Spider Sounds: Diana Krall “Live In Paris”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” is by Julie (aka Xinyi), one of our student workers, and features a live album from Canadian jazz pianist & singer Diana Krall which was originally released in 2002 and won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Thanks, Julie!

Diana Krall

Live In Paris

Diana Krall - Live In Paris

I picked the CD called “Live in Paris” by Diana Krall, because I personally prefer European-style music. This CD has many different pieces. The first one is called “I Love Being Here With You.” At the very beginning, the general rhythm sounds very lively and energetic. It provides me a happy feeling of living in Paris. Because of the quick rhythm and pace, I feel it encourages listeners to become more interested in living in Paris and assume living in Paris would be a colorful and interesting experience.

The second track is called “Let’s Fall In Love,” which has a very different mood from the first track and is much slower paced.
I think Paris is known as a romantic city, and the second track fits that “romantic” feeling quite well.

The other songs on this CD, in general, consists of alternating quick and slow tracks. I feel this is variety is good so listeners won’t feel bored when they listen to the whole album.

This album also is available to UR students, faculty and staff via our streaming service — click on this link to access it: http://librarycat.richmond.edu/vwebv/holdingsInfo?searchId=4353&recCount=25&recPointer=0&bibId=1455539.

Spider Sounds: U2 “The Joshua Tree”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” is by Alexandra, one of our student workers, and features the critically acclaimed album The Joshua Tree by U2. This was U2‘s fifth studio album. It was released in the spring of 1987. Thanks, Alexandra!

U2

The Joshua TreeU2 - The Joshua Tree

U2 is the purest example of clean, meaningful, and everlasting music. It is almost impossible to choose one soundtrack to shine amongst the rest but if you only have time to listen to one album, then The Joshua Tree is the one to pick. Lyrics from “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “Mothers of the Disappeared,” and “With Or Without You” represent the political and social turmoil occurring during the time of production and the sense of hope lost during these troubling times. Just as the biblical overtones of The Joshua Tree signify a guide to lead disciples to the Promised Land, the album reminds us of the healing power of music.

Spider Sounds: Les Misérables

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” is by Rebecca, one of our student workers, and features the original Broadway cast recording of the acclaimed musical Les Misérables. Thanks, Rebecca!

Les Miserables - Original Broadway Cast

In the thirty years following its English-language debut, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s musical Les Misérables has rightly earned its status one of the world’s most beloved Broadway shows. Adapted from Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name, Les Misérables appeals to bookworms, history buffs, and music lovers alike. The musical tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict whose journey from Prisoner Number 24601 to upstanding citizen and finally fugitive on the run from a relentless police inspector tragically intersects with the unfolding of the fateful June Rebellion in Paris.

This original Broadway cast recording brings to life all of the stunning lyricism and vitality of the stage production. The heartbreakingly melodic vocal themes and nearly seamless musical accompaniment weave the listener into the gritty realities of life in Orléanist France, and are well worth revisiting for those already familiar with the show.

Catch the revolutionary spirit this spring by listening to the original Broadway cast recording of Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables!

Spider Sounds: Sufjan Stevens “Come On Feel The Illinoise”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” is by Colette, one of our student workers, and features a 2005 album by critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. Thanks, Colette!

Sufjan Stevens

Come On Feel The Illinoise

Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise

After his first state themed album, Greetings From Michigan (2003), Sufjan Stevens turned out yet another excellent state themed collection in 2005. Known for his use of varied instruments including trumpets, vibraphones, banjos, and others, Come On Feel The Illinoise is a classic Sufjan creation.

Some of my favorite tracks include:

“The predatory wasp of the Palisades is out to get us!”
The feeling of this song works directly against the wackiness of the title — it is sincere, with incredible and heartfelt lyrics.

and

“John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”
This song is about — you guessed it — the famous serial killer. Sufjan does a masterful job describing and humanizing Gacy, and ends with the line:
“And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid”

This line exemplifies Sufjan’s skills as a lyricist. The entire album has such a wonderful motion to it, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is a Sufjan Stevens fan, or anyone looking to listen to something new.

Come visit the Parsons Music Library and discover what we have available!

Spider Sounds: The Carpenters “Now and Then”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” is by Xixi, one of our student workers, and features the mellow 1970s pop stylings of The Carpenters. Thanks, Xixi!

