About a week ago, I managed to cross something major off of my bucket list. I saw Jay Z in concert. If you’ve read the About Me section of this blog, you know how big of a deal this is to me. I am absolutely obsessed with everything Jay Z does, and that does not exclude the fact that he is married to the coolest woman alive. Now, as luck would have it, I managed to catch Jay on the Legends of Summer Tour, meaning I also managed to see Justin Timberlake. This was a dream I didn’t realize I had until it was happening, but that’s another story. All I have to say is, they put on a fantastic show. Two and a half hours of straight hits performed with ridiculous amounts of energy and appreciation for the massive crowd of fans. If you get a chance, see either of these two in concert. It’s completely worth the ticket price.
Jay’s new album kind of surprised me, since I feel like it came out of nowhere. Magna Carta Holy Grail is a solid piece in Jay Z’s musical history, with plenty of creative collaborations and radio-friendly hooks. You’ve probably already heard his Justin Timberlake collaboration Holy Grail on the radio. That single just proves to me why Kanye is getting so feisty lately. Jay and Justin make a fantastic team. Not to mention, Yeezus is an artistically strong album, but mighty angry if you ask me… But I digress.
Personally, I love Tom Ford, an ode to the lap of luxury Jay has managed to find himself in after all this time. Bonus: Beyonce’ has some uncredited whispers on this one! You’ll also find her on BBC, another nod to living large. Speaking of the Queen Bey, if you think Beyonce’ and Jay Z make the cutest couple alive, (And really? Who doesn’t?) try Part II (On the Run). It’s a follow-up to the mega-hit Bonnie and Clyde. Unfortunately, my favorite on the entire album is Beach is Better. This is only sad because clocks in at under a minute. I’ll be waiting and hoping for the extended version of that one…
I actually can’t even remember where I heard of this band. I can’t remember if I heard their first single, Safe and Sound, on the radio at home, or if I stumbled across it at a bar one night. All I do know is that I had to buy the album immediately. This group is based out of LA, which, let’s be honest, half the bands I love are. (Maybe I should pay the West coast another visit…) Anyway, they write some glorious indie-pop-dance gems. I dare you not to sing along to Kangaroo Court. It’s actually impossible.
Last I checked, Capital Cities was up to six members, that includes some fantastic horn work and occasionally distorted vocals. They manage to walk a fine line between just enough 70’s disco vibes into the choruses, with a heavy splash of 80’s keyboard techno, to give an excellent nod to the musical successes of the past. Capital Cities does, however, layer all of this with enough indie-electro goodness to make themselves completely relevant in today’s music. Plus, the founding two members originally teamed up to write commercial jingles, meaning they write a damn catchy tune.
If you want to give Capital Cities a try, I’d suggest either Kangaroo Court or I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo. Both are fantastic dance jams that will get you moving. Safe and Sound is also a solid debut single that you’ve probably heard without realizing it. It is all over the radio at the moment, and worth a listen. Regardless, the entire album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, is only $8 on iTunes, so it’s a great time to discover this lovely little group without destroying your wallet.
Ok, so long as you haven’t lived under a rock for the past year, you’ve heard of Emeli Sande’. You just might not realize it. This Scottish R&B singer is the beautiful voice behind the mega hit Next to Me. You know, that song you literally could not get away from this year. I was actually really hesitant to seek out this album because I thought that song was so overplayed, that there is no possible way I could enjoy her voice. Once again, I was wrong. (Are you sensing a theme yet?)
This album is filled to the brim with amazing songs, from sweet and slow ballads to upbeat jams vastly different than Next to Me. I personally love Heaven because it is physically impossible not to shake it during that little gem. Daddy features Naughty Boy, and it’s a sexy jam about seeing a dog of a dude without letting your friends know. Finally, My Kind of Love is a powerhouse ballad you’ll find yourself trying to belt out. (In my case, I really mean trying)
All in all, Emeli Sande’s debut album is fantastic. Girl can sing. She may have broken through on an over-played, though admittedly awesome, pop song, but there is far more to her than that. I can’t wait to see her live at Lollapalooza in a few weeks.