Posts Tagged ‘Clean Bandit’

My Favorite Albums of 2015

I’m one of those people who tracks music, movies, charts, polls, and the sort all year-long.  And, when December comes, I love seeing the best and worst of the year lists.

I posted my favorite movies of the year last week.  “Lilting” was #1.

Here’s the link if you want to see the complete list:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/my-favorite-movies-of-2015/

And, I posted my 30 favorite songs of 2015.  Jason Derulo came out on top!

Here’s the complete list to see if your favorite made my countdown.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/my-20-favorite-songs-of-2015/

Now, I ready to share my favorite albums of the year with you.  But, before I do that, I want to channel my radio idol, Casey Kasem, and look back at my favorite albums of the past.

In 2010, it was Scissor Sisters’ “Night Work”.  “Femme Fatale” by Britney Spears was my favorite in 2011 and Madonna’s “MDNA” was tops in 2012.  In 2013, it was “Push Rewind” by Chris Wallace.  And, last year, it was a tie between Enrique Iglesias’ “Sex and Love” and Erasure’s “The Violet Flame”.

Now, my favorites of 2015.

2015 Albums

17

“NEW EYES” — CLEAN BANDIT

Clean_Bandit_New_Eyes

#16

“TODAY IS CHRISTMAS” — LEANN RIMES

LeAnn

#15 Movie

“UNBREAKABLE” — JANET JACKSON

JanetJackson_Standard-2

Here’s what I wrote about her Omaha concert on the “Unbreakable World Tour”:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/janet-jacksons-unbreakable-world-tour-dazzles/

14

“PURPOSE” — JUSTIN BIEBER

justin cd

13

“DELIRIUM” — ELLIE GOULDING

Ellie CD

12

“TRUE COLORS” — ZEDD

True Colors Zedd

#11 Movie

“KYLIE CHRISTMAS” — KYLIE MINOGUE

Kylie Christmas

10

“I CRY WHEN I LAUGH” — JESS GLYNNE

jess-glynne-i-cry-when-i-laugh

9 CD

“MICHAEL RAY” — MICHAEL RAY

michael-ray

Here’s what I wrote about the album in August:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/michael-ray-could-bring-me-back-to-country-music/

#8 CD

“TALKING IS HARD” — WALK THE MOON

talkingIsHardBgImage

7

“REBEL HEART” — MADONNA

Madonna Rebel Heart

Here’s what I wrote about the album in March:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/still-a-rebel-heart-and-an-unapologetic-bitch-32-years-later/

#6 CD

“25” — ADELE

adele

Here’s what I wrote about the album in November:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/adele-25-is-almost-perfect/

#5 MOVIE

“EVERYTHING IS 4” — JASON DERULO

derulo

4

“LOVE SOMEBODY” — REBA

Reba Love Somebody

Here’s what I wrote about the album in April:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/rebas-return-to-country-music/

green 3

“EMOTION” — CARLY RAE JEPSEN

carly-rae-jepsen-emotion

#2 CD

“COMMUNION” — YEARS & YEARS

Communion

I wrote about the band in July when the album came out:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

1

“DEJA VU” — GIORGIO MORODER

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

Here’s what I wrote about the album in June:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/giorgio-moroder-the-70s-magic-its-deja-vu/

So, there you have my favorite albums I bought in 2015.

I can’t wait for new music in 2016 from Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, and I hope there’s new music from Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Erasure.

Anthony

Years & Years’ “Communion” Is Definitely King!

I’ve become much more selective when buying new music.  Back in the 1990s when I was disc jockey, I’d buy new CDs just for a song and hope to find other gems.

Thus far in 2015, I’ve only bought eight new albums.  Of those, four are from American artists and four are European — Zedd (Germany), Giorgio Moroder (Italy), and from the United Kingdom, Clean Bandit and Years & Years.

It really doesn’t surprise me that I still love European music since it dominated what I listened to in the 1980s, outside of Madonna and Janet Jackson, during the second “British Invasion”.

My latest find that I highly recommend is “Communion” by the English trio, Years & Years.

