This Week in Music, April 9, 2013: Paramore is less Page 3
Molly Ringwald: Except Sometimes
New release (Concord; tour dates)
Photo by Hussein Katz
Backed by a small combo of piano, alto saxophone, bass, and drums, the former Brat Pack actress Molly Ringwald (who’s now 45) fancies herself a cabaret singer. Unfortunately, her weepy, quivering voice tends to be a drag on the standards here, from “The Very Thought of You” to “I Can Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes).” It doesn’t help that the album includes a listless slow-walk through the Breakfast Club soundtrack classic “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”
Revelatory quote from Ringwald in the press release: “I like to say jazz is my musical equivalent of comfort food.” Which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea for her to serve up her own recipe to the rest of us. If you’re looking for a dinner date, you’d be much better off with the lady below.
Andrea McArdle: 70’s and Sunny, Live at 54 Below
New release (Broadway)
Yes, she still has that Annie-flavored voice, and if it’s not your cup of tea, fine. But if you’re willing to recognize that Andrea McArdle has been around the block a few times since that legendary Broadway debut at the age of 13, then you’ll likely be rooting for her still. And it isn’t difficult to do, when the key words in her nightclub act are “70’s” (the decade) and “Sunny” (the disposition, even in the face of “Rainy Days and Mondays”). McArdle is a trouper on show tunes like Stephen Sondheim’s “Being Alive,” Jerry Herman’s “Wherever He Ain’t,” and Stephen Schwartz’s “Meadowlark,” and her forays into the pop charts range from Michael Jackson’s “Got to Be There” to, surprisingly enough, Billy Joel’s “Angry Young Man.”
This album is one of a series of complete show recordings made at 54 Below, the new supper club under the old Studio 54, so it includes the singer’s likable stories and stage patter. And, yeah, you can bet your bottom dollar that it also includes “Tomorrow,” which McArdle belts out with such force and believability that you’ll forget all the jokes that have been made at the song’s expense over the past 35 years.
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9; San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas
New release (SFS Media; hybrid surround SACD; calendar)
Photo of Michael Tilson Thomas by Chris Wahlberg
With its landmark Mahler cycle complete, the San Francisco Symphony has recently gone forward in time to Edgard Varèse, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison, and John Adams. But it has also gone back, to Beethoven, releasing SACDs of Symphony No. 5 (with Piano Concerto No. 4) in 2011 and Symphony No. 7 (with the Leonore Overture No. 3) in 2012. Now comes the Ninth, recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall last June, and if the performances and surround mixes on previous discs are any indication, prepare to be wowed.
The Postal Service: Give Up, 10th Anniversary Edition
Reissue (Sub Pop; tour dates)
Yes, there really are tour dates for the Postal Service, now that Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Tamborello have come together a decade after the electronic duo’s only album. Jenny Lewis (then of Rilo Kiley) appeared on Give Up, contributing background vocals and some keyboards, and she’s on board for the live reunion; she also sings on “Turn Around” and “A Tattered Line of String,” two brand-new tracks included on this reissue.
The remastered original 10-track album and 11 other bonus tracks comprise every official recording the band previously released. Among the extras are covers of the Flaming Lips’ “Suddenly Everything Has Changed,” John Lennon’s “Grow Old with Me,” and Phil Collins’s “Against All Odds.” And two bonus bonuses turn the tables, with covers of the Postal Service by the Shins and Iron & Wine. The reissue is available on three LPs (one platter each of white, red, and clear vinyl) or two CDs.