Straight up, I have utterly no idea in hell how this one got past me for months, since Amazon claims that it was released last November — can that really be true?! — but at least I’m all up to speed now: while doing my record shopping last week, I ran across a double-disc deluxe edition re-release of one of 2009’s most spectacular albums – The Fray‘s crisply compelling self-titled sophomore effort – and, for God and everybody, standing right there in the middle of Best Buy’s pop/rock section, I let out an audible squeal of joy so loudly unmistakable, I can scarcely believe the store staff didn’t have to come resuscitate me with smelling salts.
the Buzz for January 2010
I’m gonna do this quickly because I am bone-tired and it’s quite late, and in general, the more time I spend trying to wrap my mind around the Academy’s often-baffling choices, the more intensely frustrated I become.
My beloved A brought this to my attention and insisted that I bring it to yours. Hence:
“…I’d go ahead and proclaim [“Use Somebody”] the instant front-runner [for Song of the Year], but since everything seems to be breaking in Taylor Swift’s (whose ability to sing I still strongly question, no matter how wide-ranging and accessible her abilities as a songwriter undeniably are) favor lately — I’m stunned that little heifer didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize last month! — she seems like the one to beat.”
— me, assessing Taylor Swift’s odds in this year’s Grammy race, in an instant-reaction nominations live blog last December.
“Taylor Swift, whose trophies now require a warehouse, is up for best female vocalist in pop and country. The crossover sensation may be able to write a tune, but she sure can’t carry one, as her live performances over the past year have demonstrated.”
— USA Today music critic Edna Gundersen, summing up this year’s Grammy race in a column earlier this week.
January roars to a close with a ferocious cross-section of great new music to choose from, including what may stand as the two most-anticipated sophomore outings of the new year. Take a look:
Even though it has sold well over one million copies (largely on the strength of her name and of residual goodwill toward her), and even though it’s loaded with drive-time-friendly fare (most prominently, the shockingly frisky “Million Dollar Bill”), pop radio has largely failed to take the bait on the divine Whitney Houston‘s underrated latest album I Look to You. But this week brings a reminder that once upon a magical time, she was the queen of pop music, as Arista marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of her sterling thirteen-times-platinum debut with a deluxe edition re-release. Newly added to the record are a trio of dance remixes, a remarkable a capella take on Houston’s classic “How Will I Know,” and a live version of “Greatest Love of All.” Also included: a DVD featuring the album’s four music videos, new interviews with Houston and Arista’s founder Clive Davis, and a rare clip of Houston’s national debut on The Merv Griffin Show.
brandon’s buzz‘s greatest hits, vol. one:
posted at 11:37 pm by brandon in child, my work
celebrating the show’s first anniversary!
january 26, 2010, 10pm est / 7pm pst!
It’s a little better out there this week than the last couple, but we’re still biding our time while we await the imminent monster that is next week. Consider this an appetizer:
It’s not always the case, frighteningly enough, but this year’s annual single-disc roundup of tunes that are vying for the Recording Academy’s highest honors, Grammy Nominees 2010, plays like a mixtape of the year’s strongest, most fascinating music. (Imagine that!) True, you have to sit through the likes of Black Eyed Peas and Beyonce, as well, not to mention subpar material from the typically dependable U2, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, and Kelly Clarkson, but I say any album which can wrangle aural diamonds from Kings of Leon (the staggering “Use Somebody”), The Fray (“You Found Me,” putting Isaac Slade’s scary-good vocals on a riveting piano-based pedestal), Lady Antebellum (the revelatory “I Run to You”), and Dave Matthews Band (“You and Me,” a sweet fare-thee-well to a fallen comrade-in-arms) onto the very same slice of musical real estate is mighty fine by me.
“…and she’s a bi-ITCH!”
— the hilariously irascible Joan Rivers, mocking the fact that actress Demi Moore will immediately correct you if you pronounce her name as DIMM-ee (instead of dim-MEEE) to her face, on The Joy Behar Show.
Another low-key week on tap, although with a new Patty Griffin record due at the end of the month, take heed: the new release wall won’t be this slow and dull forever. Dive in:
- Remixes of recent radio smashes from Black Eyed Peas, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, David Guetta, and others highlight Total Club Hits, Vol. 4,
the latest from those canny geniuses at Thrive Records.
- Contra, the second record from rising cult band Vampire Weekend.
- Those DIY wunderkinds OK Go are back with their latest effort,
Of the Blue Colour of the Sky.
- Acclaimed singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston returns with
Rain on the City, his first album in nearly a decade.
- Rain or Shine, a four-disc live collection from A’s favorite road dogs O.A.R.
- And finally, Sherry Ann’s reason for living this week: a new Jason Mraz track has somehow or other found its way onto the original motion picture soundtrack for the new Josh Duhamel flick When in Rome.
It’s the first week of a new year, and the pickins are extremely slim. Have at it:
- She’s got the number one single — the ridiculous “Tik Tok” — in the crunchy right now. Now comes Animal, the full-length debut from Ke$ha.
- Since it includes tunes co-written by the likes of Paula Cole and Rachael Yamagata, is it really fair to judge Unbroken, the sophomore effort from former “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, before we’ve actually heard it?
- And finally, a CD/DVD combo chronicling Kanye West‘s recent visit to VH1 Storytellers.
It’s the first night of a brand new year (and a new decade!), and I lay on the couch (which A lovingly calls “my throne”) watching my beloved watch his “Glee” DVDs and ruminating on the year just ended. Musically speaking, the aughts produced far stronger slates than what was offered up in 2009, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that any of what follows won’t stand proudly alongside any previous year’s diamonds.