Results for Beyonce

interviews

Seinabo Sey

Swedish artist Seinabo Sey may be a bit of an old soul, but her music is breaking new ground. This week, Greg and Jim chat with pop/neo soul singer Seinabo Sey, who just released her debut album Pretend. Sey was raised in Sweden, born to a Swedish mother and a Gambian father (musician Maudo Sey), but growing up, she idolized American pop & R&B stars like Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Alicia Keys, which is evident in her sound.

A few years ago, she teamed up with Magnus Lidehäll, an accomplished producer who has worked with Katy Perry, David Guetta, Avicii and more. The result really lets Sey's authetic voice shine through.

Go to episode 545

Ryan Tedder

Ryan Tedder Next, Jim and Greg chat with performer and songwriter Ryan Tedder. While Tedder is best known as the frontman of the pop rock band OneRepublic, he's also had an extremely successful career writing songs for other artists like Beyoncé, Adele and Taylor Swift. Tedder began a struggling songwriter in Nashville, but eventually producer Timbaland helped OneRepublic rise to popularity by remixing their song "Apologize" in 2007. Jim and Greg ask Tedder about how to write a great pop song and what it's like to work with Queen Bey. They also discuss the longevity of music today and whether the humanity in songwriting is lost.

Go to episode 561

Grizzly Bear

Jim and Greg are joined next by the members of Grizzly Bear. The Brooklyn-based band started rather modestly in 2004. Now they've become one of the most talked about groups in indie music today. In addition to notable appearances at Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival, the band opened for Radiohead and Paul Simon. Plus, they count Jay-Z and Beyonce as fans! Jim and Greg spoke with Daniel Rossen, Ed Droste, Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear on a Sunday morning in front of a live studio audience at the House of Blues in Chicago. There the band performed songs from its latest album Veckatimest. Unfortunately Michael McDonald wasn't there to join them on "While You Wait for the Others."

Go to episode 206
reviews
B'day

Beyoncé B'Day

One of pop's reigning divas, Beyoncé Knowles, is releasing a new album the day after her 25th birthday. The aptly titled B'Day (not to be confused with this), is Beyoncé's second solo effort since splitting from girl group Destiny's Child. This is a big year for Beyoncé—besides the new album, she is also starring in the forthcoming movie-musical Dreamgirls and still going strong in the role of Mrs. Jay-Z. Jim suspects that all of Beyoncé's other concerns overshadowed her interest in the music on B'Day. With the exception of soul-sampled songs like "Sugar Mama," Jim thinks the album is an unfocused mess and gives it a Trash It. Greg had high hopes for Beyoncé (who can boast singing and dancing ability as well as a pretty face) but her current message is lost on Greg. He can't understand why the former "Independent Woman" would decide to play such a victim. Therefore, despite some good beats and good singing, he has to give B'Day a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 40
BeyoncéBeyoncé available on iTunes

Beyoncé Beyoncé

After all the hype surrounding the unconventional release of Beyoncé's fifth album, Beyoncé, Jim and Greg give the record a listen after its suprise midnight release. Greg appreciates the musical risks and thinks this album has some of Beyonce's best vocal work of her career. However in his eyes, she still struggles with authenticity. Jim agrees that Beyoncé has a hard time using her words to show us her true self. Is she the a self-empowered, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie-citing feminist of "Flawless," or the domestic sexual creature of "Blow"? Jim admits that, sure, she can be all of them at once, but unfortunately, neither guise has anything much compelling to say. All in all, this earns Beyoncé a double Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 421
I Am... Sasha FierceI Am...Sasha Fierce available on iTunes

Beyonce I Am...Sasha Fierce

Beyonce and her alter-ego have a new album out called I Am…Sasha Fierce. The album contains two discs, one comprised of ballads (the Beyonce side) and one comprised of funkier, up-tempo tracks (the Sasha Fierce side). Greg explains that Beyonce has reinvented being an R&B diva in the 21st century by putting the emphasis on songs. But, that's where this release falls through for him. The songs are not as strong, and he doesn't buy the Sasha Fierce attitude. For Greg this is a Trash It. Jim couldn‘t disagree more. He thought the ballad side had surprising range. Another pleasant surprise was Beyonce’s take on europop dance music. The second disc is full of great party tracks, and Jim recommends listeners Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 155
LemonadeLemonade available on iTunes

Beyoncé Lemonade

Queen Bey is back with her refreshing new visual album, Lemonade. In the vein of her last work, the self-titled Beyoncé, Lemonade was a surprise release. This time, she put out a one-hour visual film of the same name on HBO about enduring infidelity, difficult times and Becky with the good hair. One of the many things Greg enjoys about Lemonade is Beyoncé's ability to become more vulnerable and gritty both in what she's singing about and how she's singing it. He also loves that she's working with unlikely collaborators like Jack White, James Blake and more. Greg thinks this is the best work of her career and gives Lemonade a Buy It. Jim wholeheartedly agrees, calling the album a masterpiece. He encourages listeners to listen beyond the drama of Jay Z & Beyoncé's struggling relationship to the greater picture Bey paints about the mistreatment of black women in America. He loves that she made an artistic record with some serious substance. Jim gives it an enthusiastic Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 544
2119 available on iTunes

Adele 19

This week British singer Adele bumps the big names off the Billboard chart. Her new album 21 is currently at #1. The former hairdresser impressed Jim and Greg with her debut 19, and now she's amped up the production with some big names including Beyoncé, Rick Rubin and Dan Wilson. But bigger isn't always better. Greg loves Adele's powerful voice, but the quality of the singing trumps the quality of the songs. He gives 21 a Burn It rating. Jim is even more disappointed. He thinks Adele should know better than to sing some of the“nonsense”on this record. She's gone Hollywood, so he's going with a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 275
A Head Full of DreamsHead Full of Dreams available on iTunes

Coldplay Head Full of Dreams

Over the past 15 years, Coldplay has arguably become the biggest rock band in music. The group returns with their 7th album, A Head Full of Dreams, which lead singer Chris Martin says is the band's last effort. Greg thinks that in the past the group has presented some interesting and layered material, but not in 2016. This is their most pop/danceable album yet Greg feels there's a lack of conviction. Coldplay just didn't take it far enough, and the lyrics are pretty awful to boot. Greg gives it a Trash It. Jim agrees and thinks the Coldplay of yore was a very good band indeed. But the Coldplay of today doesn't go anywhere new. Even bringing in the big guns like Beyoncé and President Obama can‘t save this record. It’s a double Trash It for A Head Full of Dreams.

JimGreg
Go to episode 528
Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor (5th Anniversary Edition)Food and Liquor available on iTunes

Lupe Fiasco Food and Liquor

After being leaked and speculated about for months, the final version of Lupe Fiasco's debut solo album Food and Liquor was released this week. Lupe, or Wasalu Muhammed Jaco, has previously worked with fellow Chicagoan Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z, who executive produced this album. The first single off the album, "Kick Push," is a modest hit, but both Jim and Greg think the song and the entire album deserve more attention. They love how Lupe weaves stories in such a unique way. He's a self-professed geek ("Kick Push" is about skateboarding and the album cover shows an image of the rapper floating through space with his trapper keeper) and you won't hear any typical hip-hop fare on this record. The music digs deep for its jazz and soul samples and doesn't depend on a plethora of cameo star producers. Both critics give Food and Liquor a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 43
TrueTrue available on iTunes

Solange True

Beyonce has been making a lot of news, with her lip-syncing and Superbowling, but we're more interested in kid sis Solange. She has a new extended EP out called True, and both Jim and Greg say it's a perfect, mini release. She sounds nothing like Beyonce and has been embracing alt-R&B and indie rock-exactly what you expect from someone who dragged her brother-in-law to a Grizzly Bear show. Greg is excited to hear her expand her sound even more on a full-length album. And Jim compares True to the Scorcese flick After Hours. Solange gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 375
44 available on iTunes

Beyoncé 4

Beyoncé's got her fourth album and her fourth 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 seventy songs. But,rumors were just that, and of those seventy tracks, Beyoncé 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.

