Due to the public’s appetence for human interest stories, quite often, an artist’s life, influence and exploits appear so much larger than their creative products, that their work becomes overshadowed. Such is the case of Michael Jackson, whose reputation as the King of Pop, his eccentric personal life and the accusations that haunted his later years are universally known by younger people, often through intermediary sources. Yet his music is, often enough, unknown to those who are much more familiar with his off-stage life. In an attempt to correct this, we put together a
Whether or not you believe that music can change the world, there is no denying that it can change the way we see the world. Which is really the same thing anyway.
Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday
This eerie, chilling song started out as a poem before Billie recorded it in the 1930s. The haunting lyrics bring home the horrors of racism and racially motivated lynchings. If it sounds so powerful and moving in the 21st century I can only imagine how it felt to listen to Strange Fruit over half a century ago. What an incredible song to learn about some of the worst crimes ever committed by man. It’s not easy to listen to but if you give it a try you will feel as though the world has changed by the time it ends.
Redemption Song – Bob Marley
I had always been aware that a singer called Bob Marley existed but I never paid him any attention at all. Then, I listened to one of his albums one day and the world never looked the same again. The lyrics in Redemption Song are about slavery and the struggle to be and feel free. It is a subject I had never thought about before but Bob’s powerful lyrics and amazing voice made me do so for the first time. The song has this incredible combination of social justice, personal liberty, positive thinking and downright funky vibes that means you can’t forget it and its message.
Do They Know It’s Christmas?– Band Aid
As a kid growing up in the UK one of my strongest memories is of Band Aid forming and of seeing terrible images of the famine disaster in Africa. It’s a song that proved to us all that it is possible to work together and contribute in a small way to help others. I have little recollection of fund raising campaigns before this song but experts say that it was revolutionary and changed the way these campaigns are run. If I listen to it today I can still see those TV news reports and feel the same desire to do something about it.
Blowing in the Wind – Bob Dylan
We could probably include any one of a number of Zimmerman classics on here. Blowing in the Wind is one of those songs that had always existed in the background of my mind until the day I listened to a Bob album in the car. I had never realized that it was so inspirational, life affirming and generally positive until I paid attention to it. The lyrics are simple and can be interpreted in a number of ways but for me they opened up my mind to ideas I had never considered before. Thanks Bob.
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
One of the few times I have been left speechless when watching a music video was when I first saw Smells Like Teen Spirit on the TV. I was amazed by the music, the images and the whole idea. This was nothing like the fancy, packaged pop or poodle rock that had been strangling the music industry for years. Kurt and the boys made it seem as though anything was possible. I don’t know quite why the song had such a positive effect on me but plenty of other people have said the same sort of thing to me over the years.
The Smashing Pumpkins is one of the most iconic rock bands of the 90s. They’ve managed to reinvent themselves on every new album ever since they released their first one in 1991. Things haven’t been all dandy for them and throughout their career a lot of bad things happened: the death of their live keyboard player, drug problems and band members leaving the band. The musical genius behind The Smashing Pumpkins is Billy Corgan, the guitarist, singer, songwriter and lyricist. Basically he did it all. Here is a personal top list with the best Smashing Pumpkins albums.
One of the best Smashing Pumpkins albums (in our humble but expert opinion) is Adore, released in 1998. The story behind this album is a pretty dark one: Billy Corgan’s mother passed away, the band’s concert keyboard player died of a drug overdose and Jimmy Chamberlin, the band’s drummer was fired because he was a drug addict. All these have inspired Billy Corgan to write some of his best songs. You know what they say: art comes from suffering. Adore is a 360 degrees turn from their previous aggressive rock sound albums and not many of their previous fans appreciated it. On Adore, the band has experimented with new sounds, like drum machines, synths and pianos. The result is an album of where darkness and beauty collide to take the listeners in otherworldly places. It’s a deep, dark and poetic album about love, losing love and death. Some of the best songs from Adore are Ava Adore, Daphne Descends, Tear, Pug, Blank Page or Shame. If you haven’t listened to this album yet you have to give it a try. Music will never sound the same. At least for me it hasn’t.
