Dance albums coming in 2010

Massive Attack Heligoland
Out on 9th February – so there isn’t long to wait on this one! The first album in 5 years, Grant Marshall said “After 1000th Window, which was tied up with trying to be too clever, we just wanted to get back to sparse, lovely songs with simple production. We wanted to get back to the minimalist thing where you don’t have to fill the song up with shit.” That may mean sparser tunes, but definitely not a sparser cameo list: Damon Albarn, Hope Sandoval, Guy Garvey (from Elbow), Martina Topley-Bird, and Horace Andy are all set to appear on the album.

Groove Armada Black Light
This will be Groove Armada’s sixth album – and while they haven’t consistently created top-notch albums, they do have a great ear for a mega hook, so I’m quietly excited about this one. Black Light is set to feature a more retro 80s electro-pop sound and features Brian Ferry, Nick Littlemore (from Empire of the Sun), Will Young and Jess Larrebee. Just check out the new single – groove is in the heart!

Royksopp Senior
Set for release sometime this year – this album from the Norwegian duo is to be a counterpart to the energetic Junior released in Spring 2009. “Senior is more introspective and withdrawn with a greater emphasis on creating atmosphere as opposed to Junior which is more about immediate, direct energy,” Berge explained in a BBC interview. That sounds like a perfect move for Royksopp who do “atmospheric” better than anyone!

The Avalanches TBA
The Avalance 'Since I Left You'Yes, it’s really been nine years since Since I Left You turned sample-based dance music on its head.
So what’s the hold up? A news post on the band’s site says best: “Clearing Samples.” Well there’s no confirmed date, but if the rumours are true – get ready for a 2010 release. If you’re a fan you’ll know the resulting album could throw anything up into the mix! Here’s an old track for the time being:

Justice TBA
The French duo have gained loads of fans worldwide since their debut in 2007 and I’m sure after the success of their live album/DVD A Cross The Universe released last year, their new album due this year will be a huge success. There isn’t much info yet but let’s hope for more ear crunching bass lines and dance music that will rock your socks off!

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Well happy New Year to you all! This isn’t just a new year; this is the start of a new decade! Over the next few weeks I’ll be going over some albums I’m looking forward to all of which are slated for 2010 release.

Hip Hop / Rap

1. Damian Marley & Nas Distant Relatives
An album that was supposed to come out in the fall 2009 this still doesn’t have an official release date but expected in March. Damian and Nas featured together on the track “Road To Zion” – one of the standout tracks from the absolute cracking Welcome To Jamrock in 2005. Inspired by their shared African Ancestry, this album is said to feature K’naan, Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder. Can’t wait! Here is a preview:

2. Ozomatli Title TBA
Well news on this has gone kinda quiet. After their brilliant Don’t Mess With The Dragon, Californian Latin hip-hop group Ozomatli have apparently been into Jack Johnson’s LA studio to record their new album with rumours that Charlie 2na has rejoined the group. However there is no official release date yet – but they have been on tour in the states with Charlie 2na. Here’s a show reel of what they have been up to over the last year.

3. Big Boi ‘Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty’ / Andre 3000 Title TBA…..New Outkast???
Both Big Boi and Andre 3000 are to release solo albums in 2010 and if well received, Outkast will release a new record. The last time they collaborated was on Idlewild in 2006 that was seen by many as a disappointment. However the last Outkast record was the triumphant Speakerboxxx / The Love Below that was a hit and a huge success with critics back in 2003.

Big Boi’s solo album is already finished but doesn’t have a release date yet (expect it soon – “This is all in the next year or so,” he told Billboard, “starting with my album coming at the top of the year, Dre 3000 right after me… and when the solo albums come out, depending on how the fans support them, then we’re gonna give them the Outkast album.” Set to feature Mary J Blige, George Clinton, Too $hort, Lil Jon, B.o.B., TI and Jamie Foxx it’s one that could rock the charts:

4. Lupe Fiasco Lasers
With rumours about his next release ranging from doing a final double album called LupEND and an album called The Great American Rap Album that was supposed to come out in summer 2009. The album, produced by The Neptunes, is all ready for a release soon. Here’s the single that was released way back last summer, which may or may not be on the new album:

5. Eminem Relapse 2 / Dr Dre Detox
Earlier in 2009 Eminem released Relapse – his first album for 4 years, which turned out to be a disappointment for many. Apart from a few good tracks, the album is too centred on his drug use and subsequent fall out. A seven track EP – Relapse Refill followed as a bonus disc to the album – again not that great. However, he is set to release Relapse 2 this year and himself clarified that this album will be more “emotionally driven”. This could mean a real comeback worthy of his first few albums!

On a similar note, an even more highly anticipated album is coming from Dr Dre. He had promised the album would be out in 2008, but then he got caught up working on Eminem’s Relapse. The album has been in gestation for over nine years so there’s no telling what will or won’t end up on the album although reports say it will feature collaborations with Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nas, Eminem and 50 Cent.

One more thing… Lil Wayne. I’ll be honest, I know that Tha Carter III was the best selling album of 2008 – but I’ve only recently picked it up and it’s actually a pretty good listen. Also, his collaboration with Shakira is an interesting one – its like watching beauty and the beast! So I’m kinda interested in what he’s going to come up with next. With his rock album Rebirth already leaked and set for release in Feb, it’s his Tha Carter IV (apparently to come out some time later this year) that I’m more interested in. However with him being sentenced in February for attempted gun possession there is no saying when this will actually come out. Here’s the video mainly cos I wanted Shakira up here again:

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Best Music Moments of the decade – Part 10 (2009)

2009
Well, there we have it, 10 years of all things music. Genres began to blend into one. Plastic, manufactured pop took a back seat to let rock bands and hip-hop kings storm the charts. If I look over the 50 albums I have mentioned below – it would be enough to take you on a very very long journey – I have to say that the ‘noughties’ (or whatever they are called) might always be the remembered as the “lost” decade but it has been by far the most interesting one for music.

2009 is still right in there in your memories so I don’t really need to recap too much apart from that Shakira is smoking hot, and I am in love with Leona Lewis.
Shakira
This video is a mash up of all the big tracks of the year:

So as you go out tonight and listen to Black Eyed Peas, Cheryl Cole or Jason Mraz one more time, here are my top 5 albums of the year:

5. Lily Allen It’s Not Me It’s You
I still can’t believe how hot Lily has become… She didn’t look this good a couple of years back!  A pop album that caters to teens and adults alike – Lily has really opened up her heart and soul to anyone who will listen. Apparently it is also her last album… well we’ll see about that!

4. Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus
Phoenix are one of those bands who have got better and better with each of their 4 albums. On Wolfgang Amadeus they have really hit the right notes – danceable indie pop without one bit of cheesiness. A great listen!

3. Maxwell BLACKsummer’s Night
Maxwell’s first album since 2001’s pretty standard Now, it is the first part of a trilogy of albums (part 2 and 3 set to come out in 2010 and 2011) popmatters stated in their review “Maxwell might be delivering one course at a time, but for now, delivering one of the best albums of 2009 will sate your appetite just fine.” Perfection!

2. Allen Toussaint The Bright Mississippi
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician/producer released his first major jazz album and what a treat it is! Upon the first listen, The Bright Mississippi merely seems like a joyous good time, but subsequent spins focus attention on just how rich and multi-layered this wonderful music is. This hasn’t left my CD player all year.

1. K’naan Troubadour
This is an amazing piece of work by K’naan. On his debut, he still hadn’t found his sound. Now he totally nails out right hip-hop, rock and pop. Featuring Mos Def, Damian Marley, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Charlie 2Na, it is hard to pick just one song on here but ‘Waving Flag’ – now the official song of the FIFA World Cup 2010 is one of the most heart felt pop songs ever written:

So there you have it, the best 50 albums of the decade (in my opinion anyways). Happy new year to all, see you in 2010.

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Best Music Moments of the decade – Part 9 (2008)

2008
This year we had a massive heavy rock revival. Kings Of Leon led the way with Only By The Night an album that touched on their old styles but was more concise and better written than anything they’d done before. AC/DC didn’t exactly do anything new with their album Black Ice but it gained them a huge new young following and sold a hell of a lot! Metallica also went back to their roots on Death Magnetic and created the first album since Metallica worth repeated listens. Oh and who will forget the Guns ‘n’ Roses first album in 15 years in which time all the original members left and Axel went a bit crazy.

This was Lil Wayne’s year to shine. Tha Carter III sold more copies than anything else this year and was a great hip hop record showing how versatile Weezy is as he rapped about the death of New Orleans and taking the hip hop crown from Jay Z. Other notable releases was British artist Estelle’s Shine who’s track American Boy was one of the singles of the year, and Santogold’s debut which is worth finding – a diverse and interesting pop record.

