Results for Bono

reviews
No Line On the Horizon (Deluxe Edition)No Line on the Horizon available on iTunes

U2 No Line on the Horizon

Irish super rockers U2 have a new album out called No Line on the Horizon. It's the band's 12th album, and after a brief stint with producer Rick Rubin, they've returned to working with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Greg was pleased to hear that after a couple of“U2 by numbers”albums, they‘ve returned to emphasizing sound. They’ve restored the sense of mystery and atmosphere on a handful of tracks. But, Greg wishes the entire album was like that. He doesn't feel they quite pulled it off and gives No Line on the Horizon a Try It. Jim is shocked to hear himself say it, but he disagrees. Bono was wrong to suggest this record is the band's best, but Jim thinks they are definitely still relevant. And he finds the good tracks so extraordinarily good that they overshadow the bum ones. Jim gives the new U2…a Buy It!

JimGreg
Go to episode 170
Songs of Innocence (Deluxe Edition)Songs of Innocence available on iTunes

U2 Songs of Innocence

Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton have certainly made headlines with their free iTunes release Songs of Innocence. It seems not all music fans want everything for free. But not as much has been said about the album content itself. So, Jim and Greg are here to give it a Buy It, Burn It or Trash It rating. Greg doesn't pull any punches. He says "This is what a dinosaur does in its last days"—trying the same old moves in an effort to survive. The soft rock album lacks originality and spirit, a fact made more galling by nods to music greats like Joey Ramone and Joe Strummer. And don't forget about all the pretension, Jim adds. U2's Songs of Innocence gets a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 461
rock doctors

Rachel

Next up Drs. Kot and DeRogatis call another patient in from the waiting room. Rachel from Chicago, IL describes her musical symptoms as that of being stuck in a rut. She explains that she hasn't purchased any music in the past few years, and only listens to albums or mixes that her friends give her. Rachel is eager to improve her musical health though, and is willing to take her medicine — however bad it tastes. In order to steer Jim and Greg in the right direction, Rachel gives her medical/musical history . She counts U2 (during the Joshua Tree-era) and Tom Petty as two of her favorite artists, and explains that she really appreciates melody and lyrics in her music.

Dr. Jim gives the first prescription. He clues into Rachel's heartland rock leanings, but also wants to challenge her more. He decides to give the patient a dose of Wilco. Like '80s-era U2 and Tom Petty, Jeff Tweedy and the members of Wilco are strongly influenced by guitar-based American folk and rock. There is a strong emphasis on lyrics and on telling stories of the American condition. But like U2, who chose to work with avant-garde producer Brian Eno on The Joshua Tree, Wilco can also be very experimental. Jim finds this is especially true of their last album A Ghost is Born.

Dr. Greg is up next. He suspects that one of the things Rachel likes so much about her favorite music is how anthemic it is. Both Bono and Petty are strong frontmen that get a rise out of their audiences. He believes this is also the case with the music of Montreal band The Arcade Fire. In fact, U2 opened up their last tour with a performance of the song "Wake Up" off their debut album Funeral. Again, the Arcade Fire might be a little more stylized than what Rachel is used to, but Greg hopes she will appreciate their epic sound.

A week later, the patient returns. Rachel relays that she is feeling a bit better, but is not totally cured. She realized that some of the Wilco and Arcade Fire songs were actually already in her iTunes collection without her even knowing it. Rachel enjoyed both albums, but not completely from beginning to end. She liked the more anthemic songs on Funeral like "Rebellion (Lies)" and "Crown of Love," but found some of the tracks a little noisy. However nothing was as noisy as Wilco's 15-minute experimental jam "Less Than You Think." But, even Jim and Greg agree that it's OK to skip past that“test”to more traditional pop/rock compositions like "Theologians" and "The Late Greats." Rachel doesn‘t think she’s replaced her favorite standards, but looks forward to keeping up with these two bands and getting more new music like… The Shins (up next in the show).

Go to episode 61
news

Music News

The nail has just gone in the record store coffin. The Times Square Virgin Megastore, which is the highest volume music store in America, is closing this spring. $55 million in annual revenue was not enough to keep the doors to this landmark retail outfit open. Jim and Greg agree that the Virgin store on Broadway was an institution for any music fan who visited New York City, and hope that people continue to support what record stores are still out there.

