Listen Up :: Ke$Ha, Laura Bell Bundy, Agnes
This week we're saddling up with lots of variety. While we normally don't cover country (or Broadway) in this column, we couldn't help getting roped into Laura Bell Bundy's irresistible Achin' and Shakin' (her major label debut on Mercury Nashville). Perhaps we owe it to her assertion, "I'm the closest [thing to a] gay male country artist you're gonna find." The Kentucky native originated such characters on Broadway as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde-The Musical and Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray, and definitely plays up her campy humor and sassiness on the Shakin' side of the album, not unlike the fun side of gay icon Dolly Parton. Ear-candy country hit "Giddy on Up" is a sensational kiss-off to a cheating lover, and "Boyfriend?" has Bundy chanting, "man-toy, lover boy, come over and give me joy!"
But banging humor isn't all Bundy's got in her holster. Achin' and Shakin' is essentially two albums in one-not unlike a down-home country version of Beyoncé's I Am...Sasha Fierce. For the tender Achin' side, Bundy channels Tammy Wynette, Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones with some intimate bluesy torch songs that show she has some serious emotional depth. Check out excellent opener "Drop on By"-it'll make you want to drop on by Bundy's music plenty.
Next we're snap-ping to Taio Cruz's "Dirty Picture" ft. Ke$ha. We already love Cruz' No. 1 pop hit, "Break My Heart," and he's on a roll with this urban-dance-pop track that will undoubtedly inspire a summer of drunken, dirty cell-phone-pic snapping-and much regret the morning after! (We can practically predict the TextsFromLastNight.com entry: "+212 Took a dirtier picture than I meant to-involved a bottle of Jack, vomit and unsuspecting orifices". There's also a his and hers version of the track, "hers" appearing as bonus song on Ke$ha's debut album, Animal. Also look for Ke$ha as the opening act on Rihanna's new "Last Girl on Earth Tour," which kicks off in Seattle on July 2 and hits Madison Square Garden on August 12. Bottle of Jack not included in ticket price.
Agnes may be saying "Release Me" but audiences and record promoters can't let go of the stellar single even if it was released in the U.S. last August (and first released in Sweden in November 2008!). Even though it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Chart in the U.S. back in October (and sold a whopping 900,000 copies worldwide), Geffen has just released even more mixes of the song last week including LMFAO, Jason Nevins, Stereotypes and Riddler. And with the lovely lady making lots of local appearances from Club 57 and Splash to Good Day New York, you know DJs will be holding on to this song all summer long!