Archive for the ‘Rock Music: Spotlights & Reviews’ Category
A week or so ago, I was listening to my Joan Jett & The Blackhearts station on last.fm when I am slammed by the sound of a guitar and female vocals with a New Jersey accent. I look to see the song currently playing is “Hanging on The Telephone” by Blondie. As I continue listening to the song, I have the urge to dance along with the guitars and start loving the yearning in the singer’s voice when she sings, “Oh, I can’t control myself!” That’s when I decide to look up Parallel Lines, the album the song is on. From there, I ended up listening to Blondie’s entire discography and discovering thirteen other songs I really liked.
One of the best things about Blondie is its music. For a band, they have the most eclectic sound I have ever heard. By the time they had reached their zenith in the 8o’s, they had done punk, pop-rock, disco, reggae, jazz, funk, and rap. When it comes to doing a song featuring rap, they were ahead of their time. Thanks to meeting graffiti artist Fab Five Freddy, they were able to embrace rap when it was just beginning to take off.
Another great aspect of their music is their lyrics. Like their sound, there is a lot of variety, Some lyrics are fun, some are relaxing, and others make a statement. Some of my favorite songs are “Eat to The Beat“,“Follow Me “, and “Die Young, Stay Pretty.”
Last but not least, the vocals of Blondie’s lead singer Debbie Harry. They are different things depending on the song. For instance, “Rapture” and “Heart of Glass” have Harry’s vocals becoming airy like Donna Summers. On slower songs like “Sound-A-Sleep” and “Shayla” they are soothing and angelic. On rock songs like “Living in the Real World”, her voice has a growl to it that is reminiscent of 80’s rocker Joan Jett.
All and all, this band is now my number one favorite band. I am happy they are still making music today, but I personally think they reached their peak in the 80s . Nonetheless, I would recommend them to anyone.
Most people know Joan Jett for her cover of The Arrows “I Love Rock n’ Roll” with her band The Blackhearts. When I heard this song a few years ago, I thought it was awesome. Yet, I didn’t want to hear more of her music for a few reasons. At the time, I wasn’t too open to old music. I also pegged Joan Jett as a butch rocker who only wrote music that said “I’m a woman, I’m rebellious, hear me roar!” after checking out the album I Love Rock n Roll. As it turns out, this 80’s rocker is so much more than what she appears to be.
One of the best things about her is her vocals. She has a soothing yet aggressive voice. The soothing vocals are best seen in slower songs like “Love Hurts”, and “Crimson and Clover”. Of course, her aggressive vocals are seen in more up-tempo songs like “Bad Reputation” and “Victims of Circumstance”.
Another thing I enjoy about her is how passionately she performs live. She’s not kidding around when she says she loves rock n roll. Whether she is playing her own songs or a cover, she puts her heart and soul into doing it. One of my favorite live performances is her performing Sly and The Family Stone’s ‘Everyday People”. I love the jam session her and another guitarist has almost three minutes in.
Last but not least, her songwriting. It is rare that I have a favorite album by anybody. Whenever I do choose one, it is something that I appreciate as a fan and as a critic. In this case, it is Joan Jett’s 1994 album Pure and Simple. Joan Jett might not have the most complex lyrics, but some of them are very meaningful and touching.
On this particular album, Joan Jett has less of the tough girl stuff and more vulnerable and empowering material. My personal favorite songs are “Activity Grrrl” , “Go Home”, and “Brighter Day”. In “Activity Grrl” Joan Jett tells of an everyday girl trying to make a difference by empowering herself and others. With the lyrics and rare music video for “Go Home”, she tackles rape and violence against women. With “Brighter Day”, Jett discusses social issues and the fight for hope.
Links and a video:
“Everyday People” Live- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEizmNjyuMo
“Activity Grrrl”Audio- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqAiHUvFoiI
“Brighter Day”Audio- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYYOsP6OoIo
“Go Home” Music Video
David Bowie’s first album in ten years is witty and pleasurable, a wonderful way to embrace the past while reflecting on the present. By being himself and alter-egos like The Thin White Duke, he is at his zenith of creativity.
One of the notable things on the album is the music composition. There are songs that have melodies that are reminiscent of Bowie’s past work. For instance, the song “Dirty Boys” echoes the song “Fame” from Bowie’s Young Americans album. “Heat”, the album’s final track, flashbacks to Bowie’s album Low.
Besides the music composition, there are the lyrics. They are like a work of art, like a painting you look at in a museum. If you find them interesting, then you start thinking, “What does this mean to me?” This is something Bowie has been known for since the sixties and to see that this hasn’t changed is very gratifying.
Last but not least, the vocals. Bowie is getting older, but his vocal range hasn’t changed too much. There are times where he sounds like is talking rather than singing, but various instruments (i.e. guitar, drums, etc.) makes up for this flaw. His best vocal work is on slow-paced songs like “Where Are We Now?”
Overall, this is an excellent album. This is Bowie’s best work since 1997’s Earthling. I recommend this album to anyone looking for authentic and intelligent music.
I was chatting with my cousin last week on Facebook and somehow she ended up giving me a link to a rock song from Scooby Doo and The Witch’s Ghost. That got me thinking about the a few other female rock songs I know from animation.
This song is the first opening theme from the anime and it is sung by Anna Tsuchiya. In the anime, the character who sings it is Nana Osaki.
In the cartoon, the song is sung in the episode “Fanning the Flames” by a ghost named Ember McClain. Supposedly, the song tells the story of what she was like before she became a ghost. Her singing voice belongs to Robin Kimissle.
This opening theme song is sung by Marion Raven.
In the movie, this song is sung by a female gothic rock band called The Hex Girls. The lead singer, Thorn, is voiced by Jennifer Hale.
Once in a while, you might find someone who listens to more than one type of music. An even rarer find is a musician that has more than one sound. Here are my personal favorite eclectic musicians the songs that display their variety:
Bridge of Light-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjWNckjaRWQ&feature=related
Musicians: The Beatles
Tomorrow Never Knows-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spjcPS4ekOA
Musician: David Bowie
After All- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJRk1pz3tk4
Rock n’ Roll Suicide-http://www.youtube.com/watchv=k_RfY4pVkBo
Dead Man Walking-http://www.youtube.com/watchv=z3qm2tTD_oQ
Bring Me the Disco King-http://www.youtube.com/watchv=kNzPD3i9cic