The Voice: Michelle Chamuel’s Cover of “True Colors”

I don’t think I’ve posted about my affection for NBC’s The Voice before, but there ya go. Any show on which Alexis Marceaux was a contestant and that features the music of everyone from The Lumineers and Sarah McLachlan to Nina Simone and Bill Withers has got to be good. Michelle Chamuel’s cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” last night was especially fantastic, and somewhat emotional after judge Usher made her rehearse by singing the song to her own tearful mirror reflection. You can watch the videos of Michelle Chamuel’s stage performance of “True Colors” on The Voice as well as the original by Cyndi Lauper (for you uneducated youngsters) below…

Buy Michelle Chamuel Mp3 @ iTunes

Buy Cyndi Lauper Mp3 @ Amazon

Muruch Classic Albums Appreciation Club: Week 14

Last week’s selection, Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual, was mostly as fun and upbeat as I’d hoped, but it also reminded me how strong and unusual Cyndi Lauper’s voice has always been. As alluded to in a comment on last week’s post, Cyndi was the subject of much debate when her debut, She’s So Unusual, was first released in 1983. Her 1980s music may be seem like tame novelty now, but back then she stirred up a quite a bit of controversy. Much like modern artists Lady Gaga and Amanda Palmer, I recall that Cyndi Lauper was once considered somewhat of a deviant just for her punked-up hair color, eccentric attire and affinity for avant garde performance art. Musically, her songs ran the gamut from catchy pop numbers like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” to heartfelt ballads such as “Time After Time.” In between she experimented with quirky avante-pop, New Wave, rock and even reggae. My personal favorite track on She’s So Unusual is “When You Were Mine.” Now we’ll move up into the 1990s and jump across the pond…

This week’s classic album is…Pulp: Different Class

To recap the procedure here: At the beginning of each week, I’ll post brief thoughts on the previous week’s listening experience along with the coming week’s classic album selection. Then sometime in the week that follows, we’ll all take the time to listen to the album from beginning to end with no distractions. It can be as simple as just getting away from the computer to listen alone or you can make an event of it with candles, beverages and friends. Whatever format you play the album in or the manner in which you listen, just give the music your full and undivided attention.

Feel free to comment or email your opinions of our selections and recommendations for classic albums (from any decade, including this one).

Muruch Classic Albums Appreciation Club: Week 13

Last week’s pick, Radiohead’s The Bends, was even better than I remembered. It’s not an album I’ve listened to much in recent years, simply because it’s tied to some intense memories and emotions that I’m not always prepared to relive (ah, the power of music-induced nostalgia!). When I do listen to it, though, I’m surprised at how inaccurate my memory is regarding the album’s mood. Radiohead’s music, particularly their early albums, has often been inaccurately described as depressing and time always seems to lead me back to that misperception. But listening to The Bends again, I was struck at how beautifully and brilliantly they embellished even their most melancholy melodies with rock riffs and electronic beats. The sneering rock “Just” reminds me why Muse is always compared to Radiohead, but “High and Dry,” “Fake Plastic Trees,” “Black Star” and especially “Street Spirit” remain unparalleled in their elegiac elegance. Now for something a little more upbeat and fun…

This week’s classic album is…Cyndi Lauper: She’s So Unusual

To recap the procedure here: At the beginning of each week, I’ll post brief thoughts on the previous week’s listening experience along with the coming week’s classic album selection. Then sometime in the week that follows, we’ll all take the time to listen to the album from beginning to end with no distractions. It can be as simple as just getting away from the computer to listen alone or you can make an event of it with candles, beverages and friends. Whatever format you play the album in or the manner in which you listen, just give the music your full and undivided attention.

Feel free to comment or email your opinions of our selections and recommendations for classic albums (from any decade, including this one).

Eva Cassidy: Simply Eva

Simply Eva is the first album of 2011 that I expect to see on my best of the year list. Set for release on January 25th by Blix Street Records, the album features previously unreleased material by the late, great Eva Cassidy. What sets Simply Eva apart is that it is composed entirely of acoustic versions of Eva’s best known recordings. Accompanied only by the soft strum of her guitar, Eva’s extraordinary voice is beautifully displayed in this exquisite collection.

From her tender rendering of Christine McVie’s “Songbird” through her bluesy folk renditions of “Wayfaring Stranger and “Wade in the Water” and her soaring transformations of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and “Time After Time,” this album is truly flawless. The sparse acoustic arrangements allow Eva’s big, magnificent to shine.

My personal favorite tracks are her gorgeous covers of “Over the Rainbow” and “Autumn Leaves,” but there really isn’t a weak track here. Although it’s less than a minute long, Eva’s a capella performance of “I Know You By Heart” is a breathtaking, tear-inducing finale.

Surpassed only by Songbird, Simply Eva is one of the greatest and most exciting collections of Eva Cassidy recordings to date.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3 and there aren’t any samples online yet, but I promise you this album contains some of the most beautiful music ever recorded.

Buy @ Amazon

Sarah McLachlan: Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff 2

I’ve been a fan of Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan since long before her Lilith Fair days, stumbling upon her second album Solace in the early 1990s and shortly after devouring 1993’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Though her recent releases haven’t captivated me so intensely, my fondness for her elegant voice hasn’t diminished over the years. Sarah released the first volume of Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff in 1996, and now gives us this second collection of soundtrack work, previously unreleased as well as live tracks, and collaborations with guests Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, DMC, Emmylou Harris, The Perishers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, DJ Tiësto, and Delerium.

The album opens with “Ordinary Miracle”, culled from the Charlotte’s Web soundtrack. Though I prefer Fisher‘s cover, McLachlan’s version is also lovely. Cyndi Lauper then joins McLachlan on the pretty acoustic duet of “Time After Time” that they recorded for Lauper’s The Body Acoustic.

Though I personally think that Holly Cole recorded the definitive cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River” on her 1997 album Dear Dark Heart, McLachlan successfully captures the soft melancholy of the original. Allison Crowe‘s interpretation is good, too.

Bryan Adams guests on the Gretchen Peters tune “Don’t Let Go”, Emmylou Harris sings on the Lilith Fair edition of “Angel”, and The Perishers appear on the live recording “Pills”. The disc also includes McLachlan’s plucky rendition of The Beatles’ “Blackbird” from the I Am Sam soundtrack, the sweet “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2, and “The Rainbow Connection” from For The Kids.

I favor the original version of Delerium’s “Silence” from the Brokedown Palace soundtrack over this “In Search Of Sunrise” remix by DJ Tiësto. But I rarely like remixes. Also present are Sarah’s covers of the traditional “Prayer of St. Francis” and “Unchained Melody”.

Far more interesting than any of the above are Sarah’s a cappella cover of Paul Simon’s “Homeless” with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the marvelously bizarre transformation of Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” into the rap-rock song “Just Like Me” with rapper DMC.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below.

Sarah McLachlan Official Site

Buy @ Amazon

Sarah McLachlan