Songs from the Front Lines

Songs from the Front Lines

Songs from the Front Lines: Jim and Greg celebrate Memorial Day with music capturing the veteran experience. Later they review Coldplay's Ghost Stories.

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Xscape Michael Jackson


Is Michael Jackson back from the dead? It seems like it lately, with the Thriller star moonwalking from beyond the grave, and his second posthumous release debuting at #2 this week. Xscape features eight hitherto-unreleased tracks, each in two forms: Jackson's original demos, plus new versions spiffed up by producers like L.A. Reid, StarGate and Timbaland. Greg finds it interesting that they included the demos -- as he puts it, there was a reason Jackson left those behind. And while the production team did a good job reworking the tracks, Greg doubts that the Prince of Pop would have been satisfied with this album. Jim ponders the bizarre tracklist, which includes an update of America's "A Horse with No Name," a Paul Anka collaboration, and a song titled "Do You Know Where Your Children Are" that Jim finds simply "disturbing." While Xscape isn't as awful as other posthumous releases (Tupac and Jimi Hendrix come to mind), neither host thinks fans will keep listening once the hype dies down. It's a double Trash It.

Music News

Oh, how the mighty have fallen—and we're not just talking about lackluster MJ. After its two-month reign as the nation's #1 album, the Frozen soundtrack has at last been ousted from its throne... by Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 50. What are we to make of this coup by Universal's unending compilation series? On one hand, it's proof that the Top 40 crowd is still the biggest force in purchasing music. But on the other, it's surprising that teens still want Now! to curate their playlists when it's so easy to create their own. Turn Down for What? For Idina Menzel, apparently.

Memorial Day: Songs from the Front Lines

In honor of Memorial Day and the men and women who have served in our armed forces, Jim, Greg and you, the listeners, present Songs from the Front Lines.


  • John Fogerty, "Fortunate Son"
  • Bill Withers, "I Can’t Write Left Handed"
  • Rosanne Cash, "When the Master Calls the Roll"
  • New Order, "Love Vigilantes"


  • Motorhead, "1916"
  • Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods, "Billy, Don’t Be a Hero"
  • Eminem, "Mosh"
  • Gang of Four, "I Love a Man in Uniform"

Listener Picks

  • Emily Kelley via email: 3 Doors Down, "When I’m Gone"
  • A.C. "Ace" Fisher-Aldag via Facebook: Steppenwolf, "Born to Be Wild"
  • Mike Shilkitus via Facebook: Delfonics
  • David Carmichael via email: Twisted Sister, "(Wake Up the Sleeping Giant)"
  • Brady Daniels via Twitter: Buzzcocks & Natalie Merchant
  • Sarah Smiley via Twitter: Josh Ritter, "Change of Time"
  • Olympia Yarger via Twitter: Reckless Kelly, "American Blood"

Wanna share a song that embodies battle on the front lines? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, at or 888.859.1800

Mylo Xyloto Coldplay

Ghost Stories

In 2011, not even Jim and Greg's disapproval could keep Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto from taking the band to new heights of arena rock success. Three years later, Chris Martin and his plaintive falsetto are back for more with Ghost Stories, the band's sixth studio album. Initially, Greg appreciated Ghost Stories's move away from the anthemic sing-alongs of Mylo Xyloto into a more sparse musical landscape, not unlike the band's melodic debut Parachutes. Ultimately, though, Ghost Stories never quite reaches the same heights as that album, with both critics put to sleep by Martin's (newfound) heartbreak-filled lyrics set to somber music that's molded in part by EDM producer Avicii and hip hop  Timbaland. Jim and Greg both say Trash It.

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!