Verdict: Part Of Me – Chris Cornell

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Chris Cornell is a legend. He writes some fabulous songs, plays a mean guitar, has one of the sexiest voices I’ve ever heard, and is ridiculously hot.

With his new album Scream, the rocker has turned electronic/hip-hop and roped in Timbaland to produce, and Audioslave/Soundgarden/Cornell fans are up in arms condemning him and labelling him a sellout. Which leads me to pose the question – is his first single Part Of Me really so bad?

Let me preface by saying that I, for one, love the song. It’s catchy and fun, and while it is way off what Cornell usually does, it’s a good Chris Cornell song (it does have the potential to be a disaster if it were sung by Ricky Martin/Enrique Iglesias/Justin Timberlake, or basically anyone who isn’t Cornell). The fans are upset that Cornell has strayed away from rock to the more mainstream genres. What they seem to be forgetting is that just because it isn’t a rock song doesn’t mean that it’s not a good song.

Part Of Me is evidence that Cornell isn’t just a rocker, he’s a musician. The man has been making rock for decades, so if he wants to try something new, I say he’s entitled. In his own words, “Well, I think anybody should be able to do whatever the hell they want.” Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

Artist Alert: Awesome New Republic

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Photo by Peter Richardson

Not to be confused with OneRepublic, whom they sound nothing like, Awesome New Republic are a duo from Miami that make some kickass dance music that even has Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester singing along.

Yes, I admit, I was sucked into the whole “Leighton Meester ‘leaked’ the track Birthday” thing and that’s what prompted me to first listen to the band, but I was surprised to find that (a) Leighton Meester can actually sing, and (b) Birthday is a really good song.

Signed to indie label Honor Roll Music, Awesome New Republic released Rational Geographic Vol. I very recently, with volumes II and III to be released by the year’s end. The lovely young gentlemen that they are, they’re offering a free download of the entire album on their website, which contains the original, sans-Leighton Meester version of Birthday (which is even better) and standout tracks Dances When and Rotary Clone.

Must Hear: We’re In A Thunderstorm – Gentleman Reg

gentlemanreg

Photo by Norman Wong

Gentleman Reg is a very interesting name for a musician. Gentleman Reg is a very interesting musician.

The Canadian singer already released two full length albums in Canada, and his latest Jet Black (the first to reach the US) was released on Arts & Crafts in February 2009. I first heard Reg in a remix of his We’re In A Thunderstorm by Psapp – who I also love – and decided to snoop around online and hear some more of Reg’s music.

We’re In A Thunderstorm (the original unremixed version) is one of the catchiest, most fun songs I have ever heard. And I literally mean ever. I really am not a fan of the typical dance music DJs play in clubs, and so when I heard the opening chords of the song – which sound nothing like Psapp’s remixed opening chords – I was very apprehensive. But then Reg starts to sing and makes the song completely worth the listen. His vocals are the best part of the entire song, which is evident by the fact that the song sounds excellent both in the original and in the remix, the only constant being the vocals. Some songs can’t really be described with full justice, and We’re In A Thunderstorm is one of them. You just have to listen to it.

Must Hear: Dirty Laundry – Bitter:Sweet

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I must remember to thank Putumayo World Music more often for introducing me to fabulous songs like Bitter:Sweet’s Dirty Laundry.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Bitter:Sweet consists of Shana Halligan and Kiran Shahani who met when Halligan answered Shahani’s ad for an electronic artist seeking a female vocalist. They first released Dirty Laundry on their 2006 album The Mating Game on Quango Music Records. Since then, the song has been featured on several TV shows (and promos) such as Samantha Who?, Grey’s Anatomy, Weeds, and The L Word. That Putumayo considers it a song worthy of their compilation CDs was reason enough for me to listen to it!

Dirty Laundry has some of the cheekiest lyrics I’ve recently heard set to a tune with a touch of jazz influence. It makes for a very interesting combination that at one point was one of the highest played songs on my iTunes.

I haven’t been able to find a video for it, but a kind fan has been nice enough to put the track over a photo of the duo on YouTube for people to listen. And if you’d rather not stare at the same black and white photo for over 3 minutes, you can also watch a live performance at the Detour Music Festival in 2008.