Avril Lavigne – Under My Skin (2004)

FrontCover1Under My Skin is the second studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne that was released through the RCA Records Label internationally throughout May 2004. Lavigne wrote most of the album with singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, who invited her to a Malibu in-house recording studio shared by Kreviazuk and her husband Raine Maida, where Lavigne recorded many of the songs. The album was produced by Maida, Don Gilmore, and Butch Walker.

Under My Skin debuted at number-one on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart and according to Billboard magazine, was ranked number 149 on the list of top-selling albums of the 2000s. It has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, 3 million of which were sold in the United States, ranking the album No. 149 on the Billboard 200 Decade End Chart. Because of the album’s darker, heavier, more aggressive vibe reminiscent of post-grunge, nu metal and more melodic rocker songs, it received generally positive reception from critics. (by wikipedia)

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Part of Avril Lavigne’s appeal — a large part of it, actually — is that she’s a brat, acting younger than her 17 years on her 2002 debut, Let Go, and never seeming like she much cared about the past (she notoriously mispronounced David Bowie’s name when reading Grammy nominations), or anything for that matter. She lived for the moment, she partied with sk8er bois, she didn’t want anything complicated, and she sang in a flat, plain voice that illustrated her age as much as her silly, shallow lyrics. Those words got disproportionate attention because they were so silly and shallow, but most listeners just didn’t care because, thanks to producer gurus the Matrix, they were delivered in a shiny package filled with incessant, nagging hooks — a sound so catchy it came to define the mainstream not long after Let Go hit the radio. The Matrix became ubiquitous on the strength of their work with Lavigne, who herself became a big star, earning constant play on radio and MTV, kick starting a fashion trend of ties-n-tank tops for girls and inexplicably providing a touchstone for indie rock queen Liz Phair’s mainstream makeover. Fame, however, didn’t pull the two camps together; it pushed them their separate ways, as the Matrix went on to record their own album and Avril decided to turn serious, working with a variety of co-writers and producers, including fellow Canadian singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, for her second album, 2004’s Under My Skin. Lavigne hasn’t only shed her trademark ties for thrift-shop skirts, she’s essentially ditched the sound of Let Go too, bringing herself closer to the mature aspirations of fellow young singer/songwriter Michelle Branch.

Evan Taubenfeld
Since Avril is still a teenager and still a brat, it’s livelier than Branch. Even when it sags under minor keys and mid-tempos, it’s fueled on teen angst and a sense of entitled narcissism, as if she’s the first to discover the joys of love and pain of heartache. In a sense, she comes across as Alanis Morissette’s kid sister, especially now that the Matrix are gone and the hooks have been pushed to the background for much of the record; it’s the teen spin on Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, where she’s self-consciously trying to grow as an artist. Naturally, this means that Under My Skin is less fun than Let Go since there’s nothing as giddy as “Sk8er Boi,” even if much of it is written from a similarly adolescent vantage. Lavigne’s collaborators, Kreviazuk and Evan Taubenfeld chief among them, have helped streamline her awkward writing, and her performances are also assured, which almost makes up for the thinness of her voice, which sounds far younger than the meticulous arrangements around it. So, Under My Skin is a bit awkward, sometimes sounding tentative and unsure, sometimes clicking and surging on Avril’s attitude and ambition. But it’s telling that the one song that really catches hold on the first listen and stands out on repeated spins is “He Wasn’t,” the fastest, loudest, catchiest, and best song here, and the one closest to the spirit and sound of Let Go — it’s not that Lavigne hasn’t matured, but it’s that her talents are better suited on music that’s a little less contemplative and deliberate than Under My Skin. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Kenny Aronoff (drums, percussion)
Kenny Cresswell (drums)
Mike Elizondo (bass)
Sam Fisher (violin)
Samuel Formicola (violin)
Josh Freese (drums)
Brian E. Garcia (percussion)
Chantal Kreviazuk (keyboards)
Jason Lader (bass)
Bill Lafler (drums)
Avril Lavigne (vocals, guitar)
Nick Lashley (guitar)
Victor Lawrence (cello)
Raine Maida (keyboards)
Jon O’Brien (keyboards)
Shanti Randall (viola)
Mark Robertson (violin)
Static (keyboards)
Evan Taubenfeld (guitar, drums, background vocals)
Brooks Wackerman (drums)
Butch Walker (guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards, background vocals)
Michael Ward (guitar)
Patrick Warren (strings, keyboards, chamberlain)
Phil X (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Take Me Away (Lavigne/Taubenfeld) 2.57
02. Together (Lavigne/Kreviazuk)  3.14
03. Don’t Tell Me (Lavigne/Taubenfeld) 3.21
04. He Wasn’t  (Lavigne/Kreviazuk) 3.00
05. How Does It Feel (Lavigne/Kreviazuk) 3.44
06. My Happy Ending (Lavigne/Walker) 4.02
07. Nobody’s Home (Lavigne) 3.32
08. Forgotten (Lavign/Kreviazuk) 3.16
09. Who Knows (Lavigne/Kreviazuk) 3.30
10.  Fall To Pieces (Lavigne/Maida) 3.28
11.  Freak Out (Lavigne/ Taubenfeld/Brann) 3.11
12. Slipped Away (Lavigne/Kreviazuk) 3.33

