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.

Macy Gray: Outlandish, outrageous and utterly original

The High Priestess of Freak is looking suspiciously like a Volvo Driving Soccer Mom. Dressed in a denim shirt, track pants and running shoes, with only a white, fun-fur cowboy hat hinting at her outlandish style, Macy Gray arrives at a studio in Burbank, California for a rehearsal with her seven-piece band. She’s late and her group has already run through most her repertoire. But the singer doesn’t seem the least bit concerned. Instead, Gray plonks herself down on a couch, curls her long, lanky frame up at one end of it and hides beneath the wide brim of her hat, nodding occasionally along to the music. She seems bored or at least tired—which would be entirely understandable, given that she’...
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Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

She’s made two conceptual albums featuring her alter-ego, the time-traveling android Cindi Mayweather, and starred in two films: the Oscar-winning Moonlight and Hidden Figures. And yet a major commercial breakthrough has so far eluded her. But this could be Monáe’s moment. Working with Prince before he died in 2016, Monáe went on to create a strikingly personal album. The sensual “Make Me Feel” is a direct homage to Prince’s “Kiss,” while “Americans” resembles the free spirit of his “Let’s Go Crazy” and the finger-popping “Pynk” channels the Purple One’s sexually liberated anthems. Monáe, who has been romantically linked to actress Tessa Thompson, uses her new album to explore themes of femi...
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Movie Review: Purple Rain

PURPLE RAIN Directed by Albert Magnoli.   Purple Rain resembles its provocative singing star, Prince: it delights in breaking rules and raising eyebrows. While such anarchic behavior is the root of rock music, it is rare in rock films. They usually offer a safe and predictable storyline that is little more than background to the soundtrack. But Purple Rain cleverly integrates its sultry electronic funk music with a story of unexpected depth and emotion. It receives great support from Prince himself, the 24-year-old pop sensation from Minneapolis who, in his first, largely autobiographical film, vividly translates his charismatic stage personality to the screen. Princ...
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Music Review: Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain

Prince is one of pop's true originals. His credo of eroticism and his nervy, androgynous pose have made the 24-year-old Minneapolis native a constroversial figure. Radio stations often ban his sexually explicit songs from airplay, but his music is an ingenious blend of keyboard funk and guitar rock. Purple Rain is a kaleidoscope of pulsating sounds and velvety textures. It opens with the cheerful chaos of "Let's Go Crazy," in which Prince preaches hedonism in the face of impending apocalypse. "Darling Nikki," about a steamy encounter with a nymphomanic, features a wailing guitar, and "The Beautiful Ones" is a breezy, romantic song sung in a sensual falsetto. Prince excels on "When ...
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Cover Story: Alicia Keys - Alicia in Wonderland

She has the hooks and the looks—and depth and diversity too. Barely out of her teens, Alicia Keys may be the most sophisticated new artist working in pop music today, the anti-Britney that critics and many discerning listeners have longed for. But is she the real deal? Is she more talent than hype? And can the classically trained singer-pianist possibly live up to the daunting comparisons with her legendary, soulful predecessors? Already, Keys is off to a damn good start. Her debut album, much of which she wrote, arranged and co-produced herself, has sold more than seven million copies and won her a raft of awards, including an astonishing five Grammys. Songs in A Minor features an ambitious...
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