It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me: Gary Clark, Jr. Resurrects Classic Rock Vibes

While most kids ran around the park, scrapping elbows and playing Pirates, I sprawled out on my bed and copied the lyrics of my favorite Petula Clark song. My name is Melanie, and I am the oldest 25-year old that ever lived.

I was born with the heart of a 1960s hippie, twenty years too late. I blame my folks for this. My parents spent their youth as bell-bottomed teens with a penchant for the classics, particularly music birthed from Great Britain. In turn, they passed their “peace and love, man” ideals to yours truly. In middle school, I was the musically misplaced ‘oldies fanatic’ during ‘NSYNC mania. I hummed doo-wop songs before I even knew what  ‘hip-hop’ was, and Justin Timberlake had nothing on a young Paul McCartney, bowl-cut and all. (To this day, I’m pretty sure I can belt out any Beatles tune if you ask nicely.)

What’s the point of this pretentious anecdote? To showcase the moment I nearly lost faith in contemporary music, upon stumbling across Justin Bieber’s “Baby” video on MTV. Once I had processed the mind-numbing chorus of: “Baby, baby, baby, oh // Like baby, baby, baby, no // Like baby, baby, baby, oh // I thought you’d always be mine, mine,” I could only sit on the sofa, absolutely dumbfounded. I felt as if I had just witnessed the decline of all human effort, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the only person in the world who would actively campaign to get his songwriter fired.

To my relief, Bieber soon went bye-bye and a new video emerged like a musical Godsend. A solo artist named Gary Clark, Jr. swooped in to restore my optimism in the modern music industry. For the next five minutes, I was in guitar-riff heaven; captivated by this musician who shredded his way into my heart with a classic Gibson ES335.

Brazenly referred to as the modern-day Jimi Hendrix, Gary Clark, Jr. is the Texas-based crooner making waves with his commanding “cool cat” persona and fuzzy guitar rhythms. Though he has gained some notoriety on the indie-blues rock scene, Gary Clark, Jr. is relatively under wraps. For someone who has harnessed old-school influences to produce a modern blues vibe, this is one artist truly deserving of global recognition.

Listen to his first single, “Bright Lights,” a song chronicling his journey of self-exploration in the unforgiven metropolis of NYC. What’s your take on this up-and-coming artist? Is Gary Clark, Jr. the reincarnation of old-school rock?

Brooklyn Couple Breaks Up in YouTube Video

If only every relationship could end in an amicable music video.

Brooklyn-based couple Jonathan and Ivory are making viral headlines with their YouTube sensation song that chronicles their relationship’s demise in light of opposing views.

According to the song’s lyrics, Ivory takes an adamant stance against having children, in contrast to her pro-kid partner Jonathan who makes clear that he “wants to have babies.” After five years of dating, the couple have concluded their conflicting desires leave no other choice but the inevitable break-up.

The song delves further with its lyrics, assuring mutual friends that they “don’t have to choose” sides, “though it will be awkward, yes.” The ex-couple additionally requests invitations to friends’ parties, assuring they will still remain cordial:  “No, don’t feel weird; we love all of you! After five whole years at each other’s sides, there’s just some things no relationship can survive.”

The YouTube video concludes with an eager Jonathan admitting he wants a couple of children, juxtaposed to a negating Ivory who simply shakes her head in disagreement.

What’s your take on this couple’s breakup rendition? Do you believe this civil break-up ballad ends on a musical note, or nonsensical approach?

2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees: From Doo-Wop to Disco and Everything in Between

The 28th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees were announced on October 4, 2012, offering a list of 15 groundbreaking artists who have circulated the music scene for a minimum of 25 years, as required for the ballot.

This unprecedented event was further marked by first-time fan voting, which allowed music lovers to vote on their preferred inductees. Though voting was concluded on December 5th, fans don’t have much longer to wait; the total nominations will be revealed sometime in mid-December, serving as a pre-holiday surprise for the musicians who made the selective cut. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on April 18, 2013 at Los Angeles’s notable Nokia Theatre.

In anticipation of the event, check the list below to revel in the revolutionary talents of the past quarter century:

Albert King, Chic, Deep Purple, Kraftwerk, Donna Summer, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Marvelettes, The Meters, N.W.A., Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Procol Harum, Public Enemy, Randy Newman and Rush.

From doo-wop to prog-rock to gangster rap, the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees fulfill a wide-range of experimental genres that have surpassed the last two decades; culminating in triumph as musical legends, regardless of the ultimate victor.

The Fray covers Kanye, hits a home run

The Fray

The other day I heard the Fray’s cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless” on the radio. It’s amazing. Not only is there a completely different rock element to the song, but Issac’s voice is brilliant. With the new, piano-driven arrangement, there’s much more depth, especially when listening to the lyrics.

The track was originally recorded as par of The Fray Live, which is available on iTunes, and was released to radio April 21. While the Fray may have committed a cardinal sin and covered a song that’s currently on the charts, they’ve managed to do so magnificently. There’s not another band I can think of who could have attempted the switch without faltering. It just goes to show that the Fray aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Make sure to check out the new single on iTunes, or you can listen to the song for free on YouTube.

Random Acts of Listening: The Lotus Eaters, “Sara”

In celebration of the new look for Eat Sleep Drink Music – otherwise known as ESDMusic, of course – let’s roll out a new column, shall we? As you can see, it’s called “Random Acts of Listening,” and the idea is to hit “shuffle” on one’s iPod, listen to the first song that turns up, and write about it. The resulting piece might be personal, critical, or just straight up informational, but the ultimate goal is that it prove interesting, and I’d like to think that anyone who writes for the site can manage to pull off such a task.

First up: “Sara,” by The Lotus Eaters, from their 2001 album, silentspace.

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts