This week on “Single Play,” it’s the return of established bands, newish artists covering established artists, and a newish band sounding, well, newish. Just look at the list and you’ll see what I mean.
Solomon Ray, “Guess I’m Doing Fine”
When Beck won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2014, my daughter was one of many angered teens who thought Beyonce was robbed. I think they really wanted Kanye to get up there and take the award away from him. Why? Because many in her generation had no idea who Beck is. He was just some random guy no one had heard before winning an award over Bey. How could that be? Well, Solomon (now known as Solomon Ray) has certainly heard of Beck and has recorded a cover from Beck’s 2002 album (“Sea Change”) that stays fairly faithful to the original. However, Ray adds some electronic flourishes and a closing rap making it more of statement in his struggle to overcome depression. Powerful stuff from a rapper who’s reinvention takes him down a melancholy road.
The Wild Wild, “Sing”
The genesis of The Wild Wild starts with this blurb from the band’s leader: “Benjamin Dunn left his childhood home in Illinois and embarked on a journey that would forever change his life.” Dunn pulled a Jack Kerouac and hit the road to search for meaning. He eventually found what he was looking for in Santa Cruz, CA where he started to make music under the name The Wild Wild. After releasing an EP last year, the band dropped their first full length album earlier this year — with “Sing” as the first single. It’s an upbeat song with plenty of hooks nestled in a dreamy vocal delivery.
Rush, “Tom Sawyer” (R40 Tour Live)
How many times can Rush keep releasing live versions of “Tom Swayer?” I believe this is the ninth official release, but it’s one that captures the band giving it one last go on a tour of this magnitude. There were many (including myself) who thought the R40 Tour was Rush’s last waltz, but the band said they plan to continue recording music and are trying to figure out a way to play live that doesn’t involve so many days away from home. Rush knows that they can’t mess with their classic songs that much (if at all), so this version, while very similar to live versions in the past, may not surprise you with anything new, it is an impressive moment in time when guys in their 60s can still rock it like they’re in their late 20s.
Coldplay, “Adventure of a Lifetime
Talk about altering a formula. Coldplay, like U2 (or Rush), doesn’t stray too far from the sound that made them successful — until now. I don’t know if the conscious uncoupling Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow went through resulted in Martin finding a new appreciation for disco, but this song really grooves in terms of a dance beat. “Adventure of a Lifetime” isn’t quite the out of the box hit, but the label “grower” is pretty apt. With repeated plays (which it will get on radio, YouTube, and your streaming service of choice), it’s going to rocket to the top. So, congratulations to Coldplay for doing the unexpected at this stage of their career — a stage when many bands tend to play it safe.