The Weekend Review: January 2013 Report

Originally posted 2013-03-30 06:47:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Heartthrob (Tegan and Sara)

Producer: Greg Kurstin, Mike Elizondo, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, & Rob Cavallo

Released: January 29, 2013

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

Top Two Tracks: “Drove Me Wild” & “Closer”

 

When I read in advance that Tegan and Sara had “gone pop” for their latest album, my first response was one of profound hesitation.  After all, I’ve found the band’s previous efforts to lack a certain dynamic energy that I’ve always felt was possible, and it has in large part been their identity as co-songwriters and musicians that has kept me coming back for more.  On Heartthrob, the former remains but the latter has been somewhat displaced by the practicalities of pop music (i.e., programming and the like).  However, much to my surprise, this new approach to their sound has reinvigorated their music and unforeseen strengths in their style have arisen.  In short, pop suits them.  From the infectiously catchy opener and lead single “Closer” (with a wonderfully conspicuous wink on the chorus line embellishment, made literal in the music video) to the retro-flavored gem “Drove Me Wild,” the songs maintain a uniform sound, but always with a hook or other appeal.  On previous efforts, as I’ve written, I’ve found Tegan and Sara’s music to suffer at times from the “half and done” songwriting under which there are no new movements or lyrics after the halfway point.  Here, where that does happen, it blends in and works, and my best guess as to why I feel this way is that pop music operates under different rules than rock.  If you’re interested in a flashback to the eighties blended with a clear dose of the contemporary, a band with rock sensibilities turned pop, Tegan and Sara’s Heartthrob is probably the next album for you.  I know that, for me, it has been difficult to break the circuit with this, their latest eminently listenable and fun record, on numerous occasions.

“If This Is It” (Huey Lewis & The News Cover)

Originally posted 2008-02-18 22:24:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music blog for Monday! I’m back with a video that’s not only one of my best performances (if I do say so myself) but one of my favorite tunes. This song, “If This Is It”, is an underrated song and Huey Lewis and the News are a very underrated band.

I think Huey Lewis loses points in many reviewers’ minds because he doesn’t write the songs he sings.  But, there are members of his band (you know, the News!) that write the songs he sings.  It’s kind of like a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons thing.  So, when you look at the band in that light, Huey Lewis is just a really cool guy and a good singer, too!  I love the style of their songs- it’s kind of like my music, but back in the 80s.  You can tell that the songwriters loved a bygone era of music (especially with the doo-wop style of “If This Is It”) but updated it for the times.  Obviously, “If This Is It” wouldn’t have sounded right in 1956, but somehow the song gives off that vibe while still sounding fresh…for 1983, that is…

The whole “Sports” album is very entertaining to me.  I know songs like “The Heart Of Rock & Roll” have actually been put on “Worst Song Ever” lists in the past, but I’ve always liked that tune!  Plus, “Heart and Soul” is one of my absolute favorite songs of all time.  And, you’ve even got the song that was stolen for the Ghostbusters theme song in “I Want a New Drug”!  If you’re into music from that era, please give “Sports” from Huey Lewis and the News a shot.  You’ll be glad you did!

“If This Is It” wasn’t the easiest song to learn- the chord changes and the special strumming pattern made it a tough one to get correct while singing.  But, the singing wasn’t too easy, either.  I recall messing up near the end of the song on a couple of occasions.  Why?  Because Huey Lewis had (and still does) an amazingly powerful voice.  Of course, he wasn’t playing guitar at the same time during his performances!

I always thought this would be the perfect album closing song.  It just has that “ending” feel to it, even though it’s not a slow song like most albums feature at the end.  The sentiment here is that a person knows all of the telltale signs of a relationship ending are there and that person wants the truth.  But, what makes this song great is the hesitation- yes, he may know it’s over, but he still doesn’t like that fact.  He knows he should save himself from more heartache, but he wants her to be the person to break it off.

I hope you all enjoy tonight’s acoustic cover song, played on my nylon stringed acoustic guitar, as our week of brand-new bands to the Laptop Sessions continues!  This Huey Lewis and the News song is one of my favorites and I knew it would be a great pick for another cover song music video here on the best music blog around: The Laptop Sessions!