Top 5 albums:

5. Natty Man I Like
Man I Like
is a London made album that sounds like it was made in Jamaica. With laid-back grooves and soul-reggae sounds you’d be tempted to throw Natty in with Jack Johnson. However his musings on the ups and downs of life in the city are smart and his delivery is note perfect.

4. Kings Of Leon Only By The Night
An album that has been overplayed to death in England and is going to remind me forever of Manhattan. Summer 2008 and this album was on at the Sonic Arts New York office non stop. Not to offend fans of Kings of Leon’s earlier work, I personally think they took things to another level with this one, writing pop songs like ”Sex On Fire” is no mean feat and it will be on the radio and in clubs for a long time still.

3. Seu Jorge America Brasil
This is by far the peak of Seu Jorge’s career. Not an outright samba album Seu throws everything in, including funk and soul that has separated samba purists. I’m a big fan though – can’t wait to see what he does next! Perfect music for this long and cold winter we are having… can’t wait to go out to Brasil again!

2. Erykah Badu New Amerykah Pt 1: 4th World War
Only her 4th studio album, this album hit many best of year lists and rightly so. Badu’s vocals are deep set in RnB with a strong use of hip-hop but it’s her observations on life that makes this album so special. A must listen. Badu is Lil Wayne for grown ups.

1. Raphael Saadiq The Way I See It
Raphael’s first album for 4 years was a straight up Motown record, with each track taking a different style from that era. Nominated for a Grammy full with doo-waps and the shoo-wop-ba-dop’s this is the real deal – such a great album to groove to. Amy Winehouse eat your heart out!

Also worth checking out: Sia Some People Have Real Problems; Portishead Third;

***The conclusion to our Best Music Moment  of the 00’s (Part 10 2009) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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This year we had a massive heavy rock revival. Kings Of Leon led the way with Only By The Night an album that touched on their old styles but was more concise and better written than anything they’d done before. AC/DC didn’t exactly do anything new with their album Black Ice but it gained them a huge new young following and sold a hell of a lot! Metallica also went back to their roots on Death Magnetic and created the first album since Metallica worth repeated listens. Oh and who will forget the Guns ‘n’ Roses first album in 15 years in which time all the original members left and Axel went a bit crazy.

This was Lil Wayne’s year to shine. Tha Carter III sold more copies than anything else this year and was a great hip hop record showing how versatlie Lil is as he rapped about the death of New Orleans and taking the hip hop crown from Jay Z. Other notable releases was British artist Estelle’s Shine who’s track American Boy was one of the singles of the year, and Santogold’s debut which is worth finding – a diverse and interesing pop record.

Top 5 albums:

5. Natty Man I Like

Man I Like is a London made album that sounds like it was made in Jamaica. With laid-back grooves and soul-reggae sounds you’d be tempted to throw Natty in with Jack Johnson. However his musings on the ups and downs of life in the city are smart and his delivery is note perfect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh5gKHpyylI&feature=related

4. Kings Of Leon Only By The Night

An album that has been overplayed to death in England is going to remind me forever of Manhattan. Summer 2008 and this album was on at the Sonic Arts New York office non stop. Not to offend fans of Kings of Leon’s earlier work, I personally think they took things to another level with this one, writing pop songs like Sex On Fire is no mean feat and it will be on the radio and in clubs for a long time still.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oayv_JWCpY

3. Seu Jorge America Brasil

This is by far the peak of Seu Jorge’s career. Not an outright samba album Seu throws everything in, including funk and soul that has separated samba purists. I’m a big fan though – can’t wait to see what he does next! Perfect music for this long and cold winter we are having… can’t wait to go out to Brasil again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_4Ts-Qj1h0

2. Erykah Badu New Amerykah Pt 1: 4th World War

Only her 4th studio album, this album hit many best of year lists and rightly so. Badu’s vocals are deep set in RnB with a strong use of hip-hop but it’s her observations on life that makes this album so special. A must listen. Badu is Lil Wayne for grown ups.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qTFXwMeiDo

1. Raphael Saadiq The Way I See It

Raphael’s first album for 4 years was a straight up Motown record, with each track taking a different style from that era. Nominated for a Grammy full with doo-waps and the shoo-wop-ba-dop’s this is the real deal – such a great album to groove to. Amy Winehouse eat your heart out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIeJ56oIEIM&feature=fvw

Also worth checking out: Sia Some People Have Real Problems; Portishead Third;

Best Music Moments of the decade – Part 8 (2007)

2007
This was a strange year – M.I.A. featured in most end of year lists as best album as she brought the whole world to everyones speakers which paved the way for a new sort of “world” music with bands like CSS and Bonde Do Role having huge success. Also a new wave of electronic music had come on the scene with Justice and co breaking into the mainstream charts – Justice are an act that just have to be seen live. The pop world had become slightly stagnent with Hannah Montana and High School Musical taking care of the kids and X factor winner Leona Lewis storming the charts in the UK. Girls Aloud gave us a great pop album and the world got to see the first glimpse of the now married Cheryl Cole. Oh and Radiohead decided to sell their album online for free…
Top 5 albums:

5. Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective Watina
Andy Palacio sadly passed away in 2008, but this, his last album will stand a testament to how great a singer he was. Hailing from Belize where their music style is called Garifuna a mixture of Arawak and Carib sounds. Soul-stirring melodies that tug on the heartstrings and vibrant grooves – this is a great tribute to the Garifuna culture.

4. Stephen Marley Mind Control
OK number 2 of Bob’s sons featured in this best music of the decade – but it deserved. Stephen produced Damian Marley’s albums and featured on a few tracks however it is here that his voice can be heard properly – he sounds just like his father! A mix of hip-hop and reggae with crystal clear production and an amazing Ray Charles cover. An album worth buying as it’s good all the way through; here we have the ever-amazing Mos Def featured…

3. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Raising Sand
Winner of Album of the Year at the Grammys (plus four others), this slightly strange pairing of the bluegrass darling and the greying rock god came off perfectly, effortless and subtle. Robert Plant sounds better than he has in years and Alison’s sweet voice goes with it perfectly. A timeless album.

2. John Butler Trio Grand National
Hailing from Australia John Butler Trio are a roots jam band who play funk, reggae and rock. John Butler is probably most well known for his guitar skills – check out the below video he rocks! – the backing band are pretty talented as well with the excellent drummer Nicky Bomba and double bassist Byron Luiters. This, their third album, is by far their best as they have finally found their sound – look forward to their new release due in 2010

1. Orchestra Baobab Made in Dakar
When one of the oldest bands still playing now – I had reason to rejoice however their first album Specialist In All Styles wasn’t the album I had hope for – so I had to wait till 2007 for them to really crack their comeback. Made In Dakar is African music how it should be heard, live, fast and energetic. With so much talent in the band – 5 outstanding singers it is hard to know who’s actually singing sometimes – the real star is guitarist Barthelemy Attisso who is noticeable throughout with his fluid licks that cut through the wall of sound and chills right to the bone:

Also great:
Slovo Nommo; Pacha Massive All Good Things; Manu Chao La Radiolina

***The Best Music Moment Part 9 (2008) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Music Moments of the decade – Part 7 (2006)

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2006
“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my miiiiind…” I think everyone will remember Gnarls Barkley‘s ‘Crazy’ – a great pop song with a catchy hook and stunning vocal performance by Cee-Lo Green. But another celebrity dominated the year – Amy Winehouse had entered the mainstream with her album Back To Black – a pop album unlike anything anyone had heard for years.
Gnarls Barkley violent femmes cover

The rock world had some big releases as well – John Mayer’s most assured and mature album (with some fantastic guitar playing) won the big Grammy’s and Pearl Jam came up with their best album in over a decade. 2006 was also the year artists took to Myspace, Facebook etc… more than ever to build their careers and no-one was a better example of this than the Arctic Monkeys whose album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not was a huge success mounted on the back of a great viral campaign. Another artist to take this route was Lily Allen who proved that having a famous father doesn’t mean you can’t write cracking songs and have a great career.

Top 5 albums:

5. Ibrahim Ferrer Mi Sueño

Santiago de Cuba is said to be the home of the Bolero song style – it was where Ibrahim Ferrer grew up playing in bands in the city from 50s onwards. He never played the bolero style though, but it always stayed with him and this album, recorded in the final years of his life, is devoted to the style. Suiting his voice perfectly – giving him room to roam over the subtle backing band – it is a beautifully poignant record that was pieced together after his death. This is essential listening:

4. Marcelo D2 Meu Samba É Assim

Brasilian rapper Marcelo D2 grew up in the favelas near Rio in the 70s, but found fame in 2003 once he went solo after splitting from the band Planet Hemp. Collaborating with Will.i.am on Timeless he already had a big following by the time this – his third album came out. The album title translates as ‘My Samba Is Like This’ and uses traditional Brasilian rhythms against his very unique vocal flow – he needs to be put out there to a bigger audience.

