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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Pop Making Sense
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2012-02-22

This article shared 2126 times since Wed Feb 22, 2012
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After remixing "Walking with a Ghost," "Back in Your Head" and "Alligator" for Tegan and Sara, Morgan Page teams with the queer Canadian twins on the new track "Body Work." Remixes are now available and the upbeat number will appear on Page's forthcoming full length album. Tegan and Sara also collaborated with Tiesto on "Feel It in My Bones." Page will spin at Enclave, 220 W. Chicago Ave., on Saturday, March 3.

Blues singer Shemekia Copeland issued her first retrospective, Deluxe Edition, earlier this year. The set focuses on her material when she was signed to Alligator Records. Copeland has a mighty voice that adds a certain conviction on the sassy "Better Not Touch" and "Wild, Wild Woman." She shines brightly as the organ emphasizes her story on "Ghetto Child." Other slower jams, such as "Don't Whisper" and "Love Scene," emit emotion as the arrangements complement her vocal prowess perfectly. Check out 2000's Wicked for a bluesy take on "Steamy Windows," the Tina Turner hit from 1989's Foreign Affair.

Known for her stage presence, Copeland returns with a show at Space, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, on Saturday, March 3.

Bettye LaVette can stamp a song with her aching voice and her signature delivery. At last year's United Negro College Fund's An Evening of Stars Tribute to Chaka Khan, LaVette sang "Love Me Still" with Herbie Hancock on piano. The pair stole the show and brought Khan to tears. LaVette's latest is Interpretations: The British Songbook, with her takes on classics like "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "Nights in White Satin." On Friday, Feb. 24, LaVette will perform at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

Some may say it is a gift, but it also is a curse. When I hear a certain lyric or riff, I rack my brain to figure out what song is being sampled or referenced. The way Kelly Clarkson sings the line "You don't know a thing about me" on her kiss-off to the press, "Mr. Know It All," makes me immediately think of "Heart and Soul" by Huey Lewis and the News.

Clarkson's album, Stronger, also features the worthwhile pop ditties "Honestly" and "Standing in front of You." The chart-topper "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" can be heard on an episode of Suburgatory and a Toyota Camry commercial. Clarkson's latest has a longer-lasting flavor than her 2009 outing, All I Ever Wanted. The Ron Paul supporter comes to The Venue at Horseshoe Casino, 777 Casino Center, Hammond, Ind., on Saturday, March 10.

Universal love is celebrated on the Richard Anthony (Goberville) song "We Belong." The anthem is the backbone to a short film that tells the story of two gay youths and two retirees blossoming their respective relationships. In the singer-songwriter's clip to "Love Is the Power," he "gets a little help from his friends," as the teacher at Joliet Central has his students featured in the video. Both videos can be found on YouTube.

"We Belong" is from the new set Love Is the Power. "Stranger in My Bed" has a tasty guitar solo and traces of "Could It Be Magic" as he sings, "Now I see the light." Keyboards and a synthesizer's beat build a strong groove on the standout "The Meaning." "Free" possesses a beautiful melody recalling KC and the Sunshine Band's "Please Don't Go." Love Is the Power is out now on iTunes and CD Baby.

In the wake of Whitney Houston's death on Feb. 11, Simon Cowell called into Piers Morgan Tonight and fittingly described the late songstress as "one of the greatest voices in our time we're likely ever to hear." The following Tuesday, Amber Riley performed a knockout version of the late diva's megahit "I Will Always Love You" on Glee. This is the best take on the power ballad since Leona Lewis nailed it on X-Factor in 2006.

When she was at her prime, Houston crossed over into film with The Bodyguard. Its soundtrack sold more than 13 million units. In recent years, her once-flawless voice took a turn for the worse, famously noted on her panned tour to support the comeback effort, I Look to You. During her successful career, Houston topped the pop, R&B and dance charts on multiple occasions and won multiple awards, including six Grammys.

Although she is known for love songs like "Greatest Love of All" and "All the Man I Need," Houston scored several hits on the dance charts. Her best remix is Jonathan Peters' reworking of "My Love Is Your Love," although the Thunderpuss club mix of "It's Not Right But It's Okay" might be her best remembered.

In 1992, when Houston released "I Will Always Love You," there was concern that radio would not embrace a broken-hearted love song, which is a cappella for the first 43 seconds. The worldwide smash went to reign at the pole position on the pop charts for 14 weeks.

No other siren who could deliver "The Star-Spangled Banner" like Houston did in 1991, making it a top 20 hit upon its initial release, then sending it to the top 10 after 9/11.

Houston and her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, had a very public battle with drugs and alcohol, as witnessed on the short-lived reality show Being Bobby Brown. She became the target of jokes in many outlets like Saturday Night Live, MADtv and In Living Color. Kathy Griffin recently said she would tone down her jabs at Houston. Even a sock-puppet rendition of her startling interview with Diane Sawyer went viral and DJs sampled dialogue from this piece, as Houston repeated "Crack is wack." The late icon also denied rumors about her sexuality.

Houston will appear in the movie remake of Sparkle and have two new songs on the soundtrack, both due in August.


This article shared 2126 times since Wed Feb 22, 2012
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