Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation Podcasts: Secret Friend’s Steven Fox (Airdate: April 4, 2018)

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

secret friend divorce albumSecret Friend’s new record, The Divorce Album, may well be the ultimate breakup long player, but it sounds like a happy, peppy pop album, and I predict it will be a favorite of many pop fans this year.

Falling somewhere sound-wise between the expansive second Secret Friend album, Sleeper, and the Linus of Hollywood-produced pure pop debut, Time Machine, The Divorce Album serves up six Secret Friend songs, written and produced by Steven Fox, and six reinventions of those songs produced by other artists. It’s a fascinating approach, heady lyrically but effervescent musically. It’s a clear winner by an artist not afraid to stretch and keep things interesting.

secret friend steven foxDuring this lively edition of In Conversation, you’ll learn about the origins of this album and hear all about the writing and production of the songs. Direct from Thailand, meet Secret Friend’s Steven Fox as you listen to this in-depth podcast, originally broadcast on April 4.

Secret Friend’s The Divorce Album is available from a variety of e-tailers at the album’s website.

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pprListen to my interview with Secret Friend’s Steven Fox from the April 4 edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation by clicking the play button on the following player, or click on the Pure Pop Radio button to the left to download (then right click and choose “Save audio as” to save the file to your computer). (This interview is presented in scoped format; the songs have been removed due to copyright concerns.)

 


Listen to a wide selection of previously-aired Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation interviews by clicking here.

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Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, playing the latest and greatest melodic pop songs from today and across the decades, and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere Internet melodic pop talk show, air weekly on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen to the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET (two different shows every week); In Conversation airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm ET. Don’t miss a minute!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

New on Pure Pop Radio 4.3.18: Secret Friend’s The Divorce Album

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By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 4.3.18

secret friend divorce albumSecret Friend | The Divorce Album (2018)
This third Secret Friend album, whose vibe falls somewhere between 2013’s Linus of Hollywood-produced Time Machine and 2015’s sound expansive Sleeper, could well be the ultimate breakup record, but with a pop twist. In any case, it’s terrific.

Which is to say that these songs cut right to the bone lyrically while also sounding happy and peppy and poppy. You might also say that there are two sides to Secret Friend pal Steven Fox’s new songs. Indeed, there are two sides to them–each song (there are six in all) appears as both a Fox production and as produced by another artist painting with a differently colored brush.

With the two approaches, one labeled “Mine” and the other “Yours,” you get different takes on the art of the breakup and snapshots of the forlorn from familiar pop voices who anchor Fox’s latest creations. Welcome, then, the supporting talents of Rooney’s Taylor Locke, Jellyfish’s Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., Jimm McIver, Willie Wisely, Linus (of Hollywood) Dotson, Christian Nesmith, Wyatt Funderburk, Karla Kane, and a mysterious female vocalist mysteriously known as “K.O”. Welcome, also, Rich Hinman, whose lyrical pedal steel playing elevates every song he plays on.

“Every songwriter has at least a few break-up songs tucked away,” Fox writes in the accompanying digital booklet’s introduction. Within The Divorce Album are just a few of them, including the opener, “Castaway,” a bright burst of ’80s pomp, happily sounding like a cross between early Wondermints and Haircut 100. Powered by Taylor Locke’s spirited vocals and electric guitar, and Roger Manning’s inventive keyboards, this tale of an unloved and unhappy drifter pining for companionship is the perfect opener.

The differing versions of “Difficult” perfectly illustrate The Divorce Album’s “Mine” and “Yours” concept. The “Mine” version, sung with fervor by Jimm McIver, and played by, among others, Roger Manning and Linus Dotson, barrels forward as a questioning of a partner’s attitude (“Why do you have to be so/Difficult”) and a sad assessment of faulty character: “You can be sentimental/When you’re not so judgmental/You can be fascinating/When you’re not calculating/I will be damned if I knew/What I did to deserve you.”

