REVIEW: CASSADEE POPE – ‘STAGES’ 0 65

Having first hit the music industry in pop group Hey Monday, before being thrust into the spotlight as a contestant on – and eventual winner of – The Voice USA in 2012, Cassadee Pope’s career has continued to skyrocket ever since.

Her latest – and hotly anticipated collection – titled Stages, addresses relationships, the shock of heartbreak and the utter joy that comes from the discovery of new love, all with a pop-country feel. Opening numbers, and 2018 releases, “Take You Home” and “One More Red Light”, get the album off to a strong start, the R&B rhythm of “Take You Home” in particular working brilliantly alongside Pope’s impressive vocals while “One More Red Light” is fairly easily the most country sounding inclusion on the album.

There’s a slight rock undertone to “How I Feel Right Now” before the album shifts into heartbreak mode with the first of a few break up songs, “Bring Me Down Town” which sees the central character of the song finally realising how futile it is to look back on and think about a former relationship – what’s gone is gone; move on.

If there’s any highlight on the album, it comes via latest single “If My Heart Had A Heart” – a brilliant little number which showcases every inch of Pope’s undeniable talent, while lyrically, it just screams to be played in arenas around the world with thousands upon thousands singing along to lyrics like “It would cut me some slack, have my back, it would give me a break.” With a great beat and thanks to it being damn catchy, this is a radio (and hopefully chart) hit if ever there was one.

Written almost like an open letter to the new companion of an ex, “FYI” will resonate with anyone who has loved and lost and seen someone who used to be theirs happy (or maybe not) with someone else. Lyrics like “Sorry, I’m not sorry, it’s not my problem anymore” have an air of girl-power confidence about them while the song as a whole is upbeat enough to have listeners tapping their toes or dancing along wherever they might be when they hear it.

The musical interlude “Gavi” is a touching, piano solo tribute to Jasaon Gaviati, who died in 2015. Personally this piece resonated with me quite strongly, and lingered with me long after it had finished. It’s great to see an artist pay tribute to one of their own in this manner and Pope should be very proud of it.

The heart-break sentimentality of the album continues with “Don’t Ask Me” before the mood shifts into a slightly more upbeat mode thanks to “Still Got It”, while closing number “I’ve Been Good” – yes, that old expression we all use perhaps more than we should when we’re hiding how we really feel – will find a home with anyone who has put on a brave, confident face in front of an ex before.

Stages as a whole is a brilliant collection of songs that showcase Pope’s growth both as an individual and more importantly as an artist. A talent to be reckoned with, on the back of this album, her already strong fan-base and her impact and place in the music world, can – and should – only grow stronger.

Header photo credit: Jeff Nelson.

 

 

 

 

 

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BLUE OYSTER CULT TALK THEIR UPCOMING UK TOUR & 50 YEAR CAREER 0 23

With a career that spans 50 years behind them already, Blue Oyster Cult have firmly established themselves as one of the music industry’s most illustrious bands, respected by music fans and critics on both sides of the Atlantic. As the band prepare to make a long overdue return to the UK, guitarist and song-writer Buck Dharma teased what fans can expect from their upcoming shows and reflected on the bands’ career and success so far.

Q: Are you looking forward to coming back to the UK? What do you most enjoy and how does playing here compare to back home in the States?

Buck Dharma: Yes I am. I have enjoyed the UK since first coming in 1975. I like the difference in culture and customs compared to the US, and revisiting friends and fans I’ve gotten to know over the years.

Q: What are some of your favourite memories of playing in the UK? Any previous shows that have always stuck with you?

BD: I’m looking forward to playing what used to be called Hammersmith Odeon in London again. We had great shows there in the heyday of Blue Oyster Cult and look forward to returning. Otherwise I like to get out into the countryside and visit the other cities and towns in the country.

Q: If at all, how have you adapted and developed your live production and your approach to playing your music live over the decades?

BD: We are currently touring with less special effects and props, focusing primarily on the music and the musical performance. It’s essentially what it’s all about, and I enjoy concentrating on that aspect of our musical catalogue.

Q: “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is such a great track that has really stood the test of time. How does it feel to have a song that is so universally recognised and loved, even in 2019? Has the song’s success continued to surpass your initial expectations for the track?

BD: It’s great that “Reaper” has held up so well over time. It’s endurance continues to surprise and gratify me, and yes, I had no idea when we recorded it that it would have had the impact it has.

Q: A lot has changed within the Rock community since you first started, but are there any current rock artists that have impressed you over the last few years? Any albums you’re particularly enjoying at the moment?

BD: I like The Rival Sons and the new youngsters Greta Van Fleet. I also discovered last year a 2015 album by Chris Cornell called “Higher Truth.”

