Abel Tesfaye continues his run of unearthing Pop gems while really trying to make either/or a R&B album or an Electronic one.
His new edgier appearance almost sweetens the horror-show atmosphere he surrounds his Pop songs with. "After Hours" plays like the end credits to a Safdie Brothers film, while the very New Wave "Blinding Lights" is yet another classic single.
Gray has been creating videos for YouTube since age 9. Now 21, Gray has a solid chance of breaking into Pop a la Lewis Capaldi. His upper-register quaver and adenoidal highs find that unique spot between what could be Emo ("The Story" and straight Pop ("Maniac").
– REISSUES –
SOUL DEEP: BEST OF THE BOX TOPS
[LP] (Music on Vinyl)
Here's where another legend begins (and nearly ends). Americans had the Monkees. With them came a host of groups assembled around several key songs from amazing new songwriters. While writing had long been in favor, Rock N'Roll had not quite fallen in love with key scribes like R&B did. Memphis' Box Tops began as The Devilles, one of so many bands that would play teen parties and dances. However, when they hooked up with producer/songwriter Dan Penn (who cut his teeth at FAME Studios with Rick Hall), they launched a subgenre of R&B mixed with Pop known as "Blue Eyed Soul."
Penn had a top 10 hit with James and Bobby Purify's "I'm Your Puppet" in 1966. He used his position to shape this group with Chips Moman (soon to produce Elvis at Memphis' historic American Studios). Singer Alex Chilton was only 17 when his gruff Eric Burdon-esque voice guided "The Letter" to the top of the charts.
With that the group unleashed a brief run of singles that, while very commercial, ("Cry Like A Baby") brought more success.
Lesser-known singles ("Neon Rainbow") failed to catch fire while still aging as classic ‘60s Pop thanks to elegant production. They slowed down "You Keep Me Hangin' On" before Vanilla Fudge and even recorded a song from Mickey Newbury before he got famous. However, by 1969, the band had enough of the road (Chilton's take is Big Star's "The Ballad of El Goodo"), and Chilton would give them one more hit, "Soul Deep," before moving on.
Sebastiao Tapajos Y Pedro Dos Santos
Brazilian music (also known as MPB) deserves a lot of examination in its classic period.
As traditional music discovered the experimental side of Psychedelia (Os Mutantes), Rock N'Roll and Pop (Caetano Veloso), artists made room for delightfully strange productions that could achieve a new level of enchantment with the old formula of muscular classical guitar.
Tapajos is a dexterous and emotional player who can light up Flamenco and slow down a ballad with the best of them. Backed by a small band, Tapajos catches fire in the 1972 session from Argentina thanks to Pedro Dos Santos.
Santos provides a rhythmic counterpoint for all that Tapajos can do (which is a lot; check out "Ganga") with matchboxes, metal cans, containers and almost everything percussive but drums.