'What Now' comes at the right time as the tough girl action was a bit of a turn off for her more 'conservative' fans, it is refreshing to see Rihanna revealing a little more of a sensitive side.
I hereby forsake score-keeping of all kinds. Websites with tick lists, gadgets with play counters, social media with virtual scorecards to get you hooked just that little bit deeper. They can all take a jump; I'm reclaiming my life from score-keeping.
For me, inspiration is key in catching children at a young age. We have to inspire children to take up an instrument; inspire children through the achievements of their peers; and, once involved in music, inspire them through offering experiences of the highest quality so that they keep music at the centre of their lives.
Hailing from Wales, where talent seems to run in the valleys (Charlotte Church, Tom Jones, Gareth Bale!) Violet Skies is but a young female solo artist with a singing voice soft and yet, I imagine, distinctive enough to hush a room full of boisterous voices.
For every track I listen to, and for every new musical genre I discover and fall in love with, I am forever thankful to those people who first exposed me to music; in all its' culturally-significant, happiness-inducing, memory-evoking brilliance.
Last week, pop performance artist, Alexander Geist released the video for a new track, "A Woman's Right to Choose". A mysterious medley of ambiguous apparitions and morose saxophone riffs, the video leads us on a journey into arch sarcasm, and on to a provocative exploration of gender identity.
It is here in Milan, far north in the Bel Paese [Italy, the "beautiful country"], that a cultural pragmatism has attracted those of a more refined musical streak. And it is at Biko, a club not far from the throng of the city centre, that Trio Valore has convened to play to a Milanese crowd intent on devouring live music as would they their mammas' pasta e fagioli. It's a crowd of stylists who want to dance, and they do.
I'm sure even in their wildest dreams when Pete, Roger, Keith and John were paying those early gigs at the Marquee back in 1964 they wouldn't of believed their legacy would be alive and well in 2013!
For all those who think Bruce Springsteen is "Dad music that sucks" (a statement that is probably based solely on Dancing in the Dark and Born in the USA), I ask you to search beyond the only two songs you're likely to hear on the radio, because that's when you find the really good stuff. Delve into your parent's record collection and pull out something by Springsteen, because the chances are, you've still got time to make it to a pretty incredible show.
On 29 November 2001, former Beatles guitarist George Harrison died in Los Angeles of lung cancer, aged 58. This was a sad day, the second Beatle to leave us and at just 58. Who'd of thought that by the turn of the century, we would've lost two Beatles?
Fifty one years ago, Blowin' In The Wind was adopted as some kind of clarion call for an energetic, shackled and questioning youth to stop relying on their elders for answers, to open their eyes to the unfairness around them, to strive to find a different path at the end of which truths would miraculously materialise.
Medicine? Sure. Nursing? Yep. Rehab? Gotcha. But how exactly is music going to redeem this one? As a music therapist who has worked in exactly this situation for a long time, I can admit that not only have families asked me this, I've asked myself the question too.
The last few weeks have gone by in a blur, and like most people, I can't believe it's almost Christmas again already. Makes me want to reenact a scene from Will Ferrell in ELF, the best Christmas movie ever! Buddy: I'm singing! I'm in a store and I'm singing! I'm in a store, AND I'M SINGIIIIING! I was so excited when the Christmas lights went up on Oxford Street. But my god the amount of people that are doing their Christmas shopping is immense. I can see why - the stores you guys have over here are pretty awesome. I'm tempted to muck in and get shopping as well!
I've driven bits of Route 66, gone walking in Memphis, been 90 miles out of Atlanta by sundown and seen the cathedral mountains of Colorado. Of my top ten songs for inspiring travel in the USA, I've experienced nine of them personally. But, so far at least, I've only been to Carolina in my mind.
On 25 Nov in 1984, the cream of the British pop world gathered at SARM Studios, London, to record the historic Do They Know It's Christmas? The single, which was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, featured Paul Young, Bono, Boy George, Sting, and George Michael.
That evening, at the piano in my Islington flat, the notes that came out were from Jura. I can't really explain how or why, I know it probably sounds barking mad. It was like the island was calling me saying 'I'm here, I've always been here, so come if you need me'.