By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
By Liz Tracy
By Matt Preira
By Jesse Scheckner
By Michael E. Miller
Rihanna: "I love her song 'I Hate That I Love You,' the one she does with Ne-Yo. The first time I heard that song, I knew it was going to be a hit. I have it on repeat on my iPod. It keeps growing on me, and I never get tired of it. I like the way their voices blend together."
Chris Brown: "I haven't heard his new CD [Exclusive], but two years ago, when his first CD came out, all I wanted for Christmas and my birthday was his album. I'd love to tour with him. It would open me up to his R&B audience, and it would open him up to my pop audience. We're both somewhere in the middle."
Plain White T's: "I remember hearing 'Hey There Delilah,' and it was so simple — guitar, voice, and strings. [It shows] you don't have to make a complicated song to have a hit single."
Kanye West: "Yeah, I listen to hip-hop. I hope my mom doesn't kill me. I like Kanye West and 50 Cent, and I didn't take a side in that whole battle. But I did buy [West's] Graduation, so I guess I took a side. The album is in heavy rotation on my iPod. 'Stronger' — that song is genius."
Post-hardcore and screamo: I like Silverstein and a local band called Greeley Estates that's doing really well. My favorite is a band called Dizmas. They're really good, and I love their music. They came and performed at my church, and it was really funny, because people were like, 'Are they screaming?' But I like post-hardcore because it's really cool for when you're angry. Anybody who can scream like that and not blow their voice out is amazing. It takes a lot of skill and practice to be able to do that. I can't do it."
Alicia Keys: "I haven't heard all of her new album [As I Am] yet, but I like her new single ("No One"). Alicia Keys just amazes me. She plays piano like no other, she's got a great voice, and she writes her own songs."LA CONFIDENTIAL From the other coast: Los Angeles
Looks like Dave Navarro is going to be all about instant gratification next year. The L.A.-born and -bred guitarist, who launched his own internet TV show and directed his first porno in 2007, has been inspired by the immediacy of the web and the quick turnaround of the adult film industry. "These things come out during that burst of inspiration, whereas with records, by the time you're talking about it, it's something you created long ago," he explains. "That's one of the things I'm looking forward to with future music projects. I'm just going to immediately put out stuff online as I record it, song by song." This eccentric rocker has battled his share of addictions over the years. Here are his musical addictions of 2007:
Gravenhurst, The Western Lands
"I discovered them watching The Unit, the TV show about an undercover military group. During the end credits on one of the episodes, I heard this song called 'Black Holes in the Sand.' It just struck me. I'm never one to search something online that I happened to hear on a television program, but it just really hit me hard. They're pretty mind-blowing — my favorite band right now. Instant melancholy. I have to be careful what time of day I put them on because I could easily find myself in a suicidal state, which is actually saying quite a lot if a band can evoke that much emotion."
kHz, Reality on a Finer Scale
"I played on a track from their next album. They're a metal band from New York with an amazing lead singer named Raiana. She's got this beautiful, operatic voice that goes on top of this real hardcore metal. Just a really nice juxtaposition. A lot of females in the metal world try to emulate the singing chops of men. She remains feminine, and the combination is really sexy."
The Start, Ciao, Baby
"A great band. Love Aimee Echo's vocal abilities."
"Don't believe he's put anything out this year, but I think he's just an incredible genius. His personality really comes through in his vocals. The music is very simplistic, and there's something to be said for that. It's all about highlighting the personality, and he does that really well."
The Procussions and Mr. J.
"Kind of a hip-hop thing. Real emotional. Stripped-down and positive lyrical content. These guys came on my show with a microphone and a drum set and pretty much blew everybody away."
"Fun. Kind of reminds me of Love and Rockets with the sax and the hokey guitar stuff."
"He's a bipolar schizophrenic who's a really brilliant songwriter. Heavily influenced bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth. I would highly recommend looking into this guy and the documentary about him."FFROM THE COLD HEART: MINNEAPOLISThe Music that moved Al Franken in 2007
Former Saturday Night Live cast member, screenwriter, and New York Times best-selling author Al Franken is living in Minneapolis and campaigning for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Here's what he had to say about the music that's been making him move lately: