Oliver Sacks on Sound Opinions

Oliver Sacks & Opinions on TV on the Radio, T.I., and Oasis

"Awakenings" neurologist Oliver Sacks joins Jim and Greg for an enlightening discussion about the powerful connection between music and the brain. And later the critics rate new albums from TV on the Radio and Oasis.

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Music News

The music industry's transition into a digital economy has not been the smoothest. But, in England, artists are banding together to make sure their voices will be heard in this revolution. British musicians including Radiohead, Billy Bragg and Robbie Williams have formed the Featured Artists' Coalition to insure that they can maintain the rights to their music and have more say about distribution in the future. Artists have traditionally been“abused”by big music corporations, and Jim and Greg think the changing landscape of music gives musicians the perfect opportunity to get more rights. Hopefully musicians in the States can follow suit.

Filmgoers are eagerly anticipating the release of the next James Bond film. For now they'll have to settle for the new opening theme recorded by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Traditionally each Bond movie is accompanied by an original song, making it one of the biggest song franchises in history. Some were hits, and others were big misses. Neither Jim nor Greg think that the White/Keys collaboration ranks up there with great Bond tracks like "Goldfinger", "Nobody Does it Better", or "You Only Live Twice". They'd put it in the“misses”category with "The Living Daylights".

interview

Oliver Sacks

As critics Jim and Greg have always suspected that music affects your brain, but they needed an expert to confirm their hypothesis. This week they speak with Dr. Oliver Sacks, author of the book Awakenings, which later went on to become a film starring Robin Williams. His new book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain is a collection of anecdotes illustrating the powerful effects music can have on the brain. Sacks relays his clinical experiences working with a range of patients including individuals who struggle to connect with music's melody, Parkinsonian patients who depend on music's rhythm, and Alzheimer's patients who find comfort in music's emotion. These people use music as a lifeline and a way to connect to the world–something rock fans certainly understand.

reviewDig Out Your SoulDig Out Your Soul available on iTunes

Oasis Dig Out Your Soul

With their first two records Oasis re-invigorated the British pop world. Now they are back with number seven. Jim thinks that now it's time for Noel and Liam Gallagher to consider a career change. Perhaps stand-up comedy? He finds Dig Out Your Soul laughable, especially the pace. If Noel had picked up more of the slack the album might have been more successful, but Jim has to deem it a Trash It. Greg actually grew to be a fan of Oasis' earlier work, but he agrees with Jim on this one. He admits that they shamelessly rip off The Beatles, but that's the least of the Gallaghers' problems. Dig Out Your Soul is merely a third rate rip off, and the lyrics are even worse. So Liam and Noel get two Trash Its.

JimGreg
reviewPaper Trail (Deluxe Version)Paper Trail available on iTunes

T.I. Paper Trail

T.I. went straight to #1 this week with his new record Paper Trail. Unfortunately that's not the only headline the rapper has made. In a few months he's scheduled to serve a year long prison sentence for gun possession. But, as Greg points out, that should‘ve made for great fodder for songwriting - should’ve being the operative word. He sees Paper Trail as a missed opportunity to do something deeper. Rather, this is T.I.'s most commercial record. It's packed with a handful of terrific tracks, but not enough to warrant a Buy It from Greg. Jim agrees; He enjoyed the hook-filled songs, but was left wanting more out of T.I. He recommends the rapper use his time away to channel his more poetic inspiration - Tupac Shakur. Therefore the album gets two Try Its.

JimGreg
reviewDear Science (Bonus Track Version)Dear Science available on iTunes

TV on the Radio Dear Science

The final album up for review is by Brooklyn indie band TV on the Radio. Now on major label Interscope, they've become one of the most talked about groups. Greg even put their last album in the #1 slot on his Best of 2007 list. Jim was not as big a fan of that record, but admits this one is stronger. They have success with their up-tempo tracks, but Jim becomes skeptical when the group slows down. He thinks they set their horizons a little too wide, and gives Dear Science a Try It. Greg is more positive. Return to Cookie Mountain was like a soundtrack to such a dark period in the world. With Dear Science, he can almost hear the clouds parting. The album is“weirdly optimistic”to Greg and deserves a Buy It.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. Billy Bragg, There Is Power In A Union, Talking with the Taxman About Poetry, Elektra, 1986
  2. Monty Norman Orchestra, James Bond Theme, The Best of James Bond: 30th Anniversary, Capitol, 1992
  3. Jack White & Alicia Keys, Another Way to Die, Quantum of Solace, J Records, 2008
  4. Shirley Bassey, Goldfinger, The Singles, United Artists, 1975
  5. Nancy Sinatra, You Only Live Twice, The Hit Years, Rhino, 1986
  6. The Flaming Lips, Brainville, Clouds Taste Metallic, Warner Bros., 1995
  7. The Clash, Lightening Strikes Twice, Sandinista!, Epic, 1980
  8. Pink Floyd, Brain Damage, Dark Side of the Moon, Abbey Road, 1973
  9. The Gaslight Singers, Bicycle Built For Two, Early 20th-Century Favorites, Reader's Digest, 2008
  10. Oasis, Bag it Up, Dig Out Your Soul, Sony, 2008
  11. Oasis, The Shock of the Lightning, Dig Out Your Soul, Sony, 2008
  12. Blur, Parklife, Parklife, Food, 1994
  13. T.I., Whatever You Like, Paper Trail, Grand Hustle, 2008
  14. T.I., My Life Your Entertainment, Paper Trail, Grand Hustle, 2008
  15. T.I.“Swagga Like Us,”Paper Trail, Grand Hustle, 2008
  16. TV on the Radio, Halfway Home, Dear Science, 4AD, 2008
  17. TV on the Radio, Shout Me Out, Dear Science, 4AD, 2008
  18. TV on the Radio, Wolf Like Me, Return to Cookie Mountain, 4AD, 2006
  19. Aretha Franklin, Call Me, This Girl's In Love With You, Atlantic, 1970
  20. Little Richard, Ready Teddy, Here's Little Richard, Specialty, 1957

Footnotes

thefac.org Featured Artists Coalition musicophilia.com More on Dr. Sack's Musicophilia telegraph.co.uk Jack and Alicia's Bond Song Bombs oasisinet.com Oasis tipaperwork.com T.I. tvontheradio.com TV on the Radio chicagotribune.com Greg Talks TV on the Radio in the Chicago Tribute