Results for Lady Gaga

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L.A. Reid

lareidcoachella TLC, Mariah Carey, Pink, Justin Bieber, Outkast, Usher, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Kanye West…you name the pop star, and chances are he or she has worked with this week's guest, Antonio“L.A.”Reid. While he began as a drummer in the R&B group The Deele, it's really behind-the-scenes that L.A. has made the most awesome noise—first, as a songwriter/producer with Babyface in the 1980s and 1990s, then as a record exec at LaFace, Arista, Island Def Jam and now Epic Records.

L.A. shares his insights into what makes a great pop song, great (melody, hooks, emotion and the ability to sound good, even with a pillow over it) and some of his biggest professional triumphs (signing“the Beast”Rihanna, coaching Kanye West) and failures (Lady Gaga…the one that got away). He's also not afraid to get candid about music industry sacred cows, whether it's Michael Jackson or major labels themselves.

Go to episode 542
reviews
Born This WayBorn This Way available on iTunes

Lady Gaga Born This Way

There's a new hit pop album with Euro-pop dance beats and controversial lyrics designed to tweak the Catholic Church. Sound familiar? No, it's not Madonna, but Lady Gaga and her new album Born This Way. She might be the biggest star in the world right now, but she still has some surprises in her–including a fondness for '80s hair metal bombast. Jim was disappointed to hear Clarence Clemons on sax and Mutt Lange on production. He was further disappointed to hear the amount of over-singing. Jim wanted to love Born This Way, but it's a Trash It. Greg agrees that the record is totally overblown. It's like Gaga on steroids, and unfortunately, never lets up. A few standout tracks will work pounding in a stadium or club, but as an album, he'd just say Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 287
Femme FataleFemme Fatale available on iTunes

Britney Spears Femme Fatale

Britney Spears isn‘t a schoolgirl anymore. Seven albums in, she’s now a record industry veteran, which begs the question: is she over? Her latest album Femme Fatale debuted at #1, but with only 276,000 copies sold. That's nothing compared to artists like Taylor Swift and Eminem. And, as Jim and Greg add, where does Britney fit in these days when you have Katy Perry on one end of the pop spectrum and Lady Gaga on the other? They also wonder where she fits in on her own album, which has 28 songwriters and 13 producers. It's a well-oiled machine, and a very well-produced one, but Britney is almost incidental. Jim calls Femme Fatale soulless and gives it a Trash It rating. Greg doesn't argue with this, but recommends listeners Burn It just to hear the top notch production.

JimGreg
Go to episode 280
The Fame Monster (Deluxe Version)The Fame Monster available on iTunes

Lady Gaga The Fame Monster

Lady Gaga was one of the top selling artists of 2009, and she doesn‘t appear to be going away in 2010. She’s launched a successful tour and released The Fame Monster — a deluxe version of her 2008 debut that comes equipped with eight new tracks. After seeing her in concert and listening to this release, Greg found himself won over. He didn't hear a duff track on The Fame Monster and wouldn't hesitate to encourage listeners to Buy It. Jim agrees, though noting that Lady Gaga doesn't need our money. He thinks Madonna comparisons are apt. Like the Material Girl, Lady Gaga is completely unoriginal. But she raids the underground in a smart, fun way. The Fame Monster gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 216
JoanneJoanne available on iTunes

Lady Gaga Joanne

Lady Gaga needs almost no introduction at this point. A solo career that started about a decade ago on the dancefloor and the pop-charts has seen Gaga make some surprising choices in the spotlight (the meat dress) and in the studio (Cheek to Cheek, her duet album with Tony Bennett). Her latest album, called Joanne, finds her jumping across genres with a wide variety of collaborators (Beck, Josh Homme, Mark Ronson). While the album tries to be many things, it ultimately bores Jim. He finds the album scattered and“a mess”using the collaborators to try to find direction instead of using them to bring out her musical best. Jim says it's a trash it. Greg concurs. He thinks all the collaborators and genres are a continuation of her attempt to say“I'm a serious artist”that started with her Tony Bennett project. Instead, Greg says Joanne falls back on“nostalgia mongering”and results in a weak album. It is a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 570
ARTPOPArtpop available on iTunes

