Music in the classic styles of ragtime,
blues, swing, doo wop, and Motown
at Florida Southwestern State College
If such a place actually exists, no doubt the soundtrack is Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. Founded by pianist and arranger Scott Bradlee in 2009, the ensemble reimagines contemporary pop, rock and R&B hits in the style of various yesteryears, from swing to doo-wop, ragtime to Motown – or, as Bradlee himself puts it, “pop music in a time machine.” The band parlayed a series of YouTube videos shot in Bradlee’s Queens living room into massive success, accruing more than 500 million YouTube views and over 2 million subscribers, an appearance on “Good Morning America,” and performances at packed houses across the globe.
“I just wanted to make music in the classic styles of ragtime, blues, swing, doo wop, and Motown that I loved as a kid,” Bradlee writes. The album, he continues, includes “breathtaking vocal performances, raucous horn solos, infectious dance rhythms, and nostalgic melodies - all captured the way music was recorded in the Golden Age of the record industry: with everyone together, in the same room.”
And the media has taken notice: Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Scott Bradlee’s group is known for retro-fying modern hit songs into viral success,” while Yahoo! Music added, “if you’ve been on YouTube in the last couple of years, then you’re familiar with the everything-new-is-old-again brilliance of the viral phenomenon known as Postmodern Jukebox.”
In its seven years of existence, Postmodern Jukebox has recorded literally hundreds of songs, but this release compiles the best of them, the tunes that Bradlee himself calls “most essential to the PMJ universe.” That includes the song that put the band on the map, a vaudevillian distressing of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” fronted by Robyn Adele Anderson that garnered more than a million views within a week of being posted. The pin-up styled singer returned for the album’s opener, their ‘50s doo-wop version of Miley Cyrus’ celebration of an inhibition-shedding spree, “We Can’t Stop,” which garnered more than 19.5 million views and was named one of the “9 Best Viral Cover Videos of 2015” by People magazine.
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