Music & Art

New(er) Music from Old Favorites

I’m always on the hunt for new music, and very often new artists. I decided last week to check out some new(er) music from artists I already listen to. Here are some of them.

Anna Nalick

I absolutely loved her Wreck of the Day, her debut several years ago, which featured “Breathe (2 AM).” I’d check every so often to see if she’d released a follow-up and never saw anything. I finally gave up till recently when I saw her Broken Doll & Odds & Ends, which severely disappointed. I listened to it once and then again a second time but with less interest. Most of it is pretty subdued, slower tempoed stuff. I still love her voice, but she doesn’t sing anything interesting on Broken Doll.

Lenka

This young Australian vocalist is one of my daughter Jacque’s favorites. I really liked her self-titled debut, which was bubbly and fun. She continues with chipper pop on her sophomore release simply called Two. I didn’t like it as I did her first, but I want to give it a few more listens. (Jacque didn’t like it as much either, but she’s probably taking her cues from her critical father.)

Mat Kearney

I’ve never listened to Mat Kearney’s stuff much. (Maybe because he doesn’t know how to spell his first name.) I’m really only familiar with “Nothing Left to Lose,” from his debut release. Young Love is his third CD, which has received glowing reviews. I suppose I’d have to like his music in the first place to rave about Young Love. To me nothing sticks out. I like the style, but his voice is borderline terrible. I can listen to some artists handicapped by their own voices (like Bruce Hornsby and even Elton John), but Kearney’s music just doesn’t seem worth it.

Sting

What’s Sting been up to these days? I’ve been a fan of his since I bought Ten Summoner’s Tales with its gorgeous melodies, beautiful harmonies, and odd time signatures. To one degree or another, I’ve liked everything he’s recorded since. But Symphonicities is altogether different. Sting took some of his well-known tunes and some lesser-known ones, orchestrated them, and created some exciting and new music. Some of the arrangements are so-so, while others are simply fantastic. I highly recommend this project, if only to hear Jo Lawry, a wonderful vocalist, who joins him on a few tracks.

Elton John

Speaking of old British guys. I haven’t liked much from Elton John in nearly 20 years. He’s had some good songs here and there, but his overall records resemble nothing like those from his early days. He’s not putting out anything like Madman Across the Water, Don’t Shoot Me, or Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. This is why I checked out his Legendary Covers, a collection of recordings from what sounds like the days before his self-titled debut, which featured “Your Song.” To me, Elton John has always been a singer-songwriter. Take away the songwriter part and you’re left with a marginal singer, which is what you get on covers of songs like “Spirit in the Sky” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” Why he ever recorded “Young, Gifted and Black” is a mystery to me; greater still why it was included on this compilation. If you want some legendary Elton John, pick up his first few albums, since he hasn’t produced much of anything good lately. Perhaps he’s grown complacent while raking in millions in ‘Vegas.

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