By Tim Parks
She sang/He sang
She & Him Volume Two
Actress Zooey Deschanel, who bears a striking resemblance to “I Kissed a Girl” singer Katy Perry, is the female half of She & Him – while Matt Ward fills out the masculine portion of this dynamic duo. Their sound is reminiscent of clicking on the radio in your 1965 Ford Mustang and cruising down the highway of a bygone era. Tracks on their follow-up to Volume One (I’m sensing a theme here) harkens a Mamas & the Papas vibe, with songs such as: “In the Sun,” and “Ridin’ In My Car,” providing the harmonious flashback. “Lingering Still” and “Home” drip with a haunting resonation for the hopeless romantic in all of us. Available 3/23/10.
One Lump or Seven?
Sugababes Sweet 7 [Import]
There is probably a two-fold reason why gay men gravitate towards the Sugababes; great dance songs and real-life drama with a capital D. The 1998 version originally consisted of members Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhán Donaghy, until the latter left the girl group and was replaced by Heidi Range, who now headlines along with Amelle Berrabah and Jade Ewen, after Buena had a baby and Buchanan was replaced by Ewen. Oh, and Buena, Donaghy and Buchanan are now embroiled in a legal battle, regarding ownership of the band’s name. Musically, the thumping bass and “da da da’s” on “Wear My Kiss” are sure to harken a night spent out dancing, as will the House-infused “About a Girl” and “She’s A Mess.” These English babes certainly prove that girl power did not die with the breakup of The Spice Girls on this effort, which features production by RedOne (Lady GaGa). Available 3/30/10.
C’Mon high school girls…do you believe in love?
Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna
Fox’s Glee already scratched the surface of Madonna’s songbook with an acoustic version of “Papa Don’t Preach,” prior to the hit musical/comedy/drama going on hiatus.
It was announced in October that Lady M had given the go-ahead for the show to use songs from her entire catalogue, with an episode being prepped solely featuring her “Music.”
The show heads back to the airwaves in April, and, surprise, along comes an episode on the 20th entitled “The Power of Madonna.” Eight tunes are being featured on the latest soundtrack: “Express Yourself,” “Borderline/Open Your Heart,” “Vogue,” “Like A Virgin,” “4 Minutes,” “What It Feels Like For A Girl” and “Like A Prayer.”
So, the question is…who sings what? It’s easy enough to imagine gay character Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) expressing his unrequited love for football star Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) during the “Borderline/Open Your Heart” mash-up. But, then whose going to sing “What It Feels Like For A Girl?” SPOILER ALERT: The cast version of “Vogue” seriously features cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) in a fantasy sequence. Strike a pose, indeed! Available 4/20/10
The British are coming…from Wisconsin!
Locksley’s Be In Love
If The Locksley’s older songs, “Don’t Make Me Wait” and “She Does,” from their 2005 self-titled EP sound familiar upon listening to them – that’s because they were licensed out for commercials for Payless Shoes and featured on the STARZ Network. The Wisconsin-based quartet, who have termed their sound as “doo-wop punk” and seek inspiration from the 1960s British Invasion, are back with their signature sound intact.
“Darling, It’s True” epitomizes their self description, while “One More Minute” and “Away From Here” sounds as if it was already covered by a yesteryear musical act, like The Kinks. “21st Century” is just that, as is “The Whip,” and Be In Love makes for a very enjoyable schizopheric listening experience. 3/16/10.
It’s A Hard Knock Life
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’s I Learned The Hard Way
Soulful chanteuse Sharon Jones has been compared to the likes of Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, and even James Brown. As the lead singer of the Dap-Kings, she holds court on the group’s fourth studio album. The CD solidifies the fact that they have been instrumental in bringing back the type of soul/funk music that reigned supreme during the sixities and seventies. Speaking of things that are instrumental…Ms. Jones and her musical royalty utilize a unique approach to reinventing the wheel for their minions. They literally kick it old school by banning modern digital equipment, in favor of analog recording devices to give them their distinctive intonations in the studio.
I Learned The Hard Way pays homage to Philly Soul on “The Game Gets Old” and gives Sam Cooke a nod on the song “Mama Don’t Like My Man.” Available 4/6/10.
This article was first published in April 2010.