Album Review: Strangeland

Strangeland by Keane (Island Records, 2012. 45 minutes) Keane is a piano-driven pop band lead by front man Tom Chaplin. Formed in 1997 in East Sussex, England, the band has achieved wide acclaim. Their most successful album is Under the Iron Sea, which topped charts and peaked at number four in the Billboard 200 in 2006. Melody Is Dead Melody is dead. Extinct. No more. It’s pushing up daisies. Melody takes up residence in the great musical beyond. The culprit? You. That’s right, you are solely responsible for grossly mangling melodic content to the point where it simply gave up and breathed its last. It’s sad really—mostly because you had no idea you were doing it. The current shift in… Read More →

Album Review: Little Broken Hearts

Little Broken Hearts by Norah Jones (Blue Note, 2012. 45 minutes) Norah Jones (b. 1979) is the daughter of famous sitarist, Ravi Shankar. She launched her career in 2002 with the release of Come Away With Me, which won her five Grammy Awards, and sold over twenty million copies. She is listed as Billboard magazine’s 60th best selling artist and the top jazz artist of the 2000 decade. Evolution A lack of evolution is my main complaint of most musical artists. Take famed smooth jazz saxophonist, Kenny G., as an example. He has found a formula and exploited it for thousands of middle-aged housewives all around the country. His music has plagued elevators for at least a decade, and why?… Read More →

Book Review: Guitar Zero

Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning by Gary Marcus (New York: The Penguin Press, 2012. 274 pp). Gary Marcus is a professor of psychology and the director of the Center for Language and Music at New York University, where he studies language and cognitive development. He is the author of Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind, which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. I’m a Pretend Guitar Hero I confess that I’ve spent countless hours playing the popular video game, Guitar Hero. Fostering the illusion that I, too, can be a guitar legend, it is no wonder why I, along with countless others, gravitate to the game. The popular television show,… Read More →

Album Review: Scars & Stories

Scars & Stories by The Fray (Epic, 2012, 45 minutes) The Fray is an American rock band from Denver, Colorado. Schoolmates Isaac Slade and Joe King formed the band in 2002, and achieved success in 2005 with their debut album. As a band, they’ve remained at the top of the Billboard charts, and have been nominated for four Grammy awards. When a Musician Is no Longer a Musician I tried, I really did. I started listening to Scars & Stories hoping that something had changed, that some musical revelation had appeared. But, alas, it didn’t. I’m a big fan of what can be called “musicianship”, and The Fray falls short of this concept with Scars & Stories. Simply put, there’s… Read More →