Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘annie lennox’

Covers Albums

It seems like most singers get to a point in their career when they do a covers album. This fall brings new covers albums from Annie Lennox (Nostalgia), Aretha Franklin (Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics), Bette Midler (It’s the Girls) plus Lady GaGa and Tony Bennett (Cheek to Cheek). I can see why artists do these albums. They can pay tribute to songs/artists that they admire; and the pressure is off to come up with some great new songs. The question is are they really bringing anything new to the table with these? Or is it a vanity project with just so-so results? Read on to hear my thoughts on these projects:

 

New

Annie Lennox “Nostalgia” She’s got one of the best voices in pop music, so for me she can sing anything. She chose a collection of songs from the 30’s and 40’s… and it works for me. It has already gone to #1 on the jazz album chart.

 

Aretha Franklin “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” Aretha is awesome, that being said, I wish she had covered other songs. These were all very big hits, and it is hard to do something better when they were done right the first time.

Bette Midler

 

Bette Midler “It’s the Girls” The Divine Miss M chose to cover songs made popular by girl groups. The most interesting song is a ballad version of TLC’s “Waterfalls.” She sounds great as always, but the end result was just OK to me.
Lady GaGa and Tony Bennett “Cheek to Cheek” I applaud Lady GaGa’s commitment to this project, with the tour and all. She definitely has the voice to sing these songs. But I think I would have liked to hear some different songs, as most have been covered many times before.

 

Barry Manilow “My Dream Duets” Barry duets with a bunch of dead singers on this collection — everyone from Whitney Houston to Jimmy Durante to John Denver. Why oh why…

 

Good

Gloria Estefan “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” She picked songs that inspired her and that she liked growing up. The result was 2 Top Ten hits for her from this project including ‘Turn the Beat Around”.

 

Annie Lennox “Medusa” For the most part, I wasn’t very familiar with the songs on here. She chose wisely.
Natalie Cole “Unforgettable with Love” The platinum standard for covers/standards albums. Natalie paid tribute to the songs of her father and did a fantastic job. She earned multiple Grammy awards and set sales records too.

 

Boyz II Men “Love” It was nice to hear the Boyz put their spin on songs by the Goo Goo Dolls and Take That.

 

Michael McDonald “Motown” This album reminded people how great a singer he really is. A commercial and critical hit for him.

Wynonna “Sing Chapter 1”
This lady can sing pretty much anything for me. The album is all covers except for the title song.

 

Hall & Oates “Our Kind of Soul” One of my favorite duos, Daryl Hall has a fantastic soulful voice. Nothing new really, but it is well done.

 

Michael Bolton “Timeless — The Classics” His version of the Bee Gee’s ‘To love Somebody” was a hit off of this collection. The rest is nice too.

 

Linda Ronstadt “What’s New” One of her many transformations. With the help of Nelson Riddle conducting, this set of standards reinvigorated her career at that point.

 

Some OK moments

All of the following have some nice moments, but nothing I would rave about.

Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmunds “Playlist” Song you would have heard on 70’s radio pretty much. Nice, if a bit boring.

 

Rod Stewart “It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook”; “As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook Volume II”; “Stardust: The Great American Songbook Volume III”; “Thanks for the Memory: The Great American Songbook Volume VI”; “Still the Same: Great Rock Classics of Our Time”; “Soulbook”; “Fly Me to the Moon: The Great American Songbook Volume V” God knows he has done quite a few covers albums! The Great American Songbook ones were big hits for him… I have heard the songs done better in my opinion. I do like the rock classics and soul covers though.

 

Gloria Estefan “The Standards” Another album of standards from the Great American Songbook. I haven’t heard enough to really get an opinion on it.
Rick Springfield “The Day After Yesterday” Songs that he liked from the 70’s and 80’s.

 

Erasure “ABBA-Esque” This EP updated some of ABBA classics.

 

A-Teens “The ABBA Generation” A teen pop group consisting of 2 guys and 2 girls (like ABBA), whose first album was all ABBA covers.

 

Gretchen Wilson “Under the Covers” She has a great country-rock voice, haven’t heard this though.

 

Dolly Parton “Those Were the Days” Dolly pairs up with various friends for this set of songs. Guest stars include Keith Urban and Cat Stevens.

 

Bad

Cyndi Lauper “At Last” Yes, Cyndi has a nice voice, but I really felt that she lost herself here. Where was the fun?

Duran Duran “Thank You”
Bad song choices, and done badly too. The only halfway decent song was “White Lines”.

Boyz II Men “Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville, USA” This sounded good on paper I am sure, but was just OK in reality. Stick with the originals.

 

Colton Ford “Under the Covers” Former porn star covers everyone from Alicia Keys to Robin S. and more on this collection. He should stick to porn.

 

I am sure there are more that I missed. What are your favorite covers albums? I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Concerts I Want to See in 2014

Seeing a performer live is one of my favorite things in life. The roar of the crowd, singing and dancing your heart out, the elaborate staging, choreography, special effects, lighting, great musicianship — I love everything about going to concerts. So who do I want to see in 2014? Read on:Katy Perry

Katy Perry
Katy-cats will be out in full force for her Prismatic World Tour 2014. Starting in the UK in May, it will be sure to hit the US later in the year. Featuring songs including her recent #1 smash “Roar” plus all the old favorites like “Teenage Dream” and “I Kissed a Girl.”

Lady GaGa
Yes, she has taken a few lumps in the media and on the charts recently. But reality is she is an exciting live performer and is sure to come up with another pop spectacle. Lady GaGa’s ArtRave — the ArtPop Ball is sure to keep us entertained and make us fall in love with her again.

