Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

Welcome to another new music revue. All featured tracks are on albums that were released yesterday. Let’s get to it!

Scorpions/Knock ’em Dead

I trust pop metal stalwarts Scorpions need no introduction. The band was formed in 1965 in Hanover, Germany by guitarist Rudolf Schenker who remains as the original member. The current line-up also includes Klaus Meine (lead vocals, guitar), Matthias Jabs (lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Paweł Mąciwoda (bass, backing vocals) and Mikkey Dee (2016), who have been members since 1969, 1978, 2003 and 2016, respectively. In 2010, the group’s 17th studio album Sting in the Tail appeared, which initially was called their farewell album and followed by their “final tour.” They subsequently changed their mind and have since released two additional records including their latest, Rock Believer. I featured the title track four weeks ago in this Best of What’s installment. Here’s Knock ’em Dead, a pretty typical Scorpions rocker co-written by Meine and Schenker. The band will support the album with a tour, starting in late March with a series of nine gigs in Las Vegas before continuing in Europe until early July. Other than the Vegas residency, oddly, there are currently no other scheduled U.S. dates.

Tears for Fears/Master Plan

This is starting to feel like a trip back to the ’80s. While Scorpions had been around for 16 years by the time British new wave band Tears for Fears were formed in 1981, the German rockers first entered my radar screen in 1984 with their immensely successful album Love at First Sting. At that time, Tears for Fears had released their debut The Hurting (March 1983) and scored their first hit Mad World. Their smash singles Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule the World would still be one year away. These days, Tears for Fears continue to be co-founders Roland Orzabal (guitars, keyboards, vocals) and Curt Smith (bass, keyboards, vocals). The other original members Manny Elias (drums, percussion) and Ian Stanley (keyboards, backing vocals) left long ago in 1986 and 1987, respectively, and were never replaced. Orzabal and Smith broke up in 1991 (though Orzabal kept the Tears for Fears name alive) and reunited in 2010. Fast-forward to the present and The Tipping Point, the duo’s first new album in nearly 18 years. Here’s Master Plan penned by Orzabal. Like most of the other tracks, it’s more on the mellow side. It may not be as instantly memorable as Everybody Wants to Rule the World or Sowing the Seeds of Love, but I still like it!

Dashboard Confessional/The Better of Me

Florida band Dashboard Confessional were initially started in 1999 as a solo acoustic side project by singer-songwriter Chris Carrabba who at the time was the lead vocalist of emo group Further Seems Forever. Following his departure from that band, Carrabba released his solo debut The Swiss Army Romance in March 2000 under the Dashboard Confessional name. By the time of sophomore album The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most came out, Dashboard Confessional had become a trio. Apart from Carrabba, the present line-up includes Scott Schoenbeck (bass, piano, keyboards), Armon Jay (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Chris Kamrada (drums, percussion). The Better of Me is a tune from the group’s ninth and latest album All the Truth That I Can Tell. According to Apple Music, In mid-2020, Chris Carrabba got into a motorcycle accident that nearly paralyzed him—the veteran singer-songwriter was forced to relearn his instrument, unable to play guitar for more than five minutes a day before the pain hit. You would never assume this had happened to him when listening to this tune and others I sampled.

Johnny Marr/Night and Day

My last pick for this week is music by Johnny Marr from his new album Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4. The English guitarist and singer-songwriter, who first gained prominence in the ’80s as a co-founder of English indie rock band The Smiths, had previously released eight of the 16 tracks on two EPs. In December, I featured a tune from the second EP. Following the break-up of The Smiths, Marr played in various other bands, including Pretenders, The The, ElectronicModest Mouse and The Cribs. His solo debut The Messenger appeared in February 2013. Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4 is Marr’s fourth solo record. Here’s one of the newly released tunes, Night and Day. Like all other tracks on the album, it was co-written by him and James Doviak, co-producer and guitarist in Marr’s band. Kind of catchy!

Last but not least, here’s a playlist of the above and some additional tunes.

Sources: Wikipedia; Scorpions website; Apple Music; YouTube; Spotify

11 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

  1. My favorite by far is Johnny Marr. For me, he was the best part of the Smiths with his ringing guitar. I like his voice also much more than Morrissey.

    The Scorpions…sound like they always have which is a good thing. Klaus Meine has a very unique voice that you will not be confused with anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That Marr album sounds pretty good, based on my initial impression. I’m planning to give it a closer look.

      While I wouldn’t call myself an outright Scorpions fan and probably was more into their music in the ’80s than I am now, I still enjoy listening to their songs every now and then. I always liked how in their rock tunes they combined metal and pop.

      Klaus Meine definitely has a distinct voice. And accent – not much different from mine, especially when I’m tired! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For me…I wish Marr would have sang more with the Smiths. I just didn’ like that droning voice of Morrisey very much.

        Unlike some of the other heavy bands…you knew who it was by just hearing the singer…he was not a clone…

        Would sing for our band? lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was Revolver in the old days…and later on…Green Swingset lol. We are playing tomorrow for the first time in a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No not yet…we will be SO rusty tomorrow but it’s all about fun! I have such a good time….if you lived near me my friend…I would tell you to put the camera down and grab a guitar…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh hell…you could mime along if you wanted…everyone needs to be a rock star once in a while Christian

        Like

  2. There continues to be a flood of new music being released, so much so that it’s impossible to keep up with even a fraction of it! I’m a long-time fan of Tears for Fears, and like the songs I’ve heard from their new album. I need to give the entire album a listen. I’ve heard of Dashboard Confessional, but haven’t explored their music much. I like the track you chose. And though I haven’t heard very much of his solo music, I really like Johnny Marr, and loved his song “Hi Hello”, which I can’t believe came out nearly four years ago! His new song “Night and Day” is great.

    Like

  3. I’ve never been much of a Scorpions fan so, not excited about that one. The two I like best here are Marr and Tears for Fears. I wasn’t heavily into the Smiths. I was too much of a straight rock and roller to get into what I thought was a cold sound. I really like Tears for Fears. Interesting that they’re back but I wonder if they’ll now just be seen as a timepiece. That said, I have an idea in mind for a post based on a couple of things I’ve seen and heard recently.

    Like

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