Demi Lovato's two performances on SNL this weekend were just amazing. "Stone Cold" had me almost in tears. This is how you do pop music ballads, folks. THIS.
An Uber driver and riders via dashcam sing "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd. Love this song and love the big smile I got from this video to start my Weeknd. Now download the song, because good pop music is good.
It's been a year of a few great albums, but not enough. Good news: I'm absolutely gripped by the new (debut) album by Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe. This is a Scottish electro-pop band around the M83 soundscape, but with a lot more dance beats. This music soars and it is almost continually fun and riveting. But it's anything but lightweight and the deeper you dive in the more you respect the richness of the music. These lyrics are dense. AV says, "Chvrches’ bread and butter remains highly melodic, synthesizer-based pop, but with just the right amount of darkness, thanks in part to [Lauren] Mayberry. She has a law degree and a masters in journalism, so she writes like she has something to say, not just to fill the space in the songs." I've been thinking about the opening track, "The Mother We Share," (colorful word in this song) for days now, listening to it over and over. This is thought-provoking fun and one of my favorite musical journeys of the year. The delicate vocals of Mayberry are just perfect. I've stopped what I've been doing to listen closely to the lyrics and I've been able to focus on work and just enjoy the music in the background. A rare album indeed.
Disclaimer: There are a couple of colorful words on the album.
This is one of the most hopeful signs concerning the "popular version" of the Avett Brothers vs. the pre-popular version. Once they started shooting for and reaching the national stage, their music became slightly over-produced and less punk-awesome and screamo-fun. That's a lot of hyphens. In a bit of a return to form, I give you the band that bandwagon fans (not a put down) might have never heard. These guys rock, and everyone needs to know it. Crank. It. Up.
I watched The Grammys last night. Yeah, the entire thing. Didn't plan to or expect to. Honestly, I didn't want to. But somehow I did. I think it was the opening set with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and a fantastic number from Bruno Mars that kinda hooked me. Plus my wife was begging to see Jennifer Hudson's tribute to Whitney, and that was way into the night.
I enjoyed it, generally. Foo Fighters sounded annoyingly pitchy (& I like them), Chris Brown was mostly a bore, Nicki Minaj was trying to be creative and provocative, but ended up trying too hard & failing. Otherwise, I enjoyed the Best New Artist win by Bon Iver and the awkward "acceptance" speech (also winning Best Alt Music Album). The brief version of "Barton Hollow" by The Civil Wars was some of the best music played all night and they pulled in a couple of Grammys.
Adele was wonderful, and post-surgery victorious with a powerful performance and arms loaded with awards. Colplay + Rihanna was a match made in purgatory (as was Tony Bennett & Carrie Underwood), but Coldplay's anthemic "Paradise" was excellent and my kids loved it (buy the song for $0.59 if you don't want the entire Mylo Xyloto). Mumford & Sons went home empty-handed, but you don't have to: Sigh No More is only $3.99 today. The Beach Boys big tribute thingy with Levine & Foster the People? Meh.
There was a bunch of other stuff too, but I'm not doing a big recap. Just wanted to share a few thoughts on what they want us to believe is "music's biggest night." It was bigger and better than usual, but still, most the best stuff out there isn't on pop radio or at The Grammys. But it's still worth talking about.