I'm giving Jem's Finally Woken CD a solid three-stars. For the sake of interaction, I will let you, the reader, decide what the maximum number of stars should be. As I mentioned in an old post, Jem's music is like a mix between Dido, Butterfly Boucher, and Tali. All her tracks have catchy beats and interesting vamps, and she has one of those high wafty voices that is only annoying 25% of the time. The major problem with the CD is that all the songs have very interesting ideas but don't really follow through on turning them into hit songs. Each song has a point which just cries out for a new melody or some change of pace, but instead, a previously-heard section is just recycled. The songs would even have improved if they just stopped before they got too repetitive, but then you'd be stuck with a CD that's only twenty minutes long. My favourite song on the CD is still the one I heard before buying it, Just a Ride (211KB MP3). Bottom line: listen to some tracks online and see if it's your cup of tea before investing.
Here are my sundry thoughts about music today1:Roots Manuva's Too Cold (359KB MP3) isn't a particularly good song, but I like the campy accompaniment. It reminds me of something the Scissor Sisters might write.The cover of the Smith's How Soon is Now by Tatu is unbelievably horrible. The original opens with Morrissey singing "I am the son and the heir...". Tatu sings this unchanged, though maybe they thought it was "sun and air". I guess if your talentless group's main shtick is girl-on-girl make out sessions, you're allowed to sing lyrics implying that you have a weenie, since people with weenies also like to make out with hot girls. (For posterity's sake, I must add the obligatory, "Weenies weenies weenies" at this juncture in the news update). It doesn't help that Tatu's Ono-rific vocals sound like the girls are translating songs into dolphinese. It also doesn't help that all their English sounds like it was learned purely through phonetics, like that Japanese Eponine that got her phonetic On My Own solo on the Complete Symphonic Recording of Les Mis (344KB MP3). The URI! Zone takes no responsibility for any internal bleeding or Flipper sightings which might occur if you listen to this Tatu sample (311KB MP3).Natasha Bedingfield's These Words is catchy (336KB MP3). I also have to give her credit for rhyming "Byron, Shelley, and Keats" with "hip-hop beat". That juxtaposition is almost as clever as Toto's "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti" line from Africa.I'm also liking Joss Stone's Less is More (269KB MP3) at the moment. Sometimes I don't like listening to her, but I've always been impressed with how mature her voice is and how it totally does not fit her physical appearance.I think the fluid way that Natalie Imbruglia forms her long notes in Shiver is absolutely perfect (286KB MP3). I'm a sucker for mellifluous female voices though -- I could listen to her sing just the word "you" all day long and not get tired of it. I also like Anna Nalick in Breathe. There are too many one-verb titles right now -- someone should release new music with some juicy adverbs or dangling participles.I rented Be Cool, the sequel to Get Shorty, on Tuesday night. It was hit-or-miss funny, with really great moments mixed with tired rehashes, but it had a good soundtrack. The first scene opened with Earth, Wind & Fire's Fantasy, a song that I'm sure no one would recognize but me (I worked on a high school marching band show back in the 1990s that involved it). There were also musical cameos with Aerosmith, Christina Millian, and the Black-Eyed Peas, although Fergie did not pee on herself in the movie . Rent it, if only to see Vince Vaughn as the white record producer who thinks he's black and The Rock as the gay bodyguard with his own music video of "You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man".Hard-hitting, beer-swilling, chest-thumping music doesn't have much representation today. If you start to question your manhood after reading today's update (and do, in fact, own a weenie -- no cheating!), you should try Rooster's Come Get Some, which reminds me of a classic 80s rock song, or the Soundtrack of Our Lives' Heading for a Breakdown. I like both of them.Having made that sample, I can't stop listening to it and marveling at how bad Tatu is. I may have to do a face-off between them and Elena on With Those Eyes to see which song can kill a full grown Holstein first. Ford realizes Eminem writes naughty lyrics I leaned out to spit and I leaned too far. Thankfully, the persecution of swans is quite rare.
1: I tried very hard to incorporate a joke about my sundry tomatoes here but luckily for you, I failed.
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