Sound & Color is Alabama Shakes follow-up album to their Grammy-nominated debut, Boys and Girls. The music is rooted in bluesy rock with a wide range of influences including elements of punk and heavy metal. What really drives the album is the soulful, raw vocals of Brittany Howard. Adding to the vocals are funky rhythms interspersed with passionate guitar riffs and perfectly timed melodic keyboarding. This album is pure toe-tapping fun.
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Racine Carrée, the sophomore release by Belgian singer/songwriter Stromae, topped charts across Europe with its expert mix of dance club, hip hop, and multi-national influences. American audiences have been slow to embrace the superstar artist, but his songs inspire an infectious enthusiasm by any who’ve been treated to the energy and passion that typify his music. The standout track “Papaoutai” sizzles with both yearning and explosive celebration, and hundreds of millions of YouTube views of this video alone attest to how beautifully it translates to the visual. Whether the beats are throbbing, playful, or understated, the intense clarity of this talented voice makes it nearly impossible not to be moved.
R&B artist August Alsina begins his debut studio album, Testimony, with an introduction of who he is and where he’s come from with the song “Testify.” The confessional ballad sets the tone for an album covering a lot of ground. In fifteen songs, the young artist explores the addictions of his father, the death of his brother, and the constant pull of his dreams. While the songs are largely reflective and involve Alsina’s history, the energetic rhythm and occasional song about partying bring additional flavor to the mix. Although this BET Best New Artist of 2014 stands by himself, some songs feature other rap and R&B artists such as Yo Gotti, Fabolous, B.o.B., and Trinidad James.
Sufjan Stevens made the gimmicky claim he would write an album for each of the fifty states, but only made two. Luckily, Come on Feel the Illinoise was one. The album includes an anthem to “Chicago,” but he mined the state for subjects from Jacksonville to Highland Park resulting in a lyrically interesting and musically rich trip through the Land of Lincoln.
A sure cure for winter glums is an energetic Broadway cast recording, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical strikes all the right chords: irresistible oldies, show-biz success story, and a dazzling Tony Award-winning performance by lead actress Jessie Mueller. Turn the grey into “One Fine Day” with a remarkable life in song.
The Beatles Anthology is a must-watch for any Beatles fan. Filled with interviews and rare live performances, this is a comprehensive collection of the history of The Beatles. Be prepared to binge watch: once you start, you won’t want to stop!
With 2015 just around the corner bringing a whole new crop of to-be-read lists to tackle, shows to watch, and music to experience, Staff at Mount Prospect Public Library took time to pause and look at what brought us joy in 2014. Check out staff members’ favorite books, CDs, or DVDs they read, watched and/or listened to in 2014. Feel free to share what is on your list of favorites for the year!
In their second full album, Talking is Hard, Walk the Moon has created a conglomeration of electropop and contemporary indie rock. While mimicking the same positivity and dance beats evident in their self-titled first album, the band of four explores the spectrum of their sound, allowing some tracks to lean further toward the rock genre while others, such as “Aquaman,” to fall into a smooth 1980’s sound. The twelve tracks are distinctly different from one another, but they work cohesively, sharing catchy choruses, sharp lyrics, and a similar fast-paced energy. This lively CD is for the listener looking for something to brighten his or her day.
Van Duren came out of the same 70’s Memphis music scene as the cultishly adored band Big Star, so it isn’t too surprising that his 1977 debut album Are You Serious? draws heavily from shared influences like Badfinger and Todd Rundgren. Melodic almost to a fault, Are You Serious? is an overlooked gem of 70’s power-pop.
“For me, singing sad songs often has a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open into the light, out of the darkness.” -Reba McEntire
Every once in a while nothing can feel better than listening to a really sad song. This week, Entertainment Weekly‘s staff shared their favorite sad songs in the article “Research Shows Sad Songs Can Make You Less Sad, So Here’s a Playlist.” This got Mount Prospect Public Library’s Fiction/AV/Teen Services thinking about some of their own favorites. Check them out below:
As always, feel free to stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk on the second floor where we can help you find sad songs, happy songs, and everything in between!