Friday, December 25, 2015

New Good Song: "Too Bad For You," Miesa 12.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Too Bad For You" by Miesa. This woman had a new good song in early 2014 called "Nope (Can't Let Go)," which was the 79th best song of the year. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Monster," Colours 12.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Monster" by Colours. Very Imagine Dragons-esque. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Brisé (Pilule Bleue)," Maître Gims 12.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Brisé (Pilule Bleue)" by Maître Gims. It's in French, and comes to me courtesy of my musical muse, LuisMa. This was a big hit on LuisMa's list. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Postcard," Jukebox the Ghost 12.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Postcard" by Jukebox the Ghost. This band released a new good song in 2014 called "The Great Unknown," which was the 61st best song of that year. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Free Hifi Internet," Emmanuelle 12.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Free Hifi Internet" by Emmanuelle. Reminiscent of "Selfie" by The Chainsmokers. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Landslides," Zara Kershaw 12.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Landslides" by Zara Kershaw. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015

The 100 Best New Good Songs of 2015!

Here are my 100 favorite songs of 2015. Click here for a YouTube playlist of the Top 50, in order, and/or enjoy the embedded videos below of the Top 10. It was a good year! 

Countdown Video (the entire Top 50 in 15 minutes):


#1 -- "Body Talk" Foxes

To me, this is about as perfect as a pop song gets. So I was surprised and disappointed that it didn't (or hasn't yet) hit in the U.S., although it has reached No. 9 in Scotland and No. 25 in Foxes' native UK, as of this writing. Great production here, but the song also works as a stripped-down acoustic ballad. Foxes, whose real name is Louisa Allen, is best known in the U.S. as the featured vocalist on Zedd's song "Clarity," which was my 72nd favorite song of 2013. She is credited as a co-songwriter on "Body Talk," which gives me hope that there'll be more great pop music to come from her.

#2 -- "Elastic Heart" Sia

I first became aware of this song while in France at a pizzeria. The video, which is intriguing and somewhat controversial, came on the TV and I knew right away it was by Sia because I recognized the dancer from the "Chandelier" video, and the distinct wig. I'm not the biggest fan of Sia's voice, but her songwriting talent is obvious, and her lyrics and delivery are raw, authentic and often very moving. Her song "Titanium," credited to David Guetta with Sia as a featured vocalist, was my 16th favorite song of 2012. I was not as enamored with "Chandelier," although I have enjoyed some people's acoustic covers of that song and wish she had written it for another vocalist, since the chorus is plainly out of her range. But I thought "Elastic Heart" was a home run. And incidentally, Sia is one of three Australian acts to land in my Top 10 this year.

#3 -- "Thumbalina" Coleman Hell

I consider Coleman Hell to be my best find of the year. I contribute to the indie music site BitCandy and am proud to be credited for "discovering" him. I also was pleased to see his song "2 Heads" gain some traction and appear on a few charts during the year. He's the only artist with two tracks in my Top 50 this year: "Thumbalina" at No. 3, and "Take Me Up" at No. 40. In this environment of so many options, that's no small feat. "Thumbalina" was the first song I heard from Coleman, and it remains my favorite. The song captures joy and appreciation without being the least bit syrupy or trite. The metaphor works well, and overall it's really a genius achievement in songwriting and, especially, arrangement. I also happen to think he's among the best vocalists to arise in recent memory. 

#4 -- "Electric Indigo" The Paper Kites

I don't know quite what "electric indigo" is supposed to mean. In the context of this song, lead singer Sam Bentley earnestly croons, "When you're dancing slow, I see your fire go, electric indigo." A nice linguistic choice, but over my head. Regardless, this is an absolutely beautiful, smooth mid-tempo pop-rock song, with a clever video to go along with it. The Paper Kites are an Australian band -- I seem to have a penchant for music from that region, for whatever reason -- and in a different era (i.e., the 1990s) I suspect they'd be huge. For now, I'm fine keeping them to myself and sharing this with you.

#5 -- "Freak" Olivver the Kid

"Freak" is without a doubt the song in 2015 that grew on me the most, and I still have not grown the least bit tired of it even though I first featured it on this blog back in November 2014. This song is not only brilliantly written, produced and sung, but there's an ambiguity about its meaning that I find intriguing. On the surface, this is a simple straightforward song about a long-lost love, sung by a man who misses someone he was with when he was younger ("Looking back I remember we were kids alone.") They seem to have consummated the relationship ("Wine-stained sheets and full of color, kids in love.") But then in the chorus he sings, "I remember the time I drove around with you; I remember the time I know you felt it too." This is an odd choice of something to recall if you were in a serious relationship; to me it suggests the "relationship" may have actually been one-sided or maybe entirely in the singer's head. 

Adding a layer of complexity is the title, "Freak." Why would a love song be called this? In both the intro and outro, we hear a woman say, on what sounds like an answering machine (confirmed in the video), "You fucking freak." This is a sort of alarming way to open a love song, and it shifts the meaning thereafter, leaving us either sorry for this poor fellow who is pining after someone who wants nothing to do with him, or sympathetic to the woman who's had to deal with a delusional and potentially obsessive stalker. On top of all that, the video features men roaming around a suburban neighborhood in creepy masks. 

So draw your own conclusion. I really appreciate these types of details; they're what elevate a good song to greatness, and this is a great song. And, piece of trivia: This is actually not Olivver's first appearance on my year-end list, as he was the drummer in the band The Neighbourhood, whose song "Sweater Weather" was my 23rd favorite song of 2013. Olivver's real name is Bryan Sammis.

#6 -- "Arrow" Levv

I happen to be an amateur songwriter, and "Arrow" resonated with me immediately because the piano intro sounds like it could have been stolen from something I wrote. I shoot for pretty, simple and emotionally effective, and I'm not sure I achieve any of that, but Levv certainly does in "Arrow." The harmonies during the chorus are especially heavenly. How a song this brilliant can garner only 2,697 views on YouTube (as of this writing) is bewildering. 

