the Buzz for August 2010
Pat Benatar — “All Fired Up” (from Best Shots) —
Not by a long shot was this her biggest hit (it barely squeaked into the top twenty in the summer of 1988, far beyond her commercial zenith), but — and think me weird if you must — this no-frills straight-ahead stunner has always been my favorite of Benatar’s boombox-shattering blockbusters, and when it popped up in an iPod shuffle while I was running errands earlier this afternoon, I cranked up the stereo, squealed with utter delight, and sped down the highway singing along with all my might.
Dave Matthews — “Gravedigger” (from Some Devil) —
Taking a brief breather from his beloved Band in the fall of 2003, the masterful Matthews struck gold with an agonizing anthem which celebrated the delicate fragility of life and the brazen defiance of death.
If you missed any of last week’s tunes, here is a quick recap:
Joe Purdy — “City” (from Only Four Seasons) —
An all-time fave amongst the Grey’s Anatomy set, Purdy has long past perfected the art of painful, prodding earnestness. But sometimes — as on this aching elegy to a city and a woman who are inextricably linked inside his mind — he can still strike a chord. The more things change, indeed.
Carly Simon — “Coming Around Again”
(from Coming Around Again) —
With a magnificent, refreshingly adult mid-’80s marvel, the majestic Simon reignited her flagging fortunes and saved one of pop’s most glorious careers from fading entirely into oblivion. Couldn’t have happened to a smarter, cooler gal.
John Lennon — “Nobody Told Me”
(from Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon) —
From the watershed year that became 1984, in which the baton was officially passed and a new generation of torchbearers — Michael, Madge, George, Cyndi, Prince — was anointed at once, a pivotal, posthumous smash — and a fitting final farewell — from a still-young man who had nonetheless rightfully become one of rock’s elders.
The wind cries Katy this week, and urrybody figured out a while ago that whomever tried to stand in Miss Perry’s way was gonna get steamrolled. Hence, it’s hardly a pulse-pounder on the new release wall this week. A quick look at the highlights:
- Proving definitively that there’s no such thing as bad press, former American Idol winner Fantasia — fresh off a half-hearted suicide attempt in the wake of adultery allegations — steps up with her third album, Back to Me, which includes the Ryan Tedder-penned
“Even Angels,” a one-off single from earlier this year.
- Christian superstar Natalie Grant is aiming to touch off a
Love Revolution with her latest disc.
- Usher bookends his latest release Raymond vs. Raymond with
a collection of remixes and b-sides, Versus, which includes guest appearances from Pitbull, Justin Bieber, and Jay-Z.
- David Guetta adds four bonus tracks — including new collaborations with Fergie, Madonna, and Kelis — to his smash 2009 album and renames it One Love 2010.
- Warner Brothers inaugurates a new series of budget-priced
best-of sets entitled Top Ten with hits collections from Clay Walker
and Sixpence None the Richer. (Look for upcoming titles in the series from the likes of Travis Tritt, Dwight Yoakam, and Randy Travis.)
- Genre-busting country band Little Big Town return with their
fourth studio album, The Reason Why.
- The motion picture soundtrack for Drew Barrymore’s upcoming romantic comedy Going the Distance features classic tracks from The Cure and The Pretenders, as well as new tunes from Boxer Rebellion and
The Airborne Toxic Event.
- And finally, the one and only Katy Perry follows up her massive 2008 breakthrough with what promises to be an even bigger retail behemoth, Teenage Dream. The lead single “California Gurls” was juvenile, ridiculous, and catchy as all hell — translation: the perfect summer smash — and the title track is rocketing up the charts right behind it, so buckle in and be prepared for Perry to be inescapable once again.
“Hi! You are the manly man! I hope you will like my cake with strawberries. I want to communicate via email. With hope, Ekaterina.”
— a fun (and certainly flattering, if not entirely accurate) comment which got caught in the Buzz’s spam filter earlier today. (For the record, Ekaterina, I do love strawberry shortcake — all the way down to my toenails, indeed — but alas, I’m taken, and it’s for keeps.)
Court Yard Hounds (featuring Jakob Dylan) — “See You in the Spring”
(from Court Yard Hounds) —
When these goofy, petulant heifers speak, they never fail to make me want to scale the interior walls of my skull trying in vain to quell the resulting brain itch. But when they sing — with or without that woefully ignorant babbling brook Natalie Maines — they never fail to create unfettered magic. (Incidentally, I am the loving boyfriend of a human being who positively detests cold weather of any stripe, and I predict this one’s gonna touch him deeply somewhere beneath the palm fronds and beach sand of his soul.)
Celine Dion — “Taking Chances” (from Taking Chances) —
Sherry Ann will tell you that once upon a glorious, more innocent time, there was nobody on the planet I loved more than this golden-throated gal, and it’s quite true: in her early days, before she and her handlers allowed David Foster and his cabal to drag her across every corner of adult contemporary hell, Dion was the most thrilling, most dynamic pop star on the dial. And this tune — the title track from her 2007 “comeback” effort — served as a soaring, riveting reminder of her raw, titanic talent.
Finley Quaye & William Orbit (featuring Beth Orton) — “Dice”
(from Much More Than Much Love) —
A haunting, wholly satisfying mash-up of genres (country meets electronica!) and ideals which hinges on (and benefits immeasurably from) the tense, taut interplay between the flighty Quaye and the earth angel Orton (who, by dint of her mere presence, literally lifts everything she touches toward magnificence).
The Band Perry — “If I Die Young” (from The Band Perry) —
I had another song picked out entirely, but Jaron Lowenstein (of country band Jaron and the Long Road to Love) gave this tune a shout-out on his Facebook yesterday, and I’ve been listening to it all morning positively enraptured by its elegant, easy beauty. The siblings Perry — led here by the exquisite Kimberly (think Taylor Swift’s ethereal beauty, but with Alison Krauss’ otherworldly talent) — deliver a simple, sweet knockout with their romantic rumination on leaving this plane, ready or not.