2. Machina the Machines of God
Another underrated album and one of the best Smashing Pumpkins albums is Machina the Machines of God, released in 2000. This was the last album before the band broke up after the world tour called Sacred and Profane. It was a new chapter in their artistic career and they managed to build up an album that is a perfect combination of their aggressive sound and the Adore-era sensitivity. It’s a deeply mystical album and Billy Corgan stated that he drew inspiration from occult books, alchemy and religion. The album artwork looks amazing and Smashing Pumpkins proved once again that they are one of the most original rock bands in the history of rock music. The video for Stand Inside Your Love is one of the most beautiful videos of all time. Some of the best songs from Machina the Machines of God are The Everlasting Gaze, Stand Inside Your Love, I of The Mourning, Try, Try, Try, Blue Skies Bring Tears and Wound.
3. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness – Best Smashing Pumpkins Albums
Many critics and fans say that this is the best Smashing Pumpkins album of their career. It was released in 1995 and became one the best selling double albums of all time. It sold in more than 6 million copies worldwide and won several music awards, including seven Grammy nominations. This is the most financially successful album they’ve ever made and it gave us brilliant songs like Tonight, Tonight, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Zero and 1979, all these songs were official singles off the album. The album is made of 24 songs that manage to inspire and take the listener through a journey of deep emotions. It is a balanced album where heavy songs and quiet one dwell perfectly inside the same shell.
If you ever wanted to listen to this great band but didn’t know where to start, this list of the best Smashing Pumpkins albums should help.
Awaiting her new album, of which I know absolutely nothing – but that’s ok because PJ Harvey is very secretive and doesn’t reveal any details about her new albums until she’s about to release the album itself – we thought it would be nice to pay homage to one of the most exciting and original alternative female musicians of the past 20 years. She’s never done anything twice and her albums are so different from each other one might say they’re written by different people. But PJ Harvey is unmistakable. Let’s have a look at the best PJ Harvey albums so far.
1. Is This Desire?
Is This Desire? is PJ Harvey’s fourth album released in 1998, and showed a more experimental side of her brilliant music. She incorporated elements of electronic music like drum machines and heavy synths to build a very claustrophobic and intense atmosphere. In interviews she stated that she told her musical producer that she wanted a quiet album, so quiet that the listener had to literally put their ears close to the speakers in order to hear what she sang in some of the songs. The effect is creepy and erotic at the same time and on some of the songs you have the feeling PJ Harvey is whispering in your year. Some of the best songs on the album are A Perfect Day Elise, My Beautiful Leah, The Garden, Catherine and Is This Desire? Lyrically, the album tells dark stories of murderous lovers, heartbreak and insane female characters, themes that made Polly Jean Harvey famous. Is This Desire? is one of the best PJ Harvey albums, a beautiful and strange piece of music filled with poetic storytelling.
2. To Bring You My Love
To Bring You My Love was released in 1995 and it’s the third album in PJ Harvey’s career. It’s her first “solo” album, after she parted ways with the other two band mates she had on the first 2 albums. On To Bring You My Love era she really loved to dress up and her concert costumes were very theatrical: wigs, heavy makeup and eccentric dresses. PJ Harvey described her look as “Joan Crawford on acid”. This kind of sums it up. Musically, she experimented a lot with her voice and with other musical instruments. Favorite songs off the album include To Bring You My Love, C’mon Billy, The Dancer, Teclo and Send His Love To Me. Some critics say that this is one of the best PJ Harvey albums in which she showed her musical and lyrical genius at its full capacity. This was also one of her most successful album.
