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La La Land

La La Land (2016, rated PG-13) was the best musical I've seen in years, and so of course I think the soundtrack is great too. As I listen to each song, I can see the scene in the movie in my memory. I have a cousin whose daughter is a dancer and whenever I hear the opening song, "Another day of Sun," I see those kids dancing on those cars on that bottle-necked freeway in Los Angeles and it reminds me of her.

While it may be true that La La Land would be a terrific rom/com even without a great musical score, having fabulous music makes it the great movie that it is. I think it should have won the Oscar for Best Picture, but what do I know? Check out the soundtrack on Hoopla today.

A Night on the Town

This album is considered one of Rod Stewart's finest. The cover is based on Renoir's painting, "Bal du moulin de la Galette," with Rod inserted in the painting in period attire.

A Night on the Town (1976) includes some of Rod's classic hits, such as "Tonight's the Night," "The First Cut Is the Deepest," and "The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II)." I bought this album when it was originally released, and it sounds as good today as it did then.

Definitely give this one a listen! You can borrow it instantly via Hoopla today.


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When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish

One of the positive things during our extended times at home is discovering new music. Billie Eilish's album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019) is truly one worth listening to. Each song is so very carefully crafted by Billie and her brother Finneas that it leaves you wanting to listen to each song on repeat over and over. My recommendation is putting on some sound-canceling headphones to really dig in and enjoy every layer that is put into each song and to enjoy Billie's beautiful soft voice in songs.

Notable songs are "Bad Guy," You Should See Me in a Crown." and "My Strange Addiction." When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? won the Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical at the 2020 Grammy Awards. Also, "Bad Guy" won the 2020 Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Eilish's sweep is rare: she is the first woman and second person ever to win the four main Grammy categories—and is the youngest person to win Album of the YearGet all the details at Billboard.com.

Listen to the award-winning album on Hoopla today.



Greatest Hits 2 by Bob Seger

After listening to Greatest Hits 2, you will know why Bob Seger is one of the bestselling artists of all time. This compilation album released in 2003 contains some of his best music, including "Katmandu," "Tryin' To Live My Life Without You," and "Rock And Roll Never Forgets." Once you've heard this album, it will be obvious why Bob Seger has a career spanning six decades and has sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

Listen to the album on Hoopla today.



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Slowhand by Eric Clapton

Originally released in 1977, Slowhand is considered to be one of Eric Clapton's best. This is still one of my favorite albums, and I never get tired of listening to it. There are the hits that we all remember, such as "Cocaine," "Wonderful Tonight," and "Lay Down Sally," but don't overlook the rest of the songs.

This 35th anniversary edition contains a total of 27 songs, and there are some hidden gems. I recommend "Next Time You See Her," "May You Never," and "Knocking on Heaven's Door" to name a few. By the way, did you know that the title of the album is Eric Clapton's nickname?

Listen to Slowhand on Hoopla today.


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A Star is Born Soundtrack

This moving soundtrack is from the award-winning movie A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga as the struggling songwriter, Ally, and Bradley Cooper as the famous country music singer, Jackson Maine. It features blues and folk rock, country, pop, rock, piano ballads, and heart-wrenching duets that complement the heartfelt tale of doomed romance.

Bradley Cooper(who knew he could sing?) took on the blues-inflected, country-rock soul of Jackson Maine. The talented Lady Gaga excels in her powerful solos. The progression of songs goes from cover songs when Ally hasn't been discovered yet, to power ballads, to pop-radio songs, and finishes with "I'll Never Love Again."

"Shallow" is a highlight of this soundtrack. Watch Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform it at the 2019 Academy Awards. Lady Gaga won an Oscar for Best Original Song. They both won a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Lady Gaga and the other songwriters won a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper took the lead in writing their own songs with help from Lukas Nelson and D.J. White Shadow aka Paul Blair.The soundtrack is interspersed with dialogue from the movie which gives perspective.

Besides "Shallow," I especially liked "Always Remember Us This Way," "Is That Alright," "Maybe It's Time," and "I'll Never Love Again."

Listen to A Star is Born Soundtrack (2018) on Hoopla. There is also a version without dialogue.To watch the movie, place a hold on the DVD or Blu-ray.

The Vienna Berlin Music Club. Volume 2

I was delighted to discover a second album from Philharmonix.  This group is comprised of members of the Vienna and Berlin philharmonics (hence the name) and plays a charming and creative array of (mostly) instrumental music.

My favorite songs from The Vienna Berlin Music Club, Volume 2 (2019), include "Don't Stop Me Now" (from Queen),"Dances from Transylvania," and "Theme from Pink Panther."  These refreshing arrangements will help lift your mood. Listen to both Volume 1 and Volume 2 today on Hoopla

Check out my review of their first album. And don't just take my word for it—another review has a positive take on their latest album.


Babies Need Words Every Day... so SING to them!

Children learn new words, letters, and sounds when you talk, read, sing, and write together. Play allows children to practice everything they've learned!