#7 -- "Sorry" Justin Bieber 

Never thought I'd see the day this guy would do something so great, but here you have it. This track is a pop masterpiece as-is, but it's also beautiful in any number of YouTube covers -- whether accompanied by piano, acoustic guitar, a Capella voices or full-on production. It's earnest without being corny, flirtatious without being distasteful, and the music is just too catchy to deny. Great job, Justin. 

#8 -- "I Bet" Ciara

Ciara has all the ingredients to be an superstar -- looks, talent, etc. -- but the A List always seems just out of reach for her. She hasn't had a No. 1 hit since her debut, 2004's "Goodies," and since then she's put out material that's been mostly mediocre and met with lukewarm reception. "I Bet" is, in my opinion, her finest track to date, and in a different era (i.e., the 2000s), there's no doubt in my mind that it would've been a big hit. It's reminiscent, in fact, of Usher's "Burn," which hit No. 1 in 2004 just a few months before "Goodies." "I Bet" hits just the right spot for me between up-tempo and down-tempo, with a delivery that suggests frustration without being off-putting or, worse, eye-rolling. The whole thing works remarkably well, and I hope her perseverance pays off with a bigger hit next time around.

#9 -- "Blank Space" Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's fame gives songs like "Blank Space" (and all the releases from "1989") a different meaning than these songs might have in the hands of someone unknown. Because she writes her material and has a public life, it's possible (and unavoidable) to hear these songs as being singularly and specifically about her. I happen to generally find that limiting. It's like when a very well-known actor stars in a movie, and no matter what, you can't get fully immersed in the character because all you see is the celebrity. That said, I thought "Blank Space" was a total win, nearly entirely attributable to the melody. I think someone could have sung this song a cappella with no words (just "la's" and "da's") and it would've been a hit. She's had no shortage of good tracks, but this is the best so far.

#10 -- "Downtown" Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/ Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, and Grandmaster Caz

Maybe I'm a sucker, because "Downtown" is transparently contrived and over-designed, with one too many hooks. But I still love it. It's certainly a sequel to "Thrift Shop," which I'm proud to say I discovered earlier than most. (I featured it on this blog in September 2012, and it was No. 64 on my year-end list; it went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 2013 and was the No. 1 song of that year.) I'm really grateful that music like this is still being made in an era when 95% of hip-hop is unbearable trash that I can't believe anyone would voluntarily purchase. (Behold the top hip-hop songs of 2015 here.) "Downtown" is just catchy, clever and fun, and it brought a lot of joy to my 2015 playlist.

Here's the rest of my 100 favorite songs of 2015:

#11 -- "Love Like Mine" Miami Horror f/ Cleopold
#12 -- "Honestly I Lie" Struan Shields
#13 -- "Someone Else" Lany
#14 -- "On The Brightside" Never Shout Never
#15 -- "Delirious" Susanne Sundfør
#16 -- "Suicide" Midnight To Monaco
#17 -- "Do What You Like" Taio Cruz
#18 -- "Running In Circles" Pop Etc
#19 -- "Rumble In The Park" Catey Shaw
#20 -- "One More Life" Shy For Shore
#21 -- "Saint Claude" Christine and the Queens
#22 -- "Aflame" Jessica Rotter
#23 -- "Yellow Boxes" Tyler Ward
#24 -- "Uptown Funk" Mark Ronson f/ Bruno Mars
#25 -- "Young Heart" Freja
#26 -- "Velvet" Fickle Friends
#27 -- "Hello" Adele
#28 -- "Good Girl" Aquilo
#29 -- "Jet Black Heart" 5 Seconds of Summer
#30 -- "Trip Switch" Nothing But Thieves
#31 -- "Forget You In LA" Poema
#32 -- "Was Something Else There?" Lonely Benson
#33 -- "U Got" Sivik
#34 -- "Love Me Harder" Ariana Grande & The Weeknd
#35 -- "All Falls Down" Totem
#36 -- "Cheerleader" Omi
#37 -- "I Want You To Know" Alyson Stoner & Max
#38 -- "Infinity" Mariah Carey
#39 -- "Back Together" Robin Thicke f/ Nicki Minaj
#40 -- "Take Me Up" Coleman Hell
#41 -- "Down The Middle" Elizabeth Luthringer
#42 -- "Get Right Back To My Baby" Vivian Green
#43 -- "Cannibal" Jill Andrews
#44 -- "Shut Up And Dance" Walk The Moon
#45 -- "Surrender" Gavin Turek & Tokimonsta
#46 -- "One Love" Marianas Trench
#47 -- "Talking Body" Tove Lo
#48 -- "A Color You Can't Ignore" Karly Lynn Willis
#49 -- "For You" Rae Morris
#50 -- "No Sleeep" Janet Jackson
#51 -- "We Are Impossible" Dillon Francis f/ The Presets
#52 -- "Dirty Work" Austin Mahone
#53 -- "Start Something" Lostboycrow
#54 -- "How We Are" Lia Ices
#55 -- "Alcohol" Shannon LaBrie
#56 -- "Start Over Again" Alana Yorke
#57 -- "Levels" Nick Jonas
#58 -- "Control" Kevin Garrett
#59 -- "White Light" Shura
#60 -- "Pray For Rain" Pure Bathing Culture
#61 -- "Steps" Handsome Ghost
#62 -- "Stuck On A Feeling" Prince Royce f/ Snoop Dogg
#63 -- "Dead Inside" Muse
#64 -- "Miradors" Solomon Grey
#65 -- "Still" The Japanese House
#66 -- "Living For Love" Madonna
#67 -- "Black Sun" Death Cab for Cutie
#68 -- "You Know You Like It" DJ Snake & AlunaGeorge
#69 -- "Doing Time" Searls
#70 -- "In Love By Now" Jamie Foxx
#71 -- "Lilac Sky" Julia Vero
#72 -- "Reflections" MisterWives
#73 -- "Montana" James Taylor
#74 -- "Leave A Trace" Chvrches
#75 -- "Take Heart" The Sam Willows
#76 -- "The Shade" Metric
#77 -- "Take The Long Way" Pat McGee
#78 -- "Focus" Ariana Grande
#79 -- "Never Gets Old" Penguin Prison
#80 -- "Karaoke" Smallpools
#81 -- "Don't Look Down" Martin Garrix f/ Usher
#82 -- "High" The Runaway Club
#83 -- "All That" Carly Rae Jepsen
#84 -- "Froot" Marina and The Diamonds
#85 -- "Nothing But A Heartbeat" Say Lou Lou
#86 -- "What Do You Mean?" Justin Bieber
#87 -- "Could Be Wrong" Fickle Friends
#88 -- "Hands All Over Me" Tamaryn
#89 -- "Style" Taylor Swift
#90 -- "Still In Love" Jahkoy
#91 -- "Wildest Dreams" Taylor Swift
#92 -- "2 Heads" Coleman Hell
#93 -- "Love Me Back" Kenny Lattimore
#94 -- "Shadlowlands" Laila Biali & The Radiance Project
#95 -- "Dreaming" Taylor Dayne
#96 -- "Just Like You" Gill Landry
#97 -- "Falling Faster" Andrew Ripp
#98 -- "WTF (Where They From)" Missy Elliott f/ Pharrell Williams
#99 -- "Take It All" Ruelle
#100 -- "Remember Me" Eivør

