Winter 2008 Review Roundup

It’s been 25 years since fans first purchased Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Now the King of Pop has released a special edition of the landmark album, and Jim and Greg will tell you whether or not to shell out your dough a second time around. They’ll also review the latest from Jackson’s sister Janet, as well as Erykah Badu, Black Mountain and Sia.

Thriller 25
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Music News

This week music lost one of its great producers: Teo Macero. Macero is responsible for the inventive recordings of jazz great Miles Davis. Before Macero came along Davis would record what was essentially a live jazz performance. But, Macero introduced the idea of using the studio as a tool to extensively edit extended jam sessions with Davis and his fellow musicians. Artists like Radiohead and Prince are still emulating this style of recording today. To pay tribute to Teo Macero Jim and Greg play Black Satin, from Miles Davis’ On the Corner Sessions.

Thriller Michael Jackson

Thriller (25th Anniversary)

This season’s big records are starting to be released, beginning with the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest selling albums of all time: Thriller. Michael Jackson is the latest artist to try to re-market his music to a new generation. So in addition to the original album, listeners also get remixes of his hits with artists like Will.I.Am and Kanye West. It’s an interesting concept, but neither Jim nor Greg think that any of the remixes are successful. They also agree that while Thriller is a classic, it’s not even Jackson’s best album. They give Thriller 25 a Trash It.

Discipline Janet Jackson

Discipline

Onto the next Jackson...Janet also has a new album out called Discipline. After listening to the S&M-inspired title track, Greg explains Janet appears to be erotica-obsessed on the entire album. He thinks she’s become more and more one-dimensional over the last decade and wouldn’t recommend anyone purchase this latest effort. Jim agrees. He doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with an adult woman exploring her sexuality, but Janet’s exploration is overdone and sad. Discipline gets two stern Trash Its.

This Gift Sons and Daughters

This Gift

Next up is This Gift, the second full-length album from Sons and Daughters. The Scottish quartet first gained attention after opening up for fellow Domino artists Franz Ferdinand. Now, with the help of producer Bernard Butler, they’ve really come into their own. Singer Adele Bethel has been moved into the position of front woman, and the updated roots sound, influenced by X, has a more pop sensibility. Jim and Greg agree that each track is a hook-filled winner. They give This Gift two Buy Its.

Some People Have Real Problems Sia

Some People Have Real Problems

After releasing albums by Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan, StarbucksHear Music label is finally putting out music by someone under 40. Sia is an Australian singer/songwriter who made a name for herself by appearing on various TV soundtracks and providing vocals to groups like Zero 7. Now she’s released her third album Some People Have Real Problems. Greg is very impressed by the artist’s soulful singing, but he has major problems with her songwriting. He describes the record as a boring, overproduced, tarted-up pop record with one of the worst covers he’s ever seen. He gives the music and the art a Trash It. Jim completely disagrees and can’t believe that a Feist fan wouldn’t get Sia. He finds her lyrics to be filled with smart social commentary and gives it a Buy It.

New AmErykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War Erykah Badu

New Amerykah, Pt. 1 (4th World War)

Ever since 2000’s Mama’s Gun, Erykah Badu fans have been waiting for a follow-up. Jim and Greg are included in that anticipatory group. She’s finally back with New AmErykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War, but Jim and Greg warn that listeners should not expect the same sound. Badu has taken neo-soul to an even more neo level. Greg describes it as a murky, psychedelic sound that owes as much to Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock as it does traditional soul artists. While it’s not an easy listen, it’s worth your effort according to Greg. Jim asks the listener to imagine Badu jamming with George Clinton, Curtis Mayfield and a psychedelic band somewhere in New Orleans. If that sounds like something you’d like to hear, both hosts urge you to Buy It.

In the Future Black Mountain

In the Future

The final album up for debate this week is In the Future from stoner rockers Black Mountain. Jim and Greg describe the genre as something you either get or you don’t. So if you’re the type of listener to get down to the heavy, psychedelic metal sounds of bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu, you’ll find this record to be pure, headbanging joy...at least according to Jim. Greg is also a fan, but he’s impressed with how smart the band is and how relevant their lyrics are. Whether or not you choose to pay attention to the lyrics, both critics recommend that you Buy It.

Jim

While Jim was home sick last week he gave some thought to great songs about fevers. He came up with Burning For You, by Blue Öyster Cult and decided to add it to the Desert Island Jukebox this week. Jim describes Blue Öyster Cult as the thinking man’s heavy metal band of the ‘70s. In fact, the lyrics to this song were written by rock critic Richard Meltzer. There are a number of interpretations, but for Jim it was the perfect antidote to his ills.

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