Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Taylor Swift Accompanies Madonna on "Ghosttown" at iHeart Radio


There was a really nice surprise the other night at the iHeart Radio Music Awards show when Taylor Swift appeared onstage with Madonna to accompany her on guitar for Ghosttown.  Swift is the latest in a myriad of stars to join the icon onstage, following the likes of Brittney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Babyface, M.I.A., Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo Green, and I'm sure more to come.  I said in my review of the song, Ghosttown is a very good song, which says a lot because I do not generally like ballads.  But you can see how powerful a tune this one is in this performance... 

Madonna/Taylor Swift Collaboration on the Way?

Hollywood Life reports the possibility of a future collab between the two superstars, this time in the studio. Now that could be interesting!  Check out the article right here.

Song of the Day - Papaotai - Stromae

In anticipation of my upcoming trip to Europe, I wanted to spend my last couple Song of the Day posts featuring at least some European music.  Here's a tune by Belgian deejay/producer Stromae last May.  The song, whose title means, "dad, where are you?," is sung in French and was an international dance smash just last year.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Divine Sorrow - Wyclef featuring Avicii

I've been wanting to post this one for awhile.  After a lengthy absence from the music world, Wyclef Jean is back and I'm loving it.  This is the lead single off of his upcoming seventh album, and it features the talents of Swedish deejay/producer extraordinaire Avicii.  The song was commissioned by the Coca Cola company for its Share the Sound for an AIDS Free Generation campaign, which raises awareness and monies to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.  

We will never, we will never have a change of mind
We belong together
We will never, we will never, be the weary kind
We sing our sorrows away
We sing our sorrows away
We sing our sorrows away

Divine Sorrow is a mid tempo shot of inspirational music, and though it may take a couple of listens for it to sink in, it will eventually do so.  The sound is clearly a more mature Wyclef, both vocally and lyrically, and Avicii's contribution works well.  I invite you to click play below and check it out...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Song of the Day - Mirror Man - Ella Henderson

I am really digging British singer/songwriter Ella Henderson.  Here's the follow-up to her debut single, Ghost, from her debut album, Chapter One, and it's a nice, smooth track that's perfect for a relaxing Sunday.  Check out Mirror Man...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Madonna's "Rebel Heart" Track Reviews: Inside Out

I heard on one review of Rebel Heart that Inside Out was a throwaway song, and I wouldn't necessarily say that, though the song almost surely won't be any sort of hit.  The tune is mid-tempo and a bit of a snoozer and it was most certainly meant to be filler.  Honestly, in my daily listening routine I've already deleted this one out of my Currents folder, so that should tell you something. There are several other tunes that had been leaked that are more worthy to be included on this set than this one, so take it for what it's worth.  This one's not available anywhere on the Internet for you to preview, so I guess you'll just have to get the album to make your own judgement.

In the meantime, check out the rest of my reviews of the tracks from Rebel Heart...

The First Six Tracks

Hold Tight

Joan of Arc


Heartbreak City

Body Shop

Song of the Day - Through the Night - Cedric Gervais, featuring Coco

Here's a Saturday morning feelgood dance tune from French deejay/producer Cedric Gervais.  The music and the vocals are simply candy for the ears!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Flashback Friday Song of the Day - Freedom 90 - George Michael

Ever since my visit to Culture Club in NYC last weekend I've had oldies on my mind, and this classic from 1990 was the first tune that was playing as I entered the club.  George Michael was one hot chartmaker back in the late 80's and early 90's and this is my all time favorite of his, and it still sounds as fresh today as it did back then...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Song of the Day - No Rest for the Wicked - Lykke Li (Robin Schulz Mix)

Today's song and it's timing are very appropriate.  I almost always get my Song of the Day up and running about 6 a.m., but this morning I found myself waking up at 6:30 a.m., the time I usually leave for work.  The reason for that was a loooonnnngggg day yesterday, with more than 8 hours of it spent on the road sandwiched around lunch at Carmine's and the hit Broadway show Wicked with my students.  Stay tuned for a little on that at John's World later on, but for now check out Lykke Li's No Rest For the Wicked, a very chill tune...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Song of the Day - Defying Gravity - Wicked

After almost a year of planning, the day has finally arrived.  This afternoon I will be taking 24 of my students into the city to see one of the awesomest of Broadway shows, Wicked.  In case you live under a rock, Wicked is the unique and fantastic tale about the witches of Oz originally spun by Gregory McGuire and turned into a hit Broadway musical.  I'm very excited to be giving these kids something they'll remember for a long time to come and I can't wait to share it with them.  Here's the most well-known of the numbers in the show, the incredible Defying Gravity, performed by the original Elphaba and Glinda, Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenowith...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Song of the Day - Borrowed Places - Luis Leon, featuring Kimono

Here's a deep house tune that's extremely pleasant to the ears and very relaxing...almost chill!  It's from Peruvian house music artist Luis Leon and it's from an EP of the same name released just last summer on the new and hot SVBJEKT Records out of Amsterdam.  Hella cool....

Monday, March 23, 2015

Song of the Day - Riptide - Vance Joy

I first posted this song on the John's World blog back in October and I'm still loving it.  I'm glad to have been hearing it on the radio here and there because it's such a good, singalong tune.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

An 80's Song of the Day - Tell It To My Heart

I feel the night explode
When we're together...

Last night, I ventured into NYC to celebrate my friend Eric's birthday.  The party was taking place at Culture Club, an 80's themed nightclub that I've somehow managed to miss during the many years it's been around.  Several of my friends who'd been there told me that it was going to be a lot of fun, and boy was it!  I tell ya, the 80's was a great decade for music and pop culture in general, and this place featured it all.