3. Easy Star Allstars Radiodread

Easy Star Allstars rose to fame by recreating one of the greatest “stoner” albums of all time Dark Side Of The Moon in a dub and reggae style. But, would a dub recreation of the best album of the 90s work? Oh yes! A track-by-track copy of OK Computer this album features some heavyweight guest such as Horace Andy, Toots and the Maytals and Israel Vibration. An excellent study of the now classic album – this isn’t for uptight Radiohead fans but will be a welcome listen to anyone who likes something a little different.

2. Michael Franti & Spearhead Yell Fire!

Never one to shy away from talking about important matters, Michael Franti (who’s song ‘Bomb The World’ became a huge anti-war protest song in 2004) took a plane over to war torn Iraq armed with just his guitar to see what was going on there for himself. This album, based on experiences he had over there, was made in Jamaica with the famed producers Sly & Robbie. A politically charged attack on Bush’s presidency and the government’s controversial war – this separated critics. An album full of thoughtful lyrics without being over preachy but also some banging tracks:

1. Bruce Springsteen We Shall Overcome

This record was recorded live in Springsteen’s New Jersey home with a fourteen-piece band, including horns, banjo, fiddles, washboard, organ and accordion. It features covers of old American folk songs (some championed by the folk hero Pete Seeger) and it’s a barn stomping jolly ol’ good fun time. A hugely inspirational album that I listen to all the time – Bruce has never sounded more passionate. Oh yeah, I don’t think there has ever been a more uplifting song than ‘Mary Don’t You Weep’.

Worth listening to: Los De Abajo LDA v The Lunatics; K-OS Atlantis: Hymns for Disco; Monty Alexander Concrete Jungle: The Songs of Bob Marley; Ali Farka Toure Savane

***The Best Music Moment Part 8 (2007) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Music Moments of the decade – Part 6 (2005)

2005
The biggest selling album of the year was Coldplay’s X & Y – who’d thought after their decidedly average “soft rock” debut in 2000 that they would be selling more records than heavyweights like Green Day and Madonna!
This was also No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani’s year to shine – she released her first solo album Love Angel Music Baby at the end of 2004 but hits “Hollaback Girl” and “Rich Girl” dominated the airways in 2005.
Gwen Stefani
Gorillaz released their second album Demon Days – and again stormed the charts in Europe and the US. One of the biggest albums was Kanye West Late Registration which not only sold well, but it was a huge success with critics – his song with Jamie Foxx “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” was a huge chart topper sampling the late Ray Charles.

Top 5 albums:
5. K’naan The Dusty Foot Philosopher
A rapper who has had life experiences which make “50 Cent look like Limp Bizkit”, this album is a change of direction from your normal hip-hop. Born in war-torn Somalia, K’naan has the ability to fuse Western and African sounds together and added with his storytelling has to be one of the most prolific artists of the year. The Dusty Foot Philosopher received a Juno Award for Best Rap Recording of the Year and was the BBC 3 World Music Award Winner for Best New Artist.

4. Royksopp The Understanding
Norwegian duo Royksopp’s first album Melody AM was hugely successful but the album was a bit on the chilled side. The Understanding is where Royksopp really found their sound: beautifully dark and atmospheric with lush, melodic production, that can only be made in Scandinavia.

3. Brazilian Girls Brazilian Girls
Brazilian Girls are a band that can only be made in New York. Blending together an eclectic sound of tango, house, reggae and chanson all brought together with an electro vibe. Lead singer Sabina Sciubba is the only female in the band and she’s a real character lending a slightly quirky vibe to the act. A diverse and at first odd sounding record, however after a few plays gets in your head and you won’t be able to stop listening.

2. Ska Cubano ¡Ay Caramba!
Jamaica and Cuba are neighbouring islands whose music, while very different in styles, have both touched the world. English investment banker Peter Scott decided to create a fusion between the two and found front man Natty Bo – now based in London – in Cuba. A sound dripping with heat, energy and excitement, the rhythms clashing and flowing at the same time – this is music that does have to be seen live. Somehow on Ay Caramba, Ska Cubano have managed to capture that sound:

1. Damian Marley Welcome To Jamrock
One of the best of the decade is Damian Marley’s third solo album Welcome to Jamrock. An album mixing all genres of Jamaica’s long history of music – samba, soca, street hop, afro house, love songs and of course reggae and dub. Put together with brother Stephen Marley it won two Grammys and has a host of guest stars. But it’s the title track that you cannot pass up – inbetween air horn blasts and an Izo kamoze sample it’s a hip-hop meets reggae classic drenched with a groove that just tears through any speakers. This was one of the biggest Jamaican hits on the radio worldwide since maybe Bob Marley himself.

Also worth checking out: Josh Rouse Nashville; Balkan Beat Box Nu Med; The Cat Empire Two Shoes; Amos Lee Amos Lee;

***The Best Music Moment Part 7 (2006) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Music Moments of the decade – Part 5 (2004)

2004
By the way, there is a comments bit way way down at the bottom of this page – leave me some feed back!

2004 was a bit of a crazy year – especially for the Jackson’s. Michael was engaged in the huge court case that I don’t think he ever recovered from. Also Janet showed the world her breast as she and Justin played on the stage of the super bowl half time show. Also, Britney got married twice in the year – not a bad record even for someone like her. But her single Toxic was the best she’s done – a cracking pop song!

Justin and Janet's nipple slip

Onto music, the year was kinda owned by hip-hop with Kanye West’s The College Dropout Eminem’s Encore and Jay Z’s The Black Album spilling over from 2003. The rock scene turned to a more upbeat and raucous affair with Franz Ferdinand and Green Day selling bucket loads. I’m sure everyone still remembers dancing to The Killers Somebody Told Me” – one of the biggest hits of the year. One more thing – this was the year Pop Idol’s first and best (in my opinion) winner came out with the album Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson – it was hugely successful and made everyone realise how big a star the show could make.

Top 5 albums:

5. Amadou & Miriam Dimanche à Bamako

Malian pair Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia are known as “the blind couple” as both met in the Blind institute and started a successful career in Mali in the 80s. In 2003 Manu Chao produced and guest stared on this album and his world-music superstar status put them out to the masses – and they deserve to be heard! Amadou is not only a great singer but he’s also an established guitarist – his riffs are full of energy and flavour.

4. Amparanoia La Vida Te Da

Led by Amparo Sanchez Spanish outfit Amparanoia released their fifth (and sadly final) album in 2004. A heady mix of rocking guitars, reggae riffs and Iberian flavours, La Vida Te Da is one of those albums you need if you like your music fast and furious. It is worth checking out their back catalogue and their live album (seeing them open the La Linea festival in 2005 was one of the best gigs ever). This track summed up my 2004:


3. Quantic Mishaps Happening

A follower of Will Holland’s Quantic for a few years, this was in my opinion the best album he has made. From the opening track “Mishaps Happening” to “Don’t Joke With A Hungry Man” this has the beats, the rhythms and the soul the other albums were missing. It also introduced me to Alice Russell’s amazing talent as vocalist.

2. Ozomatli Street Signs

This was Ozomatli’s third album, and while it may not be their best, it is defiantly the most mature sounding. Winner of their first grammy it blends Latin hip hop, rock, jazz and salsa all into one. If you want to party then Ozo are the band to put on and even better, go see them live!


1. Amp Fiddler Waltz Of A Guetto Fly

By God can Ampf spin a groove! This is by far the funkiest soul laden album in a long long time. Amp Fiddler is a keyboard, producer, singer and songwriter who has worked with Prince, Jamiroquai, George Clinton and many others. This, his debut album, was on non-stop at Sonic Arts in 2004. A cracking album from start to finish – just check out this taste:

Also worth checking out: Dr John N’Awlinz: Dis Dat or d’Udda; G Love & Special Sauce The Hustle

***The Best Music Moment Part 6 (2005) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Music Moments of the decade – Part 4 (2003)

2003
In the pop world 2003 was a year of hit songs rather than hit albums – and they were all WAY overplayed. In the clubs it was all Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love”, which actually is a great pop song with a killer hook. Other dance-floor fillers, which still get played now, were: “In Da Club” by 50 Cent, “Rock With Me” by Justin Timablake and “Hey Ya!” by Outkast. Oh, and I really regretted A-listing D-D-D-Don’t Stop The Beat by Junior Senior on the radio. Initially a catchy fun pop song, it just got on my nerves as it was played non-stop everywhere.

