Out into the Blue and Sunny Morn

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. Here are the three albums that were suggested to me this week.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Boyz II Men’s self-titled album (1994)

First off, what is the name of this album? Some people call it their self-titled and other people call it II, since it’s their second studio album (if you don’t count their Christmas album, which apparently nobody does). Whatever. Continue reading

We’re the Only Difference

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. Here are the three albums that were suggested to me this week.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

John Mayer – Born and Raised (2012)

Kari shared another John Mayer album. I’m not surprised.

I was surprised how, right away, this album sounded and felt so different from Continuum. It felt less bluesy soft pop rock, and more … American. It sounds rather silly, but this album feels more laid back.

And I like it. A lot.

Continue reading

You’re a Blazing Star

Most of the people I work with sit in cubicles. Actually, most of the people at my company don’t work in our HQ – they work “in the field” at retail stores, etc. But one guy with an office near me listens to some great music. I never hear it on Monday mornings, but by Friday afternoon, it’s a mini concert in his office.

I don’t know if you knew this, but I’m kinda into music. So of course I share stuff with him and if I hear something I like coming from his open door, I’ll ask about it. Most of his music is stuff I’ve heard before, but there are some things I’ve never heard before.

One such artist is Ray LaMontagne.

I think he is, in his personal life, a kinda weird dude. I mean, there’s not much out there about him, so I’m just basing my opinion on the little that’s there.

But his music (that’s what we’re really here to talk about, right?) is great. It is everything I could want from a late ’60s-early ’70s psychedelic folk rock band. Continue reading

You Always Run Around Breaking All the Rules with It

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. Here are the two albums that were suggested to me this week.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

The Black Keys – El Camino (2011)

I had heard of The Black Keys years ago (maybe when Brothers came out), but I’ve never given them a listen. I’m not sure why. Maybe I associated them with The Black Eyed Peas? I don’t know.

As soon as I turned on this album, I knew I had made a huge mistake in not listening to The Black Keys these past few years.

This album is great. It is straightforward, earnest, bluesy and a little rough.

It is garage rock. Continue reading

Come be How You Want to

My wife got tickets to Wicked for her birthday a couple of months ago and last weekend we finally went. My wife has seen Wicked a few times. Once on Broadway and another time just after we started dating. She’s been wanting me to see it for a long time now.

I have to be honest, I feel like there’s been so much hype, there’s no way this musical could possibly live up to it. Just a few days before we went, one of my coworkers went. He had never seen it, and he loved it.

So we went. Continue reading

I Will Learn to Love the Skies I’m Under

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another.

We work right downtown, and at the end of last week, our town was hit with a Pepsi campaign. Apparently they’ve been doing this Real. Big. Summer. concert series, and it hit our town. For a couple of days, we’ve been seeing Pepsi trucks driving around, Pepsi hot air balloons, film crews, and these benches, complete with umbrellas, sand, and coolers full of Pepsi.

Pepsi

The homeless element of our town especially appreciated the free Pepsi.

The whole thing culminated in a free concert by an artist they refused to announce before hand. One of my coworkers went and was treated to a concert by Phillip Phillips. My coworker decided to share Phillips’ debut album, The World from the Side of the Moon.

And then, since it was released in 2012, everyone decided to share something which has been released in the last couple of years. So here are the four albums that were suggested to me this week.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Phillip Phillips – The World from the Side of the Moon (2012)

I didn’t recognize this album just from its name or the artist, but as soon as I heard the second track, Home, I recognized it instantly. I remember hearing that song when I’d go do a swim workout, or on insurance commercials, or on coverage of the London Olympic games, or … everywhere. For the longest time, I thought it was a new Mumford and Sons song, which is a complement for Phillips but not a good sign that I hadn’t heard his name until a year and a half after his song was huge. And it’s funny, because he’s even cited Mumford and Sons as a musical influence.

Continue reading

Everybody Digs a Swingin’ Cat

Maybe it started because my Director of Marketing was walking around whistling a song from Disney’s Robin Hood. You know the song I’m talking about. It got me in a Disney mood, so I decided to share some of my favorite Disney-related songs.

My absolute favorite Disney song is Everybody Wants to be a Cat from The Aristocats. Not the softened version they put on the compilation albums. I like the unedited, kinda racist version of the song:

 

It was a different time in 1970. So sure, they really play up the racial stereotypes. But when Disney edited it for just audio release, they also cut out some of the best instrumental bits. I think the piano part where Paul Winchell does Shun Gon (a not very politically correct Chinese cat) is great. And I totally get why they cut out Eva Gabor’s rather sultry singing as Duchess; Disney does have an image to maintain. But I love the movie version of the song, PC or not. Continue reading