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Lady Pank – Teraz (2004)

FrontCover1Lady Pank is a popular Polish rock band. It was started in 1982 in Warsaw by Jan Borysewicz and Andrzej Mogielnicki. Its first famous song was “Mała Lady Punk” (Little Lady Punk). Lady Pank garnered some attention in the United States in 1986 when MTV placed the video for the band’s single “Less Than Zero” on heavy rotation.

Lady Pank is quite a curiosity on the Polish musical market. They got popular before they were actually… formed! The group, which was originally planning to call itself “Żużel”, received a lot of media coverage as a result of a skilfully conducted promotional campaign combined with group’s unquestionnable talent.
Lady Pank’s lineup has changed many times over the years. The most frequent changes concerned the drummers and guitar-players, but the group has always remained a quintet with an easily-recognizable guitar sound. The core of the group are Jan Borysewicz and Janusz Panasewicz, who have been constituting the image of the group from the very beginning.

Lady Pank is a quintet, although there have been times when more musicians were involved. Despite all changes in the lineup, the basic shape of the group remains the same: lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass and drums. The role of the frontman is played by Janusz Panasewicz, with occasional help from Jan Borysewicz who sings a couple of songs too.

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The band’s most popular songs are: “Tańcz głupia, tańcz”, “Mniej niż zero”, “Wciąż bardziej obcy”, “Kryzysowa narzeczona”, “Zamki na piasku, “Tacy sami”, “Zostawcie Titanica”, “Mała wojna”, “Zawsze tam gdzie ty”, “Znowu pada deszcz”, “Na granicy”, “Stacja Warszawa”.

The recording history of Lady Pank is impressive. Their discography consists of about 20 albums and over 200 tracks, many of which exist in a few versions (eg. studio, live, English-language, acoustic, techno). Juni 28, 2004 saw the issue of the latest Lady Pank’s album so far – “Teraz” (“Now”). (by wikipedia)

And here´s their last album … I understand no word … but the music … wow ! A real strong rock album … with many sweet memories into the history of rock …

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Personnel:
Jan Borysewicz (guitar, vocals, piano)
Kuba Jabłoński (drums, percussion)
Krzysztof Kieliszkiewicz (bass)
Janusz Panasewicz (vocals)
Michał Sitarski (guitar)
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Wojtek Olszak (keyboards)
Mariusz “Georgia” Pieczara (vocals)
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Tracklist:
01 Sexy-Plexi 3.03
02. http://www.god.com 3.42
03 Krzycz Mały, Krzycz 3.57
04. Stacja Warszawa 4.22
05 Mój Dom Wariatów 3.52
06 Bóg I Boogie Woogie 3.34
07. Walker 4.30
08. Pani Moich Snów 4.06
09. Lachy Na Strachy 3.52
10. Ciepły Śnieg 6.20

Music: Jan Borysewicz
Lyrics: Andrzej Mogielnicki

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Maplewood – Same (2004)

FrontCover1This is the sought-after debut album by Brooklyn’s Maplewood, originally released in 2004. Rising up on a breeze of three-part harmonies and 12-string acoustic guitars, Maplewood evokes a joyride up the Pacific Coast Highway.

Like the scent of night jasmine in bloom, the Maplewood sound wafts from the canyons to the beaches and out into the desert, an ode to a Californian ideal mapped out by such precursors as America, Bread, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Gene Clark, ’70s-era Beach Boys, late-period Byrds, The Stone Canyon Band, John Phillips, Neil Young, Hearts And Flowers, and even CSNY. For the five dudes who make up Maplewood, lost gems like “Ventura Highway” and “Make It With You” evolved from guilty pleasure to buried treasure: in such castoff anthems of mellowness, Maplewood managed to find improbable inspiration.

