Content tagged 'Pop'
Hard Candy (Album of the Day)
Madonna pulled out all the stops for her 11th – and final – Warner Bros. studio album, HARD CANDY. Enlisting a team of A-list producers including Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams (all of whom also contribute vocals, along with Kanye West), the performer created a tough-but-sweet confection that was “like 'Holiday' with an R&B groove,” in Timbaland's words. The urban-oriented dance-pop of the 2008 set shines as brightly on LP-only tracks like “Candy Shop” and “Devil Wouldn't Recognize You” as it does on singles “Give It 2 Me,” “Miles Away,” and Top 10 hit “4 Minutes.” Needless to say, HARD CANDY was a smash, reaching No.1 on the U.S. album chart 10 years ago today and racking up more than 4 million sales worldwide.
1999 (Album of the Day)
When Prince issued his first double album, he was far from a household name – but 1999 helped turn him into one. The breakthrough Warner Bros. set (the performer's fifth) made both his ambition and craftsmanship undeniable; while it featured extended tracks and wide-ranging lyrical concerns relative to previous releases, the collection also included hook-filled singles like “Delirious” and “Little Red Corvette,” which became the Purple One's first Top 10 single on this day in 1983. And though we're well past the year that the hit title song predicted would mean “party over,” the set's synth-driven electro-funk still runs at full power. Prince would soon go on to scale even greater heights, but 1999 assured his place in the music history books.
You'll Never Walk Alone (The EMI Years 1963-1966) (Album of the Day)
The Beatles weren't the only Liverpool group managed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin; like the Fabs, Gerry And The Pacemakers rode the beat boom to the top of the British charts in the early 1960s, scoring three successive U.K. No.1s (“How Do You Do It?,” “I Like It” and “You'll Never Walk Alone”). Like Lennon and McCartney, Gerry Marsden was a talented writer whose original songs – including “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and “Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying” - were popular on both sides of the Atlantic. The four-volume YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE (THE EMI YEARS 1963-1966) is the ultimate collection from the quartet's original incarnation, featuring all their hits plus rarities and a full live concert from 1964.
Unplugged... And Seated (Album of the Day)
The stripped-down, predominantly acoustic approach of MTV's Unplugged series allowed for a fresh spin on rock classics, and few performers took better advantage of it than Rod Stewart. Released 25 years ago today, UNPLUGGED … AND SEATED features the U.K. singer-songwriter on 17 career-spanning songs ranging from such early favorites as “Stay With Me” and “Maggie May” to more recent hits including “Forever Young” and “Have I Told You Lately.” Former Faces bandmate Ronnie Wood joins in on guitar for many of these tracks, and though they hadn't worked together in nearly two decades, the chemistry is still palpable. A Stewart show is usually pretty animated as Rod plays to the crowd, but even when UNPLUGGED … AND SEATED, he makes thrilling music.
SONG OF THE DAY - This Must Be The Place (Album of the Day)
Released 35 years ago this month, Talking Heads' SPEAKING IN TONGUES was the group's commercial breakthrough following a trio of acclaimed albums with producer Brian Eno. The collection includes the quartet's first Top Ten hit, “Burning Down The House,” but follow-up single “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” is equally noteworthy. Atypically for the band, “it's a real honest kind of love song,” said lyricist David Byrne. “I don't think I've ever done a real love song before.” The melody is purposefully simple, with group members switching from their usual instruments to play it, and that simplicity may explain its popularity in soundtracks and cover versions. Cited by Pitchfork as one of the 50 best songs of the 1980s, "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" is our song of the day.
SONG OF THE DAY - "Ziggy Stardust" (Album of the Day)
A student of mime and a fan of such stage/film composers as Anthony Newley, David Bowie had a taste for the theatrical, and that was never more apparent than on ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS. The pinnacle of the ever-evolving performer's glam rock phase is a concept album about a messianic sci-fi rock star – a role Bowie played to the hilt in concert with flamboyant costumes and bright red hair. Though the persona would prove limiting and was retired (in typically dramatic fashion) at a tour-ending London performance 45 years ago, “Ziggy Stardust” has been cited by both Rolling Stone and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of rock's 500 greatest anthems, and it's our Song Of The Day.
Hotel Paper [Deluxe Edition] (Album of the Day)
After an impressive 2001 debut, singer-songwriter Michelle Branch made a strong return two years later with HOTEL PAPER; the Maverick collection debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard chart and has been certified platinum. Its baker's dozen originals show the young performer - not yet 20 at the time of release – taking her success in stride, with such songs as “Breathe,” “'Til I Get over You” and the Grammy-nominated “Are You Happy Now?” seeking out balance in a hectic world. The digital Deluxe Edition adds several bonus tracks, including non-LP sides “Wanting Out” and “Lay Me Down,” as well as a fine cover of Joni Mitchell's “A Case of You.” This is Michelle Branch's birthday, and we'll wish her a happy one with HOTEL PAPER.
THE MONKEES 50 (Album of the Day)
The Monkees have amassed a dozen Top 40 hits - including a trio of tunes that soared to #1 - and sales of their LPs were more phenomenal still, with 16 million albums and 7.5 million singles sold in a mere 2 1/2 years. In celebration of the band's golden anniversary two years ago, Rhino released THE MONKEES 50, a three-CD set packed with 50 unforgettable songs from the band’s historic career. Along with classic chart-toppers “Last Train To Clarksville,” “I’m A Believer” and “Daydream Believer,” and such Top 40 singles as “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and “Valleri,” the collection delves even deeper into the band’s rich catalog to include fan favorites like “She,” “Mary, Mary” and “Papa Gene’s Blues.” The group returned during the MTV era (receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on this day in 1989) and THE MONKEES 50 also features comeback tracks "That Was Then, This Is Now" and "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere" as well as songs from their latest album, GOOD TIMES!
SONG OF THE DAY - "Bad Day" (Album of the Day)
“My granddad used to say to me, 'There's better people who are worse off than you,' and I always remember that,” noted singer-songwriter Daniel Powter of his “Bad Day.” “It's a song about trying to make people feel better.” The global smash certainly struck a chord, topping the Billboard singles chart, earning triple-platinum sales status and becoming European radio's most played song of 2005. The centerpiece of Powter's self-titled album, the track was inspired by his struggles to succeed as a musician (“Bad Day” was rejected by labels for two years before Warner Bros. signed the performer), which shows what can happen when you don't let adversity stop you. We'll make it our Song of the Day in the hopes that your Friday the 13th isn't a “Bad Day.”
Song of the Day - "Holiday" (Album of the Day)
Madonna is one of the best-selling female artists in pop history, and it all begins with “Holiday,” the third single and first big hit from her eponymous debut released 35 years ago today. Written by Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens of the group Pure Energy, the song had been pitched unsuccessfully to artists including Phyllis Hyman and Mary Wilson before producer John "Jellybean" Benitez pointed it toward Madonna. Celebrating time away from workday pressures and buoyed by a joyful dance-pop arrangement, the track's appeal is near-universal (in a 2005 interview, Madonna declared it her personal favorite), and we'll give “Holiday” another spin as our Song of the Day.