Saturday, September 19, 2015

100 Cover Versions of 1980s Songs #1: Jody Watley covers Borderline by Madonna

The 1980s is my favourite decade in the history of pop music. For all of the many great songs that I first heard then and still love today I have also loved how those songs are reinterpreted by other singers and music artists. A great cover version retains the essence and the brilliance that the original song was created to be and also makes the artist who covers the song shine in their own right. 

Ten years or so ago I discovered blogging as a way to express in words what music means to me especially pop music. How it has often been my solace in times of feeling low. In recent years social media has replaced many blogs and personal websites but today I decided to go back to one of my original blogs and start writing about music again. 

A list of songs we love helps us who love music focus on highlighting songs that connect with us. This is the first of a list of 100 songs that are cover versions of songs that were first made famous in the 1980s. They are not a list of my favourites in order but are versions I simply love.

It seems right to begin again with a Madonna song. She is on tour right now in September 2015 with songs old and new. The first cover on my list is from Madonna's debut album Madonna and is one of the singles that brought her to fame --- Borderline. In 2006 Jody Watley covered Borderline on her wonderful The Makeover album. I think it is a version that is pure beauty -- Jody is someone who has had an amazing career in music -- as a singer with Shalamar and as a solo music star. Jody is someone who you just know realises the importance of music in peoples lives and that importance goes into what she does in her own music and it can be heard in her version of Borderline.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tennis Court - Lorde

Tennis Court is the title track from a new E.P. by the New Zealand singer and songwriter Lorde. It has already gotten to number one in the New Zealand singles charts and to date has reached number 35 in the Australian singles charts. The other three tracks on the Tennis Court E.P. are Swingin' Party, Biting Down and Bravado.
Lorde is the stage name of Ella Yelich-O'Connor and Tennis Court is her second E.P. Her first was The Love Club which was released in March of this year and it's lead single Royals was also a number one hit in the New Zealand singles charts. As always some of today's best pop music today is coming from New Zealand and Australia and Tennis Court is definitely one of the best and most confident songs that I've heard this year. 

Lorde's Tennis Court E.P. is due to be released in the U.K. on July 22nd.

Lorde's website is here and follow her on Twitter @LordeMusic

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Changing Faces - Clare Maguire

In 2011 I got to see several of my favourite music stars for the first time in concert including George Michael, Janet Jackson, Sade and Erasure and while they were all wonderful one of the best concerts that I went to that year was Clare Maguire's concert in the The Sugar Club here in Dublin. There is a review that I wrote of that concert here

Clare's cover version of Anthony and the Johnsons Hope There's Someone was one of the songs that I featured on my 100 Cover Versions list of songs last year. You can listen to it here

While chatting to one of my colleagues in work the other day I found out that Clare has recorded some new songs and here is one of them.

This is the very beautiful Changing Faces.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Imagine It Was Us - Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware is one of many new music artists who deserves much more success in the UK singles charts than she has had to date. Her most well known song Wildest Moments got to number 46 in the UK charts and the re-release of If You're Never Gonna Move got to number 41. Devotion is one of my most favourite albums of the past few years, all of the singles released from it have been wonderful. The Gold edition of that album was released this month and her newest single Imagine It Was Us is a perfect and elegant summer pop dance song.

Here is the video for Imagine It Was Us.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Same Love - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Each week I look at the Irish singles charts to see if there is any song that stands out from other international charts. Over it's history many songs have sometimes done better in Ireland than other countries. One song that stood out on this week's Irish singles chart is Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis which is at number 97 but it is still a song that has been downloaded here in Ireland as a separate song from their The Heist album and that is important. It was a number one song in Australia last year and got to number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
I would call Same Love an ally song as it is about LGBT equal rights and questions religion, language, hip hop and other things in relation to LGBT rights. This week it just made me think how many people in Ireland both LGBT and straight have connected with this song by two international number one best selling music artists.

There has to be more songs like this.

By now in 2013 we are well used to female pop stars such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Cyndi Lauper and P!nk all standing side by side on the issue of equal rights. Out male stars like Holly Johnson, Boy George, George Michael and Andy Bell do this on a daily basis through social media but we don't always hear positive LGBT themed songs or messages by other male stars and bands. There are of course many straight male allies but I do think some of today's singers and stars are gay themselves but go just so far by saying they support equal rights and remain in the closet which for me is irony. Same Love is written from a personal perspective, Macklemore's own sexuality is mapped out early in the song but I love how his uncle was a positive influence on him and how he has become part of the song's story. The verse lyrics are sung by Macklemore but the chorus is sung by Mary Lambert and in doing so the lyrics also acknowledge same sex love between women and that is equally as important. 

Here is the music video directed by Ryan Lewis and Jon Jon Augustavo which features many positive images. It has been viewed over 22 million times since October 2012.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Only Love Survives - Ryan Dolan

Only Love Survives by Ryan Dolan is the official Irish entry for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. Ryan both sounds and looks like a pop star and I know he will represent Ireland well in Sweden as he competes in the first semi final on May 14th for a place in the final on the 18th. Ryan is currently doing lots of publicity for the song here in Ireland. 

Ryan's website is here and he is on Twitter at @RyanDolanMusic

Five pop music parody videos by Joanna Ryde

One of my most favourite celebrities here in Ireland is Joanna Ryde. Joanna is based in Waterford where she has shows at Dignity every week. She is also a reporter for the radio station Beat 102-103 and some of her podcasts are here
Her parody videos of pop songs and other pop culture moments are always so witty and clever. I can never hear the original song again without thinking of Joanna's fab versions. 

Joanna's website is here and her Youtube page which features all her parody videos is here.

Here are five of my most favourite of her parody videos.

Pot Noodle:  M's Pop Muzik.

Bleeding Crazy - Carly's Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe

Aldi Vodka - Lady Gaga's Alejandro

Katy Perry's Last Friday Night (TGIF)

and one of her most recent parodies Horse Inside - The Rubberbandits Horse Outside

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Dead Heavys play The Village, Dublin on Friday 22nd February.

Everybody in the Nite by The Dead Heavys was one of my most favourite songs of 2012. It is one of those songs that was made for radio sounding retro and new at the same time. 
I'm delighted to hear that they play their showcase Dublin gig at The Village music venue in Wexford Street, Dublin on Friday 22nd February. Support is by The Casanova Wave and Yachtrock. There is always a great atmosphere at that venue especially with new bands and there is more information on the gig  here.

The Dead Heavys website is here and they are on Twitter @theDeadHeavys

Here is Everybody in the Nite.

and also a live performance of Talk Me Down.

The Long Way EP - Paradigms

Paradigms are Lee Ditcher and Steve J Beck who are based in Poole & Bournemouth in England. Their four track E.P. is called The Long Way and features the songs On My Mind, Hey Hey, They Said Tomorrow's Gonna be A Sunny Day and the title track The Long Way.  I think all four tracks are very strong with The Long Way being my favourite. 

Paradigms are on Twitter @Paradigmsband

Links to all four tracks are below and physical copies of the E.P. on CD can be purchased here

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sisters - Avan Lava

Here is another song by New York based music artists Avan Lava. Their song Sisters is absolutely smooth and beautiful dance music. The video is by Dan Gutt and the cinematography is by A Clint Litton and the two lead characters are played by Crystal Gwyn and Jessie Joe Monge Murphy. In just a day Avan Lava have become one of my favourite new music artists. I love TC's vocals and the flow of the production in this track.