Lady Gaga Artpop

"Anti-diva" Lady Gaga has just released her third album, Artpop. and it's headed for #1. The title is a brazen declaration of its content, but after a few plays, neither Jim nor Greg feel much like the album is“Art”at all. While Jim does think the music is still as groovy as ever, he can't get over the pandering, nonsensical lyrics., especially considering her attempts to empower her fans. So, Jim says Burn It. Greg refuses to step over the threshold, explaining that the music underwhelms with conventional, risk-averse EDM courtesy of big name producers like DJ White Shadow. Lady Gaga has built a career out of twisting the formula, but Greg doesn't hear any reinvention: Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 416
Pink Friday (Deluxe Edition)Pink Friday available on iTunes

Nicki Minaj Pink Friday

Nicki Minaj has taken the rap world by storm. Some are comparing her to Lady Gaga, while others say Lil' Kim. But neither do justice to Minaj's flair for role-playing and rhyme skills. Jim doesn't think all of the tracks on her debut Pink Friday are successful, but when she's on, she's on. He'd also add Missy Elliott and Peter Gabriel to the list of comparisons. Jim gives the record a Burn It rating. Greg has been blown away by the rapper's cameos on other records, but the situation is reversed on Pink Friday – the guest stars outshine her. Despite the ruckus Minaj has caused in the rap world, Greg is let down. He gives Pink Friday a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 267
Pink Friday (Roman Reloaded) [Deluxe Edition]Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded available on iTunes

Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

She may be hip hop's answer to Lady Gaga. Nicki Minaj has the hair and costumes, and now chart success to boot. Her new album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded has gone to #1, taking down fellow diva Madonna. It's a follow up to 2010's Pink Friday, which Jim thought had an interesting and unlikely combination of diverse elements including Missy Elliott's eccentricity and Lil Kim's provocation. But now she's added pop to the stew, and things aren't melding as well. Jim criticizes the sub-American Idol balladry and her awful singing. But most offensive is her harsh language about women. Greg agrees Minaj is a frustrating artist. He's fascinated by some of her work and her alter-ego Roman Zolanski, but she falls into some terrible clichés. Roman Reloaded gets a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 333
news

Music News

Google has added music to its growing list of endeavors. The internet giants launched a new music service this week that will offer users a link to purchase records. Google won‘t be selling music directly, but they’ll be competing with iTunes in cooperation with other services like Lala, Rhapsody and Pandora. It's exciting news for artists who are concerned with getting their music out there. But after many years where a small group of labels controlled everything in the music industry, Jim and Greg wonder if this is simply a case of one corporate hierarchy replacing another.

Lady Gaga broke Billboard records this week by becoming the first pop artist to score 4 consecutive No. 1 hits from a debut album. The most recent chart-topping song is "Paparazzi." The singer will continue to make news this year after she embarks on a visually exciting theater tour next month. We‘ll be watching that. Other than an avant-garde look, Jim and Greg aren’t sure what separates her from any other female pop singer. But every generation needs its own Madonna. In other chart news, Michael Jackson's This Is It movie and album both did well in sales last week. The album debuted at No. 1, and the film earned $106.3 million worldwide.

Downloading continues to be a huge issue for the music industry. The big question is how it affects the market. Now a British study commissioned by think tank Demos has one answer. According to its findings, people who engage in file-sharing spend 75% more than people who don't. They are simply more excited about music. This news presents a counter-argument to those in favor of the UK government's plan to sever the internet connections of persistent downloaders. But it will be hard to sway the British recording trade association BPI, who estimates that illegal downloaders cost the industry $330 million in 2009.

Go to episode 206

Music News

No matter what you thought of this year's Oscars, Grammys or Superbowl, one thing is certain: TV sells. After Common and John Legend's emotional performance at the Academy Awards, industry forecasters predict a big sales bump for the winning tune "Glory." Just a few hours after the ceremony ended, the song was projected to post a 70% gain. Jim and Greg predict similar success for Lady Gaga, who wowed skeptics with her "Sound of Music" belting. Music from the Grammys is also going like gangbusters. Album of the Year winner Beck has enjoyed a 483% sales increase. And, Nostalgia, the new album by Grammy performer Annie Lennox, shot up 335%. But perhaps most curious of them all is the musical effect of the Superbowl. Albums and songs by halftime performer Katy Perry experienced a 92% sales boost.

Dr. Dre aarp

In other news, happy 50th birthday Dr. Dre! The rapper and entrepreneur celebrated with an appearance on the front page of AARP. That's right…the magazine for the American Association of Retired Persons. But, while that is certain to make a lot of music fans feel old, no one is in a better position to retire than the hip hop O.G. He again topped Forbes' list for the highest paid musicians of the year with a whopping $620 million earned.