JimGreg
Go to episode 293
Long Live the AngelsLong Live the Angels available on iTunes

Emeli Sandé Long Live the Angels

Scottish singer and songwriter Emeli Sandé just released her sophomore album, Long Live the Angels. Sandé first gained worldwide recognition when she performed in the closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics. This release is her first record in four years and features collaborations with producers Mac & Phil and Naughty Boy, as well as with rapper Jay Electronica. Jim and Greg have been fans from the beginning, and Sandé was a guest on the show back in 2013. Greg really enjoys this album, and appreciates that she's taken away some of the overproduction that crowded her debut. He also likes that she takes personal heartbreak (she recently went through a divorce) to generate genuine music ranging from blue ballads to celebratory songs. Greg gives it a Buy It. Jim agrees, and thinks the production on Long Live the Angels sounds great. He points out that Emeli Sandé is giving us the best of both Knowles sisters: the underground sensibility of Solange and the mainstream mood of Beyoncé (but not in a derivative way.) Jim gives this record a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 574
A Seat at the TableA Seat at the Table available on iTunes

Solange A Seat at the Table

Let's just get this part out of the way: Solange is the younger sister of Beyoncé. But that is where the comparisons end. Solange's new album A Seat at the Table is her 3rd studio album was produced by the noted R&B and neo-soul mastermind Raphael Saadiq. This is a protest album addressing elements of the Black Lives Matter movement. While it is an album with a political message Greg says it is a not a knock-out punch, it is much more subtle with a message of being“weary of the world.”While Solange's voice is beautiful and delicate, Greg says her voice is also strong. Jim also hears Solange's weariness and notes how it contrasts to the anger of sister Beyonce's Lemonade. A Seat at the Table gets a double-Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 567
If You're Reading This It's Too LateIf You're Reading This It's Too Late available on iTunes

Drake If You're Reading This It's Too Late

Drake's release of his latest opus If You're Reading This It's Too Late was a complete surprise, à la Beyoncé — though there's debate whether to classify it as a mixtape or a proper album. The Canadian superstar is once again working with producer Noah “40” Shebib. Greg credits Drake and Shebib for creating a uniquely atmospheric aesthetic for his introspective rap. But the minimalist beats make this feel half-finished: there are no hooks or pop hits, and the record never picks up steam until the end. Jim won't even concede any originality in the production. He says, Drake has been ripping off Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak his entire career. To Jim, Drake is incredibly hard to like, as he continues to whine about his petty personal problems. If You're Reading This It's Too Late gets a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 483
lists

The Best Songs of 2008 - Mixtapes

At the end of the year, many music fans take on the challenging task of making a mixtape. And, Jim and Greg are no exception. They've both made compilations of their favorite songs of 2008.

Go to episode 162

Best Albums of 2016…So Far

Greg and Jim just couldn't wait until December to talk about some of their new favorite albums. They discuss some of the best records of 2016 so far. Here are their complete lists:

Go to episode 553

Greg's Mixtape: A Curse I Cannot Lift

  1. Lindsey Buckingham, "I Am Waiting." A cover of a relatively obscure Rolling Stones track from "Aftermath" sets the mood of sunrise expectation and apprehension.“I am waiting … waiting for someone to come out of somewhere.”
  2. Midlake, "Roscoe." An echo from Lindsey Buckingham's past? The sound is mid-'70s Fleetwood Mac: dusky folk-rock. I can imagine Christine McVie doing a perfect cover of this song. The song is set in 1891, like a dream about a more innocent time.
  3. The Decemberists, "The Crane Wife 3." Still in the past, still dreaming, but the innocence turns to despair.
  4. Dirty on Purpose, "Car No-Drive." Wake up. Morning rush hour. This song sounds like it's pouring from the windows of a passing subway train. We're going somewhere…
  5. Rhymefest, "Bullet." To Iraq. Turn on the TV, and we see young recruits wondering how they ended up in a desert in the Middle East fighting a war they don't understand.
  6. Serena-Maneesh, "Drain Cosmetics." A sandstorm of guitars.
  7. Secret Machines, "Lightning Blue Eyes." Then tunneling out, and into the sunlight where "I felt awake, I was way out."
  8. Parts and Labor, "A Great Divide." A call to arms, a dividing line in the mix, day becomes night.
  9. TV on the Radio, "Wolf Like Me." Silhouettes dash against the moon —“Got a curse I cannot lift.”
  10. The Roots, "In the Music." A sinister night vibe, as low-riders slink through skyscraper canyons.
  11. Nelly Furtado, "Maneater." Where all sorts of nightcrawlers roam …
  12. Justin Timberlake, "What Goes Around/Comes Around." And a reckoning goes down — "I can‘t believe it’s ending this way."
  13. Van Hunt, "If I Take You Home." The night winds down, uneasy partners match up…
  14. Love is All, "Make Out Fall Out Make Up." The hangover aftermath —"I think I'll spend all day in bed."
  15. Gnarls Barkley, "Gone Daddy Gone." "Love is gone away."
  16. John Legend, "Show Me." A morning prayer for guidance.
  17. Beyoncé, "Irreplaceable." And she's ready to move on, a new day begins…
Go to episode 56