Communion

Years & Years is lead singer and keyboardist Olly Alexander, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, and synth player Emre Turkmen.

I’m not sure where I heard “King”, the song that made me aware of Years & Years.

While it did get some Top 40 radio airplay in the United States and a decent amount of dance club play, the song topped the charts earlier this year in the U.K., Bulgaria, Croatia, and Scotland.

After getting “Communion” and listening to it on repeat, I’m amazed at the booming voice that comes from Olly and his waifish-body (and I mean that in a good way because I would love to be that thin again).  Youth!

Years & Years

It’s such a bluesy sound that, at times, reminds me of amazing English singers Alison Moyet, Gabrielle, and Helen Terry.

Yes, here’s a slight detour in talking about the amazing debut from Years & Years.

If you’re reading my blog from the United States you might be on Google typing in each of those female vocalists I just mentioned.

In America, Alison had one Top 40 hit, “Invisible” (#31, 1985), even though she had nine hits in the U.K. (six reaching the Top Ten).  Gabrielle had 16 Top 40 U.K. hits (ten reached the Top Ten), but only “Dreams” was a hit in the U.S. (#26, 1993, on the Hot 100, but #1 on the Dance chart).  And, Helen Terry, scored just one modest hit in the U.K., but she’s famously known as the back-up singer on many of Culture Club’s biggest hits.

“Shine”

As much as I love “King” and so glad that it grabbed me and turned me on to Years & Years, my favorite song from “Communion” is “Shine”.  It’s the latest release from the album and has already topped the charts in Scotland and reached #2 in the U.K.

Here are my other four favorite songs from the album that I recommend that you download now and put it on heavy rotation on your summer playlist.

And, a final note as you watch the videos, when you get to “Real”, it’s not only Olly’s voice that is mesmerizing.  The captivating Ben Whishaw (from the incredible, touching, and sadly underappreciated movie, “Lilting”) really gets into the groove and is so alluring!

More Years & Years

It just so happens that I arrive in San Francisco in late September, the same night that Olly, Emre, and Mikey will be playing live at The Fillmore and I plan on being there!

“Desire”

“Real”

“Eyes Shut”

“Worship”

I’ve highlighted my favorites from the album that are mainly upbeat, but “Without” is a killer ballad.

While I’ve talked about Olly’s vocals throughout the blog, the sound of the trio is incredible.

“Communion” is very 2015, but it also takes me back to the very experimental and fun sounds of the early-1980s.  You can’t listen to “Ties” without thinking of Jimmy Somerville and Bronski Beat.

When talking about Bronksi Beat, Alison Moyet, Gabrielle, Ben Whishaw and “Lilting”, I wish Years & Years great success because I don’t want to listen to “Communion” and think that they are “underappreciated” here in America, but loved throughout the world.

With Years & Years, I’ve found my fix to hold me over until Erasure (Andy Bell & Vince Clarke) release the follow-up to my favorite album of 2014, “The Violet Flame”.

Communion

GRADE:

A

“Communion” get an “A” and I can’t wait to get to San Francisco on September 28th to see the guys perform live.

Anthony

If you’re still reading, you know I love Years & Years and their debut album.  However, I’m featuring an amazing track from Alison, Gabrielle, and Bronski Beat.

Also, a poignant scene from “Lilting”.  Discover now what you likely missed then!

Gabrielle — “Dreams”

Alison Moyet — “Whispering Your Name”

Bronski Beat — “Tell Me Why”

“Lilting”

Giorgio Moroder & The ’70s Magic – It’s Deja Vu!

The hottest music stars today are mostly in their teens, 20s, and 30s.  You can’t turn on the radio without hearing Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas, Jason Derulo, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Sam Smith, Zedd, and Luke Bryan.

But, none of them can hold a candle to one of the hardest working international musicians that just turned 75-years-old this spring.  (Okay, maybe 88-year-old Tony Bennett, who topped the charts last fall with his duet album with Lady Gaga.)

I’m talking about legendary music producer Giorgio Moroder, who just released “Deja Vu”, his first album in almost 30 years.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

And, this new album isn’t just any album – it’s a masterpiece!

So far this year, Madonna released the incredible “Rebel Heart”, Reba returned with the amazing “Love Somebody”, and I fallen in love with Clean Bandit’s “New Eyes” and Walk The Moon’s “Talking Is Hard”, which has reached galactic heights.

Madonna Rebel HeartReba Love SomebodyClean_Bandit_New_Eyes talkingIsHardBgImage

However, with six months to go, “Deja Vu” may end up being my favorite album of 2015.  It’s that mesmerizing!

Moroder lined up pop music icons Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, current pop stars Sia and Charlie XCX, and dance club chart toppers Foxes, Matthew Koma, and Kelis, and highlights the beautiful voices of Mikky Ekko and Marlene.

Giorgio Moroder DJ

For those that were not around 40 years ago when disco was ready to take over the world, here’s a quick introduction to the Italian producer who made the world fall in love with summer – Donna Summer.

He wrote and produced the 1975 classic “Love To Love You Baby” and was asked to make an extended remix for the dance clubs, one of the first songs to be released in that form.

It went on to become a number one club hit for Summer in early 1976 and was one of the most talked about and controversial songs because it featured more than 20 moans of ecstasy from Summer.

“Love To Love You Baby” was also named as one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Donna Summer Girogio Moroder

Moroder produced many other Donna Summer smashes including “Bad Girls”, “Hot Stuff”, “Last Dance”, and “Dim All The Lights”.

And, the four-time Grammy Award winner and three-time Oscar winner didn’t just work with Summer.

He’s also produced chart-toppers, classics, and award winners for Irene Cara (“Flashdance…What A Feeling”), Berlin (“Take My Breath Away” from “Top Gun”), Blondie (“Call Me” from “American Gigolo”), as well as songs for David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Pat Benatar, Bonnie Tyler, Freddie Mercury, and many more.

That’s the legend.

Now, let’s talk about the man, who decided after working with Daft Punk on the 2014 Grammy winning “Album of the Year”, that was ready to record new music with a fresh arsenal of current talent.

The first release from “Deja Vu”, “Right Here, Right Now”, featured international superstar Kylie Minogue.  The song topped the Billboard Dance charts earlier this year.

The follow-up single is the title track with pop superstar Sia, who has dominated radio with “Chandelier”, “Titanium”, and “Wild Ones” and has written songs for Britney, Kylie, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, and many more.

I honestly couldn’t find a song on the album that is not pure pop heaven, but I can’t post all twelve songs here.  (Well, I guess I could!)

Some of you may remember Suzanne Vega as a one-hit wonder with 1987’s Top Five hit, “Luka”.  But, it’s the follow-up that never charted in the U.S., “Tom’s Diner”, that with Britney Spears’ sweet vocals and Moroder’s magic fingers and genius mind could become the most unlikely dance smash this year.

Britney’s “Tom’s Dinner” is the floor filler that the radio version of “Pretty Girls” (with Iggy Azalea) strives to be.

English singer Charli XCX, who has topped the charts here in the U.S. with “Boom Clap”, “Fancy” (with Iggy Azalea, again), and “I Love It” (with Icona Pop) in the past three years, sparkles on her hi-energy collaboration with Moroder, fusing disco with rap.

And, you can find samples of awesome contributions from Kelis, Foxes, and Marlene in the mega-mix from Moroder at the bottom of my blog.

And, Moroder doesn’t just make the music of his female partners sizzle.  He saves plenty of his musical wizardry for Mikky Ekko (“Don’t Let Go”) and Matthew Koma (“Tempted”).

Koma is working on his debut album and has already topped the Billboard Dance charts twice with dance wunderkid producer Zedd on “Spectrum” in 2012 and “Find You” from the “Divergent” soundtrack.

If you’d heard of Ekko, it was likely on Rihanna’s 2013 chart-topper, “Stay”.

Even when Moroder works without vocalists, the instrumentals “74 is the New 24”, “La Disco”, and “4 U with Love” are dazzling perfection.  If you close your eyes, you’d be transported to a disco in the late-1970s or a modern-day EDM festival or Las Vegas nightclub with lasers and pyrotechnics blowing your mind!

