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: Mika - No Place in Heaven

Music Review: Mika - No Place in Heaven
Mika’s 2007 debut, Life in Cartoon Motion , showed flashes of pop brilliance, with a debt to Freddie Mercury and Elton John. But his followup albums were disappointingly inconsistent. His fourth disc is the first to fully realize the depth of his gift for expansive melodies, glorious hooks and complex lyrics. It’s also the first to show his knack for catchy French songs like “Boum Boum Boum,” already a chart-topper in France. No Place in Heaven is bursting with the kind of infectious, whipsmart songs Mika showed he was capable of with his smash hit “Grace Kelly.” The new album features too many highlights to mention, but standouts include the barnstorming “Talk About You,” the giddy, handcla...
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Music Review: Neil Young + Promise of the Real - The Monsanto Years

Music Review: Neil Young + Promise of the Real - The Monsanto Years
It’s not just the agrochemical multinational corporation that Young targets on his new protest album, but big-box chains like Wal-Mart and Starbucks that are “too big to fail, too rich for jail.” Working with Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah, the raging rock legend tackles topics from worker exploitation to genetically modified foods.
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Music Review: Tame Impala - Currents

Music Review: Tame Impala - Currents
Kevin Parker, frontman for the Western Australian psych-rockers, has eclectic tastes, from Led Zeppelin to Britney Spears. His band’s third album has plenty of diversity, featuring the disco funk of “Less I Know the Better” and the slow and hypnotically moody “Cause I’m a Man,” which amounts to wildly trippy lounge music.
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Music Review: Joss Stone - Water for the Soul

Music Review: Joss Stone - Water for the Soul
Joss Stone is best known for her 2004 debut The Soul Sessions , which paired her smoky vocals with a classic r&b sound. But the singer from Devon, England has been feeling the island vibe ever since meeting Bob Marley’s son Damien in SuperHeavy, the short-lived supergroup with Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and A.R. Rahman. For her seventh album, Stone embraces a more global sound, dabbling South Asian percussion on “Stuck on You” and Spanish guitar on “Let Me Breathe.” There are still hints of her trademark soul on songs like “This Ain’t Love.” But she and Marley cook up mostly sunny reggae on the album’s 14 tracks. Their “Wake Up” duet is a dancehall-flavored warning about the power of subl...
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Music Review: Nate Ruess - Grand Romantic

Music Review: Nate Ruess - Grand Romantic
He’s well known to fans of the U.S. indie pop band fun., which won Grammys for Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “We Are Young,” the group’s soaring hit with Janelle Monáe. As its energetic frontman, Nate Ruess was credited with giving fun. its swagger and gleefulness—even in the face of downbeat subjects. On his solo debut, the 33-year-old mixes dark tracks with infectious songs that have all the optimism of “We Are Young.” “AhHa” is a little of both, shifting from a bombastic opening into a moving account of struggling with depression and getting saved by music. The title track is a sweeping confessional with operatic overtones. But the album’s best song is “Nothing Without Love,” i...
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Music Review: Tori Kelly - Unbreakable Smile

Music Review: Tori Kelly - Unbreakable Smile
Her path to becoming a pop icon seems unbreakable as well. With a voice capable of hitting any note, tone or melodic run with apparent ease and songs that ring instantly true, Tori Kelly has emerged as the “Artist to Watch.” “I’ve never reacted physically to a singer like that before in my life—her vocal ability is unbelievable,” gushed British pop star Sam Smith, with whom she’s toured. Now the 22-year-old California native, who once auditioned for American Idol and became a YouTube cover sensation, is the big buzz. Managed by Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande) and produced by Max Martin (Katy Perry, Taylor Swift), Kelly shows off her gifts on her thrilling debut, a 14-track showc...
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Music Review: Richard Thompson - Still

Few artists blend old and new-world influences better than the former leader of famed British folk-rockers Fairport Convention. His latest, produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, is a gem, full of mystical Renaissance sounds on songs like “Pony in the Saddle” and robust rock stylings, especially on “Guitar Heroes,” which pays brilliant homage to his mentors.
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