American Pie is undoubtedly Don McLean’s most recognized song. The epic 1970’s tale of the demise of an era that charts the ideals of the optimistic 1950s through into the darker 1960s resonated with the Baby Boomer audience and ensured the song reached #1 or #2 in nearly every country around the world. In Britain the American Pie album remained amongst the top charting albums for an astounding 54 weeks.
I wrote a brief piece about Steve Winwood’s album Arc of a Diver quite a while back. On listening to the album again recently I’ve been inspired to re-work the article and re-share some info about a remarkable talent and an album that captures a period of my life that I call ‘The Cape Town Years’ perfectly.
I received the heads-up about St Vincent’s 7th studio album, Daddy’s Home, in May and have been meaning to take a listen for the last few weeks. Today I did, and I reached the same conclusion as I did with her albums St Vincent and Masseduction, so much cleverness needs more than a cursory play.
I’m glad I am late to the party regarding some musicians. It gives a better sense of perspective of the artist when you have a collection of work to draw from, and the amount of work that Imogen Heap has put out since she started writing songs as a 13-year-old is nothing short of phenomenal. Not only in the world of album releases, but in everything from theatre, film and TV compositions, music production and engineering, talks and lectures, and some groundbreaking inventions and innovations to boot.
I posted a brief glimpse behind the band, The Guess Who, early last year and I think it time to look a little deeper into the band that was regarded as the Beatles of Canada. With names such as Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman as key members, you can be assured of an interesting dip into musical history today.
South Africa has such a diversity of musical styles and I sometimes tend to concentrate on bringing you music you may never have heard before at the expense of the new hit-makers. I tend to leave the hit-parade material alone but there are three artists in Johannesburg’s Mix FM local chart at the moment that I really feel deserve their place on the Loving the Music pages. I also have my non-SA friends and followers in mind while writing this who may seldom get to hear what’s trending on our local pop charts.
Unlike many posthumous albums, Stay Around isn’t a compilation of favourites. The playlist comprises 15 previously unreleased tracks. You might think a collection from the archive might sound a little unfinished, but I was surprised how well produced the songs are. Admittedly, there are a few excellent obvious singles, but many of the remaining songs are stripped back, simpler, and no less magical
Grimes is an artist I wasn’t aware of until her name started to be linked to Elon Musk. The fact that she is now married to one of my heroes will have no bearing on today’s mini-feature, but I am certainly happy that something happened to bring her to my attention. This is one very talented artist who achieved her own success long before becoming Mrs Musk.
With a discography spanning 25 years, Mark Oliver Everett’s (aka E) band EELS have explored styles and sounds, building up fans and haters alike. Some find E’s melancholy writings a bit too morbid, but in among the 13 studio albums they have released lay sparks of sheer brilliance, and some of the albums have bucked his normal moody trend and can be regarded as almost uplifting.
I featured a new song from Tim Minchin about a month ago not realizing it was a teaser track for a studio album of non-theatre songs that was released yesterday. I’m a huge Tim Minchin fan and within hours of the launch I had notifications from Tim’s YouTube channel giving me the heads-up on the new uploads. I knew it was going to be a good listen. I wasn’t wrong, but what surprised me most was the amount of serious songs included in the 11 tracks of Apart Together. I know so many of the songs from his shows already, the idea that this is basically a debut studio album from someone who has been around for 15+ years is quite strange.
I have a conflicting like for Alanis Morissette’s music. I think she’s a superb singer/songwriter who touches on very awkward topics that tend to pick the emotional scabs of her devoted following of listeners. And therein lies my conflict. Do I want my emotional scabs picked quite so well?
There are certain singer/songwriters who become a deeply ingrained part of your life. The kind that helps you through teenage self-doubt all the way to the retrospection and hindsight that comes with the ‘Autumn’ years. Joni Mitchell is one of those people and, as it was her 77th birthday yesterday, it is only fitting to pay tribute to one of the true greats with a personal selection of three songs.