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Where the boys are, men?

Here’s what you want on your iPod, recommends Luke Kenny.

music Updated: Oct 18, 2010 15:46 IST
Luke kenny
Luke kenny
Hindustan Times

I find that there is a lack of male singer-songwriters these days. In the last two-three years, so many new female solo artists like Amy Winehouse, Katy Perry, Sara Bareilles, Adele and Amy Macdonald have made their presence felt. The male artists seem to be happy being the one-odd hit wonder.

Drake, Taio Cruz, Adam Lambert, Sean Kingston, BoB, are all within the genre specific pop space. And please don’t even mention Justin Bieber! In my opinion, John Mayer is probably been the only male pop artist who writes and produces his own music that is more song-oriented. Yes there are Kanye West and John Legend but they have been around for awhile now. And Nick Jonas doesn’t count.

There have been no new male singer-songwriters in the past year, period. Most of them tend to form bands. I wonder why this is so? What is it that has led to the invisibility of the male solo artist? Back here in India too, I find a similar situation.

The few artistes that come to mind are Nikhil D’Souza, Lionel Mascarenhas and… that’s it. All the others have tied themselves up with funnily-named bands, which is fine, if that’s the way they want it. But I think the individual artist has an equal right to stand up and be noticed as an isolated unique and individual entity… if I may say so.

Come Around Sundown
Kings of Leon
Sony Music

I think the best way to follow up a hugely successful album that spawned two massive songs Sex on fire and Use somebody, is to move on as if it never really happened... Well, theoretically, at least.

The Kings smoothly lay on the table another assortment of emotionally resonant songs that, at once, exhilarate and sentimentalize.

Caleb Followill’s thick tortured vocals bring on the emotion in the opening ‘The end’. And while lead single ‘Radioactive’ is no ‘Sex on fire’ (why should it be?), it definitely has its own energy. The mood is very pensive here and sometimes dark, this will take a few spins to get used to.

Postcards From A Young Man
Manic Street Preachers
Sony Music

The one time alternative heroes arrive with their tenth album, full of the angst and energy they are known for. Bassist Nicky Wire has called the album ‘one last shot at mass communication’, and I understand where they’re coming from, living in an age where attention spans are so miniscule, getting re-noticed seems a herculean task these days.

But the music saves all of that, here are the Preachers, stronger than ever and vibrant and resilient as the sound they make. And in this assemblage of songs lie their determination to be heard by a mass audience all over again.

The Imagine Project
Herbie Hancock
Sony Music

Prolific and legendary, Mr Hancock brings a world of music to songs that have a humungous world resonance. Here is an album full of global superstars like Jeff Beck, Pink, Dave Matthews, James Morrison, K’Naan, Seal, to world musicians like Juanes, Omou Sangare, Wayne Shorter, Toumani Diabete and the amazing Mali band Tinariwen.

Herbie Hancock has amazingly brought all these people together to perform songs like Bob Marley’s Exodus, The BeatlesTomorrow never knows, Bob Dylan’s ‘The times they are a-changin’ and John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. Here is another example of the stellar inspiration a good song can generate in the hands of legends.

Tiger Suit
KT Tunstall


Kate Victoria Tunstall, in case you didn’t know what the KT stood for, is an artiste of much ferocity. Her first two albums have garnered her much of a following.

I have liked both her earlier albums and so I put this third one on, with much excitement and anticipation. It was refreshing to see her veer in the direction of a more poppy sound, yet retaining her edgy attitude. And as the pop sound of today is skating closer and closer towards the early ’80s new wave era, I am happy that KT Tunstall is one of those artists bringing it much credibility and joi-de-vivre. Check out Glamour puss, Push that knot away,‘Weirdo.

First Published: Oct 18, 2010 12:25 IST