Go to episode 483

Music News

Some interesting chart news this week: Despite being music vets, Tom Petty and Weird Al Yankovic, both just achieved their first #1 in the past month. Over on the Jazz charts, Tony Bennett, who himself took 54 years to produce #1, has reached another hight, this time with strange bedfellow Lady Gaga. Comic book fans are showing their support for Marvel's most recent super-powered adventure, Guardians of The Galaxy. The soundtrack for the flick, an eclectic mix of '70s rock, soul, and pop staples, is the current chart topper, beating out the prolific Now series, Volume 51. Over on the vinyl end of things, Jack White's most recent release, Lazaretto, is making history with its soaring sales. The LP has already sold over 60,000 copies, the most since Pearl Jam's 1994 album Vitalogy.

Go to episode 455

Music News

Katy Perry wasn't the only thing roaring at MTV's recent Video Music Awards. Digital sales for artists featured on the program have seen significant bumps. Among those feeling a lift were Lady Gaga's Applause, which saw a 20% rise and Bruno Mars' Gorilla, which had a staggering 175% sales increase.

In other chart news the British Phonographic Industry recently updated its sales award rules. So now, a little band called The Beatles has finally gone platinum. The official count only began from 1994, though, so actual sales of hit Beatles albums like Revolver and Help can only be estimated.

By now everyone's heard Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. But, have you heard 86-year old Canadian composer John Beckwith's Blurred Lines? Well, thousands of listeners have, though perhaps not intentionally. Beckwith's 1994 recording for harpsichord and violin has gotten a huge boost in online streams ever since Thicke's song of the same name came out earlier this year. Blame it on Google, but it seems hard to mistake Thicke for Beckwith's sounds inspired by the Swedish hardanger.

Go to episode 406

Music News

It has been an historic few weeks for aging rockers on the Billboard charts. First, at age 88, Tony Bennett broke his own record as the oldest living artist to have a #1 record with Cheek to Cheek, his duet with Lady Gaga. Then, we have diva Barbra Streisand with her own duet album Partners. The success of her latest endeavor makes her the only artist to have a #1 album in each of the past six decades.

Just when you thought concert tickets couldn't get more expensive, they just might. Independent concert and event promotion company, C3 Presents will reportedly sell 51% of the company to Live Nation. C3 is responsible for events like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival. A collaboration with“Death Star”Live Nation would greatly increase that company's stake in the U.S. concert market and possibly lead to higher ticket prices for you the concertgoer.

Which designer has English indie pop band The xx in a fury? Hugo Boss recently used a song in its new ad campaign—one that sounds strikingly similar to "Intro" by The xx. The band is extremely unhappy, calling the song“a poorly designed fake.”Perhaps Hugo Boss should stick to designing clothes.

Go to episode 463

Music News

Fans have long been wondering when the Beatles will finally come to iTunes. Well, according to Yoko Ono, not anytime soon. John Lennon's widow recently said fans shouldn‘t hold their breath, adding “There’s just an element that we're not very happy about, as people. We are holding out.” But, rest assured, that when Apple Inc. and Apple Corps. do come to an agreement, digital sales will start flying. When the Beatles released their reissues last year, they sold 2.25 million copies in the first five days of release.

Lady Gaga has a record breaking 13 nominations for MTV Video Music Awards. But, ironically, her videos will no longer be available on MTV.com. Gaga's label Universal has decided to take all its content off the music channel's website and show them instead on the label-owned Vevo. Jim and Greg think it will be interesting to see what kind of industry influence MTV can sustain without much music content on its airwaves or website.

Sometimes life does imitate art. "If I Was President" singer Wyclef Jean is, in fact, running for president. The Haitian born former Fugee announced his official candidacy for president of the devastated nation last week. While Jean faces a number of barriers on his road to the office, including controversies regarding his charities and taxes and, of course, celebrity, this got Jim and Greg thinking about some other pop politicos including Sonny Bono, who served in Congress and as the mayor of Palm Springs, Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil, who is an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives and is the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, and The Doobie Brothers' Jeff“Skunk”Baxter who now serves as a defense consultant and chairs a Congressional Advisory Board on missile defense.

Go to episode 246

Music News

Only five months ago Apple purchased the online music site Lala.com, and now they‘ve announced it’s shutting down. While it was never clear that a streaming music model would fit into Apple's iTunes download model, they did spend more than $80 million, so it is a bit of a head-scratcher. As Jim and Greg explain, this move has prompted speculation that Apple will soon be launching its own streaming music site, and just wanted to get rid of its competition. Regardless, it's clear that soon we'll all have our head in the“clouds.”