Call it canyon rock, call it breeze rock, Maplewood is like a desert sunrise, like a dappled afternoon up in the orange groves, like a moon-lit walk on the beach and a swig of dandelion wine with the one you love the most. (by forcedexposure.com)

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Maplewood is a low-key indie rock supergroup with members of Champale, Koester, Cub Country, and Nada Surf gathered together in the spirit of ’70s canyon rock. Their self-titled debut brings back hazy memories of groups like America, Bread, and CSNY. The kind of groups who always seemed ready to break out their acoustic guitars and serenade the sweet hippie chicks around campfires and in hazy bars with heartfelt lead vocals and harmonies, ringing open-chord strumming, lazy tempos, and occasional pedal steel for added melancholy. There are also echoes of more modern bands like R.E.M. on “Darlene,” Lambchop on “Bright Eyes,” and Teenage Fanclub on the chiming “Morning Star.” The spirit of Matthew Sweet also hovers over the proceedings, as he’s been treading these light rock boards for quite a while. So there you have all the influences and connections, all of which don’t mean much if Maplewood can’t deliver the songs. Luckily, they do. Tunes like “Indian Summer,” “Little Dreamer Girl,” and the quiet epic “Desert Queen” sound like they were taken right off a Time/Life Sounds of the 70’s comp. The rest are solid and memorable too. They escape being mere revivalists by investing their hearts into the material. There is no winking or obvious lifting of melodies. They create the feel of the sensitive California ’70s with an easy, sweet manner and plenty of laid-back soul. Not bad for a bunch of short-haired, East Coast fellas. Line them up next to the lovely Autumn Defense and let the ’70s begin again. (by Tim Sendra)
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“For me, there is something wonderfully familiar about the sound of Maplewood. Ever since McGuinn started combining those basic elements—chiming 12-string, soaring harmonies, laid-back California cool—so many years ago, the genre itself (call it what you will) earned the right to be called timeless.
Maplewood are a much newer band, but their sound rings as true to me now as when I bought my first acoustic guitar back in the late sixties. I speak from experience when I say that a lot of work can go into something sounding so effortless. Maplewood understood this from the start. I have always been a fan… from the opening bars of “Indian Summer”—a song we were destined to cover (& we rarely do covers )—to this latest collection.
I was an early convert and it’s clear I’m not alone. The sound that Maplewood wears with such ease has never felt better….
If you’re not already a fan, this new record will soon convert you.
Enjoy.”
(Gerry Beckley, America)

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When Maplewood released their self-titled debut in 2004, it was as if a strong, hot Santa Ana wind had blown through New York’s indie-rock scene. Here was a New York band that didn’t care to sound like the Ramones or Television or the Velvet Underground, but rather one that cast its eyes westward, toward the golden shores of California and – unusual for any band in the 21st century let alone one from Brooklyn – to the laidback legacies of the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Flying Burritos, and CSNY.
If fans of the members’ previously well-received bands Nada Surf, Champale, and Koester were a bit thrown off by the breezy turn, it didn’t take long for the harmony-heavy Maplewood sound to catch on, as the group showcased at New York’s CMJ Festival, shared a stage with Liz Phair and Camper Van Beethoven at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, and was soon finding its way into the pages of Spin, The New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal. Pop Matters declared Maplewood to be “one toke away from the cosmos and harbingers of a movement already afoot. [Their music] makes you want to hit the highway and fly on the ground past the outer limits“. Paste found their first album, which featured guest appearances from members of the Hold Steady and Sparklehorse, to have “a gorgeous, pot-smoking melancholy that perfectly recaptures the easy, breezy sound of vintage FM radio.“ And Newsday proclaimed Maplewood one of New York’s top ten rock bands. (by tapetenrecords)

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Personnel:
Ira Elliot (drums, Percussion, vocals)
Steve Koester (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Mark Rozzo (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Craig Schoen (vocals, bass, guitar)
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Elaine Ahn (cello)
Judd Counsell (drums, percussion)
Kate Hohman (violin)
Joe McGinty (piano)
Geoff Sanoff (chamberlin)
Alan Weatherhead (pedal steel-guitar, wurlitzer)
Jude Webre (bass, wurlitzer)