There were some big albums: The White Stripes finally hit the big time with Elephant – one of the best-reviewed albums of the year. Also, unknown Irishman Damien Rice gained worldwide fame with his subtle and quite dark album O – tracks from which have featured in everything from the film Closer to E.R. and the O.C.
White Stripes Elephant album cover

Top 5 albums:

5. Josh Rouse 1972
Josh Rouse had been quietly making albums since 1998 and had already released four albums by the time 1972 was released. He’s one of the hardest working artists of the decade, and he really hit his stride with this one. The song writing is incredible and the production is spot on perfect:

4. Bebo & Cigala Lagrimas Negras
Whoever came up the idea to pair together a veteran Cuban pianist with an up and coming flamenco singer to record a bunch of Latin American standards is a genius. Diego ‘El Cigala’ Salazar (already a flamenco superstar) was only 36 years old, and at 83, legendary pianist Bebo Valdez was old enough to be his grandfather, when this album was made. Recorded in a couple of days – as most of the best albums are – this is one to be treasured.

3. Ben Harper Diamond On The Inside
I’ve been a fan of Ben Harper’s for as long as I can remember but he is somehow unknown in the UK. Starting from the reggae vibe of “With My Own Two Hands” and not stopping until the beautiful “She’s Only Happy In The Sun”, the album never drops in quality. His lyrics are thoughtful and his vocal ability is just scary, I’ve never heard anyone like him.

2. Outkast Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Well, how Outkast had changed! I’ve been a fan since I was young and loved listening to their laidback hip hop grooves, which I always thought were a nice change from other rap at the time. This double album has everything – from catchy songs (Hey Ya! and I Like The Way You Move) to Sinatra-style crooning (The Love Below) and Prince-style funk (Happy Valentine’s Day). Topping most end of year best album lists and winning the Grammy for Album Of The Year (second rap album ever to do so) this album changed all the rules of the hip-hop genre.

1. The Cat Empire The Cat Empire
Exploding out of Melbourne The Cat Empire have spent the last 8 years touring the whole world and have released 4 albums, but it is this debut that is by far the best. Mixing ska, gypsy waltz, rock, funk and hip-hop they have made their own brand of fun and exciting music – complete with trumpet solos rising over an infectious beat.

Worth checking out: Bajofondo Tango Club; Corey Harris Mississippi To Mali; Emmylou Harris Stumble Into Grace

***The Best Music Moment Part 5 (2004) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Music Moments of the decade – Part 3 (2002)

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If you look through the biggest selling records of this year it’s actually quite depressing – Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, Celine Dion and Pink are all in the top ten! Eminem’s sound had now become a bit tired and The Eminem Show, although sold the most in 2002, wasn’t anywhere near as good as his previous output.

There were a few hip-hop albums I loved: People Under The Stairs OST, N.E.R.D In Search Of and Jurassic 5 Power In Numbers.

We also had a few well received rock albums; Queens Of The Stone Age’s Songs For The Deaf; Audioslave’s debut (featuring Chris Cornell and Tom Morello) and Red Hot Chilli Peppers By The Way were all successful. Coldplay released their second album A Rush Of Blood To The Head and showed everyone they weren’t just Radiohead-lite but a force to be reckoned with as they have gone on to become one of the biggest bands of the decade.

Top 5 Albums:

5. The Streets Original Pirate Material
Maybe because I was a student at the time, or maybe I liked hearing something a little different, but I loved this album when it came out. To be honest, it doesn’t really ring true now. It’s still a great album with really funky groves and I think that Mike Skinner’s lyrics are amazing, but this one really was a time and place album for me. Brings back great memories listening to it now though!

4. Toots And The Maytals True Love
Jamaican legend Toots Hibbert coined the phrase “reggae” and he’s been making music for nearly 40 years. In 2002 he released this Greatest Hits with recordings of his songs featuring guests such as No Doubt, Eric Clapton, Ryan Adams, Shaggy (!) and a host of others. I don’t normally like these sorts of records, however with such a great catalogue of songs this one is a real treat and always comes out when the BBQ season gets going:

3. 1 Giant Leap 1 Giant Leap
1 Giant Leap are a concept band created by one of Faithless’ founding members Jamie Cato. Jamie and producer/musician Duncan Bridgeman travelled the world armed with a laptop, a few microphones and a video camera. They recorded in no less than 25 countries and then bought back the recordings and put it all together in their London studio for a CD, DVD and documentary release (here’s a great article on how they made the album (www.soundonsound.com/1giantleap). Featuring Baaba Maal, Robbie Williams and Horace Andy it’s about as varied as you can get!


2. Blackalicious Blazing Arrow
Blackalicious are a hip-hop duo of rapper Gift of the Gab and DJ Chief Xcel. This, their second album, messes together funk, soul, hip-hop and RnB. With a wide range of guest vocalists and fast paced production to suit Gift of the Gab’s lyrical style it was a critical success.

1. Ojos De Brujo Barí
From the opening guitar licks, you can tell this is an album that could have only been made in Barcelona – a city bubbling with a mix of different people, lifestyles and cultures. Ojos De Brujo’s first record Vengue went largely unnoticed outside of Spain but this one gained them respect worldwide. An album that just gets better and better with repeated listens, it fuses gypsy flamenco with hip-hop, dub and rumba – this was the sound of the decade for me.

Also worth checking out: Lemonjelly Lost Horizons; Bruce Springsteen The Rising; The Roots Phrenology

***The Best Music Moment Part 4 (2003) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Music Moments of the decade – Part 2 (2001)

2001
My first year at University and I started working for the radio station GU2 as presenter and Head of Music – so I listened to a LOT of music, most of which got thrown straight into the bin. American rock had a bit of resurgence with Nickleback and Puddle of Mudd breaking onto the scene. I think “This Is How You Remind Me” was one of the most played tracks on radio. 2001 was also a big year for the lighter rock of Ryan Adams, with his album Gold and John Mayer’s debut Room For Squares.

A massive album in the UK was Zero 7’s Simple Things which was seen by some critics as “dinner party” music but was an extremely well produced album complete with live instruments, great vocals (I fell in love with Sia) and some of the lushest Rhodes sounds I’ve ever heard. Also on the dance scene Basement Jaxx album Rooty had the massive hits “Where’s Your Head At?” and “Romeo”. Groove Armada joined in with Goodbye Counry (Hello Nightclub) featuring the Grammy nominated “Superstylin”. It was also the year Gorillaz came on the scene – a massively successful side venture (one of many) by Damon Albarn selling over 7 million records – not bad for A virtual band!

Gorillaz

Top 5 Albums of 2001:

5. Spiritualized Let It Come Down
This was an album I just received through the post like a lot of others and I ended up listening to it so much it got scratched – bloody CDs! A beautifully made album featuring 115 session musicians and a sound that is just so thick you have to open up those ears and suck it all in.

4. Jack Johnson Brushfire Fairytales
I know Jack’s seen by many as background “shopping mall” music, but when I put this album on, straight from the opening guitar chords I knew Jack was going to be a huge star – it took a while. Well-written songs with tight grooves and Jack’s smooth voice were a fresh and welcome sound for me at the time.

3. Manu Chao Proxima Estación: Esperanza
The album that made Manu a truly global superstar, this was actually the first I’d heard of his and it regularly gets put back into my CD player. It features a much stronger Caribbean feel to his first album and he sings in Arabic, English, French, Galician, Portuguese, and Spanish.

2. Gotan Project La Revancha del Tango
Who would have thought it would be some musicians from Paris to give Tango a new lease of life? Gotan Project mixed traditional tango elements with electronic beats, dub and breaks. From start to finish this is an electrifying album that can stand up equally as tango or dance music.

1. Daft Punk Discovery
An album that has hit many ‘best album of the decade’ lists, this fully deserves being recognised as not only one of the best albums of the decade but also one of the best of all time! Daft Punk are two French producers who took the techno/house sound of their first album and brought in metal, funk, and soul to create an album on which every track is unique but somehow manages to keep a level of consistency. Discovery is up in my best albums of all time so I’m struggling to pick the best track – you can’t not dance to One More Time and you can’t not groove to Something About Us and you can’t not air guitar to this:

Very close: Zero 7 Simple Things, Blind Boys of Alabama Spirit of the Century, Roots Manuva Run Come Save Me.

***The Best Music Moment Part 3 (2002) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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So following on from my Best Movie Music Moments I’ve decided to compile a Best Music Moment of The Decade. Again, I get to look through my CD collection and see what I was listening to 10 years ago. I’ve already read a lot of “best albums of the decade” blogs and to me there are a lot of great albums missing. I’ve tried to stick with albums that I can still pick up today, which means (for the most part) they have stood the test of time – and a lot of plays!

After a quick summary of the biggest records, I have put my top 5 albums of the year. If you haven’t heard them by now – I suggest you check a few out, you might be pleasantly surprised!