The “Yours” version of “Difficult” turns the tables on the song’s concept with a decidedly softer sound and a rewritten lyric espousing the female point of view. This, and there is no other way to say it, lovely version, co-written by the Corner Laughers’ Karla Kane and Steven Fox, takes a more mannered approach to sizing up the situation: “When I get your attention/You call me a drama queen/But you’re thriving on the tension/Of me wondering what you mean.”

Of course, “Castaway” and “Difficult” only scratch the surface of the power of The Divorce Album. And it should be said that not every song on this record chronicles the art of the breakup. In fact, “Undeniably Blue,” a beat-driven pop-rocker anchored by Roger Manning’s vocal and instrumental prowess, Reade Pryor’s insistent drumming, and Rich Hinman’s fluid pedal steel, offers a welcome, positive outlook–a lifeline for the sad and lonely: “Undeniably you will see/The world is quite forgiving (Yes it is!)/Even when you’re down/The sky above is undeniably blue/With a little time you’ll see/The end of undeniably blue.”

secret friend steven foxSteven Fox, who plays instruments on every one of this album’s songs, is a bit of a musical maverick, in that each of his albums exists on a different plane, even as they are connected as repositories for beautifully written, melodic songs. I always look forward to his offerings, and marvel at their ability to surprise and delight in equal measure. You, I suspect, will too.

Steven Fox guests tomorrow night at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation. (9 pm ET on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.)

black box Where to Get It: A wide selection of online retailers. Links to all are here on the album’s website. Dig in!

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Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, playing the latest and greatest melodic pop songs from today and across the decades, and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere Internet melodic pop talk show, air weekly on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen to the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET (two different shows every week); In Conversation airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm ET. Don’t miss a minute!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

 

It’s an All-Star Week for Pure Pop’s Specialty Shows. Secret Friend’s Steven Fox Stops By Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, and Top Popsters Populate Two All-New Editions of Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

This week, Secret Friend’s affable head musical pal Steven Fox pops in to spread the cheer on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, and your favorite popsters sing sweetly on two all-new editions of Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show.

secret friend divorce albumSecret Friend’s new record, The Divorce Album, releases this Friday, April 6. It may well be the ultimate breakup long player, but it sounds like a happy, peppy pop album, and I predict it will be a favorite of many pop fans this year. Falling somewhere sound-wise between Secret Friend’s expansive second album, Sleeper, and the Linus of Hollywood-produced pure pop debut, Time Machine, The Divorce Album serves up six Fox-written and produced songs and six reinventions of those songs produced by other artists. It’s a fascinating approach, heady lyrically but effervescent musically. It’s a clear winner by an artist not afraid to stretch and keep things interesting.

During this lively edition of In Conversation, you’ll learn about the origins of this album and hear all about the writing and production of the songs. Direct from Thailand, meet Steven Fox this Wednesday at 9 pm ET.

pop tunes disc smallThe first of two Pop Tunes Deejay Shows airs tomorrow night, Tuesday, at 8 pm ET. Don McLean kicks things off with the complete version of his hard-to-beat-after-all-these-years classic “American Pie.” Also on the agenda: new and recent top tracks from Adrian Whitehead, Ian Thompson, The Gold Needles, Jeff Litman, Farrington, Magpie, and more top sounds from across the decades.

michael simmons album front coverWe’re back with another Pop Tunes Deejay Show this Thursday night at 8 pm ET. All Day Sucker’s classic 2004 track “Get High” leads this packed show, which features new and new-to-you spins from Matt Bruno, Roger Klug, Crime Scene, Michael Simmons, Lord High Admirals, Fireproof Sam and the Network Stars, Dropkick, The Orange Peels, Radio Days, and TC&I (XTC’s Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers). And more, too, including my snappy deejay patter!

It’s all for you–another all-star week of top pop programming from Pure Pop Radio, as broadcast by Pop that Goes Crunch Radio. Don’t miss a minute!

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, playing the latest and greatest melodic pop songs from today and across the decades, and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere Internet melodic pop talk show, air weekly on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen to the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET (two different shows every week); In Conversation airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm ET. Don’t miss a minute!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button: