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Listen Up! New Music Releases – October 5, 2010

Posted on October 5 2010 3:00 pm

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This weekly column is all about keeping the readers of NewsReal up to date with the latest in music new releases. Check here on Tuesdays (the day of the week that new music is released) for coverage that emphasizes a variety of musical genres.

New Releases this week include:

John Lennon, “Signature Box” (Capitol)
NewsRealRating: ** (out of 5 stars)

As part of the commemorative campaign to honor John Lennon, who it seems sometimes was the last non-citizen that the U.S. government actually attempted to deport (sometimes I miss Richard Nixon), Yoko Ono has given the approval to dust off just about everything she can and celebrate with a big old birthday sale. You see, October 9th would have been Lennon’s 70th birthday and to cash in on the attention the birthday will receive, Lennon is being remembered with a deluxe 11-CD digital collection by Capitol/EMI.

The box set includes; remastered versions of the solo albums Imagine, Mind Games and Somewhere in New York City, a previously-unreleased recording and an EP of singles, outtakes, and demos. The deluxe box includes a limited-edition John Lennon art print and a book featuring photos, poetry by John Lennon, and essays by (you guessed it) Yoko Ono, and his sons, Sean and Julian Lennon. It’s all yours for $189.99 list price.
Much more exciting than this box set is the “stripped-down” edition of Double Fantasy. This 2010 remix strips down some of the instrumentation, offering spare arrangements to songs like “Woman,” “(Just Like) Starting Over,” and my personal favorite “Watching the Wheels.” It sort of takes your breath away to hear these songs with such front-and-center vocals, and it reminds you of just how drenched in instruments so much of the music on the late 70s/early 80s actually was.

So… if you are still something of a John Lennon fan (musically, at least), then you might want to download the “stripped-down” version of some of the bigger hits. If you can’t stand John Lennon, then you can save your hard-earned money.

David Archuleta, The Other Side Of Down (19 Recordings/Jive)
NewsRealRating: ** ½ (out of 5 stars)

He was the second-place finisher from seventh season of “American Idol”… and a likable guy. Maybe it’s because he’s in a job description where so many aren’t. Whatever it is – the guy makes you smile. And he even sings well. He’s a natural performer who has a way of connecting to the audience. If only that applied to his song choices. The Other Side of Down finds its groove most of the time, but it’s a fairly unimaginative pop album from a voice that deserves better.

The worst part of all – you can listen to all of the tracks and come away without a sense of who this kid is. That’s the sign of a failed producer who spent too much time fiddling with the knobs in the recording studio, and not enough time peeling away the layers so that the listener can hear more clearly who Archuleta is, either as a singer or a person.

If it’s more about the voice for you, rather than the songs, then you will be happy to know that Archuleta still has that sweet, buttery tenor voice. Of the songs, “Elevator” and “Things Are Gonna Get Better,” are the best. Download those tracks. IF you are in the mood for a ballad, download “Falling Stars,” which Archuleta improves with his pitch-perfect vocals.

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