Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The British Influence
Ok, so I have an apology to make to the United Kingdom: When I was last there (in 2001), I thought their music scene was dead. All they had to offer was whiny, maudlin, self-indulgent, low-energy alternative pop. Think Coldplay, Travis, Aqualung. The genre was so saturated with second- and third-rate music-making that the term "Britpop" had taken on connotations that absolutely made me cringe.
But in the past five years, the British music scene has rebounded beautifully. I don't know exactly what started it, but suddenly there was Joss Stone's incomparable Soul Sessions, and then the undeniably funky debut album by Little Barrie. There was the truly unique and majestic beauty of Imogen Heap's Speak for Yourself. And now, just in 2007, we've had Mika, Jamie Lidell, the Guillemots, the Feeling, Lily Allen, Field Music... the list goes on and on. (For direct links to the MySpace pages of these bands, click here.)
The most recent British album to tickle my eardrums is James Morrison's Undiscovered. The soul popper is one of Starbucks's latest darlings, but don't be put off by the commercialism - the folks at Hear Music have incredibly adroit taste in music and this is the real deal. Check out a 3-minute intro to his CD (with lovely shots of London in the background) here.
Or check out a couple of live, acoustic performances Morrison did for AOL's Breakers series below. (If for no other reason, check it out for the pretty, pretty guitar.) For more live James Morrison, visit his MySpace page.