Blog

Jez

Lover

Taylor Swift is back with her seventh album: Lover!  If Reputation was Taylor changing her style and going more in a pop direction, Lover is a bit of a course correction.  The new album feels like a combination of her upbeat pop anthems from 1989 and Reputation, but with the beautifully written, emotionally honest ballads from Red and her earlier work.

Some of my favorites are "Paper Rings" and "The Archer."  "The Man" is incredibly enjoyable and a refreshing push back against the media's portrayal of Taylor and her music, pointing out that what she is vilified for is exactly what earns her male contemporaries praise.  Some songs, such as "I Forgot That You Existed" are good, but grow on you with each consecutive listen. Overall, there's something enjoyable for everyone here and at least for the next couple of weeks, Lover (2019) will be on constant rotation in my home.

Listen immediately by borrowing the album on Hoopla!

Tags:
Jennifer

The Vienna Berlin Music Club by Philharmonix (2018)

I recently had the chance to see Philharmonix live—and what an experience!  Listening to the album is the next best thing—and you can do so via Hoopla.  The Vienna Berlin Music Club is an eclectic mix of classical, jazz, and pop music.

The ensemble features two violins, a viola, a cello, a double bass, a clarinet, and a piano (from the Vienna and Berlin philharmonics).  Primarily instrumental, the album also features a singing violinist (in German).  Songs I particularly enjoyed include "Russian Overture," "Bohemian Rhapsody," and "A New Satisfaction."  Watch the YouTube video to get a behind the scenes look from the group (and samples of their music).



Jennifer

Bigger by Sugarland (2018)

sugarlandbiggerIn their first new album since 2010, country pop duo Sugarland (Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush) return with an emotional and uplifting arrangement of songs. Particularly powerful are “Bigger,” “On a Roll,” and “Tuesday’s Broken.” For more about the album Bigger and what’s been happening with Sugarland over the last decade, check out the NPR review.
Borrow the CD or download the album from Hoopla.
Tags:
IPPL Staff

Spotlight: Lady Gaga

lady_gaga_-_joanne_official_album_coverOnce you’ve listened to Lady Gaga’s album Joanne, you won’t be able to stop. You’ll listen to it during your morning shower, in the car on your way to and from work, and before it’s time to sleep at night. Joanne may be a clear departure from the usual Gaga style of her previous albums, but it’s no less powerful. Songs such as the titular “Joanne” and “Come to Mama” will keep you coming back again and again.

The stylistic change also especially makes far more sense and has far more meaning after watching the Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two. Experience a year in the life of not Lady Gaga, but Stefani Germonatta. It follows the year in which she was releasing Joanne up until her performance at the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show. You will live, love, laugh, and cry with her up until the very end. Don't have a Netflix subscription? Watch for free using our roku.
Dave

Reputation by Taylor Swift (2017)

Taylor Swift is back with her sixth studio album Reputation. It’s been three years since her smash album 1989 (check out my review) and Taylor has a lot to say. Packed with 15 tracks, Reputation has Swift’s signature style of sound yet brings something different. Much like any Taylor Swift album, you expect songs about lovers and backstabbers—and this album is no different lyrically. This time, however, Taylor puts an electropop-synthesized sound to all her songs. She does a great job with this album, but if you are expecting something similar to her last album, you are in for a surprise.

As usual, I like to note my favorite songs from an album. Here are my top four songs from Reputation: “…Ready for It?,” “Call It What You Want,” “Dress,” and “I Did Something Bad.”
Tags:
Dave

1989 by Taylor Swift (2014)

It is almost impossible not to like Taylor Swift’s album 1989. This album is so well polished and well written with almost every song managing to sneak up in your head (“Shake it off” anyone?). I enjoyed Taylor’s previous albums, with Fearless being one of my secret pleasures. This album will be in the history books for her: 1989 finally categorizes what Taylor Swift has evolved into…pop (finally!). With almost the whole album being turned into singles, listing them would be silly. Instead, I’ll share my favorite tracks: “Style,” “Out of the Woods,” and “I Wish You Would” all earn spots in my playlists.

Her new album Reputation will be out November 10--place your hold now!
Tags:
Dave

Rainbow by Kesha (2017)

It’s been five years since Kesha released an album, and a lot has happen between then and now. If you’ve been following Kesha, you’re probably well aware of her legal battles. Rainbow is one of those albums that highlights how amazing an artist Kesha really is and how much she has grown. A departure from her club pop songs, each song on Rainbow is heartfelt, catchy, and relatable. It also shows her audience a side of Kesha we haven’t seen before.

Did I mention she collaborated with Dolly Parton? Yes, you read that right—Kesha and Dolly! Refreshing, empowering, and fearless, Rainbow earned a space in my CD collection. Highlight songs from this album include singles: “Praying,” “Woman,” “Learn to Let Go,” and “Rainbow.” My personal favorite tracks are “Let ’em Talk” and “Boogie Feet.”
Tags:
Dave

Push and Shove by No Doubt (2012)

No Doubt’s latest studio album Push and Shove was a much anticipated follow up to their 2001 album Rock Steady. Sadly, this album didn’t get as much commercial promotion that it truly deserved. Push and Shove dives deep into Gwen Stefani’s life, revealing her breaking points and reflecting on her life with then-husband Gavin Rossdale.

Lead single “Settle Down” is a fun summer song that will have you dancing and singing along with it. This album is truly underrated, and my recommended tops songs are “Push and Shove,” “Undone,” and “Dreaming the Same Dream.”
Tags:
Laura

Joanne by Lady Gaga (2016)

joanneI have not been able to stop listening to Lady Gaga’s newest album Joanne. The album is named in tribute to her long-deceased Aunt Joanne, who passed away at the age of 19 and Gaga never had a chance to meet.

