Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

Music Review: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - If I Can Dream

Music Review: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - If I Can Dream
The King of Rock & Roll backed by strings and brass? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Elvis had diverse musical tastes and was a big fan of opera singer Mario Lanza. “This is the album he always would have wanted to do,” says Priscilla Presley, the singer’s former wife. Added Priscilla, who approved the pairing of Elvis’ vocals with brand-new accompaniment by London’s Royal Philharmonic: “He would have loved to play with such a prestigious symphony orchestra.” Released for his 80 th birthday, the collection is a reminder of Elvis’ emotive power, whether on familiar songs like “Love Me Tender” or the inspirational title track. Italian operatic pop trio Il Volo joins Elvis on a robust...
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1045 Hits

Music Review: Drake and Future - What a Time to Be Alive

Music Review: Drake and Future - What a Time to Be Alive
What a time to be Drake. The Grammy-winning Toronto hip-hop star’s mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late , released in February, is one of the year’s most successful recordings, with sales of over one million. This summer, the former actor born Aubrey Graham became embroiled in a mud-slinging beef with the rapper Meek Mill over ghostwriting accusations. Now Drake has released another bestselling mixtape. Recorded quickly with Atlanta rapper Future, the collection presents the MCs’ contrasting styles: Drake’s sharp raps and Future’s spaced-out drawls. The best collaborations are the booming “Jumpman” and the hypnotic “Diamonds Dancing.” The last two tracks are solo efforts, with Future...
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948 Hits

Music Review: Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon

Music Review: Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon
The enigmatic chanteuse once described herself as the “gangsta Nancy Sinatra.” On her latest release, Lana Del Rey embraces the tragic siren of 1950s and ’60s pop, mixing cinematic influences to create an ethereal soundtrack that is deliciously retro. It can get a little spooky. On the narcotically slow title track, Del Rey sings, “we both know the history of violence that surrounds you.” It’s clear that she’s resigned herself to the magnetic attraction of “Mr. Born to Lose.” On the sultry “Freak,” she urges her lover to “come to California and be a freak like me.” And she sounds every bit the tortured lover on the windswept “High By the Beach” when she sings, “I can’t survive, if this is al...
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1027 Hits

Music Review: Jewel - Picking Up the Pieces

Music Review: Jewel - Picking Up the Pieces
Jewel made her stunning debut with Pieces of You , a collection of starkly honest folk songs. A lot of has transpired for the Alaskan native in the 20 years since, including pop stardom, a marriage, a son, a divorce and brief forays into country and children’s music. Now the 41-year-old multiple Grammy nominee has returned to her folk roots with an album that neatly bookends her best-selling debut. The recording, which features brand new songs and previously unrecorded live favourites, lays bare the emotions of the woman who once sang “Who Will Save Your Soul.” Some of it is shockingly candid, especially the anguished “Love Used to Be,” the frightening “His Pleasure is My Pain” and the howli...
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1113 Hits

Music Review: Alessia Cara - Four Pink Walls

Music Review: Alessia Cara - Four Pink Walls
Anyone who’s seen the video for Alessia Cara’s song “Here” (and over five million people have) know that this 19-year-old from Brampton, Ont. is destined for big things. The song, one of five featured on her debut Four Pink Walls , shows Cara to be a wise-beyond-her-years talent. The lyrics suggest a wallflower at a house party, but it becomes clear she’s nobody’s fool, just not interested in superficial socializing. Her maturity is evident on “Seventeen,” about growing up too fast. When Cara sings about falling in love, “I’m Yours,” it’s no simple surrender; she takes her boyfriend to task for “melting this heart of iron.” Closer vocally to Lorde than Ariana Grande and with a smooth, hip-ho...
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1166 Hits

Music Review: The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Mask

Music Review: The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Mask
Abel Tesfaye, better known as the Weeknd, is ready for his close up. The 25-year-old Torontonian, who was raised by his single Ethiopian-Canadian mother, first came to wide attention when Drake featured him on key tracks for his Take Care album. The alt-r&b singer then landed a hit song, “Earned It,” on the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. Recently, the Weeknd’s star went supernova, thanks to his smash “Can’t Feel My Face” becoming the undisputed song of the summer. Now Tesfaye has a new album that includes those songs plus another dozen deliciously moody and melodic numbers, including the suitably dark “Dark Times” with Ed Sheeran and the woozy “Prisoner” featuring Lana Del Rey. Along w...
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1061 Hits

Music Review: Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion

Music Review: Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion
Canada’s pop queen faced a frightening prospect trying to match the success of her worldwide smash “Call Me Maybe.” But rather than duplicate the song, which inspired endless covers, parodies and celebrities lip-dubs, Carly Rae Jepsen experimented. For her new album the 29-year-old native of Mission, B.C. sought out a diverse range of writers and producers. The result is a sugar rush of ’80s-style synth sounds with some refreshing hints of sadness. Songs like the infectious “I Really Like You” explore Jepsen’s specialty: the infatuations and flirtations of first love. Nods to the ’80s include “Boy Problems,” a Madonna-style disco number, and “All That,” which boasts a Prince-like sensuality....
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911 Hits