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The Cure Announce New Album, Tour, Live DVD

The CureI can’t even believe I’m about to write this, but The Cure are making an incredible comeback this year, and I couldn’t be more excited. The band will release their 14th studio album, tentatively titled 4:14 Scream late this year, embark on a world tour which will see the band perform three albums in full, and release a few live DVDs for good measure. Among the albums performed on their world tour will be 1984′s The Top, 1985′s The Head on the Door, and 1987′s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. Though an album release date and tour dates have yet to be announced, the band will be playing the Teenage Cancer Trust benefit concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall on March 28 and 29.

 

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Sound and Vision: Pop’s Greatest Gender Benders – Songs That Sound Better Sung By the Opposite Sex
That Song’s About Sex?!

Sound and Vision: Pop’s Greatest Gender Benders – Songs That Sound Better Sung By the Opposite Sex

One of the best releases of 2012 to date is Boys Don’t Cry, an album of covers recorded by Anglo-Pakistani singer-songwriter Rumer (nee Sarah Joyce). As a vocalist, Rumer is soothing and smooth, strictly middle-of-the-road enough to earn her an invitation from U.S. President Barack Obama to perform at the White House in May, the month her album came out — but that’s not to say she doesn’t have a slightly subversive streak.

After all, who chooses to release a collection of remakes for their second full-length studio album. (Rumer’s 2010 debut, Seasons of My Soul, earned her widespread acclaim, two Brit Award nominations, and a platinum certification in the U.K.)

Then there is the theme of Boys Don’t Cry (whose title was not inspired by The Cure song, which is not among the album tracks): Everything on it was written and performed by male artists in the ’70s. Somehow Rumer makes quintessentially guy songs like Ronnie Lane‘s “Just for a Moment” (about an instant of clarity in a drunken haze) and Neil Young‘s “A Man Needs a Maid” (title: self-explanatory) sound strong enough for a man but made for a woman.

Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: Pop’s Greatest Gender Benders – Songs That Sound Better Sung By the Opposite Sex’

Under Supervision: Alice In Wonderland

When Tim Burton announced he would be directing Alice in Wonderland, fans everywhere rejoiced. Burton’s wonderfully creepy style combined with the classic Lewis Carroll story is a perfect match. Then the track listing for the accompanying soundtrack was released. Many were comforted to find Danny Elfman on board to do the score however critics immediately questioned the Top 40 lineup.  Did the Almost Alice music supervisors take a cue from the Mad Hatter when making the final choices for the compilation?  I gave the album a listen to decide for myself.

The first track, “Alice (Underground)” by Avril Lavigne is a powerful track that sounds different than her usual pop rock fare. While you can’t deny Lavigne’s catchy pop allure, the song doesn’t really hit home as much as it should. Boasting a softer sound, All American Rejects’s decent track, “The Poison” follows Lavigne.  Then Owl City and Metro Station appear to quickly remind listeners of the album’s Top-40 sensibilities. Unfortunately, their contributions,“The Technicolor Phase” and “Where’s My Angel” lack quality.  Shinedown manages to pull off some evocative vocals, but sounds as run-of-the-mill as their predecessors.

Kerli

Kerli, a great addition to the album, lends her her eerie style to two songs.  “Strange,” performed with Tokio Hotel, doesn’t show off the singer’s creepy side enough while the overwhelming dance beat on her solo song, “Tea Party” doesn’t quite fit the film’s mood.  3OH!3’s track, “Follow Me Down,” isn’t as blatantly obnoxious as their previous hits.  In fact, Neon Hitch lends her soothing voice to the track, making it pretty memorable. An odd follow-up to 3OH!3 is Robert Smith’s “Very Good Advice.” The song is more weird than enjoyable, but still manages to capture Alice.

3Oh!3

The long-awaited collaboration from Mark Hoppus and Pete Wentz, “In Transit” is underwhelming — a boring, droning song when compared to the rest of the album (perhaps that’s why it’s placed between two slower tracks). The Plain White T’s manage to steal Hoppus and Wentz’s thunder with a stripped tune, “Welcome to Mystery.” Franz Ferdinand follows with something a slower, vaudeville-influenced tune,“The Lobster Quadrille.”  “Running Out Of Time,” from Motion City Soundtrack lightens the mood with a light, airy sound that the soundtrack needs more of. Then Wolfmother’s “Fell Down A Hole” booms in, loud and rocking. A great track on it’s own, the harder rock sounds doesn’t necessarily vibe with the rest of the album. The refreshing “White Rabbit” by Grace Potter and the Nocturals is the album’s true gem. A cover of the Jefferson Airplane hit, the vocals are strong and loud with a balance of hard and airy guitar backing.  The album concludes with They Might Be Giants and “You Are Old, Father William,” a silly tune based on the poem by Lewis Carrol but a fantastic close to an otherwise flat album.

Overall, the album has a few hits and a lot of misses. The songs that shine do so brightly and the ones that severely lack quality are, at least, terribly catchy. As a compliment to Burton’s film, most tracks fail in comparison to Danny Elfman’s score. His work, as well as the actual film, is generating far more excitement. As a whole, I’ll just say this soundtrack won’t be fielding any GRAMMY nominations soon.

Here’s the full track listing:

1. “Alice (Underground)” performed by Avril Lavigne
2. “The Poison” performed by The All American Rejects
3. “The Technicolor Phase” performed by Owl City
4. “Her Name Is Alice” performed by Shinedown
5. “Painting Flowers” performed by All Time Low
6. “Where’s My Angel” performed by Metro Station
7. “Strange” performed by Tokio Hotel and Kerli
8. “Follow Me Down” performed by 3Oh!3 featuring Neon Hitch
9. “Very Good Advice” performed by Robert Smith
10. “In Transit” performed by Mark Hoppus with Pete Wentz
11. “Welcome to Mystery” performed by Plain White T’s
12. “Tea Party” performed by Kerli
13. “The Lobster Quadrille” performed by Franz Ferdinand
14. “Running Out of Time” performed by Motion City Soundtrack
15. “Fell Down a Hole” performed by Wolfmother
16. “White Rabbit” performed by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

17. “You Are Old, Father William” performed by They Might Be Giants

 


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