Spins and Reviews | 9.14.16 | by Alan Haber
We’re rotating more than 9,000 hand-picked songs, including ones from the following melodic pop treats…
Stephen Bishop | Blueprint
I don’t know where I would have wound up on the melodic pop scale had I not been introduced to the music of Stephen Bishop in 1976. The classic, and it sounded like a classic upon first listen, “On and On,” with its gorgeous melody and the iconic lyric “So he takes a ladder/Steals the stars from the sky/Puts on Sinatra and starts to cry” still resonates with me, partly because Ol’ Blue Eyes’s records were spun frequently in my house, but also because I was, perhaps not so secretly and like millions of others, in love with the sound of the Chairman of the Board.
From the album Careless that offered “On and On” as its leadoff track, through to 1978’s miraculous Bish, which included the lovely “Losing Myself in You” and “What Can Love Do,” and the still-hard-to-top Red Cab to Manhattan from 1980, teeming with top-flight songs such as “Little Moon,” “Living in the Land of Abe Lincoln,” and the ingenious title track, and, well, on and on, my love affair with Stephen Bishop’s music has carried me through more than a few decades, through events both happy and sad, and, yes, on and on.
Bishop’s latest album, Blueprint, carries on the tradition the artist set in place 40 years ago. Juggling emotional ballads with a quirky classic and other fine numbers, it is a glorious testament that stands tall in Bishop’s deeply-felt catalog of songs.
The treasures on offer here are masterful. The typically beautiful ballads “Little Bird” and “Someone Like You” contrast nicely with the muscular story song “I’ll Sleep on the Plane,” a quirky, upbeat number that sounds like an outtake from Steely Dan’s Aja. It’s a wild 1970s gangster movie romp in song form. The stars? A beautiful, kind of clueless woman (“She looks just like Emma Stone/Posing for Playboy/As she reads Voltaire”) and her even more clueless guy, who tangles with some rather shady characters.
“Holy Mother,” another beautiful ballad, co-written with Eric Clapton, also shines, as does “It Might be You,” originally heard on the soundtrack of the 1982 Dustin Hoffman film Tootsie. Written by Dave Grusin and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the song is recast here, to great effect, as a slightly faster, more beat-driven track.
And on and on. If you’re new to the music of Stephen Bishop, Blueprint, produced by Jon Gilutin, is as fine a place as any to start on your way to acquiring the entire catalog of this much loved, heritage melodic pop artist.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Little Bird,” “I’ll Sleep on the Plane,” “Before Nightfall,” “Holy Mother,” “Someone Like You,” and “It Might Be You.”
Where to Get It: Stephen Bishop’s website, CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes.
Cupid’s Carnival | Everything is Love
Led by Thomas Gray and Roland Skilton, Cupid’s Carnival, originally known as Cherrystone, fashion songs and performances that evoke the sound and spirit of the Beatles and like-minded fellow travelers such as Badfinger. The title number, with its beautiful, catchy melody, sumptuous vocals, and electric sitar lines, could easily have been written and produced during the golden era of 1960s British pop. And the bopping “Working Girl” sounds like it could have shot to the top of the charts on 1960s British radio. If you sense a pattern here, you’re not mistaken. This is a find of the highest order, an album that will sit quite nicely within your melodic pop music collection.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Girl,” “Working Girl,” “I Was the Boy,” “Summertime,” “Our Life,” “Everything is Love,” and “Sunny Days.”
Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, and iTunes. Find out more about Cupid’s Carnival by clicking here.
Andy Klingensmith | Fantasy Island
Released today on Futureman Records, Andy Klingensmith’s latest is a bit of a departure from his previous releases, this time incorporating his close harmony vocals into an overall pop production style. The effect is quite pleasing in songs like the lively, handclap-powered “Have Some Fun” and the ’80s-sounding “Madeline.” Andy continues to write and produce music that proves he is an important part of the melodic pop movement. He deserves your support.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Have Some Fun,” “Madeline,” “For Ourselves,” and “Fantasy Island.”
Where to Get It: Futureman Records
Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Bowl Extra:
Bubble Gum Orchestra | Sticky Love Songs
Comprising volumes one and two–20 songs on one CD–of an album chock full of catchy melodic pop love songs, Michael Laine Hildebrandt’s latest is a triumph. A review is forthcoming, but for now, know that 10 songs from Sticky Love Songs are now in hot rotation on our air. Plus, we’ve got the exclusive North America premiere of the new single, “You Gave Up on Love,” which features the great Lannie Flowers on vocals; tune in tonight at 7 pm ET to hear the song and an interview with Michael.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “You Called to Tell Me,” “It Was Gone,” “Peppermint Smile,” “You Gave Up on Love (Exclusive North America premiere), “I’m Not the Man,” “I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t,” “Every Day of the Week,” “You’re Not the One that Got Away,” “No One Ever Told Me,” and “BGO Motel.”
Where to Get It: Exclusively at the Bubble Gum Orchestra website (releases September 20).
More reviews of some of the latest songs and artists added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist tomorrow.