It is Saturday, February 3, 2018, and welcome the Multifarious Man Podcast episode 28, The End is the Beginning – Part I. As always I am your host J. Vincent. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MultifariousMan or follow the podcast blog at www.multifariousman.com. Send your show comments and recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. On today’s show I️ am talking about what I consider some best of the fall and winter releases in music. Part II will cover film and television. Either way there is plenty of content to keep you busy for the foreseeable future. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
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Right now I am enjoying the tantalizing thriller, Sting by Sandra Brown and I just finished The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas.
Music for the Soul
The fall and winter of 2017 brought us a veritable cornucopia of music from some of my all time favorite groups and solo artists. Some album drops were highly anticipated (I’m talking to you Taylor Swift) and some were long awaited surprises (welcome back Fergie), but overall my ears, headphones, and speakers were not disappointed.
It’s been over 15 years since Maroon 5’s debut album, Songs About Jane and based on the time I have spent with their new album Red Pill Blues, they don’t show any signs of slowing down. Adam Levine’s silky vocals punctuated my an unfaltering falsetto are tailored made for the keys, percussion, groovy bass lines, and funky guitar riffs. Stand out songs are What Lovers Do featuring up and coming R&B songstress SZA (pronounced sizza), Whiskey featuring A$AP Rocky, Denim Jacket, and the 11 minute plus jam session, Closure. Most people only know the group due to the highly visible, charismatic, Mr. Levine, but in my opinion, this well seasoned band is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Come for the singles but stay for entire album.
Alecia Moore, known to the world as P!nk has been putting out hits since the hip-hop infused There You Go from her debut album Can’t Take Me Home in 2000. Whether you call her a pop star or a rock star there is no denying her vocal skill. Beautiful Trauma, her seventh studio album continues the trend she started with 2001’s Missundaztood – beautiful ballads, soaring anthems, and party jams. The surprising Revenge featuring Eminem, What About Us, and the title track Beautiful Trauma are just a few of the songs that will get extended listens on your playlists.
I have been a fan of Stacy Ferguson since her days as a star on the 80’s television series Kids Incorporated. Years later I re-discovered her as a member of the 2001 girl group Wild Orchid. For most people, they know her simply as Fergie, who teamed up with The Black Eyed Peas and joined them for their meteoric rise. No matter where you saw her she always stood out. It was no surprise when she released the solo album, The Dutchess in September 2006. Now, eleven years later, she is back with a vengeance with the powerful, Double Dutchess. This is without doubt a modern hip hop album that can go toe-to-toe and blow for blow with each song on her debut album. Check out You Already Know featuring Nicki Minaj, M.I.L.F. $, Like It Ain’t Nuttin’, LA Love, and Save It Til Morning, song that feels like it is the big sister to Big Girls Don’t Cry. As a bonus check out the Lemonade inspired videos that Fergie released for nearly all of the songs.
Taylor Swift first arrived on the scene 15 years ago she took the country music scene by storm with her debut album Taylor Swift. After dabbling in the pop music world with a few cuts on the underrated Red, she jumped head first with the smash hit 1989. Now after three year absence, Ms. Swift is back on the scene with the self referential Reputation. Stand outs are Gorgeous, End Game featuring Ed Sheeran and Future, Ready For It, Look What You Made Me Do, and New Year’s Day. Ignore the tabloid fodder and stick around for the lyrics, melodies, and pop production.
Every time the industry writes off Marshall Mathers, known to the world as Eminem, he comes of his corners throwing lyrical jabs and uppercuts. We last heard from him on the new classic The Marshall Mathers LP 2 back in 2013. Now he is back with the powerful Revival. He starts off the album with the ego check, Walk On Water, an anti Rap God where Em admits to his constant fear of failure backed by the soulful voice of Beyonce’. It’s a family affair on Bad Husband where he addresses the ups and downs of his relationship with his ex wife, and Arose a letter to his daughter. Of course he also up to his raw and braggadocios best on Need Me and Heat. Either way, if you were a fan of Eminem before, this will not turn you away. If you were never a fan, there is nothing new here to dissuade you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention 4:44 and The Hamilton Mixtape. 4:44, by Jay Z was without a doubt one of the best rap albums in decade. It answered the question, what happens to rappers when they grow old? Shawn Carter removed the veil that is the Jay Z character and produced a layered, personal opus that put on full display the insecurities of a flawed man. In the opening track, he metaphorically kill’s Jay Z. A man in his late forties would sound insincere rapping about money, cash hoes. Instead Mr. Carter raps about wealth, the difficulties of marriage, race, and legacy, just to name a few. This was all done without sacrificing the brilliance of his art.
As for The Hamilton Mixtape, Lin Manuel-Miranda and took the brilliance that is Hamilton the Musical and further embraced its Hip Hop Roots (yes shot out again to the fabulous Roots crew). The mixtape remixes and remakes many of the musicals songs with various hip hop and R&B artists. Kelly Clarkson’s It’s Quiet Uptown will bring you to tears. Immigrants (We Get the Job Done) will have you trying to rap in Spanish.
This this where Part I comes to and end. Be on the look out for The End is the Beginning – Part II where I will cover the world of TV and Film. Was 2017 the year when original streaming content surpassed broadcast and theatrical release in quality?