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Holiday Album Review: CeeLo Green – “CeeLo’s Magic Moment”

It’s that magical time of year when we get to hear all of our favorite Christmas and holiday classics. In honor of this festive occasion, we decided to review one of the most popular and highly anticipated holiday albums that came out this season, CeeLo’s Magic Moment by R&B singer CeeLo Green.

By now you are probably sick of hearing all the same old carols over and over, but if there’s anyone to breathe new life into these standards it’s CeeLo. As you can imagine, he brings a certain element of class and glamour to each track, while also introducing some fitting originals. However, the first half of the 14-track record is about all you need to get into the Christmas spirit. After that, it gets a bit boring.

Though needless to say, CeeLo has captured this “magic moment” the one way he knows best, with nostalgic soulful 70′s style flair mixed with contemporary pop sensibility. His duet with fellow The Voice judge Christina Aguilera on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is surprisingly reserved and charming, whereas one might have expected the two powerhouse singers to overdo it. Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of rifs and runs between the two, but they manage to balance them dynamically with the smokey jazz club vibe.

To continue this feeling, CeeLo follows up with a cover of Donny Hathaway‘s “This Christmas.” With smooth basslines, orchestral brass accents, and subtle strokes of clean guitar , the 70′s homage sounds like it was recored in the same era in which it was written. Of course, this must lead into a smooth downtempo version of “The Christmas Song,” which sounds like it easily could have been the work of R. Kelly. Yet, there’s something uniquely comforting about Green’s voice that makes this track an instant standard for holiday radioplay. In fact, many of these renditions are so respectfully executed that I am sure they will be welcomed into the ever-growing repertoire of iconic holiday classics. With the slick production quality and “sexy” R&B/jazz vibe, I can picture this album being the soundtrack to some high-class New York penthouse Christmas party.

There are plenty of fun tracks for the whole family, though. “All I Need Is Love” is an upbeat original featuring none other than the jolly old Muppets themselves. While the song is a bit awkward, upon listening, you can tell it was clearly made for the video, which is fun and hilarious. Believe it or not, however; the track that follows is probably the most interesting and unusual piece on the record. Green teams up with the all-male a capella group Straight No Chaser for a comically theatrical rendition of “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch,” interspersed with excerpts from the original Dr. Seuss text.

This is about where the album reaches its peak. Some of the songs that follow are more obscure, like “River” and the heavily religious “Mary, Did You Know?,” both of which are beautifully performed, but just a little too solemn. Almost too typically, Green tackles Mariah Carrey‘s “All I Want For Christmas,” without straying too much from the original, making for a pretty blasé listen. Of course, not to be short on cameos, Green throws in one last duet with renowned adult contemporary singer Rod Stewart and the famous Trombone Shorty. Still, the impact is not nearly as lasting as the first half of the album. However, he elegantly closes with possibly the best cover on the record. Green’s version of “Silent Night” is soothing and poignant at first, building in dynamics with a marching rhythm, multiple modulations, and an uplifting orchestral and choral arrangement to finish.

Although there are plenty of Christmas albums that come out every year, CeeLo’s Magic Moment strikes just the right balance of fresh and traditional, without being too cheesy. Whether you like it or not, these songs are here to stay and will likely become a regular addition to annual Christmas shopping playlists.

If you like CeeLo Green, then you might also like Ourstage’s own Jasper Sawyer.

More Like This:

Review: Colbie Caillat’s ‘Christmas In The Sand’
The Editorialist: 8 Holiday Covers You Need To Hear
FUN. Cover Christmas Classic, “Sleigh Ride”

Associated Press Names Adele Entertainer Of The Year

With all those Grammys she won in early 2012, it comes as no surprise that powerhouse soul/pop singer Adele has been dubbed Entertainer Of The Year by Associated Press. Not just singer of the year, or musician, but entertainer. That means she even beat out that guy down the street with the flaming hula hoop and the unicycle! And let me tell you, that guy is one hell of an entertainer. AP readers and staff rated her far above other major entertainers and celebrities such as Taylor Swift, E.L. James (author of Fifty Shades of Grey), PSY, and the entire Twilight cast. Now that’s some high praise.

While she did not release a new album or do a world tour this year, Adele’s singles from 2011 still remain among the most highly played tracks on radio, television, in movies, and more. We seemingly can’t get enough Adele. Her most recent accomplishment, apart from delivering a baby, of course, is the single “Skyfall,” written to be the title theme of the new James Bond film. According to Billboard, “The song recently received a Golden Globe nomination. No Bond theme has ever won the best original song Oscar, but given Adele’s awards success thus far, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think she has a chance of changing that.” Regardless of whether she wins or not, Adele has still achieved more in one year than most entertainers do in their lifetime.

If you like Adele, then check OurStage artist Brittany Campbell.

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The Editorialist: 8 Holiday Covers You Need To Hear

The holidays are a time for friends, family, baked goods, and of course, the release of cover songs from some of your favorite artists past and present. From fun.’s recent cover of “Sleigh Ride” all the way back to the days of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, our playlist has a little something for everyone.

Listen to our playlist below and let us know your choices for best holiday cover in the comments.

Holiday Covers We Love from OurStage on 8tracks Radio.

