Madonna offers fans a new look at some songs from her most recent album American Life on her new Maverick Records EP, Remixed & Revisited.
New mixes improve "Nothing Fails" and "Love Profusion" by pumping more "rock" into the tracks, and the electroclash element of "Nobody Knows Me" gets a pounding '80s-style upgrade. The grunge rock remix of "American Life" doesn't work, however, and "Your Honesty," a previously unreleased funk-based track leftover from the Bedtime Stories album sessions, could be skipped. The disc also offers the recordings of Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Missy Elliott from the MTV Video Music Awards.
Bob Seger hasn't released a studio album in eight years, but the original Heartland rocker offers two brand new tracks on Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band's Greatest Hits 2 on Capitol. "Satisfied" and "Tomorrow" are both shuffling rockers that don't quite have the old Seger vocal spark. He sounds weathered here, if still energized. Some of the old Seger sound seems missing; these could as easily have been recorded by Huey Lewis. The disc manages to cull some extra well-known tracks from the same catalog that Greatest Hits 1 covered, offering "Her Strut," "Beautiful Loser," "Katmandu," "Fire Lake" and "Rock and Roll Never Forgets." It also includes "Shakedown," his No. 1 hit from the movie "Beverly Hills Cop II," and his soundtrack offerings from the movies "Teachers" and "Hope Floats," which have never appeared on a Seger CD.
The soundtrack to the final chapter in "The Lord of the Rings" movies, The Return of the King, is out on Reprise. While mainly a stirring, panoramic orchestral score composed and conducted by Howard Shore, the soundtrack ends with a quiet ballad, "Into the West," performed by Annie Lennox.
Sleeping At Last
If The Rapture have been listening to The Cure and The Clash, Chicago's Sleeping At Last have listened to a lot of early Radiohead and maybe some modern-day Palo Alto. They also channel some of the drama of Smashing Pumpkins, which isn't too surprising, since the Pumpkins' Billy Corgan is credited with "discovering" the band and helping it land a record deal. Formed in Wheaton, Ill., by brothers Ryan and Chad O'Neal and bassist Dan Perdue, Ghosts is its second full album, and first for a major label, following a self-released EP in 1999 and a full CD in 2001.
Opening with the affecting, drum-centric rock power of "Say," Ghosts unpacks its real power when it quiets down in its third track, the shimmeringly aching anthem "All That Is Beautiful." That's followed by the piano melancholy of the title track and the bass-throbbing yearning of "A Skeleton of Something More." The band hints at the anthemic influence of U2 on "Night Must End" and closes with the delicate strumming and echoing vocals of "Trees (Hallway of Leaves)," which offers a seductive spiritualism:
“It’s just beyond those trees…
the place I’ve been dreaming of.
Will you follow me?
...In the moments that I feel
We’re closer than ever before
the world drops out from under our feet.
But I believe the darkest of lights
prove we’re almost there.”
Sleeping at Last creates songs with a depth and beauty rarely found in rock. Their songs are not “quick hits” of pop, but intricately textured compositions that take time to unveil. This is an album that doesn’t reveal its full self instantly; the allure of its songs grows with every listen.
(Sleeping At Last will perform Dec. 13 at The Bottom Lounge in Chicago, and in a New Year's Eve show in Wheaton at the Wheaton Grand Theatre.)