Rocker, poet, fashion designer, activist…now Bono can add columnist to that ever-growing list. The U2 frontman just published his first official column for The New York Times. It was written about music's other great ego: Frank Sinatra. Jim doesn't see why anyone would be interested in the writings of Bono, except for the fact that he is a celebrity. But Greg is a little more hopeful. He admits that Bono is not a great scribe, but thinks that if the singer sticks to what he knows– music– we may be in for some interesting stories.

Go to episode 164

Music News

First up in the news the sentence handed to Daniel Biechele, the tour manager of the band Great White. Biechele was ordered to serve four years in prison and three years probation for setting a fire in a Rhode Island nightclub in February 2003 — a blaze that killed 100 fans and injured twice that number. This was the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history. The ruling represents a compromise between the defense and the prosecution, who were originally seeking a ten-year sentence. Meanwhile. victims' families are awaiting the trial of the club owners, to take place later this summer.

Another court case also made news this week. In the battle between The Beatles' Apple Corp. and Apple Computer over trademark infringement and their shared apple logo, the judge ruled against the Fab Four. The band was contending that Apple Computer and its iTunes Music Store had breached a 1980 trademark agreement by expanding onto their turf — the music industry. However, the judge, who does own an iPod, responded that“even a moron in a hurry,”could tell the difference between the two companies. Now we just have to wait and see if the Beatles will finally release their songs to the online music retailer. Hopefully this will not confuse any of the morons in a hurry out there.

There was also an update on Keith Richards' health status, which was discussed last week. After a mysterious fall on the island of Fiji, Richards was admitted to a hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. On Monday, after complaining of headaches, he underwent an operation, which, according to his publicist, was 100% successful. The Stones' camp has not said how he fell or what the operation was for, but reports speculate that it was to drain blood from his skull. A spokesperson has, however, denied that there was more than one surgery or that Richards suffered any brain damage. Fans can expect to see the guitarist touring in June, and back to his old, randy self in no time.

Grant McLennan, frontman of Australian indie rock band The Go-Betweens, died in his sleep earlier this week. The singer/songwriter was 48. Greg discusses how The Go-Betweens, who were going strong up until McLennan's passing, were not necessarily commercially successful, but were very influential in the 1980s. Musicians like Bono and Morrissey and members of bands like R.E.M. and Coldplay have all sung the praises of McLennan and his partner Robert Foster. Many listeners will only know the band from their hit "Bachelor Kisses," but Greg points out that the songwriting pair penned many wonderful pop songs that were full of emotion and humanity. He chooses to play "Bye Bye Pride," and prompts listeners to pay attention to the oboe solo.

Go to episode 24

Music News

Sad news for a number of rock fans this week. Both The White Stripes and LCD Soundsystem have announced they are closing up shop. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem suggested he'd be calling it quits (at least under that name) when he was on Sound Opinions last year. But the White Stripes announcement has come as a surprise. Greg is disappointed since Jack White's other side projects as a member of The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs and producer of albums by Wanda Jackson haven't provided him the vehicle he deserves. But, as Jim notes, the adage is true: nothing gives an artist a greater boost than dying or breaking up. Albums by The White Stripes have seen a massive sales surge.

U2's Bono and the Edge have joined forces with veteran theater and film director Julie Taymor to bring Spider-Man to the Broadway stage. The early reviews are in, and they ain't pretty. From The New York Times ("sheer ineptitude") to the Los Angeles Times ("an artistic form of megalomania") to the Chicago Tribune ("incoherent"), the critical pans are far harsher than anything U2 has received on any album. And it wasn't for lack of funds. The $65 million musical production is charging fans up to $300 just for previews. Jim and Greg wonder if Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will fare any better than Capeman.

Go to episode 272

Music News

A year after they started their“pay-what-you-want”experiment for In Rainbows, Radiohead has finally revealed the results. It was a complete success. The album sold three million copies at various prices, as well as 100,000 box sets at $81. And, the band gets to reap nearly all the profits since they don't have to divvy it up with a record company or middle man. Jim and Greg wonder why they waited so long to give numbers, especially since Trent Reznor was quick to reveal his success with a similar sales plan. But they are encouraged by Radiohead's success, and hope other bands will follow suit.

