One of the best things to happen to me is dance lessons, especially the West Coast Swing classes. Our instructor plays a lot of "contemporary" music. Whenever I hear a song I like, I ask Josh (the instructor) for the name of the song and the artist/group. I then go home and youtube the artist and listen to some other songs from their discography. I discovered Adele this way. I love her 21 album.
Another way I have discovered some of the newer music is through Facebook. I have friends that post music videos regularly and I try to listen to the stuff I am not familiar with, just to see if I like it. I also see what my twenty-something sons are listening to, they both generally have good taste in music. Although, there are some genres they listen to that I don't care for (mostly hip-hop), I have gained appreciation for some contemporary music through them. My son Aaron put me onto Mumford & Sons. Their Babel album is excellent.
And finally, I read a lot about culture and entertainment online, so I pick up information about new artists and groups that way as well. That's how I discovered John Legend. I love his music. His Once Again album should be on every ipod! I also learned about the Black Keys by reading about their Grammy Awards. I recently downloaded their El Camino album and can't stop listening to it. It is VERY good.
In light of my recent musical discoveries, I wanted to review a few of the albums I mentioned. I hope some of my, how shall I say, "more mature" readers will check out the music! First up is El Camino by the Black Keys.
You can find the CD here.
The Black Keys consists of Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums). I use the term "band" here loosely as the group is really a duo supported by studio and touring musicians. El Camino is technically the band's seventh album, although, it is only their third album recorded with an outside producer. It follows their breakthrough album Brothers from 2010.
El Camino was nominated in this year's Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and won for Best Rock Album. The album draws its sounds from several genres and the band has cited several musical influences on the album, including The Clash, The Cramps, T. Rex, Ramones, The Beatles, Sweet, The Cars, and Johnny Burnette. In addition to the great musical sound, the songwriting is excellent. My only issue with some of the song lyrics is that they are just a little to beta for my taste.
The album consists of 11 tracks.
1. Lonely Boy
2. Dead and Gone
3. Gold on the Ceiling
4. Little Black Submarines
5. Money Maker
6. Run Right Back
8. Hell of a Season
9. Stop Stop
10. Nova Baby
11. Mind Eraser
Lonely Boy, the lead single on the album was nominated for Record of the Year and won for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.
The music to this song has a 60's vibe with hints of punk and rockabilly thrown in. I read somewhere that that the band said the sound was influenced by Johnny Burnette's cover of Train Kept A-Rollin. In any event, it is a catchy number with themes of frustrated love. Oh, and the video is "interesting."
Dead and Gone, musically haunting, this song is about a beta being "led on" by some chick. Sad, very sad.
Gold on the Ceiling, this song sounds like a cross between T-Rex and Norman Greenbaum melded together by glam rock. There have been various interpretations to the lyrics of the song. Some insist that it is talking about an addiction of some kind. Others, however, insist it is a taunt to the music industry and their inevitable attempts to steal the bands profits.
Little Black Submarines, my second favorite song on the track, this Led Zeppelinesque song has a great tag line..."everybody knows that a broken heart is blind."
Money Maker, my favorite song on the album, it has a 60s psychedelic feel to it with interesting lyrics ostensibly about not being able to make enough to please his woman or possibly a woman that's after his money.
The last half of the album consists of six very unique tracks. Of the six, Sister, Stop Stop and Nova Baby are the best. If you listen closely to the song Sister you can hear hints of 70-80s dance music (think Michael Jackson and Billy Jean).