New CDs Are In!

Check out these new amazing CDs from the cast album for the new Spongebob Musical to The Complete Works of Scott Joplin! The Music Library has your next obsession waiting for you!

The Ballad of Little Jo Original Cast Recording CD 10564

Arioso United States Marine Band CD 10554

The Complete Rags, Waltzes & Marches Scott Joplin CD 10553

Zipperz Manoel Felciano and Robin Coomer CD 10563

Alphabetical Ashbery, Fourth Piano Sonata, It Happens Like This Charles Wuorinen CD 10565

Louisiana Stomp Clifton Chenier CD 10559

Kid Victory Orignial Cast Recording CD 10560

Spongebob Squarepants The New Musical Original Cast Recording CD 10561

The Anthology Muddy Waters CD 10556

Mambo Kings Various Artists CD 10558

Off The Record: The Complete Jazz Band Recordings King Oliver CD 10557

For John Cage Morton Feldman CD 10562

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Feature Fridays: Jazz Samba by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd

Feature Fridays: Jazz Samba by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection.

This week, Music Library Coordinator Amanda Steadman will review Jazz Samba by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.

One of my favorite albums in the library’s collection is Jazz Samba, from tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and arranger/guitarist Charlie Byrd. It was recorded right here in DC at the All Souls Unitarian Church in February 1962. I have fond memories of enjoying bossa nova like this album with my dad during road trips.

Bossa nova, meaning “new wave” or “new trend” slows down and subtly reshuffles the rhythms of traditional Brazilian dance music, like the samba. The style was virtually invented by jazz-influenced Brazilian composers Antônio Carlos Jobim and guitarist/vocalist João Gilberto. Although Getz and Byrd were not the first Americans to try bossa nova, Jazz Samba began a craze for the style in the early 1960s.

This is one of my favorite albums to listen to while working intensely. The rhythms are interesting, yet gentle and Getz and Byrd’s incredible solo work sets them off nicely.

You may be familiar with Stan Getz’s later work with João Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto, including the famous song “The Girl from Ipanema,” the sound of many an elevator on film. This album (titled Getz/Gilberto) is also available at the music library, CD 5397. Stop by the music library to check out these and other great jazz recordings!

Feature Fridays: The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae

Feature Fridays: The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection. 

This week, Matt Francisco will review The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae.

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Janelle Monae is known well in almost every facet of the entertainment industry – whether it is through her songwriting, rap, production, acting or modeling. Her second studio album – The Electric Lady, keeps up her high reputation with critical acclaim across the board.

The Electric Lady serves as a follow-up to Monae’s debut EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) and album The ArchAndroid. It continues the dystopian thematic elements established in her first two works but presents a much more personal and conventional narrative than its predecessors. The album experiments with Monae’s influences of hip-hop, soul, funk, gospel, jazz, and rock.

The album holds up to its acclaim, with numerous tempo changes and genre twists. Title track “Electric Lady” delivers Monae’s signature downtempo hip-hop ballad. “We Were Rock & Roll” pushes the tempo forward with funk and rock influences, giving Monae the chance to show off her high-flying and powerful vocals. “Dance Apocalyptic”, one of the more interesting tracks, provides high-tempo and funky vibes.

All in all, Janelle Monae’s The Electric Lady is a truly impressive record that will last for decades. Stop by and have a listen!

Feature Fridays: The Centennial Collection by Billie Holiday

Feature Fridays: The Centennial Collection by Billie Holiday

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection. 

This week, Dan McCahon will review Billie Holiday’s Centennial Collection.

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This album consists of Bille Holiday’s best works. I honestly do not have many words for this album that aren’t praise. It is spectacular as every song stands on their own. Each piece is distinct with Holiday’s voice sitting atop the arrangements, delivering lyrics that are joyful and sometimes haunting.

There are 20 tracks on the CD, dissecting them all would not do them justice, as the album is a must listen and words cannot begin to illustrate Holiday’s unique and beautiful vocal quality. If I were to pick a favorite song on the album I would be hard pressed to find one. If I had to pick three however, I would pick “Strange Fruit”, “Gloomy Sunday”, and “When A Woman Loves A Man.”

