Tunes From ITunes: 10.11.11

Ah October…how I love thee! The leaves change colors, the weather gets cooler, it stays darker later & longer. Halloween is around the corner and there are so many options. What should I be this year? A sexy pirate? A sexy caveman? A sexy nerd? How about a zombie? Yeah…THAT will work. Speaking of zombies, I’ve been ambling along, being somewhat despondent about highlighting new songs from ITunes that I buy every week. So I’ve created the “Featured Singles” to allow for me to highlight at least one song a week for anyone who might be interested. Anyway, here are some tracks that I’ve downloaded over the past month or so. Let me know what you think!

NEEDTOBREATHE – “Keep Your Eyes Open”  (rock)
With 4 studio albums in their arsenal, this Christian rock band from South Carolina have a polished pop/rock sound and this track has a simple & familiar sound to it. Not gonna say I LOVE it but it certainly has a message and I would have to imagine there will be at least 1 track off this new album (The Reckoning) that will find its way to pop radio. Dunno if this will be it but it has potential.

Pearl Jam – “Ole”  (rock)
A freebie on ITunes and it rocks! I’m a big PJ fan and considering the other option (which is Vedder doing ukele songs), I’ll take this! Is it fresh & different? For PJ, no. But it gave me a good kick in the butt this morning and I’ll be putting it in my workout mix now, thank you very much!

James Morrison feat. Jessie J – “Up”  (pop)
Simple & soulful, I really like this track and with Jessie J’s soulful vocal powering this to “above average” status, I have to imagine this one will hit on adult contemporary radio at some point! This is easily the best track on the album (from what I heard).

Joe Jonas – “Fastlife” (pop)
So Justin Timberlake is hanging up his pop cleats, huh? Well…seems he may have already been replaced. One of the 3 Jonas brothers, this kid has got it firing on all cylinders. With his hit “See No More” and his latest release, “Just In Love,” Jonas is moving into Timberlake territory. This track is the jam!

Manchester Orchestra – “Leave It Alone”  (rock)
A lovely mellow rock track from this Atlanta band. Reminds me of Pink Floyd a bit and the lyrics of a broken relationship are true. Love this one!

Mayer Hawthorne – “No Strings” (R&B)
This has a traditional R&B sound with a modern pop twist. Suggestive lyrics and Hawthorne’s smooth vocal make this an excellent choice for anyone who likes a little music for their bow-chicka-bow-wow…

Dum Dum Girls – “Coming Down”  (rock)
Lead singer Dee Dee has a similar vocal style of Annie Lennox and this track sounds a LOT like Mazzy Star with fuzzy guitars and reverb. I imagine it being played in one of those old desert town bar jukeboxes. It has a sexy edge and makes me want to drink my sorrows away. I recommend this one! I also HIGHLY recommend “Bedroom Eyes” and “Wasted Away” from their album “Only In Dreams.”

Blink 182 – “Wishing Well”  (rock)
8 years since releasing their last album, this punk pop band have returned with a decent effort and this track has a familiar sound as Tom DeLonge brings his best Angels & Airwaves impersonation to the Blink reunion. I love A&A and this track sounds like just about everything else on that bands’ albums…so that means it’s good!

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – “Atlas Hands”  (adult contemporary)
Mellow and beautiful, I can’t say it’s original but I love the lyrics and it IS refreshingly simple. Think The Weepies. If you like them, you’ll LOVE this.

David Nail – “Let It Rain”  (country)
Guilt is a very strong emotion and this song conveys that to a tee. Originally released in February, I recently heard it while in Nashville. Love it!

The Kooks – “Rosie”  (pop rock)
Not sure how to define this track. If you liked their hit single “She Moves In Her Own Way” from their 2006 album, “Inside In/Inside Out,” then you will probably like this track. I REALLY like it and it will probably be one of my favorite tracks from this year!

Bush – “Red Light”  (rock)
For whatever reason, this doesn’t sound like Bush at all to me. And that’s a good thing (I think). This is ultimately a generic pop rock song but I kinda dig it and I would recommend checking it out if you like Top 40 rock artists like Daughtry or David Cook.

Wild Flag – “Romance”  (rock)
This all-girl, all-star band featuring rockers from Sleater-Kinney and the Minders show they can hang with the big boys and crank out a guitar-laced homage to love & romance…hence the name, I suppose…

Lights – “Peace Sign”  (pop)
Generic dance pop that my kids tend to love. It has a catchy refrain and kept me interested for a few listens but for the most part, it’s average at best.