If I haven’t been convincing about how spectacular this album is (or you have no pulse or two left feet), here is a fun remix that Moroder put together to highlight “Deja Vu” before its worldwide release.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

“Deja Vu” gets a rare perfect score of A+ from me!

Anthony

When The Hell Did I Get So Old?

Age is just a number!

I tell myself that all the time because I feel great and I think I look decent for 5o!  I see other people younger than me and they look years beyond their age.

However, with Ray out-of-town for a conference, I turned the radio on shortly after midnight (Mix 96 in the Quad Cities) as I was getting ready for work yesterday morning and Whitney Houston was belting out “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”.

whitney

I didn’t think of her death, her drug abuse, her marriage to Bobby Brown, or that Lifetime movie.  All I thought about was how happy that song and much of her music made me feel.

But, it really got me to thinking about my 22-year-old self back in Kentucky getting ready to go out for a night of clubbing at the gay bar in Paducah and playing that song when I was spinning records.  Yes, records!

I thought of how young I was then and how much life I’ve lived since 1987.  And, then I thought, “When the hell did I get so old?”

Yes, that sounds contradictory because one moment I’m talking about looking and feeling great and the next I’m talking about how I got to be so old.

I love to travel.  Just last year alone, I was fortunate enough to go to Las Vegas, Ottawa (Ontario, Canada), Paris (France), Tel Aviv (Israel), and New York City for New Year’s Eve and that holiday weekend.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

I saw the glitz and glamour, historic buildings, the Eiffel Tower, the Mediterranean Sea, Old Jaffa, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Rockefeller Center in all of its Christmas glory, and much more that those cities offered.

I saw Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in Las Vegas and a show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris and I turned fifty during the performance.  I saw Michael C. Hall as Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway and the incredible Renee Fleming in my first operetta, “The Merry Widow”, at the Metropolitan Opera.

However, one thing that I never saw in any of those worldly cities was the inside of a nightclub.

As a youngster, in my 20s, I loved going out and partying with my friends back home, taking short road trips to Louisville (Kentucky) and Nashville (Tennessee) and much longer road trips to Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and Chicago (Illinois).  I loved making new friends, cruising hot guys, and hanging out with drag queens.

Anthony2

Even in my 30s, I had a blast in the nightclubs during the four years that I lived in Chicago.

Fast forward to 2015 — I’m older now and I’m married to a wonderful man and we have a teenage daughter.

I love sitting at home and veggie out on the couch watching movies and our favorite television shows.  I love working in the yard and the garden and floating in the pool on summer nights and weekends.

Pool

But, I still love throbbing and pulsating club music.  I still love Madonna and Britney Spears.

Whitney may no longer be with us in life, but she lives on and she still inspires.

On my next trip to a metropolitan city, I’m going out, I’m going to dance and have a good time.

But, I won’t slam shots and cocktails because it takes longer to recover than it did twenty years ago.  I’ll refuse cocaine standing at a urinal in a bar, just as I did on my first visit to Las Vegas in 1993.

Age is just a number and just another candle on the cake of life.

Rainbow Cake

And, to prove that, how many of you remember Giorgio Moroder?

The 74-year-old Italian musician released his first record 50 years ago!  He gained international fame by making disco king in American by producing many of Donna Summer’s 1970s club and radio classics.

This spring he’s releasing his new album, “74 is the New 24”, with guest appearances by Britney Spears, Sia, Charlie XCX, and Kylie Minogue, who’s featured on the album’s first single, “Right Here, Right Now”.

Giorgio says, “Dance music doesn’t care where you live.  It doesn’t care who your friends are. It doesn’t care how much money you make. It doesn’t care if your 74 or if you are 24 because… 74 is the new 24!”

Amen, Giorgio!  So, dim all the lights, turn on the strobes and the fog machines.

I’m ready to dance with somebody who loves me or someone who just wants to share the dance floor with me.

Anthony

P.S.

I’m not stuck in the past with my love of Madonna and the sounds of the 1980s.  I love new dance artists like Kiesza and Clean Bandit.  If you’re not familiar with them, check these out!