To hear Cee Lo's new single 'Bright Lights, Bigger City' go to tampabay.com/blogs/poplife.
Before I gush about my new 40th anniversary vinyl copy of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass — which might be the most glorious thing in the history of things — allow me a thinly veiled plea for even more LPs.
In 2005, when I was the music critic at the Washington Post, I used to get 30 to 40 CDs a week. My mailbox was stuffed with everything from big-label stuff to the jazz-fusion musings of the wackadoo down the block. Nowadays, most of the music I get is delivered digitally. Downloadable copies are cheaper to send (crucial for labels in the red) plus harder to pirate. It's also the way most of us are listening to music.
Even so, more and more labels are sending music critics vinyl copies of new product.
Why? Because five years from now, CDs will be kaput. Ninety percent of purchased music will be digital. However, if you want a physical copy of an album, your main option will be a "licorice pizza." Vinyl sales are up 33 percent over last year. In the latest ish of Rolling Stone, Taylor Swift — whose new album Speak Now was also released on vinyl — raves about spinning Tom Petty LPs. Trust me: Dig out your record player. You're going to need it.
Best Beatles Solo Album? George's 'Pass' turns 40
For the past few days, the only thing on my turntable has been that anniversary edition of George Harrison's 1970 masterpiece All Things Must Pass, which on Nov. 26 will be released on vinyl and in a digital format (no CD!). Pressed on heavy-duty 180-gram vinyl, the three LPs (including the noodly "Apple Jam" session) come in a lift-top box with "original monochromatic album art" (plus a wicked big poster!). Co-produced by Harrison and Phil "Wall of Sound" Spector, it's the greatest Beatles "solo" album of all time. You could pick Lennon's Imagine, maybe McCartney and Wings' Band on the Run. But for sheer scope, ambition, emotional wallop and hits (My Sweet Lord, Isn't It a Pity), it's unparalleled. My favorite part? Harrison's slip 'n' slide guitar coming to the forefront during the last verse of What Is Life. Yep, I love my job.
If you go:
On Nov. 27, at the Largo Cultural Center, local stalwarts the Ditchflowers plus special guests will re-create the first two LPs of All Things Must Pass in proper track order. (What? Couldn't muster Thanks for the Pepperoni?) Tickets are $19 in advance, $23 at the door. Show starts at 8 p.m. Go to wmnf.org or call (813) 238-8001 for more info.
ALBUM REVIEW: Cee Lo Green, The Lady Killer (Elektra/WEA)
A bleepin' good time
Not since the days of Richard Pryor has a man been so beloved for dropping the f-bomb. Cee Lo Green, of the Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley, went solo with a splash, scoring a No. 1 hit with profane kiss-off F--- You. It's hard to top that throwback smack, but it turns out the rest of the corpulent crooner's soul-kissed new album is catchy, too — a 14-track merging of Motown stroll, giddy funk and modern neuroses.
"When it comes to the ladies, I have a license to kill," the 36-year-old hushes before giving way to horror-movie strings and a James Bond score. Yeah, ol' CLG is shaky in the sanity department, but rest assured the album's title is self-deprecation, not a threat. (Although on the songs Bodies and Love Gun, I really hope he's been metaphorical . . .) A cross between Barry White and Edward Scissorhands, the singer has soul is his heart, clouds in his head and an innate ability to feel incredibly alone. Bright Lights, Bigger City has a loping Billie Jean beat, '80s synth washes and his searing, slightly worn soul vocal searching for relief. Old Fashioned chimes like a Sam Cooke classic and promenades with sashaying sweetness.
A DALY DOSE: RANDOM MUSINGS ON POP
• I love the latest report that DJ Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells) is producing the new U2 album, due sometime in spring 2011. It could be the Dublin Four's first legitimately great album since 1991's Achtung Baby, which experimented with aural loop-de-loops but retained anthemic rock grace — a Danger Mouse specialty for sure. Oh, and in case you're angry: All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000) doesn't count as "great"; that was four good songs in a row — Beautiful Day, Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of, Elevation, Walk On — then seven tracks of filler.
• Okay, so I whiffed on the biggest award at Wednesday's CMAs in Nashville: I thought Music Row would crown Lady Antebellum entertainer of the year; instead, all-around good guy Brad Paisley took the prize. But I was dead-on with Zac Brown Band getting the new artist nod. And I'm proud of country music (and myself) for picking Miranda Lambert as top female vocalist and selecting her gritty, risky Revolution as album of the year.