Posted by purplemary54 on February 22, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, resistance fighters of all ages, I give you our new anthem!
Okay, so the song is about a year old, released during the presidential primaries last year; it is, unfortunately, still quite relevant. It lacks mainstream publicity, largely because of certain words it uses repeatedly that the FCC takes issue with. I only heard about thanks to an article on Slate. Rappers YG and Nipsey Hussle (who deserves some kind of prize just for his awesome stage name) recorded this as an angry response to the hideously racist rhetoric of the maniac living in the White House. Now this is not the best Rap song I’ve ever heard. It lacks eloquence and style, relying instead on profanity and swagger. Public Enemy this is not. But the raw emotion behind it propels the song and gives voice to the inarticulate anger and fear that so many people of color are feeling (not to mention all the anger and fear emanating from every other group of people threatened by this maniac). “Fuck Donald Trump” becomes not just an epithet but a rallying cry. I recommend playing this one REALLY loud.
Posted in Music, Rap | Tagged: music, news, nipsey hussle, politics, Rap, songs, video, yg | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on February 13, 2017
My adoration for Shawn Colvin knows no bounds. As a songwriter, she pens intensely, deeply, personal songs that are somehow universal. As a performer, she can take other artists’ songs and turn them into her own intensely, deeply, personal experiences. It’s a gift that as a music fan I do not take lightly.
In 1994, Colvin released Cover Girl, a collection of songs she loved by artists she loved; it is to this day one of my favorite albums. In 2015, Colvin decided it was time to collect a few more covers and released Uncovered. I finally got a copy for myself and although I don’t think it’s quite as passionately felt as Cover Girl, I think it shows her gift of turning covers into her own quite nicely.
Take “Tougher Than the Rest” for example. This song by Bruce Springsteen originally appeared on his Tunnel of Love from 1987, an album that is full of some of his most intensely, deeply, personal songs (it’s his divorce album, presciently written and released before his divorce from Julianne Phillips). Colvin switches a few pronouns, and presto, it’s her song not Springsteen’s.
If you know anything about Colvin’s history, you know how utterly heartbreakingly poignant this version is. She imprints herself all over the romantic yearning for a real relationship. She’s had a rocky romantic life, due in part to her struggle with mental illness. When she sings the title refrain, “honey I’m tougher than the rest”, you know it’s true. The last verse really gets to me. She delivers it so quietly, so matter-of-factly: “Well it ain’t no secret, I’ve been around a time or two. I don’t know baby, maybe you’ve been around, too. But there’s one more dance. All you gotta do is say yes. If you’re lookin’ for love, honey I’m tougher than the rest.” Her eyes show all the hope and fear those words encompass. Just one dance, just one chance to prove she’s the one for him. I like to think she did, but of course, that’s where the song ends. There’s room for both love and heartbreak. How the story turns out is up to the listener.
Posted in Music, Singer-Songwriters | Tagged: music, musicians, shawn colvin, songs, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on February 12, 2017
You might only remember Al Jarreau if you are a person of a certain age or if you were a huge Moonlighting fan. A consummate singer and performer, Jarreau had pretty much dropped out of the spotlight in the last couple of decades. In fact, I think the last pop culture hit he had was the theme to Moonlighting. At 76, Mr. Jarreau has moved on to the next plane of existence.
Take a minute to familiarize yourself with Mr. Jarreau if you don’t already know his work. He was originally a Jazz singer, but he crossed into so many genres that he was impossible to pigeonhole. And wow, was he smooth. No. Not just smooth. Al Jarreau was smooooooooooth. His voice was silky and pure and clean. There were no missed notes, no extraneous flourishes, no gratuitous posturing. There was just music, and it was good.
Now all the smooth leaves no room for rough edges, which means Jarreau was never quite to my taste. But this, singing his 1981 hit “We’re in This Love Together” is how I will always remember him. Another great voice is just a memory, but it’s a pretty fine one.
Posted in Jazz, Music, Obituaries, Pop, R&B/Soul | Tagged: al jarreau, artists, music, news, obituaries, songs, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by purplemary54 on February 9, 2017
Real life has been a little hectic, and I neglected to note the passing of Asia frontman John Wetton last week.
Asia was always one of those reliably catchy bands that I listened to on the radio, but never really thought too much about. I’ve got a few of their songs on the iPod, and I’ll sing along when I hear them. I guess my relationship with this band can be described as casual, an acquaintance I’m generally happy to bump into but not someone I seek out for anything special. But they were responsible for one of those songs that is inexplicably special to me: The 3 AM Song.
So thanks for that, John Wetton. I’m so glad you shared that little bit of musical serendipity with me. Considering the state of my life right now, I can use the inspirational boost I get every time I hear “Days Like These” more than ever.
“What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. And today I am strong enough, and anyway I love the rain.”
Posted in Obituaries, Pop, Rock | Tagged: asia, john wetton, music, news, obituaries, songs, video | Leave a Comment »