Coming to your Senses

Tom Pilcher

New in music: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – “I Learned the Hard Way”
It seems like most bands that aim for an older sound just end up sounding dated and out of place. Case in point: any revisionist classic rock band playing at any small town bar every weekend. However, in the able hands of Brooklyn group Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, funk, soul, classic R&B and even Motown get loving treatment on the group’s fourth album, “I Learned the Hard Way.” Jones’ strong, emotive voice carries the large group through a collection of 13 songs that ultimately sound funkier, grittier, and more soulful than 2007’s “100 Days, 100 Nights.” Jones & the Dap-Kings – who served as the backing band for Amy Winehouse’s breakout record “Back to Black” – recall both the stripped-down arrangements of Sam Cooke and the choppier funk style that gained prominence throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Anyone who enjoys airtight grooves, classic songwriting forms and vintage soul, funk or R&B will find something to like on this album.
Starting point: The sly, funky trumpet feature “Better Things” New in film: “Date Night”
I must say, I am still a little bit wary about this one. In the film, Steve Carrell and Tina Fey play a run-of-the-mill married couple that decides to spend a night out away from their kids and their fairly mundane lives. While waiting for a table at a trendy restaurant, Carrell decides to take another person’s reservation, which ends up getting the couple involved with a couple of gangsters, one played by the rapper Common. Then, as they say, hilarity ensues. The pairing of Carrell and Fey alone is enough to make me want to see the film, and the plot even sounds like it will be fairly entertaining. However, the choice of Nickelback’s meathead anthem “Burn it to the Ground” in the trailer also leads me to believe that this film could be less than stellar.

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