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She & Him & Opinions on The Arctic Monkeys

"(500) Days of Summer" star Zooey Deschanel visits the show to perform with She & Him partner M. Ward. Later Jim and Greg review the new album from The Arctic Monkeys.

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Music News

Headlines regarding the death of pop star Michael Jackson continue to pour in. This week the AP reported that Jackson's death was being ruled a homicide by the coroner's office. No official statement has been released, but it's likely that Jackson's physician will be charged with criminal negligence for administering the singer's drug cocktails. And while one camp investigates Jackson's death, another markets his life. A deal between promoter AEG and Jackson's estate has been approved to exhibit the King of Pop's memorabilia. This October exhibition will coincide with the release of a behind-the-scenes film and will help AEG to recoup losses incurred following the cancellation of Jackson's massive comeback tour. Not to be left out, the remaining Jackson brothers are getting in on the action. They've announced plans for an A&E reality show.

Despite pleas from Mom to turn that racket down, a new study says that music is actually good for your hearing. Northwestern University neuroscientists have found evidence that musicians can pick speech out of a noisy environment better than non-musicians. This is good news for Jim and Greg, and any Sound Opinions listeners who find themselves struggling to hear in a crowded room.

Tenor Johnny Carter passed away this week at age 75. Carter was a member of both The Flamingos and The Dells, two of the most important doo-wop groups of the ‘50s and ’60s. To mark his passing Jim and Greg play a song and performed by Carter: "Golden Teardrops" by The Flamingos.

interview

She & Him

This week's guests are She & Him. The“she”is actress Zooey Deschanel and the“him”is musician Matt Ward, known to fans as M. Ward. The two met during the making of the movie“The Go-Getter,”and quickly learned they were successful collaborators. They visited the show in 2008 after the release of their first album Volume One. The record is a collection of songs written by Zooey, as well as a couple of covers. Zooey explains that she's most influenced by classic pop songwriting, much of which pre-dates rock ‘n’ roll. You can hear the country, doo-wop and Brill Building influence on the duo's music as they perform their songs "Take It Back" and "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" as well as two bonus tracks.

reviewI Look to YouI Look To You available on iTunes

Whitney Houston I Look To You

She was the queen of pop in the '80s and '90s, but for the past few years she's mostly been a punchline. Now Whitney Houston is back with a new record called I Look To You. Clive Davis has spared no expense on this comeback effort-pulling in big names like Swizz Beats, Alicia Keys and Diane Warren. Greg wishes those big names brought something bigger to the table. With the exception of "Million Dollar Bill," the one track where Greg hears Whitney getting“frisky,”she's mostly straight-jacketed and robotic. Greg gives the album a Trash It. Jim actually likes that the production keeps things focused on her voice. And he finds that voice still powerful and full of emotion. He gives I Look to You a Buy It.

JimGreg
reviewHumbugHumbug available on iTunes

Arctic Monkeys Humbug

Arctic Monkeys also have a new album out called Humbug. For their 3rd release the UK band traveled to the California desert to work with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age (and now Them Crooked Vultures) fame. Jim loves the result. It has all of the charm and wit of their breakout debut, but with a dark ambience inspired by Nick Cave or Scott Walker. He gives the record a Buy It rating. Greg applauds them for trying to change the pace with this release, but he doesn't think the songwriting is as strong. To Greg the melodies and exuberance have been replaced with texture and ambience. He gives Humbug a Try It.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. Michael Jackson, Smooth Criminal, Bad, Epic, 1987
  2. The Supremes, I Hear a Symphony, I Hear a Symphony, Motown, 1966
  3. The Dells, Oh What a Night, Love Is Blue, Cadet, 1969
  4. The Flamingos,“Golden Teardrops”Golden Teardrops / Carried Away, Chance, 1953
  5. She & Him, Why Do You Let Me Stay Here, Volume One, Merge, 2008
  6. She & Him, Change is Hard, Volume One, Merge, 2008
  7. She & Him, Take it Back, Volume One, Merge, 2008 Live on Sound Opinions
  8. She & Him, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Volume One, Merge, 2008
  9. She & Him, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Volume One, Merge, 2008 Live in on Sound Opinions
  10. She & Him, This is Not a Test, Volume One, Merge, 2008
  11. Whitney Houston, I Look to You, I Look to You, Arista, 2009
  12. Whitney Houston, Million Dollar Bill, I Look to You, Arista, 2009
  13. Whitney Houston, I Didn't Know My Own Strength, I Look to You, Arista, 2009
  14. Arctic Monkeys, My Propeller, Humbug, Domino Recording Company, 2009
  15. Arctic Monkeys, Crying Lightning, Humbug, Domino Recording Company, 2009
  16. Arctic Monkeys, Cornerstone, Humbug, Domino Recording Company, 2009
  17. Gold Panda,“Heaps,”Before, 2009
  18. Wolf Parade, Language City, At Mount Zoomer, Sub Pop, 2008
  19. Jesus Lizard, Blood Mary, Pure, Touch and Go, 1989

Footnotes

nytimes.com Los Angeles judge allows Jackson memorabilia tour reuters.com A&E orders Michael Jackson family reality series northwestern.edu Musicians primed to understand speech in noisy settings go.com Singer John Carter dead at 75 sheandhim.com She & Him jimdero.com Jim's review of Whitney Houston and Artic Monkeys chicagotribune.com Greg's review of Artic Monkeys