2000
We started off the decade with the Christina vs Britney battle really hitting full flow. Britney Spears won in the sales stakes but I always preferred Christina Aguilera. Another huge battle was the “nu” rock bands Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. Both sold ridiculous amounts – Chocolate Starfish…sold more than 1 million copies in its first week of release! The most well received album critically of the year (according to Metacritic) was Outkast’s Stankonia, which was a huge hit with me also. I just put on “Sorry Mrs Jackson” and “So Fresh, So Clean”, they still sound fat now! Comedy pairing of the year has to be Madonna and Ali G in her Music video.

BMM2000

The most important release of the year was probably Eminem’s second offering, The Marshall Mathers LP. On this record he had evolved from his ‘Slim Shady’ caricature and on some tracks like “Stan” (which featured Dido) he showed song writing abilities he has never matched since.

Top 5 albums of the year:

5. Jill Scott “Words And Sounds Vol 1”
This record was in my sisters CD player for pretty much the entire year. A voice and style so fresh it sounds just as good today as it did 10 years ago and with production that I don’t think has been matched since in the RnB world, this album is deserved of a re-listen if you get a chance. The track I always put on in the mastering room (it sounds incredible) is “The Way”

4. O Brother Where Art Thou OST
After seeing the movie I bought this CD straight away. Put together by T Bone Burnett it has some wonderful songs like “Go To Sleep Little Baby” and “You Are My Sunshine” it also features Alison Krauss – my favourite country singer and the guitarist Chris Thomas King (who played the character Robert Johnson in the movie) who’s soothing voice is just incredible:

3. Henry Butler & Corey Harris “Vu-Du Menz”
An album I put on if I’m in a bad mood (this always without fail lifts the spirit) two great musicians playing probably the best they have in their careers “Corey Harris plays slide-steel guitar and about 90 other styles, slipping his strings between the 88 piano keys that Henry Butler dances across.” Wonderful – listen to it now!

2. Avalanches “Since I Left You”
An album painstakingly put together by sampling from other songs (apparently over 3,500 samples were used) this record has to be on this list just because of the effort put in, but with songs as catchy as this makes it a classic

1. Spearhead “Stay Human”
Michael Franti had spent the best part of 10 years making conscious hip hop and rap music first with Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and then with his band Spearhead when his record deal was up. The label had wanted him to guest with Will Smith and other well-known rappers at the time but he wasn’t having any of it. Instead he went into a studio and slaved away as though this would be his last ever record. What he created is a masterpiece record which spans hip hop, soul, funk and rock. Massively underrated, this is one album that should be in every music fans record collection.

Just missed out: Bebel Gilberto “Bebel Gilberto”; Eliades Ochoa Y El Cuarteto Patria; Orishas “A Lo Cubano”; D’Angelo “Voodoo”

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 10 (2009)

2009
Well we’ve come to an end of Best Movie Music Moments of the decade. It’s really made me wonder what a long time ten years actually is and how many great movies there have been. I’ll be starting on best Music Moments of the decade next week so be sure to stay reading when you can.

One of the biggest things to kick off in the cinemas this year is the 3D live concert experience. From Jonas Brothers 3D to Michael Jackson’s This Is It, 3D is showing signs of being a huge money-maker so be prepared for more bands hitting the big screen in 2010 (Dave Matthews Band and others are already in the pipeline for a cinema release).

Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner at the box office and also with the critics. The soundtrack was mostly written and put together by A.R. Rahman (who has had a hit with the Pussycat Dolls) but also threw M.I.A. out there to a bigger audience which she deserves:

A film that seems to have gone under the radar was The Soloist. Directed by Joe Atonement Wright, it’s based on a true story about a journalist who discovers a mentally ill homeless street musician; their subsequent friendship and the redemptive power of music. Jamie Foxx puts in another towering performance and the film soundtrack contains pieces by Beethoven and Bach as well as music written for the film by Dario Marianelli.

After the success of Eminem’s 8 Mile it wasn’t long before more rap movies followed including this film about Biggie (I’m sure a Tupac one will follow). Notorious was a good movie even if it didn’t really delve too much into the darker side of the rapper.

Best Song: The Wrestler was a surprise for me. I saw it before it had much hype and although I’d heard good things about Mickey Rourke’s performance I had no idea it would be such a touching display. He poured his whole heart into this film and it shows. I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and when “The Wrestler” came on at the end I was crying. No joke. It was snubbed at the Oscar’s but for me it was the movies song of the year:

Best Soundtrack: Yes I know, cartoons are just for kids right? Well not anymore. After the success of Wall:E Pixar came along and released Up. Although it wasn’t nearly as good, it did have the best opening 10 minutes of the decade. And it’s the soundtrack that scored biggest points with me, that gorgeous waltz theme throughout the film gave it that magical touch and I was whistling it for days afterwards.

BMMM: OK A bit of a girly one here I suppose. I thought 500 Days of Summer was the perfect romance film (although it’s apparently not a romance). I’d let Zooey Deschanel break my heart any day. For those of you who haven’t seen it, this scene comes just after Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) first sleeps with Summer (Zooey) and perfectly sums up that feeling we have all had. I love the song as well – can’t go wrong with a bit of Hall and Oates:

WTFMMM: Funniest film of the year was The Hangover and this is one scene featuring Iron Mike and Phil Collins duet you’re unlikely to forget:

***This concludes our Best Movie Music Moments of the OO’s. Hope you had fun reviewing our picks and found some great movies and music to go out and  enjoy.***

The Best Music Moments of the decade will begin next week so be sure to come back and check it out!

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 9 (2008)

2008
Well 2008 was totally owned by one film and one film only in the UK – Mamma Mia (see below). It grossed a third more than The Dark Knight in the UK! I’ll be totally honest – I actually haven’t seen it!  I kinda want to, I love Meryl Streep and it’s on Sky Movies nearly every night at the moment, but for some reason I can’t bring myself to watch it! Maybe I need a girl to force it on me.
There were some much better movie music moments in 2008 though:

Be Kind Rewind was music video director Michal Gonry’s second feature film after Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind (can’t wait for the Green Lantern project now he’s on board) and I think it split fans. I was a big fan. Not only did it have the loveable Mos Def AND Jack Black in it, the main storyline revolved around Fats Waller who, if you know me, is one of my favourite musicians. A cute and funny film that also showed a strong sense of community, which I think is lacking in many places now.

Following on from the great music documentaries The Last Waltz and Bob Dylan: No Direction Home Martin Scorcese made Shine A Light – a concert/documentary movie filmed over two nights as Rolling Stones performed at the Beacon Theatre in New York. His excellent film making techniques come across and make sure this wasn’t just another concert movie

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Tim Burton teamed up with Johnny Depp yet again for the musical Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street a film I didn’t like so much. But, Johnny wasn’t too bad at singing. However he can’t whistle. At all! A friend of mine actually filled in as his “whistle double”!

Best Soundtrack: The Fall was by far the best movie of the year for me (maybe of the decade). The plot wasn’t that strong, but my word, it is one beautifully made film! Director Tarsem Singh spent a good part of two decades making this movie. It is a fantasy film which has many dreamy and surreal moments however no special effects were used – Tarsem filmed in 26 locations in 18 different countries.  The soundtrack contains Beethoven’s 7th Symphony and this opening sequence had me griped:

Best Song: I had to feature Will Ferrell ONE more time didn’t I? OK so Semi-Pro wasn’t his greatest. But it was funny, funny as hell and this song was the main reason I saw the film in the first place. “Let’s get rainforest sweaty” I use that line all the time! Will’s got a good set o’ lungs on him as well!

BMMM: What can I say? I’m a sucker for cartoons. I’d waited about 4 months to see Wall:E (for some reason Disney films always get a late release in the UK!) and it did not disappoint. What a movie! The love between the two robots is my favourite romance of the decade – and I’ve seen a hell of a lot of romance films! This scene is made even better by Thomas Newman’s “Define Dancin’”

WTFMMM: Well, it has to be Pierce “James Bond” Brosnan singing his heart out in Mamma Mia:

***The final installment of Best Movie Music Moment (Part 10 2009) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 8 (2007)

2007
For some reason we have a very serious year of films here, well serious and Hairspray!

Control profiled the life of Ian Curtis the lead singer of Joy Division whose personal, professional and romantic troubles led him to commit suicide at the age of 23. Actor Sam Riley put in a towering display and the film was a critical success “Control is a film about England, about music, about loneliness and love. There is melancholy in it, but also a roar of energy. I thought it might depress me. Instead, I left the cinema walking on air.”- [Guardian UK]

A film based on a Broadway musical Dreamgirls is about a trio of soul singers crossing over to the big time in the early 60s. The acting hit home with critics and fans alike with Beyonce, Eddie Murphy and Anika Noni Rose putting in fine performances. However it was the emergence of Jennifer Hudson (Pop Idol finalist from 2004) who was the biggest story of the year and lead to her winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Female

Best Song: The simple love story of a street busker and an immigrant who spend a week together in Dublin touched the world in 2007. “A unique film: a low-budget, low-fi modern musical that is scruffy, soulful and full of beautiful tunes about battered hearts and bruised hopes” [Guardian UK]. Lead actors Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won the Oscar for best song written for a film for “Falling Slowly”

Best Soundtrack: Sean Penn (who I’ve never been a big fan of) provided the biggest surprise of the year for me. Into the Wild, based on a true story, Emile Hirsch played the role of his still young career as student Christopher McCandless who abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness. It was a thoughtful film accompanied by a haunting and gorgeous soundtrack by Eddie Vedder. He played all the instruments on the record and it revealed a talent for acoustic song writing and subtlety he only shows glimpses of with Pearl Jam

BMMM: La Vie En Rose chronicles the tragic life of French singer Édith Piaf from her days singing on the streets in France to the large concert halls of America. Maybe slightly too long and a little bit depressing for me but Marion Colliard (always a huge favourite of mine since her role in Taxi – wow!) put in one of the performances of the decade and came away with an Oscar. This performance of “Non, je ne regrette rien” in the movie was touching and a reminder how great Edith Piaf was:

WTFMMM: I have to admit I never saw this film but it seemed to grip the nation. But WHAT was John Travlota thinking? Hmmm, maybe he’s always wanted to be a big woman!

