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Musical Chameleons

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Leah, Queen's Square | January 2, 2018

Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Madonna – They’re all musical chameleons who change up their style and surprise you. I had to rave about two great new CDs from other musical chameleons.

Let me just say that I was never a big Kesha fan before. Sure she had some fun pop hits, but how seriously can you take someone with a dollar sign in their name? Then I read a Rolling Stone article recently that named her new album, “one of the best albums of the year”. That made me stand up and listen. And you know what? They were right. Her new CD Rainbow is amazing! This is a real comeback for her.

Her first album in five years spotlights a more mature artist (no dollar sign anymore). The new Kesha feels authentic, like you’re finally seeing the real woman behind the façade. You can hear the painful emotion in her voice on the superb “Praying”. It’s mesmerizing. So many influences and musical styles run through the album from rock to pop to country to folk. From wonderful ballads to kick butt rock to dance-y party tunes. Kesha’s finally saying this is who she is: take it or leave it.

Macklemore has been one of my favourite artists since he exploded into our musical consciousness with the charming hit “Thrift shop”. With this album, Gemini, he’s going solo (sans producer Ryan Lewis) but he’s definitely not alone with tons of featured artists like Lil Yachty, Skylar Grey, and Kesha (just to name a few). Macklemore is a supreme wordsmith and man of many moods and you get them all here.

Macklemore hits the beats a bit harder on this record and is honest about his fight with his demons but it’s still got all the stuff you love about him: the fun, the irreverence, the life of the party persona. Some of the best tracks for me were the blues-tinged “Firebreather”, the delightfully absurd “Willy Wonka” and party anthems “Ain’t gonna die tonight” and “Levitate”. There’s always an utter uniqueness about Macklemore. Listening to his CDs are like the famous line: you never know what you’re gonna get. And thank goodness for that I say!

These are just two of my fav picks this year but tell me who’s your favourite musical chameleon?

Rainbow album coverGemini Album cover