“Strange Fruit” is a more well known piece for those who are not familiar with Holiday’s work, as it was sampled by Kanye West for the song “Blood on the Leaves” off of his album “Yeezus.” “Gloomy Sunday” is a slow moving ballad. I find Holiday’s voice through it to be like rolling waves as the ocean of sound in the song is diverse and ever moving. “When A Woman Loves A Man” opens with a brass riff introducing Holiday’s vocal story-telling. Every track is a wonderful treasure.

Come by the music library to browse CDs by jazz singers like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and more!

Feature Fridays: Altar Boyz

Feature Fridays: Altar Boyz

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection. 

This week, Camille Cote will review Altar Boyz (music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker).

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Altar Boyz is basically, what happens when you combine an era musical with a Disney Channel boy band, and that is why it was one of my favorite things to listen to in the music library last semester. We have a huge variety of musical theatre CDs in the music library including many virtually unknown musicals, and so far, this is the most enjoyable “obscure” musical I have listened to.

Honestly, if you are having a rough day, listen to this musical and enjoy a bit of a laugh. The musical satirizes both Boy Bands and Christian Rock bands. A particular favorite of mine is “rhythm in me” which is very reminiscent of the “Boyz in Motion” from That’s so Raven, so honestly, you cannot go wrong. I highly recommend giving this a listen!  

The AU Music Library is home to musicals and boy band CDs alike, such as Book of Mormon and No Strings Attached by N Sync. Come check out our selection, or browse using the link below:

https://subjectguides.library.american.edu/c.php?g=174982&p=1155529

Feature Fridays: Lemonade by Beyonce

Feature Fridays: Lemonade by Beyonce

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection. 

This week, Elisabeth McCarren will review Lemonade by Beyonce. 

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Beyoncé has won 22 Grammys throughout her career, making her the most nominated woman in Grammy Awards history. She is one of the most influential people in the world and uses her platform to speak about feminism and equality.

Lemonade is Beyoncé’s most critically acclaimed work to date, as well as the most-streamed album in a single week by a female artist in history. The album is emotional for Beyoncé as it addresses her husband Jay-Z’s possible affair. In a review of the album, AllMusic writer Andy Kellman wrote, “the cathartic and wounded moments here resonate in a manner matched by few, if any, of Beyoncé’s contemporaries”.

Throughout you feel as though you’re on a journey along with her. The album begins with the subtle and intriguing song “Pray You Catch Me” and transitions into the upbeat single “Hold Up”. My favorite song on the album is “All Night”. The vocals are amazing and the lyrics are incredibly meaningful. Anyone who has gone through heartbreak can relate to the emotions she evokes through her songs.

Lemonade is also accompanied by a visual album, with music videos for each song connected by stunning scenes and spoken word poetry. Come by the music library to check out Lemonade and other Beyonce albums like Bday, I Am… Sasha Fierce, and 4.

Feature Fridays: Funeral by Arcade Fire

Feature Fridays: Funeral by Arcade Fire

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection. 

This week, Dan McCahon will review Funeral by Arcade Fire. 

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Funeral is the debut album of Arcade Fire, a band made up of many many musicians. The album is comprised of 10 tracks. The first is “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” a song that builds on itself with churning guitar. With vocals by Win Butler that sit on top of that growing wave of sound, the song propels itself forward, leading into higher vocals and ending in guitar melodies. It transitions into a quick drum beat alongside catchy accordion, accompanied again by Butler’s sometimes tinny voice.

Despite its name, the album is fairly upbeat and fast-paced, the overall sound seems like something you’d find in a street festival but with a tinge more roughness with the added electric guitars. The songs move quickly. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments of slow, more heavy processions.

“In the Backseat” is the last song on the album and is more processionary, trudging along and reflective, similar to a funeral. However, it picks itself up, erupting into strings and guitar and vocals, drowning out any feelings of nostalgia. The song stays true to message for Arcade Fire: keep going. Loss is painful, but dwelling on it doesn’t help. Arcade Fire wants to enjoy the memories, but they also want to stride forward into new experiences.

Stop by the music library to browse CDs by Arcade Fire, The Strokes and many more!