Results for 1989

interviews

Kate Pierson

In 1976, Kate Pierson joined the genre-melding music powerhouse, the B-52s, and the rest is history. The Georgia-based band started out playing at local parties, then clubs in New York and eventually in venues around the world. Their self-titled first album showed their innovation, kitsch and creativity with hits like "Rock Lobster." However, the group reached the peak of their fame in 1989 with the release of their album, Cosmic Thing. Outside of the band, Pierson has collaborated with talented artists like R.E.M., Iggy Pop, The Ramones and most recently, Sia. Finally over 30 years after the inception of the B-52s, Kate Pierson is releasing her first solo album, Guitars and Microphones. She talks about the past, present and future of her career in music.

Go to episode 504

Bob Mould

Huskerdu Like most breakups, band breakups can be agonizing and traumatic, but also opportunities for self-reflection and reinvention. This week Jim and Greg talk to Hüsker Dü songwriter and guitarist Bob Mould about the breakup of his band - on the cusp of what many believed would be their mainstream breakthrough - and his subsequent reinvention as a solo artist. It's a period Mould talks about in his new memoir, See a Little Light, though he rarely discusses it in person. Aside from being one of the most rousing live rock n' roll acts around, Minnesota's Hüsker Dü was amazingly prolific. With Mould on guitar, Grant Hart on drums, and Greg Norton on bass, the band took punk velocity and pop craft to superhuman levels on a series of significant releases between 1984 and 1986: Zen Arcade, New Day Rising, Flip Your Wig, and Candy Apple Grey. But as Mould recalls, after the band's move to a major label, personal relationships, competition, and addiction proved to be toxic. The crisis came after a disastrous 1987 performance in Columbia, Missouri, when Hart's drug use brought the show to a halt. It was the period, Mould emphasizes, at the end of a very long sentence. The band broke up shortly thereafter. Bob also discusses his retreat to rural Minnesota, where he began experimenting with new instruments and alternate tunings. In 1989, he would re-emerge as a solo artist with another great album, Workbook.

Want more Mould? Listen to Jim and Greg's 2008 interview with Bob here.

Go to episode 295
specials

Remembering Lou Reed

Rock legend, poet and Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed died on October 27 at age 71. That week Jim honored him with the addition of the Velvet Underground track"Candy Says" to the Desert Island Jukebox. But, this influential singer, songwriter and guitarist deserves more than just a few minutes of our time. He helped shape 50 years of rock music, perhaps more than any single figure, according to our hosts. And so they wanted to explore why news of his death made such waves and why fans are still mourning. The best way to do this, of course, is through the music, and these five albums in particular:

Go to episode 417
reviews
The Magic WhipThe Magic Whip available on iTunes

Blur The Magic Whip

After a 12-year hiatus, English rock band Blur returns with its new album, The Magic Whip. Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn formed the group in 1989 where they gained success in the UK. While critics always embraced them, they never quite achieved commercial success in the U.S. outside of the track "Song 2." Greg likes the record and appreciates its honest lyrics and overall strength. He believes this effort is better than the members' solo work. The Magic Whip exceeded his expectations and he gives it a Buy It. Jim considers himself a Blur superfan. He argues that there are a few really great songs but the rest range from lukewarm to bad. Jim thinks Blur is starting to slow down a little but still gives the record a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 493
Majesty ShreddingMajesty Shredding available on iTunes

Superchunk Majesty Shredding

Perhaps no band better symbolizes the indie rock underground than Superchunk. They have been committed to being "indie" both in terms of sound and practice since forming in Chapel Hill in 1989. Two of its members have gone on to run Merge Records, home to Arcade Fire and Spoon. While they never officially broke up, the band hasn't released an album in almost a decade. Majesty Shredding is worth the wait according to Greg. They do pop rock as good as anyone, and Mac McCaughan still sings with the enthusiasm of a kid. Jim agrees, adding that they did lose the plot for a little while. He's happy to hear they have returned to form - simple exuberance - and Superchunk gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 253
dijs

Greg

“Rockin' in the Free World”Neil Young

In the early days of Saturday Night Live, it was a must see program not only because of the legendary talent like John Belushi, Gilda Radnor and Dan Aykroyd, but also because of the great musical acts. Unfortunately, that dissipated somewhat over the years as musicians were at times limited by restrictions. However Neil Young surpassed excellence with his explosive 1989 performance of "Rockin' in the Free World." Greg tells the story of when he first saw Neil on the show and how excited and drawn in he was. This performance became iconic in the history of television and ended up reinvigorating Neil Young's career.

Go to episode 506

Greg

“You Don't Love Me Yet”The Vulgar Boatmen

Greg takes a trip to the desert island tax shelter this week. Lately, he's been thinking a lot about the rock band The Vulgar Boatmen. The group began in Florida/Indiana in the early 1980s when a University of Florida professor teamed up with one of his former students. They made some cassette-only records before making full albums in 1989 and 1992. The 25th anniversary re-issue of their first album, You and Your Sister, came out a few months ago. Greg started listening to that record again, as well as 1992's Please Panic. The song he chose was a track from their '92 record called "You Don't Love Me Yet." He feels the song exudes all the uncertainty and cautiousness surrounding love and thought it would be the perfect song to hear on the desert island.

