I've got a new laptop, new headphones and a few gift cards to the iTunes music store. This means 2011 is already that much better for music from where I'm sitting.
The beauty of an iTunes gift card is that it forces you to explore music more. It would be too easy to go to the top rated and top download sections - but when you have a budget to work with in that space you always want to make sure you choose wisely.
It's kept me busy for at least 5 hours yesterday. It actually had me cross referencing CD collections and old mixed discs to see if I had things or not. It turns out you do need CDs to trigger the memory at times. The iTunes store is much like any other store in that real estate is everything. You really need to spend time and sift through the A-Z sections to find the depths of this store.
Here are 5 albums I dug up and think you should check out or reinvestigate when you have time.
The Cardigans - 'Long Gone Before Daylight'. This album was one of the first I had the pleasure of marketing in 2003. It's a truly beautiful album from start to finish. The video for 'For What it's Worth' is unreal and is so much cooler that the song 'Lovefool' that put this band's name on the map.
Common - 'Like Water for Chocolate'. Conscious Hip Hop meets Neo Soul. This was my introduction into something very cool. Common, Talib, The Roots, Jazzfatnastees and all things Okay Player came with this package and really gave me a better understanding of Hip Hop. Check out the classic video for 'The Light'.
Amy Winehouse - 'Frank'. When this album came out Amy was being marketed alongside 2 jazz artists, Jamie Cullum and Katie Melua. She did her first showcase at Top of the Senator here in Toronto and I, along with a roommate, sat front row to see this Gina Gershon looking soul singer perform. She was amazing and tiny back then. In recent years I witnessed a cracked out cockney twig of a woman mumble her way through an interview on MTV Live. I cannot believe what she has become. Here's a look at her first video for 'Stronger Than Me'. This album is still a classic regardless of how she turned out and worth another listen.
Scissor Sisters - 'Scissor Sisters'. The first single was a cover of Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb' and I did not like it one bit. The second track I heard from this album was a very different story though. It had the power of a young Elton John and the depth of a Floyd track. 'Mary' is truly a great introduction to this amazing album and a start to exploring their full collection.
Beck - 'Sea Change'. I couldn't get into Beck when he first stepped on the scene. I don't know why - but his music just never left me wanting more. In 2002 he released Sea Change and it knocked me on my ass. This album is meant to be heard on a car as you drive off into the sunset. The lead track 'Golden Age' is the perfect track to unwind to and forget about your troubles. Not unlike 'Golden Age' the other stand-out track from this one is 'Guess I'm Doing Fine'.Here's to another great year in music.
Thanks for reading/listening.