Recently, two of my favorite artists, Beyoncé and Drake, released albums (Lemonade & Views). Beyoncé has wowed the world once again with a visual album. The film to accompany Lemonade aired on HBO a few weeks ago & the soundtrack so to speak was Lemonade. The album is currently available for streaming on Tidal.
The film chronicled Bey going through an emotional journey of dealing with her husband’s infidelity. Each song represented each emotion that she went through during the process. It ended on forgiveness, which makes sense since she & Jay-Z are still together. It was very powerful to see her get so personal and raw with the world. I thought that her self-titled album was personal, but Lemonade takes the cake.
I love the album from start to finish, but here are my top 5. The top five are: “Hold Up,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” “Sorry,” “Freedom,” and “Sandcastles.” On “Sandcastles” you can hear Bey’s raw emotions in her vocals especially when she sings: What is it about you that I can’t erase? You can hear her voice crack, and it sounds like she’s on the verge of tears. This song definitely delivers in the feels department. Beyoncé experiments with a lot of different genres on this album from rock, reggae, hip-hop, country and r&b.
Meanwhile, after all of the speculation, push backs and rumors, Drake’s new album Views is finally here. Drake has delivered yet again with this album. In an interview with Zane Lowe, Drake said that this is his best album vocally and I agree. Drake is doing what he’s known for, which is mixing rapping with singing and once again it works. One of my favorite sections of this album is what I would consider the reggae section. The two tracks “Controlla” and “One Dance,” which is currently the #1 song in the country, both have reggae vibes to them and it makes almost impossible to not dance when those two songs come on. Towards the end of “Controlla” you can hear reggae artist Beenie Man and I felt that transition was genius.
Another great song on this album is “Weston Road Flows,” which features a sample of a Mary J. Blige song called “Mary’s Joint.” On this song, Drake displays his storytelling abilities while reflecting on his past. “U With Me?” is another great song on Views. It samples two DMX songs and has Drake wondering if his girl will stick with him. “Still Here” is also great for it’s uptempo jam style.
Both artists have delivered quality albums that I’m sure will be on a lot of “Best of 2016” lists at the end of the year. Lemonade and Views are in our catalog for request but if you can’t wait, you can stream Views on Hoopla and Beyoncé’s previous albums are available for download on Freegal. Beyoncé and Drake will be making their way to Pittsburgh very soon. Queen Bey will be gracing the Burgh with her presence on May 31st when her Formation World Tour makes a stop at Heinz Field. The 6 God himself will be at the Consol Energy Center on August 17th when his Summer Sixteen Tour stops here.
Art courtesy Marcel L. Walker. Click through for his website.
Around 2011 I was dating a girl who lovedPrince. She often talked about how she’d been to a few of his concerts when she was younger. When we got back from the bars, she’d often put his albums on. We spent many nights dancing around her kitchen until the early hours of the morning, frightening her cats and annoying her downstairs neighbors as we sang along loudly and badly with Prince, particularly the Purple Rain soundtrack. It was during these sleepless hours that I was introduced to “Let’s Go Crazy.” That song will always be an anthemic battle cry for me.
Later I was looking up clips on YouTube and found the video below. Watch as Prince reaches heretofore unmatched levels of face-melting as he shreds his way through the solo of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” proving unequivocally that Prince was a supremely talented performer. I know I’ll miss him.
I would not be exaggerating if I said Prince was involved in two of the best nights of my life.
Picture this: New Year’s Eve, 1991. I’m at an under-21 dance club called Club Nitro. I’m 14 years old and no doubt I was wearing what I considered “dress up” clothes: black bodysuit, jeans that were far too big for me and Doc Martens. I didn’t have big hair, but it was most certainly curled by the Caruso Molecular Steam Hairsetter. The song at midnight was “Diamonds and Pearls“.
One by one, my friends were asked to dance, until it was just me leaning against a wall. And then a boy that I had crushed on for months asked me to dance. I had assumed he was unaware of my existence. I got to dance to Prince on New Year’s Eve with my crush. He even kissed me at the end of the song.*
It’s really hard for me to remember a time that I wasn’t singing Prince songs. His music was everything I wanted to be a part of – dancing, freedom of expression, being yourself, sexuality, fast cars and motorcycles, and on and on. He was an icon of my generation. Not just a rock star or superstar, but a certifiable icon (I run on at the mouth about the book which will convince you of that fact in this post from a couple of years ago. I STILL recommend this book on a regular basis.). Prince’s death has made me put him into a category that I certainly never wanted him to be in – artists I wanted to see perform live, but never got the chance to. It pains me that he’s now in that “box”. I always thought there’d be more time. But don’t you always think that? Going crazy is going to be a little harder for me now.
