Justin Timberlake Drops First Track from ‘Man of the Woods’

Less than a month before headlining the halftime show at the 52nd Super Bowl, Justin Timberlake has just released a funky new track titled “Filthy,” which is the first preview from his upcoming album, Man of the Woods. Upon my first few listens, I must confess my initial reaction is mixed. I like the groove-a-licious beat, but my ears and brain keep endlessly searching for a hook that makes me want to give it repeated attention and I’m not entirely convinced this new tune has the power to bring sexy back.

“Filthy” doesn’t make me feel dirty or clean, just apprehensive, as it ultimately seems like a step backwards from the Tenn. Man’s exceptional 20/20 Experience. However, I don’t want to jump to premature conclusions, because if I’ve only learned one thing over the years, it’s that you can’t always judge an album from its lead-off single.

Click below to decide for yourself:

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Hello 2018!

It’s a new year and that means thrilling new musical projects are on the horizon for 2018. The past year gave us quite a few gems including new releases from Tori Amos, Beck, Eminem, The Killers, U2, Guardians of the Galaxy 2’s Awesome Mix Vol. 2 and the first proper solo effort from Liam Gallagher before 2017 ultimately concluding with holiday gifts from Sia, Tom Chaplin and Gwen Stefani.

As we proceed into 2018, we have several exciting items waiting in the wings such as new albums from Florence + the Machine, Father John Misty, Justin Timberlake, MGMT, The 1975 and a new remake of A Star Is Born, containing new music from Lady Gaga. There’s also U2’s highly anticipated Experience + Innocence Tour, so 2018 sounds as if it will be engrossing.

Cheers to a great new year and happy listening to all.

 

Fun, Dreams and an Adventure of a Lifetime: Recalling Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams Tour

(Photo: Coldplay in Cleveland by Eric Allen © 2017 Popmartzoo)

“This was our first chapter. From now on we’ll only be full of surprises,” was recently posted on Coldplay’s Facebook page upon completion of the A Head Full of Dreams Tour in Buenos Aires. The sentiment reinforced the mysterious cloud of uncertainty which hangs over Coldplay’s future as a band. Chris Martin has alleged on more than one occasion the band’s seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams marks “the completion of something.” He’s also proclaimed he doesn’t envision another proper Coldplay full-length in the future. While it doesn’t sound like the band members themselves know for sure what lies ahead for the best-selling rock band of this century, it seems all but guaranteed it’ll be some time before we find out what will come next.

Coldplay’s latest tour, which ran from March 2016 through October 2017, included 114 shows and became the third-highest grossing concert tour of all time, and ticket sales grossed a total of $523,033,675. Now that the profound A Head Full of Dreams Tour has ended its trek around the globe, I can’t help recalling the magical adventure of the three shows I was lucky enough to attend.

After my two unforgettable experiences in 2016, I was luckily and unexpectedly presented with an opportunity to travel an additional 600 miles to attend another date of Coldplay’s tour in Cleveland. This time, my best friend from high school was in tow, as he’d never before seen Coldplay live. I must admit I was not only curious if the show would have the same impact on me a year later, but I also wondered if it would impress my best friend in the same manner it had affected me previously. I’m happy to report the answers to both questions are yes and YES! [Read Full Story]

Music Condescension: A Sanctimonious Affliction

We’ve all encountered and endured the hyperbolic rantings of music snobs. You know the type; someone who not only thinks they know more than the average music buff, but more than anyone else, period. The stereotypical music fanatic feels self-important and even entitled to an unjustified sense of coolness by playing the anti-mainstream music game; declaring a particular favorite band or artist is better than whomever someone else is listening to because said artist is more obscure. Yet, these so-called music aficionados are the first to abandon their favorites upon the very first sign of even a miniscule amount of commercial triumph, because of some imaginary belief system based on tiresome and ridiculous self-imposed “rules,” which decree mainstream success is evil and taboo.

Now before you start thinking to yourself that I’m the pot calling the kettle black, understand my point is this: I don’t think my musical taste is superior or inferior to anyone else’s. But then again, I’m certainly not the type of musical hypocrite who will stop listening to a band or artist I’ve followed for years just because the mainstream masses eventually jump on the proverbial band wagon (pun intended). Also, I’ll readily admit I’ve had countless first-hand experiences of initially rejecting particular artists too hastily based upon bad first impressions, only to discover later I had prematurely misjudged or overlooked their significant musical contributions. [Read Full Feature]

A Look Back at Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour

In celebration of Madonna’s 59th birthday, as well as her provocative Rebel Heart Tour coming to DVD, Blu-ray, CD and digital download in September, I’m reflecting on her fabulous Nashville concert stop back in January 2016. The two-hour-plus show was the first Music City performance of the superstar’s career, which now spans more than three decades. This egregious fact didn’t go unnoticed by the singer as she jokingly professed to be a “Nashville virgin” when she took the stage.

The pop diva’s show was divided into four themes: Samurai, Asian, Latin and Party Celebration. Each segment was individually characterized by distinguishing wardrobe changes, choreography, and song selection. The show’s setlist heavily incorporated material from the singer’s most recent album Rebel Heart, but also contained many fan favorites, some of which she hasn’t performed in years, namely “Dress You Up,” “True Blue,” Deeper and Deeper,” “Who’s That Girl” and an electrified version of her early hit “Burning Up.”

This show marked my fifth Madonna concert overall, since first seeing her live on the acclaimed Who’s That Girl World Tour way back in 1987. I also attended her Drowned World, Re-invention and MDNA World Tours, and each show was an inimitable and exhilarating vision. As every true-blue fan knows, no one else puts on a show quite like Madonna. All five times I was lucky enough to witness Madonna perform live on stage was analogous to sneaking into a master class of the performing arts. [Read Full Review]

Deliberating the Go-Go’s ‘Vacation’ on its 35th Anniversary

After a six-week run atop Billboard’s 200 album chart with the multi-platinum debut album Beauty and the Beat, all-girl rock group the Go-Go’s hurriedly released the follow-up sophomore effort, Vacation. Echoes of previous singles “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” could still be heard across radio airwaves when “Vacation” became the band’s third hit single in the summer of ’82. The bubbly title track was the first-ever cassette single and was accompanied by its vivid and playful music video, which revealed the band members hamming it up while pretending to be highly skilled water skiers.

The Go-Go’s second studio album started off strong, but inspiration seemed as if had been stretched thin in order to quickly release a follow-up to the band’s best-selling debut. Leftovers from the Go-Go’s earlier live setlists unfortunately found their way onto the sophomore effort, effectively diluting what could’ve been a solid track listing. The obligatory cover tune “Cool Jerk” and the subpar “Beatnik Beach” sounded like fillers included to expand upon the album’s abstract beach theme. It resulted in making the Go-Go’s second album sound as if the girls had been left scrambling for quality material. Additionally, Jane Wiedlin’s heavy reliance on Webster’s rhyming dictionary (as evidenced on “Girl of 100 Lists” and “It’s Everything but Partytime”) certainly didn’t help matters. Fortunately, Kathy Valentine was aptly able to pick up her cronies’ slack by contributing the effervescent title track, the accidently prophetic “We Don’t Get Along” and the ethereal closing ballad, “Worlds Away.” [Read Full Review]