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Tracklist:
01. Indian Summer (Rozzo) 3.16
02. Darlene (Schoen) 2.32
03. Gemini On The Way (Koester/Rozzo) 3.41
04. Little Dreamer Girl (Koester) 3.38
05. Santa Fe (Koester) 3.14
06. Be My Friend (Rozzo) 2.10
07. Bright Eyes (Koester) 3.23
08. Morning Star (Rozzo) 2.44
09. Sea Hero (Koester) 323
10. Think It Through (Rozzo) 3.12
11. Poconos (Schoen) 2.39
12. Carolina Jasmine (Koester) 4.00
13. Desert Queen (Rozzo) 5.37

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Lars Winnerbäck – Vatten under broarna (2004)

FrontCover1Lars Mattias Winnerbäck (born 19 October 1975 in Stockholm) is a Swedish singer and songwriter. He was born in Stockholm but spent his childhood in Linköping, where he attended Katedralskolan. He moved back to Stockholm in 1996, the same year he released his first album, Dans med svåra steg. He is now one of Sweden’s most popular artists.

The influence of songwriters like Carl Michael Bellman, Evert Taube, Bob Dylan, Ulf Lundell and Cornelis Vreeswijk shines through in Winnerbäck’s exclusively Swedish lyrics, which deal with shallowness, prejudice in society, as well as romance, relationships and anxiety. Several songs depict the difference between living in small town Linköping and the capital Stockholm.

His vinyl records were re-released in October 2011, many of them charting again on the Sverigetopplistan, the official Swedish Albums Chart. (by wikipedia)

And this is one of his beautiful albums … unfortunately I don´t understand Swedish, but I´m sure, this man has very much to say.

And even I don´t understand the words – the music is brilliant, a real fine album from a great singer/songwriter … listen to the music and you´ll know what I mean. Discover this masterpiece !

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Personnel:
Ola Gustafsson (guitar, banjo, steel-guitar, mandolin, dobro)
Sara Isaksson (keyboards, drums, percussion, vocals)
Lars Winnerbäck (vocals, guitar, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. Se dig om (Look Around You) 3.16
02. Det är visst någon som är tillbaka (Seems Like Someone Is Back) 3.32
03. Elegi (Elegy) 4.38
04. Jag är hos dig igen (I’m With You Again) 3.55
05. Dom tomma stegen (The Empty Steps) 4.57
06. Hjärter dams sista sång (The Queen Of Hearts’ Final Song) 3.55
07. Stackars (Poor) 3.22
08. Hon kommer från främmande vidder (She Comes From Foreign Plains) 4.14
09. Dom sista drömmarna del II (The Final Dreams Part II) 3.53
10. Mareld 6.50

All songs written by Lars Winnerbäck

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Gwen Stefani – Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (2004)

FrontCover1Love. Angel. Music. Baby. is the debut solo studio album by American singer and songwriter Gwen Stefani, released on November 12, 2004 by Interscope Records. After making guest appearances on songs by other artists during her time with No Doubt, Stefani began recording solo material in early 2003. Originally planned as a small side project for Stefani, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. eventually grew into her first solo album, following No Doubt’s hiatus. Stefani co-wrote every song on the album, while collaborating with numerous writers and producers, including Linda Perry, Dallas Austin, The Neptunes, André 3000, and Dr. Dre.

Love. Angel. Music. Baby. was designed as an updated version of a 1980s record, and was influenced by artists such as early Madonna, New Order, Cyndi Lauper, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Debbie Deb, and Club Nouveau. The album has a diverse musical style that incorporates genres such as electropop, dance-rock, new wave, hip hop, and R&B. Most of the songs on the album are thematically focused on fashion and wealth. The album introduced the Harajuku Girls, four backup dancers who dress in Stefani’s interpretation of the youth fashion trends of Harajuku, a district in Tokyo, Japan.

