Thriller 25

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.

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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.

reviewThriller (25th Anniversary) [Deluxe Edition]Thriller 25 available on iTunes

Michael Jackson Thriller 25

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.

reviewDisciplineDiscipline available on iTunes

Janet 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.

reviewThis GiftThis Gift available on iTunes

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.

reviewSome People Have Real ProblemsSome People Have Real Problems available on iTunes

Sia Some People Have Real Problems

After releasing albums by Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan, Starbucks' Hear 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.

reviewNew Amerykah, Pt. 1 (4th World War)New AmErykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War available on iTunes

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.

reviewIn the FutureIn the Future available on iTunes

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.



“Burning For You”Blue Öyster Cult

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.

Featured Songs

  1. Miles Davis,“On the Corner,”The Complete On the Corner Sessions, 2007
  2. Miles Davis,“Black Satin,”The Complete On the Corner Sessions, 2007
  3. Michael Jackson,“Beat it,”Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition, 2008
  4. Michael Jackson,“Billie Jean,”Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition, 2008
  5. Janet Jackson,“Discipline,”Discipline, 2008
  6. Kinski,“Semaphore,”Airs Above Your Station, 2003
  7. Sons and Daughters,“This Gift,”This Gift, 2008
  8. Sons and Daughters,“Gilt Complex,”This Gift, 2008
  9. Sia,“Little Black Sandals,”Some People Have Real Problems, 2008
  10. Sia,“Academia,”Some People Have Real Problems, 2008
  11. El Guincho, Fata Morgana, Alegranza, 2008Erykah Badu,“Amerykahn Promise,”New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War, 2008
  12. Erykah Badu, The Healer, New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War, 2008
  13. Black Mountain,“Stormy High,”In the Future, 2008
  14. Black Mountain,“Tyrants,”In the Future, 2008
  15. Blue Öyster Cult,“Burnin' For You,”Fire of Unknown Origin, 1981
  16. Electric Light Orchestra,“Telephone Line,”A New World Record, 1976
  17. The Beatles,“Here, There and Everywhere,”Revolver, 1966
  18. Greg Sage,“Return of the Rat,”Hype! 1996

Footnotes Teo Macero's obituary in the New York Times Miles Davis's homepage“Black Satin”on Miles Davis' On the Corner Sessions on Amazon Thriller on Wikipedia Michael Jackson's homepage Michael Jackson (Feat. Kanye West) – "Billie Jean '08″ Greg on the Jackson siblings' comebacks Discipline on Metacritic Janet Jackson's homepage Jim on Discipline This Gift on Metacritic Sons and Daughters' homepage Franz Ferdinand's homepage Bernard Butler on MySpace Paul McCartney's homepage Bob Dylan's homepage Sia's homepage Some People Have Real Problems on Wikipedia Jim on Sia Erykah Badu's homepage New AmErykah Pt. 1 (4th World War) on Metacritic Greg on New AmErykah Pt. 1 (4th World War) In the Future album information Black Mountain's homepage Fu Manchu's homepage Blue Öyster Cult's homepage“Burnin' for You”lyrics Interview with Richard Meltzer