Show 293: Wax Trax! Retrospective, Beyonce Review, Greg's DIJ
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1 Everyone loves a steal, even corporations. Specific Media recently got quite a deal in procuring MySpace.com. News Corp. purchased the website in 2005 for $580 million, now they’ve unloaded it for $35 million. It’s proof that MySpace doesn’t have the cultural cache it once did. But, Justin Timberlake is doing his best to fix that. The pop singer and actor (who incidentally portrayed Facebook’s Sean Parker) will work with the new owners to “rebuild and reinvigorate” the site. But, websites are like reality stars – it’s rare to get more than 15 minutes of fame.
2 Speaking of cheap deals, pop music is anything but. Planet Money recently tallied the costs that went into making Rihanna’s “Man Down” a hit. Between the big name songwriters, producers and expensive promotion, the dollar amount comes to $1,078,000. As Greg explains, this is nothing new. Record companies were spending this kind of dough twenty years ago. But, at that time the returns were much greater. To spend a million on a song that might make two to three million? The math doesn’t add up.
3 People in Chicago of a certain age fondly remember strolling down Lincoln Avenue into Wax Trax! Records. It was the epicenter of cutting edge culture in the 1980’s. But even if you weren’t there to sample goods from the record store and label, you’re familiar with its influence. Owners Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher created a world headquarters for artists who bridged disco, house, electronic, punk and industrial music. Acts like Ministry, Front 242, RevCo, Underworld, KMFDM, and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult went on to sell millions of records internationally. Nash died in 1995 and Flesher in 2010. A year later, Wax Trax friends and family celebrated its 33 1/3 anniversary at Metro in Chicago. Two key players in that scene were Chris Connelly and Paul Barker. They share their memories of Wax Trax with Jim and Greg.
4 Beyonce’s got her 4th album and her 4th number one…aptly named 4. With this record, she’s earned her stripes, so rumors swirled that she was indulging her whims production-wise by collaborating with Diplo and Fela Kuti, and recording upwards of 70 songs. But, rumors were just that, and of those 70 tracks, Beyonce picked some doozies. Greg hears more soul on the ballads, but otherwise is disappointed by the hodge podge of bad choices. Jim can’t even get behind the ballads and calls 4 the epitomy of factory-made pop product. 4 = 2 Trash Its.
5 Jim and Greg sail away to the Desert Island Jukebox, and it’s Greg’s turn to choose a song. He wants to return to the high point of the New York Dolls. They’re still making music today, but it’s nothing Jim and Greg want to remember. Greg goes back to 1973’s “Personality Crisis,” which showcases what was so amazing about the Dolls: Johnny Thunder’s guitar, Syl Sylvain’s pop smarts and David Johansen’s charisma. People called the group “Glam,” but Greg credits them as the 1st punk band, giving way to the Sex Pistols.
Songs Featured in Show #293
Henry Mancini, “Peter Gunn,” Music from Peter Gunn, RCA Victor, 1959
AC/DC, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Atco, 1976
Rihanna, “Man Down,” Loud, Def Jam, 2010
Ministry, “Everyday (Is Halloween),” All Day/Everyday (Is Halloween), Wax Trax! Records, 1985
Blackouts, “Everglades,” History in Reverse, K, 2004
Revolting Cocks, “Big Sexyland,” Big Sexy Land, TVT Records, 1986
The Birthday Party, “The Dim Locator,” Junkyard, Buddha Records, 1982
Front 242, “Take One,” Endless Riddance, Wax Trax! Records, 1983
KMFDM, “Juke Joint Jezebel,” Nihil, Wax Trax! Records, 1995
Fini Tribe, “I Want More,” Black Box: A Video Retrospective, Vol. 2, TVT Records, 1994
Lard, “The Power of Lard,” The Power of Lard [EP], Alternative Tentacles, 1988
Pailhead, “I Will Refuse,” I Will Refuse (12’’), Wax Trax! Records, 1987
Revolting Cocks, “Stainless Steel Providers,” Stainless Steel Providers, TVT Records, 1989
Nine Inch Nails, “Head Like a Hole,” Pretty Hate Machine, TVT Records, 1989
Ministry, “You Know What You Are,” The Land of Rape and Honey, Sire, 1988
Throbbing Gristle, “Still Walking,” 20 Jazz Funk Greats, Mute, 1979
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, “…And This Is What the Devil Does,” I See Good Spirits & I See Bad Spirits, Wax Trax! Records, 1988
Pailhead, “No Bunny,” Trait, Wax Trax! Records, 1988
Minimal Contact, “Next One Is Real,” Deadly Weapons, Crammed Discs, 1984
Beyoncé, “Run the World (Girls),” 4, Columbia, 2011
Beyoncé, “Best Thing I Never Had,” 4, Columbia, 2011
New York Dolls, “Personality Crisis,” New York Dolls, Mercury, 1973
Chromeo, “Call Me Up,” Fancy Footwork, Backyard Records, 2007
Bon Iver, “Calgary,” Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Jagjaguwar, 2011
k.d. lang, “The Water’s Edge,” Sing It Loud, Nonesuch, 2011
Yep, “Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long Long Time),” Once, Yep, 2011
Le Butcherettes, “I’m Getting Sick of You,” Sin, Sin, Sin, Rodriguez Lopez Productions, 2011
The Zombies, “She’s Not There,” Zombies, Disky, 1964