Q: Your last studio album, Curse of the Hidden Mirrors was released 18 years ago – any current plans to make another record?

BD: As matter of fact, yes. BOC is recording another LP this year, 2019, the first in many years. Should be out by fall.

Q: You have worked and toured with the likes of Patti Smith, Randy Jackson and Alice Cooper over the course of your career – any highlights or people you still have on the wish list?

BD: All our collaborations and touring have been rewarding. I’m open to collaborating with anybody, perhaps some of the younger artists, although I don’t actively pursue such cooperation.

Q: You have been doing this for over 50 years now which is incredible. Having reached such a large milestone in your career, what inspires you to keep going and keeps you motivated?

BD: I enjoy playing and singing as much today as I ever did. I don’t have to work, but I do it because it’s rewarding personally. I could live if I couldn’t do it anymore, but I truly enjoy it, and will do it for another couple years at least.

Q: If you could turn back time, is there anything you would change or do differently?

BD: I have no regrets. It might be nice to have known more about the business side of the Music industry, but I’m not complaining about the way it’s gone. I’m lucky to have worked at a job I like all my life.

Q: Finally, knowing all that you know now, what advice would you give your former self when first starting out, and what advice would you give to anyone wanting to be in a band now?

BD: Only that I should prepare for a long career. I never anticipated I’d be still doing what I did in my 20’s fifty years later. I don’t know what to advise young people today. I’m not really involved in the current state of music business, it’s changing rapidly, of course, like everything else in life.

Tickets for Blue Oyster Cult’s UK tour, which kicks off on February 21st, are on sale now. For more information on the band, visit their website or give their page a like on Facebook.

P!NK CONFIRMED TO PERFORM AT 2019 BRITS; RECIPIENT OF OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC AWARD 0 29

We are thrilled to announce that multi-million selling global pop icon P!NK will be honoured with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Music Award at this year’s ceremony. P!NK will be the first international artist to receive this award.

Seven studio albums and one greatest hits album on since her debut in 2000, totalling over 60 million global sales, over 8 million in the UK alone along with over 12 million UK single sales, P!NK is a musical force to be reckoned with. With seven Top Five albums – with two going No. 1 (Funhouse and the most recent platinum-certified Beautiful Trauma), three UK No. 1 singles (‘Just Like A Pill’, ‘So What’, ‘Lady Marmalade’) and 32 Top 40 singles, 19 of which going Top 10, including ‘Try’, ‘Just Give Me A Reason’ and ‘What About Us’, P!NK has become one of the UK’s best-selling female artists and one of the world’s greatest singers, with her inimitable powerhouse vocals and show-stopping stage performances.
 
Over 2 million tickets sold in the UK alone to date, nine BRIT nominations, and one win for International Female Solo Artist in 2003, and a string of other prestigious awards and accolades including three GRAMMY awards (20 nominations) and two Billboard Music Awards, P!NK’s career sees no sign of letting up with her first UK stadium tour in five years booked for this summer, including two nights at London’s Wembley Stadium.
 
P!NK said: “I am so honored to be recognized with the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award at the 2019 BRITs! Since the beginning of my career the British fans have been some of the most fierce and loyal in the world. I am humbled to receive this honor and be in the company of an illustrious group of British icons!”

BRITs Chairman and Chairman & CEO of Sony Music UK and Ireland Jason Iley said: “P!NK is a trailblazer, a phenomenally talented singer and songwriter, and truly one of the greatest artists of our time.  It is a real pleasure to honour her at this year’s BRIT Awards with the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award. With her remarkable career spanning nearly 20 years, P!NK is one of the most successful artists in the world, consistently releasing multi-million-selling albums and selling out tours all over the globe. I am really excited to welcome her back to The BRITs and to recognise her prodigious success.”
 
P!NK joins an illustrious list of previous BRIT Awards Outstanding Contribution to Music recipients including Sir Elton John, David Bowie, Queen, Spice Girls, U2, Sir Paul McCartney, Oasis, Robbie Williams and Blur. The award was rested in 2013 to make way for a Special Recognition for War Child to mark the charity’s 20th anniversary. P!NK will be the first international artist to receive the honour, a decision taken by The BRITs committee to open the award up to overseas acts who have achieved long term success in the UK, and P!NK will be awarded in recognition of her significant impact on British music and her incredible musical repertoire over the past two decades.

Like all winners on the night, P!NK will be presented with an exclusive trophy designed for this year only by Sir David Adjaye OBE, and she will close the show with an exclusive performance on the night, showcasing her extraordinary talent which continues to wow audiences all over the world.