GwenStefani01rThe album was met with generally favorable reviews from contemporary music critics. Love. Angel. Music. Baby. debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 309,000 copies, eventually peaking at number five. It earned multi-platinum certifications in several countries, and has sold seven million copies worldwide. The album spawned six singles, and garnered six Grammy Award nominations in 2005 and 2006, including Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. (by wikipedia)

In the wake of Gwen Stefani’s elevation to diva status in the early 2000s, it’s easy to forget that for a brief moment at the start of the millennium it seemed that she and her band, No Doubt, were dangerously close to being pegged as yet another of the one-album alt-rock wonders of the ’90s. Return of Saturn, their long-awaited 2000 follow-up to their blockbuster 1995 breakthrough Tragic Kingdom, failed to ignite any sparks at either retail or radio, despite receiving some strong reviews, and the group seemed on the verge of disappearing. Then, Gwen sang on Eve’s “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” in 2001. The Dr. Dre-produced song was a brilliant single, driven by a G-funk groove and a sultry pop chorus delivered by Stefani, and it was an enormous hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard charts and winning a Grammy, while redefining Gwen’s image in the process. No longer the cute SoCal ska-punk kid of Tragic Kingdom, she was a sexy, glamorous club queen, and No Doubt’s next album, 2001’s Rock Steady, not only reflected this extreme makeover, it benefited from it, since her new ghetto-fabulous persona turned the album into a big hit. A side effect of this was that Gwen now had a higher profile than her band, making a solo album somewhat inevitable. Since she always dominated No Doubt — she was their face, voice, lyricist, and sex symbol, after all — it’s reasonable to ask whether vanity was the only reason she wanted to break out on her own, since it seemed to the outside observer that she helped set the musical course for the band.

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A quick listen to Love.Angel.Music.Baby., her 2004 solo debut, reveals that this is not an album she could have made with the group — it’s too club-centric, too fashion-obsessed, too willfully weird to be a No Doubt album. Working with far too many collaborators — including Dr. Dre, the Neptunes, Linda Perry, Dallas Austin, André 3000, Nellee Hooper, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and her No Doubt bandmate (and ex-boyfriend) Tony Kanal — Stefani has created a garish, neon-colored, deliberately stylish solo album that’s intermittently exciting and embarrassing. It covers far too much ground to be coherent, but a large part of its charm is to hear it careen from the thumping, minimal beats of the Neptunes-helmed “Hollaback Girl” to the sleek, new wave textures of the high school anthem-in-waiting “Cool” and back to the exhilarating freakazoid sex song “Bubble Pop Electric,” featuring André 3000’s alter ego Johnny Vulture. This is music that exists entirely on the surface — so much so, that when André drops in Martin Luther King samples into the closer, “Long Way to Go,” it’s a jarring buzz kill — and that’s what’s appealing about L.A.M.B., even if it is such a shallow celebration of fleeting style and outdated bling-bling culture, it can grate.

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This shallowness can result in intoxicating beats, hooks, and melodies, but also a fair share of embarrassments, from odes to “hydroponic love” and choruses built on either “That’s my s*it” or “take a chance, you stupid ho” to the stumbling contributions from Linda Perry. But Stefani’s dogged desire to cobble together her own patchwork style while adhering to both her new wave chick and urban goddess personas can be both fascinatingly odd (her weirdly homoerotic tribute to “Harajuku Girls”) and irresistible. It’s telling that the best moments on the album keep closest to her new wave roots (which include heavy electro synth beats and blips): no matter how hard she tries, she is not a cultural trailblazer like Madonna. Unlike Madge, she willingly adapts to her collaborators instead of forcing them to adapt to her, which means that L.A.M.B. truly does sound like the work of seven different producers instead of one strong-willed artist. Nevertheless, even if it doesn’t work all the time — and some of its best tracks still have moments that induce a withering cringe — it’s a glitzy, wild ride that’s stranger and often more entertaining than nearly any other mainstream pop album of 2004. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Okay … that´s really not my kind of music, but you know …. Many fantastic colors …

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Personnel:
Rusty Anderson (guitar on 01.)
André 3000 (keyboards, , vocals on 05. + 12.) (tracks 5, 12)
Dallas Austin (drums, keyboards,  on 04. + 11.)
Bobby Ross Avila (guitar, keyboards on 07.)
Mark Batson (keyboard bass, keyboards on 02.)
Lisa Coleman (keyboards on 09.)
Greg Collins (slideguitar, guitar on 09.)
Sheldon Conrich (keyboards on 06.)
Mike Elizondo (guitar, keyboards on 02.)
Eve (rap on 02.)
GMR (french spoken word on 06.)
Peter Hook (bass on 09.)
IZ (drums, percussion on 07.)
Jimmy Jam (bass on 07.)
Tony Kanal (keyboards, synthesizers on 06., 08. + 10.)
Kevin Kendricks (keyboards on 12.)
Naomi Martin (background vocals on 07.)
Wendy Melvoin (guitar on 09.)
Aaron Mills (bass on 12.)
Mimi (Audia) Parker (background vocals on 01.)
Linda Perry (guitar, keyboards on 01.)
Tony Reyes (bass 0n 04.+ 11.)
Gwen Stefani (vocals)
Bernard Sumner (background vocals on 09.)
James “Big Jim” Wright (keyboards on 07.)
Zoey (background vocals on 07.)