I knew he could dance, but I never knew he could sing!

***The Best Movie Music Moment Part 9 (2008) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 7 (2006)

2006

So we all went a little penguin crazy in 2006 after the release of March of the Penguins and Happy Feet which wasn’t the best animated film ever but it had some great musical numbers

50 Cent tried to prove to everyone that he isn’t only a rapper but can also act in Get Rich Or Die Trying. He’s been in about 7 films since so he’s done a better job than Eminem I suppose. Apparently 75% of this film actually happened as it traces 50 Cent’s rise from a true gangster to a huge hip-hop star

After having a hit album with his band, Tenacious D, Jack Black (he works pretty hard) made a feature film Tenacious D in the Pick Of Destiny: which is part Bill and Ted, part Wayne’s World but it never really worked. And I’m a Jack Black fan. Here is Dave Grohl as Satan and a lot of swearing…

Little Miss Sunshine was a huge indie hit in the States and the box office figures surprised everyone. It’s this dance scene that brought the film to a climax – featuring the great Superfreak by Rick James

Best Soundtrack: Composed by James Horner the soundtrack to The New World is probably his greatest work so far (he has just finished creating the soundtrack to Avatar). It also includes this incredible opening sequence featuring Wagner’s “Vorspiel”

Best Song: Curious George got its first cinematic outing (yes there is going to be a sequel) and Jack Johnson (or is it John Jackson) finally sold out to the masses. But to be honest it’s not a bad song, and kids like me love it. But Jack – what’s going on?

BMMM: The Departed was probably the best film of the year and Martin Scorsese finally got that Oscar he so deserved. The opening was a classic and this Rolling Stones track worked perfectly

WTFMMM: In 2006 we got to see Lindsey Lohan sing the theme song of Herbie Fully Loaded


But it was British band McFly’s appearance in Just My Luck (also with Lohan) which raised the eyebrows! Don’t ask why I have seen both these films but there’s this scene of them writing a song in the studio that is just hilarious – I couldn’t find it but here’s the song:

***The Best Movie Music Moment Part 8 (2007) will be up soon so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 6 (2005)

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Loads of music going on in film in 2005! Joaquin Phoenix took on the role of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line:

Jamie Foxx surprised everybody with a magnificent performance as Ray Charles in Ray winning himself an Oscar along the way:

We had two Tim Burton films with Danny Elfman soundtracks – the awful Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the wonderful Corpse Bride which must have been the strangest love story of the year:

Will Anderson fans were probably the only people who loved the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou but it did introduce Seu Jorge to audiences worldwide and his Brasilian David Bowie covers fit perfectly with the films quirky tone:

The pretty awesome Hustle & Flow, about a gangster/pimp who finds a new life in soul and hip hop music, featuring Ludacris and a strange casting for the geek from Road Trip (why is he there with the boys?):

Best Song: A small French film that, ”captured the hearts of audiences worldwide” definitely touched mine. The Chorus is a brilliant movie and also contained this beautiful song composed by Bruno Coulais:

Best Soundtrack: My favourite film of the year also had one of the best soundtracks. In Good Night and Good Luck George Clooney showed how talented he is in the director’s chair and created a beautifully shot testament to Ed Murrow and his boys in the early days of broadcast journalism. Dianne Reeves sings most of the jazz numbers on this record but she also appeared in the film (recording in the one of the booths):

BMMM: Team America is not only one of the funniest films of the decade, I think it must have the funniest soundtrack of all time – there are too many hilarious songs to choose: from “Everyone has AIDS” (link www.youtube.com/teamamerica/aids) to “Pearl Harbour” (link www.youtube.com/teamamerica/pearlharbor)
Here is my favourites:

WTFMMM: Dukes Of Hazard remake was a waste of time but this video isn’t half bad:

***The Best Movie Music Moment Part 7 (2006) will be up tomorrow so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 5 (2004)

2004
Not a stellar year here but A Mighty Wind – the Spinal Tap of folk music – was hilarious and not only introduced us to the Folksmen

but also to Mitch (Eugenie Levy) one of the funniest musicians in film
I’m not kidding here but Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights was really good and this Orishas track is banging

Best Soundtrack: A strange choice maybe here but Gustavo Santaolalla haunting score to the Motorcycle Diaries really added a whole dimension to the film:

Best Song: Everyone had the Garden State soundtrack but it was this Frou Frou track that did it for me:

BMMM: No explanation needed for this:

WTFMM: I actually like Liv Tyler, and I thought it was a great film… But seriously?

***The Best Movie Music Moment Part 6 (2005) will be up tomorrow so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 4 (2003)

2003
You can either love or hate him, but you have to admit that School Of Rock was a great way for Jack Black to show off his love for the sounds of ROCK!

The musical Chicago swept the Oscars but I wasn’t a big fan, although Catherine Zeta Jones had come a long way from her days on British TV and can actually sing!

Kill Bill Vol.1 was a huge success and the soundtrack was a real treat – some very cool and weird Japanese songs, hip hop with RZA, Nancy Sinatra and it brought this into our lives (I think people should whistle more often):

Best Soundtrack: I had the City Of God soundtrack in my CD player for about 3 months after the film came out – Brasilian funk and salsa in the middle of the English winter? Bring it on!

Best Song: 8 Mile had some amazing scenes – we all loved the final rap battle! “Lose Yourself” is by far the best song Eminem has ever written and it won him an Oscar.

BMMM: For me the biggest movie music moment of this year was the film The Pianist. Being Polish, loving the piano and being brought up on the sounds of Chopin the film took my breath away (watch from 3.30).

WTFMMM: OK OK, this could be seen as either horribly bad or horribly good. I think it’s rather good:

***The Best Movie Music Moment Part 5 (2004) will be up tomorrow so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 3 (2002)

2002
2002 wasn’t the greatest year for movies but there were a few things to mention. Collateral Damage was the best film of the year – unfortunately Arnie didn’t sing in it! While not a great movie, Mark Walhberg’s turn in Rock Star wasn’t actually that bad:

Badly Drawn Boy’s soundtrack to About A Boy was played on repeat by students across the country

And Save The Last Dance had the most awkward dance/romantic scene in the world (sorry but I have always hated Julia Stiles)

Best Soundtrack: David Holmes’s cool grooves on Oceans Eleven were funky and fresh, a good one to check out

Best Song: I know a lot of people hated this but come on it is hilarious!

BMMM: I know loads of people who disliked this film but I always loved the opening to Vanilla Sky where Radiohead and then Mint Royale accompany a beautifully shot dream sequence (and Tom Cruise runs!)

WTFMMM: James Bond hit a real low in 2002 and this theme song made by Madonna was just horrible. Maybe it’s better to forget that it ever happened

***The Best Movie Music Moment Part 4 (2003) will be up tomorrow so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 2 (2001)

2001
Aaaah… 2001 was when I started working in a cinema – best job I ever had. All we did was steal popcorn, try to chat up girls and watch movies. Oh and talk about Arnie. 2001 did have some classic movie music moments. One movie that still divides people is Baz Lurman’s Moulin Rouge. Personally, I loved it and the soundtrack was put together by my one of my favourite film composers Craig Armstrong:

The Man Who Wasn’t There was the film of the year for me and the soundtrack by Carter Burwell was just gorgeous (also featuring some of my favourite Beethoven piano sonatas):

Zoolander not only introduced Will Ferrell to the cinema screen (what an amazing decade he has had) but also reminded us that Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax” is way too cool for school:

Best Soundtrack: Yann Tiersen’s for Ameile – I remember my dad listening to it non-stop beautiful music which still sounds great today:

Best Song: The best song came from the most depressing film of the decade Requiem For A Dream which has been used in about 1000 trailers since:

Best Movie Music Moment: This could actually be up there with the most feel good music moments in film of all time. You can’t watch this clip without singing along!

