Singled Out: Paramore "Decode"

November 29, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

Most of the time I’m hard on the pop/rock genre. I almost want to hate on Paramore for popping up almost out of nowhere and breaking out so quickly. Now I wouldn’t call myself a fan, but "Misery Business" was one of the best and most popular pop/rock songs of the year. It even got high spins on LAs KROQ; and that’s damn near impossible for women fronted bands.

Paramore’s latest single "Decode" is a great follow up to their breakout hit and prelude for what is coming on their next album. They may be in the lab, but the band had time to crank out a hit for the Twilight movie soundtrack. The movie opened this weekend, so it follows that there would be a pop song for radio promotion.

"Decode" is perfect. It’s a dramatic ballad, all slick and infectious. Its just as the movie, a muddled star crossed lover’s tale. I listen to the song and remember sitting at the Samsung stage during Bumbershoot watching a bunch of kids crowd surfing and Hayley’s voice pierced the air as she sang:

How did we get here
When I used to know you so well
How did we get here
I think I know how…

One of the best things Paramore has going for them is that they are genuinely talented performers. They know their audience, the girl can sing, the boys can play, they’re fun, she’s hot, they all rock! What’s not to like about these kids?

The "Decode" video is a basic integration of the movie trailer and Paramore playing live in the forest featured in the film. Its not great, but "Decode" is a hit all on its own.

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Photo by Rachel Cotton via Flickr

Flashback Friday: Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”

November 28, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

With Annie Lennox winning the Award of Merit at this year’s AMAs, I thought it apropos to feature a song from the Eurythmics for this flashback Friday.

For all the funk and R&B that pervaded my childhood, a few pop/rock songs broke through. If it wasn’t on the local R&B radio or in my mother’s record collection, I usually didn’t know it existed. I remember the Eurythmics playing at my step sister’s birthday party one year though. A pulsing song with a devilishly esoteric arrangement. The chorus was an infectious little ditty

Sweet dreams are made of these
Who am I to disagree
Travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

So often people stop there and almost seem to forget the part about being used and abused. I often thought the song with either about the trappings of stardom or just trying to find your way in a world dominated by snakes. Either way, “Sweet Dreams” was one of the first songs to force me to think about the meaning behind the lyrics.

To this day, “Sweet Dreams” holds a certain sense of nostalgia for me. It has also been mixed and remixed in a number of ways, a favorite of mine happens to be with Eminem’s “W/outMe.” Embedding was disabled for the original Eurythmic video, but you can check out the Eminem/Eurythmics mashup after the jump…

Image via Newscom

Thanksgiving Flashback: En Vogue “Hold On”

November 26, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

Its not so much that there was always a special song played when we gathered for Thanksgiving; there wasn’t. If there had been, it was definitely white noise and no one was paying attention.

While there may not have been a musical soundtrack to our dinners, there was always a moment when my sister, younger girl cousins and myself were called to perform before the family.

I suppose we could have practiced other songs, but for years our favorite song to sing together was En Vogue’s break out hit single “Hold On.”

As the eldest I could demand the lead and pretend my voice was a crystalline as Terry’s in the intro and as sultry as Cindy’s. Our challenge was to get as close as possible, though. We did quite well for tweens (some as young as 5), matching the pitch and über precise harmonies, while dancing even. We did so well in fact that we were corralled into the great room to perform “Hold On” for several years.

En Vogue went on to be on of the biggest R&B girl groups of the 90s with a number of hits including “My Love (Never Gonna Get It),” “Free Your Mind,” and “Giving Him Something He Can Feel.”

They had a successful run, and played the make up/break up game for a while, eventually falling off in the middle of the current decade. Oh well, we’ll always have “Hold On.”

Image via Newscom

Girl in a Coma: “Their Cell”

November 25, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

A while back I wrote about the Texas trio Girl in a Coma. Hopefully you’ve been keeping an eye on them because in a rock landscape dominated by men and posers *cough Katy Perry cough* these girls are a refreshing return to rock roots.

Today Girl in a Coma has released an official video for “Their Sell,” the latest single from their debut album Both Before I’m Gone. Shot in a haunted prison, the video has the feeling of a slick 1980s coming of age movie. Its lovely and offers an apropos backdrop for the rather melancholy melody and lyrics.

And a lovely melody it is; uncanny and teetering on the edge of punk. Vox, Nina Diaz, slowly and deliberately slurs together the words in such a alluring manner. As the song goes on, the instrumentation grows more dissonant, but the focus is definitely Diaz’ beautiful voice. Befitting Cindy Lauper comparisons aside, Diaz has one of the richest voices of the current batch of up-and-coming rockers and Girl in a Coma is deserving of their impending break out.

Check out the video after the jump. It’s perfect for a lazy, mellow, yellow sort of day.

Image courtesy of Shore Fire Media.

Women Dominate the American Music Awards

November 24, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

The American Music Awards aired last night and for once, the women dominated the festivities.

Alicia Keys took home two awards, one for favorite pop/rock album and another for favorite soul/R&B album. Rihanna received awards for favorite female artist in the pop/rock and R&B categories, Jordin Sparks won favorite female adult contemporary artist, as did Taylor Swift for country music; while Carrie Underwood took home the award for favorite country album. The two special awards went to Mariah Carey and Annie Lennox who received an honorary award and a Award of Merit respectively.

