Sunday, January 18, 2004

If it's Sunday, there must be new downloads:

Stupidly, last Sunday I wrote ecstatically about Gerald Levert's debut solo single, 1991's "Private Line," but didn't post a download. Consider that gaffe rectified.

Kajagoogoo are going to be part of the new VH-1 series Bands Reunited, in which ten bands from the '80s are essentially forced to reunite and play live. Hurrah! [It premieres Monday night at 10pm EST.] Of course, you've heard "Too Shy," their one massive global hit. But you also should hear "Big Apple," its follow-up. It's featured here in its original 12" version.

If you haven't yet heard the next Andre 3000 to be taken from OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, now's your chance. Here's the stunning "Prototype," my early frontrunner for the best single of 2004.

Yes, we can blame the Brits for American Idol. And yes, they've got a bad track record with "artists" spun off from viewer-voted competitions - but not as bad as us Yanks ("Gay" Aiken, take a bow). At least they've got Girls Aloud. Before them, however, came Will Young, who seemed like just another drippy balladeer tailor-made for your little sis and grandmother. But two things happened to change that. First of all, almost immediately after winning and releasing his debut single nearly two years ago, he came out - and kept having charttoppers in the UK. And then he did the most surprising thing: he's made a good sophomore album. Friday's Child has spent most of the past 2 months at or near the top of the UK album chart, and is full of classy pop songs. Even the ballads! No, it doesn't have a 100% strike rate; few pure pop albums do. But it's quite solid, and its first single, the former #1 "Leave Right Now," is quite a grower. Will's voice is impeccable, but more importantly, his material is catching up. Now if only he could get a U.S. deal.

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