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Good Song: "Should've Gone Home," Måns Zelmerlöw 12.1.15

Here's a new good song: "Should've Gone Home" by Måns Zelmerlöw. It's not available for purchase (yet?) on iTunes in the United States, but you can enjoy the video here. I discovered this via my pal Luis Ma, whose YouTube channel I highly recommend. It's here. He's always discovering great international pop music like this. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Never Enough," Allie X 12.1.15

Here's a new good song: "Never Enough" by Allie X. Great '80s stuff. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Stay A Little Longer," Brothers Osborne 12.1.15

Here's a new good song: "Stay A Little Longer" by Brothers Osborne. It's a solid country-pop song about giving into lust, and the video is very attractive and commendable for its portrayal of elderly, interracial and same-sex couples. The instrumental outro spins its wheels and is too long, but the first three minutes make up for the final minute. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

New Good Song: "Godlike," Puzzle 11.15.15

Here's a new good song: "Godlike" by Puzzle. Featuring this for its beautiful music although I find the theme a little on-the-nose. But if you like big atmospheric synth-pop, this will satisfy. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "It's All In Vain," Wet 11.15.15

Here's a new good song: "It's All In Vain" by Wet. A pretty pop ballad. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "WTF (Where They From)," Missy Elliott f/ Pharrell Williams 11.15.15

Here's a new good song: "WTF (Where They From)" by Missy Elliott f/ Pharrell Williams. These two innovative music pioneers are widely celebrated by critics and fans alike, and each of them has three pairs of double letters in their names. When Missy was at her career peak in the late '90s and early '00s, some of her singles, like "Get Ur Freak On," annoyed me at first but eventually grew on me, and I became quite fond of a few of them, none more so than "Work It" and "Teary Eyed." Now that 10 years have passed since the last time Missy was the lead artist on a Top 40 hit ("Lose Control," f/ Ciara and Fatman Scoop), her talent, creativity and influence are all the more apparent, and sorely missed. "WTF" fits effortlessly into her portfolio, and I'm pleased that in its first few days of release, it's doing very well on iTunes and YouTube. It would be wonderful to see this become a hit, and perhaps her first No. 1, a long-overdue accolade she deserves. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

New Good Song: "The Dreamer," Anna of the North 11.14.15

Here's a new good song: "The Dreamer" by Anna of the North. It's a mid-tempo dream-pop song with a galloping beat and vocals that resemble those of Ellie Goulding, which will not be everyone's taste. "The Dreamer" is a bit repetitive but it's a solid effort. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Sorry," Justin Bieber 11.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Sorry" by Justin Bieber. This is a big milestone for Justin because it marks the first time he has ever released a good song. Prior to this, he sang one song that wasn't terrible, the recent "What Do You Mean," which was a nice track musically but was lyrically amateurish and did itself no favors with its cornball video. Now here's "Sorry," where things have finally all come together -- a well-written piece of music that's nicely suited to Justin's voice and age, elevated by atypical production and the risky but ultimately winning use of tropical rhythms. The whole package is a success and seems as authentic as it is catchy. And it's worth mentioning that this lyric video is outstanding. All the folks involved in this project deserve recognition, including Justin. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Focus," Ariana Grande 11.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Focus" by Ariana Grande. This, to me, would be a throwaway if it weren't for the deliciously synthy bridge (0:30 to 0:49, and repeated twice more). Word on the street is that Jamie Foxx provided the vocal in the chorus, although he's not credited on the track. I like Ariana. I didn't care for 2013's "The Way" (f/ Mac Miller), which shamelessly ripped off and did not improve upon 1998's "Still Not A Player" by Big Pun f/ Joe, which shamelessly ripped off but did improve upon 1979's "A Little Bit Of Love" by Brenda Russell. But I did like Ariana's singles "Problem" (f/ Iggy Azalea) and "Break Free" (f/ Zedd), which landed at Nos. 81 and 95 respectively on my list of the best new good songs of 2014, and "Love Me Harder" (f/ The Weeknd), which will end up in a nice spot on the 2015 list, even though, as I mentioned in my original post about the song, I could do without The Weekend's whining. As an aside, congratulations to The Weeknd on his breakout success this year, even though I haven't yet particularly cared for any of his songs. Hope all the drug references are just part of the act, because he's too talented to die young. Anyway, enjoy "Focus"!

New Good Song: "Start Over Again," Alana Yorke 11.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Start Over Again" by Alana Yorke. This is an experimental soft-pop electronic song that sounds more like the calculated outcome of a college music theory assignment than an outpouring of raw expression. But there are some very nice sequences in this track, especially 1:09 to 1:41 (repeated and elaborated upon from 2:31 to 3:21), as well as the looping keyboard hook from the outset. Enjoy!  

Friday, October 30, 2015

New Good Song: "Young Heart," Freja 10.30.15

Here's a new good song: "Young Heart" by Freja. Belongs on the shelf right alongside Sky Ferreira, Molly Beanland, Betty Who and these talented women born 30 years too late. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Falling Faster," Andrew Ripp 10.30.15

Here's a new good song: "Falling Faster" by Andrew Ripp. This is sweet and in the vein as, say, Mat Kearney, Ben Rector, those types of dudes. Nice effort here. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Trip Switch" by Nothing But Thieves 10.30.15

Here's a new good song: "Trip Switch" by Nothing But Thieves. I really dig this track, yo. Great instrumental touches and a rockin', catchy chorus. A little hard to understand some of the lyrics, and that was true of last year's wonderful "Graveyard Whistling," the 12th best new good song of 2014. But that's forgivable when the music is so well-written. The band members are British and more popular in the UK than in the US, but I'm hoping Americans come to discover and appreciate them, at least based on these two exceptional outputs. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Hello," Adele 10.30.15

Here's a new good song: "Hello" by Adele. Adele is a singer that I'm so pleased is popular, for several reasons. She has genuine vocal and songwriting talent. Her song arrangements and instrumentals are timeless. She's classy. And she doesn't rely on trendy gimmicks for attention. All that said, I'm a song loyal person, and I must confess that I have not particularly liked too many of her songs. There always seems to be something about the melody lines that I find off-the-mark. "Set Fire To The Rain" and "Skyfall" were the 39th and 69th best new good songs of 2012 respectively. I also liked "Cold Shoulder," which was released during my 18-year hiatus from methodically tracking my favorite songs. I didn't care too much for "Chasing Pavements" or "Someone Like You," and was ambivalent about "Rolling In The Deep."

Now here's "Hello," and prematurely I'd say it is my favorite song by her so far, but we'll see whether that opinion holds up against overexposure. For now, it's got that fresh new wow factor. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

New Good Song: "Cannibal," Jill Andrews 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Cannibal" by Jill Andrews. As of this writing, this clip has 386 views on YouTube after having been up for three weeks. Not sure I expect much more than that given current populist taste, but man this is a great song. It reminds me of "Skyfall" by Adele, or something by Fiona Apple or Portishead, even though based on what I can find about her online, she identifies more as a country artist. I don't get that vibe a at all from this song. But, regardless, nice job, whoever you are. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Dirty Work," Austin Mahone 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Dirty Work" by Austin Mahone. This Texas-born teenager had the 60th best new good song of 2013, "What About Love," an earnest attempt to lure young female fans, wrapped in a catchy, punchy pop song reminiscent of *NSYNC. I've heard Austin described as a poor man's Justin Bieber, which I'm not in any position to refute, although as a judger of songs and not artists, I will say that Austin has now released two good songs, while Justin has released only one ("What Do You Mean?"), despite having been around longer and having more access to talented writers, producers, agents and handlers. Most of Justin's output has been unsophisticated on most meaningful dimensions. So there's that.

Anyway, now Austin is back with "Dirty Work," which if it were by Justin Bieber would be a No. 1 song, but it's not. This is basically an average pop song that ascends to something more special because of its bassline and the melody in the verses. Take those away, and there isn't much here beyond a serviceable pop song. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Good Girl," Aquilo 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Good Girl" by Aquilo. This English duo had the 17th best new good song of 2014, "I Gave It All," which was extremely slow (and, of course, extremely beautiful in my opinion, hence the generous ranking). Their new release, "Good Girl," sounds like a different band. I would never have guessed this was the same group. The chorus has distant echoes of Michael Jackson or the Bee Gees. So it's a nice surprise. Good video, too. If they have this type of range, I can see them having a long, fruitful career. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Levels," Nick Jonas 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Levels" by Nick Jonas. His song "Jealous" was No. 30 on my year-end list in 2014. He followed that up with "Chains," which actually was the first single of his eponymous album but was re-released after "Jealous" hit big. I never particularly understood the appeal of "Chains." Now here's "Levels," which at first I was dismissive of, but which has grown on me. I'll refrain for now from any deeper commentary about him as a person, a sex symbol or a singer, and just let the song speak for itself. It's a good effort and a head-bobber. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Wildest Dreams," Taylor Swift 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift. One of the points of this blog, and the driver of its title, is that I'm a very disloyal fan in the sense that I judge each song individually. There are certain acts who consistently release songs I like, but even they will inevitably put out some things I don't. The other side of that coin is that even if I don't consider myself a fan of someone per se, I'm happy to enjoy a song of theirs if it's good. Taylor Swift has been hit-and-miss for me ever since "Teardrops On My Guitar" back in 2007. There are some songs by her I think are fantastic, others less so.

Since adopting a poppier sound, she's released a string of songs about which I've been inconsistently enthusiastic. I appreciated "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," which ended up at No. 77 on my year-end list in 2012. And I adored "Blank Space," which will end up in a nice spot on my year-end list for 2015, surely in the Top 20 and perhaps in the Top 10. And I liked "Style" earlier this year. I wasn't particularly wowed by "I Knew You Were Trouble," "Shake It Off" or "Bad Blood."

Now here's her latest, "Wildest Dreams," which I'm not the first to observe has a Lana Del Rey feel. The video is also nicely filmed although it's much too literal at times, with an amateurish matching of lyrics and visuals that seem aimed at an 8-year-old audience. That said, the song is quite nice. Not sure it's quite as good as the under-appreciated song by Brandy with the same name, which was my No. 37 song for the year in 2012, but it's good nonetheless. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Get Right Back To My Baby," Vivian Green 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Get Right Back To My Baby" by Vivian Green. As much as I fancy myself a knowledgeable fan of R&B, I confess I had never heard of Vivian before now, even though apparently she's had seven previous R&B Singles chart appearances dating back to 2002. "Get Right Back To My Baby" is, so far, her most successful release on that chart, so far peaking at No. 8. This is an up-tempo, highly retro song that would have been at home in the '90s alongside Jade, SWV, Groove Theory and Zhane. It's cute. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Ocean," Lauren Aquilina 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Ocean" by Lauren Aquilina. Lauren is a young English composer, singer and pianist who specializes in melancholy ballads. She has released an EP each year since 2012, each with a one-word title -- "Fools," "Sinners," "Liars" and, now, "Ocean." Also, each has a water theme in the cover art, a choice that for a while I assumed had something to do with her last name, which I guessed incorrectly was some derivation of "aqua," but actually means "little eagle." Point being there is a steady sameness to her output in mood, theme and marketing.

