MTV’s 25th Anniversary & Reviews of Slayer and White Whale

This week MTV celebrates its 25th anniversary, so Jim and Greg will welcome some industry experts and music fans to discuss the station’s impact on the music industry. Plus, they’ll review albums by death metal rockers Slayer and indie up-and-comers White Whale.

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MTV’s Silver Anniversary

MTV turns 25 this week. To celebrate (or perhaps mourn), Jim and Greg discuss the station's impact on the music industry. To kick off the dissection, Sound Opinions surveys the opinions of festivalgoers at Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival.

Paul Levinson and Ken Tucker

Before weighing in on MTV--the good, the bad and the ugly--our hosts turn to Professor Paul Levinson, chairman of the department of communications and media studies at Fordham University, and Ken Tucker, editor at large for Entertainment Weekly and pop music critic for Fresh Air. We also hear from music fans at the Pitchfork Music Festival, which was held in Chicago last week.

Classic MTV Music Videos

One thing that the Sound Opinions can't really do justice to on the radio is, of course, video. But check out some of our favorite MTV video moments:

  1. Paula Abdul - "Opposites Attract" (watch)
  2. Aerosmith - "Janie’s Got a Gun" (watch)
  3. AHA - "Take on Me" (watch)
  4. Aphex Twin - "Come to Daddy" (watch)
  5. Bjork - "Human Behavior" (watch)
  6. Blur - "Coffee and TV" (watch)
  7. The Breeders - "Cannonball" (watch)
  8. Beastie Boys - "So Whatcha Want" (watch)
  9. The Cars - "You Might Think" (watch)
  10. Clipse - "Grindin" (watch)
  11. DJ Jazzy Jeff/Fresh Prince - "Summertime" (watch)
  12. Dr. Dre - "Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang" (watch)
  13. Missy Elliott - take  your  pick...
  14. Peter Gabriel - "Sledgehammer" (watch)
  15. Michael Jackson - "Thriller" (watch)
  16. Outkast - "Bombs Over Baghdad" (watch)
  17. Radiohead - "Fake Plastic Trees" (watch)
  18. Soundgarden - "Black Hole Sun" (watch)
  19. Talking Heads - "Once in a Lifetime" (watch)
  20. Van Halen - "Hot for Teacher" (watch)
  21. Wreckx-N-Effect - "Rump Shaker" (watch)

WWI White Whale


The first album up for review this week is by White Whale. This up-and-coming indie rock group from Lawrence, Kansas first caught the attention of our hosts at this year's SXSW Music Conference. Now they have released their debut album, WWI. Whether the title refers to the Great War, or a great record, is unclear. But, both Jim and Greg agree this album is worth a listen, though not necessarily a purchase. Jim loves the prog rock approach, but can't go with a full Buy It. Greg agrees, explaining that he likes the music and finds White Whale intriguing, but isn't clear on the emotional subtext. He wonders where the "meat" is. Therefore, WWI gets two Burn Its.

Christ Illusion Slayer

Christ Illusion

Shifting gears completely, Jim and Greg move on to Slayer. Christ Illusion is their first new release since the one they released on 9/11, and the death metal rockers are as angry as ever. Greg describes some of the lyrics on the album as a "big middle digit" to all religions and all establishments of "the man." But, as our hosts explain, you don't listen to Slayer for political science lessons. They are a "great American rock band" because of what they do with guitar, bass and drums. Jim prefers them live, but both critics give Christ Illusion a Buy It rating.


Greg wraps up the show by picking a classic MTV moment for the Desert Island Jukebox. He highlights "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," which Nirvana performed live as part of MTV's Unplugged series. If Greg had to choose a single performance by the band, it would be this one. The late Kurt Cobain pours his heart and soul into it, and the band's backing is incredibly empathetic. Of course, Cobain did not pen this tune. It was originally recorded as "In the Pines" in the late 1930s, and Jim and Greg discussed its evolution as part of a conversation with cyberlaw and free culture guru Lawrence Lessig.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!