Stardom just tricks you into thinking you’re getting somewhere. Like when I went to this Versace and Elton John party, you’d think you’re already at some exclusive thing, right? But there was a VIP area and another level after that, and another and another, until finally you find yourself alone in a brightly lit closet watching Simon LeBon eat off a paper plate.
Jarvis Cocker on stardom.
If you’re in it for the music, enter CBC Music’s Searchlight. Contest opens March 3rd.
AC/DC’s Back in Black is one of the most overused songs in film
It’s Oscar time again, which has me thinking about movies. Using the power of the Internet Movie Database, I attempted to figure out the most-used songs in films and television. Click on the gallery to see the top 20 songs used in movies/television shows starting from least to most.
Brit singer Katy B’s take on Sleigh Ride is pretty awesome.
Source: SoundCloud / Katy B
The best blues album of 2013: North Mississippi Allstars, World Boogie Is Coming
This two-CD set includes a video documentary. It’s fresh and traditional at the same time, keeping the Mississippi hill country sound alive with distinctive guests Robert Plant and Othar Turner.
The best classical album of 2013: Jeremy Denk, Goldberg Variations
Let’s play a game of word association. Ready? Goldberg Variations. If your response is Glenn Gould, you’re not alone. The close association is enough to prevent some from ever trying a new recording. Denk smashes through preconceptions and produces an overwhelmingly original account of a piece we thought we all knew. Denk’s recording, coincidentally released the week after receiving the prestigious MacArthur “Genius Grant,” is quirky, emotionally compelling and dazzling. Denk brings out Bach’s great “curlicues, eddies and whirlpools” (as he describes in the eloquent video liner notes on an accompanying DVD) with an uncluttered freshness and simplicity. He cleverly sets the Gould standard aside, and maybe it’s about time.
The best country album of 2013: Caitlin Rose, The Stand-In
With a delivery pulled from the glory days of country music, Rose belts out an album full of stand-out songs. On this, her third album, the 26-year-old sacrifices a bit of her old-timey flavour for some added pop, but remains a welcome bridge between alt-country and the rest of modern country. A warning, though: you may play The Stand-In once, then suddenly find yourself heading out for a very long night of line dancing.
The best hip-hop album of 2013: Run the Jewels, self-titled
The last time Atlanta rapper Killer Mike and New York rapper/producer El-P teamed up, they made our favourite rap album of the year — Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music. The combination of Mike’s angry, dexterous wordplay and El-P’s aggressive, idiosyncratic beats were made for each other, and it was instantly obvious how well the two meshed. This year they did it again, only this time as a proper duo, Run the Jewels, with El-P pulling double duty on production while also rapping line for line with Mike. Nothing is off limits, as the two trade venomous verses over 33 minutes of non-stop, hard-hitting bangers. “Producer gave me a beat, said it’s the beat of the year, I said El-P didn’t do it, so get the f—k out of here,” Mike raps on “Banana Clipper,” summing up their relationship perfectly. For rap’s sake, let’s hope it stays like that.
Best pop album of 2013: Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob
Tegan and Sara, who released their debut single in 1999, lived in indie-pop land so long (with small breakthroughs here and there) that we got used to having the Calgarian twins all to ourselves. Then, along comes 2013 and Tegan and Sara explode and start duetting with pop stars like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. Let’s not mince words — a U.S. chart-topper does not a good album make. Thank goodness, then, that Tegan and Sara’s consistently solid lyrics and pop melodies made the most commercially and critically successful album of their career. The progress from teen pop singers to developed songwriters marks a music career that, regrettably, is becoming rare in the music industry. Kudos to a duo that treats songwriting as a serious craft, keeps making music and is able to translate that work into danceable pop songs.