Monday, March 30, 2009

Most Heartbreaking Songs

Based on this blog post on Entertainment Weekly (http://music-mix.ew.com/2009/03/heartbreaking-s.html) I decided to make my own list of the most heartbreaking songs. The readers on this site posted many good ones, so I thought I'd break my down by genre.

Country
* Brad Paisley - Whiskey Lullaby
* Garth Brooks - More Than A Memory
* Garth Brooks - The Dance

Pop/Rock
* Bon Jovi - Wedding Day
* U2 - With Or Without You
* Carly Smithson - Just Missed The Train
* Harry Nillson/Badfinger - Without You
* The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work
* The Smiths - Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
* The Smiths - Unloveable
* Bob Carlisle - Butterfly Kisses
* Bruce Springsteen - The River
* Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
* Ben Harper - Waiting For You
* Sarah McLachlan - Full of Grace
* Death Cab For Cutie - Tiny Vessels

And way too many more to list.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Favorite Bon Jovi songs

This list is way overdue. Although it changes all the time, I wanted to make a list of my top 25 favorite Bon Jovi songs and why. These are most likely in no particular order. I'm going to try to stay away from Jon and Richie's solo albums, although I love them, in favor of band songs.

1. Always (1994)

My all-time favorite song EVER and some may say the band's biggest worldwide hit. Some people say that something changed their life and it's become an overused expression. This song LITERALLY changed my life. And that's just about the highest compliment I could ever give.



2. I'll Be There For You (1988)

A #1 hit for the band off the New Jersey album - it's stunning live when sung by Richie in a bluesy way.

3. Stick To Your Guns (1988)

Album track from New Jersey - my personal anthem, if you will. A cowboy metaphor song at first glance, but so so much more.

4. Let's Make It Baby (1988)

A demo probably for the New Jersey album - very sexy and a fan favorite.

5. Bad Medicine (1988)

Huge #1 hit for the band and my dad's favorite Bon Jovi song. One of my favorite songs to hear live in concert.

6. Bed of Roses (1992)

Bon Jovi's "November Rain" - enough said. A beautiful piano ballad, great guitar solo from Richie, and an amazing video that perfectly illustrates the song.

7. (It's Hard) Letting You Go (1995)

Stunning album track from the These Days album. Devastating but gorgeous.

8. Miss Fourth of July

This song is from the box set; I'd pair it with "Last Chance Train".

9. Last Man Standing

I prefer the faster, uptempo rock version to the slower acoustic version. (One was recorded for the Have A Nice Day album, the other for the boxset.) A great song to see them open with in concert at MSG 2005.

10. Last Chance Train

I think that Joe Perry does the guitar solo on this one. Either way, it's an amazing and lyrically brilliant song.

11. Kidnap An Angel

Beautiful song from the box set. I can't describe it in words.

12. Summertime (2007)

Fun, upbeat song off Lost Highway that is very modern-sounding.

13. Any Other Day (2007)

Very uplifting song from Lost Highway that is perfect for listening to as I drive to work.

14. Never Say Goodbye (1986)

At the first Bon Jovi concert I ever went to (5/20/01) technical difficulties with the keyboard forced the band to take a break while it was repaired. Jon came back out, said "I'm not afraid, hand me a guitar" and Jon and Richie did a beautiful acoustic version of this song that still makes me cry to this day.

15. Backdoor To Heaven (1988)

Demo from the New Jersey album, it's haunting and beautiful with a very raw, husky vocal by Jon.



16. Wedding Day

Demo from These Days - one of THE BEST songs the band has ever recorded. The story of a man watching the woman he loves marry someone else. It is utterly heartbreaking and incredible.



17. Standing (2002)

A demo from Bounce - an album I don't listen too much anymore, but I feel like I would if this song and "No Regrets" had been included. This song is very in your face and awesome.

18. I'd Die For You (1986)

This song is probably one of my favorites off Slippery When Wet. Again, Jon's voice is very raw which only adds to the power of the song.

19. Raise Your Hands (1986)

Just because it is such a fun song live in concert! And it also name-checks New Jersey and Tokyo in the same line. Awesome and very 80's - which, believe me, is a compliment.

20. Blood on Blood (1988)

Absolutely amazing song that brings me to tears each and every time I hear it by the end. The story of three childhood friends makes for an amazing track off of the New Jersey album.

21. I Want You (1992)

From Keep The Faith, I love the actual music of this song; the lyrics are interesting too. A song about a man who finds that money isn't everything after he loses the one he loves.

22. If I Was Your Mother (1992)

Very edgy song off Keep The Faith, it has a very subversive quality to it and even a little sinister. And I like it.

23. We Got It Going On (with Big & Rich) (2007)

Yes it is sort of embarassing that this song is on my list, but I am a sucker for the line "Getting down like Big & Rich and Richie and Jon" EVERY time. From the Lost Highway album.

