the Buzz for February 2013

23
Feb

Flo Rida (with the Bingo Players) — “I Cry” (from Wild Ones) —

In a trend that I can wholeheartedly support — if only because it draws attention to one of the greatest songs in the history of great songs, and that’s always a good thing — it has seemingly become quite trendy to construct upbeat hip-hop tunes around the still-thrilling chorus of Brenda Russell’s unforgettable 1988 classic “Piano in the Dark.” (Literally, I had to grab my own self by the hair the other morning and drag my clicking fingers away from the iTunes music store, where I bought so many such songs that I nearly gave myself carpal tunnel.) Flo is riding a hot hand of late, thanks to his smash collaborations with David Guetta and Sia — not to mention his ravishingly raunchy top 10 crossover hit “Whistle,” the lust-drunk lyrics of which make me blush urry time it pops up in a shuffle — and this irresistible slice of fierce fluff feels like one more triumph in a growing string of same. (In case you missed it, I had an absorbing conversation with Ms. Russell four years ago on Brandon’s Buzz Radio, and during the course of that chat, in what I would place amongst the show’s top ten most fascinating anecdotes, she revealed how “Piano” came to exist in the first place, and how — nonsensically — it almost wasn’t released as a single at all. The privilege of being able to ask Brenda the questions that elicited her stunning story stands as one of the highlights of my life, and if you’re at all a fan of great music, it’s sure to brighten your day.)

20
Feb

linda dano feb 2013 banner

10
Feb

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The 55th Annual Grammy Awards have arrived, thankfully with much less agita surrounding them this year than last, when my dear Miss Whitney passed away the night before the ceremony, a tragedy that cast an impenetrable pall over the entire event. This year, the focus is thankfully back on the music, and how: for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-the-hell-long, each of the four primary races seems to be a total toss-up heading into the home stretch, which suggests we could be in for some big surprises on Sunday night. (It would also appear to portend that a great many prognosticators will come away from these awards looking and feeling like big ol’ fools; as the great Dan Rather once said on Tom Snyder’s brilliant old CBS chat show, “He who lives by the crystal ball learns to eat a lot of broken glass.”) Still, I have a decent batting average with these predictions — which are made all the more tough by the fact that Recording Academy’s tastes can sometimes be notoriously difficult to pin down — over the history of this blog, and I’m feeling incredibly brave as I type this. Ergo, allow me to break down the major Grammy contests:

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9
Feb

Son Volt — “Drown” (from Trace) —

Because we had gift cards and certificates whose dates of expiration were quickly approaching, A and I took dinner the other night at our local Logan’s Roadhouse, whereupon we happened to get paired with the most charmingly ingratiating waitress I’ve ever met. Throughout the course of our mighty tasty meal (which was capped off by a most creative dessert: the cutest miniature metal buckets filled with various fruity cheesecake and brownie a la mode concoctions), we learned far more about our perky server — from her love of meat loaf to her odd Brady-Bunch-esque family arrangement involving her fiance’s ex and their collective brood — than we could ever have hoped to know. She didn’t even mind when I would occasionally burst into song, as I did when this forgotten classic from 1996 spilled out from the restaurant’s speakers and I felt impelled to jam. (I hadn’t heard this one in forever, but I had an instant memory of driving Sherry Ann mad playing it over and over again back in the day, and I have vowed to do the same to A — who was a bit nonplussed by this fabulous tune’s obvious charms; he claimed he could barely hear it, and I retorted he was barely listening — until he’s every bit as much in love with this song as I am.)

8
Feb

Matthew Perryman Jones & Mindy Smith — “Anymore of This”
(from Anymore of This) —

Smith and Jones aren’t exactly household names — yet, mark well — but for us fans of bubbling-under, angst-ified indie rock, this heavyweight collaboration is, in its own peculiarly subtle way, roughly as earth-shakingly momentous as that time those divine divas Whitney Houston and George Michael decided to blow minds worldwide and team up for one of the all-time great bitchfests. I know not if this is a one-off or merely an appetizing morsel portending more such duets to come, but no matter: “This” is a tender, dreamlike, wrenchingly sweet alliance.