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Review: Colbie Caillat’s ‘Christmas In The Sand’

When describing Christmas in the Sand, Colbie Caillat expressed the desire to make an album for those who don’t live in cold areas and can’t relate to songs about classic wintertime clichés like snow, chilly weather, and huddling around the fireplace. While the album does maintain a generally sunny disposition, it can’t help but feature standards like “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and original lyrics in Caillat’s contributions such as “It’s not Christmas / If the snow don’t fall.” Even though Christmas in the Sand is meant to be a Christmas album for those who spend most of their time in the sun or on the beach, it still seems obligated to retread the same ground as past holiday releases.  Of course, listeners instinctively understand this, but it is worth noting how Caillat’s motivation for recording the album and the way in which that motivation plays out, at times, incongruously with the original intent, highlights the difficulty inherent in recording a type of album that in its very nature defies innovation. Continue reading ‘Review: Colbie Caillat’s ‘Christmas In The Sand’’

Andrew McMahon To Support fun. On Upcoming Tour

If it wasn’t exciting enough to hear that fun. would be embarking on a winter tour this January, it has just been announced that the man responsible for Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon himself will be hitting the road with fun., for his first solo tour since the retirement of Jack’s Mannequin.

Check out the dates below and get your tickets quickly, before they sell out! Feeling lucky? Enter our #FreeTicketFriday giveaway for a chance to win.

Continue reading ‘Andrew McMahon To Support fun. On Upcoming Tour’

Paul McCartney To Replace Kurt Cobain At Nirvana Reunion Tonight

To those of you who haven’t fainted yet from disbelief at the sight of that headline, I can assure you this is no joke.

For the first time in 20 years, the two surviving members of the legendary ’90s grunge band Nirvana will reunite for a special charity performance tonight in New York to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy. However, since their iconic frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994, the reunion calls for a replacement. So, who better to join drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic than the great Sir Paul McCartney?

That’s right. If a Nirvana reunion didn’t sound bizarre enough, then allow Macca to be the icing on the awkward cake. According to The Sun, the 70-year-old pop rock legend was asked by Grohl to “jam with some mates,” who, unbeknownst to the Beatle, turned out to be Nirvana with the addition of unofficial fourth member Pat Smear.

Next thing you know, they’re playing a reunion show for a star-studded audience like it’s no big deal. Can you even imagine Macca’s aged British accent uttering the angst-ridden drugged out gravely vocals on “Smells Like Tean Spirit?” Who would have thought that “Rape Me” would be sung by the same guy who performed “Yellow Submarine.” Well, millions of listeners are about to find out tonight. It will certainly be a spectacle, that’s for sure. Let’s just hope this is a one time tribute.

If you like Nirvana, then you might also like OurStage’s own Fiction Reform.

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Courtney Love (Ew) Says Nirvana Musical (Gross) Isn’t Happening (Thank God)
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Multi-Part Album Releases: A New Trend?

These days, there is often debate over the value of an entire album. With all the illegal downloading of MP3s and the seemingly constant decrease in attention spans, some argue that the full-length album is becoming less and less substantial as a marketable product, while EPs and singles are increasing in value.

To combat this shift, many artists are taking the LP to new heights, giving it more value as a complete overall package and work of art. We’ve seen an increase in vinyl production, unique packaging, limited edition pre-orders, you name it. Now there seems to be another trend emerging: the sequential release of multi-part LPs. Continue reading ‘Multi-Part Album Releases: A New Trend?’

Review: Bruno Mars – ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’

In the two years that have past since Bruno Mars exploded onto the pop scene with Doo-Wops & Hooligans, a lot has changed. That should probably go without saying, but in the case of pop music that may never never been more true than it is right now. In the days since “Grenade” topped the charts EDM has arrived and essentially claimed rule over the top 40 landscape, making the art of songwriting more absent than ever on the Billboard charts. That same artform is what gave Mars’ the fuel he needed to ascend the charts back in 2010, but his latest effort does not fare quite as well. Continue reading ‘Review: Bruno Mars – ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’’

Tegan And Sara Announce 2013 North American Tour

There’s been a lot of build up for the newest album from indie pop artists Tegan And Sara, what with all of their promo videos, their single “Closer,” and a 3-film documentary coming out soon. Of course, you know there’s gotta be a big North American tour. The twins will be hitting the road in early 2013 from Jan. 25th to March 10th to support the release of their new album Heartthrob, which will be released on January 29th. Dates after the jump. Continue reading ‘Tegan And Sara Announce 2013 North American Tour’

Rock Boat Competition Final Chance To Judge And Win Cruise Tickets!

Bathing suit? Check. Suntan lotion? Check. Sunglasses and an iPod filled with your favorite artists? Check, check. If you’re wondering what we’re preparing you for, it’s the “Rock Boat Lucky 13 Competition” grand prize for fans!

This February, The Rock Boat will set sail for Great Stirrup Cay, packed with some major talent from the likes of Sister HazelNEEDTOBREATHERoger Clyne and the Peacemakers and OurStage’s own, Bronze Radio Return. And that’s just the start.

By simply judging your favorite artist in the “Rock Boat Lucky 13 Competition” by Dec. 14, you’ll be entered to win a five-day cruise for you and a friend aboard the Rock Boat, headed from beautiful Miami to sunny Great Stirrup Cay.

So what are you waiting for? Get judging, and don’t forget those summer items. You just may need them.

 

 


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