Roger Waters, the bassist, lyricist and some might say“brains”of Pink Floyd, recently announced an upcoming tour marking the 30th anniversary of The Wall. He's now saying that fellow Floyd alum David Gilmour won‘t be along for the ride because he’s“completely uninterested.”It's clear now that we shouldn‘t be holding our breath for a Pink Floyd reunion, and according to Jim, maybe we shouldn’t want one. Syd Barrett and Rick Wright are both deceased, and there can be no Pink Floyd without them.

Black Eyed Peas

Just when you thought there would never be another blockbuster music group in the digital age, The Black Eyed Peas have come along with more proof to the contrary. Their song "I Gotta Feeling" just became the biggest selling digital track in history with more than 5.5 million downloads. Their 2009 track "Boom Boom Pow," is also in the top 5. As Rolling Stone asserts, this is the band of the moment, and they are doing it 21st century style-with lots of viral marketing, digital music sales and corporate sponsorships. Another 21st century force to be reckoned with is Lady Gaga. Her own video for "Telephone," has become a sensation, all while spawning a number of video viral copycats. The latest comes out of the 82nd airborne division in Afghanistan. Their version of“Telephone”has been viewed over 2 million times, and for Greg, it trumps the original.

Go to episode 232

Music News

The news starts with Front Line Management's lawsuit against Axl Rose. Front Line's founder and chief executive is Irving Azoff, who is also executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, which merged with Ticketmaster last month. Jim and Greg discuss the impact of such a lawsuit on an artist. Considering the mega-corporation controls ticketing, venues and many other aspects of the industry, they may not be one to tangle with. Also, they note that the lawsuit is over a breach of "oral contract." Who agrees to an oral contract these days? Especially with Axl Rose!

Jim and Greg discuss the yet again delayed emergence of Spotify in the U.S. The Internet music service, introduced in 2008 by Daniel Ek, has become one of the most popular of its kind in Europe with 7 million users. But despite rumors that it would come to the States this summer, Ek is still having trouble navigating our thick legal system. He wants Spotify to be legitimate, and that means a lot of licensing fees. But once it does hit our soil, Greg predicts big success.

It hit about 80 degrees this week in Chicago, and while it may snow again next week, we've got our eye on the summer. Jim and Greg run down some of the biggest music festivals of the season. First up is Coachella this month, which will feature Jay-Z, LCD Soundsystem and Faith No More among others. The following month, music fans can travel to Washington for the Sasquatch Festival to see My Morning Jacket, Kid Cudi and Ween. In June Bonnaroo will host the Dave Matthews Band, Stevie Wonder and Weezer. Two of the biggest festivals are right here in our hometown: Pitchfork Music Festival, which will boast a Pavement reunion, and Lollapalooza, which Greg can nearly confirm will have headliners Lady Gaga, Green Day, and a reunited Soundgarden. But, Jim points out that not all of the best multi-act concerts are destination festivals. Lilith Fair is back this year as a traveling women-fueled act with Mary J. Blige, Cat Power and Kelly Clarkson.

Go to episode 227

Music News

Last week Jim and Greg rated Drake's new album Take Care. This week he's at #1on the Billboard chart with 631,000 copies sold in the first week. Greg notes that Drake has had luck achieving commercial success by initially giving his music away to build a fan base. The same model worked for last week's #1 artist Mac Miller. Using mixtapes and social media to build an audience, Miller became the first indie artist to debut at the top of the charts since 1995.

Speaking of the charts, Billboard has decided to change the rules. Earlier this year Lady Gaga jumped to #1, thanks in large part to some deep discounting from retailer Amazon. They sold her album Born This Way for $0.99, and helped Gaga reach the million sold mark. But according to Billboard, that's cheating, and they‘ve now instituted a mandatory price point of $3.49 in order for an album to be counted on the chart. Jim thinks this is telling about how dramatically the idea of“Number one”has changed in the last decade. In the mid and late ’90s, top-selling artists sold upwards of 7 million albums. Today that's down to 3 million, and that number will continue to plummet. So why then is Billboard making it even harder to recognize success? In an era when artists are giving away their music for free or close to free, Jim suggests we need to change the definition of success.

