Alicia Keys – Songs in A Minor

Released in 2001, this is Alicia Keys’s first album. It has aged quite well and I definitely appreciate it much more than when it was released. Alicia’s sound has changed a lot throughout her career but this record is a really great example of a what a very talented young woman might go through in day to day life outside of playing really beautiful piano. Her voice is calm, honest, and insightful, and her lyrics are clear. How Come You Don’t Call Me was a huge hit, and listening to it still makes me start grooving. The cool part about this album is how it has a variety of paces and attitudes so if you listen to it you can get up and dance (Girlfriend) and then when you’re tired you can sit down and chill (Troubles). Then when you gather up some more energy you can belt it all out again (A Woman’s Worth). Her record label repacked the album recently as a “10th Anniversary Edition” and added some remixes and unreleased tracks. Of those, Juiciest is hot. She brags, “I’m the juiciest girl around, and I got 999 men knockin’ down my door”, while Biggie’s beats play in the background.

Junior Kimbrough – God Knows I Tried

This blues album is calm and crazy at once. I like to listen to this while getting dressed and ready for the evening. I feel empowered and apathetic, which I guess is equally as much of a contradiction as how I characterize the album and probably what makes it a compelling listen. Junior Kimbrough’s guitar is smooth in the way that his voice is smooth. In other words it’s raspy—and completely cool. There’s a background beat in much of his songs that really drones on and on, and makes the album one of those special records that you can put on repeat and not notice it has played 4 times repeatedly. If he sounds vaguely familiar, maybe you saw the recent presentation for Saint Laurent SS2013 or you have listened to anything by The Black Keys.

Franz Schubert – Impromptus, D. 899 and D. 935

Sometimes I like to read or do things that are better with instrumental music. I also like to act like my apartment is just the left wing of a larger mansion and down the central corridor is my personal pianist, who specializes in Schubert. I admire anyone that can play Schubert because in my experience his works are some of the toughest. The Impromptus evoke a range of emotions; there are powerful chords, freaky staccatos, and just the most beautiful, undulating harmonies. My favorite is Opus 90, No. 3. It’s sumptuous, soothing, velvety and somehow a piece I would play at both a wedding and a funeral. Or in my case while eating breakfast, or reading. If you want more, go search for his Trios.


What I’m Looking forward to:

Amy Winehouse – Amy Winehouse at the BBC
It’s 4 discs and it’s a collection of her live recordings. I think one of the discs is a DVD. The thing about Amy is she’s statistically my favorite musician so…

Lana Del Rey – Paradise
I get what her management is doing and it’s a smart decision. She’s rereleasing her first album Born To Die with like 8ish more tracks and labeling those songs as a new album. Exactly the same as Lady Gaga did with The Fame Monster. So far, two of the songs from it have been playing repeatedly chez moi. Blue Velvet is obviously a cover but it has the window-vibrating bass and underwater murkiness that characterizes most of her music. Ride has a lot less Hip-Hop and is the kind of epic song you would somehow find in both the soundtracks for “Crossroads” (starring Britney Spears) and “No Country for Old Men.” And maybe if you add those two films together you get “Kill Bill”?