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New Songs Week Of June 15th, 2009: What experiences brings

My friend Bari Wartell (we saw Conor at “Other Music” together last year) when asked for a couple of lines for my blog came up with this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” Hmmm, or maybe it’s a confession as to their opinion of the world. Or maybe more than character it’s experience that colors our opinion of the world.

And maybe Bari forgot this was a music blog!!! Anyway, I changed a word and came up with a the same truth said a bit differently: “People seem not to see that their opinion of popular music is also a confession of character.” With that in mind a weaker week such as this one might be more indicative of YOUR character.

Bigger Hands – John Anderson
Baby I’m For Real – Will Downing
The thing about genre music is it is less effected by the winds of fashion and trvia. Both these guys started off in the 1980s. Anderson a country pretty boy who could really write a song, Downing a Jazz fiend who would soon make the move to R&B. 20 years later Anderson and Downing sound in better voice than ever -Anderson finds his salvation in God, Downing in more earthly pursuits. Two perfect songs.

When You Hear the Bassline – Major Lazer
Can’t Stop Now – Major Lazer
Supaman – R. Kelly
On the other hand, sometimes fashionistas have more fun. Major Lazer are the DJs (Diplo and Switch) behind MIA’s “Paper Airplanes” and the two cuts I have from these two Jamaican cats first album “Guns Don’t Kill People” are real good. ” “Bassline” is an electronic dance jam and “Can’t Stop” is rub-a-dub electronic didgery doo. It has been two years since R. Kelly’s soul flavored and dowdy “Doubled Up” and he has used it wisely with this superfine dance song off his upcoming new album. My bet? It’ll be his best since “Chocolate factory”.

Much Better – Jonas Brothers
World War III – Jonas Brothers
Easy – Deer Tick
Give Me the Meltdown – Rob Thomas
Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight -Spinal tap
I don’t dislike Jonas Brothers on principle, the boys have a right to make money and they have a right to take themselves seriously and I thought they were fun with Stevie Wonder on the Grammys earlier this year but this “World War III” is ghastly and they shouldn’t take on Taylor Swift as they do on “Much Better” if they can’t write songs as good as “Tears On My Guitar”. On the other hand I do dislike Rob Thomas on principle and he should be banished to rock and roll purgatory even if only for calling his band Matchbox Twenty. Still the chorus to “Meltdown” is a little knock out. Spinal Tap re-record their anthem for a four foot girl who still has her baby teeth: would you rather hear a funny joke twice? Deer Tic are a pretty good indie band and leader John McCauley has a gruff and timbrelatic rock voice, “Easy” segue from verse to chorus back to verse is its defining should find its college boys fans with ease.

Can’t Last A Day – Teena Marie
Farm Song – Hank William Jr.
Corpus Christi Bay – Todd Snider
Prince was a superstar not for his guitar playing or his r&b jamming but for his pop sensibility. It was about “Kiss” not “Crystal Ball”. Same with Teena Marie. Over the years both Prince and Teena have turned their backs on their abilities to write catchy songs with a good back beat. Faith Evans, a woman who never figured out what to do with her tremendous pipes, lends her voice to Teena’s completely anonymous song. Hank Williams might have been an alcoholic who died of an overdose in the back of a limo at the edge of 29. But he was an, etc, etc, who invented modern country singlehanded. Junior is an average talent rebelling but he doesn’t know where or how and he is ripping it up like Kid rock but the sound doesn’t quite mesh -first song on the newbie is a forceful snoozer. One song out of three for Todd: listen kid, it’s ABOUT CONSISTENCY.

Folding Chair – Regina Spektor
The new album isn’t out till next week and the show is tomorrow at the beacon so i streamed it on Myspace and this one kills (she claims she’s perfect because her eyebrows protect her from sweat getting in her eyes!). My friend Innocent X tells me she has been playing it live since 07 so i guess it’s well seasoned. I’ll tell you more about Regina Thursday.

And in answer to the question of character: if you like John Anderson and Will Downing you are a conservative in her forties who thinks the earth is flat. if you like the Jonas Brothers you have trouble with authority: you can’t stop sucking up to it. But if you like Major Lazer you are pretty and witty and wise and high on ecstacy. All in a days work for your friendly neighborhood blogger.

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