Happy Birthday to my father, who turns 76 today! Last year I posted a Frank Sinatra video to honor my dad’s 75th birthday, so I have little confidence that this year’s Random Weekend selection will live up to that.
But let’s spin the wheel and see what the Random iTunes Fairy has in mind for my father.
OK… a cover of Elton John’s classic ‘Your Song’ by English pop singer Ellie Goulding. He could have done far worse.
The last — and only — time I featured a song from Arcade Fire’s 2007 album Neon Bible was on April Fool’s Day in 2013.
I had just spent three weeks writing a song-by-song dissection of the band’s celebrated 2010 album The Suburbs (a surprise Album of the Year winner at the Grammys) and my regular readers were not happy. So I mischievously suggested I was about to launch into another couple of weeks analyzing Neon Bible. Good one, me!
Here’s a beautiful song from Rufus Wainwright’s 2010 collecton All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, an album of piano ballads written in the months leading up to his mother’s death.
This very personal and classically-influenced album followed five baroque pop albums and hinted at Wainwright’s future direction. Though he did release another pop album, Out of the Game, in 2012, he then shifted his focus to recording and releasing an opera, 2015’s Prima Donna.
1970’s Tea For the Tillerman was the first of two back-to-back albums that made Cat Stevens a worldwide star. Its follow-up, Teaser and the Firecat, joined this album in going triple platinum in the U.S. while also charting in Europe and beyond.
Those are also the only two Cat Stevens albums I own, and for a minor fan, probably the only two you need.
Bob Dylan’s 27th album, 1990’s Under the Red Sky, isn’t likely to warrant a mention among either his best or his worst work.
The album was met with tepid sales and critical shrugs, in part because it followed 1989’s celebrated Oh Mercy, which had been rightly heralded as a solid return to form. Under the Red Sky was nothing like its sonically and thematically rich predecessor.
The Denver-based Lumineers rode the folk rock revival wave to success in the early 2010s, with their song ‘Ho Hey’ spending 14 weeks in the top ten of Billboard’s Hot 100.
I must have bought this album back then but I didn’t spend much time listening to it. I’m not familiar with any of its songs apart from that first single, including today’s SOTD.
Elvis Costello’s 1986 album King of America blended Country and Americana flavors with his brand of brainy singer-songwriter rock, resulting in one of his greatest achievements.
Among confessional ballads and geo-political explorations, Costello dropped in a few fun rave-ups, including today’s SOTD, ‘The Big Light.’