It's really too bad that a lot of people, for one reason or another, couldn't make it, because the night would have been that much more fun.  In all there were four of us, Eric, me, and Tom and Daved, and we had a blast taking it all in.  The place is very kitschy, and it covers the 80's in a variety of ways, with 80's pop culture decor in every corner of the space...movie posters, iconic figures painted on walls, Ferris Beuller's Day Off playing on a video screen, drinks named after 80's figures, and of course awesome 80's music.

The only negative thing I could have said going into the place was that it is a straight club.  But it is New York City and....well, somewhere during the evening, Tom said it best: You know, this is what I love about New York City.  There's all different kinds of people.  

And no one judges!  I added.

It's true.  Being in the city that never sleeps is as anonymous as it gets.  You see all types of people all the time, so none of it is a big deal to anybody.  And so we danced, the four of us.  We danced to all kinds of 80's music, and even some tunes on the fringes of the decade, both before and after.  There was 80's metal rock, early 80's leftover disco, freestyle, dance/rap (This is How We Do It), music from 80's icons like Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson, and some good old fashioned 80's dance music, which bring us to our Song of the Day.

One of my favorite songs that we danced to last night was Taylor Dayne's Tell It To My Heart.  This Long Island gal packed some voice, and with classic, fast moving 80's style dance beats, this one is a bona fide classic.  So if you spent your formative years during the great decade of the 80's like I was, then click play and relive a fond memory or two...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Madonna's "Rebel Heart" Track Reviews: Holy Water

Religious themes have always been a part of Madonna's overall scheme, but never so much as on Rebel Heart.  By my own count, there are at least four tunes on this record that relate in some way to religiosity, and it would seem that the religious nature within her upbringing and throughout her life have brought her to a place where she's become reflective and is putting the pieces of the puzzle together in a way she never really has before.  

That being said, Holy Water may sound like it's religious, but it's pretty risque, too.  The tune is, to me, very 80's sounding.  It's slow moving and deliberate, and not really an easy one to like.  In fact, it doesn't come up on the favorites list of any of my Madonna friends, but I do like it, even if it's for the one, bitch get off my pole line, which is repeated over and over throughout.  It is soooo her!  Anyway, the song has morphed into a dancey vibe for the album, and so it's a much faster-paced jam than on the previously leaked version.  Check it out...

Now bless yourself and genuflect!

Here are my other Rebel Heart track reviews so far.  Stay tuned for the rest...

The First Six Tracks

Hold Tight

Joan of Arc


Heartbreak City

Song of the Day - Vogue - Madonna

Several posts went around Facebook yesterday marking the 25th anniversary of the release of arguably Madonna's best song ever.  Yes, the year was 1990 and this song was the first single off of I'm Breathless, her soundtrack for the movie Dick Tracy.  It's inspiration came from the clubs of New York City, most notably Sound Factory, where the late night revelers were doing their vogueing thing on the dance floor.  

Everything about this song is perfect, from the lyrics and the beats, the masterfully choreographed black and white video, to this performance, from that year's Video Music Awards on MTV.  This visual incarnation of the song took on a whole new perspective from the original video, and the French Provincial costumes and accompanying dance moves made this one especially appealing and is probably one of the best performances ever, by any artist, at that particular awards show.  I especially love the fans.  So click play below and relive one memorable performance for a great, great song...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Flashback Friday Song of the Day - Red Alert - Basement Jaxx

Red alert red alert
It's a catashtrophe
Bu don't worry
Don't panic

Oh, the 90's was a great time for music, especially in the dance genre, and Basement Jaxx is one of the reasons for that.  This was the first Jaxx tune I'd ever heard, and it came off their debut album, Remedy, in 1999.  It's got all of the ingredients of a 90's club track: fresh, fast-moving funky beats and a strong female vocal.  Check it out and then go ahead and enjoy your Friday...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Song of the Day - Chains - Nick Jonas

Good morning and Happy Thursday!  Here's the latest from Nick Jonas, the slow, sultry Chains...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Madonna's "Rebel Heart" Track Reviews: Body Shop

I posted Madonna's Body Shop as Song of the Day on Saturday and found out that some of my fellow Madge fans aren't so crazy about it.  I guess as far as Madonna songs go, the subject matter and lyrics are kind of...well, different...maybe even a little silly.  Well that's nothing new for this singer, who's penned and performed such inane classics as I Love New York, Spanish Lesson and maybe even Jimmy Jimmy.  I admit I liked those songs, despite their, to some, silliness, but that's just Madonna being silly, which is exactly what you get with this one.

What I love most about this song is the accompaniment of the Indian sitar to go along with the lyrics. Madonna's always employed international flavors to her music and I love the sound of the sitar. What makes this one stand out is the combination of this sound with lyrics about...automotive things.

You can polish the headlight
You can smooth out the fender
You can start the ignition
We can go on a bender

Okay, so just typing those words out made me see how absurd the words may sound, but what can I say, it's still catchy and appealing.  I'm pretty sure it won't make any sort of chart appearance, and it'll probably be skipped on many a Rebel Heart listen, but not on mine.  Check it out for yourself.... 

Check out my other Rebel Heart track reviews, so far...

The First Six Tracks

Hold Tight

Joan of Arc


Song of the Day - Pray to God - Calvin Harris, featuring HAIM

Here's a nice track off Calvin Harris' latest Motion album.  Pray to God features the sweet voices of sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, as well as a nice, steady dance beat.  Check it out...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Song of the Day - G.D.F.R. - Flo Rida, featuring Sage the Gemini and Lookas

It's been a really long time since Flo Rida had anything out there worth talking about, and this one's growing on me.  It's not one of those classic dance/rap jams that made Flo so popular back a few years ago (see Low or Good Feeling).  No, this one's more hip hop, with a steady horn track that's pretty infectious.  If you don't know it yet, check out G.D.F.R...