the Buzz for September 2010

30
Sep

Josh Groban — “To Where You Are” (from Josh Groban) — To

Next up on A’s list is the criminally gifted Groban, who rode that hurtling, stellar rocketship of a voice straight to superstardom nine years ago and hasn’t once looked back. A devastating chronicle of grief (and of the hope which can emerge from it unscathed), this was his very first number one single, and the first real hint at what was to come from one of the new century’s tremendous burgeoning talents.

29
Sep

Enya — “Wild Child” (from A Day Without Rain) — Wild

Continuing with the theme of A’s favorite artists brings us to everybody’s favorite Celtic lass, who scores an exquisitely ethereal knockout by reminding us, simply, that there’s no time — time to turn it around, time to fall in love, time to remember to be alive — like now.

28
Sep

28
Sep

Natasha Bedingfield — “These Words (I Love You, I Love You)”
(from Unwritten) — These

A was so happy with yesterday’s Rob Thomas entry that he decided over dinner last night that all dispatches from the hive this week should consist of music from his favorite artists, a list of which he painstakingly laid out for me while we chomped on Chipotle. Because he’s not generally given to enjoying pure light-hearted pop, his unfettered adoration for Ms. Bedingfield borders on alarming, but there’s no denying the ecstatic, exhilarating joy emanating from her fierce debut single, a dynamite ditty all about the process of writing a dynamite ditty.

27
Sep

Rob Thomas — “Problem Girl” (from …Something to Be) — Problem

A texted me yesterday and demanded to see Mr. Thomas pop out of the hive pronto. (And since Rob was the primary inspiration for what you’re currently reading, it seemed like a reasonable request.) I wouldn’t dare call “Problem Girl” the best song on Rob’s electrifying solo debut record, but his stirring, passionate vocal performance really sells the thin story being told here. This was my favorite track the first time I listened to the album five years ago, and having just listened to the entire thing again trying to decide which song to choose, I have to tell you: it still is.

27
Sep

A batch of red velvet cupcakes (specifically requested by my visiting sister-in-law) took precedence over the Buzz Saturday night; hence, the hive failed to produce any honey yesterday. (The cupcakes were fantabulous, though, if that’s any comfort.) Nonetheless, if you missed any of last week’s tunes, here is a quick recap:

MONDAY: Bernadette Peters — “Running On Faith”
(from I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight) — Running

TUESDAY: Hanson — “Been There Before” (from The Walk) — Been

WEDNESDAY: Alanis Morissette — “No Pressure Over Cappuccino [live]”
(from MTV Unplugged: Alanis Morissette) — No

THURSDAY: Jimmy Eat World — “Hear You Me”
(from Bleed American) — Hear

FRIDAY: George Strait — “Blue Clear Sky” (from Blue Clear Sky) — Blue

SATURDAY: Meat Loaf — “It Just Won’t Quit”
(from Bat Out of Hell II [Back Into Hell]) — It

25
Sep

Meat Loaf — “It Just Won’t Quit”
(from Bat Out of Hell II [Back Into Hell]) — It

Brilliantly bombastic and ostentatiously over the top, Meat Loaf roared back to relevance in the fall of 1993 in one of the most expertly engineered comebacks rock and roll has ever witnessed, and he did it with the help of his old buddy Jim Steinman, the man who polysyllabic lyrics had propelled him to superstardom a decade and a half prior. Call this what you will, but don’t you dare call it dull. (Incidentally, Meat Loaf appeared on Brandon’s Buzz Radio three months ago to discuss his latest album, and if you missed that conversation, you can catch up with it here.)

24
Sep

George Strait — “Blue Clear Sky” (from Blue Clear Sky) — Blue

Over the past three decades, nobody in his genre can touch Strait for his enduring commercial success, and I reckon this tune tells all you need to know about why he has flown so high for so long: simple, clean melodies (that, incidentally, stick inside your skull on contact), straight-ahead, no-frills production, and an ageless voice that never wavers.

23
Sep

Jimmy Eat World — “Hear You Me” (from Bleed American) — Hear

Sherry Ann’s old faves — who, incidentally, are back next week with a new album — leap out of their emo box with a haunting, powerful paean to a fallen friend. A towering triumph from a band just then coming to grips with the fact that they were capable of creating incendiary beauty through song.

22
Sep

Alanis Morissette — “No Pressure Over Cappuccino [live]”
(from MTV Unplugged: Alanis Morissette) — No

At the zenith of her comet-like commercial trajectory, Miss Alanis popped into MTV’s revolutionary (and profoundly missed) music program and unleashed this staggeringly sincere chronicle of a charismatic young male acquaintance. My forever favorite blogger Glenn McDonald once noted that Morissette has never quite figured out how to write lyrics that don’t sound like twisty lists, and while I generally agree with that, I would add as a quick addendum that, more often than not, she has cannily worked that fact to her best advantage over the course of her blistering discography.

21
Sep

“I’m a country fan now. My friends from New York are like, ‘What the fuck are you listening to?’ And I’m like, ‘It’s Miranda Lambert! You need to get into it, people!'”

— Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, explaining to Entertainment Weekly how she prepared for her role in the upcoming film Country Strong (due December 22), in which — shades of Crazy Heart? — Paltrow portrays a down-on-her-luck Nashville songbird looking for lightning to strike twice.

21
Sep

Hanson — “Been There Before” (from The Walk) — Been

With sweet, knowing nods to Otis Redding and Johnny Cash, the riveting and utterly remarkable Taylor Hanson — once again, the finest pop singer under thirty on the planet right this second, and don’t even try to sway me in a different direction — delivers a graceful, gorgeous ode to the undeniable power of song.

20
Sep

Bernadette Peters — “Running On Faith”
(from I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight) — Running

In a strikingly brilliant turnabout, Peters — all warm feminine energy and china-doll delicacy — transforms Eric Clapton’s quietly fiery blues ballad into a gentle, peaceful prayer.

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