heard very audible hiss emit from my speakers, as the opening bars of Debussy’s “Beau Soir” met ears. I’m stunned at the album’s reissue producer, David Foil. The original album recorded during in 1973 with The Columbia Symphony Orchestra with arrangements and conducting by Claus Ogerman, is a lovely adventure into the realm of classical music by Streisand.  Tracks such as “Beau Soir,” “Apres Un Reve” and “In trutina” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana are favorite tracks of mine. Since I have both the Lp and original compact disc edition of album, I was excited about the prospect of a new remastered album. Apparently, Barbra Streisand’s renewed contract with Columbia Records includes at least two or three remastered albums in addition to new projects. However, I figured that with a remaster of a now 40 year old recording would be complete with cleaned audio tracks, yet it all sounds like a regular, every day, run-of-the-mill, tape to compact disc transfer complete with very audible hiss. I mean very audible hiss. 

I thought with all the advancements we have in technology, a 40-year-old recording should be able to sound terrific. Right? Regardless of how it sounds, I personally love the recording, and applaud Streisand for her confidence in tackling such material. I find it funny that a sometimes artists who cross into different genres fall hard on their faces. For example when Renee Fleming released Dark Hope produced by David Kahne I was really quite excited and intrigued by the list of songs on the album; however, the album falls flat. Fleming’s voice is held back and kept in her lower register, while the arrangements are tepid and unremarkable. I enjoy the fact that Barbra’s classical debut is a straight, no frills album. It’s just Barbra and the music. Pity about the sound though..

The Summer of ’12

I have made a decision that my second part of “To London, With Love” won’t be posted until the Opening ceremony of the Olympics. 

I was going to make a post congratulating the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee, but I thought better of it.  I was so enraptured with all the Jubilee coverage from both BBC America and ABC News, I missed the first two days of my summer Spanish class. Oops. Oh well, accidents do happen. 

This summer will be filled with the following: 

  • Studying (Spanish) 
  • Classes (Spanish and Poetry Writing) 
  • Music (I’m always looking for new music to listen and collect) 
  • Reading (I’m behind on my leisure reading) 

I’ve also been looking for a job for weeks now. I know that’s nothing, as many people have been out of work for months (even a couple years in some cases,) however I am desperate need for money. I have filled out countless applications and have sent tons of them out. I remember when I was in high school, my grandparents tried to point me  in the “get a job” direction. I rebelled and constantly made up excuses. I didn’t want a job then. Times have most definitely changed. I not only WANT a job, I need a job. In the six years since I graduated from high school, times have changed (not for the better) and so have I. The job market was okay when I started college. Now nearly two college degrees later, it’s the pits. 

I’ve learned a valuable lesson, as Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus once said, “take chances, make mistakes.”  It’s funny how that’s what life is really about, some people catch on early, whereas others (like myself) are slow to realize that. 

That’s all for now..