Carrie On Country

Last Friday, I read an old Entertainment Weekly interview, in which Carrie Underwood said, “You can say I’m ‘not country’ until you’re blue in the face, but I sing country.” The next day, I’m watching a back-from-strike Saturday Night Live (hosted by alumna and 30 Rock star Tina Fey) and who is the musical guest? Carrie Underwood. Oh, and I’m watching this particular SNL in the home of country music, Memphis (Tennessee.) So this all conspired to make me think, “Well, I’ve said Carrie Underwood is not country, but why?”

Take the Music Pulse: All Media Guide

tune in @ your librarytune in @ your library

Kick off Teen Tech Week (March 2-8), with Marisa Brown, Staff Writer for All Media Guide. Play a game of "Name That Tune." How many notes of a song do you need to hear before you can guess what song is playing? Also, find out what it takes to review music as a career and scope out the best music sites.

Sunday, March 2nd | 2:00-3:30 pm at the Malletts Creek Branch

On John

In John Lennon’s solo career, Mind Games has the high point of “Bring On The Lucie (Freda People)” but little else. I love John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, featuring that great line, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me. Yoko and me, that’s reality.” But insofar as the album that plays best as a rock album, it’d have to be Imagine. Featuring his most enduring song (“Crippled Inside,” naturally) as well as the title track, the bubbly “Oh, Yoko,” and “Gimme Some Truth.” A near perfect save for the wretched “How Do You Sleep?,” a mean-spirited attack on Paul McCartney. Lennon’s claims that he meant the song directed more at himself doesn’t hold much water, though, given the blatancy of his lyrics (unless he’s a completely clueless songwriter.) Upon hearing the song, you can’t help but feel stuck in the middle of a long-ended but once bitter conflict, and that’s a feeling I could do without, especially on a record with so much else to offer.

Well, It’s Valentine’s Day…

And it looks like I have two real options for a blog. While ‘t’would be slightly clichéd to do a blog on love songs, it is becoming increasingly clichéd to a blog about jilted love songs. But since I’ve already done a love songs blog, I’m just going to go ahead with the jilted love songs. Just to clarify, when I say jilted love songs, I don’t mean, you know, “Love Stinks” (I love J. Geils Band, Detroit loves J. Geils Band, but that song is an embarrassment to their career.) Everybody deals with a broken hearts in a different way, and the songs inspired by such vary from sweet to angry, triumphant to tragic. Same as last time, I’m hoping for non-obvious tunes (I mean, “Yesterday” should go without saying as tops in this category.) Now, let me think, because, gosh, there are just so few popular music songs about love…

Billy V. Bruce

The Stranger is proof even if Billy Joel has an all-time best-seller, doesn't mean the critics will stop slandering him, and (something I read in a review of the album,) if “Scenes From and Italian Restaurant” had been written by Bruce Springsteen, critics would be lining up to sing its praises. Bruce and Billy are two sides of the same coin. While Springsteen plays guitar with his focus on image-laden lyrics, and Billy rocks the piano with an effortless grasp of melody. Both conjure up memories of early 60s rock (and use wailing saxophones.) Lyrically and musically, they hint to their working-class beginnings, Bruce from nowhere, New Jersey and Joel Hicksville, Long Island. Every step of their career mirrors the other, with one key difference. Critics of the time snubbed Billy but canonized Bruce.

Margaret Truman

Truman FamilyTruman Family

Another connection to our collective recent past has died. Margaret Truman
(Daniel) daughter of former President Harry Truman died Tuesday January 29. Ms Truman was the author of the popular, mystery series “Capital Crime Series with 23 titles in total.
In addition to her writing skills Ms Truman was an accomplished singer. In 1950 her Father then President sent a now famous missive to a music critic who had trashed his daughter’s performance at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Truman wrote, “I have just read your lousy review …I have never met you but if I do, you’ll need a new nose” I wonder if any of the present aspirants to the Presidency would be as candid.


You know, I can find a lot to hate about Born In The U.S.A. I hated The Boss for the longest time after my outrage over the title track. So much of the record irritates me—superficially: the booming music, the fat synths, the unmistakably 80s drums, the voice, adrift in a sea of echo. The title song irritates me—superficially—with redundant music and a crudely jingoistic chorus. But Springsteen is doing something here: he is critiquing the state of the country and music in 1984.

Mozart: Piano Concertos in C Major, 13 + 24.

In his newly released debut recording, Pianist Martin Helmchen offers a superb, well-balanced presentation of Mozart's 13th and much beloved 24th Piano Concertos, accompanied by the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra under the conduction of Gordon Nikolic. In the words of one reviewer, "this is one of those rare and treasurable recordings where everything seems just right...this was almost like discovering the music for the first time".

Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2007


The annual Pitchfork staff list of the top 50 albums of 2007 has been up for a few weeks now; have you investigated yet? With 50 albums (as well as their 100 favorite songs of 2007 and the debut of the Pitchfork readers poll) there are many albums from a variety of genres. So if you’re looking for something new-ish or buzz-worthy, give it a whirl. The long list includes many we have at the AADL, some of which are:

8 Diagrams by Wu-Tang Clan
Andorra by Caribou
The Reminder by Feist
Graduation by Kanye West
Night Falls Over Kortedala by Jens Lekman
Strawberry Jam by Animal Collective
Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? By Of Montreal
Kala by M.I.A.
Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem
Person Pitch By Panda Bear (the #1 album) (And it is indeed divine!)

He looks pretty good for 252

Mozart turns 252 this month, and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra is celebrating with a special concert featuring Orien Weiss on the piano.

Mozart's Birthday Bash will be January 26th at 8 pm at the Michigan Theater and will feature Mozart's Symphony No. 41, Piano Concerto No. 21, and the Overture to The Magic Flute.

Trying to avoid the cold until then? Check out our many biographies of Mozart. How many books about you will be in the library on your 252nd birthday?

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