Gaga’s previous albums are much more glam/dance/pop and Joanne is a refreshingly stripped-down showcase of Gaga’s incredible vocal and musical talents.  There is a lot of variety on Joanne – it’s a little bit country, a whole lot of rock, and at times has Latin and Motown influences.

A few of my favorite tracks include: “A-YO” (a party tune that’s just plain fun);  “Joanne” (a heartbreaking acoustic ballad written to her late aunt);  “Hey Girl” (a funky duet with Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine); “John Wayne” (a crowd-pleasing guitar-heavy anthem); “Just Another Day” (perhaps a tribute to the late David Bowie or the Beatles); and “Million Reasons” (a beautiful catchy ballad that you won’t want to stop playing on repeat).  All the songs on this album truly showcase Lady Gaga’s absolutely stunning vocals and her incredible range as an artist.

If you don’t want to wait for the CD, stream it instantly via Hoopla!
Tags:
Jez

Emotion (2015) & Emotion: Side B (2016) by Carly Rae Jepsen

emotionYou might not know any of Carly Rae Jepsen’s songs other than “Call Me Maybe,” but this girl is anything but a one-hit wonder. Jepsen is the Canadian Pop Queen and her 2015 album, E-MO-TION will have you bobbing your head and dancing in your seat to a mix of modern pop and 80s synth sounds. Some of the best songs to check out on this album are “Run Away with Me,” “Boy Problems,” and “L.A. Hallucinations.”

sidebIn 2016, Jepsen released Side B, which is an 8-track of songs that didn’t make it onto the original E-MO-TION collection. What counts as a B Side for Jepsen would be a smash hit on an A Side for anyone else. Even for a small collection of cut songs, Side B is creating a lot of buzz, both critically and among fans. My favorite songs here are “Higher,” “The One,” and “Body Language.”

Want to lift your mood a little? Watch the music video below for Jepsen’s “I Really Like You,” featuring special guest, Tom Hanks! Afterwards, you can check out E-MO-TION on CD or check out both albums instantly through Hoopla.
Tags:
Jennifer

What We Live For by American Authors (2016)

5a7092e49e8fe81c0acce9e4525147bd-600x600x1As a huge fan of the 2014 single “Best Day of My Life,” I was excited to discover American Authors’ sophomore effort. What We Live For is an upbeat, feel good alternative pop/rock album. Especially catchy are the songs “Go Big or Go Home” and “Nothing Better.” Give it a listen to lift your mood. For fans of OneRepublic and Fun.

Good news: listen instantly on Hoopla (or check out the CD).
Jennifer

Spotlight: Acapella

After watching Pitch Perfect, a hilarious comedy about dueling college acapella groups, I started exploring more recent music in this style.

straightnochaserThe New Old Fashioned by Straight No Chaser (2015)

The group’s fifth album includes their unique take on some of today’s biggest hits: I particularly enjoyed “All About that Bass (No Tenors)” and “Shut Up and Dance.” They also feature mashups of popular songs, but the best track is “The Movie Medley,” which features the soundtracks and hilarious commentary about famous movies including Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Forrest Gump. Also available on Hoopla.

pentatonixPentatonix  by Pentatonix (2015)

In their most recent studio album, Pentatonix moves from covering popular hits to releasing all original material. Pentatonix is a catchy mix of upbeat songs that will tempt you to sing and dance along with the group. Particularly enjoyable is “Sing.”

And did you know? You can check out Pentatonix as Team Canada in Pitch Perfect 2.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I don’t mention the soundtracks to both Pitch Perfect (especially “Bellas Finals” featuring a mashup of six songs) and its sequel Pitch Perfect 2 (look for “Anyway You Want It” performed by five groups). Also available on Hoopla.
Tags:
Shirley

Spotlight: Melody Gardot

melodygardotI just discovered Melody Gardot while searching for singers similar to Diana Krall. I recommend her music for vocal jazz enthusiasts who enjoy a little pop and blues. Gardot has an intriguing backstory that may well have informed her style. Lovely orchestration accents the romantic, lyrically wonderful albums.

Some of my favorite songs: “Impossible Love” evokes a French café ambiance, “Goodbye” demonstrates her sensuous chanteuse quality, “Your Heart is as Black as the Night” has a sultry, bluesy vibe, and the vocal style of “So We Meet Again My Heartache” just gives me goosebumps. Don’t miss her delightful version of “Over the Rainbow.”

Check out her albums today: The Absence (2012) and My One and Only Thrill (2009).
Tags:
Jennifer

Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2011)

The worldwide phenomenon dazzles in this live concert at the Royal Albert Hall in her hometown of London, England. Recorded on September 22, 2011, Adele shares stories of her childhood and recent life, discusses the origins of her songs, and flat out entertains the crowd.

You’ll also see behind-the-scenes footage of Adele throughout the day leading up to the concert. Adele has an amazing voice and it is apparent here during the concert as she sings the best of her two albums plus covers a few songs. I especially enjoyed “Rumour Has It,” “Someone Like You,” and “Rolling in the Deep.” And her tribute to Amy Winehouse with Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" was beautiful.

Find the DVD Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall at the library (it includes a CD of her live performances). You can also check out her CDs at the library.

Want more Adele? Tune into NBC on June 5 for an hour-long interview and concert special with Adele and Matt Lauer. Billboard.com previews the event.
Mary P.

Seasons of My Soul by Rumer (2010)

Rumer has been compared to Karen Carpenter, and I understand why. Her voice is clear, strong, and soulful. She touches your emotional being and moves into your heart.

“Aretha,” “Come to Me High,” and “Take Me As I Am” are favorites, but all the songs provide a mellow, gentle, feel good experience for the listener.

Check out Seasons of the Soul by Rumer from the library today.

Also watch her recent performance at the White House.
Tags: