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Pop Making Sense
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2009-04-08

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Maybe now she will be singing "all the flowers that you planted, mama, in the backyard, all are back in bloom." On Tuesday, April 21, Sinead O'Connor ( photo # 2 by Kevin Abosch ) will release a special edition of I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, just shy of the opus' 20-year anniversary. Although this breakthrough is the Irish songbird's second album, it marks her first as a mother. This influences "Three Babies," "Emperor's New Clothes" and "Black Boys on Mopeds." This multi-platinum album also features the number-one smash "Nothing Compares 2U" and the live favorite "The Last Day of Our Acquaintance," which R.E.M. has added to its repertoire. The bonus disc includes rarities, oddities and a stripped-down recording of the masterpiece "Troy." Also present are a previously unreleased cover of John Lennon's "Mind Games;" a sexed-up version of Cole Porter's "You Do Something To Me" from the Red Hot + Blue benefit compilation; and a remix of the James Brown sampling "I Am Stretched on Your Grave." On the one-off-single "My Special Child," the Grammy winner's voice rings purely as she sings about the baby she lost. The gorgeous Enya-like "What Do You Want" is in Gaelic. This is such a deserving reissue from a madly talented artist. O'Connor is already working on new material for an early 2010 release per an optimistic statement she issued on her official web site.

Love it or hate it, few could escape the popularity of Katy Perry's monster hit "I Kissed a Girl." Out singer-songwriter Jen Foster boldly delivers the ultimate response song with "I Didn't Just Kiss Her." Here, Foster uses her Americana rock style to confess, "I didn't just kiss her, we went all the way and I liked it." The object of Foster's affection insists the fling was an attempt to get a guy's attention and then blames the drinks for the same-sex encounter. But Foster knows better than to believe these after-thought claims. Dance remixes and an accompanying music video are in the works. The Nashville artist just released the EP Songs from Thirty-Nine as a precursor to her full length Thirty-Nine. This summer Foster will be performing at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival in Walhalla on Saturday, Aug. 8. To hear "I Didn't Just Kiss Her," visit myspace.com/jenfoster.

The sun beautifully reflecting over the water on the cover of Linq's third album, Life Goes On, perfectly suits the set's mood. It captures the assuring serenity of the harmonies on the title track's reprise and even catches a glimpse of the potential environmental loss as heard on the opener "Where Will the Wild Ones Go." The out musician brings up the paranoia of big brother on "George Orwell Where Are You?," then offers a fun introduction to queer sexuality on "Diversity Dance." This one should be incorporated into high school and collegiate sociology curricula. Linq has a knack for harmonies and captivating choruses, like on "Will You Care" and "Ode to the Butterworth Boys." But it is the repetition of Linq singing "life goes on" throughout the reprise that I want to play on repeat for all perpetual pessimists and overreacting drama queens, so they can put life's curveballs into perspective. The Massachusetts-based Linq provides sound advice in her storytelling and makes the listener think about global consequences while harmonies melt over her folk-pop sound.

Coming from the City of Brotherly Love, Balloons takes off with its debut, the EP Definition of Forever. This partially queer quartet proudly shows influence from the greats of the goth, alternative and electronic scene like Love & Rockets ( "Pass the Lines" ) , Morrissey ( "Daddy Was a Looker" ) and Orgy ( "Injection" ) . This EP proves not all Balloons are not filled with hot air; every cut here is solid and steps away just far enough from its predecessor to emphasize versatility. This young, promising, eyeliner wearing outfit is releasing its debut teaser EP Definition of Forever on April 14, leaving me waiting for more like a possible spot at Northalsted Market Days, The Flesh Hungry Dog Show or even Lollapalooza.

Kenosha, Wis., native Tom Goss ( pictured ) returns with his third outing, Back to Love. The openly gay Goss' finest moments come when the focus is on his voice, as heard on the slower numbers "Till the End" and the outstanding "Lover." If Billy Joel and Elton John's camps were wise, they would consider having Goss open for the pair's summer tour. Not only would Goss' music complement those of these legends, but Goss' presence definitely would add an overwhelming breath of fresh air. Back to Love will be out April 7 and Goss is due to be at The Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, on Friday, April 10.

After hitting the road this spring to support its debut, Filthy Nasty, in a fuel-efficient car, The Kristen Ford Band is concluding its spring tour at The Red Line Tap, 7000 N. Glenwood, on Saturday, April 18. Steff Mahan and Ripley Caine are in the night's line-up too. Ford will also celebrate Earth Day with a solo performance at Columbia College on Monday, April 20. Need more of The Kristen Ford Band? The all-queer trio will also be performing at Milwaukee's PrideFest on Saturday-Sunday, June 13-14.


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