‘212’ might be the breakthrough Azealia Banks deserves. I just discovered this track as it’s currently B listed on BBC Radio 1. Initially released last December, it has taken awhile to grow its fanbase in Europe. The track appeared on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks of 2011 ahead of the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Adele. It’s dubbed ‘2012’ after the area code of Harlem where Azealia Banks grew up. It features the rapper Lazy Jay and has so far racked up more than 5.7m views on YouTube.
Currently climbing the charts with Chris Brown on the remix version of ‘Birthday Cake,’ Rihanna will perform at the annual Peace and Love festival in Borlänge this summer. According to DN, this will be her only concert in Sweden this summer. The festival will be held between 26-30 June. Skrillex, Kent, Bloc Party, Turbonegro, Veronica Maggio and Lars Winnerbäck are other confirmed acts. A year ago, I wrote about Jay-Z’s participation at the festival at Peace and Love 2011.
Rihanna returned last year with “Talk That Talk,” which was preceded by the worldwide chart topper ‘We Found Love’ (featuring Calvin Harris). The follow-up ‘You Da One’ just missed the Hot 100 Top 10, while the title track is yet to reach the Top 30. ‘Talk That Talk’ will be released as a single in the UK mid-March.
In other news, Rihanna premiered a remix version of ‘Birthday Cake’ at the end of February. The track features Chris Brown and coincided with Rihanna’s 24th birthday. The original version was a 1:18 length interlude and was actually recorded at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Copenhagen in Denmark. I haven’t covered Rihanna properly since her collaboration with Nicki Minaj on ‘Fly’ last September.
CHART SPOTLIGHT. By and large, spaghetti western in the style of Sergio Leone and Guisseppe Tornatoro owes a lot to the music composed by Italian 80+ veteran Ennio Morricone. He has also been the source of inspiration for Danger Mouse, the highly acclaimed producer who issued the album Rome this May together with the composer Daniele Luppi.
Session Recorded in Neo-Classical Roman Church
The album took five years to make and expect the first single “Season’s Tree” featuring jazz singer Norah Jones to bow this week in the UK. Included as one of three tracks with the female vocalist, the album also features The White Stripes’ Jack White. According to the Daily Gleaner, Rome is “a blend of six vocal tracks and nine instrumentals, a contemporary spin with a vintage Ennio Morricone feel. The session was recorded in a neo-classical church in Rome on analog equipment, the end result is far more than the soundtrack for a movie that does not exist. ” Quite interesting, it features the Canto Moderni choir featured on the soundtrack to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly starring Clint Eastwood. Rome bowed on charts globally in mid-May. Its highest peak is on the US Digital Albums chart (No.3), while peaking at No.11 on the Billboard 200 and at No.20 on the UK album chart.
Not a typical WelcheMusic favourite, Danger Mouse versatility is fascinating. The White Plains native formed Gnarls Barkley together with Cee-Lo Green, producing their albums St. Elsewhere and The Odd Couple. In 2004, Danger Mouse challenged the industry when he merged Jay-Z’s 2003 The Black Album with instrumentals from The Beatles’ 1968 White Album. This was not appreciated by EMI, as the samples were unauthorized. Danger Mouse went on to produce the 2005 album Demon Days by The Gorillaz and Beck’s 2008 album Modern Guilt
Debut Album Amassed 20+ Million in Global Sales
As mentioned earlier, Norah Jones is featured on three tracks including “Season’s Tree.” Haven released four albums to date and amassed three US No.1 albums, Jones is one of the most successful jazz singers in modern time. 2002’s Come Away with Me was the high-profile debut of Jones, including no less than five singles ultimately selling more than 20 million albums worldwide.
Last November, the compilation album …Featuring was released by Jones. Collaborations with the likes of Ryan Adams, Foo Fighters and OutKast.
Finally, Some Kind of Awesome previewed “Season’s Tree” this April and is the staff favorite so far. the track was also dropped via Soundcloud this April and named one of the best new tracks on the eponymous blog. In addition, Chicago Now names it best album of the year.
CHART SPOTLIGHT. The English r’n’b and soul act Sade returns with its second compilation The Ultimate Collection in early May. The set will include loads of hit singles (e.g. “By Your Side” and “Smooth Operator”), adding two new tracks; “I Would Have Never Guessed” and “Love Is Found” which will be released a single on May 9.