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Tracklist:
01. What You Waiting For? (Stefani/Perry) 3.41
02. Rich Girl” (featuring Eve) (Batson/Bock/DioGuardi/Elizondo/Sheldon/Kreviazuk/Stefani/Young) 3:56
03. Hollaback Girl (Stefani/Williams/Hugo) 3.19
04. Cool (Stefani/Austin) 3.09
05. Bubble Pop Electric (featuring Johnny Vulture) (Benjamin/Stefani/Seven) 3.42
06. Luxurious (Stefani/Kanal(R.Isley/K.Isley/R.Isley/E.Isley/M.Isley/Jasper) 4.24
07. Harajuku Girls (Stefani/Harris/Lewis/Quenton/B.Avila/I.Avila) 4.51
08. Crash (Stefani/Kanal) 4.06
09. The Real Thing (Stefani/Perry/GMR) 4.12
10. Serious (Stefani/Kanal) 4.48
11. Danger Zone (Stefani/Austin/Perry) 3.37
12. Long Way To Go (with André 3000) (Benjamin/Stefani) 4.34

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Herman Rarebell + Claudia Raab (R & R) – The Rhythm Of Art (2004)

FrontCover1Herman Rarebell began his life on the 18th of November 1949 in Saarbrucken, Germany, his zodiac sign being Scorpio. By the age of 12 his passion for drumming was so extreme that he would practice on anything available, including an old sloped chair. His song writing was influenced by the music of Led Zeppelin, a group which he still loves.

After qualifying in drums and piano at the Music School in Saarbrucken, and after he played with Mastermen (1965) and with Fuggs Blues (1968) he moved on to England from 1971 to 1977 where he was hoping to find the next great Heavy Metal Band and there Michael Schenker introduced him to the Scorpions and began his international career as drummer and songwriter for the Scorpions. He was a driving force for the band, leading it with the full sound of his drums and especially during the live appearances, making the band perform the songs in a spectacular way. He was an important composer in the history of the group, writing classic songs like “Another piece of meat”, “Falling in Love” and the second single from Savage Amusement “Passion rules the game” and writing the lyrics for some of the most classic songs of the band like “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, “Make It Real”, “Dynamite”, “Blackout”, “Arizona”, “Bad Boys Running Wild”, “Don’t Stop At the Top”, “Tease Me Please Me” and other songs.

Scorpions1978In 1982 he released his first solo album Nip In The Bud (which he re-recorded as Herman ze German & Friends with the help of some friends of his as guest such as members of Dokken, Great White, Ratt etc.) It is worth noting that he is and was the only musician of the Scorpions who did his own solo project while still a full member of the band.

In April of 1996 he left the band following their 1993 album Face the Heat and the third Scorpions’ live album Live Bites. His career with the band has seen his name on an international reputation boasting 32 million album sales. Surely with his absence, the consistency of the group was lost and the change in the sound was obvious to all the fans.

RarebellMaybe the fatigue from the non stop touring, maybe the disagreements regarding the recordings and musical directions of the upcoming Scorpions album (Pure Instinct) and making the acquaintance with Prince Albert were some of the reasons he decided to leave the group and to get involved with a new challenge, to become a producer and to co-find the record company Monaco Records. He participated in many of the projects as a drummer and he released a second solo album under the label called Stings Like a Scorpion, while he had already released Nip in the bud and Herman Ze German and Friends while he was still with the Scorpions which were produced by Ric Browde. The two albums are essentially the same but the latter has re-recorded vocals and a re-mix courtesy of Michael Wagener. The track “I’ll Say Goodbye” was co-written with Dokken main man Don Dokken. Artists on the album include bassist Juan Croucier of Ratt, vocalists Don Dokken, Jack Russell of Great White, Charlie Huhn of Victory, Steve Marriott and guitarists Chris Storey and David Cooper. His artistic restlessness lead him to a project with his wife Claudia Raab, former 7 Sins saxophonist and well known actress, and released a debut album The Rhythm of Art. Its musical direction was atmospheric dance music with saxophone, drums and electronic music. Herman also performed with some live appearances under the Art Meets Music project with shows which would become a lot more than regular Rock n’ Roll events, also featuring dancers as well as featuring original paintings by Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and Ronald Muri, founder of the “Pop-Expressionist Movement”. He participated in the Drum Legends project with his friend Pete York (ex Spencer Davis Group) where they released a live CD & DVD with the contribution of Jazz drummer C.Antonini. He also released a great ‘soft’ album with the Monte Carlo Pop Orchestra (Let me take you to the moon) as well as a single with the singer of Unlimited Ray Slijngaard (a remake of the song “The Eye of The Tiger”) showing his need to experiment.

