Music

David Mead: Mine and Yours

Gary Glauber

David Mead

Mine and Yours

Label: RCA
US Release Date: 2001-05-15
Amazon
iTunes

The eagerly awaited sophomore effort from David Mead is out now and Mine and Yours is a quieter, more personal effort from this versatile singer/songwriter. What's back is his undeniable talent (remarkably mature for his mere 27 years), his intelligent and sensitive lyrics, his flair for writing well-constructed pop songs and his positive attitude. Also still there is Mr. Mead's incredible McCartney-esque voice, which is capable of a most impressive range. Having heard live performances from David Mead, I also can tell you this distinctive voice is real not electronically enhanced.

Let me digress a bit here about David Mead. This former member of Joe, Marc's Brother is hard not to like -- he's talented, funny, and trying so hard to make his well-deserved star turn happen. To get a feel for the man behind the music, check out his diary entries on his website. He's the genuine thing -- a rarity in this biz -- a bona fide "Nice Guy". As such, you might find yourself rooting for his success too.

His first album The Luxury of Time was an amazing debut. I found myself inadvertently recommending it to friends and strangers alike. There were lots of upbeat heavily produced hook-laden pop numbers, including "Robert Bradley's Postcard", "Touch of Mascara", "World of a King" and other tracks that would find an easy home on radio if the world became enlightened.

However, if you are looking for a carbon copy of that first disc, you won't find it here. Mine and Yours is a softer step forward, capturing a transitional time in the artist's life when moving to New York City. It is hip-swaying pop, and you might have to give it more listens to let the hooks out this time. Mead has supplemented his own guitars, bass and keyboard with a nice cadre of musicians here: Shawn Pelton on drums, Danny Weinkauf on bass, John Skibic on electric guitars and producer Adam Schlessinger on keyboards and more.

The title track probably is the most radio-friendly of the 13 songs here, a "cheap serenade" to modern love, its "embrace inside a hand grenade" and "sweet summer lilac romance" that is catchy as it gets. "Girl on the Roof" is a close second, with its catchy "hoo-hooing" leading into a very catchy song about love in the air and well, a girl on the roof.

"What I Want to Do" should appeal to fans of the melodic ballads of Paul McCartney -- sometimes it seems as if David Mead channels Paul. "Elodie" offers up some rhythmic fun, in an anthem to a beautiful star loved from afar, and "Figure of Eight" continues in the McCartney-esque vein, except the chorus nods its musical head to "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".

The workings of Adam Schlessinger's production keeps things sedate, clean and within the parameters of nice clever pop, though when I heard the start of "Standing Here in Front of Me", I thought Fountain of Wayne's Utopia Parkway had managed to work its way back into my CD player. For the most part Schlessinger keeps true to Mead's intentions: his lilting voice and melodies dominating the show, as they should.

The best way to describe Mine And Yours: it is the perfect CD for a rainy Saturday afternoon. Is this the CD that will propel the hard-working David Mead into the public's consciousness? It might be too quiet and savvy for that but who can say? In the meantime, kick back, let the precipitation fall where it may, and put the headphones on for an enjoyable and easy-on-the-ears musical experience.

From drunken masters to rumbles in the Bronx, Jackie Chan's career is chock full of goofs and kicks. These ten films capture what makes Chan so magnetic.

Jackie Chan got his first film role way back in 1976, when a rival producer hired him for his obvious action prowess. Now, nearly 40 years later, he is more than a household name. He's a brand, a signature star with an equally recognizable onscreen persona. For many, he was their introduction into the world of Hong Kong cinema. For others, he's the goofy guy speaking broken English to Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour films.

From his grasp of physical comedy to his fearlessness in the face of certain death (until recently, Chan performed all of his own stunts) he's a one of a kind talent whose taken his abilities in directions both reasonable (charity work, political reform) and ridiculous (have your heard about his singing career?).

Now, Chan is back, bringing the latest installment in the long running Police Story franchise to Western shores (subtitled Lockdown, it's been around since 2013), and with it, a reminder of his multifaceted abilities. He's not just an actor. He's also a stunt coordinator and choreographer, a writer, a director, and most importantly, a ceaseless supporter of his country's cinema. With nearly four decades under his (black) belt, it's time to consider Chan's creative cannon. Below you will find our choices for the ten best pictures Jackie Chan's career, everything from the crazy to the classic. While he stuck to formula most of the time, no one made redundancy seem like original spectacle better than he.

Let's start with an oldie but goodie:

10. Operation Condor (Armour of God 2)

Two years after the final pre-Crystal Skull installment of the Indiana Jones films arrived in theaters, Chan was jumping on the adventurer/explorer bandwagon with this wonderful piece of movie mimicry. At the time, it was one of the most expensive Hong Kong movies ever made ($115 million, which translates to about $15 million American). Taking the character of Asian Hawk and turning him into more of a comedic figure would be the way in which Chan expanded his global reach, realizing that humor could help bring people to his otherwise over the top and carefully choreographed fight films -- and it's obviously worked.

9. Wheels on Meals

They are like the Three Stooges of Hong Kong action comedies, a combination so successful that it's amazing they never caught on around the world. Chan, along with director/writer/fight coordinator/actor Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, all met at the Peking Opera, where they studied martial arts and acrobatics. They then began making movies, including this hilarious romp involving a food truck, a mysterious woman, and lots of physical shtick. While some prefer their other collaborations (Project A, Lucky Stars), this is their most unabashedly silly and fun. Hung remains one of the most underrated directors in all of the genre.

8. Mr. Nice Guy
Sammo Hung is behind the lens again, this time dealing with Chan's genial chef and a missing mob tape. Basically, an investigative journalist films something she shouldn't, the footage gets mixed up with some of our heroes, and a collection of clever cat and mouse chases ensue. Perhaps one of the best sequences in all of Chan's career occurs in a mall, when a bunch of bad guys come calling to interrupt a cooking demonstration. Most fans have never seen the original film. When New Line picked it up for distribution, it made several editorial and creative cuts. A Japanese release contains the only unaltered version of the effort.

7. Who Am I?

Amnesia. An easy comedic concept, right? Well, leave it to our lead and collaborator Benny Chan (no relation) to take this idea and go crazy with it. The title refers to Chan's post-trauma illness, as well as the name given to him by natives who come across his confused persona. Soon, everyone is referring to our hero by the oddball moniker while major league action set pieces fly by. While Chan is clearly capable of dealing with the demands of physical comedy and slapstick, this is one of the rare occasions when the laughs come from character, not just chaos.

6. Rumble in the Bronx

For many, this was the movie that broke Chan into the US mainstream. Sure, before then, he was a favorite of film fans with access to a video store stocking his foreign titles, but this is the effort that got the attention of Joe and Jane Six Pack. Naturally, as they did with almost all his films, New Line reconfigured it for a domestic audience, and found itself with a huge hit on its hands. Chan purists prefer the original cut, including the cast voices sans dubbing. It was thanks to Rumble that Chan would go on to have a lengthy run in Tinseltown, including those annoying Rush Hour films.

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