Turkey Shoot

Time to round up the turkeys! Jim and Greg name this year's most disappointing albums as part of their Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot. These aren't just bad records, but ones that should have been so much better. Here are the Butterballs and Tofurkeys for 2011:

Go to episode 312
features

Sample Platter: Beyoncé's "Freedom"

This week we debut a new segment called Sample Platter, where Jim and Greg highlight a fascinating use of sampling in a pop song. They kick things off with "Freedom" from Beyoncé's album Lemonade, one of the most compelling records of the year so far. The centerpiece of the song is an organ sample from "Let Me Try," an obscure 1969 recording by the Latin American psychedelic band Kaleidoscope. The band formed in Puerto Rico, signed to a Mexican label, and recorded its only album in the Dominican Republic, which sold only a few hundred copies. Beyoncé resurrected it, transforming its trippy vibe into a stomping, raging march. While Kaleidoscope's hippie-ish song came in the wake of the riots of 1968, Beyoncé brilliantly recontextualizes it as a modern protest anthem in the era of Black Lives Matter, featuring a notable guest appearance from Kendrick Lamar.

Go to episode 563
news

Music News

Late last week, pop superstar Beyoncé dropped what might be the biggest musical surprise of the year. Her latest album, Beyoncé, was put up for sale exclusively on iTunes without any publicity whatsoever. Word soon got out on social media, and just three days later, Queen Bey had already sold over 800,000 copies worldwide. Jim and Greg think the stunt was pretty savvy, but not everyone feels that way. Some independent record store owners, and even big-box retailer Target feel cheated by not having a chance to sell physical copies of the self-titled album.

Go to episode 421

Music News

Hard to believe, but The Beatles are so old that some of their music is now entering public domain in Europe. While a law is in place to extend copyrights in the E.U. from 50 to 70 years, that won't go into effect until 2014. That means that as of New Year's Eve 2012, early tracks like "Love Me Do" are up for grabs. Early tracks by Bob Dylan, however, have recently been protected. In order to avoid its catalog going into public domain, Sony Music has taken advantage of the law's“use it or lose it”clause. They released a compilation aptly titled, The 50th Anniversary Collection: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1. It's only available in certain European countries though, so American Dylan fans will have to be willing to pay big bucks on eBay.

This is typically the dry season for major album releases, but there have been a lot of buzzworthy singles. Jim and Greg run through some of the big ones. They never thought they'd utter the words "new David Bowie track," but we've got one called "Where Are We Now," with a Tony Visconti-produced album to follow. Then there's JT's new chart-topper "Suit and Tie." A couple of weeks ago Jim and Greg made a plea for the gentleman of Outkast to come back together, and now we have both Big Boi and Andre 3000 appearing on a remix of Frank Ocean's "Pink Matter." But, Andre is quick to squash any reunion rumors. Last, but not least, are the ladies of Destiny's Child. There's a new song called "Nuclear" and plans for the three to appear together during the Superbowl Halftime Show. Guess motherhood has made Beyonce nostalgic.

Go to episode 373

Music News

The hype of Beyoncé's Lemonade has effectively swept the nation–all 12 tracks rank among the Billboard Hot 100, the phrase ‘good hair’ will never again be used so nonchalantly, and the singer has become the first act to not only reach #1 with her first six studio albums, but also debut at that top spot.

As we've said before, death is always a good career move. And Prince is also having a good sales week. While it remains to be seen who will benefit from such sales, five Prince albums–including some "Greatest Hits"– rank among the top 10. This feat hasn't been achived since 1963. While Jim and Greg understand the outpouring of affection for the Minneapolis singer, they aren't sure why fans need to own multiple copies of "Kiss."

