Hollywood Can't Get Enough of Richard Ashcroft...What About You?
Richard Ashcroft...one of my first rock star crushes as a newly out young gay man. I distinctly remember watching the music video for The Verve's Billboard Hot 100 Top 12 hit single "Bitter Sweet Symphony" on Euro MTV during my 1997 trip to Europe with the family. Having grown up without cable TV in the home, watching MTV and other music video channels was a rare treat, reserved only for hotels, motels and Holiday Inns. There was just something sexy about Ashcroft's swagger in the "Bitter Sweet Symphony" video. Something in the way he walked...just something about his whole "I DON'T GIVE A FUCK" attitude in the video. There are days when I feel like I have that swagger.
After "Bitter Sweet Symphony," The Verve sort of dropped off my radar, I guess for good reason, considering they broke up. The next time I heard from the group was in 2008, coincidentally when the band reunited to release fourth album...Forth. Forth included the #4 UK hit, "Love Is Noise," which stuck out in my mind because of impressive dance remixes from Death Metal Disco, Tom Neville and Tong & Rogers. While no singles from Forth charted here in the States, the album managed a relatively impressive #23 debut, matching the chart position of Urban Hymns, 11 years earlier. Nearly a year after the release of Forth, the band called it quits once again.
Now...spotlight on Richard Ashcroft, please. While Ashcroft did have a touch of solo success in the UK (see "A Song For The Lovers"), this will mark his triumphant return to the States. Signed to Razor & Tie (distributed by Sony Music Entertainment), Ashcroft is set to release his solo record, entitled The United Nations of Sound on March 8th. Produced by reputable hip-hop producer No I.D. (Kanye West, Common), the 12-track album becomes Ashcroft's latest solo vehicle. What kind of sound can we expect to hear on the new record? How about "live orchestration" and "big beats?" Yes please! Excited yet? Well, chances are you've already heard some of Ashcroft's new material on TV and in film. Lead track "Are You Ready?" is featured in a Volkswagen Jetta ad campaign (HERE) and appeared in promos for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals. Sports fans also heard the song in FOX's broadcasts of Major League Baseball's postseason games, including the World Series. Not a sports fan? No problem! Perhaps you noticed his track "She Brings Me The Music" in a recent episode of NBC's Chuck? Not enough for you? You can also look forward to a new song by Ashcroft in the forthcoming Matt Damon thriller The Adjustment Bureau. Exciting stuff! Ashcroft apparently co-wrote said song with Oscar-nominated composer Tom Newman for it's inclusion in the film's opening. As if that's not enough exposure, "Are You Ready?" will appear over the film's closing credits.
Why not go and give "Are You Ready?" a listen on Richard Ashcroft's official site. If you like what you here, you're in luck! It's being offered as a free download HERE. In case you miss the free download, you can always snag the track on iTunes HERE. I am quite diggin' the song. I'm really just loving Ashcroft crooning over a big, lush-sounding rock track. "Are You Ready?" sounds like the kind of music awesome soundtracks are made of. No wonder Hollywood is clamoring like crazy to get Richard Ashcroft good placement. Get ready for Richard Ashcroft's first U.S. solo tour in 2011.