One of my greatest parental accomplishments is providing my kids with a well-rounded musical education. Her One Direction fanaticism notwithstanding, my 14-year-old daughter proudly shares that she is the only person among her friends who can name all four Beatles. She’s heartbroken that Janet Jackson postponed her tour because, “It’s the closest I’ll ever get to The King of Pop himself.” She’s not a child of the ‘80s, but an offspring of two of them, her knowledge of these artists acquired from us having their music on heavy rotation.
But whether it was the suggestiveness of his lyrics or something else, somehow I’d failed to introduce my girl to the power of Prince.
“He’s a good singer and all, but I don’t quite get why everyone is so sad about him dying,” she tells me.
Dig if you will, then, the picture of us watching Purple Rain, its R-rating be damned. She’s laughing at the outfits, the Aqua-Netted hair. I start speaking in fragments about how the ‘80s were such a confusing and sad decade — not only for me, but for all of us who were finding love and ourselves in an era of being scared to death that falling in love could kill us. And then came Prince, singing and celebrating these feelings that were so powerful, so intoxicating and so dangerous enough to be slapped with a Parental Advisory sticker from Tipper Gore.
My nostalgia isn’t quite enough for my girl — she’s been down similar Memory Lanes of mine before — so I go for backup. Like me, my high school friend Leah also is watching Purple Rain while trying to explain her sadness to her own daughter.
“I told her Prince was my generation’s Justin Bieber and One Direction and Taylor Swift and Jay Z and Beyoncé all rolled into one,” Leah says, via Facebook. “I think she understood that but what I didn’t say was Prince was also our coming of age, our first dances and first dates and first loves. He was the end of our childhood and the soundtrack of our youth and our young adulthood. I’m mourning Prince but I’m also remembering the way I felt back then and realizing that I won’t ever feel that way again, but when I’m watching and listening and singing, I can almost get there.”
The purple-tinged audience is waving their hands (“we had lighters back then, not cell phones,” I explain). I turn the volume up louder, as one does in homage to Prince. The guitar soars through the TV, through the house, through our souls. And watching my girl, enraptured now, I begin to connect with something I’d long forgotten.
When I found out this past Thursday that Prince died I was stunned. It’s still weird for me to talk about him in the past tense. This may be odd to say, but I’ve heard a lot of people these past couple of days say the same thing: I never imagined him dying. I thought that he would be 90 years old still doing concerts singing “Purple Rain.” It’s sad, crazy and strange to think of a world without him, but alas we have to.
His passing didn’t just affect me. It affected my family because my mom is a huge fan of his and she got me into him. She’s loved him since he first came out and she had a poster on her wall of him with a big Afro from Right On! magazine. When my aunt & uncle first met each other, they broke the ice by talking about their common love of Prince. This is a monumental loss. I’ll end this by naming my top three favorite songs of his: “When Doves Cry,” “The Beautiful Ones” and “Adore.”
The summer of 1984, I was home from my freshman year of college. In school, I had been a DJ heavily into prog rock, and worked at the music library where I was introduced to classical and world music. My boyfriend was a guitarist in a hardcore punk rock band that frequently played at CBGB’s and the like. I also happen to be very light-skinned, and my boyfriend, very dark-skinned. This was still fairly rare in the mid-80s, even in New York. We would turn heads walking down the street. Light- and dark-skinned people alike would give us the hairy eyeball.
Our whole group of friends were quite snobbish when it came to pop music. We collectively derided the MTV phenomenon, and all of pop culture as a rule. When Purple Rain came out, my boyfriend and I wanted to see it, but we didn’t want any of our friends to know. We snuck away, even coming up with a cover story of what we were doing instead. It was the first time either of us saw mixed-race couples depicted anywhere. The aspect of one’s race was a non-issue. We were also completely mesmerized by Prince himself. We laughed at ourselves for liking the movie so much. We went to see it again the next day.
In the Spring of 1986 Prince’s “Kiss” was released. At the time, my family didn’t have cable TV, and the whole music video generation was quickly passing me by. But, you know who DID have cable, and MTV? My Grandpap. We would go out to his place on the weekends, visit with him and help him with stuff around the house. Right after that song came out we were over there. I had heard it on the radio, but lacking MTV, had never seen the video. For whatever reason, I was the only one in the living room, as everyone else was in the kitchen, or out in the yard. I turned on MTV and watched some videos. That’s when I saw the video for “Kiss.”