24. Last Cigarette (2005)

Best track BY FAR off the Have A Nice Day album and one I almost forgot about while making this list. Because love can very much be like smoking cigarettes. And no, I do not mine that sarcastically.

25. Wild In The Streets (1986)

Decided to close off the list with a very very classic Jovi track from Slippery When Wet, which is cocindentally the last track on that album. All the hometown (aka Jersey) pride in this song just warms my heart.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Britney Spears - "Circus" Album Review



Long overdue is my review of Circus, Britney Spears' latest album released on Dec. 2, 2008.

The album has already sold over 1.1 million copies just in the first month of its release - passing the total sales of her last album, 2007's Blackout which has sold about 900,000 copies since its release. Blackout by no means was a flop, but without ANY promotion except for two sub-par music videos, selling that many copies in an age of illegal downloading is almost an accomplishment in itself. Blackout was actually a great dance album in its own right but lacked that traditional Britney feel to the music.

In order of appearance...

1. Womanizer

By now, Womanizer has broken all sorts of records for Britney - it's her first #1 Hot 100 single since Baby One More Time in 1999; it also made the largest 1-week jump on the Hot 100 in history, from #96 to #1 (again, largely based on digital sales). The song, although repetitive, is incredibly catchy and serves as a kiss-off to a cheating boyfriend.

2. Circus

The second single from the album (which has already debuted at #3 on the Hot 100). The breakdown of this song is incredible ("I can feel the adrenaline moving through my veins") and the video is a big step towards her returning to form on her dance moves.

3. Out From Under

A cover version of a song that's on the Bratz movie soundtrack. This is rumored to be a single in the future. It's a slow-burning ballad that many have speculated mirrors her breakup with K Fed. This song - thank God - doesn't feature too much computerized effects, instead letting Britney sing without robot-izing her voice.

4. Kill The Lights

A futuristic-style song that is lyrically similar to "Piece of Me". In this song, Britney directly addresses the paparazzi who have made a career out of making her life more difficult. She snarls "Is that money in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" It's a great dance or workout track.

5. Shattered Glass

Unfortunately, "Shattered Glass" suffers from being overproduced. The "glaaaeeees, glaaaaeees, glaaaaeees" refrain gets very old after the first drawn-out word. However, the verses hint at the powerhouse this song could have been. Britney warns that "you're going to see me in your dreams tonight/my face is going to haunt you all the time" to a man who cheated on her.

6. If You Seek Amy

This song is proof that Max Martin should have produced the entire album. Martin was Britney's producer on classic songs like "Baby One More Time" and "Oops I Did It Again". He does not disappoint here. Martin employs the "oh baby baby" refrain that made Britney a star early in her career. This song has failed so far to make a huge impact at radio, mostly due to the fact that "Womanizer" and "Circus" are still so popular and that no video has yet been released for "Amy". A great club track and one of the best songs on the album.

7. Unusual You

For no reason that I can understand, a lot of Britney fans rabidly adore this song. It's just album filler to me. In this song, which is almost a haunting ballad, but somehow falls short, Britney addresses a love interest who is different from the rest precisely because he has not broken her heart.

8. Blur

An alcohol-drenched song of regret. Britney wakes up with a hangover and can't remember how she got where she is now. The production on this song is slinky and throbbing, much like a hangover itself.

9. Mmm Papi

By far the worst song on the album, but it has started to grow on me. This song evokes both the surf-pop anthems of the early 60's as well as a Latin rhythm guitar vibe - in short, a mess....but a mess that straightens itself out with repeat listenings. The lyrics are inane but the song drills itself into your head, and stays there.

10. Mannequin

I wasn't too impressed with this song - it's way overhyped. The "eeeeeeeeeeeeeee" and "iiiiiiiiii" effects in the chorus are annoying with each listen - unlike "Mmm Papi" it doesn't get better with repeat listening. This could be a great dance track for Britney in concert, if she has it on her set list.

11. Lace And Leather

One of the best songs on the album. A fun song with a great groove.

12. My Baby

A treachly ballad - the opening line is "Tiny hands, yes that's you" and it also features the almost repulsive line "I smell your breath/It makes me cry" - but one sung with genuine emotion from Britney and absolutely no audible computerized effects. A welcome change from her overproduced dance tracks. A song that would almost fit on Britney's debut album "Baby One More Time"...if she had had a baby at 17 like her younger sister Jamie-Lynn.

13. Radar (Bonus Track - previously released on Blackout)

It has mystified many people why this song is included on the Circus album. Basically the producers of the song, Bloodshy & Avant, were promised this would be released as a single off the Blackout album. Since the idea for a 4th single was scrapped after Britney's personal problems, the single was never released. This is the way Britney's record company resolved the issue with them. "Radar" is an okay song with a skip and swagger that bounces along. I don't think it would have made a great single but would have certainly gotten some dance club play.