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The fascinating thing about the music industry, and the reason why I love it, is that any artist, musician, singer or group has the potential to get famous, regardless of where they hail from. That’s why it remains such a bastion of creativity. It’s expensive to make a movie and even more expensive to get it seen, but making an LP is cheap, securing local gigs is easy. A band doesn’t need a large following to start out with, but if they’re playing something people want to hear, they’ll slowly get bigger. Word of mouth works better in music than any other medium. That positive buzz grows the fan base, which in turn leads to bigger gigs, which in turn attracts record companies and radio stations. It’s not easy, but it’s a hell of a lot easier than Hollywood.
If you have talent and you work at it long enough, good things will happen. It doesn’t mean every band will be as popular as The Beatles, but with the right demo, fresh works of art can be achieved. Isn’t that the whole point of working in the arts anyway?
This week, The Green Album for the new Muppets film is joining together the musical forces of My Morning Jacket, Andrew Bird, OK Go, Amy Lee and Weezer for an astounding record. My review will be hitting the internet later this week, and I can tell you it’s not at all what you would expect. As I mentioned earlier this week in my review for Jeff Bridges' new self-titled album, most musicians trying their hand in acting is a bad thing, but Barbra Streisand has succeeded in both. Her new album, which is titled What Matters Most is sure to be as consistent as her acting career. Let’s just hope it’s not a Meet the Fockers dud. Rapper The Game is also returning to the scene after a three year absence and is coming out with The R.E.D. Album. What is so special about naming an album after a color that musicians seem to adhere too? I will answer that at the end of this week’s column. Here are this week’s LP releases:
What doesn’t surprise me though is that Streisand's latest release is up to par with her film credits in authenticity and aesthetics. What Matters Most is a record that plays like a glossy pop album with a tingle of somberness. Her soft voice has the punch of Aretha Franklin's emotional belt. It’s exciting to find new music out there, and it’s even more invigorating to find out that one of the finest actresses in the past thirty years is also an astounding singer. You learn something new every single day.
“The Book of Love” hit-maker has made over 20 albums and it’s all because of his talents as a musician that thousands of fans revel over his music. This is something that doesn't happen in Hollywood all too often; letting a virtually unknown artist take a hold of his own career. Merritt’s latest album Obscurities brings together all the missing and unknown works that he’s made over the years. For any fans of his previous efforts, this will surely be another chance to open you to his whimsical charm. His music is weird, but the fact that he can play it for the world is magical.
His most famous song that was named after the title of its record, “Sweet Dreams ( Are Made of This),” is a tune that can both creep you out and bring chills down your spine. The deeply melodic synthesizers buzz through your mind as Annie Lennox’s vocals eat at your soul. The same can be said for Stewart’s latest solo work called The Blackbird Diaries. Sure, he’s probably slowed down his weird tendencies to a considerable pace with this effort, but more than likely it’ll protrude from the heavily synthesized songs in one way or the other. We can only hope so.
Keeping up with the common act of naming an album after a color, Game is releasing his newest effort called The R.E.D. Album. Whether or not it will keep up with its close to perfect competitor, Jay-Z’s Black Album, is still up for question. Let’s just hope that this record has the same urgency and equally outstanding production that his last two records 2006’s Doctor's Advocate and 2008’s LAX had.
Not only does the group of puppets still provide hilarious laughs and insightful humor, you can see this in their hysterical set of teaser trailers that make fun of the most watered down slosh of movies to come out this summer, but it also proves that the Jim Henson creation is more relevant than ever. Bringing artists together like the award winning Weezer, the psychedelic rock outfit My Morning Jacket, The Fray, the magical Airborne Toxic Event, the heavy Matt Nathanson and my favorite of the groups featured on the record OK Go, shows how "with it" these sixty year old characters still are. Just the fact that Jason Segal and his cohorts have come together to bring all these amazing artists in for an album, means so much. It's a fantastic and utterly outstanding tribute to the work of Jim Henson. Alright enough gushing, just listen to the album already!
To answer my question from above: Like so many other bands that took the bold chance to name their record after a color like The Beatles did, or was it the fans?, with the White Album or how Weezer did with The Green Album, or the best, Jay-Z’s The Black Album, it’s either a miracle or a strange occurrence that those albums have always ended up being some of those group's best efforts. It’s comforting to know that when a band, or a group of artists releases a record under a color moniker, that it will certainly entertain the audience and will probably knock out a few surprises on the way. Here’s for the return of The Muppets! And for more color albums! We’re glad to have you back, guys.
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