Stephen Street & Opinions on M.I.A.

This one's for you, Britpop fans! We've got record producer Stephen Street talking about his work with The Smiths, Morrissey, Blur and more. Plus, Jim and Greg review the new record by pop provocateur M.I.A., and Jim adds a song to the Desert Island Jukebox.

The Smiths
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Jim and Greg start off the news by discussing the Recording Industry's strategy to end illegal downloading. It was recently revealed that the RIAA spent over $64 million in legal fees on piracy lawsuits and extracted only about $1.4 million in damages. France has been equally unsuccessful in their anti-piracy campaign. Their "3 Strikes" law hasn't resulted in any actual penalties. Now legislators are backing away from the policy. Jim and Greg wonder if all this money and effort would be better spent paying back royalties to the likes of Robert Johnson.

There were a couple of deaths in the rock world last week. Big Star  bassist  Andy Hummel died at the age of 59 just four months after his band mate Alex Chilton died. Chilton and Hummel were to reunite at this year's SXSW Festival.

Also, poet and musician  Tuli Kupferberg died at age 86. Kupferberg founded The Fugs in the 1960s and laid the groundwork for punk and underground bands to come. To honor the Beatnik activist Jim plays one of his "davening" style tunes, "Nothing."

Stephen Street

Jim and Greg often like to invite a noteworthy record producer to come on the show to share some behind-the-scenes insights. This week they talk to Stephen Street. Stephen worked with The Smiths on three of their landmark albums during the 1980s. Then in the '90s, he recorded with Blur on five of their releases. He also produced the hugely successful debut by The Cranberries. Today he continues to work with top British bands like Babyshambles and The Klaxons. Stephen shares with Jim and Greg some of the backstory of making tracks like "Meat is Murder" and "Girls and Boys." He also expresses huge admiration for both Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon of Blur. Stephen thinks a Blur reunion is not far off-much more likely than a Smiths one.

Maya M.I.A


M.I.A. has released her new album Maya with the appropriate amount of controversy we expect from the pop provocateur. First, there was the shocking video for "Born Free." Then came the New York Times Magazine profile followed by a subsequent tweet-war. But Jim doesn't think it's fair to describe the Sri Lankan singer as radical. She's full of contradictions, and that's ok with this critic. He loves the mix of noisy world genres and gives Maya a Buy It rating. Greg loved how M.I.A. took some of these sound elements out of the "ghetto" of world music and hip hop and re-imagined them. But, things are more awkward on this record. She's working with the same crop of producers, but the joy is a little lost. He gives M.I.A. a Burn It.


Jim was in a Britpop mood when he chose this week's Desert Island Jukebox song. When you think Blur you think Damon Albarn, and when you think Damon Albarn, you might go back to his former lady love Justine Frischmann of Elastica. Incidentally, M.I.A. also ran in circles with Frischmann, and they collaborated on some of her early songs. Elastica broke up by 2001, but before that they released a slew of great pop-rock hits, including "Vaseline."

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