As a 10-year-old boy, growing up in a white, working class, Catholic home, this video opened my eyes in some remarkable ways. I remember thinking “OK…so HE’s wearing high heels … and SHE’s playing the guitar … that’s not … what I expected.” I feel like seeing Wendy Melvoin playing the guitar did a number on me. It let me in on a whole new world of what was possible, and opened up doors of who could do what.
It wasn’t at all what I expected, and I loved it. Billy Bragg and Morrissey (two of my musical heroes) have talked eloquently about how seeing Bowie at an impressionable age really impacted them. I feel that this song and video did something similar for me. The stripped-down funk sounds, vocals still loud and screamy enough to anger a parent, and the gender bending clothes and sexualized dancing was pretty intense, and it hooked me.
The impact of Prince’s music was felt far and wide, not least by me in a fantastic way that I’m fairly certain I never could have expected.
January has been marked with loss—the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, the closing of a favorite restaurant. But good things have happened, too: David Bowie’s newest and last album, Blackstar, came out. We celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And we read a lot of books, listened to a lot of music, and watched a lot of movies.
Black History Month is soon approaching, but it doesn’t have to be a certain month for me to talk music. This post is all about R&B and hip-hop, specifically some of my favorite r&b and hip-hop albums of the 2010s.
This was the album where Bey went back to her R&B roots. Personally, I feel that this album doesn’t get enough credit for how good it is. This album spawns the girl power anthem “Run the World (Girls),” a beautiful love song “1+1,” and one of my all time favorite songs of hers, “End of Time.” I feel like this album was overshadowed by her pregnancy.
This was the album when Drake mania exploded to another level. It’s also where the assumption that Drake is emo began. Personally, I don’t think that he’s emo. I just think that he’s comfortable with expressing how he feels, which is refreshing. This album is one that you can press play & let it ride. One of my favorite tracks on this album is “The Real Her” that features Lil’ Wayne & Andre 3000, who delivers my favorite verse on the song. This album also features the classic “Marvin’s Room,” which spawned several remixes over the summer of 2011.
Miguel carefully avoided the sophomore slump with Kaleidoscope Dream. This album is what made Miguel crossover into mainstream attention. This album features the Grammy Award winning, timeless single “Adorn.” The album is alternative R&B & it works. It’s a great album from start to finish.
J.Cole has always made great music, but this is the album that finally made the naysayers pay attention & give him his long overdue credit. Cole did a very brave thing with the release of this album by having it come out without releasing any singles. This was a bold decision, but it worked because it sold a lot in its first week. Not many artists nowadays can do that. This album was a story, with each song being a snapshot into a different time in Cole’s life. It’s a great album not only for hip-hop, but for music in general. The album features “Apparently,” which is a great song and the first verse always gets me emotional when he talks about his mother.
This album was Brown’s comeback album, and in my opinion, his best album. On this album, Brown showcased that he could do practically any genre of music, even rap. He proved that on the blockbuster single “Look At Me Now.” This album earned Brown a Grammy for Best R&B Album in 2012. It was well deserved.
This album is one of the best rap albums that I’ve heard in a long time. This album is basically Lamar’s autobiography set to music. Throughout the album, listeners can hear snippets of his friends and family on different tracks. It gave audiences a closer glimpse into the life of Kendrick Lamar.
These are some of my favorite R&B/hip-hop albums of the 2010s so far. What are yours? Let us know in the comments below.
Monday morning I was home, and had somehow avoided watching or listening to the news or going online to check my social media news feeds. When I finally logged in around noon, the first thing I saw was a sad post in my Facebook feed, mourning the loss of David Bowie (born David Robert Jones).
Surely this must be a hoax, I told myself.
Sadly it was not. Over the course of the day, the main thing that struck me was how many people (from completely different walks of life) where in mourning or disbelief over his passing. It takes a cultural icon of a very unique and special stature to garner this sort of grieving from so many different people around the world.
You too have probably engaged with Bowie’s music or art at some point in your life. Today the Eleventh Stack bloggers would like to share their own favorite David Bowie songs or memories, and we encourage you to share as well in the comments section. Farewell, Mr. Bowie — the world is made a little less interesting by your passing.
It’s nearly impossible to choose just a couple of favorites from Bowie’s vast catalog of amazing music, but if I must, these are my current choices. Ask me next week and I may choose different titles.