WTF Movie Music Moment: Erm… I think this speaks for itself… It’s all sorts of WTF!

***The Best Movie Music Moment Part 3 (2002) will be up tomorrow so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Best Movie Music Moments of the decade – Part 1 (2000)

So we’re coming to the end of the decade and to celebrate I’ve tried to compile a sort of “Best Movie Music Moments” of the past 10 years. It’s been fun to look back over years and reminisce about all the best and worst movies.

So here’s the run down – a small summary of each year and then Best Soundtrack, Best Song, Best Movie Music Moment and the WTF movie music moment.

[All based on the UK release date]

2000
2000 was a great year for film overall, my favourite coming in the slightly deranged 80s nostalgia film American Psycho where we not only had some hilarious Patrick Bateman ramblings on Whitney Houston and Genesis but also this fabulous scene www.youtube.com/americanpsycho/hueylewis.
High Fidelity has to be one of the ultimate music movies – sitting around chatting about women and music – perfect! And in a pre-iPod age who didn’t want to own a record store?

Also in need of a mention was Lars Von Trier’s Dancer In the Dark where we all got to see how weird and wonderful Bjork is:

Best Soundtrack: Thomas Newman’s haunting theme from American Beauty – Sam Mendes film about small town Americana.

Best Song: This had to be the Oscar winner – Bob Dylan’s “Things Have Changed” written for the film Wonder Boys it reminded everybody just what a great songwriter Dylan is and he has gone on to have a great decade.

Best Movie Music Moment: O Brother Where Art Thou threw bluegrass and country out there to the world. Yes, we did used to ridicule it, but how can you watch this clip without clapping or singing along? The soundtrack rocked and it was the film of the year for me:

WTF Movie Music Moment: I know this film was crap but I love how she goes up to her Manhattan rooftop and gets all inspired and writes the best song ever!

***The Best Movie Music Moment Part 2 (2001) will be up tomorrow so be sure to come back and check it out!***

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Top 5: 80s Music Videos You’ve Never Seen But Have To

This week we have some more unrequited love. Ever wondered what happens if you’re in love with your best friend’s girl? I do all the time! Here’s your answer.

Rick has made some of the best videos ever, so this was pretty hard to choose. You have to check out Honeymoon In Beirut and Don’t Talk To Strangers where Rick really shows off his acting skills. But it’s in Jessie’s Girl where Rick really gets to the heart of friendship and love.

This video (below) starts off with good old Rick (amazing jacket – where do I get one!) watching his mate Jessie (isn’t that a girl’s name?) graffiti “Jessie’s Girl” on a wall. Erm, yeah Jessie so you have a girlfriend now, no need to rub it in!! It’s especially not nice because Rick’s in love with Jessie’s girl “Jessie’s got himself a girl, and I wanna make her mine”. Here we have the golden rule of 80s videos….turn to the right and sing into the camera – it makes what your singing about so much more real. Also, this guy has hips of steel!

So Rick’s chilling and sees Jessie with his bird and gives a kinda nod/wave, but Jessie (who used to be his BFF) just walks off! What a douche! Just because he’s got a girlfriend now. He could at least say hi! Rick looks so sad when they walk off, although I do agree she is rather hot.

[Slight side note here – what happened to the suit and white sneakers look? It’s so cool]

After the next chorus the video gets a little weird. OK Rick, I get it – you don’t like yourself that much and you have no girlfriend, but what is up with smashing the mirror? Not on Rick! What would mom say! After seeing that, I think that looking in the mirror all the time has got to be pretty bad for you.

There’s the classic 80s guitar solo, and just as you think the video’s finished we get the most random ending ever. Just watch below:

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Ay Caramba! Rumba Catalana

Spain is one of the few countries in the world that Disney hasn’t fully overtaken yet. It’s good to see that there are still local Spanish bands who are selling as many records in Spain as Hannah Montana is! However, most of them haven’t been heard of outside Spain. This is unfortunate as the Spanish music scene is exciting and vibrant with bands exploring new genres while still managing to retain traditional sounds.

Barcelona is the centre of all things music in Spain. From traditional flamenco and rumba through hip hop and reggae to outright pop, there is a sound for everyone. If you like your music raw, fast, passionate and aren’t too put off by lyrics in another language, here are some bands worth checking it out:

Peret

Dubbed “the godfather of rumba catalana” (a hybrid of traditional Spanish flamenco and Latin American styles) Peret has been in the biz for 50 years and only just had his UK live debut this year! A fantastic performer with a sense of humor and even stronger sense of rhythm has to be the first you should check out. His album Rey de la Rumba  reads like a who’s who of the catalan rumba and flamenco scene including Amparanoia, Dusminget and Estopa.  I don’t really know whats going on in this video from the 70s but it is hilarious:

Muchachito Bombo Infierno

Here is a story which can only happen in Spain. Muchachito, guitar player and lead vocalist, began his musical career in the streets. Passing time playing guitar for the people walking by, Muchachito met other street musicians from all over Spain and beyond, coloring his creative ideas and direction. His optimistic message and lively solo performances were well received. Soon he started a band to push his new style of music, which he called “rumboxing” (rumba, swing, and combat). Muchachito Bombo Infierno’s lineup has the curious addition of Santos de Veracruz, an illustrator and painter who completes a painting on-stage in the course of every concert. The band’s debut disc, Vamos Que Nos Vamos, was released in November of 2004. In the year that followed, the group performed over 80 concerts throughout Spain and beyond. Named Artistia Revelacion 2005 by Rolling Stone magazine the band managed to sell 35,000 records from the stage! This tune was a huge hit in Spain, you couldn’t go a night clubbing without hearing it at least twice:

Ojos De Brujo

Probably the most famous on this list, Ojos De Brujo have managed to break out of the Spanish music scene and have had success round the whole of Europe and also the US. Winner of the BBC Radio 3 world music award in 2004, they describe their sound as “jipjop flamenkillo”. Ojos de Brujo blend the flamenco in their music with other influences including Afro-Cuban, the rap and scratching/turntablism of Hip-Hop, and Indian Music. Their live shows are fantastic, full of energy and it was the first time I have ever seen a beat boxer have a “showdown” against a flamenco dancer!

Here’s a cut from their last album Techari but be sure to check their new album Aocena which came out this year.

Macaco

One of the founding members of Ojos de Brujo; Dani Corbonell or as known to some as El Mono Loco (The Crazy Monkey) started his own pop group Macaco. Macaco mix flamenco, rumba catalana, reggae, dub and funk to create a sound which is fresh and cutting but its Dani’s vocals which are the most unique – he sings in French, Spanish, Portugese and Italian and raps in a ragga style (you can hear some Bob Marley in there).

His newest album (out this year) is probably his best, but here is a cut from his 2007 album which was also a massive hit in Spain:

There are loads of other great bands to check out after these including Estopa, La Troba Kung Fu, Calima, Amparanoia, Los Delinquentes the list is endless just open up your ears to the sounds the world has to offer!

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Top 5: 80s Music Videos You’ve Never Seen But Have To
(No. 5 – Survivor)

Now for something a little less serious.  Youtube is a great place for a laugh, so to put y’all in a jolly mood for the weekend I have compiled a top 5 of the very best 80s music videos. They are too good for just one installment, so here’s part one of five:

First up is a lesser known song ‘I Can’t Hold Back’ by the band Survivor (who had massive hits in the 80s with ‘Is This Love’ and ‘Eye of The Tiger’).

The video is a classic, it has everything you would ever want in a music video. Plot, drama, dancing, leather, trains, man dressed as nun – the list is endless. I’ll be honest, the reason I picked this video is because this actually happened to me the other day – so it is also based on a true story, kinda.

I’ll run through the video first, but be sure to watch it below!

It starts off with the band “chilling” in a book store reading mags, just having a laugh, which one did quite a lot in those days.  Lead singer Jimi Jamison wanders off to look at some bigger books about trains. This is where it gets interesting. Mega hot librarian (I’ll call her Libs) comes down the ladder – in heels! What? Dangerous! She picks a book about Elvis and starts reading – isn’t she supposed to be working? We see some real chemistry between Libs and Jimi. Check out the glances (very sexy eyes) and even better – a “she’s alright” sign from the band.

In proper 80s fashion…. we get a flash of light, and cut to the band on stage. I am loving the red leather trousers with a red vest… one for Halloween next week maybe?