The Carpenters

Now And Then

The Carpenters - Then And Now

In the Carpenters’ 1973 album Now and Then, we got to hear some of the world’s best known songs like “Jambalaya” and “Yesterday Once More.” With Karen Carpenter’s deep melodic voice and Richard Carpenter’s skilled and classical use of string instruments, we hear a smooth harmonious mixture of country, folk, and bluegrass music. The Carpenters were a big hit in the UK, US, and Japan during the 1970s. Many of their songs have been revisited and covered by other artists.

When you feel stressed, frustrated, or lost, listen to the Carpenters’ Now and Then. Every single song aims to tell a story of happiness and sorrow, memories of past and present. You are welcomed not just as an audience, but also a listener, a participant, and a close friend, thinking of “those were such happy times and not so long ago, how I wondered where they’d gone.”

To me, listening to Carpenters’ music is beyond the expression of words, and I always have different thoughts about it at different time periods. I guess that’s the charm of this album and
the Carpenters’ music, that no matter when or where you hear them, you can always be renewed and enriched by the lyrics and rhythm of their songs.

Come visit the Parsons Music Library and discover what we have available!

Spider Sounds: John Mayer “Continuum”

Editor’s Note:“Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is a bit unusual — two different student workers actually have chosen to write about the same 2006 album by John Mayer. So we are presenting both Aly and Mary’s individual takes on this album in the same post. Thanks to student workers Aly and Mary for contributing to “Spider Sounds”!

John Mayer

Continuum

John Mayer - Continuum

Aly’s thoughts on “Continuum”:

ContinuumJohn Mayer (2006)

Continuum, John Mayer’s third studio album, is a fresh take on guitar-driven pop music. Chances are, you’ve probably heard a few songs from this album before, such as “Gravity,” “Dreaming With a Broken Heart,” or the uplifting “Say (What You Need to Say).” These songs all come together on an outstanding album, which dominated the 49th Grammy Awards – there, Mayer performed “Gravity” live, then went on to sweep the titles for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the recognizable “Waiting on the World to Change.”

As with all of Mayer’s albums, Continuum features tracks with incredibly vivid lyrics that stand far above many other pop songs that tend to feature an overused dialogue. Mayer’s messages are artful, inspirational, intelligent – they’re quick and concise, and stick with you. In
Continuum, many songs have positive, feel-good themes that any listener would love.

To add to the rich lyricism in Continuum, many tracks have rich guitar rhythms throughout, both acoustic and electric – and Mayer himself does most of it. His technique is undeniably masterful, and should not go unnoticed.

My personal favorite track on the album is “The Heart of Life” (the song’s refrain was actually my senior quote in my high school yearbook!). A sunny, poetic dialogue, effortless vocals, and a fresh guitar foundation – the track embodies everything that makes John Mayer a standout pop singer-songwriter.

John Mayer performs "Gravity"

John Mayer perfoming “Gravity” at the 49th Grammy Awards show. 11 February 2007

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Mary’s thoughts on “Continuum”:

If you’re looking for songs that are deep and meaningful, John Mayer’s third album called Continuum is the way to go. His songs in this album invite you to look at the world, your relationships, and your own life and ponder upon them. After listening to his songs, you would feel as if any brokenness or uncertainty are relieved temporarily. His calm voice placidly talks to you as if you’re sitting with your close friend at a café on a fair day, just talking about how life is going.

If you feel like you have a lot of burden in your life, come check out Continuum at the Parsons Music Library and let music share your burden for a bit.

John Mayer - Continuum

Spider Sounds: Purity Ring “Another Eternity”

Editor’s note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by Liza, one of Parsons Music Library‘s student workers and features an album by the Canadian electronic music duo Purity Ring. Thanks, Liza!

Purity Ring

Another Eternity

Purity Ring - "Another Eternity"

If you haven’t heard of Purity Ring, you’re missing out! As a fairly new addition to the Parsons Music Library, Purity Ring combines their own genre of “future pop” with electronic indie in their newest album Another Eternity (2015). The Canadian duo Megan James and Corin Roddick recorded and produced the album themselves, showing off a sharper focus on James’ vocals and Roddick’s evocative percussive skills than in their first album Shrines (2012).

