Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
21 is the eagerly awaited sophomore album from British singer-songwriter Adele. Its the follow up to Adele s critically acclaimed, Grammy award winning debut album 19 (both named after her age at the time the songs were written). Recorded in Malibu and London, 21 offered Adele the opportunity to work with such luminary producers and songwriters as Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Dan Wilson and Fraser T. Smith, as well as continuing to work with Francis Eg White and Jim Abbiss. This new collection of songs showcases the growth of this incredible artist, who at the very young age of twenty two, exhibits the poise of a seasoned veteran. Adele s music takes some new direction while staying true to her signature style. I discovered lots of artists I'd never heard of, particularly Wanda Jackson, Allison Krauss, Yvonne Fair, Andrew Bird, Neko Case, Lady Antebellum and Steel Drivers who I fell in love with. Then I delved in to more from artists I've loved forever - Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Elbow, Mos Def, Alanis Morissette, Tom Waits and Sinead O'Connor. There's something in every single one of these artists that have really really inspired 21
It s one of the lost classics of the 60s, a psychedelic masterpiece drenched in colour and inspired by life, love, poverty, rebellion, and, of course, jumpers, coke, sweet mary jane . The album is Cold Fact, and what s more intriguing is that its maker a shadowy figure known as Rodriguez was, for many years, lost too. A decade ago, he was rediscovered working on a Detroit building site, unaware that his defining album had become not only a cult classic, but for the people of South Africa, a beacon of revolution. Sixto Diaz Rodriguez was born in 1942 to Mexican immigrant parents in Detroit, Michigan. He recorded Cold Fact his debut album in 1969, and released it in March 1970. It s crushingly good stuff, filled with tales of bad drugs, lost love, and itchy-footed songs about life in late 60s inner-city America. Gun sales are soaring/Housewives find life boring/Divorce the only answer/Smoking causes cancer, says the Dylan-esque Establishment Blues. But the album sank without trace, thanks, in part, to some of Rodriguez s more idiosyncratic behavior, like performing at an industry showcase with his back to the audience throughout. As his music career became a memory, Rodriguez s legend was growing on the other side of the world. In South Africa and, to a lesser extent, Rhodesia, Australia and New Zealand, Cold Fact had become a major word of mouth success, particularly among young people in the South African armed forces, who identified with its counter-cultural bent. But Rodriguez was an enigma not even the label knew where to find him and his demise became the subject of debate and conjecture. Some rumors said he d died of a heroin overdose or burned to death on stage. But the tide began to turn in 1996, when journalist Craig Bartholemew set out to get to the bottom of the mystery. After many dead ends, he found Rodriguez alive, well, free and perfectly sane in Detroit, ending years of speculation. Rodriguez himself had no idea about his fame in South Africa (the album had gone multi-platinum, Rodriguez has r...
His first ever CD greatest-hits collection, Neil Young's Greatest Hits is a long-awaited retrospective from one of rock's most influential and enduring singer-songwriters. With 16 selections spanning his entire career since 1969, Greatest Hits features some of the greatest hits of rock'n'roll, period. Also available is a CD+DVD package that includes the original stereo master mixes (for highest resolutation listening) photo gallery and other bonuses. One question would be: What took him so long? After all, a contemporary like Van Morrison has sold boatloads of his single-disc best-of set to buyers wary of diving into that deep catalog without a primer to get them started. So three and a half decades into his solo career, Neil Young finally delivers his version of that most modest of albums--the pre-holiday "hits" overview. What's surprising, coming from such a proud maverick, is its conventionality. Granted, the original master mixes are a boon for fans, but otherwise, there's not much here for loyalists who quite likely already possess the original "Like a Hurricane" on a couple of albums, as well as a handful of live interpretations scanning the years. Since Young cracked the Top 10 only once (1972's "Heart of Gold"), this set is built around concert staples as "Cinnamon Girl," "Rockin' in the Free World," and "Hey, Hey, My My" rather than chart favorites. Despite Young's honorable standing as a still-vital graybeard, the disc is skewed heavily toward his early work, shortchanging some mighty productive recent years. Peripheral fans may find this set of interest, but faithful followers are better advised to investigate the DVD version, which, at least, includes videos, photos, lyrics, and Web links. --Steven Stolder
