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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adam Lambert and the Easily Offended American Folk

Before Thanksgiving break, I thought it was a good time to get out my thoughts on this whole Adam Lambert thing, seeing as I was such an ardent supporter during his Idol days and he’s now dominating the news cycle on American TV. I already posted my review of the album (it’s fantastic, by the way) and I’m very pleased to see that he’s on track to sell 200-250k this week. I am, however, sick of how easily this country gets offended.

Now, it takes a lot to offend me, and anything sexual is not gonna do it. I was not the least bit offended by Adam’s now infamous AMA performance. I did think it was somewhat lazy and unnecessarily distracting, but that’s a different story. The bottom line, like Adam said himself, is that this was a performance being aired at eleven PM on an awards show already rampant with sexuality. Children should have been in bed (it’s a school night, after all) and the offended adults should really get out more (or grow a spine) if they’re watching the AMA’s and expecting some lame Donny & Marie act.

It’s Christian Conservative America striking again, and it takes me back to 2004 and “Nipplegate” (aka the destruction of my favorite female performer’s successful career). I don’t think Janet Jackson’s ever recovered from the ire of the “family values” parents and their ilk. These people are out to destroy creativity and expression, in favor of blind allegiance and stagnancy. Lambert looks to do just fine, especially if his stunning performances on The Early Show this morning are any indication, but it’s still frustrating. Every time someone interesting comes out of the pop machine in this country (happens about once or twice a decade, if we’re lucky), Evangelicals set their sights on them, hoping to rip them to pieces before they can subvert America’s youth. I’m surprised they haven’t gone after Lady Gaga with pitchforks and fire.

At any rate, I'm thrilled that a male performer that openly nods to glam, electro and pure pop has finally burst onto the scene. And the kicker is, he’s talented as hell. It remains to be seen if there’s a vision in him to match that talent, but we’ll never know if we don’t give him a chance.

For today, an excellent bonus track from his debut album. Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

Adam Lambert - Down The Rabbit Hole

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vivek Shraya - I Am A Bass Drum

"The swagger in your shoulder"

Welcome back, Vivek Shraya! His last album was one of the most refreshing indie releases of 2007. Now he's back with his new one, Keys & Machines, and it's more of the same disco/electro/pop concoction. I'm a huge fan of Shraya's vocals, which on some tracks remind me of George Michael, Jake Spears and (more recently) Tommy Sparks. Not only that, but I love the simplicity and catchiness of his songs. I Am A Bass Drum was the album track that stuck with me most instantly, an aggressive anthem filled with handclaps, electronic squiggles and a whole lot of attitude. It sounds like the brother to Tommy Sparks' I'm A Rope. Both amazing pop songs.

Vivek Shraya - I Am A Bass Drum

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Martin Solveig - Rejection

"I spend so much energy"

A bit of a flashback today. This song is from a few years ago, but I'm betting (hoping?) that a lot of you haven't heard it. I hadn't paid Martin Solveig any attention until his brilliant duet with Dragonette this year. Looking at his back catalog, there are a few real stunners I uncovered. Rejection is perhaps the best, and reminds me very much of beloved Danish band Private. It's got that old school, soulful Prince/Michael Jackson sound to it--totally bright and happy, even when the guy's singing about being rejected. The minimalist video is ridiculously entertaining as well. This guy is a real ham. I was actually surprised when I found out that he's French. This is not really the type of music I'd expect to come out of France, especially sung in English.

Martin Solveig - Rejection

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)