Ingrid Michaelson – Be OK – I only knew a couple of Michaelson’s songs, and to be honest, found her a tad precious. After all, her songs came to light through the TV show Grey’s Anatomy and a freaking Ipod commercial. So, much to my surprise, I found myself impressed with the collection of songs assembled for Be OK. It’s a mish-mash of live songs, acoustic sets, and a few new songs. She interprets a few classics – Her quirky interpretation ensures the uke-backed “Over the Rainbow” doesn’t sound like a rip-off and “I Can’t Help Falling In Love” is spare and lovely. There’s still your too-cute-by-half numbers like “Giving Up” and “The Way I Am” but then there’s the gorgeous, sweeping “Keep Breathing” and a breathtaking harmony-filled live recording of “The Chain”. Amazon iTunes
Labelle – Back to Now – This is for you old-school R&B lovers. Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash re-unite after 32 years to record a brand-new album. Their best known song 1974’s “Lady Marmalde” had everyone talking dirty in French. Heh. The cool thing about Labelle is the way they brought together gospel, R&B and rock in a way that was often imitated later on. Nona Hendryx wrote most of the songs on this set, and Wyclef Jean, Lenny Kravitz and the legendary Philadelphia producers Gamble and Huff produced the tracks. I love: The Gospel-inflected “Candlelight”, the funky “The Truth Will Set You Free” and belty-ballad “Without You In My Life.” Amazon iTunes
Single news: Guns N Roses released their long awaited single “Chinese Democracy” this week, ahead of their new album–the first since 1999–due to drop in November. Not that Guns N Roses is exactly a “group” these days. The album is essentially an Axl Rose solo project that’s been in the works for over a decade. You can listen to it here. The song has only been released to radio so far, and I can tell you the reaction of the fanboys on my local rock station was an emphatic thumbs down. GNR was always a bit too metal for my tastes. Having said that, I think the song is dated and full of cliches, but what do I know?
What do you think? What are you listening to this week?
Videos after the JUMP…
Labelle – Candlelight
Labelle – Lady Marmalade
Ingrid Michaelson – The Chain – Live at the Berklee Performance Center
Guns N Roses – Sweet Child O Mine