3. White Chalk
White Chalk, or how I like to call it, “the ghost album” is PJ Harvey’s seventh album, which came out in 2007. It came as no surprise that she will take a totally different turn from her previous albums, and PJ Harvey stunned once again with her powerful, haunting, ghostly piano songs. She said in interviews that although she could hardly play the piano, it gave her a lot freedom when playing it. This is probably her most personal album and her most fragile. PJ Harvey’s voice sounds better than ever, with her high pitch vocalizing and mournful chords. She sounds like a Victorian ghost trapped in a dark castle on top of a cliff, surrounded by heavy seas. Songs like The Devil, Dear Darkness and The Mountain manage to break the listener’s heart and set it free at the same time. That’s the magic of PJ Harvey’s music. White Chalk is definitely one of the best PJ Harvey albums, one which manages to transcend genre, time and space.
This was our top 3 of the best PJ Harvey albums. Are you a PJ Harvey fan? Which album is your favorite?
I remember when I was a kid in the 90s and could hardly wait to see the latest videos of my favorite bands. This was long before YouTube and other social media websites. Back then the only way to see a video was by watching good old TV. There was something magical about music channels back then. They used to play quality music and the videos could stand as a work of art on its own. We want to share with you our list comprised of the most expensive music videos ever made.
10. Mariah Carey – Heartbreaker (1999) – $2.5 Million
Back in 1999 there were a lot videos being played on MTV and other music channels. The Heartbreaker video was directed by Brett Ratner and it shows Mariah Carey following her cheating boyfriend into a movie theater. This apparently simple video cost $2.5 million dollars, $100,000 only for renting the movie theater.
9. Mc Hammer – 2 Legit 2 Quit (1991) – $2.5 Million
Oh, the 90s. Remember when Mc Hammer was played in every dance club? He is also famous for making one of the most expensive videos ever. James Brown appeared in it (while serving time in jail). It was directed by Rupert Wainwright who said about the video, “It was an 18-day shoot, but we didn’t shoot it in 18 days. We shot [it] in 30 days. We would shoot an 18-hour day and take two days off. It was insane. It was the hardest shoot I ever did in my life.”
8. Puff Daddy – Victory (1998) – $2.7 million
This video was directed by Marcus Nispel and it supposed to pay homage to The Running Man. Dennis Hopper and Danny De Vito starred in it, and it also featured images of Notorious B.IG. All this raised the video’s budget to $2.7 million, making it one of the most expensive videos ever produced.
7. Guns N’ Roses – Estranged (1993) – $4 Million
When you saw Guns N’ Roses on our list of most expensive videos your first thought must have been “November Rain” or “Don’t Cry”, right? The video for their heartbreaking ballad “Estranged” cost $4 million to make. It cost so much because it features US Coast Guard helicopters, rescue squads, oil tankers and a very expensive Antonov An-124 Ruslan aircraft.
6. Michael Jackson – Black or White (1991) – $4 Million
One of the most iconic music videos of the 1990s is, without a doubt, Michael Jackson’s Black or White video. And it’s not only the most iconic but also one of the most expensive videos ever made. It features the unforgettable scene where Macaulay Culkin plays the electric guitar and sends his father in the middle of the safari. It also featured a revolutionary special effect called “morphing”.
5. Madonna – Bedtime Story (1995) – $5 Million
Directed by Mark Romanek, Madonna’s Bedtime Story video cost her no less than $5 million. The theme of the video was the line from the song “Let’s get unconscious”, so Romanek used all kind of weird imagery, from surreal paintings to Egyptian images.
4. Madonna – Express Yourself (1989) – $5 Million
When it was first released Madonna’s Express Yourself music video was the most expensive video ever made. It was directed by the same guy who gave us super movies like Fight Club and Se7ven.
3. Madonna – Die Another Day (2002) – $6.1 Million
Another super expensive video from Madonna, Die Another Day is actually her most expensive video to date. It was inspired by scenes from the James Bond movie.
2. Britney Spears – Work Bitch (2013) – $6.5 Million
One of the most expensive videos ever made comes from the princess of Pop music, Britney Spears. Her video has it all: epic choreography, lots of location changes and super special effects.
1. Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson –Scream (1995) – $7 Million
The king of pop is number one in our list of the most expensive videos ever made. The video of Scream still manages to look cool after almost 20 years.