Go to episode 541
news

Music News

A number of artists are making news with novel strategies for promoting their upcoming projects. Taylor Swift, whose newest album 1989 is not out until mid October, has engaged her fans through social media, creating tremendous anticipation for the release. This has been helped by a controversial video for the first single "Shake it Off." Fellow pop princess Ariana Grande has announced a collaboration with with Nicki Minaj and Jessie J and will appear at the MTV Video Music Awards with them. That, along with a relationship wtih Target and a slew of other TV commercials, should push Grande to the top. The reclusive electronic artist Richard D. James, better known as Aphex Twin, has taken the most cryptic approach to announcing an album drop. He let fans know about Syro, his first album in 13 years via blimps! So much for a press release. Finally, Bob Dylan will also be releasing a new album…sort of. A new Basement Tapes album produced by T Bone Burnett features songs partially written by Dylan while recording the original Basement Tapes in 1967. They have been set to new music and will be performed by a handpicked group of musicians including Jim James and Elvis Costello.

Go to episode 456

Music News

While Taylor Swift fans may think she made history way back in 1989 by simply being born, the charts will remember Swift for the year 2014, as it marks the first time in twelve years that an artist's album has sold more than one million copies in its debut week. This feat, achieved by Swift's fifth studio album 1989, is no small one given our age of streaming music services and record leaks. That's why the secret to Swift's physical album sales success might just be her recent decision to pull all her music off of streaming music supergiant Spotify. Swift now joins a growing chorus of musicians like Radiohead's Thom Yorke who reject Spotify's business model, one that only pays artists a fraction of a penny for each stream of their songs. Spotify, of course, defends its model, but Swift stands by her assertion that music is art, art is valuable and therefore it should be paid for. And yes, by art she means "Shake It Off."

On the opposite end of the commercial spectrum from superstar Taylor Swift is the self-described “Liberian/Nigerian/Scottish psychedelic hip-hop electro boy band,” Young Fathers. Despite the alternative hip-hop group's relative obscurity, its album, Dead, just won the UK's Mercury Prize, an annual honor given to the best British or Irish album of the year. The win was an upset for more buzzed about artists like FKA Twigs and Damon Albarn, and many criticize the award for favoring obscure bands that are never heard from again. To be fair, well-known and still active acts like PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys have taken the prize home in the past, but whether Young Fathers have staying power or not remains to be seen.

Go to episode 467

Music News

The song contest/political science experiment called Eurovision took place on Saturday. Jim and Greg have been looking forward to the weird and wonderful phenomenon since speaking with expert John Kennedy O'Connor last month—and Eurovision 2014 did not disappoint. This year's prize went to "Rise Like a Phoenix," a power ballad belted by Austrian diva Conchita Wurst, the drag persona of Mr. Thomas Neuwirth. But the real star of the evening? Politics. Though some considered Wurst's win a victory for tolerance, it outraged conservatives in countries like Russia and Belarus. Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine turned the conflict over Crimea into a fight for the spotlight, and the audience showed disdain for Putin by booing the Russian act. Americans may not“get”Eurovision, but 180 million viewers can't be all wrong…

In other bizarre international news is a story from the New York Times. Apparently the people of China have gotten used to saying "goodbye"—or, more to the point, "get out!"—to the dulcet tones of one Kenny G. All across China, the elevator jazz giant's 1989 hit "Going Home" is played at malls, gyms, libraries, and even wedding banquets to signal the day's end. Many don‘t know the song’s name, but they know to pack up and leave once it starts playing. And while China's non-existent royalty policy means that the sax-man makes very little off his ubiquitous tune, Kenny has taken it in stride, joking that at Chinese concerts, he plays“Going Home”last to keep people from leaving early. Greg thinks that China has managed some impressive social engineering—almost Pavlovian, says Jim. But our hosts can sympathize: Hearing Kenny G makes them evacuate the premises, too.

Go to episode 442

Music News

Pope Francis just completed his first“sold-out tour”of the United States. Now you can own your own souvenir, as the Pope is putting out a pop album called Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward! To Greg, the record has a progressive rock feel, falling somewhere between Yes and Yanni. Jim notes that the Pope wasn't exactly in the studio laying down some“tasty licks,”as producer Don Giulio Neroni arranged the music around Francis‘ famous speeches. If the Pope is trying to speak directly to the population, a pop album isn’t a bad way to do it.

This week, Taylor Swift's album 1989 charted its 48th week on Billboard, and one musician is riding the coattails of that success. Alt country singer Ryan Adams released a track for track cover of 1989 and received more attention than ever. Jim thinks that without Swift's songs, there's no way Adams would be on the Billboard charts. He also references an article highlighting the "mansplaining" idea that people can only realize the strength of Swift's songwriting when a white male performs the tracks. Greg thinks that Adams is doing some solid marketing, as his music hasn‘t been relevant in 15 years. What do you think of Adams’ covers? Let us know!

Go to episode 514

Music News

Taylor Swift dominated 2014 with her album 1989, selling 3.6 million copies and narrowly beating out Disney's Frozen for the top spot. With only four records achieving platinum status, not even Queen Bey made the cut this year. 2014 also saw a change in how consumers listened to music, as streaming increased 54% and vinyl sales were at their highest since 1991.

Just when people thought they "forgot about Dre", it turns out he was the highest paid musician of 2014 according to Forbes. Dr. Dre made $620 million before taxes, which can be attributed to his success with Beats headphones and collaboration with Apple. In second place is Beyoncé. Rounding out the top five are boomer acts The Eagles, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen.

For the first time in UK chart history, the ten best-selling albums of the year were British acts. Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Coldplay and One Direction all held prominent places on the list, perhaps signaling that there is another British invasion on the way.

vx2 Sony is reintroducing the Walkman to give music enthusiasts a new old obsession. This Walkman has 128 GB of memory and 60 hours of battery life, and the device is competing with Neil Young's Pono, another high-fidelity music player. Young says his device does not do anything but play music and argues that is what it all should be about.

Go to episode 476