On the weekly chart I keep for myself as a log of my song preferences, she's had three appearances: "Sinners," which came in at No. 46 for the year in 2013; "Irrelevant," which was No. 70 for the year in 2014, and "Broke," No. 78 for the year in 2014. Her new song, "Ocean," keeps pace with those previous releases, although it builds to a louder, more percussion-heavy climax than her other songs. Lauren is obviously very talented, so I'm hoping and expecting she'll achieve more mainstream success in the future. Enjoy!

Friday, September 18, 2015

New Good Song: "Take Heart," The Sam Willows 9.18.15

Here's a new good song: "Take Heart" by The Sam Willows. This comes courtesy of my musical kindred spirit, LuisMa, whose videos, including a weekly countdown of his personal favorite songs as well as various compilations and montages through Billboard chart history, you can watch here. This is fantastic and moves in unexpected directions that almost defy description -- it's light acoustic rock with a a bluegrass influence that climaxes into a dance song. Very nice and fresh. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Lick My Lips," Katharine McPhee 9.18.15

Here's a new good song: "Lick My Lips" by Katharine McPhee. She is now relatively famous, and was responsible for a tremendously underrated song in 2009 called "Over It," This new one is peppier and has a '70s vibe. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "One Love," Marianas Trench 9.18.15

Here's a new good song: "One Love" by Marianas Trench. This band was responsible for the 18th-best new good song of 2013, "Desperate Measures." This new tune has a more Ryan Tedder feel and is more radio-friendly than "Desperate Measures." Enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New Good Song: "Arrow," Levv 9.13.15

Here's a new good song: "Arrow" by Levv. Holy crap, this is gorgeous, front to back. Brilliant melody-writing, inspired production, exceptional vocals, and great build to the climax. It all works to create a rich and cool electro-inspired atmosphere. Enjoy.

New Good Song: "I Will Wait," Aaron Krause 9.13.15

Here's a new good song: "I Will Wait" by Aaron Krause. Reminiscent of Lany, who's put out some outstanding modernized '80s-inspired synth pop over the past couple years. Aaron's effort here is very nice. Enjoy.

New Good Song: "Yellow Boxes," Tyler Ward 9.13.15

Here's a new good song: "Yellow Boxes" by Tyler Ward. This would be merely mediocre if it weren't for a couple exceptional touches: some nice and unexpected melody treatments in the verses, and the relatively original lyrical content. I think this song may resonate with Millennials (of which I am not one, but I can relate). Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Good Song: "Electric Indigo," The Paper Kites 9.1.15

Here's a new good song: "Electric Indigo" by The Paper Kites. Great energy, melody and production. My favorite song of the past few weeks. Clever video too, as it turns out. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Downtown," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/ Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee & Grandmaster Caz 9.1.15

Here's a new good song: "Downtown" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/ Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee & Grandmaster Caz. I featured "Thrift Shop" on this blog on Sept. 7, 2012, and it was my 64th best new good song of 2012. At the time, I thought it was a novel song, and I described it thusly: "It's delivered with a nice light touch, over a pretty catchy and whimsical instrumental track, and the whole thing works together with a nice hooky chorus, delivered with humor." It, of course, went on to be a huge hit, which was a total surprise to me. In February 2013, it went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it ended up being that magazine's No. 1 song of 2013.

Now that Macklemore is famous, we can look forward to getting tired of "Downtown" after it blows up and becomes inescapable. For now, enjoy.

New Good Song: "Hands All Over Me," Tamaryn 9.1.15

Here's a new good song: "Hands All Over Me" by Tamaryn. Reminds me of an edgier version of Molly BeanlandSky Ferreira or fellow New Zealander Kimbra. Tamaryn has another new good song called "Cranekiss," which I initially preferred, but upon repeated listens I'm digging "Hands" more. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Surrender," Gavin Turek & Tokimonsta 9.1.15

Here's a new good song: "Surrender" by Gavin Turek & Tokimonsta. The former is the vocalist and the latter is the producer. This is a pretty special '90s throwback, with hints of Crystal Waters or Groove Theory, but with a contemporary twist. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Shadowplay," The Saint Johns 9.1.15

Here's a new good song: "Shadowplay" by The Saint Johns. This duo was responsible for the 49th best new good song of 2013, "Your Head And Your Heart." "Shadowplay" is similarly light, acoustic and melancholy. Many songs in the singer/songwriter genre are these things, but The Saint Johns have superior melodies, harmonies and vocal abilities. They should be much more famous by now than they are. All it will take is having a big song on a soundtrack. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Never Gonna Take You Back," Satchmode 9.1.15

Here's a new good song: "Never Gonna Take You Back" by Satchmode. Worth a listen, but note that the intro is over a minute. What makes this '80s-inspired song particularly special is the transcendental chord change right before the fourth measure of the verses and the chorus. Like a cool breeze. Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2015