Dweezil and Frank Guitarist Dweezil Zappa, son of rock legend Frank, has made changes to the name of his current tour "Zappa plays Zappa" to avoid a $150,000 lawsuit threatened against him by his siblings. Since Frank's widow Gail Zappa died in October, two of the four Zappa children, Ahmet and Diva, control the Zappa Family Trust. It was this trust that informed Dweezil he did not have the permission to tour under his act's former name. So, he's being forced to tour as "Dweezil Zappa plays Frank Zappa." Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?

Go to episode 545

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

Music News

Earlier this week the music label EMI agreed to drop Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions from its digital music files. In addition, the files will be of a higher quality than those available now. Essentially this means that consumers who purchase EMI tracks from bands like The Arctic Monkeys, Beyoncé, and Nelly Furtado can play them on any player, regardless of where they purchased it. But, there is a catch: these digital songs will be almost 30% more expensive.

EMI's announcement seems to be a response to a plea that Apple head Steve Jobs made earlier this year for all record companies to remove DRM from their digital music. And while these songs will be available for purchase and download from all online retailers, it's interesting to note how much Jobs is thrusting himself into the music industry. In fact, he was posed right next to EMI chief Eric Nicoli for this announcement.

Go to episode 71

Music News

First up in the news is Billboard's annual list of the year's biggest money makers in the music industry. The chart magazine compiled the list using CD and digital sales, publishing royalties and touring. And while most of the artists at the top still sell records, the majority made the cut because of their hugely successful blockbuster tours. At #1 is U2, who raked in more than $108 million in 2009, mostly through their gigantic 360-degree tour. The band is followed by Bruce Springsteen and Madonna, though a number of younger acts also made the cut including The Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift. Two glaring omissions: Beyonce and The Black Eyed Peas, neither of whom toured in 2009.

In more Billboard news, Sade is at the top of the charts for the third week in a row with her new release Soldier of Love. She's sold more than 800,000 records. Jim and Greg were interested to see so many adult-skewing artists on the charts, including Johnny Cash and Susan Boyle. It's the older consumers who are continuing to purchase physical product. However, they note that these sales numbers wouldn't have gotten an artist into the Top 50 ten years ago.

main image

Go to episode 223

Music News

This week MTV launched a new sister — or rather“hermana”— network called MTV Tr3s. The station, pronounced“MTV Tres,”is a bilingual music network aimed at Latino Americans aged 12-34. Considering that the Latino population in the U.S. is estimated to grow 62% by 2020, this is a smart business move. Jim and Greg hope that the opportunity to focus on new, cutting edge Rock en Español acts is not lost. A skim of the programming schedule shows that the MTV Tr3s will not be radically different from the flagship station. In addition to a Latino TRL, which will feature acts like Shakira, Mana and Pitbull, there is a version of "Pimp My Ride" entitled“Pimpeando,”and a version of "My Super Sweet 16" entitled“Quiero Mis Quinces.”Sound Opinions doesn't like to pre-judge, but we suspect that Rock en Español fans might be better off seeking music out on their own. Check out Jim and Greg's interview with Ernesto Lechner for suggestions.

In the latest installment of what Jim and Greg have dubbed the“Pot Calls the Kettle Black”series, Sting recently spoke out against the overly commercial pop music of artists like Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake. He says,“Today's music is not designed for me… For me singing is a spiritual journey. I'm devoutly musical.”This statement comes from a man who debuted his single, "Desert Rose," in a Jaguar commercial. Of course, Sting has absolutely NO commercial aims with his next project — a disc full of 16th century music performed on the lute. True music fans can check that out next month. In the meantime, we invite Sting and Bob Dylan and any other cranky old rocker to make an appointment with the Rock Doctors.

After 24 years, legendary rock group The Who are coming back with new material. Remaining members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry will release a new album, Endless Wire, in late October. The two recently launched a tour, along with Ringo's son Zak Starkey on drums and Pino Palledino on bass, and finally, they have new music to perform. Greg caught their Chicago show, and was impressed that after years of trying to recreate what they once were, the band finally understands what they are — a duo. The music focuses on the combination of their vocals, rather than a powerhouse, arena rock sound. Jim thinks that all of Townshend's other projects are a lot more interesting than the new Who material, however. The musician/opera composer is also a publisher and author. Of course, it wasn't any of these things that got Townshend in the headlines in the past few years.