Lady Antebellum
Country’s reigning trio takes their signature harmonies back to the road on the “Take Me Downtown” Tour. Supporting the recent deluxe edition of their LP “Golden” along with special guests Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves.

Robin Thicke
Coming off the biggest year of his career thanks to  “Blurred Lines”, Robin will be taking his white-boy soul to arenas along with Jessie J. and DJ Cassidy.

Cher
Coming out of her touring retirement and after her Vegas engagement, Cher returns with her “Dressed to Kill” tour in support of her recent album “Closer to the Truth.” I saw her on her “Farewell” tour. But I am not so sure I am going this time… but I am sure it will be a good show.

Miley Cyrus
She has a career! Nobody was talking about her last year. And now she is coming off 2 big hit singles (We Can’t Stop, Wrecking Ball) and a hit album too (Bangerz). I hope that she does some of her old Hannah Montana songs too.

Sting and Paul Simon
Two old-timers touring together for the first time. Both came out of groups: Sting from the Police and Simon from Simon & Garfunkel. Both have long song catalogs and have been known to rework their old songs to new arrangements. It will probably be a 3-hour plus show.

Darius Rucker
Coming off one of the biggest hits of his career as a solo artist with “Wagon Wheel”, the former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish has had quite a run on the country charts. Supporting acts include: Eli Young Band and David Nail.

One Republic
Ryan Tedder’s group One Republic is heading out on a headlining tour for summer 2014. Besides leading his group, Ryan is an in-demand songwriter and producer. Opening act is The Script (Breakeven [Falling to Pieces], Hall of Fame).

Journey/Steve Miller Band
Classic rock mainstays Journey (Don’t Stop Believin’, Open Arms), and Steve Miller Band (Fly Like an Eagle, Abracadabra) are heading out on a co-headlining tour next summer. Opening act is horn-heavy funk group Tower of Power.

And lastly, a couple of acts I wouldn’t mind seeing on the road:

Duran Duran
They haven’t had a new album in a few years, but they are one of my all-time favorite groups. Great songs like The Reflex, Hungry Like the Wolf, and Wild Boys. They have only gotten better over the years with their performances.

Annie Lennox
I loved her with the Eurythmics, and her solo career was pretty good too. She is an awesome vocalist and a fantastic performer. Such a powerful vocal presence. She doesn’t have to have any new material, just come on tour already!

Tickets are on sale for most of these shows in 2014 already. So who do you want to see on tour next year? I would love to hear from you. And look for me in the cheap seats.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Artists I Want to See Have a Comeback

The music business is a fickle business, you are hot for one minute, then you aren’t. European audiences seem to be more faithful sometimes to artists than they are in the US. Remember when Santana had the “Supernatural” album with all the hits on it? That was a comeback. What about when Jennifer Lopez released  “On the Floor” — everyone had written her off at that point. Now she is headlining one of the hottest tours of the year. These are the artists I want to see have a big comeback:

  1. Janet Jackson
    This one I have been waiting for — for a long time. She is overdue! She was one of the most exciting singers/performers of the 80’s and 90’s, but she has made bad choices with her material. If she had the right song, she would be on top again for sure. I would be reaching out to up and coming producers if I was her, I am sure they would be thrilled to be working with a superstar like her.Janet Jackson
  2. Christina Aguilera
    The Voice has brought her back into the spotlight. She had a rough few years with her marriage falling apart and a flop movie and album. She has a new CD out this week called “Lotus”. I heard it on AOL First Listen, and it has some good songs on it. Here’s hoping it’s a hit and that she goes on tour in 2013.
  3. Cyndi Lauper
    She came out around the same time as Madonna, and is still around. She has a big gay following, and she can sing just about anything. Put her in a big musical or get her a guest turn on “Glee” or “Smash” and she was totally kill it
  4. Babyface
    Sure, LA Reid is the one in the spotlight now on The X Factor. But once upon a time, LA was the other half of the big songwriting duo of LA and Babyface. He was a fantastic songwriter and producer in addition to being a hit recording artist. I could totally see him doing an album like Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee” and having him duet with today’s country stars on reworked versions of his songs.
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Artists I Wish Would Tour More

I have gone to a lot of concerts over the years. Some years, I have gone to 20+ shows, others maybe 3. Some artists seem to tour almost every year — others once every five to seven years or so. Other favorites seem to have a lot going on, or they are at a different phase of their career where they don’t want to tour. So here goes, my list of artists I wish would tour more often:Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez
She has a lot on her plate: singer, actress, dancer, American Idol judge (now ex-judge), model, spokeswoman and mom. Plus she has time for a personal life too. Since she has been out, she has only toured twice, once with then husband Marc Anthony and once this year with Enrique Iglesias. I am sure it will be a great show.

Annie Lennox/Eurythmics
So Eurythmics did tour a decent amount in the 80’s. But now, not so much. To me, she has a one of the best live voices you will ever hear. So soulful, and powerful. Between her solo career and the work with the group, she has plenty of material. She has inspired artists such as Pink and Kelly Clarkson among others. It’s about time she reminded everyone why she is so excellent.

Adele
With how huge her 2nd album has been, you think she would want to capitalize on that success and plan a big giant concert tour. Hasn’t happened. First off she was sidetracked with vocal chord problems, and now she just doesn’t seem too interested to do so. I hear she is writing songs for her 3rd album already. But, she is pregnant… so it will be years before we see her on the road again.

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