New Good Song: "Suicide," Midnight To Monaco 8.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Suicide" by Midnight To Monaco. I absolutely adore this. It's on my playlist and I listen to it on repeat. It's innovative while also feeling familiar -- it's unusual, clever and glorious. The title is a downer, but the song is anything but ("Suicide is not for me. Doesn't suit my style" ... Brilliant). Jump to 1:40 if you need convincing. I suspect I will end up slotting this high on my year-end list. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Back Together," Robin Thicke f/ Nicki Minaj 8.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Back Together" by Robin Thicke f/ Nicki Minaj. I'm still not sure how I feel about Robin Thicke generally speaking, but I will always acknowledge good songs regardless of the delivery method. "Blurred Lines" was the 30th best new good song of 2013, based on a formula calculated from weekly charts I created for myself that year. The song did well on my personal charts several months before it gained mainstream popularity, and had that horrendously offensive video, all of which -- combined with over-exposure -- left me a bit regretful that it ended up at No. 30. He also had the 67th best new good song of 2012, "Pretty Lil' Heart," a great song that may have ranked higher had it not featured Lil Wayne, who's awful. Nicki Minaj had the No. 1 best new good song of 2011, "Super Bass," and the 57th best new good song of 2014, "Anaconda." I get what she's doing and I think she's brilliant. Anyway, "Back Together" is a good song. Hope it doesn't get overplayed. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Pray For Rain," Pure Bathing Culture 8.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Pray For Rain" by Pure Bathing Culture. I first discovered this Portland, Oregon, duo while being staffed on a work project in Portland, Oregon, and I'm so glad I did. They had 10th best new good song of 2013, "Dream The Dare" (which also has a lovely music video), as well as the 66th best new good song of 2014, "Ever Greener."  Now they're back with something still distinctively in that eletro-pop adult contemporary category, but a bit livelier and poppier. My one criticism of "Pray For Rain" is that the repetition of the final minute and a half is a bit tiresome. Feels like they ran out of ideas or something. But, still, an appreciated effort. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Do What You Like," Taio Cruz 8.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Do What You Like" by Taio Cruz. This is just great. Reminds me a bit of "The Other Side" by Jason Derulo, the fifth-best new good song of 2013. "Do What You Like" is not quite as housey/clubby, but the two songs share the common thread of great songwriting and very nice vocal delivery, in a tight pop structure. Also worth mentioning that both these artists are clearly inspired by Michael Jackson, which is nice to hear. I particularly like the bass line in "Do What You Like," and the way the instrumentals scale back during the last line of the chorus -- a subtle but wonderful touch. Actually I have to say this whole track is just fantastically produced overall ... There's real creativity here. And, finally, this video nearly makes me heterosexual. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Miradors," Solomon Grey 8.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Miradors" by Solomon Grey. Well, it's sort of new. Apparently it was released late last year, but it's new to me. Solomon Grey was responsible for the 49th best new good song of 2014, "Firechild." This one is slower and more haunting, and very catchy at the same time. There's clearly real talent here. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "You Change," Lindsey Webster 8.14.15

Here's a new good song: "You Change" by Lindsey Webster. It has a slow, jazzy throwback song very reminiscent of "Inside That I Cried" by CeCe Peniston, and "All Woman" by Lisa Stansfield, both wonderful R&B songs from the '90s. This is music you listen to relax to by a roaring fire, or get freaky to on a summer night. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "White Light," Shura 8.14.15

Here's a new good song: "White Light" by Shura. I liked this song originally for its '80s production, but wasn't particularly overwhelmed beyond that. However it's really grown on me over the past few weeks. Sexy vocals, sweet melody, wet bass line, funky atmosphere, and creative lyrical content ("You're different, I like it. You're from another planet, ah. I'd like you to take me there. You can fly your alien spaceship.") Enjoy!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Good Song: "Down The Middle," Elizabeth Luthringer 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Down The Middle" by Elizabeth Luthringer. A mellow throwback with a Sunday morning vibe, this soulful track stands out because of unexpected chord changes and melodic detours. Reminds me of Catherine Scholz, who had the 100th best new good song of 2014, "Remember The Love (Just Not Like Her),"  as well as "For The Lonely" by Nicole Zuraitis. All three are jazzy adult contemporary songs in 3/4 time by women with hard-to-remember names. Not everyone's cup of tea, I realize, but could be somebody's. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "One Ticket," Vel Crowe Johnson 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "One Ticket" by Vel Crowe Johnson. Now and then, one needs a rappy party anthem on one's playlist. The current state of hip-hop is, in my opinion, generally an embarrassing tragedy. When tunes like this come along that are more classically structured and fun, with a rock-inspired production, I'm enthused. This seems inspired by Eminem, who had the 14th best new good song of 2013, "Berzerk." "One Ticket" has a bit of that sniveling high-school sentimentality found in early releases by the Beastie Boys and pop-punk songs of the early 2000s. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "All Falls Down," Totem 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "All Falls Down" by Totem. As of this writing, this song has fewer than 100 views on YouTube, a crying shame. This tune combines a snappy '80s pop instrumental with soulful lyrics driving a very catchy melody. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Leave A Trace," Chvrches 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Leave A Trace" by Chvrches. This group had the 25th best new good song of 2013, "Lies." All their tracks have a common thread of dream pop / '80s synth throwback, with drama and energy. Hard not to appreciate. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Heartbreak Reputation," Zimmer f/ Polina 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Heartbreak Reputation" by Zimmer f/ Polina. Has a bit of a '90s club vibe, similar to what Kiesza put out last year with the well-received "Hideaway." Enjoy!

New Good Song: "What You Don't Do," Lianne La Havas 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "What You Don't Do" by Lianne La Havas. Sounds to me like a cross between Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis, with a throwback pop/soul sound brought to modern times through crisp production. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "For You," Rae Morris 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "For You" by Rae Morris. The Gaelic-sounding chants in the opening lines, repeated in the chorus, are, to me, an irritating blot on an otherwise gorgeous track. If you can get past that, you will enjoy!

New Good Song: "Forget You In LA," Poema 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Forget You In LA" by Poema. Definite echoes here of "LA Song" by Beth Hart, a good song from 1999. Both are about the mystique of moving to Los Angeles as a way of escaping one's troubled past. Can't say I relate, but they are both nicely done songs. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Adore," Jasmine Thompson 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Adore" by Jasmine Thompson. There are (at least) two versions of this track available on iTunes -- this one, which has a pop production, and a more stripped down piano ballad, filed in the Singer/Songwriter genre. At first I preferred the latter, but my current playlist is a bit too slow, so I have come to prefer the version below just for the sake of variety. I was nothing short of shocked to learn that this artist is 14 years old, born in 2000. That's hard to process. Jasmine apparently has a large following on YouTube. I was not aware of any of this, but discovered and came to appreciate the song on its own merits. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Montana," James Taylor 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Montana" by James Taylor. He has returned with an album of new material, "Before This World," which impressively went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart a couple weeks ago. "Montana" is a track off that record I happen to prefer, perhaps because I, like the protagonist, find myself often pining for a simpler, more rural life. I also happen to adore Montana. Since I was a boy, I dreamed of going there, and I finally made it happen a few years ago, when I stayed at a ranch for several days and had one of the best times of my life. My only criticism of this song is the oddly abrupt ending, but prior to that it's very nice. Enjoy.

