Thursday, February 20, 2014

Not Ordinary

We can't fall any further If we can't feel ordinary love; We cannot reach any higher If we can't deal with ordinary love... U2 - Ordinary Love

U2 did a great impromptu version along with The Roots of Ordinary Love on The Tonight Show  this past monday night.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

U2: The Rooftop Singers

I'll show you a place high on a desert plain where the streets have no name... U2 - Where The Streets Have No Name

U2 continued a rock tradition last night on The Tonight Show of performing on the rooftop, in this case it was the top of 30 Rock in New York City.  It was classic U2; in 1987 U2 recorded the video  for Where The Streets Have No Name on top of a liquor store in Los Angeles.  However, the rooftop tradition began with The Beatle's 1969 final public performance on the roof of Apple's Headquarters.  Rooftops rock...

Monday, February 17, 2014

U2 Visible Again

I'm more than you know, A body in a soul; You don't see me but you will; I am not invisible... U2 - Invisible U2

U2 is the musical guest tonight on Jimmy Fallon's debut as host of The Tonight Show.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

It Was 50 Years Ago Today

Oh Yeah, I'll tell you something I think you'll understand;  When I say that something  I want to hold your hand... The Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand
It's hard to believe that it was 50 years ago that The Beatles made their way to America (left at Greenland) and to our televisions by way of The Ed Sullivan Show.  It was the most watched TV show up to that time and still on the list.  It was also the watershed moment for Rock and Roll; the possibilities of the music, the power, the influence, the mysteries... 

For 4 lads from Liverpool, England America was the place where they wanted to be.  After all America was the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll.  The home of many of their influences: Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Little Richard and others.  Well on that night The Beatles conquered America and established themselves as world wide stars and their influence was felt immediately.  Steve Van Zandt put it best: “Feb. 8, 1964, there was not one single rock ‘n’ roll band in the country. February 9, the Beatles played ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ Feb. 10, everyone had one.”  Also in their wake what followed was a tidal wave of British Artists from The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Herman's Hermits, Dave Clark 5, The Who, etc...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Broken Bells Are Holding On For Life

Oh, ain't nobody calling;  Ain't nobody home;  What a lovely day to be lonely; You're holding on for life... Broken Bells - Holding On For Life

I am enjoying the new Broken Bells disc After the Disco.  Song 3 (Holding On For Life) is a really nice tune and listen for those Bee Gee like harmonies in the chorus.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hopes Float

Einstein is scratchin' numbers on his napkin;  Shakespeare says, “Man, it’s just one and one makes three;  That’s why it’s poetry”... Bruce Springsteen - Frankie Fell in Love

Bruce Springsteen albums are really hard to review, because he set the bar so high in the 70's and 80's.  I think it's only fair to compare apples and apples and look at the albums from 2002's The Rising and forward.

I've always thought The Rising is a great record united by the 911 theme and a fairly recently reunited E Street Band, with both Little Steven and Nils Lofgren together.  The album sounded fresh with an emotional edge.  The songs were strong lyrically and musically.

Since then the releases have a been more spotty; for ever great song Girls in Their Summer Clothes, Long Walk Home, Life Itself and This Life; there were duds like Queen of the Supermarket or even Radio NowhereThere have also been some good songs, not great songs like Working on a Dream and We Take Care of Our Own; there have been some good ideas that didn't work so well like Outlaw Pete; and some ordinary songs like Land of Hope and Dreams.

On High Hopes Bruce has changed it up a bit; we get a little bit of everything from cover songs, songs that were previously released and re-recorded and a few new compositions to boot.  For the most part, I think the idea works well.

Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine fame) plays guitar on the majority of the tracks.  He and Bruce match vocals on a remake of the Springsteen solo song The Ghost of Tom Joad.  The track sounds remarkably fresh.  American Skin (41 Shots) and Dream Baby Dream both finally get polished studio versions.  The light hearted Frankie Fell in Love sounds as if it could have been on Tracks (Bruce's great unreleased music).  The Wall, a sequel of sorts to Born in the U.S.A., is quiet eulogy to a fallen war vet presumably at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.  Hunter of Invisible Game, Heaven's Wall and Down in the Hole are all winners.

It's early, but I think this may be Bruce's best since The Rising.  It's superbowl Sunday and we all have High Hopes.  Put this CD on and get excited (just avoid Harry's Place)...