I really wanted to spend this blog talking about the new releases from our old favorite bands Def Leppard and White Lion, but there are some other more important albums out this week that might have more people excited. Both Madonna and Portishead have some highly anticipated albums coming out today. I wanted Madonna to have to battle with Mariah Carey for the #1 album of the week, but Mariah came out a couple of weeks before Madonna, so we are left with Portishead instead to battle it out with Madonna-- a much better competitor I think.
So yes really, Def Leppard and White Lion both have albums out today. And there is a new Brett Michaels on the way as well. It has been over 20 years since White Lion released their second album Pride back in 1987. The album featured the massive song "When the Children Cry." You really could not get away from that song back then. The album did really well and I remember being obsessed with it myself. I ordered the cassette of it along with Hysteria by Def Leppard from one of those record clubs that shipped you like 7 albums for 7 cents. Hysteria was Def Leppard's fourth album but it also came out in 1987. This was the album that really got me obsessed with Def Leppard. I was listening to the deluxe reissue version of Hysteria a couple days ago. I always forget until I listen to it, but the album is still amazing. I still have every song memorized. I am sure the album was overplayed for many and there are still many people out there scarred for life because of this album, but I really do love it. I could probably live my life without listening to White Lion again, but that one song still gets me whenever I hear it.
Just in case you were trying to remember 1987, Madonna did not release an album that year. It was the year after True Blue and we were all still in love with "Papa Don't Preach" and "Live to Tell." We had no idea of the controversy that lied ahead of us with Like A Prayer in another couple of years. I am sure there were a lot of Def Leppard fans out there that did not like Madonna, and I am sure they are still out there, but I really did love them both. I was young and really did just love myself some popular radio music. These albums made a huge impact on my life and are still somehow a part of me. It is a bit crazy to think that 20 years have passed since then, but they all have new albums out this week. I have not ventured into the new albums from White Lion or Def Leppard, and I might just skip them altogether so I can keep my memories somewhat sacred. But Madonna has been quite the busy lady since 1987-- it does really seem like her last album just came out. She seems to be always ready with a new one just when you have finished the last one. You have either worn it out or been sick of it since it came out and finally got it out of your head. I have pretended to not be a fan of Madonna a couple times over the last 20 years, but I just can't resist her or her music. She got me back then and I have not really been able to shake my love of Madonna. I have had mixed feeling about the last couple albums. I always sort of love it and like many of the songs, but I also always hope for a bit more that I get. I do respect the lady for continuing to be relevant and make albums that sound different than the last. The new album is mostly a Timbaland and Justin Timberlake album, but it is also most definitely a Madonna album. Justin Timberlake would not really exist without Madonna, so if you think about it that way, she is just using the people that she influenced to help her create a new album. I have been trying to get coworkers to place bets on what album will come out on top at Amoeba this week. Madonna will most certainly have the top album in the country this week. But I have my faith that Portishead will win the competition at Amoeba. Although based on first day sales today, the race will be much closer than I thought.
I have had a little time to spend with both albums today. The new Madonna is called Hard Candy. It is full of the catchy dance songs and ballads that we expect from her. I love a couple of the songs already but I also hate a couple. I am usually more excited about a new Madonna tour than I actually am about a new Madonna album. The album is for sure another fun album, I just don't think anybody needs to be calling it breakthrough, amazing or revolutionary.
But this new Portishead album is really fantastic. Like most people I know, I was very obsessed with the album Dummy when it first came out back in 1994. The album seemed to be popular for like 5 years and became part of the soundtrack of the mid to late 90's for many people, one of those albums that it is hard to imagine the 90's happening without. The album sort of changed music a bit, at least for me. It was a sort of intense and dark album, but it made me very happy. Hard to even explain, but the album somehow helped me to enjoy my life more. It somehow also created a sort of community with all the other Portishead fans. Like fans of Suede or The Smiths, you just instantly got along with anybody else who also loved this album. They created another great album back in 1997 but it was really hard to do anything better than the first album. I was not really expecting to like this new album. They called it Third. It is their long awaited third album-- 11 years later-- but it really is fantastic. It is not Dummy, but you really should not expect them to just make the same album over again. It is a whole new sort of Portishead album. The vocals of Beth Gibbons seem to be the same haunting beautiful vocals that made me first fall in love with them years ago. The first single is "Machine Gun." It is one of my favorites-- tragic and beautiful and very much a Portishead song. I don't really know how this new album could really disappoint a Portishead fan. I don't think I will be listening to it as much as I did Dummy, but I may never listen to any album as much as I did that one. I have only had a chance to listen to it twice today. It may fit better into the cold winters of San Francisco than the warm early beginnings of summer in Los Angeles, but I still welcome it into my life with open arms. I may partly love it because of my nostalgia for that first album, but I think I would still find it to be an amazing, unique album if this was their first album and I had never heard of them before.
There are some other great albums out this week as well. The Santogold album is really making me happy lately. There are also two really good soul albums out this week. The new albums forom Estelle and Eli Reed are for sure worth your time.
Here is the video for "Machine Gun" by Portishead from the new album...
and here is the video for "Live to Tell" by Madonna which is not from the new album. I really love music videos for songs used in movies. This may make you want to see At Close Range again...
and I know you want to watch "When the Children Cry" by White Lion....
also out today...
Santogold by Santogold
Smile by Boris
Kensington Heights by Constantines
Maths + English by Dizzee Rascal
Shine by Estelle
The Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit
Best of Joy Division by Joy Division
Going Places by Kid Creole
Jim by Jamie Lidell
Roll With You by Eli "Paperboy" Reed & the True Loves
Rising Down by The Roots
You Are Here by South