New Good Song: "Rumble In The Park," Catey Shaw 7.25.15

Here's a new good song: "Rumble In The Park" by Catey Shaw. This one has really grown on me over the past few weeks and has turned into one of my favorite songs of the year so far, even though I find the cover art needlessly obscene. It's an upbeat tune about two women, Jenny and Dylann, who break up, and the subsequent feud between their groups of friends (gangs, really) who agree to meet up in a park and try to kill one another. It is, apparently, a follow-up to another song by Catey, "Night Go Slow," which tells the story of Jenny and Dylann falling in love. So kind of fun to follow the story line. Enjoy.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Musing: "Bitch I'm Madonna," Madonna 6.26.15

The release of "No Sleeep" by Janet Jackson this week has prompted a string of articles mostly praising Janet's approach to her comeback, contrasting it with Madonna's and, sometimes, Mariah Carey's. Wanted to weigh in.

When comparing entire bodies of work, I would rather take Madonna's or Mariah's greatest hits compilations to a desert island than Janet's, although I do like quite a bit of Janet's material as well. But in my opinion, in the battle for the best comeback approach, I'd rank Janet above the other two. Madonna's "Rebel Heart" comeback has come with three singles: "Living For Love," which I like enough to have featured it in this blog although I did so mostly to be supportive, followed by "Ghosttown," which I appreciated in theory but found annoying in practice, and now "Bitch I'm Madonna," which is a grating mess. The first two singles failed to ignite much interest, and neither entered the Billboard Hot 100. This week, "Bitch" debuted at no. 84, fueled largely by streams of the video above. This is Madonna's first appearance on this chart since 2012's "Give Me All Your Luvin'," a pleasant but underwhelming song that made its way to No. 10.

The "Bitch" video takes quite a bit of heat from critics and commenters for being "desperate," "sad" and "pathetic." I can see three reasons for this criticism:

(1) She is dying for attention, and trying to shock people. I wholly reject this criticism because Madonna has always sought attention and tried to shock people, so those that consider this pathetic must also consider "Like A Virgin," "Papa Don't Preach," "Like a Prayer," "Justify My Love" and "Erotica" all desperate as well. She has always liked to provoke people, so on that level, "Bitch" is an achievement.

(2) She is not acting her age. This is a dangerous criticism to weigh in on because of the feminist implications, but I think it has some merit. One of the admirable things about Madonna from 1983 to 1998 was that she demonstrated confidence, sincerity and truth to herself while always seeming age appropriate. The early days of funky clothes and club jams were fitting of someone in her early to mid-20s. "Vogue" was appropriate for someone who'd just turned 30 -- sexy, sophisticated, fashionable, elegant. In the mid-'90s, in the era of "Take a Bow," "You'll See" and the songs from "Evita," the image and sound were very fitting of someone entering the latter half of her 30s. And then when she rounded the corner of 40, she released the album "Ray of Light," with the singles "Frozen," the title track, and "The Power of Good-Bye." At this time, she seemed true to herself, forward-thinking and also age appropriate -- getting into spirituality, yoga and having bigger-picture observations to make. Since "Ray of Light," we've seen mostly uncomfortable regression, starting with "Music," worsening with duets such as "Me Against the Music" (with Britney Spears) and "4 Minutes" (with Justin Timberlake), and continuing with "Bitch." What seems "desperate" is that Madonna has not found a way to age confidently. She shouldn't need to conform to expectations about aging "gracefully," but her music, image and behavior would be better received if it seemed genuine, and part of being genuine is being comfortable with oneself, and part of oneself is one's age. How she does that, I don't know. But I do know it's certainly not through material like "Bitch I'm Madonna."

(3) She enlisted A-list celebrities to generate buzz about the video. This is the most pathetic thing about this video, in my opinion. If you want to get the likes of Katy Perry and Beyonce to be in your video, fine. Fly them in and do something with them. But apparently Madonna was only able to secure celebrities on the level of Rita Ora and Alexander Wang to come to the shoot, while the bigger stars only had time to Skype in. This stinks of desperation and, frankly, failure to wield the legendary influence and power that the song celebrates. Even Nicki Minaj, whose rap is featured in the song, didn't appear in person. So this makes it seem as if their brief appearances were only orchestrated to increase interest in the video and YouTube views (and, to Madonna's credit, this seems to be working).

All this being said, back to point No. 1, Madonna's primary objective seems to always have been to get people talking about her, and I have just spent several paragraphs doing so, so at the end of the day, mission accomplished.

Compare this to "No Sleeep" and you see a stark contrast that makes Madonna seem all the more desperate for relevancy. Janet's single was released more under the radar, with strategic teases but no big marketing blow-out. The song defies current trends, staying true to her aesthetic and tastes. It's a perfect offering for fans, and doesn't make Janet seem eager for attention, validation, popularity or praise. It's also sexy but in an age-appropriate and believable way. What can be cooler than that?

Just to round things out, compare all this to Mariah Carey's "Infinity." I am a big Mariah fan and like "Infinity," and featured it on this blog. although I'm not surprised it stalled on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 82. The issue with this song, and with a few of Mariah's recent releases like "You're Mine (Eternal)," is that there's no element of surprise and not much evidence of growth. In the first 10 years of her career, Mariah evolved from a gospel-influenced teenager to a confident pop star to an R&B innovator to a diva. But then it stopped, and she's been playing the diva act for the past 15 years, especially the last 5-10, squeezing into gowns and posing for highly airbrushed album covers while churning out solid but mostly uninteresting material (the largest exception being the brilliant "Obsessed," and the underrated song from "Oz the Great and Powerful," "Almost Home.")

