CD reviews

Feb 222006
Authors: Hailey McDonald

4 out of 5 rammies

Costello comes back with jazz group at side

Elvis Costello released his first record in 1977. With nearly 30 years of experience in the music industry, you have to expect quality from the man.

With his new album "My Flame Burns Blue," Costello teams up with a Dutch jazz orchestra to fashion the antiquated genre into a composition with a modern twist.

The title track originally recorded by Duke Ellington and known as "Blood Count" gives you a good feel where the older inspiration for the music on the album came from. For a more '60s mod approach, the track "Episode of Blonde" includes a splash of salsa and would be an excellent song to try out at your next cocktail or block party.

The music is perfect for a summer jazz concert or a cafe. It has the perfect amount of sultry melodies, but with some Costello pep as well. I vote the album replaces the carefully selected musical wonders from Michael Bolton and Kenny G in department store elevators.

Costello shines throughout the album, however, the orchestra should be attributed when it comes to the liveliness of the tunes. Musicians will be able to find an appreciation for the excellent compilation of jazz. Any group can throw together some random saxophone solos and mash awkward sounding keys together and call it jazz, but this combination truly crafts a compilation of what all jazz should be.

The album finishes with, none other than, "God Give Me Strength," the song that was performed by the team of Costello and Burt Bacharach (think: "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery").

The new album will be released next Tuesday. If interested, it may be hard to seek out because it will be an imported album only.


3 out of 5 rammies

British group infuses industry with indie-rock hits

Deemed one of the most successful bands throughout the United Kingdom within the last 10 years, Placebo is to produce another album for their fans. The indie-rock band that can be heard on soundtracks such as "Cruel Intentions" and "Velvet Goldmine" will release "Meds," their eighth album since their beginning in 1996.

If you are a fan of their earlier stuff, don't expect any big surprises. The band still embraces mysterious rock melodies and their lyrics still sound like modern poetry.

Placebo's popularity in Britain is not quite matched buy the United States, but their musical style is quite similar to that of the Smashing Pumpkins with some vocal likeness to the Cranberries.

The album is to be preceded by the commercial release of the single "Because I Want You." Compared to the rest of the CD, the track has a more up beat, hardcore, radio-friendly feel to it. "Space Monkey" and "In the Cold Light of Morning" are more mellow, fluid tracks. However beautiful, these tracks will most likely not make it to the mainstream. "You are one of God's mistakes, you crying tragic waste of skin," starts the ending track "Song To Say Goodbye." With lyrics like that, the song is destined to be an album favorite.

"Meds" has a cool flow throughout the entire CD and will only add to Placebo's ubiquitous success.

Check out Placebo's new album if you are totally obsessed with anything British and emo, or if you like the Smashing Pumpkins, REM, Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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