Amy Ray

Amy Ray & Opinions on Britney Spears & The Fireman

Amy Ray has been one half of the successful duo Indigo Girls for over two decades. Now she's back with a new solo record and punk rock alter ego.

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Music News

The digital music era began years ago for most music consumers. But, the labels have been slow to catch up. Now Atlantic Records has announced that over half of its last quarter revenues are from digital sales. But, the bad news is that even though digital songs make up more than half the pie, the pie itself is much smaller than it used to be. In just a few years the music industry's total revenues have dropped from $15 billion to $10 billion. Jim and Greg predict these numbers will continue to dip.

One of the most disappointing selling records this year is proving to be Guns N' Roses new release Chinese Democracy. Fans have been waiting 17 years for the album, but it only reached number 3 on the Billboard chart with 261,000 copies sold. Lackluster album sales aren't the only thing on Axl Rose's mind. Now his thoughts are focused on Dr. Pepper. The soda company promised a free soda to everyone in America provided Guns N‘ Roses actually released an abum. They were prepared to make good on this offer, but their web server was a different story. After their site crashed, Axl and company took it upon themselves to act as consumer advocates and are threatening to sue Dr. Pepper. It appears that Axl has a litigious itch that he just can’t scratch.

Next up in the news Jim and Greg discuss the passing of singer and civil rights activist Odetta. The classically trained vocalist found her voice in the folk music movement of the 1950's. She inspired countless musicians including Joan Baez and Bob Dylan and sang at the historic 1963 March on Washington. To honor Odetta's memory Jim and Greg play "Jack O'Diamonds."

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Amy Ray

This week Jim and Greg welcome Amy Ray. Ray is best known as one half of the duo The Indigo Girls. But a few years ago she also launched a solo career to indulge her inner punk rocker. This year she released Didn't It Feel Kinder on her own independent label Daemon Records. Jim and Greg talk to Amy about her two-decades-long career and her experience on both the indie and major side of the recording industry. They also invite her and her touring band, two of whom are members of The Butchies, to perform some of their new songs.

reviewCircus (Deluxe Version)Circus available on iTunes

Britney Spears Circus

If you've heard about Britney Spears' new album, tour or documentary, then you know that she is trying to stage a comeback–her second in just over a year. The record at the core of it is aptly named Circus. As Jim and Greg explain, Britney is not only aware of her life dramas, but she's commenting on it. But the comments she, or perhaps her music team, are making are very disturbing. Take the track "Blur," which Greg imagines could only be describing a drug-fueled date rape. But, both critics admit that while troubling, the songs are some of the best-produced of her career. Circus is truly a guilty pleasure, and Jim and Greg give it a Try It rating–at your own risk.

JimGreg
reviewElectric ArgumentsElectric Arguments available on iTunes

The Fireman Electric Arguments

The Fireman is Paul McCartney's attempt at anonymity. But, when you are Paul McCartney, nothing is anonymous. In 1993, the Beatle teamed up with British electronica producer Youth as an artistic pet project. Now they are back with a more traditional album called Electric Arguments. Jim is a fan of the psychedelic soundscape tracks–McCartney practically invented the genre after all. And he appreciates the quick, punk rock approach to recording. But, as with most of his solo albums, Jim finds Electric Arguments wildly inconsistent. He gives it a Try It rating. Greg, on the other hand, really admires the songwriting on this album. The pairing of McCartney's trademark melodies with Youth's production is intriguing. And, McCartney has successfully removed much of the sentimentality that bogs down his other records. Greg gives Electric Arguments a Buy It.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. TI, Live Your Life, Paper Trail, Grand Hustle, 2008
  2. Odetta, Another Man Done Gone, The Tin Angel, Concord, 1954
  3. Odetta, Jack O'Diamonds, Sings Ballads and Blues, Tradition, 1956
  4. Amy Ray, Blame is a Killer, Didn't It Feel Kinder, Daemon, 2008
  5. Amy Ray, Lucy Stoners, Stag, Daemon, 2001
  6. Amy Ray, Bus Bus (Live on Sound Opinions), Didn't It Feel Kinder, Daemon, 2008
  7. Indigo Girls, Three Hits, Rites of Passage, Epic, 1992
  8. Amy Ray, Hey Castrator, Stag, Daemon, 2001
  9. Amy Ray, Put It Out For Good (Live on Sound Opinions), Prom, Daemon, 2005
  10. Amy Ray, Laramie (Live on Sound Opinions), Stag, Daemon, 2001
  11. Amy Ray, SLC Radio, Didn't It Feel Kinder, Daemon, 2008
  12. Britney Spears, Womanizer, Circus, Jive, 2008
  13. Britney Spears, Blur, Circus, Jive, 2008
  14. The Fireman, Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight, Electric Arguments, One Little Indian, 2008
  15. The Fireman, Sing the Changes, Electric Arguments, One Little Indian, 2008
  16. Brooke Valentine feat. Dem Franchize Boyz,“Pimped Out (Instrumental)” Pimped Out, Virgin, 2006
  17. Wolf Parade, Language City, At Mount Zoomer, Sub Pop, 2008
  18. Kanye West, Amazing, 808s and Heartbreak, Roc-A-Fella, 2008
  19. Alejandro Escovedo, Always A Friend, Real Animal, Manhattan, 2008
  20. Bjork, Nattura, Biophilia, One Little Indian, 2008

Footnotes

nytimes.com Atlantic Digital Sales Overtake CDs mtv.com Dr. Pepper's Promise cnn.com Guns N' Roses Lashes Out at Dr. Pepper chicagotribune.com Odetta dies amy-ray.com Amy Ray jimdero.com Jim Reviews Circus britneyspears.com Britney Spears popmatters.com Greg Reviews The Fireman paulmccartney.com Paul McCartney