Still looking for the ultimate '80s compilation?
Rhino Records has just released a new two-disc set that could do the trick — Billboard #1s: The '80s. The 30-song collection includes "Another One Bites the Dust" from Queen, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" from Yes, "Invisible Touch" from Genesis, "La Bamba" from Los Lobos, "Everybody Wants You" from Billy Squier, "Love Shack" from B-52's, "Need You Tonight" from INXS, "Fascination Street" from The Cure, "The Living Years" from Mike + The Mechanics, "The Voice" from Moody Blues and more.
Classical fans can pick up a new live concert recording of Yo-Yo Ma from Sony. Obrigado Brazil Live in Concert features the world renowned cellist exploring Latin music with friends Sergio & Odair Assad, Cyro Baptista, Paquito D'Rivera, Nilson Matta, Rosa Passos, Kathryn Stott and more. The CD package also includes a bonus DVD.
Five For Fighting
The Battle for Everything
John Ondrasik burst into pop music prominence four years ago with his misleadingly titled one-man band Five for Fighting and a surprise hit "Superman" from his album American Town.
But while a lot has changed in the singer-songwriter's life over the past couple of years, one thing hasn't changed at all – his sophomore recording is filled with the same heartachey vocal attack and adventurous lyricism that took his first album of folksy pop songs to the top of the charts.
Opening with the delicate strums of "NYC Weather Report," The Battle for Everything stakes its claim early, as Ondrasik's distinctive falsetto announces "got to get away from here … got to get away from all these choosers, losers … all my best of friends."
Then in "The Devil in the Wishing Well," which starts with a stark piano and grows to include a soaring orchestral background, he sings of temptation and looking for "someone to understand my pain," while offering up a wry, darkly humorous chorus: "You'll meet the devil at the bottom of a wishing well/You know you better give him something/Give him something good/Like everybody else, he's misunderstood."
In "100 Years" he offers the disc's first single and a sentiment that everyone can identify with, as he looks at life as a series of moments and ages, always remembering that "every day's a new day" and "there's never a wish better than this/when you only got 100 years to live." It's a deep, rich tapestry of falsetto crooning, piano musing and string drama.
In "Dying" he sings a haunting melody of a ravaged relationship, moving from "dying to wake up without you … dying to live without you again" at the start of the song to a full change of heart by the end, where he sings that he's "dying, and I can't live without you again."
It's not all easy guitar strums and thoughtfully quiet melodies; in "The Taste" Ondrasik puts down the acoustic in favor of the electric guitar, sets loose the drummer and bashes out the album's "loudest" track in a rockin' release of emotion as he declares "I still got the taste for you/if you're my only one."
Overall, The Battle for Everything is a warm, contemplative album, full of contradiction, regret, hope and love. It closes with one of its most insightful lyrics in "Nobody" as Ondrasik sings: "Though endings are never ever happy, it's the happy moments along the way … that in the end … make it OK."
This CD is one of those moments that make it OK.