“Golden Years” (Station to Station, 1976) – This is one of my husband’s favorites, too. It’s hard for me not to play air guitar or otherwise jam to this song. I love the refrain: “I’ll stick with you baby for a thousand years. Nothing’s gonna touch you in these golden years.”
“Modern Love” (Let’s Dance, 1983) – Although the backup singers annoy me slightly, I still adore this song. I had no idea what I was listening to the first time I heard it on the radio, and I kind of hated it and kind of couldn’t get enough of it. It just got into my head, and the more times I heard it, the more I loved it.
My favorite Bowie pop culture moment is when he turned out to be the shape-shifting leader of the Guild of Calamitous Intent on Venture Brothers. I don’t care that he didn’t actually do the voice. It was too awesome for words.
We had a white cat growing up with two different colored eyes that my aunt named Bowie (aka The Thin White Duke). I thought it was such a lame name for a cat. The only thing i really knew about Bowie at the time was that he was the dude wearing tights in Labyrinth that gave me strange and uncomfortable feelings.
Fast forward ten or so years, and Bowie’s music would become an essential part of the soundtrack to the rest of my life. I love so many of his albums, but hold a special candle for Hunky Dory, since it was the first record of his I bought on vinyl as a burgeoning wannabe music nerd.
Special mention should probably go to his 1977 album Low, which I still find haunting and beautiful to this day.
[A tip: the library owns many David Bowie albums on CD, but most of them have a wait list at the moment. However, our streaming service Hoopla has many, many Bowie albums that you can check out right now. If you’ve never used Hoopla and would like some help we’re always happy to lend a hand.]
Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a wonderful book and a necessary read. It’s very powerful and eye-opening. The book is basically a letter to his son about what it’s like to be black in America. After I was done reading this book, I began thinking of songs that connect to it. So here’s five songs that would be on the soundtrack for Between the World and Me.
This is one of Michael Jackson’s most powerful songs. Jackson is calling out the powers that be and saying that they don’t care about his people. This song fits with Coates’ idea that the “system” doesn’t care about the black community and that it never did from the start.
I have always enjoyed the songs by Tupac where he is talking about the state of the world. This song is almost 20 years old and it’s still sadly relevant. Shakur talks about how the world hasn’t changed, and he mentions police brutality, which is still obviously a problem. This song connects to the book because Coates talks about the many unarmed black men & women who have been killed by the police.
On this song, which is one of my favorites by Marvin Gaye, he’s singing about the state of the world and how it bothers him. This connects to Coates’ book because some of the same things that Gaye is singing about Coates is talking about. It’s sad that 40-plus years later we’re still having these same issues.
This is one Stevie Wonder song that I would consider underrated. It’s a great song. Wonder sings about things like race relations and different issues going on in the world. The themes here link nicely to Coates’ discussions on race and culture.
J. Cole is one of my favorite contemporary rappers. I would consider him not only a rapper, but also a storyteller. In this song, Cole tells of his dream where he was trapped in a city where he got robbed at gunpoint. In a separate dream he and his friends were the ones committing the robbery. This song reminds me of Between The World And Me because there’s a part of the book when Coates talks about when he was younger and he saw a boy pull out a gun during an argument and how that changed him.
Between the World and Me is a book that will make you think. I’d like to believe that these songs will do the same thing. If you’ve read this book, what songs would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!
Overwhelmed by the copious numbers of “Best of 2015” lists every publication is putting out? Forget the other guys. We’ve got you covered with our favorite books, movies and music of 2015.
Playing favorites is hard for me, and my first instinct is to do some cop-out, like: this was my favorite goofy comic that made me laugh on a bad day and this was my favorite classic I never read before, and this was my favorite memoir and on and on and on, until I mention every awesome book that I read all year and fill up an entire post. So, even though it is causing me more than a little mental anguish to do so, I’m going to stick with one nonfiction pick and one fiction pick. For nonfiction, I’m going with Daring Greatly, a book all about the importance of vulnerability and human connection; it’s not an exaggeration to say that reading this book changed parts of my life. It was definitely a “right book, right time” situation. As for fiction, I’m giving my top honors to Code Name: Verity, a thrilling, page-turning, plot-twisty YA adventure set during WWII. (Neither of these books were published in 2015, but that’s when I read ’em, so by my rules, they totally count).