All said and done, artists like Madonna, Janet and Mariah have created amazing legacies for which they will be highly regarded for generations to come. Whether they seek to build on those legacies or simply preserve them (and capitalize on them for the rest of their lives) is, of course, their own business. But they should each be cautious about doing anything to call their legacy into question. I think that, of the three, Madonna is skating on the thinnest ice in that regard. Putting on a 21-year-old persona at age 56 sucks the cool out of her status and makes people compare her to today's younger stars, many of whom have more raw talent, greater beauty, more sophistication and more palatable public personas. Madonna should take a few notes from Janet: Stay in your category of one. Don't try to beat today's crop of stars at their own game. Fly above the younger generation. Grow and move forward.

Monday, June 22, 2015

New Good Song: "No Sleeep," Janet Jackson 6.22.15

Here's a new good song: "No Sleeep" by Janet Jackson.

As a gay man in his mid-30s, I am contractually obligated to be excited about Janet Jackson's comeback, and I am. I like several of her songs, and very much respect her as an influential and multi-talented entertainer. I am among a rare group who thought her 2008 offering, "Feedback," was among her best songs ever. Now after seven years of near silence -- which has certainly fueled interest in her, at least among people my age -- Janet returns with "No Sleeep," co-written and -produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, her famously influential longtime collaborators.

Will "No Sleeep" be a big hit? I wouldn't dare to make such a prediction. At first listen, I would say no, because it's more mellow, sexy and retro than what's on the charts now. Also, R&B -- real R&B -- is generally unpopular in the '10s, and "No Sleeep" is heavily rooted in that genre. But the public's tastes often surprise me, for better or worse. Perhaps the fact that this single fills a void on mainstream radio will be the very factor that propels it to great success.

"No Sleeep" is a new good song. I'm impressed with the way it's catchy without being annoying and in your face, as so many modern songs are. Clearly this track is not the result of an attempt to mimic current production and songwriting trends. But that's the best thing about it. There's nothing sadder than a living legend trying to reintroduce herself by co-opting modern trends that are antithetical to her artistic identity. "No Sleeep" is a nice reintroduction. Its familiar aspects will please fans, and let younger audiences know what Janet stands for musically and lyrically. If those young people don't take an interest, "No Sleeep" will debut high on the iTunes chart and quickly tumble out of sight, like the recent releases of Madonna, Mariah Carey and other stars whose "comeback" offerings have on some level underwhelmed.

It's hard for a veteran singer to light up the charts, because people respond to what's fresh, new and different. When you're established, how do you walk that line between being unexpected while staying true to your signature sound? The most commonly cited comeback of this nature was Cher's worldwide No. 1 smash "Believe" in 1999. That was an organic sensation. There was no artificial marketing hype around Cher's "big comeback." She just released a great song that people responded to. Santana did the same thing around the same time with "Smooth," featuring Rob Thomas. So successful comebacks happen, but rarely.

But nobody really knows what will be successful, or why. Over the weekend, the top song on the iTunes chart was "Cheerleader" by Omi, a song I almost featured on this blog a few months ago but which I wasn't entirely sold on. I would never have imagined that this song would do so well; it's very out of sync with today's trends. But that's the way of the music-consuming public -- always surprising me. So I'm not going to call the fate of Janet's comeback yet, except to say that I have reasonably good feelings about it. "No Sleeep" is a cool song and it may just ignite new interest in Ms. Jackson. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

New Good Song: "Velvet," Fickle Friends 6.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Velvet" by Fickle Friends, an act responsible for another new good song earlier this year, "Could Be Wrong." Enjoy.

New Good Song: "Body Talk," Foxes 6.14.15

Here's a new good song: "Body Talk" by Foxes. In fact, this is one of the best new good songs of 2015, if not the very best. It's an absolutely addictive '80s-inspired toe-tapper that gets almost everything perfectly right -- instrumental arrangements, production, melody, lyrics, vocals. The only misstep is the abrupt ending; a fade-out would have been more effective for this type of song. But that aside, this is a fantastic offering that I've had on repeat for days. Foxes, you might recall, was the featured vocalist on "Clarity," credited to producer Zedd, which was the 73rd best new good song of 2013. Looking forward to hearing more from her if this is any indication of her taste and abilities. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

New Good Song: "Delirious," Susanne Sundfør 5.28.15

Here's a new good song: "Delirious" by Susanne Sundfør. It's a dramatic, theatrical '80s-inspired pop song about ... murder? It's great.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New Good Song: "Someone Else," Lany 5.13.15

Here's a new good song: "Someone Else" by Lany. I really like this group. They had the third-best new good song of 2014, "ILYSB," And they've had a couple other nice offerings too -- "Walk Away" and "Made In Hollywood." All of these tunes are stylistically similar, '80s inspired, but fresh, catchy and emotive. Enjoy this new one, "Someone Else."

New Good Song: "Infinity," Mariah Carey 5.13.15

Here's a new good song: "Infinity" by Mariah Carey. Not among her very best, not likely to be a hit, but cute enough.

New Good Song: "U Got," Sivik 5.13.15

Here's a new good song: "U Got" by Sivik. The vocals are reminiscent of Mike Posner. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

New Good Song: "A Color You Can't Ignore," Karly Lynn Willis 4.21.15

Here's a new good song: "A Color You Can't Ignore" by Karly Lynn Willis. String-filled, inspirational adult pop, beautifully written and confidently produced with the right amount of instrumental flourishes. Lovely vocals as well. Have a listen, won't you?

New Good Song: "Shadowlands," Laila Biali & The Radiance Project 4.21.15

Here's a new good song: "Shadowlands" by Laila Biali & The Radiance Project. Energetic, quirky, bright, unusual. Could do without the over-the-top gospel element at the end, but there's lots to appreciate prior to that. Enjoy.

New Good Song: "Alcohol," Shannon LaBrie 4.21.15

Here's a new good song: "Alcohol" by Shannon LaBrie. It's a piano ballad about someone in a relationship with a heavy drinker. A downer, indeed, but great -- reminiscent of Fiona Apple or Rachael Yamagata.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

New Good Songs: "In Dreams," Marion Raven 4.5.15

Here's a new good song: "In Dreams" by Marion Raven. It's not that new, but new enough. She was half of M2M, a duo responsible for two new good (and very underrated) songs in 2000: "Mirror Mirror" and "Don't Say You Love Me." This is the only version I could find, but the one in iTunes is better-produced. Enjoy!