Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

New Texas: "Sleep", "What About Us"

Texas is set to release their seventh album of new material on Nov. 7 (or possibly Oct. 31... some say the deluxe edition is out on Nov. 7, but the regular one is out on Halloween. According to Amazon.co.uk and HMV, both versions are out Nov. 7; Texas says it's out Oct. 31 and the group is doing some HMV store appearances starting then, so the album should at least be available for those appearances... and neither date is right if you're in the U.S. Of course a Texas album shouldn't come out in the States at all! Oh, it's all so confusing!).

Where was I? Ah yes, the album: Red Book, their seventh as it so happens. Texas released its first album in 1989, and in its review (click news to read it), Q points out that there were eight years in between the group's first top 10 single and their second. That length of time could be viewed as symptomatic of a Group With Issues, but in the often-fickle world of pop music, perhaps Texas' endurance says something positive about the band and about the U.K. public's willingness to hang in there with a group that's neither a flavour-of-the-month boy (or girl) band nor a Super-Group That Has Conquered The World like U2.

On the other hand, "Getaway", the first single from Red Book, was released in August and after debuting at #6 on the U.K. singles chart, soon dove down the chart. Maybe it was the song, maybe a lack of interest in the group, time will tell... Q gave the album 4 stars and singled out several songs for praise, including "Sleep", a duet between Texas' singer (and guitarist) Sharleen Spiteri and Blue Nile's Paul Buchanan. I hate the opening of "Sleep" oh so much. Spiteri's first lines are way too artificial and affected for me. Overall, the song is a at least a shade too "pop" or something that feels "off" for me. Pop is not my favourite genre, but I recognize that it's a good pop song, and I love Paul Buchanan's voice. I would have liked more layering of their voices, more harmonizing together... and a bit less sticky-sweetness. Still, I'd like to hear Paul Buchanan duets with oodles of female singers, and he can make them a bit fake-feeling if he must.

"Can't Resist" is the next single from Red Book and it absolutely will be available on Halloween. It's an upbeat, (mildly) dancey tune and references the "cold of November" -- nudge, nudge. Hey, November! It's timely.

Instead of posting the single, I'm posting "What About Us". Some of the music sounds exactly like another song, but it hasn't yet clicked for me what that other song is... if you know, please let me know! .000000000000015% of my brain is probably trying to figure it out as I go about my daily life and if relieved of that task it could move on to something more important like pondering how best to rid the world of capelets.

As for those HMV appearances: Texas has scheduled three of them. The group -- along with Spiteri, the members are bassist Johnny McElhone, keyboardist Eddie Campbell, guitarist Ally McErlaine, and drummer Richard Hynd -- will appear at the Liverpool HMV at 5:30 PM on October 31, and on November 1 will make two HMV appearances. At 12:30 PM, they'll help open the Hemel Hempstead HMV (well, alright, it's just an expression. I wouldn't expect to see them doing any hard labour to help with the opening). Then at 5:00 PM, they'll conclude their flurry of HMV fun at the Birmingham store.

Two songs from the forthcoming Red Book:

MP3:Texas - Sleep (feat. Paul Buchanan)

MP3:Texas - What About Us (Repeating myself... some of the music sounds exactly like another song, but it hasn't yet clicked for me what the other song is... if you know, please tell me!)


Blogger Pat said...

A little like "Forbidden Colours" by Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Sylvian?

9:41 PM  
Blogger xolondon said...

Dallas: It's a little PEt Shop Boys-y, but I am not sure of a specific song.

You are right about the Paul Buchanan song. I was hoping for something closer to the sound of The Blue Nile - more organic and soulful. Instead we get a very canned pop sound that sort of swims too close to Buchanan's voice, which should be more exposed. And her "falsetto" thing the beginning just sounds like weak singing (which is odd from her).

5:41 AM  
Blogger trill42 said...

Thanks, guys! I don't recall "Forbidden Colours" off the top of my head, but I am going to find it and see if it's the one I'm thinking of, as well as checking out my Pet Shop Boys CDs in search of a sonic match. Samantha Sang was the first name that came to mind, and then Pat Benetar. I don't think it's a Pat Benetar song though. I was thinking it was something sung by a woman, but I'm not at all sure about that. If all else fails, hopefully a review or interview with Texas will solve the mystery.

Great analysis of "Sleep", xo. It sounds like production issues may be a large part of what mucks up the song for us. Q loves it, and I suppose that sound may be exactly what the producer/Texas wanted, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't melt when hearing it.

8:56 AM  

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