Before We Go feels like the little brother of Before Sunrise and Roman Holiday. Whimsical and hopeful, first-time director Captain America Chris Evans has given us a quiet, character-driven drama. I was immensely impressed at what Evans did here and look forward to more of his directorial endeavors. And he might actually be a good actor as well, trading in punches and shield-shucking for pathos and a turn resembling the male equivalent of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Plus he and Alice Eve are both beautiful people, so even if the film had sucked—which it didn’t—I would have been fine looking at them for ninety-five minutes.
As a tangential point, The End of Tour and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl both close out with Brian Eno‘s “The Big Ship.” The track on its own fills me with a kind of melancholic joy. I get a similar feeling when I watch movies like Before We Go and The End of the Tour, and I invite you to watch them too. When the weather is cold and the sun is hidden behind clouds pregnant with rain, watching these kinds of movies is like a warm hug to me. Savor the quiet films. They have the potential to be explosions in your heart.
It’s usually always hard for me to pick favorites when it comes to books, movies, and music, but I managed to narrow down to one for each part of this post.
For favorite book, I choseBetween The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This is a very powerful book from start to finish. Even though it’s only 152 pages, it packs a punch that’s worthy of the length of a Harry Potter novel. The book is told in the perspective of the author talking to his son about his experiences growing up as a black man in America. It’s considered a biography, but I would also consider it a call to action (if such a genre existed). A must-read for, well, everyone.
I’ve seen some great movies this year, but my favorite wasStraight Outta Compton, the biopic about the hip-hop group N.W.A. This movie was a slight obsession for me after I saw it. I’ve been impatiently waiting for the movie to come out on Blu-Ray. It comes out on January 19th (late birthday present!). I fell in love with the cast and thought that the movie was excellent. All of the actors made me believe that they were the real people they were portraying. I was impressed. Until the movie is released on DVD, you can check out the group’s album with the same title as the film.
Speaking of albums, boy was this hard for me. I already put a spotlight on Adele’s fabulous new album, 25, so I decided to put the spotlight on another album that I enjoyed this year, which was Jazmine Sullivan’s Reality Show. This album was Sullivan’s first in 5 years. I was very excited about her comeback and this album was well worth the wait. Sullivan brought back the raw delivery and powerful vocals that is somewhat missing in today’s R&B. Reality Show was nominated for some Grammies (much deserved). Take a listen, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I saw one new movie in 2015 and I’m not admitting to which one it was. I’m not a huge music person. I did read! It is hard to choose—should I chose that depressing book, that really depressing book or that other depressing book? For someone with a generally sunny outlook, I read a lot of sad books. I narrowed it down to four (semi) depressing books.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affairby Swiss writer Joel Decker, is a boisterous, fast-paced thriller with a love story, a murder and surprising plot twists. I read it in one day at the pool. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt is a coming of age story set during the beginning of the AIDS crisis. I also relate to the main character, as I wrote about here last month. Cue all the crying.
How well do you ever really know your spouse? Are you absolutely sure that events have happened the way you think they did and for the reasons you believe?
There are two sides to every story and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is the story of the marriage between Lancelot (Lotto) Satterwhite and Mathilde Yoder. On the surface, they seem to have it all. They’re an attractive young couple, very much in love at the beginning of their lives together. But under it all, they both have pasts filled with events and secrets that continue to haunt them. The couple’s actions, decisions and future are ultimately shaped by their past. But while Lotto is an open book, Mathilde keeps everything to herself. You don’t know this for the first half of the book, Lotto’s story. You’ll get to know the real Mathilde when you read her half. But you’ll end up loving them, and their marriage, just the same.
Just FYI, President Obama named Fates and Furies his favorite book of 2015.
My top picks for 2015 are Eighty Days of Sunlight by Robert Yune and All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. Both, in different ways, deal with suicide. Yune’s novel delves more into the lives of those left behind by a suicide, while Toews explores the torture of knowing that someone you love wants to die and the ethical implications of assisted suicide. Both novels are beautiful, poignant character studies, and both, at points, made me want to cry, or fling the book across the room, or stay up all night until I knew what happened.
I also enjoyed reading a few brilliant comic series: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Weibe and Roc Upchurch and Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. The first, I’ve written about previously (volume five came out fairly recently). The second is a Dungeons & Dragons-style romp with diverse and awesome female characters, and the last is a funny, heartwarming and beautiful love story that touches on sex, mental illness and of course, crime.