Here are some practical ways to SING to your baby:

  • Singing to your baby during every diaper change will help your baby learn individual sounds and prepare your child for reading.
    (Find some diaper changing song suggestions on our YouTube channel!)
  • Sing to your baby daily; it's ok if you're not a good singer! Your baby thinks your voice is the most beautiful sound in the world and they learn sounds from you.
Want more song suggestions?

We will teach you some of our favorite baby lap bounces, baby lifting songs, baby tickles, and baby body movement songs!

Read more about how the Babies Need Words Every Day initiative from the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) is working to bridge the 30 Million Word Gap to support family literacy and learning across all backgrounds.



The Greatest Showman: Reimagined (Deluxe)

If your household is like mine, you might have formed the habit of playing The Greatest Showman soundtrack on repeat…and you might be okay with that.  The songs are too good to get sick of, but maybe you're ready for a new flavor. 

The Greatest Showman: Reimagined is a collection of the songs you love covered by popular artists such as Panic! At the Disco, Kelly Clarkson, Zac Brown Band, and Pentatonix.  Each of these artists pays homage to the great songs while putting their own style into the mix.  Find it on Hoopla today.


Spotlight: Harry Potter Music

When I'm in search of comfort music, I return to old favorites. Among those are the soundtracks from each of the eight Harry Potter films, all available on Hoopla. I adore listening to the scores developed by composers John Williams, Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper, and Alexandre Desplat.

"Hedwig's Theme" is instantly recognizable, but it's fun to listen to the lesser known songs and see if you can picture the scene in the movie.

If the thought of listening to (even shuffling) eight soundtracks sounds overwhelming, check out The Complete Harry Potter Film Collection from the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. They play the best of the eight films in a two-hour collection—and it only requires one of your monthly Hoopla borrows!


The Vienna Berlin Music Club by Philharmonix (2018)

I recently had the chance to see Philharmonix live—and what an experience!  Listening to the album is the next best thing—and you can do so via Hoopla.  The Vienna Berlin Music Club is an eclectic mix of classical, jazz, and pop music.

The ensemble features two violins, a viola, a cello, a double bass, a clarinet, and a piano (from the Vienna and Berlin philharmonics).  Primarily instrumental, the album also features a singing violinist (in German).  Songs I particularly enjoyed include "Russian Overture," "Bohemian Rhapsody," and "A New Satisfaction."  Watch the YouTube video to get a behind the scenes look from the group (and samples of their music).



Dumplin' : original motion picture soundtrack

I have always liked Dolly Parton's voice and after watching the movie, Dumplin', on Netflix I had to listen to the soundtrack.  There are three new versions of classic Dolly songs "Here You Come Again", "Two Doors Down" and "Jolene".  She sings with various well-known artists including Miranda Lambert, Sia, Elle King, Macy Gray, and Alison KraussDumplin' is must listen for true Dolly fans. 



The Greatest Showman: Reimagined (Deluxe) (2018)

81hhv8sdrql-_sl1200_I enjoyed the movie The Greatest Showman, but I LOVED the music.  And to my delight, The Greatest Showman: Reimagined has been released.  Along with the original cast recordings, the soundtrack has been enhanced with artists including Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Pentatonix, Sara Bareilles, and Panic at the Disco! performing songs.

My favorites include Zac Brown Band’s rendition of “From Now On” and Kesha’s take of “This is Me.” Let this rousing album lift your spirits (listen instantly on Hoopla). And check out a Billboard article for how these artists joined forces.

 

Rockabye Baby! Lullaby renditions of songs from Hamilton (2017)

rockaby-babyTo all the caregivers and parents out there who want to listen to their own tunes while riding in the car with their babies, but worry about the adult language or themes...I give you Rockabye Baby.

Rockabye Baby takes popular music and transforms it into soothing instrumental lullabies.

I personally like to jam out to the Hamilton original cast recording by myself, but when my nieces and nephews are around, I'll put on the Rockabye Baby Hamilton edition so I can listen to something appropriate and also what I want at the same time.

This label has EIGHTY different albums released, with more coming every day. Check out all of them upstairs in the K&T department. We'll get you Beyonce or Coldplay lullaby-style and you'll be on your way.
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Fun Home: A New Broadway Musical (2015)

funhomeostCheck out the soundtrack to Fun Home, the 2015 Tony Award-winning Best Musical based off the graphic novel memoir by Alison Bechdel.
It tells the story of Alison's experiences growing up with her family, in college, and as a 43-year-old adult. The musical uses three different actors to play Alison.

The music ranges from funny and humorous to poignant as it conveys all three viewpoints of Alison. My favorite song is the anthem "Ring of Keys" when young Alison realizes that she recognizes herself in an older lesbian.

I definitely recommend reading the graphic novel memoir, as well as getting some insight into the musical since not every scene is on the CD. You can do that by listening to the podcast Broadway Backstory or investigating the musical's website.

Recommended for fans of RENT, In the Heights, and Spring Awakening.