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domenica 19 dicembre 2010

Micheal Jackson-Micheal

Ladies and gents..behold a record from beyond the grave..but not really.

Let me explain. Since Micheal's death in June 2009 many things have happened in Neverland. Most importantly, all that concerned the Michael Jackson estate was passed over to his team of lawyers, who are really just employees of Sony Music. I am of the opinion that Michael was murdered simply because he was worth a hell of a lot more dead than alive. As sad and criminal as that may be. What followed was possibly the biggest and most despicable posthumous cash grab in history. His scheduled 50 dates in London were a no go so for a while there was a possibility to replace Michael with a life size hologram but that soon fell through. Finally a decision was made to release a dvd of compiled raw footage of the artist rehearsing at the Staples Center in LA. The dvd had insane sales success. A few months after the release of the dvd, Sony announced a huge deal that involved a possible ten album contract over the next seven years. All of this without one single Jackson family member's consent. This is the first of those albums. Before I go on reviewing the album I'd also like to announce that this album is not totally Michael Jackson's work. Three of the tracks on the album are not sung by the legend himself but but little known pop wannabe Jason Malachi. Sony hired him to record some of the songs that Michael helped to write because Micheal's vocals had not been mastered or even finished. This has been the subject of a lot of speculation amongst MJ fans. Both Randy Jackson (brother) and Taryll Jackson (nephew) have confirmed these reports on their respective twitter accounts. Both were not allowed in the studios where the album was mixed but gathered along with Micheal's sister, Janet for an exclusive first listen and concurred on the outcome that not only they but all of the Jackson fans around the world had been made complete fools of. The record is not as bad as thought by many critics and myself. The first single 'Hold My Hand' is one of the best tracks on this record. It's classic Michael in the sense that it intends to unite people as one for a positive goal. Akon lends a hand to modernize the track and also make it more familiar for all the preteens out there. 'Hollywood Tonight' takes some getting used to but once you settle in it can really become a real dance floor number. The album has a tendency to alter energy levels. Something that Michael would never had stood for. The laid back and almost chill '(I like) The way you love me' is followed by the overworked fake sounding 'Monster' which include a regrettable appearance by "gangster" rapper 50 Cent. 'Best of Joy' is so sweet and innocent that it's almost undeniably Micheal's work. 'Breaking News' is another addition that has the controversy that the megastar often made public but the vocals seem not to be that of the legend himself. '(I can't make it) Another Day' is one of the best tracks on this record. Recorded in 2007 with Lenny Kravitz. This cut features Michael exuding his passion all over the place coupled with Kravitz's sultry guitar work. I can't help to think that if Michael was actually involved with the song it would have sounded more powerful. The origins of the next song lie in an instrumental track of the same name by Japanese electro pop outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra from their 1979 album, Solid State Survivor. After hearing "Behind The Mask," Jackson contacted the group to ask for permission to add his lyrics on the track converting it into an ode to living life under a microscope. Originally intended for Thriller, it was reportedly left off because of a song credit dispute. The song was updated after Micheal's death by one of his estate's executors, John McClain. 'Much Too Soon' is the last track on the album and one that offers the feeling of saying goodbye which I guess is quite fitting.

The What Rating: I don't think I can rate and album that is not totally original material of the artist like it claims to be. All I can say is that It's a complete disgrace that Michael Jackson's legacy is being treated in such an abhorrent and loathsome way.

lunedì 25 ottobre 2010

Groove Armada-White Light (2010)

These UK legends don't give a shit. I mean they know that the genre in which they started in in the early 90's has done a 360 and now it seems like there is a new 'hot'  house/dance/electronic act appearing every 2 days.  This album is their 2nd this year. 'Black Light' first released in January was their 6th complete studio release and it came with a beautiful, soulful 80's bang. This little gem entitled 'White Light' is pretty much a reworked version of its darker sister. It's easily listenable even without having heard the last record. It has a mood and mind of its own.  It can be smooth as silk but of course variate and turn into coarse granite scaving that divides the senses of pleasure and pain. Most of it though is funktastic. It does transport you back to the late 80's/early 90's where everything seemed possible. Clubs were actually places of uninhibited joy and dance, scenes were less important, as long as you had the soul. 'History' is one of the most tantalizing tracks on this record in this respect. The vocals are something out of OMD's b-sides coupled with reverberating bass and a hard hitting classic dance rhythm that is pretty irresistible.  'Paper Romance' is probably the best single from 'Black Light' but this version is something else. What I love about this album is that it treats the intros like gold and really does not let you escape the coming together of each track. Just make sure you have the bass knob turned to almost maximum. Back in the day you would see people getting down to a well thought out routine in the clubs. But from what I've seen, it seems those days are gone. Something that GA are trying out now is recording with live bands. 'I won't kneel' is basically a live track with not as many electronics as you would expect from the lads. Everything that is effected is worked straight from keys, drums, guitar and this is very little synth. Except for the build up where you do notice levels of compression. The bass is monster though. You can feel the fingers moving up and down the fret board and it tastes like gold. The vocals in this and the last album have been filled brilliantly by SaintSaviour. A blues/electronic artist in her  own right. She brings plentiful helpings of charisma and her timing is also almost flawless. It seems like GA's intent on this and the last album is to let everyone know that new kids come and go but some things are timeless. They did reserve a little surprise though. The new and only  single "1980" is  a clear reference to the sound of the album but also a fantastic track. The beginning does not let you expect the powerfully bouncy chorus but when it's done you'll want more.  Groove Armada are and for me, always will be one the for best electronic outfits in circulation. Their commitment to high strung emotional, soulful and ever so potent dance is in its own right, a testament in time.

The What rating: 4/5.

mercoledì 20 ottobre 2010

Introduction to The What Reviews

Hey all.

This is something I have been wanting to do for a while but for some reason I never really got around to it for I am a true procrastinator. So consider yourselves lucky. I'm going to use this space for all sorts of things but mainly to review music releases. I have been doing so for the past 5 years or so, either for fun or for publications. Just know that you will almost never find perfect grammar or even spelling for that matter but I will try my best. 

I'm not sure what to do my first review on. It's a toss up between Neil Young's latest "Le Noise" or Groove Armada's freshly squeezed "White Light" I'm up for suggestions as well. 

I've just come back to Florence, Italy after a 3 year separation and I'm looking for a new muse. 

If your wondering about what reviews may come in the musical taste is best depicted here:

Enough for now..I'll be back with the 1st review. Thanks for reading.