I've always loved Rock 'n Roll - I guess this is what happens when your older brother has spent forty years to date as a DJ. So when I downloaded the Pandora app to my iPhone, I naturally started with Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Chicago, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, the Beatles, and so forth. I was pleasantly surprised when the app then played songs from Traffic, Deep Purple, Jackson Browne, and a whole host of other bands, some of which I'd frankly forgotten.
Before I go any further, for the sake of those who are unfamiliar with one of the iPhone's top apps, I should mention that what Pandora does is ask you to pick an artist, a group, or a song, and then will play music not only from your selection, but also from artists whose music is similar. But the user is soon surprised at the range of music that is presented. For instance, on my Jimmy Buffet 'station', I soon got music from Israel 'Iz' Kamakawiwo'ole, the most famous purveyor of Hawaii's particular brand of music.
But I digress. I've developed a liking for anime, and I was turned on to Yoko Kanno, who has written songs for several of the most famous anime series in addition to a host of commercial jingles. Yoko Kanno is perhaps the most versatile musical artist I've ever heard - her styles range from grinding rock to techno to neoclassical to sweet romantic melodies. After all, who else is able to combine lyrics from English, Japanese, Russian, and Latin in the same song - Inner Universe - and make it sound good?
So while listening to her, Pandora also introduced me to U.K. born Imogen Heap, a Russian pair of girls called t.A.T.u., and Muse, who recently won the American Music Award for Alternative Rock. I have to wonder if their decision to make a song titled Supermassive Black Hole was to win a bet - but it's a pretty cool song nonetheless.
Of all the new music I've found, my second-favorite is Kuero, which doesn't seem to have much on YouTube, but when you listen to their music it's doggone hard to keep your feet still - their Latin hip-hop/Cuban-fusion songs are so rhythmic yet so easy-going...check out Vivo en el Monte if you can get it to play. But the very best is Bebe, a Spanish singer/songwriter from Valencia. Even though I don't understand the Spanish language, it is so easy to feel the raw emotion she distills into her music - more than anyone I've ever heard with the probable exceptions of Aretha Franklin and perhaps Sade - yet does so with a soft and gravelly (yet so very compelling) voice that Alanis Morrisette would kill for. Check out her Latin Grammy-winning anthem Malo, and then enjoy Me Fui and Siempre Me Quedara. I promise you won't be disappointed! Again, I can't understand much in the songs, but one can't help but feel the rhythm and the emotion they contain.