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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Pop Making Sense
2012-03-07

This article shared 2901 times since Wed Mar 7, 2012
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In between projects as half of the beloved folk group Indigo Girls, Amy Ray continues to fulfill her artistic journey with her latest solo effort, Lung of Love. "Glow" and "Crying in the Wilderness" have just enough drums and guitar not to suit an Indigo Girls album, but the latter has the duo's trademark melodies. Ray serves as a storyteller with a social conscience on "From Haiti." "The Rock Is My Foundation" tackles the crossroads of being queer and raised Christian. Out singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile guests on four tracks, including the beautiful "Bird in the Hand." Lung of Love is out now on Ray's label Daemon Records.

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International boasts four discs containing 76 covers of the Minnesota-born artist's work. Grammy darling Adele contributes "Make You Feel My Love," while Glee star Darren Criss shines on "New Morning." Bisexual Evan Rachel Wood delivers a Cole Porter-inspired take on "I'd Have You Anytime." Lucinda Williams puts her recognizable, aching vocals on "Tryin' to Get to Heaven." Surprisingly, Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus do not completely ruin the flow with respective attempts at "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go."

Outside this impressive collection, my favorite Dylan remakes are Sinead O'Connor's "I Believe in You," Sophie B. Hawkins' "I Want You" and Randy Crawford's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Proceeds from Chimes of Freedom benefit Amnesty International.

Format marks the second double-disc compilation of B-sides for the British duo Pet Shop Boys. The music is a gold mine, but so is reading the liner notes. Here, the band reflects on the 38 songs and admits that B-sides are intended to attract fans who otherwise would not buy a single. Some of the material is worthy of finding its way onto a proper album, but the sound does not fit the full-length's vibe, as is the case with the stripped down "Hit and Miss" from the Bilingual sessions. The theatrical "Delusions of Grandeur" shows Neil Tennant's incomparable witty way with words. Format is out now as an import and hopefully will be available stateside soon. An album of new material is in the works with Andrew Dawson (Beyoncé, Kanye West, Ne-Yo) as producer.

Centaur Entertainment's Global Groove: Dance 5 is loaded with diva vocals and irresistible, fierce tracks. DJ Escape opens the non-stop mix with Deborah Cox's 2011 club smash "If It Wasn't for Love." Chicago's very own Ralphi Rosario's remix of Gloria Estefan's "Hotel Nacional" has the star acting young and carefree. Dance favorite Debby Holiday shows off her pipes on "Key to Your Soul," a collaboration with John LePage. Good luck sitting still during the climax on "We Are House." The throwbacks to the '90s continue with "Listen Bitch." This cut has plenty of sass and bass with its nod to "Tyler Moore Mary" by Rageous Projecting Franklin Fuentes. "WW4" is an ideal soundtrack for a late night battle on the dancefloor. Global Groove: Dance 5 is out now through multiple outlets including iTunes and www.theoutclub.com .

Not only has Paul Oakenfold scored hits on his own with "Starry Eyed Surprise" with Shifty Shellshock and "Faster Kill Pussycat" with the late Brittany Murphy, but he has remixed many of music's greats like Madonna and U2. Oakenfold won me over when he worked with Steve Osborne as Perfecto. The superstar DJ will be spinning at The Mid, 306 N. Halsted St., on Saturday, March 17, to promote his latest, We Are Planet Perfecto, Volume 01. Yes, this has a remix to the Perfecto evergreen "Not Over Yet" by Grace.

On Thursday, March 15, adored Chicago cabaret duo Amy & Freddy will unveil its new material during a release party for the highly anticipated new album, We Get Along, at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave. This is the pair's first set in seven years. Amy Armstrong is known for her mighty voice, hearty laugh and hilarious twists on classics. Amy & Freddy were serenading the masses on an RSVP cruise before a run in Puerta Vallarta last month.

Local artists and dancers unite to pay tribute to Lady Gaga at the concert experience Bad Romance. The all-ages show has a 12-person cast and is taking place at Copernicus Theater, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., on Friday, March 16. Although she cannot shake the comparisons to Madonna, Lady Gaga can dent the charts, as she sent three songs to number one on the pop charts and 11 to the top of the dance charts. The New York fashionista also is an outspoken ally of the LGBT community, having just launched the Born This Way Foundation. For tickets and more information, visit www.badromanceshow.com .

Chris Brown and Rihanna are making news again, as the former couple reunites on a remix to "Birthday Cake." Three years ago, the two were coy about revealing whether they were an item. The eve of the 2009 Grammy Awards, Brown assaulted the "S.O.S." singer and she had to seek medical attention. A photo of a severely battered Rihanna then surfaced. Sure, we can learn a lesson on forgiveness here, but she could be an example by moving on, especially considering Rihanna's young admirers. In a day when an overhyped wedding is followed by a 72-day marriage, this is another case of sensationalism in lieu of substance.


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