torsdag 31. juli 2014

Frank Sinatra - For A While

1970's Watertown is an unusual Frank Sinatra album, a touching concept album in which the narrator experiences a tragic story of personal loss, more than believably performed by "Ol' Blue Eyes". The entire album's worth of soliloquies was written by The Four Seasons' Bob Gaudio and his songwriting partner Jake Holmes. "For A While" is my favourite piece on the album, a wonderful and sad song that carries small glimpses of well-being when the narrator is "lost in day to day" and "forget that I'm not over you for a while". Nina Simone has recorded the song as well, but nowhere near as good as Sinatra.



onsdag 30. juli 2014

Bee Gees - Love You Inside Out

Spirits Having Flown was Bee Gees' first album after participating on the hugely successful Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in 1977 with hits like "Staying Alive" and "How Deep Is Your Love". Not surprisingly Spirits... also sold a lot, 16 million copies and counting. The beautiful and super-slick ballad "Love You Inside Out" was the third single off the 1979 album and the group's ninth and, as it turned out, final US number one single. Still sounds great!


Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Learnin' The Blues

Jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded three albums together for Verve Records, featuring what can easily be called definitive versions of several classic songs. Their joint version of Dolores Vicki Silvers' astounding "Learnin' The Blues" was featured on the second of these records, the wonderful double LP Ella And Louis Again from 1957. It's the closing track of what can only be regarded as a perfect album.



tirsdag 29. juli 2014

Dr. John featuring Anthony Hamilton - Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child

August 18 sees the release of the new Dr. John album, a tribute to Louis Armstrong called Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit Of Satch, on which the good doctor has gathered a host of guest artists to help perform the songs of the legendary jazz trumpeter and singer. By visiting the album website you get access to a free download of one of the tracks, a wonderful version of the old negro spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child", featuring soul singer Anthony Hamilton. Other songs on the album is "What A Wonderful World", "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" and "Mack The Knife", and it's definitely one to look forward to.



HIT ALERT! Calling All Cars - Standing In The Ocean

Naming your band after a Sopranos episode lends it a certain amount of instant coolness, and the single "Standing In The Ocean" delivers on that particular pretext. Australian rock trio Calling All Cars have released two albums at home, and have now relocated to London and release their third album, Raise The People, this week. "Standing In The Ocean" is simply a very good rock song, with a pumping, rumbling bass, a steady beat, some nice riffing and excellent harmonies throughout the song. A killer track!

Watch and listen


mandag 28. juli 2014

Irish Heartbeat - 75 Irish songs in one playlist

"Oh Katherine take my hand, I've got three pounds and change, and I'll sing you songs of love again, and when I get too drunk to sing, we'll walk in the Irish rain."
That's how this playlist opens, with the American bluegrass outfit California and their jubilant tribute to Ireland, "A Walk In The Irish Rain". It may seem odd to start such a playlist with an American melody, but the fact of the matter is that Steve Spurgin's composition sounds at least as Irish as more well-known songs present here, such as "Whiskey In The Jar", "Seven Drunken Nights" and "Carrickfergus" - and the chorus of "A Walk In The Irish Rain" perfectly describes the green isle with the ingredients love, lack of money, song, drunkenness and bad weather in just a few lines.
Among the 75 songs on the list you'll find lots of proper Irish classics though, old and new, and a few others recorded by foreigners such as Bruce Springsteen and Norwegian brother and sister duo Eriksen. They nail the traditional Irish songs "Mrs. McGrath" and "The Water Is Wide" perfectly.

søndag 27. juli 2014

Frank Sinatra - My Way

Frank Sinatra was a singer unparallelled in the history of popular music. Only a few other male singers, like Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, can be said to be in the same vicinity. "My Way", originally a French song called "Comme l'Habitude" and written by Claude Francois and Jacques Revaux, was rewritten by Paul Anka specifically for Sinatra, and he made it one of his signature tunes. It's a song about total integrity, sung from the perspective of a man facing "his final curtain", and even though I'm sure many people would have excellent reasons to doubt Sinatra's integrity, he sweeps the floor with these when singing "My Way". He totally inhibits the character, and, with his perfect diction, convinces anyone of his honesty. Aided by Don Costa's almost groundbreaking arrangement, it's a song for the ages. Below is a live performance from London in 1971 and it's absolutely flawless.

