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Jeff Katz's Posts

Kylie Minogue’s ‘The Abbey Road Sessions’: Album Review

When most artists of Kylie Minogueʼs stature want to celebrate a career milestone (or fulfill that last album obligation in their soon-to-be-finished recording contract), a greatest hits collection is the go-to fix. If youʼre lucky, maybe a few remixes will be thrown in for good measure, but thatʼs about it. And that certainly would have been the expected release from such a pop/dance diva like Kylie. But to mark this, her 25th year in the biz, Kylie flexed those musical muscles that all-too-many critics questioned she had and completely reworked some of her biggest hits.

Such are the 16 tracks on The Abbey Road Sessions (out today, ), recorded at the famed London studio with the backing of her touring band and a full orchestra. So, can Kylie slow it down and still serve up fabulousness? Of course! Purists will have a hard time complaining over the track listing, which covers everything from “The Locomotion” to the more recent “All The Lovers” — a particularly beautiful rendition, at that. And maybe its her own curse of being such a “performer,” but for me, the biggest fault of the album isn’t the music itself, but rather a lack of visuals. The toned-down, orchestral feel lends itself so well to a live show that thereʼs a sense while listening to The Abbey Road Sessions that “seeing” the music could help breathe a bit more life into some of the particularly slow parts. More »

Mika’s ‘The Origin Of Love’: Album Review

Looks like the boy who forever lived life in cartoon motion has grown up…a bit. Maturity is front and center on Mika’s third full-length release, The Origin Of Love (out today, ). But diehards needn’t worry: the poppy bounce and playful melodies are still ever present, as is a seasoned pop star with some solid life experience under his belt. Sure, he may have written a song for Madonna about killing a lover, but for his own album, Mika is all about the love. Look no further than the title track (not to be confused with the Hedwig And The Angry Inch song of the same name), where the singer manages to compare feelings of love to that of nicotine addiction and candy canes. There are or grand choruses, tribal chants, soaring vocals. Quirky yet sort of brilliant. In other words, perfectly Mika.

The album as a whole revolves around themes and ideas of love: having it, losing it, being ridiculously frustrated with it. And after his interview with Instinct earlier this fall, we know officially know that a lot of the album’s inspiration was found in his current boyfriend. So has his public coming out resulted in different Mika? Not really, which in this case is welcomed news. More »