The Scorpions put on a celebratory event including former members for their headline show at the Wacken Open Air festival on the 3rd of August 2006 billed “A night to remember: A journey in time”. Herman was invited by his old friends to join them on stage as their guest and the band perform many archive songs featuring Uli Jon Roth, Herman Rarebell and Michael Schenker.

This inspired him to put together his own group and go on tour and led to Herman announcing the formation of the project Herman Rarebell And Band for a new album Take It As It Comes ! This album includes a re-recorded version of the Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, as well as the classic song “Heya Heya” by Jeronimo. The group involved singer Stefan Erz and his wife Claudia Raab on saxophone.

RarebellRaabAnd this is the rare “The Art Rhythm Of Art” album … it was a part of a new project by Herman Rarebell, called “Art Meets Music”

“The ART MEETS MUSIC Project is a combined “PAINTED MUSICAL”Show
with paintings by the “Shooting Star” in the international Artscene and
founder of the Popexpressionism ROLAND MURI. Original Paintings by RONNIE WOOD, not only known as the ROLLING STONES guitarist, but also as a fabulous painter!
Music by Rarebell & Raab the new Band of HERMAN RAREBELL, legendary drummer of
THE SCORPIONS

ART MEETS MUSIC is a new concept in “a never seen before”
Multi-Media-Show, making the whole project a truly new and unique event.

ART MEETS MUSIC is the first PAINTED MUSICAL in the world : “Here we can
admire Art in a new way. We project all original Paintings on big video-screens.
In the same time we play live music with my new Band and also have five beautiful dancers on stage!” so HERMAN RAREBELL

The Band with HERMAN RAREBELL (Drums) and CLAUDIA RAAB, Germany’s Top-Saxophone-Player and the fantastic Dancers from the
ALL-STAR-DANCERS make this Show really unforgetable .

A record with 13 brand new tracks named “THE RHYTHM OF ART” will be released in
2005 and will also be available at the shows” (press release, 2004)

A real new sound … jazzlounge music, funky, hard driving saxphones, fusion music … and it´s a real very intersting sound.

The hightlight ist an instrumental version of “Paint It Black”, maybe the best cover version of this song ever recorded … listen !

And – of course – 2 Scorpions-classics (“Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Still Loving You”.

That´s what I call “the other side of Herman Rarebell”

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Personnel:
Claudia Raab (saxophone)Hermann Rarebell (drums, vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Paint That Groove (Strmljan/Brettschneider/Raab) 3.35
02. Cool Blue Sax (Stumpf/Raab) 3.16
03. Etnotic (Strmljan/Raab) 3.44
04. Prophecy (Faltermeyer) 4.16
05. Fletch (Faltermeyer) 4.55
06. Running Man (Faltermeyer) 3.56
07. A Change In Your Life (L.Raab/Blass) 3.59
08. Sax My Six (Stumpf) 3.17
09. Transmission (Strmljan/Raab) 3.23
10. Paint it Black (Jagger/Richards) 3.10
11. Rock You Like A Hurrican (Schenker/Rarebell/Meine) 3.43
12. Still Loving You (Schenker/Meine) 3.34
13. Talk To Me (Stumpf) 3.17

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Norah Jones – Feels Like Home (2004)

FrontCover1Feels Like Home is the second album by jazz/pop songwriter Norah Jones, released in 2004. It sold a million copies in the first week of its U.S. release, the first album to do so since Eminem’s The Eminem Show (2002) and it was the second best-selling album of 2004, with about 4 million copies sold in U.S. It is also holds the record for the sixth largest first week sales for a woman, just behind Britney Spears’ Oops…! I Did It Again, Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Red, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, and Swift’s album Speak Now, respectively. It sold approximately 1,000,000 copies on its first week in the US. In the Netherlands, it was the year’s best-selling album and the twenty-fourth best-selling album of the 2000s. Worldwide, this album has shipped over 12 million copies. Jones won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for (“Sunrise”), and was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album (Feels Like Home), and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “Creepin’ In” with Dolly Parton. To support the album her record label recorded a commercial to be in televised in the U.S. and worldwide. In the commercial she dubs the three singles from the album. (by wikipedia)

