Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Me..at a Sade Concert??

I have a confession to make and I know that I am in a safe space here to admit it (actually online is probably the unsafest place considering all this cyber bullying nonsense I have to read about).

Anyway I digress. I went to a Sade concert. Yes, yes, I know. The most activity I was expecting at a Sade concert was perhaps discussing the tasting notes from the finest Pinot Gris with the person sat very properly beside me. I went with no illusion that I would be crowd surfing at any time. I guess what I am trying to say is that I like Sade but wouldn't say I am a massive fan. I have the greatest hits CD of hers and still think she looks fab considering she is around the same age as Madonna and with none of the visible plastic injected into her skin.

So I may not have crowd surfed or even got up to bust a move but what I did do was drop my jaw a number of times at the extraordinary vocal ability of this woman. I had placed her into the "Marlboro lights" category of vocals - you know what I mean, the husky tones that can only be achieved from a pack a day. So I was amazingly surprised when Sade could belt it like the best of them (if not better) and hit some really HIGH notes. I was very, very impressed.

Just as a side note to all of this. I really dig the way that Sade hasn't followed any fashion trends or tried to keep up with the kids. Sade is her own category and for that I applaud her. I have added my favourite Sade song – No Ordinary Love. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t add the live version of Jezabel for a special someone who loves this song.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Al Green - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

This song is a prime example of a track being taken from it's original writers and given a totally different treatment, transforming it to brilliance. Al Green took a Bee Gees song and made it his own. It is also one of my all time favourite songs.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Urgent - Foreigner

I love those moments when you have the radio on and a gem of a song is played that you have hidden in the recess of your brain.

What really interested me is that the lead singer of Foreigner, Lou Gramm has had a break from the role in the 90's and recently the role has been taken over by singer Kelly Hansen for the live tours. After Lou Gramm had surgery to remove a brain tumour he suffered in his vocal abilites. Even though he is still singing for his solo career, the quality of his voice has changed quite dramatically.

After watching a clip of Kelly Hansen live I am really impressed. Apparently the band chose Kelly due to the fact that his vocal ability was similar to Lou's.

I will let you be the judge as to whether he pulls it off or not.

First clip - Urgent with Lou Gramm live

Clip two - Urgent with Kelly Hansen

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All we hear is Lady Gaga Lady Goo Goo

Lady Gaga appeared at the Grammy awards red carpet in an egg...yawn. What would have been good is if someone cracked open the egg and scrambled the fucker. It was cool when Mork turned up at Mindy's house in an egg but this was just so contrived.

When Bowie was in full flight donning his various personalities I thought "Bowie is an artist. Even though it is Ziggy Stardust it is still an incarnation of Bowie (probably on a shit load of drugs)". When Elton John played Dodger stadium in a Donald Duck outfit I thought "There is an example of a sexually confused man who is an artist trying to express himself in the mad world he is in (probably on a shit load of drugs)." When Grace Jones lit up the stage I thought "There is one whack-a-doodle chick who is a scary mutha."

I feel like Gaga has a little playbook at home of Bowie, Elton and Grace (among others) that she studies consistently to create her image. It just doesn't feel organic to me. It appears very studied and applied. She says in interviews that she was always a freak and dressed this way but I have seen her pictures (and videos) when she was Stephanie and she is just a very ordinary looking girl.

If you are truly weird (which she keeps telling the press) you don't have to say it. People will know it. Did Michael Jackson go around saying he was weird? No. But you know that he was nuttier than a snickers bar.

I often wonder who actually falls for this and realise that she has quite a legion of fans (or her little monsters as she calls them). Perhaps they are so young that they don't know about Bowie and think that it is original.

Below is a piece from this week's Popbitch which makes some very interesting points. I thoroughly concur.

>> Just dance <<

Get off the soapbox, get on the floor

Lady Gaga's over-hyped release of her Madonna rip-off, Born This Way, seems to be backfiring. Acolytes and mainstream media may have lapped it up but many fans are complaining that it feels more like a cynical marketing tool rather than genuine piece of pop. It should never be up to the artist to anoint their own work as a gay anthem - that's for listeners to decide (and if there's one thing that The Gays should inarguably be allowed to adopt, it's their own anthems).

The problem Gaga has created for herself is that by making gay fans feel like they've been used as a promotional weapon, everything she does is coming under scrutiny. Her S&M video stylings, closely linking the concept of "being gay" with being a freak, or an outcast, for example. Even her previously well-received attempt to support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is being questioned, particularly her use of the line"We are not asking you to agree with or approve the moral implications of homosexuality". What moral implications? No doubt she started out with good intention- she's possibly just a victim of her own hype -but Gaga might be advised to stop focusing on politics and start focusing on pop again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This is how you sing the Star Spangled Banner...

Update 9/2/11 - I just did some research and Whitney was apparently lip synching this performance that she pre recorded (apparently this was done quite often with many artists so there are no stuff ups on the day). I can normally pick quite easily when people lip synch so they had me here. I still prefer it...live or not.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Curse of the Oversinger

I just had the misfortune of watching a clip of Christina Aguilera singing the USA national anthem at the Superbowl. I didn’t watch it because I am a fan, I merely took a look because it is in the news that she sung the wrong words.

First of all yes she should have got the words right. This isn’t the first time she has sung the anthem at a sporting event but this is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. There is really no excuse to get that wrong.

The thing that really annoys me is her singing. I can acknowledge that this girl can wail. She is a belter and prefers to take that approach when singing. She also is a fan of vocal “runs”. For those uninitiated vocal “runs” is where you sing notes outside of the actual melody line. This style has become particularly prevalent in the last decade or so due to singers like Mariah Carey who litter most of their vocals with “runs”.

Well vocal “runs” are giving me the runs quite frankly. It has simply become a measure of a vocalists worth if they can fit in as many notes possible between the actual melody.

Watching the clip of Christina Aguilera singing the anthem made me quite mad. It was purely an exercise in self-indulgence. “Let’s show everyone on the highest rated program of the year that I can sing.” She failed. Big time.

What I would like to know is what has happened to the vocalists who can sing the actual melody line and sing it well? I am talking about a pure voice that doesn’t feel the need for over embellishment.

I have done some searching and I found someone. I really wanted to find someone who was edgy and kooky that you have never heard of just so I could get cool points but really who am I kidding? Edgy and kooky doesn’t naturally lend itself to a pure vocal performance.

So here I am introducing someone I never thought I would admit to liking (her voice anyway) or putting on my blog. Though no longer a contempary artist she is the embodiment of someone who sings pure notes and sings them well.

Yes Barbra Streisand cops a lot of shit and you either love her or hate her. Southpark went to town on her as Mecha Streisand who was a giant Godzilla style robot who could only be defeated by Robert Smith of The Cure.

She has the reputation for being a diva which I don’t know if it is true or not. To me it doesn’t matter. Most artists are divas and have attitudes. That is just the nature of celebrity.

I watched her singing about 5 different live versions of the same song (Evergreen) and can honestly say that she nails it every time. No vocal boosting. No autotune. No over singing the notes. As a person who has studied singing I can honestly say that the notes are pitch perfect. The lyrics are a bit syrupy but I would prefer to hear a syrupy song sung well than some tarted up half assed growler anytime. Sorry Christina, but it is true.