1975 album from New Jersey's finest. Born To Run was the album that created the legend and set the stage for massive international success. Features classic Boss tracks like 'Thunder Road', 'Badlands' and, of course, 'Born To Run'. Few albums are as fueled by hope, possibility, and the lure of the open road as Born to Run, a virtual concept album about small-town Jerseyites in search of a better life via hot-rodding out on the turnpike, scoring some small-time hustle, or blowing out of town altogether, either across the river to New York City or west for parts unknown. Songs like "Jungleland," "Thunder Road," "Backstreets," and the title track are epic productions, both sonically and lyrically, borrowing from Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, and West Side Story. When Born to Run was released in 1975, it earned then-unknown Springsteen the rare honor of simultaneous covers on both Time and Newsweek. The attention was warranted then, and it still is now. --Daniel Durchholz
All of their best-known, best-loved hits, plus choice album cuts and three live performances. A Billboard bestseller when it was first released in 1972, this is still the best single-disc Simon and Garfunkel collection available. Simon & Garfunkel have two 3-CD box sets collecting their entire career output, one with out-takes and live recordings, but the duo who were among the bestselling acts of the 1960s only recorded five studio albums throughout the entire 1960s! Their studio perfectionism is never better served than here. This greatest hits is simple and to the point, a perfect collection for anyone looking to get the basic idea (and hits) without committing to a more serious relationship. The harmonies, Paul Simon's masterful songwriting, Garfunkel's soaring choirboy voice, are all here. --Rob O'Connor
For over 40 years, Bob Seger has been one of America's best mainstream rock & rollers, crafting an impressive body of catchy, hard-rocking songs. Compiled here are some of Bog Seger and the Silver Bullet Band's greatest hits, including, 'Old Time Rock & Roll,' 'Turn the Page,' 'Hollywood Nights,' and his breakout hit, 'Night Moves.' Part of a two release collection alongside Bob Seger's Greatest Hits Vol. 2, this album is sure to satisfy Bob Seger fans old and new alike. Bob Seger has racked up a lot of worthy tracks over the years, but it took until 1994 for a greatest hits package to appear. VoilÃ . The bad news: We're missing an awful lot of songs here. Night Moves is Seger's crit-pick album, and a great place to start if you don't have any Seger at all. Next in the rankings is Stranger in Town. Otherwise, his highs are pretty scattered, which would make any best-of package a worthy investment. But if you want to get comprehensive, "Rock & Roll Never Forgets," "Fire Down Below," "Horizontal Bop," "Her Strut," "Betty Lou's Getting Out Tonight," and "Katmandu" aren't on this CD--and you'll have to go to the original albums to secure them. --Gavin McNett
BAREILLES SARA LITTLE VOICE For many listeners, Little Voice will be their first exposure to this soulful singer/songwriter, but it's actually Sara Bareilles' second record. Her first, the self-released Careful Confessions, led to a deal with Epic. Since then, Bareilles has opened for Marc Broussard and Maroon 5. She's also become a bonafide soundtrack queen with tracks featured in female-centric films Girl Play, Loving Annabelle, and Monster-in-Law. As with her out-of-print debut, the UCLA grad wrote every song on her first major label recording (Little Voice features re-worked versions of several demo numbers). Like the portrait on the back of the CD--Bareilles in strappy black dress and lace-free high-tops--the piano-playing chanteuse combines the sweet with the scruffy. While her jazzy pop melodies are radio-ready, her relationship-oriented lyrics can be unexpectedly salty ("Bottle Up" and "Come Round Soon" wouldn't pass FCC muster). A little profanity here and there, however, doesn't indicate tough-girl attitude--Amy Winehouse can rest easy--so much as a desire to express herself freely. As Bareilles explains in "Love Song," "I'm trying to let you hear me as I am." (Not surprisingly, her degree is in communications.) Fans of Sarah McLachlan and Alicia Keyes will find much to like here. --Kathleen C. Fennessy