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listen: jamie cullum “taller”

Jamie Cullum - Taller.png

It’s been four years since his last album, “Interlude”. That was an album of all covers; this one all originals (except for one song on the deluxe edition I was lucky to pick up)! He’s such an interesting musician. He’s always had solid original songs but the arrangements for his covers have been incredible. I think the covers is more of what drew me to him. (He and Michael Bublé are kind of contemporaries in the remaking standards but Cullum plays the piano and has composed way more original songs than Bublé. I also found them around the same time)

Cullum is considered a British jazz musician and I’m not going to dispute that. What was interesting about this album is that he leaned more in R&B for a few songs. This doesn’t surprise me because he’s previously been drawn to contemporary R&B and reimagining them (“Frontin'” on “twentysomething” and his “Don’t Stop the Music” cover on “The Pursuit” is brilliant).

The lyrics this time around were extremely mature. It’s really something. Like he went through something pretty serious. All I can say is that I probably could have used songs like “Life is Grey”, “Monster”, “Endings Are Beginnings”, and “The Age of Anxiety” when I lost my job last summer. Absolutely perfect for melancholy! Still, I’m very happy to have this album now even if I’m trying to break into more positive moods.

Which is wonderful for the fact that his cover of The Killers’ “The Man” made the deluxe edition. What I wouldn’t give for him and Brandon Flowers to perform the song together with Cullum’s arrangement. He somehow injects the song with even more life and that is impressive.

2019 is shaping up to be a year where all of my favorite artists are releasing new albums. None of them have let me down yet.

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listen: may 2019

May was not a great month for me. And I think it showed on this slightly neglected blog. I have some ideas for more content here so please bear with me!

Here is my playlist for May. There are only 30 songs because my May 31st song was not available on Spotify and my own copy of the file didn’t show up either! (It was “If I Believed” from Starkid’s Twisted if you’re interested!)

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listen: pink “hurts 2b human”

It’s crazy that I have been a fan of Pink’s for like nineteen years. Even more surprising is that she’s managed to stay around this long. The music industry is honestly one of the cruelest businesses out there and all her reinventions would have been for naught, if not for that voice.

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And here we are, album eight! Crazy! I wasn’t a big fan of “Beautiful Trauma”. As always, her voice was flawless but the songs were kind of meh. I know she said she wrote most of it after the 2016 election but I always enjoy some of her cheekiness and spunk. That album had none of her usual elements.

This is probably her strongest album since “Funhouse”. She manages to mix maturity with her badass self and I really enjoyed this. I don’t totally love the first single, “Walk Me Home” but there are quite a few contenders for future singles and I personally cannot wait to see what she chooses. I adored “Can We Pretend”, a collaboration with Cash Cash. It’s the perfect summer jam. I loved “Happy” and “Circle Game” too though they’re not particularly fun songs. What I did find interesting was the final song “The Last Song of Your Life” which sounded like her side project, You+Me (a project I’d love to here more of). It had a more acoustic vibe and the song is gorgeous.

It’s nice to see that “Beautiful Trauma” was likely a weird blip and this album kind of put her back on track. But again, it’s her voice that is always what matters most. And I’m glad that hasn’t changed yet.

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listen: this might get weird

I’ve discussed before how big a fan I am of Grace Helbig, a Youtuber who has since branched out to TV, books, and podcasts. Through her, I was introduced to other Youtubers like her best friend Mamrie Hart.

A year ago, she and Mamrie started a new channel for a show call This Might Get… Each episode had a different theme and it was a mix of a bunch of different ridiculous things that were hilarious. Sadly, the show got cancelled but I do recommend checking it out if you’re a fan of these two.

This Might Get Weird

Disappointed by the cancellation, the two decided to work on a podcast as a sort of spinoff of the show. It doesn’t have specific themes like the Youtube show but it’s Grace and Mamrie telling silly stories about their lives. I can’t seem to get enough of these two so I am 100% on board.

The episodes are only about 30 minutes long (the dream!) and they feel like conversations you would have with your own friends. It’s been out since October and they recently published their 21st episode. I cannot wait to listen to more!

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listen: michael bublé “love”

I’ve been a fan of Michael Bublé’s since probably 2004. I don’t know what inspired me to take my mom’s CD and start listening but from then on, I was hooked. I believe since I had started to watch more classic films, listening to the standards (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin) followed and Bublé was currently doing those. And he was relatively young! And cute! I went to one of his concerts in 2005 but haven’t been able to get tickets since. So, the CDs were all I had.

To be honest, I don’t think there’s ever been a really great album for him. I regularly listen to them all because his voice is incredible but it’s true. His Christmas one comes close but pretty much all of them have some songs on it that don’t fit right or feel wrong for his voice. However, I think this one actually might be his strongest album and it came after a really hard time for him and his family.

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It starts off with “When I Fall in Love” which is gorgeous and from there, he tackles all the  different kinds of love: romantic love, family love, lost love. There were some choices made by jazzing up “I Only Have Eyes For You” which is a bit jarring and his “My Funny Valentine” sounds extremely sinister (I prefer the live version of the song that was released on an EP years ago). His version of “Unforgettable” is a real standout even though I know it’s blasphemy to even suggest someone coming close to Nat King Cole. I love his updated version of “When You’re Smiling” (it’s on one of his shunned early releases) and adore his duet for “La Vie en Rose” with Cécile McLorin Salvant, which has always been a favorite of mine. He also does a passable job of “I Get A Kick Out of You”, one of the bonus track. I like Jamie Cullum’s better but Michael’s voice is smoother.

His original songs have always been hit or miss for me. “Love You Anymore” is a bit odd in the context of what has happened in his life the past few years while “Forever Now” is a sweet song, likely for his children. And I enjoyed that his duets this time around were with more unknown singers. I know it’s laughable to call Loren Allred “unknown” after the success of The Greatest Showman but I wonder how many people really know who she is.

It’s a solid album with no song out of place or unwanted. It’s beautifully curated and that’s all one could ever want from Michael Bublé.

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listen: jason mraz “know.”

Jason Mraz Know.jpgTo go along with last week’s post about the release party, I have bought a copy of Jason Mraz’s latest album. I’ve been a fan for years, have all of his albums, and have seen him multiple times. His music is very relaxing and he’s a fun person to follow.

What I love about this album is that it’s all love letters. That’s such a lovely way to listen to music, believing that the words are specifically for one person. Some of them are a little generic but he always makes the lyrics sound fresh with the arrangements or the phrasing.

One of the things that has been interesting to notice while following his career is how he used to kind of rap a bit and then turned more to singing. I liked the rapping but as I’ve grown up, hearing him actually sing has been even better (which is why I love “Yes!”). He has one song that I noticed the rapping coming back but for the most part, it is his singing. And it’s beautiful.

Favorite songs: “Unlonely” (I could swear this had a sample but it looks like I’m wrong), “Making It Up”, and “Sleeping To Dream”