ALBUM OF THE MONTH THAT DOESN’T QUITE LIVE UP TO THE PREVIOUS ALBUM BUT I LIKE IT ANYWAY:

Mute Math – “Odd Soul”  (alternative)
Oh how I wanted to say that this one is as good if not better than the band’s previous album, “Armistice,” nut unfortunately I can’t. It does start out very strong with songs like “Prytania” and “Tell Your Heart Heads Up” (my personal favorite), but it drifts into experimental rock territory in the latter half of the album and never seems to recover. Songs like “Quarantine” and “Walking Paranoia” have a jam band quality to them, featuring distorted vocals and 70’s flavored tempos that just don’t gel with me. It’s funky in places but never quite reaches the potential that it strives for. That being said, it DOES have several strong tracks and I wouldn’t call it a disappointment at all, it’s just not as good as “Armistice.”

Recommended Tracks: Tell Your Heart Heads Up, Sun Ray (instrumental), All Or Nothing, Prytania, Odd Soul

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Top 10 Albums to Bring With Me On A Deserted Island

Recently Jeff Pollack of the Huffington Post put together a Top 10 list of the albums he would choose to take with him if he was ever stranded on a deserted island. The way I see it…being on a deserted island sounds pretty darn good right about now…as long as I have a lifetime supply of food and beverages and sunblock. Oh…and a hammock. It would really suck having to sleep under a palm tree every night. Here are the albums I see fit to have in such a situation…

1. U2 – “The Joshua Tree”
Taking the top spot is my favorite album of all-time. With so many great songs and not one dog in the mix, I consider this to be the best of their best!
Best Track To Listen Too During A Tidal Wave: “Bullet The Blue Sky”

2. Alexander O’Neal – “Hearsay”
Oh I know…there are gonna be naysayers, but this truly is one of my favorite pop/R&B albums ever and it is a surprisingly strong body of work…even if it does include the cheesy dialogue snippets between songs.
Best Track To Listen To While Sleepin’ In My Hammock: “Sunshine” 

3. AC/DC – “Back In Black”
Although this may not be the most relaxing album to have when beachside, I still consider it to be one of the greatest rock albums of all-time! Whenever I wanna party, I throw this album on. Not one song disappoints (even “Let Me Put My Love Into You” has a classic rock anthem chorus!).
Best Track To Drink Pina Colada’s Too: “Have A Drink On Me” 

4. MuteMath – “Armistice”
Who says no one is releasing great albums anymore? In 2009, MuteMath unleashed this excellent album and I can say that not one track lags. So if I’m gonna be stranded, might as well have a little modern rock to jam too!
Best Track To Fend Off Electric Eels With: “Electrify” 

5. U2 – “Achtung Baby”
No one said I had to narrow it down t 1 album by my favorite band so I choose this classic from the early 90’s. Everyone dogs on U2’s post 80’s stuff but I really enjoyed their “Pop” era and this has so many awesome tracks on it that it also made Pollack’s list!
Best Track For When I Get Lonely: “Until The End Of The World” 

6. Prince – “Purple Rain”
If there is one album that reminds me of my youth it’s probably this album. “Purple Rain” was such a huge hit and with the other classic tracks on here, it takes me back to when I would listen to this on the roof of my house and crank it up!
Best Track To Play When I See A Ship In The Distance: “Take Me With U” 

7. INXS – “Welcome To Wherever You Are”
This 1992 album had only 1 hit song and was considered to be a mis-step by this great band but I disagree wholeheartedly. This is a GREAT album that was, unfortunately, released during the height of the grunge popularity. I love every track on this album!!!
Best Track To Listen Too When Talking To The Turtle That Has Crawled Onto The Island: “Communication” 

8. Journey – “Escape”
I remember when this album was HUGE in my younger days and the fact that it still rocks me to this day is a testament to this bands influence in my appreciation of rock n roll. Seriously…who else has pipes like Steve Perry back in the day? Hell…who has pipes like that now? No one, I say!
Best Track To Listen To When Longing For Companionship: “Who’s Crying Now” 

9. Gordon Lightfoot – “Sundown”
This one sticks out like a sore thumb but if I’m gonna be laying on a beach on a deserted island I’m gonna want something mellow to chill with and I’ve been chilling with this album since I was a kid. Is it a great album? Maybe not. But it is as mellow as I can get without being catatonic and Gordo has a way of making me feel all chillaxed inside.
Best Track To Listen Too While Hallucinating In The Summer Sun: “Seven Island Suite” 

10. R.E.M. – “Collapse Into Now”
Oh I know that this just came out this year and I understand that it got buried with all the other music that’s out there these days but I gotta tell you…this album reminds me of so many of REM’s classic songs that it’s like the greatest hits package that never existed. Each song is great and I pit it against any of their earlier albums from their “heyday.”
Best Track To Listen To When Being Rescued By A Passing Ship: “It Happened Today”