Go to episode 44

Music News

Last week Jim and Greg endured what is always a career low-point for them: the multi-hour Grammy broadcast. While they are all in favor of honoring artistic achievement, Jim and Greg explain that the Grammys only presented 9 actual awards last week. For the most part, it's a show of celebrity spectacle, and one that rakes in big ratings. Of the winners, Beyonce took the most awards home. But, she lost Album of the Year to newcomer Taylor Swift. Jim and Greg wouldn't fight for any of the nominees to win, and instead point to the Village Voice Pazz and Jop poll as a better measure of the year's best albums.

Despite winning Album of the Year and having the top-selling album of 2009, Taylor Swift hasn't gotten a lot of Sound Opinions airtime. Jim and Greg give a quick listen to Fearless to see if it's worth the hype. Jim isn‘t sure she’s the most interesting role-model for teenage girls, and doesn‘t think she’d have such acclaim if she wasn‘t quite the looker. But, Greg hears a lot of relatable content on her album. He thinks she could develop into a credible artist, but for now she’s just a tween, not a queen.

Last week Jim and Greg reported on the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster. This week they check in with Seth Hurwitz, one of the country's leading independent promoters and owner of the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. Hurwitz testified at the Senate hearings on the merger last year and expressed concern over lack of competition in the industry. Now his concerns are reality. As he explains to Jim and Greg, the agreement's monopoly firewalls provide no consolation. And while Hurwitz feels secure in his business for the time being, he's worried about a time when Live Nation/Ticketmaster scoops up all of the mid-level acts that have so far avoided corporate arenas. He also warns about major ticket price increases.

Go to episode 219

Music News

While more visual spectacle than musical, the MTV Video Music Awards have come and gone again, and what's most interesting is what didn't happen, rather than what did. And by“what”we mean controvery. After the Parents Television Council urged MTV to avoid a repeat of last year's Miley Cyrus twerk-fest, the watchdog group announced that they were mostly pleased with the more family-friendly content. But, the PTC did express concerns about the way women were portrayed. Guess they missed Sofia Vergara's Emmy posing.

And there were still some naked performances…Deadspin released the isolated vocals from both Taylor Swift and Beyonce's appearances. They added a spectrum analysis layer to show how well each singer stayed on pitch. Beyonce fared better, but Jim can sympethize with Miss Swift; only a capella singers sound great without musicians.

bush

Also making news, music fans around the world are celebrating the comeback of the great British singer Kate Bush. After 35 years being offstage, she received an enthusiastic response after announcing "Before the Dawn," a run of 22 shows, which sold out in 15 minutes! Fans (some say including Madonna, Lily Allen and Bjork) watched as Bush opened the first show at London's Hammersmith Apollo with "Lily," from the 1993 album Red Shoes. Bush says she was encouraged to return to performing by her son, Bertie. The show was incredibly elaborate and theatrical- hopefully not too exhausting for Kate.

We also say welcome back to Prince and his longtime frenemy Warner Bros Records. His Purple Majesty will release two new albums at the end of September, marking the end of one of the longest-running employment disputes in musical history. Prince fell out with the label in the early 1990's, prompting him to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol and appear in public with the word“slave”across his face. Now he plans to release two albums: Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum with his all-female band, 3rd Eye Girl.

Rounding out the news, Jim and Greg discuss the idea of the perfect length for a pop song. Long ago technology dictated the length of a tune. A 78 vinyl record came in two sizes—a 10-inch that held 3 minutes of music and a 12-inch that held 4. Midway through the rock ‘n’ roll era, songs like "Stairway to Heaven" blew out those conventions. And certainly, with the digital music revolution, all bets should be off, right? Not so. Brevity is the soul of Top 40. And a radio station in Calgary, Alberta is taking that philosophy to the extreme. 90.3 AMP is telling listeners they will no get“twice the music.”In fact, they'll hear half a song. The station will be editing its plays in order to keep listeners from getting bored. In effect, this is the 140 character limit of music.

