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29 August 2011

Music Review: The Basement Recordings by Alexz Johnson

 Now available on both Amazon MP3 and Itunes.
Hey, everyone! As promised, here are some of my thoughts on The Basement Recordings by Alexz Johnson. She made the record with her brother, Brendan. Before I get to my thoughts on the songs, I thought I'd give a little background for those who haven't heard of Alexz or this record yet.
Alexz is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has been starring in TV shows and recording since she was a kid. She first appeared in the Disney series So Weird and eventually became the lead on the show Instant Star that aired on The N. During the last couple of years of Instant Star, Alexz began once again shopping her music to labels while the pair wrote songs for the show.  Unfortunately, Alexz fell victim to label shake ups and eventually decided to just release her music on her own, an album called Voodoo. But the old songs were still out there, begging for a release. Alexz just had to get the rights back from Epic. While most of the Eight of the 15 songs on this disc were originally supposed to her on her Epic CD. She ngs had already leaked online, fans were still waiting for a legit release of the Epic CD. After finally getting the rights back, the Johnsons decided to do just that and more by taking most of those songs and add some original demos and another track had not been scheduled to be released. (The Basement Recordings website, which includes a track list, lyrics and stories behind the songs.)

Of the original Epic songs, I have to say "Spin" is my favorite by far. It's an up-tempo song with lots of whistles and other unique sounds mixed in. The lyrics are about wanting to live to the fullest and not just worrying about money and getting something out of people. Another great one is "Running with the Devil". It's a slow, moody track that deals with drug addiction which Alexz performed in one of her youtube videos. "Easy Ain't Sleazy" is another stand out track. I love the jazzy/blusey sound of it and her vocals are perfect on this one. Also check out "Saving the Train", a song about letting go of baggage and "giving it all away" to heal yourself.

Of the demos, I was most impressed by "Skin" (What a shock). As much as I love the version that was debuted on the Instant Star soundtracks, I love the demo more. The lyrics are slightly different in a couple of spots and it works. The instrumentation sounds a bit more stripped down as well, which I  like. If there's one nitpick I have for it, it's this: I think the final "I've got a reason now to bury him alive" sounds much more emotional in the IS version. I also really liked "LA Made Me", which was my favorite Voodoo track. 

I think what really draws me to her music is she has a very quirky sound and writes some great lyrics and some really off the wall ones. You don't know quite what you're going to get and I like that. So what do you all think? Did you get it? Are you going to? What are your favorites. Be sure to comment back and look out for my Pistol Annies thoughts in my next review. Also, be sure to check out my Heather Hildenbrand and Levi Lowrey contests. Time's running out to get your free e-book and blog promos! I'm only giving one more week for this, so act fast!


Anthony said...

I got it on midnight right on its release date. "That Girl" was the song that turned me into a huge Alexz Johnson fan and I listen to the original recordibg a gazillion times a day. Brings me back to the days when I first discovered her music and would play it all the time.

Jamie B said...

I tried to get it at midnight, but I don't have Itunes and Amazon was slow in putting it up. Had to wait until the next morning.

Very cool that "That Girl" made you a fan. :)