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Nick Drake - The Thoughts Of Mary Jane

Now this song! The thing about Nick Drake is that once you hear almost any song of his you instantly conclude, just know deep down, that it is the most spectacularly beautiful song you've ever heard. "The Thoughts Of Mary Jane" is a prime example, but what sets it apart from many of his other songs is the fact that it has no sadness in it. Rather it's a song of wonder and curiosity. When Drake sings "Who can know the thoughts of Mary Jane, Why she flies or goes out in the rain, Where she's been and who she's seen in her journey to the stars?", almost as a whisper, you know he sings about a person that has somehow made a huge impact on him, one way or another. It's intense in its simplicity, and the arrangement and recording you'll find below is a different one from the version that appears on his 1969 debut album Five Leaves Left. This one only features Drake and his acoustic guitar, with a subtle but highly effective guest turn from Richard Thompson on electric guitar. How beautiful the full version may be, I still prefer this one. It's available on the odds and ends compilation Made To Love Magic.


lørdag 26. juli 2014

Sam Cooke - My Foolish Heart

One of the most romantic songs ever written, sung by one of popular music's finest voices, that's what you get when you hear Sam Cooke sing "My Foolish Heart". It's a song written by Ned Washington (lyrics) and Victor Young (music), originally performed by Martha Mears in the 1949 film of the same name, but boy does Sam Cooke sing it a cut above her and any other singer ever to utter the words "There's a line between love and fascination, that's hard to see on an evening such as this, for they both give the very same sensation, when you're lost in the magic of a kiss". This version was recorded for Cooke's second album, 1958's Encore! Classic? Hell yeah!


fredag 25. juli 2014

R.I.P. Christian Falk feat. Demetreus - Make It Right

Yesterday Swedish musician/producer Christian Falk died from cancer, only 52 years old. That's a sad thing, but it's easy to remember Falk with a smile due to his life-affirming, incredibly catchy dance hit "Make It Right", featuring Demetreus on vocals. The former Imperiet bass player made it big with this song off his 1999 album Quel Bordel which also featured guests such as Robyn, Titiyo and Neneh Cherry. R.I.P.

Watch and listen


torsdag 24. juli 2014

Clean Bandit feat. Stylo G - Come Over

British pop/classical/electronica outfit Clean Bandit made it big with their "Rather Be" single featuring guest vocals from Jess Glynne. They followed up with the even better single "Extraordinary" (sung by Sharna Bass) but with less success. Now they're going for it again with "Come Over", another track from their debut album New Eyes, this one a reggae/dancehall track with vocals by Stylo G. It's such a great summer song that it's ridiculous, and as usual they have gone abroad to shoot a stylish video, this time to the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard and Morocco. It looks truly stunning.

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Odd Børretzen og Lars Martin Myhre - Sommersang

Dette er den fineste norske sommersangen noensinne. Sorry, deLillos. Sorry, Folk & Røvere. Sorry, Prøysen! Ingen av dere er i nærheten av Odd Børretzens intenst vakre "Sommersang" fra platen Kelner! (2002), perfekt arrangert og tonesatt av Lars Martin Myhre. Børretzen hilser sommeren og alt i den en hjertelig god dag, og det er knapt mulig ikke å la seg bevege. "Hver sommerdag er en gave, en gave fra Gud vet hvem", synger Børretzen innledningsvis og avslutter med den deilige verselinjen "God dag, humler og hester og bringebær, god dag, blomster og susende, eldgamle trær". Er ikke dette en perfekt sommerskildring, så vet ikke jeg.


onsdag 23. juli 2014

Brad Paisley - River Bank

A great country song from the ever-reliable Brad Paisley, "River Bank" is the first single from his forthcoming album Moonshine In The Trunk. It's a carefree summer tune, with an accompanying video featuring Twiggy The Water-Skiing Squirrel as its highlight. And no, I'm not kidding. This really is a water-skiing squirrel!

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Maj Britt Andersen - Vise for gærne jinter

I dag ville Alf Prøysen fylt 100 år! Rudshøgdas store sønn feires i den anledning ettertrykkelig, både lokalt og nasjonalt, og min lille hyllest foregår vet at jeg legger ut Maj Britt Andersens perfekte tolkning av Prøysens utspekulert søte "Vise for gærne jinter" fra Dørstokken heme (2004), den andre av hennes til nå tre plater med Prøysen-sanger. Det er Prøysen på hans aller fineste, en var liten tekst om gutter og jenter og selvsagt også jordbær, og Andersens fremføring er så vakker at jeg får mest lyst til å grine av ren fryd. Her er sommer i hver tone, og i mine ører den perfekte hyllest til dagens bursdagsbarn.



mandag 21. juli 2014

The Supermen Lovers feat. Mani Hoffman - Starlight

A song I've heard countless times, but it was not until today that I was made aware of the artists behind it. "Starlight" is a French 2001 disco classic, the first single from The Supermen Lovers' debut album The Player and featuring Mani Hoffman on vocals. The song made The Supermen Lovers and Mani Hoffman important names in the so-called French Touch movement alongside Daft Punk, Cassius, Stardust and others, and sounds as good today as it did 13 years ago. Great video too!

Watch and listen

Don Martin feat. Immortal technique, Eltipo Este, Tumi, Tonto Noiza - Boycott Israel

Produced by Norwegian hip hop legend Tommy Tee, the international hip hop collaboration "Boycott Israel" was just put out on YouTube. No points for guessing why this song comes about now, unfortunately. What is currently going on at the Gaza Strip is devastating to everyone involved. Picking sides in a conflict like the Israeli-Palestian situation is really unnecessary, as the sad truth no matter what is that the entire conflict makes a lot of people suffer greatly. Also, if you ask me, the aggression of the Israelis is way out of all proportions. It's a human disaster that needs to stop. As they say in the song "You can beef with Israel and not be antisemitic" - this is about thousands and thousands of human lives that are at stake. The song lends its support to BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) which, according to Wikipedia, "uses economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with the stated goals of the movement: the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, full equality for Arab/Palestinian citizens of Israel, and respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees".

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Erlend Øye - Garota

Erlend Øye, also known as one half of Norwegian acoustic duo Kings Of Convenience, is currently finishing up his second solo album. Even though last year's awesome "La Prima Estate" single was sung in Italian, it appears - so far - to have been a one-off. In February he leaked the reggae track "Fence Me In" on which he used the Icelandic group Hjalmar as backing. The collaboration continues with the beautiful, summery, soulful breeze of a song that is called "Garota" and is the second track from his forthcoming ten-track English lyric album Legao that will be released on October 3, presuming that is that it includes "Fence Me In". The video for "Garota" is really nice too, an atmospheric clip shot on location in Seoul, and I just can't wait to hear the album.

Watch and listen


søndag 20. juli 2014

HIT ALERT! Vance Joy - Mess Is Mine

As I predicted back in January, Australian singer/songwriter James Keogh, otherwise known under the moniker Vance Joy, went on to have a huge, worldwide hit with the wonderful "Riptide", a song that had already been a smash for him at home. Now that world domination is in the works, his debut album Dream Your Life Away is up for a September release, and new single "Mess Is Mine" was put out not many days ago. It's another surefire feelgood hit in the vein of The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, but with more of a pronounced pop edge to it. Love it!

Watch and listen

torsdag 3. juli 2014

Kiesza - Giant In My Heart

Canadian pop act Kiesza, whose full name is Kiesa Rae Ellestad, has enjoyed worldwide success with her fabulous debut single "Hideaway" this spring. A wonderful club track with a killer melody, it's deservedly been heard everywhere. Follow-up single "Giant In My Heart" is just as good, and I'm really looking forward to more. This song won't be released commercially before August 10, but the video can be seen here.

Watch and listen


onsdag 2. juli 2014

Loveless - How To Love You

Electronica act Loveless remixed Sigrid Raabe's wonderful "Two Fish" this winter, in the process turning a sweet little pop song into a massive club monster reminiscent of Disclosure, Sam Smith, Ella Eyre and other current British acts who have taken electronic club music into the pop charts. Loveless is a duo, consisting of Eirik Tillerli and Filip Kollsete, and "How To Love You" is their first official single, featuring Thomas Eriksen on vocals. A great song that should do well in clubs and on dance floors everywhere.

Watch and listen