It never fails. I read a lot of excellent books all year long, but then one swoops in at the eleventh hour and knocks me sideways. This year that honor goes to Strangers Drowning: Grappling With Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help, by Larissa MacFarquhar. The question on the table is, how much responsibility do we have for strangers? Some people feel called to go above and beyond normal acts of charity and goodwill and perform larger acts of service, such as adopting 22 children, donating 50% of their salary to charity, or offering a kidney to someone on the transplant list they don’t even know. Known as “extreme altruism,” this practice has been explored through history via philosophy, psychology, and literature, mostly in terms of discovering whether or not being that good is a good idea (spoiler: sometimes it backfires horribly). Profiles of various “do-gooders,” as MacFarquhar calls them, alternate with debates on the ethics of altruism; the title refers to a classic ethical dilemma in which a person has a choice between saving one person they love, OR two strangers, from drowning: which is the correct choice? Drink a lot of coffee and be prepared to stay up all night debating with your friends: Strangers raises more questions than it answers, and is guaranteed to make you put the book down and say “Oh my God,” at least once.
On the fiction front, I fell in love with Alex Marshall’s A Crown for Cold Silver because of its unusual heroine. Zosia, a warrior queen, gets tired of court politics, fakes her death and abdicates her throne in favor of a peaceful country life. Fast forward a decade or so to when new queen finds out Zosia isn’t really dead and tries to assassinate her, forcing the reluctant warrior to pick up her sword again and round up her companions. Given that everyone’s older now, and somewhat the worse for wear, this isn’t going to be a picnic. However, Zosia and her generals still have a lot of fight left in them, and don’t give up so easily. A middle-aged woman who just wants to be left in peace but is constantly dragged back into drama? Sold to the lady in black. Also a good pick for anyone who likes Game of Thrones in theory, but prefers shorter sentences and more action sequences in practice. If you enjoy it, keep an eye out for the sequel, A Blade of Black Steel, coming in May 2016.
I’m a complete and total fangirl for Colum McCann, so it should come as no surprise that his new collection of fiction has landed on my favorites list. Thirteen Ways of Looking represents some of McCann’s best work to date and is an extraordinary example of how shorter works have the capability to conjure up a range of emotions. McCann leaves his reader reeling, almost breathless at the end of the title novella. Forget 2015—yes, please, and don’t let the door hit ya—this one has earned a place among my favorite books ever.
– Melissa F.
What were your favorite books, movies and music of 2015? Let us know in the comments!
Last year, our music and film specialists at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main offered up their suggestions for holiday tunes that were a little off the beaten path. This year we’re making it even easier—here are ten albums we recommend that you can download or stream right now through the library with Hoopla. (And if you don’t yet have a Hoopla account, you can learn more about it here.)
Has there ever been a more maudlin song that included lyrics like, “Christmastime is here/Happiness and cheer”? For me, this album perfectly sums up the holidays with its mixture of joy and bitter sweet nostalgia.
The Staple Singers are well known for their R&B hits of the late 60s and early 70s, but prior to that, they were a really groovy gospel group. The Staple sisters all have wonderful voices, but it’s Pops Staples work on the steel guitar that really makes these gospel tunes something special.
It’s that time of year again (the most wonderful time of year, according to some people) where you hear Christmas music just about everywhere you go. This drives some people crazy, but I enjoy it. Christmas music holds a special place in my heart, and I have a few favorites I’ll list here.
This song is actually very sad because Vandross is singing about a lost love. The song is sung so beautifully that you almost forget what it’s about. You can find this song and others on Vandross’ Christmas CD, which is available in our catalog.
While nothing compares to the original, I really enjoy Chris Brown’s version of this Christmas classic. He put his own modern twist to the song. The song is on the soundtrack for the movie with the same name; you can download it on Freegal.
I know! I know! Everything about this song is cheesy, from the music video, to the lyrics, to the single cover, but I don’t care! I love this song. I look forward to Wish 99.7 playing it a million times during the holiday season. I also have it on my iPod, and I’m not ashamed to admit, that either. This song is for everyone who has gotten their heart broken during the holiday season, and it’s also available to download via Freegal.
Mixing Brian McKnight and Boyz II Men results in harmonic gold on this tune! This song makes you want to cuddle up by a fireplace with that special someone (or in my case makes me wish that I had a special someone). This song can be found on their Christmas CD, Christmas Interpretations, which also features their wonderful rendition of “Silent Night.”
When the holiday season arrives this is my go-to song to play. If I went out to karaoke during the holiday season this is the song that I would sing. Now if I would hit that high note toward the end is a different story. This is another one of those songs that can make you think of that special someone. It’s very cute and fun. This song is featured on Carey’s wonderful album, Merry Christmas.
Now let’s hear about some of your favorites! Tell us in the comments below. Happy holidays!