The performances of the night were touch and go; dialed in and just so-so for the most part. There were however a few stand outs.

In terms of energy, Miley Cyrus was fantastic, in a cute, well trained Disney star way. When watching her perform, you sort of get the sense that she has the potential to become one of the next pop queens. That is, as long as she manages her stardom - and the trappings thereof - properly.

Beyoncé was beautiful, sexy, and strong, however her formula is starting to show. This is not to say she wasn’t entertaining. I mean, you gotta give the girl credit for being a true show woman and working her ass of. You can tell she gives her all and she’s a professional. However, something about her performance seemed a bit detached. She was just going through the motions and sort of disengaged with the audience. This could have been more of a reflection on the audience than Beyoncé herself.

It was P!nk who gave me chills with her naked and vulnerable performance of “Sober” from her latest album Funhouse. While I personally don’t think this is P!nk’s best album, it is certainly turning out to be one of the most successful. Even more than that though, it is deeply introspective, which came through beautifully while she was on stage.

Image via Newscom

Flashback Friday: Minnie Ripperton “Loving You”

November 14, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

I was recently chided by a friend who noticed that all (or most at least) of my Flashback Friday songs were from the 90s. I must admit that most of my favorite music is from that decade, which I suppose isn’t so bad, but I could definitely branch out.

To wit, I have chosen Minnie Ripperton’s “Loving You” for this week’s flashback.

There are many reasons this song is the one people think of when they think Minnie Ripperton. It’s an awe inspiring exhibition of her radiant voice and vocal range, which she flexes effortlessly as the arrangement glistens with the sound of Spring…

Over the years the song has become one for lovers and appropriately so. Whether or not you’re in love, listening to “Loving You” induces this warm fuzzy feeling. It’s as if Ripperton captured that sweet, heart thumping, love high in the lyrics and execution of the song.

No one else can make me feel
The colors that you bring
Stay with me while we grow old
And we will live each day in the Spring time…

Ripperton waxes poetic about love and then transitions into a lovely “la la la la la…” before hitting a crystalline operatic high note to send chills down your spine.

This song also holds a particularly special place in my memories because I remember listening to it on vinyl. It was one of those albums my mother held onto as her vinyl collection dwindled; one that I would pull out of the sleeve and gently place on the turn table when I was a teenager. When I think of the song, I remember the Perfect Angel album cover with Minnie Ripperton casually wearing a pair of denim overalls, eating an ice cream cone…hearing the record spin as the needle slides along the groove…

It’s a beautiful classic that makes you want to fall in love if you aren’t already. Give it a listen now and I can assure you that ever if you’re having a bad day, “Loving You” will lift your spirits and make you think of love.

Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time

November 13, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

Rolling Stone recently released a list of the 100 greatest singers of all time. Of course I disagree with a few of the choices (Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison? I love them but seriously…) but for the most part, the list is incredibly accurate. Like with so many of these sorts of lists, the women represented are disproportionately few in comparison to their male counterparts. No matter, the ones who did make the list are the cream of the crop.

The list was developed by a poll of various artists and music industry insiders. Each singer selected has been profiled and their place on the list justified either by another, influenced artists or Rolling Stone editors. The most interesting profiles are from artists writing nostalgically about how a particular vocalist influenced his or her music career.

One of my favorites is the one about Janice Joplin by Stevie Nicks. It’s a beautiful tribute in which Nicks reminisced about being yelled at because of her set running late and being amazed by Joplin’s ability to be completely raw while on stage

Janice put herself out there completely, and her voice was not only strong and soulful, it was painfully and beautifully real. She sang in the great tradition of the rhythm & blues singers that were her heroes, but she brought her own dangerous, sexy rock & roll edge to every single song. She really gave you a piece of her heart. And that inspired me to find my own voice and my own style.

Joplin was number 28 on the list…In fact, only three women it into the top 25: Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Etta James.

They may be few but they are definitely mighty. Here are the other women who made the illustrious list:

Nina Simone
Whitney Houston
Dusty Springfield
Joni Mitchell
Patsy Cline
Bonnie Raitt
Gladys Knight
Mavis Staples
Christina Aguilara
Ronnie Spector
Dolly Pardon
Mariah Carey
Patti Smith
Darlene Love
Annie Lennox
Karen Carpenter
Patti LaBelle
Stevie Nicks
Mary J. Blidge

Image via Newscom

Pussycat Dolls’ Doll Domination World Tour 2009

November 13, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

The Pussycat Dolls are one of those groups that I really want to see live. Who doesn’t want to see the sexy femme fatal quintet group perform on stage? If you like nothing else about the Pussycat Dolls, there is no denying that they are hot, hot, hot.

In January the Dolls are kicking of their Doll Domination World Tour in Europe. Tickets are currently on sale for the UK leg of the tour, with state side dates yet to be announced.

Check out PCD Music for more news on the Pussycat Dolls’ World Domination Tour.

Image via Total Assault

Katy Perry Goes on Tour

November 12, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

I’ll be honest, I was expecting Katy Perry to go away after the excitement of her faux lesbian anthem died down. Unfortunately, I have no such luck.

Starting in January, Perry will be hitting the road for a North American tour. The tour kicks off in Seattle, WA on January 23 and wrapping up in St. Petersburg, FL on April 28.

The cool thing is that Perry is playing a series of intimate shows in small theaters to large clubs.

For more information and tour dates, check out

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