Archive for March, 2007

Monday, March 19th, 2007

The recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions were very favorable to the ladies – 2 of the 5 inductees, Patti Smith and the Ronettes, were women.

The last year has been a good one for female musicians as well, with some of the most interesting and well-reviewed releases coming from women.

You don’t often think of the harp when you think of contemporary popular music, but that will change when you hear Joanna Newsom. Her release from late 2006, “Ys”, is a mixture of said harp, her ethereal voice (it reminds me of Bjork) and literary lyrics. Words can’t do it justice, you must listen!

Lily Allen has been massively popular in her native England for the past year, but that popularity is following her to the United States. “Alright, Still” is the perfect summer album, with a poppy reggae beat and witty, biting lyrics. Lily is coming to the East Coast for some tour dates in April, and she’s touring with a local Baltimore dj, Aaron LaCrate, who has done a wonderful remix of her hit song “Smile” in the Baltimore club tradition.

Finally, Lucinda Williams new cd, “West” has the songwriting and the lived-in voice her fans love, with a more mainstream pop overtone that has won her new fans, while, it must be said, alienating some of her older ones. Listen and decide for yourself.

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

How often are you watching television when you hear a great song? But not on American Idol, on the tv commercial?

Songs have been used in advertising since there’s been advertising, but it’s moved from largely jingles, like “Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz” to popular music being used to get the attention of the increasingly fickle, fast-forwarding public.

For example, if you’ve watched a sporting event for more than a few minutes, you’ve surely heard John Mellencamp’s ‘Our Country” advertising trucks. Though the song sounds like classic Mellencamp, it’s actually brand new and available on his newest cd, “Freedom Road.” Another song frequently heard during sporting events is the Chemical Brothers “Galvanize” advertising a most popular beer.

Sometimes the songs share a theme with the product, such as the phone company that uses Oasis’ “All Around the World” to talk about it’s planetwide service.

Other times, they just sound cool! Which old fashioned candy that melts in your mouth has brought to life such tunes as Iron & Wine’s “Such Great Heights” and The The’s “This is the Day?”

If you hear a song you like and your stumped, try Music from TV Commercials and Ad Tunes.