We don‘t endorse this approach, but here’s our own celebration of "Short but Sweet" tracks

Go to episode 457

Music News

grateful_dead Jerry Garcia may be dead, but we're sure he'd also be grateful for huge outcry of interest from Grateful Dead fans for a series of reunion tribute shows in Chicago this summer. According to Greg's reporting for the Chicago Tribune nearly a half million fans went online at the same time with the hope of paying almost $200 a ticket. Many of them, of course, got shut out and can only hope to score tickets on the secondary market…that is if they are willing to pay $8,000 to $116,000! The show's promoter promises fans they will try to make the experience accessible via the web, but we recommend loading up your generic mp3 device with Dead tunes and heading over to kick back at your favorite (free) outdoor spot as an alternative idyll.

Jim and Greg next give an update on two ongoing court cases in the music world. First, the former British glam star Gary Glitter has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after being found guilty of indecently assaulting three girls in the late 1970's. There is no statute of limitations for such offenses in the UK.

And while less unseemly, the copyright case over "Blurred Lines" is also embarrassing for the artists involved. The trial pits Robin Thicke and his co-writers Pharrell Williams and T.I. against the family of Marvin Gaye. They, like many people, hear a lot of similarities to Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up." So far the testimonies have been striking. Thicke admitted he was on drugs during the song's recording and that Pharrell was the primary force behind the song.“The biggest hit of my career was written by somebody else, and I was jealous and wanted credit,”he testified,“I felt it was a little white lie that didn‘t hurt his career but boosted mine.”No wonder so many of these cases don’t make it to a public courtroom.

After decades of being ready to review new releases on a Tuesday, Jim and Greg are preparing for a shift to Friday. But in this digital age, there's not much to prepare. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry announced the decision as a way to eliminate variance from country to country (it's Monday in the UK and Friday in Germany). But in a year when Beyonce and Drake can release music whenever they want with no advance fanfare, this is another example of the music industry being well-behind the times.

Tom Wheeler, commissioner of the FCC delivered a ruling that won in a 3-2 vote to approve strong Net Neutrality rules across the country. The Net Neutrality concept posits that the internet should remain a level playing field; certain companies who control data flow cannot show a preference for one company over another due to self interests. Ars Technica reporter Jon Brodkin, joined us to talk about the historic ruling. He doesn't see a downside to the ruling and says that most of the large telecommunication companies will respond with lawsuits. Brodkin adds that the effect on music fans who enjoy streaming services will be largely positive at this point.

Go to episode 484

Music News

Digitally-savvy Deadheads rejoice! Jerry Garcia's official website is getting an impressive makeover which includes a massive archive of 15,000 hours worth of Grateful Dead material to listen to for free, some of them fan recordings. Jim notes that these bootlegs have been circulating around for a long time, usually traded in person. But now with this update, fans can swap in a virtual“Parking Lot.”The website is so comprehensive that Jim and Greg think the only offerings missing are grilled cheese sandwiches and mind-altering substances.

Tweens across the country are raising their tiny fists to self-empowerment anthem "Let It Go" from Disney's latest animated feature, Frozen. The single, sung by Demi Lovato, is flying up the Billboard charts with over a half million downloads sold. But, only six radio stations nationwide have reported playing the song on-air. Jim and Greg say this isn't the first time an album or single has made it big without the help of radio. Just look at Beyonce's latest release or the Les Misérables soundtrack. Both hosts take this as just another sign of the FM dial is loosing its hit making-or-breaking influence.

Ella Fitzgerald is known for her perfect pitch, something long thought to be a skill developed early in life by only a lucky few. But Professor Takao Hensch of Harvard University says that he's got a pill that makes it possible for anyone to gain that skill, regardless of age. The pill is normally used to treat epilepsy by temporarily retiring the brain to a juvenile-like state, which just happens to be the perfect time to learn all kinds of things. Jim and Greg smile at the idea of auto-tune going by the wayside. But, is taking a pill for perfect pitch like taking steroids in sports? Also, if every artist had perfect pitch, the world may never know another Bob Dylan or Lauren Hill whose voices brim with personality. Perfection is overrated, says Jim.

Go to episode 426