Libs is dancing away – and by God she can spin. So what is actually going on here? Has he seen her before? Or is this that night? No! It was all in his head – a fantasy. Ahhh poor Jimi, so is he going to get the girl? Well maybe, but not before some more weird fantasy action on a train. This whole bit is brilliant – the band again “chillin” on the train with some sexy chicks and – who would have guessed – a man dressed as a nun! WHAT THE FRIG? So finally Jimi and Libs get it on on the train (with a classic “thumbs up” from the drummer).

Back to reality. The band, great mates they are, literally rip Jimi away from chatting up Libs. Off they go their separate ways. But no… Jimi’s changed his mind! Can he catch up with her? She’s getting on (you’ve guessed it) a train! Can he make it?

My favourite part is the “well… you win some, you lose some” shrug at the end… classic! Enjoy!

Quite a random post, but nevertheless there will be more where this came from.  Keep your eyes peeled for number 4!

___________________________________This is it… Really?

Michael Jackson’s “final song” came out this week. I’m pretty sure they’ll dig out some other “unheard” recordings at some point in the future, but let’s assume This Is It is the King of Pop’s last song. Does it live up to its hype? No. Not at all. It doesn’t even come close! No one will remember this song in a couple of weeks time let alone a few years down the line. Apart from the obvious money making potential, why release a track like this? It didn’t even make the album Dangerous!

It got me thinking though. By either digging out old studio takes or unreleased tracks, there have been times when the posthumous release has worked. Here is a list of tracks which, although released posthumously, are right up there alongside the artists’ most successful work. In some cases it may be the best they ever did, and they will be long remembered for it:

Bob Marley “Buffalo Soldier”

This has to be one of Bob Marley’s most popular songs. It was recorded in his final sessions in 1980 and appeared on the posthumous release of Confrontation an album put together by Rita Marley in the 2 years after his death. It’s a great example of how Bob Marley had finally taken reggae into the pop market mainstream – who knows what he might have recorded later had he not tragically died of cancer in 1981.  Listening to this track now, it still sounds fresh and relevant:

2 Pac “Changes”

This track was originally recorded in 1992 however, it was officially released posthumously on his album Greatest Hits in 1998. Just like the Bob Marley track above, this has to be one of the most famous and well known songs of his career. It was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 2000 Grammy Awards – it remains the only posthumous song to be nominated in this category.

Sublime “What I Got”

Sublime had just finished recording their self titled third album when singer Bradley Nowell died of a drug overdose in 1996. 2 months later they released Sublime which won the band worldwide fame and went five times platinum in the US alone. Even though the band tried to carry on without him, it was this collection of songs which sums up Sublime the best.  What I Got was one of the most popular songs of 1997 and is still played heaps on the radio today. The video was shot after Nowell’s death and contains mainly archive videos and photos of Bradley as a tribute.

Johnny Cash “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”

Johnny Cash had such a successful and beloved career that the fact he was producing some of his most revered work in his final years is a testament to how talented this man was. Produced by Rick Rubin, the album American V: A Hundred Highways was released in 2006 (3 years after his death) and went straight to number 1 in the US (his first number 1 since 1969). It was also met with critical acclaim, “Listening to this album, one can’t get around the knowledge that it is a posthumous collection made in Cash’s last days, but even without that context, it would have much the same impact.” (allmusic.com)

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Why Bon Jovi are the perfect Super Bowl halftime show.

The speculation has begun and apparently Bon Jovi are in preliminary negotiations to perform at the halftime show for Super Bowl XLIV. So here is my 2 cents about why they are the perfect candidate this season:

BonJovi

Rock music and Football go hand in hand. If you look back at the most successful performances (I’ll be hopefully doing a top 5 halftime shows at some point), rock has to come out on top. Whenever they’ve branched off into pop or hip hop or even country it hasn’t had the same impact. At halftime, all you wanna do… is rock out.

You need an act who can play live. Many acts actually turn down the halftime show because a bad performance can create such bad publicity, it’s promotional suicide. Bands like Bon Jovi, Rolling Stones, Prince etc… NEVER have a bad day – they’ve played for so long that they can whack out their hits no problem.

You the need hits. With apparently nearly 1 billion people worldwide watching, you need to have an act that have at least 4 or 5 huge tracks. This is catering for the masses BIG time. Who has more hits than Bon Jovi? They have so many, it’ll be hard to choose which ones to use.

You need personality. Who will ever forget Bruce nut charging the world? (I will never get that image out of my head) Or Prince in that purple suit actually making purple rain? Bon Jovi have an image and they’ll look great. I know it might not be “cool” anymore, but  I’ll love to see Richie in his leather trousers and Jon Bon wearing a bandana.

It’s finally Bon Jovi’s time. They should have played a Superbowl in the 80s, but never did. So, with a new album out in November and a huge tour planned for next year (I think they tour every year!!) what a great time to hit the biggest stage in music. Also, this is the year the Giants make it to the Super Bowl again, and who better to play than New Jersey local Jon Bon??

There is no confirmation they will play yet (I think that usually happens around Thanksgiving time?) – who would you like to see play the Super Bowl half time show this year? And why?

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One of my favourite albums of the year so far has got to be Allen Tousaints “Bright Mississippi”. Filled with classic jazz and blues (New Orleans style) it has to be a shoe in for a few Grammys. It also made me marvel at the sounds of the piano, in celebration –  here are my top 5 pianists:

Fats Waller

Fats Waller, the king of stride piano. It’s not just his playing but his huge personality that puts him up here on this list. Fats is a New Yorker who took the stride piano of the 1920s and turned it into a faster and livelier style, which was made extra special due to his lavish performances. Such a good performer, he was apparently kidnapped by Al Capone to play at one of his gangster parties where he was plied with 100 dollar bills and asked to play songs all night:

Monty Alexander

Probably my favourite of all. Monty is a Jamaican jazz pianist so he’s always had touch of the Caribbean in his playing. A fantastic musician mainly because he hasn’t just stayed in the jazz genre. His two cover albums of Bob Marley are amazing. Check this clip: he grooves from reggae to jazz then back to reggae:

Henry Butler

There are loads of New Orleans blues pianists I could have picked, (Professor Longhair, Pinetop Perkins, Dr John etc…) it’s just such a great music scene with so many characters, and boogie woogie has to be the craziest music around. But Henry Butler has to be my favourite. His left hand just slaps that bass line out like no other. I’d love to party with his guy (well by “party” I mean sit, tap my foot and watch him play). Here he performs the classic Scott Joplin ragtime piece and “turns it on its heel”. Seriously, this is a dude who can play those keys!

Ruben Gonzalez

When it comes to Cuban music I think the piano is a bit overlooked. For me it is the driving force of the songs, so here I’ve picked one of my favourites, Ruben Gonzalez. He just seems like such a cool old man and he was still performing at the age of 83! Made famous worldwide after Ry Cooder brought him back from retirement to perform on Buena Vista Social Club. He makes playing the piano just look effortless. So chilled, but so so good…. enjoy this one:

Ruben Gonzalez’s Piano solo on Buena Vista Social Club

Oscar Peterson

Who else could it be? Oscar has to be the best pianist to have ever lived, shame I never got to see him perform:

Your favourite not make the cut? Let me know!

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2004

Not a stellar year here but A Mighty Wind – the Spinal Tap of folk music – was hilarious and not only introduced us to the Folksmen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRRTc_3PGWE&feature=related but also to Mitch (Eugenie Levy) one of the funniest musicians in film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq4CAY9lrIM

I’m not kidding here but Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights was really good and this Orishas track is banging http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjHnHADzhNc&feature=related

Some Kind Of Monster took us behind the scenes of the greatest metal band in the world – and it wasn’t pretty http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dugew2iPnzc&feature=fvw

Best Soundtrack: A strange choice maybe here but Gustavo Santaolalla haunting score to the Motorcycle Diaries really added a whole dimension to the film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u0U3dbVMHk

Best Song: Everyone had the Garden State soundtrack but it was this Frou Frou track that did it for me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txYxwmio7AU

BMMM: No explanation needed for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eplbDbp6XJQ

WTFMM: I actually like Liv Tyler, and I thought it was a great film… But seriously? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkLSFdvrhq0

5 Responses to “Big Al’s 2 Cents”


  1. 1 Aleks October 3, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    Henry Butler was blind from birth…

    Learning in Braille, Butler says, is an arduous task: The pianist must read and memorize a segment for each hand before putting it all together a few bars at a time.

  2. 2 Omibrazibia November 15, 2009 at 1:27 AM

    Hey there everyone i was just introduceing myself here im a first time visitor who hopes to become a daily reader!

  3. 3 D November 20, 2009 at 1:21 AM

    High Fidelity is a must movie for music enthusiasts!

  4. 4 Aleks November 25, 2009 at 12:32 PM

    I can’t believe how far Jamie Foxx has come since Booty Call!!!


  1. 1 TGIFTune « Sonic Arts's Blog Trackback on October 9, 2009 at 10:38 AM

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