Archive for February 2012
In honor of it soon being the month that St. Patrick’s Day falls in, and just because she released the album this week, I decided to review the newest release from Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?. You may remember her from her Pope picture-ripping incident on Saturday Night Live, her most recent on-again off-again marriage, or her memsmerizing rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which is her biggest hit. She ironically mentions her marriage in the first few songs of this album, obviously not knowing how it would turn out. “4th and Vine” is a good leadoff track, reminiscent of a little Florence + The Machine in sound. However, it seems like it was a “fun” track for O’Connor, and not something she could sink her teeth into emotionally. When someone talks so nonchalantly about getting married, that’s usually not a good sign. “Reason With Me,” the best track of the first half, reminds me of her biggest hit in many ways. It takes on a very bluesy feel though, and it makes the listener feel sad that she needs the person she’s singing about like a drug and she’ll do anything to have or keep that person. “Old Lady” talks of the future she forsees with her new husband and how she can be herself around him, which is sad in a different way, knowing what we know about the possible breakup of her fourth marriage. One thing Sinead is good at early in the record is channeling other artists, such as The Cranberries, on “Old Lady.” “Take Off Your Shoes” can give you nightmares, but is so enthralling that you can’t turn it off, for which I was successful at the three-minute mark of this entirely too long five-and-a-half-minute song. “The Wolf Is Getting Married” is by far the best balance of music and vocals, and they blend perfectly. It was the first and only song where I listened to the background more than the vocals. “Queen of Denmark” is the movie Juno meets random episodes of screaming. She wasn’t afraid to piss anyone off with that song and it seemed like it came from the most honest place. The best song doesn’t always mean it’s my favorite, and “Queen of Denmark” is my favorite song on this CD. “V.I.P.” is once again creepy and parents don’t let your kids listen to that song before going to bed, because they won’t sleep. Other tracks not mentioned here are so forgettable they aren’t even worth listening to, but overall it was a very decent attempt at a comeback.
I’m switching it up a bit this week by reviewing a television show about and containing music, rather than a CD. Glee, a show about a high school show choir, went Spanish this week with their episode “Spanish Teacher,” guest starring Latin Pop superstar Ricky Martin. The premise of the episode is one of the show’s main characters Will Schuester is a Spanish teacher and his abilities have been questioned by a student of Spanish descent and a glee club member, Santana Lopez. Schuester goes to a night school Spanish class taught by Martin’s character David Martinez.
Martinez is introduced to the glee club by singing an extra-creepy, biilingual rendition of “Sexy And I Know It” by LMFAO. I’m no prude, and I didn’t have a problem with the sex episode earlier in the season, but the suggestive lyrics and intense gyrations made this number hard to watch. Sugar’s push-ups and Rory’s hand gestures put it over the edge. And while I can respect trying to integrate multiple languages into some songs, it didn’t work for this one, or “A Little Less Conversation,” which had so many offensive stereotypes in the performance, they don’t even bear repeating. Vocally, “Sexy” didn’t do Ricky Martin justice, but the only redeeming quality of “Conversation” was that Matthew Morrison actually sounded pretty good.
Songs that did work in bilingual form were “Don’t Wanna Lose You” by Gloria Estefan (sang by Amber Riley’s Mercedes) and a mash-up of “Bamboleo” and “Hero”, by the Gipsy Kings and Enrique Iglesias respectively (sang by Chord Overstreet’s Sam). The songs were important in each one’s character development, because they are professing their love for each other through song, while Mercedes is still involved with her jock boyfriend Shane. Mercedes sounded especially good because she found the sweet spot of her voice that’s not over the top, but still powerful enough to let you know, in her words, she “ain’t no Kelly Rowland.”
However, the best performance of the night by far had to be “La Isla Bonita” by Madonna, and sang and danced beautifully by David and Santana. With this performance, I almost forgot her and Brittany were dating, because her chemistry with David was phenomenal. The song worked as a faster tempo, almost dance club song. And since there were already a few lines of Spanish in the original, adding a few more seemed very natural. The visual performance was able to highlight Naya Rivera’s dance ability, which is overshadowed always by Heather Morris (Brittany) and Harry Shum Jr. (Mike).
I liked the fact that Will was able to give up his job as the Spanish teacher to the more experienced teacher in David, while still maintaining what he’s good at, teaching glee, and all the while learning it through music. A little cliche, but it has an important meaning behind it. Will needed a storyline, and he finally got a good one. Until next week!