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Musician Harry Styles has been compared to Davie Bowie in the British press. But does his debut solo album, Harry Styles, live up to the hype? Greg says the album rips off classic rock riffs from the likes of U2 and Badfinger to craft a“retro-leaning”sound. He was expecting a“pop-leaning stadium sounding record”from Styles, who was formerly a member of boy band One Direction. Greg thinks the album, however, is a“personal-sounding”record that lacks substantive lyrics. Greg says Trash It. Jim says turn to Justin Timberlake if you want to see a "young product of the modern pop machine" who became a "true visionary artist". He admits“there are some charming moments”on the record, but that "most of them [are] ripped off from other places in rock history". Ultimately, Jim gives Harry Styles a Try It.

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Go to episode 600
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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

In the UK, pop has overtaken rock as the most popular genre of music in terms of chart success. Acts like Ed Sheeran, One Direction and Sam Smith have helped propel pop to its highest sales since 1999, but it's a different story in the United States. In 2014, rock music claimed 29% of sales, while pop only generated about half of that. These numbers have Jim and Greg thinking, are more rock fans buying physical products than fans of other genres of music?

The Library of Congress has selected new music for its National Recording Registry and there certainly is a range. The National Recording Registry is a list of recordings that are“historically, culturally or aesthetically important.”Some of the 2015 selections include Steve Martin's stand-up special A Wild and Crazy Guy, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Joan Baez's self-titled album, the song "Stand By Me" and Sesame Street's "Rubber Duckie."

Go to episode 494

Music News

Much like the bubblegum pop of One Direction and its ilk, K Pop - Korean pop music - remains firmly under the radar for most American music fans over age 15. But don't write this super-shiny Korean export off; according to Spin magazine editor David Bevan, K Pop could have a major impact on the U.S. music industry. Bevan recently visited Korea, and he explains to Jim and Greg how entertainment companies there build K Pop boy and girl groups from the ground up. After training teenage recruits in song craft, choreography and foreign language, companies like YG and JYP form them into multilingual pop products specially designed to target international markets. It's a business model so efficient you can bet struggling American record labels are taking notes.

Go to episode 342

Music News

The end of year numbers are in, and the the music industry has something to celebrate. Sales increased by 3% in 2012, driven mostly by digital music. And, what was long suspected has now been confirmed: Adele has topped the charts two years in a row, making her the first artist in the SoundScan era to do this. 2012's other big winners? Taylor Swift, One Direction, Justin Bieber, and the only act in this year's top 10 to come close to "rock" - Mumford & Sons. At least Jim and Greg can take solace in the fact that vinyl sales were up yet again.

Go to episode 372