Showing posts from April, 2012

American Idol: Top 6 - April 25, 2012

Top 6 - Queen & Contestant's Choice Week: April 25, 2012

1. Jessica Sanchez - "Bohemian Rhapsody" A/A-
What an unexpected song choice from the girl with arguably the biggest, most traditional "American Idol voice" in the competition. It was gorgeous and nuanced. Really phenomenal overall. I thought she did a great job overall with a song that should never be reduced to 2 minutes. Jennifer Lopez was right when she said that Jessica could have commanded the stage more for such a true rock 'n roll song.

2. Skylar Laine - "The Show Must Go On" A/A-
Skylar sang with so much passion and conviction. But in the back of my mind, I had Carly Smithson's unbelievable version from Season 7. The second half of the song improved on the first. Skylar has such a big voice and is so fierce. I would love to say that I think she's a lock for the finale, but at this point, I'm not sure what will happen. Regardless, what a tour-de-force performance! One I…

Alex Clare - "Too Close": Top Songs of 2012

The song "Too Close" by Alex Clare is only the second song I've heard all year (after "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men) that is an inevitable lock for my Top 10 Songs Of 2012 list.

It's quickly shot up to my Top 25 iTunes Most Played list - phenomenal considering I've only added it 6 days ago. And yet, I haven't gotten burned out on "Too Close" - there is something layered about the song, something new that I discover and rediscover each time I listen.

This song has come out of nowhere to rocket up the iTunes charts and is prominently featured in a new commercial for Windows & Internet Explorer.

I'd say my initial attraction to the song was based on the juxtaposition between music and lyrics. To my chagrin, it's been a long time since I've heard an upbeat, electronic-based song that has thematic material not consumed with drinking and going to the club.

You know I'm not one to break promises
I don't want to hurt…

American Idol: Top 7 (Part 2) - April 18, 2012

Top 7 (Part II) - Now & Then - April 18, 2012

The most music in a regular American Idol telecast ever! 14 songs in 2 hours. I was highly impressed by Ryan Seacrest's tribute to Dick Clark at the top of the show. Ryan honored someone who had clearly had a huge influence on him both personally and professionally in a succinct and classy manner.

1. Hollie Cavanagh - "Rolling In The Deep" A-

I was worried for Hollie when I heard she had chosen the done-to-death Adele hit. But I loved it despite myself. The acapella intro and more dramatic instrumentation gave it a feel of a fighter in the ring. She had a nice anger (oxymoron?) throughout this and threw in a few different inflections to change it up from the Adele version ever-so-slightly.

2. Colton Dixon - "Bad Romance" A

What a risky song choice which completely paid off for Colton! I could see Colton making music like this after Idol - and he should. There was a touch of the theatricality of Adam Lambert and th…

American Idol: Top 7 - April 11, 2012

Top 7 - Songs From The 2010's - April 11, 2012

1. Skylar Laine - "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You"A
(originally by Kellie Pickler)

Skylar is a truly captivating performer, more than just a singer. I think that's what makes the difference between someone that has a good Idol run and someone that translates their Idol success into a real career. It was a little bizarre that Jimmy Iovine tried to dissuade Skylar from playing her guitar (imagine if they did that to Philip!), so I was glad that she stuck to her guns. She has a great way of interpreting the lyrics and telling a story. While that is a hallmark of country music, not every country performer has that ability (see: Lauren Alaina). Loved the guitar on the track. Overall, a great song choice for Skylar. Since this wasn't a big crossover hit, it's likely that Skylar's version is the one the audience will know and remember.

2. Colton Dixon - "Love The Way You Lie" A
(originally by Skylar G…

The Hunger Games Soundtrack Review

1. Arcade Fire - "Abraham's Daughter"
The last image of the "Hunger Games" film shows President Snow glowering at his television, plotting his next move against the Girl On Fire and the Boy With the Bread. The filmmakers chose this song to play over the end credits. The song starts off suspiciously like the intro that plays at the start of each Guitar Hero song - slow and ominous. The music evokes the rat-a-tat-tat of war drums, coupled with folky yet breezy vocals. The viewer of the film instantly, viscerally feels that the story is not resolved.

I had supposed that as the lead single from the soundtrack, "Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars would close out the film. However, that message of tentative optimism and nurturing would be at odds with an unresolved ending that hints at further tension. "Abraham's Daughter" was the perfect song selection for this purpose.and when he saw her raised for the slaughter

American Idol: Top 8 - April 4, 2012

Top 8 - Songs From The 80's - April 4, 2012

1. Deandre Brackensick - "I Like It" (by Debarge) A-
This was the perfect song choice for Deandre, who got to show off his "regular voice" and his falsetto. Upon repeat listenings, his version of "Sometimes I Cry" from last week, which was sung entirely in falsetto, comes off shrill and hard to listen to. If I could, I would definitely reduce his letter grade from last week. This song was a bit cheesy and that's probably why I enjoyed it! I found it odd that he started the song sitting down between two audience members; the staging of that is inherently a bit awkward. But Deandre really had a "comeback moment" this week with a midtempo song that was awesomely fun.

2. Elise Testone - "I Want To Know What Love Is" (by Foreigner)B+
The intriacies of her voice brought new meaning and emotion to lyrics I've heard a hundred times. I am not a big fan of this song and I am still scratching my…