Another band experiencing a financial windfall is U2, but their new deal lacks the same punk spirit. The Irish rockers have linked up with corporate concert giant Live Nation for a 12-year deal that includes touring, merchandising and their web site. U2 will receive an estimated $19 million, but in Live Nation stock rather than cold hard cash. Jim thinks concertgoers can now hold Bono and his bandmates responsible for any anti-consumer practices on Live Nations' part.

Just when you think the music industry has embraced the digital revolution, you find out about another attempt to get consumers to purchase files. The latest web store is Lala.com. It is being supported by all the major labels, and many of the indies as well, and offers music to fans for only 10 cents. But, there's a catch. Lala only leases you those web songs to play online. You can‘t download or burn tracks unless you pay an additional 79 or 89 cents. Jim and Greg think a 10 cent price tag is terrific, but aren’t sure consumers will find the leasing structure that appealing. They hope that the music industry will introduce a happy medium where consumers can purchase songs at a low price and actually own them.

In one of the worst public relations moments of the year, Ringo Starr told his fans that after October 20th, he would no longer be accepting any fan mail or signing any autographs. What was his reason? It's not to be more“green,”as one might suspect. It's simply that the former Beatle is just too darn busy. Jim and Greg can‘t wrap their head around what’s filling up all his time. But, in the meantime, they have offered to accept any of Ringo's fan mail.

Levi Stubbs, lead singer of The Four Tops, passed away last week at the age of 72. As Greg explains, he's one of the great voices of the Motown generation, but never tried to overshadow the group. Despite that effort, it's hard not to notice Stubb's tremendous voice and emotional singing style. You can hear this in one of the classic pop songs of all time, "Bernadette."

Go to episode 152

Music News

It's been a rough week for digital music. First Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich openly criticize Spotify and boot Atoms for Peace songs from the streaming service. The, the Musicians' Union in the U.K. threaten a boycott if Spotify doesn't raise its royalty rates. And now Aimee Mann is suing MediaNet, which provides millions of songs to dozens of music services. She's seeking damages for "willful copyright infringement."

Sure, we could imagine Bono going for an “EGOT,” but "Commander"? The Irish rocker was recently awarded the country's highest cultural honor: Commander of Arts and Letters in recognition of his contributions to the arts and to charity. Rapper Nas was also given an unusual honor. Harvard University has established the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship as part of its Hip-Hop Archive and W.E.B. Du Bois Institute.

Since its launch in 2008, Record Store Day has become something music fans eagerly anticipate. And now they'll also have…wait for it…Cassette Store Day! True, there aren't many stores that solely sell cassettes, but on September 7, a number of bands will release special cassettes and artists like The Flaming Lips, Deerhunter and At the Drive-In will reissue albums on cassettes. So breakout your Walkman and get ready.

Go to episode 400

Music News

It's been a while since Jim and Greg have had an opportunity for a "Bono Rant," but this week U2 made big music industry news. The longtime Irish band has made a deal to hand over the management of its worldwide tours, merchandise sales and website to concert promoter Live Nation. This is a similar deal to the one Madonna inked a few months ago, only U2 will continue to release albums through Universal Music. Jim has to wonder why a band as big as U2 even needs a company like Live Nation, especially because they are so notoriously fan-unfriendly. But, he's more horrified at the prospect of seeing Bono and company performing live in their '60s. As Greg reminds him, geezers on stage are all too common these days.

Live Nation's ties with Ticketmaster will be severed at the end of this year, but the mega-company is making some new deals of its own. The Dave Matthews Band and Ticketmaster have teamed up to offer concertgoers a digital album filled with material from the band's upcoming summer tour. Since the DMB tour basically every year, this may not appear to be such big news, but Jim and Greg were both shocked to see the famously grassroots band get in bed with an evil empire like Ticketmaster. Whatever you think of their music (and it's evident where Jim and Greg stand), they were always an admirable band from a business standpoint…until now.

According to Brandweek, music tour sponsorships have grown 75% since 2003 and will hit $1.04 billion this year. This will come as no surprise to concertgoers who have experienced marketing and ads at every moment of a show. But Greg wonders why ticket prices haven't gone down if sponsorships have been so profitable. Jim is equally dismayed, and both hosts are anxious to see if anyone has the courage to stand up to the brand.

