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Music Is My King Size Bed

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Macy Gray Covers Radiohead, Kanye West, Colbie Caillat, Metallica and More on New Album

Macy Gray Covered

Macy Gray is back ya'll! Covered is Gray's sixth studio album and her first with 429 Records, a subsidiary of Savoy Label Group/Nippon Columbia.  Joining Macy on the 429 roster are notable artists including The Bodeans, Everclear, Edwin McCain, John Popper (Blues Traveler), The Proclaimers, and Tonic.  That's an awful lot of bands/artists that were popular in the 90s and early 2000s, no?  No matter - I'm just happy that Macy Gray found herself a new label, having left Concord Records following the release of her 2010 flop The Sellout.

Now, a lot of artists have released covers albums in the past.  Some might be quick to call a covers album unoriginal, but that's far from the truth.  A covers album, when done well, is the perfect opportunity for an established artist to put his or her spin onto some other well known material.  Mandy Moore's 2003 album Coverage comes to mind.  This was Moore's first album dabbling in singer/songwriter type music, covering a variety of tunes from the 70s and 80s, including Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move," Elton John's "Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters," "Anticipation" by Carly Simon, Joan Armatrading's (another of Macy Gray's 429 Records labelmates) "Drop The Pilot" and first single "Have A Little Faith In Me" by John Hiatt.  While a commercial failure, Coverage was critically acclaimed, with most lauding Moore for her new mature direction.  While Mandy Moore stuck mostly to songs people know, Macy Gray chose to put her spin on a more obscure collection of tunes.

Macy Gray Sail

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Hot Video Alert: Usher - Climax

Usher Climax

"Climax" is the "genre-defying" lead single off of R&B singer/songwriter Usher's forthcoming seventh studio album, Looking For Myself, due out on RCA Records June 12th.  The banger was written by Usher along with co-writers Redd Stylez, Ariel Rechtshaid and Diplo, who also serve as producers on the track.  There's nothing I don't love about this song. Dark, gritty electro beats coupled with that trademark falsetto - this is truly Usher at his very best.

Usher Climax Video Still

As if the song wasn't hot and sweaty enough, wait until you see the "Climax" video, which premiered on VEVO March 9th as part of the music video site's platform revamp.  Directed by Sam Pilling and shot in Atlanta, the hazy camera effects complement Diplo's stunning production work exceptionally.  Pitchfork nails exactly what I love about Diplo's work here, praising the producer/songwriter for showing "uncharacteristic subtlety behind Usher's sentiment, with a beat that seems to hang suspended in midair." Bang on!  The Los Angeles Times also gets the overall feel of the song, describing "Climax" as "rooted in pure soul, with Diplo employing sexy synths behind a dripping downbeat." The video's choppy cinematography might normally have given me a headache, but it just works here.  I couldn't have conceptualized a better video.  The only downside is Usher's scruffy, unkempt appearance, but what are you gonna do?  Usher at his most down-trodden looks better than most guys at their best.

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