Booklet03AIt may be far too obvious to even mention that Norah Jones’ follow-up to her 18-million-unit-selling, eight-Grammy-winning, genre-bending, super-smash album Come Away With Me has perhaps a bit too much to live up to. But that’s probably the biggest conundrum for Jones: having to follow up the phenomenal success of an album that was never designed to be so hugely popular in the first place. Come Away With Me was a little album by an unknown pianist/vocalist who attempted to mix jazz, country, and folk in an acoustic setting — who knew? Feels Like Home could be seen as “Come Away With Me Again” if not for that fact that it’s actually better. Smartly following the template forged by Jones and producer Arif Mardin, there is the intimate single “Sunrise,” some reworked cover tunes, some interesting originals, and one ostensible jazz standard. These are all good things, for also like its predecessor, Feels Like Home is a soft and amiable album that frames Jones’ soft-focus Aretha Franklin voice with a group of songs that are as classy as they are quiet. Granted, not unlike the dippy albeit catchy hit “Don’t Know Why,” they often portend deep thoughts but come off in the end more like heartfelt daydreams. Of course, Jones could sing the phone book and make it sound deep, and that’s what’s going to keep listeners coming back.

NorahJonesWhat’s surprising here are the bluesy, more jaunty songs that really dig into the country stylings only hinted at on Come Away With Me. To these ends, the infectious shuffle of “What Am I to You?” finds Jones truly coming into her own as a blues singer as well as a writer. Her voice has developed a spine-tingling breathy scratch that pulls on your ear as she rises to the chorus. Similarly, “Toes” and “Carnival Town” — co-written by bassist Lee Alexander and Jones — are pure ’70s singer/songwriting that call to mind a mix of Rickie Lee Jones and k.d. lang. Throw in covers of Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt along with Duke Ellington’s “Melancholia,” retitled here “Don’t Miss You at All” and featuring lyrics by Jones, and you’ve got an album so blessed with superb songwriting that Jones’ vocals almost push the line into too much of a good thing. Thankfully, there is also a rawness and organic soulfulness in the production that’s refreshing. No digital pitch correction was employed in the studio and you can sometimes catch Jones hitting an endearingly sour note. She also seems to be making good on her stated desire to remain a part of a band. Most all of her sidemen, who’ve worked with the likes of Tom Waits and Cassandra Wilson, get writing credits. It’s a “beauty and the beast” style partnership that harks back to the best Brill Building-style intentions and makes for a quietly experimental and well-balanced album. (by Matt Collar)

NorahJones2Personnel:
Lee Alexander (bass, lap steel on 12.)
Andrew Borger (drums)
Kevin Breit (guitar, banjolin, background vocals)
Norah Jones (vocals, piano, pump organ on 09.)
Adam R. Levy (guitar, background vocals)
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Brian Blade (drums on 12.)
Rob Burger (pump organ on 03. + 07.)
David Gold (viola on 04.)
Jesse Harris (guitar on 03. + 04.)
Levon Helm (drums on 02.)
Garth Hudson (organ on 02., accordion on 06.)
Daru Oda (background vocals, flute on 11.)
Dolly Parton (vocals on 07.)
Tony Scherr (guitar on 02.)
Jane Scarpantoni (cello on 04.)

Booklet05ATracklist:
01. Sunrise (Jones/Alexander) 3.20
02. What Am I To You?  (Jones) 3.29
03. Those Sweet Words (Alexander/Julian) 3.22
04. Carnival Town (Jones/Alexander) 3.12
05. In The Morning (Levy) 4.07
06. Be Here To Love Me (v.Zandt) 3.28
07. Creepin’ In (Alexander) 3.03
08. Toes (Jones/Alexander) 3.46
09. Humble Me (Breit) 4.36
10. Above Ground (Borger/Oda) 3.43
11. The Long Way Home (Brennan/Waits) 3.13
12. The Prettiest Thing (Jones/Alexander/Julian) 3.51
13. Don’t Miss You At All  (Jones/Ellington) 3.06

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