Go to episode 123

Music News

Last week, Irish rock band U2 invited itself into your home (or rather, your iTunes library) without a formal invitation. In a shrewd distribution move by the band, U2 partnered with technology giant Apple to share its new album Songs of Innocence for free with its 500 million iTunes users. Apple reportedly paid the band $100 million dollars for the honor, which Jim and Greg know is a better sum than Bono and company would receive through traditional sales. So far, 33 million people have accessed Songs of Innocence, but not everyone was excited about their free gift—prompting Apple to release an official“removal tool.”Jim can't help but laugh, wishing he had this tool from the beginning of his on-again, off-again relationship with U2.

Go to episode 460

Music News

Major labels made a bit of news this week, and allowed Jim and Greg to justify their use of the“brontosaurus hurdling toward the tar pit”metaphor. So what is driving this particular dinosaur into extinction? According to our hosts, it's technology. Universal Music appeared to recognize this hurdle this week when they announced that they were cutting costs of some of their online music in Europe. So if you want to buy something from their catalog as a digital file, rather than as a physical CD, you'll only have to pay around $10. Seems reasonable to us here in the States. The CEO of EMI Music reiterated this idea in a statement to the London School of Economics. He said,“The CD as it is right now is dead.”A bit of an overstatement perhaps, but it's entirely possible that the market will split between iTunes listeners and die hard collectors (who want vinyl). In the meantime, EMI consumers can expect more content packaged with their old-fashioned audio CD.

One artist who hasn't been hurt by extinction is Kurt Cobain. Forbes named him the number-one-earning dead celebrity, even ahead of The King, Elvis Presley. Cobain's estate earned over $50 million this year alone, mostly due to the sale of Nirvana's song catalog to Primary Wave Publishing. Fans have widow Courtney Love to thank for that.

Sound Opinions always loves when Bono is in the news (which is usually every day). This time, though, it's more U2's music than the man himself. Apparently 150 Episcopal churches across the nation have adopted a new service entitled the U2charist, which blends the band's songs with the traditional Eucharist. The service kicks off with a rendition of "Pride," and also includes a collection for Bono's campaign to eradicate extreme poverty and global AIDS. Of course rock + religion is nothing new. Al Green and Solomon Burke infuse their pop music into religious ceremonies with great success. But the real question is how Bono measures up to Mase.

Go to episode 49

Music News

iTunes announced that it will be offering cut-rate downloads on several albums in its catalog. The albums, which retail for $5.99 and $6.99, are part of a new series called“Next Big Thing.”The bargain bin includes albums from up-and-comers like LCD Soundsystem and Peter Bjorn and John. Jim and Greg are happy to see that the giant digital music retailer is waking up. Six bucks is a perfectly legitimate amount to pay for such good albums, and this is a move that's certain to please consumers, if not record labels.

Also in the news, pop star Avril Lavigne is being called out for a couple instances of plagiarism. First, power pop band The Rubinoos launched a legal case against Avril, claiming that her single "Girlfriend" was lifted from their 1979 song, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." Avril denies this, but the similarities are pretty striking. Then, gossip blogger Perez Hilton pointed out another suspicious similarity. The first 20 seconds of Avril's "I Don't Have to Try" sound nearly identical to electroclasher Peaches' track "I'm the Kinda." Jim and Greg think the evidence is stacking up against Avril, but are quick to point out that all rock music has been cribbed from one source or another.

Next Jim and Greg relay their experiences that at the recent Police reunion show in Chicago. Greg was pretty unimpressed, and says that the show was definitely not worth what people paid. Jim was less harsh, but agrees with Greg that the Police have always been better on album than live.

The Police concluded their tour at Giants Stadium as part of the Live Earth concert. Again, the band didn't wow our hosts, but it was Kanye West's performance that was the most strikingly bad. In fact, with the exception of a few performances, most of Live Earth was pretty underwhelming to Jim and Greg. And the world seemed to agree. Ratings were quite poor, especially compared to the success of previous attempts like Live 8. Jim is all for music influencing people to make change, but he didn't hear anything truly inspirational coming out of this crop of musicians. And Greg found the event to have a great lack of focus, though both hosts are all for Al Gore replacing Bono as music's new crusader.

Go to episode 85