Purity Ring’s songs deliver dream-like melodies intertwined in electronic landscapes as heard in “Bodyache” and “Begin Again.” The duo continues to give rise to prevailing styles in indie music through their resonance of intensive trap beats and smooth, atmospheric lyrics.

If you missed Purity Ring on September 20, 2015 at The National in Richmond, then come to the Music Library to check out their CDs Another Eternity and Shrines!

Purity Ring - "Shrines"

Spider Sounds: Wicked

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by KyungSun, one of Parsons Music Library’s student workers and features the Broadway musical Wicked based on “The Wizard of Oz” and Gregory Maguire‘s literary reimagining of the story. The musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz premiered in 2003 and is still going strong on Broadway and on tour. Thanks, KyungSun!

Wicked

Wicked

It’s one thing to see Broadway or even claim you love live musical theater. But we all know that as artists or avid fans, we LOVE to sing along (or at least try to).

Wicked is one of my favorite musicals. I saw it twice, and teared up both times. Why? If you haven’t seen it, it’s more than cheesy story about friendship. It’s also about the political manipulation, perception, and the power of language. Even more than that, Wicked has gotten me through some pretty tough times. If you haven’t heard of the song “The Wizard and I,” I highly recommend you listen or even better – sing it! – to find your inner confidence. The line, “My future is unlimited. And I’ve just had a vision almost like a prophecy. I know – it’s truly crazy. And true, the vision’s hazy. But I swear, someday there will be a celebration throughout Oz, that’s all to do with me.” This line reminds me to keep dreaming even when your own hometown is literally against you. If you’ve seen the beginning of The Wizard of Oz film, you’ll know why this particular lyric is important. Sure, other songs like “Popular” aren’t something we can (or should) sing as our life anthem, but it’s so much fun to try out…in your own room. Be sure to check out the Parsons Music Library‘s extensive collection of your favorite musicals if you’re ever in need of a sing your heart out moment!

Spider Sounds: Simon & Garfunkel “Live 1969”

Editor’s Note:“Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by Cate, one of Parsons Music Library’s student workers and features a classic live album by Simon & Garfunkel. Thanks, Cate!

Simon & Garfunkel

Live 1969

Simon & Garfunkel - Live 1969

I have a special liking for Simon and Garfunkel. They were one of the few artists my parents could agree on, so they made up much of the soundtrack for long car trips, and I remember falling asleep to the music thinking of flower crowns and the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo.

As always with Simon and Garfunkel, the melodies are lovely, woven with simple but really poetic lyrics.

I don’t usually go for live recordings, but listening to the audience was a lot fun. Art does most of the talking, understated and clear, introducing the band politely and quietly prefacing their new song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (a hit with the crowd, unsurprisingly). The album, like one of their songs, starts softly and builds in intensity before letting us go with a gently wit an echo of the melody, and (except for the end) the crowd responds in kind, quiet so that they can listen but becoming more and more excited as the concert goes on.

Hearing the concert performance itself is a real treat. They sound freer; the harmonies swoop higher and swing lower, the guitar is more fevered, the words, still soft, are exposed and bittersweet. A band accompanies them for a few songs, giving “Mrs. Robinson” a more energetic vibe, closer to that of the Lemonheads‘ cover than one would expect from Simon and Garfunkel’s traditional sound. But my personal favorite track, “The Sound of Silence” is just the two of them — more ragged here, and beautiful as ever.

Like awesome music from a couple of guys with a guitar? Stop by the Parsons Music Library and check Simon & Garfunkel — Live 1969 out. Don’t like awesome music from a couple of guys with a guitar? Stop by anyways. We’ve got awesome music in every variety ready to be listened to.

Spider Sounds: Alabama Shakes “Sound & Color”

Editor’s Note: Our “Spider Sounds” feature returns! “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by Kasey, one of Parsons Music Library’s student workers and features a CD by a group that just won several Grammy awards (including “Best Rock Song” and “Best Alternative Music Album”). Thanks, Kasey!

Alabama Shakes

Sound & Color

Sound & Color

If you’re looking for something with soul, substance and breadth look no further than Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes. The band’s Southern roots can be heard throughout the album backing raw vocals from their lead singer Brittany Howard and an array of instruments – some expected and some not. Whether you’re doing homework, hanging out with friends or cruising around town, Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes is sure to have your head bobbing to the beat. Find this album and many more at Parsons Music Library!