Maroon 5 “Makes Me Wonder” – The long-awaited follow-up to their breakthrough 2002 set “Songs About Jane” album is coming soon. Wow, was it really that long ago? It doesn’t seem like five years, partially because “Songs About Jane” didn’t “critical mass” with the general public until almost 2 years later. This release continues with the rhythmic pop which made the band connect with a large fan base in the first place. “Makes Me Wonder” is another heartbreak song, cleverly disguided by happy music, this time reminiscent of the Earth, Wind & Fire rhythm section. I expect this song to perform very well, and to age well, since the lyrical hook of the song isn’t battered into your head. Instead, it’s a little more clever. Indeed, the reason I like Maroon 5 in the first place is that while they’re unabashedly “pop”, there just a little more clever.
Linkin Park “What I’ve Done” – Speaking of long-awaited, Linkin Park is back with a new single, just before press time. LP is a group of very talented individuals, who together are better than the sum of their individual parts. While this song isn’t bad, and will likely do well, it’s missing some signature elements we’ve come to expect from this band. I’m told they are “progressing” out of the rap-rock hybrid that they helped create and define, which is fine. But on this well-written single, all the vocals are from Chester Bennington. Where is Mike Shinoda? To me this would be like having a new single from the Ying Yang Twins, and there was only one of the twins actually on it (and no, they’re not actually named Ying and Yang). Or, if you can’t relate to that analogy, try this one: if it’s Mick Jagger singing, but Keith Richards isn’t playing guitar on it, is it The Rolling Stones? I’m all for expanding the scope of what you do as a band, especially one as talented as Linkin Park, but this single doesn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would, at least on initial impression.
Rihanna with Jay-Z “Umbrella” – Not to harp on it, but I find it a shame that Jay-Z sounds better as a guest on this track, than anything I’ve heard from his own “comeback” album. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how well Rihanna has done in her career, thus far. And most of her hits have all sounded unique, too – which bodes well for her career. “Umbrella” is considerably funkier than the “Tainted Love” of her previous hit “S.O.S. (Rescue Me)”, with hard-hitting, rock hard live (sounding, at least) drums, and sinewy synths more often used as “blips” in hip-hop songs, versus for melody, as they’re used here. After Jay’s strong starting, Rihanna’s vocals stand up to the strong track that’s almost rock & roll, with r&b singing, yet with a stacatto rock & roll attitude. Original and very strong.
If you mention Steve Sharp when you sing up for the weekly Prime Cuts cd service from JonesTM between now and the end of April 2007, and take $5 each month (for up to three years) off the price of your subscription. Get all the new music you need, in every significant musical genre (in the English language – or add their Latin service, too!), every week, shipped right to you. Mention me (Steve Sharp) and they’ll drop their already low prices another $5 per month, every month. It’s the very best offer available, and it’s only available if you drop my name, and I could only get it because I have really clear blackmail pictures of Jim Weisz and Dave Foster that they don’t want published. Their indescrections are your gain!
You know, sometimes I just say things to see if you’re paying attention.Steve Sharp is a DJ in Southern California who has been spinning since 1981. In addition to running his own successful single-op business, Signature Entertainment, he also creates a weekly radio remix show for Bo’s Saturday Night Party on B95.1 FM. Steve is one of the few people who can not only play the hits, but gets involved in the story behind them and can often tell you who produced, directed and published the song and how their actions affect the music industry.
If you would like to contact Steve, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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