Go to episode 313

Music News

Lady Gaga has cancelled her "Born This Way" tour due to a hip injury. Millions of little monsters will be deprived of 22 national shows. And the Gaga camp might be out $35 million. With all the dancing and acrobatics, it's surprising more pop artists aren't wiped out by injuries which gives Jim and Greg a new appreciation for Tina Turner.

In other concert news, Paul McCartney will be headlining the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee. He'll be joined by Mumford and Sons and Tom Petty, but also Wu-Tang Clan and Nas-some surprising additions to the traditionally roots and jam festival. Concertgoers will also be excited to hear about the Firefly Festival's plans for its second year, including theYeah Yeah Yeahs and Kendrick Lamar. Here in Chicago, the Pitchfork Festival has booked Bjork and in perplexing move, controversial hometown artist R. Kelly.

Finally, Jim and Greg bid farewell to songwriter and producer Shadow Morton. He was instrumental in bringing the Shangri-Las to fame with hits like "Leader of the Pack" and "Remember" that compressed teen angst dramas into three-minute pop operas. Shadow also later worked with Janis Ian and The New York Dolls.

Go to episode 378

Music News

Dr. Dre announced a partnership with Best Buy. The rapper/producer will promote the new "Club Beats" area of the store featuring the latest audio and technology products, in addition to in-store appearances by Lady Gaga, Will.i.am and Dre himself. The big box retailer sees a growing market for DJ-oriented marketing, especially with the release of DJ Hero. So has this underground urban art form officially jumped the shark?

One of Dre's biggest hip hop productions was his 1993 track for Snoop Dogg, "Who Am I (What's My Name)." It featured a memorable sample of George Clinton's song "Atomic Dog." Most recently that song was at the center of a lawsuit between Clinton and his fellow songwriters and the R&B group Public Announcement. A federal jury agreed that Public Announcement infringed on the song's copyright by wrongfully using the lyric“bow wow wow, yippie yo, yippie yea.”But, most notably, the jury ruled that even the word“dog,”if used in an original or unusual way, can be protected by copyright.

Go to episode 207

Music News

Sound Opinions is sad to report the death of Stooges drummer Scott Asheton at age 64. This punk pioneer took the rhythms of Bo Diddley and the Velvet Underground's Moe Tucker and piled on the aggression, carving out the sound that would soon define punk, Jim explains. Listening to him pummel the drums on early Stooges albums, it's no surprise that Asheton (whose family couldn't afford a proper trap set) first learned to play by banging hammers on oil cans. Along with his brother Ron on guitar, Scott was described as the gasoline that Iggy's match set aflame. Jim and Greg honor the drummer by playing "1969" from the Stooges‘ debut album, a punk inferno that Asheton’s brutal rhythms kept burning bright.

It's the double feature that everybody was waiting for… in 1994. Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden are teaming up for a summer tour, just in time for the 20th anniversaries of NIN's Downward Spiral and Soundgarden's Superunknown. Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell says he's always been a NIN fan, and that he'd love to jam with the band onstage—but Trent Reznor might not be so enthused. Back in 2009, Reznor took Cornell to task on Sound Opinions, calling his Timbaland-produced solo album an“impressively bad”sell-out. Maybe NIN will bring on a more suitable collaborator for its next tour.

The 2014 SXSW Music Conference, normally a festive event, which brings tens of thousands of people to Austin every year, will unfortunately be remembered as a tragic one. A horrific car crash early Thursday morning resulted in the death of three people and the injury of many more. Also making headlines was Lady Gaga. The pop diva not only performed at a contoversial event for a snack food company, she gave the keynote address. According to Gaga, without sponsors, there wouldn‘t be music events; labels can’t afford it. A surprising assertion from a woman who later touted her music industry rebellion.

Go to episode 434

Music News

While pop divas like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have impressive strategic plans for their upcoming albums, news from Beyonce's camp suggest things are more chaotic over there. Sources told the Hollywood Reporter she recently scrapped 50 songs and is starting over, despite having the promotional push of the Superbowl and a world tour.

Is it fair to say Jack White's an all-around good guy? First, he may have donated money to a Detroit baseball field. Then he pitches in to save the city's historic Masonic Temple. And now he's made a generous $200,000 donation to the National Recording Preservation Foundation. Three cheers for this former guest!

Influential guitar player and songwriter J.J. Cale died this week at age 74. Countless musicians have covered Cale over the years, from Captain Beefheart to Neil Young. And to honor him, Jim and Greg play one of Young's favorites, "Crazy Mama."

Go to episode 401