Rush & Opinions on Kanye West

Rush

Famous for its instrumental virtuosity and heady, sci-fi influenced lyrics, the Canadian prog-rock trio Rush has amassed an obsessive cult following. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush join hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot to discuss the band’s remarkable 40-year career. Then they review the latest album from polarizing rapper Kanye West.

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Last Friday a New York judge denied a motion proposed by singer-songwriter Kesha Rose Sebert–known widely as Kesha–that her 10-year contract with Sony Music be dismissed. Kesha claimed her producer, Lukasz Dr. Luke Gottwald physically, sexually and emotionally abused her, and she wished to record music outside her current label. Gottwald has denied these allegations. Upon the judge’s ruling that the contract remain valid, scores of fans as well as music superstars took to social media to post the rallying cry #FreeKesha. Taylor Swift even donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time. The case is ongoing, and the fight is sure to be a difficult one for Kesha. The music industry has a long history of musicians on the losing end of battles to break free from their contracts.

Kesha

Gwen Stefani’s Make Me Like You live music video that aired during the Grammy Awards is being regarded as a watershed moment in music marketing. In a four-minute commercial break sponsored by Target, which invested roughly $12 million into the performance. Stefani performed alongside 40 performers on 11 different sets, cycling through 7 separate costumes, all live. In the midst of live-TV-event-mania (e.g. Grease: Live, The Wiz Live!), it’s possible this trend will carry over beyond Stefani’s performance to the rest of the music world and future album promotions. Greg will be watching to see if this exposure does good things for Stefani’s album, This is What the Truth Feels Like, when it drops March 18.

Rush

rush

Jim gets to unleash his inner thirteen-year-old this week as he and Greg sit down with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of the Canadian prog-rock legends Rush. All three members of Rush are known for their ridiculous virtuosity on their instruments – drum god Neil Peart, Lifeson on guitar, and Geddy Lee, who manages to play bass and synths and sing simultaneously. Lee and Lifeson met in junior high in Ontario and released a couple hard rock albums with drummer John Rutsey in the early ‘70s. But the band really hit its stride when Rutsey was replaced by Neil Peart, who also became the primary lyricist. They began crafting epic progressive rock concept albums like 2112 and Hemispheres featuring side-length sci-fi suites. The albums Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures brought Rush radio hits in the early ‘80s, and the band moved into a synth-driven phase. Over the ensuing decades, Rush has continued to evolve its sound and adapt to new styles, while growing a cult fanbase that is intense to say the least. The band just celebrated its 40th anniversary with a tour and live album called R40 Live. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson discuss the band’s evolving styles, the existence of female Rush fans, and whether the band will continue.

The Life of Pablo Kanye West

Kanye

Recently, rapper Kanye West released his highly anticipated follow-up to 2013’s Yeezus. It’s called The Life of Pablo (well, sort of). After a large-scale fashion show and album presentation at Madison Square Garden, West decided that the record wasn’t quite ready to be formally released yet. It’s still not available to purchase, but can be streamed on TIDAL and has been illegally downloaded over 500,000 times. This controversial new record pairs perfectly with West’s recent antics, Twitter tirades and confusing outbursts. Jim’s biggest problem with T.L.O.P. is its misogynistic lyrics - nothing new in hip-hop, but a new low for West. Jim adds, it’s a shame because the music is fantastic. He gives it a non-enthusiastic Try It. Greg largely agrees, finding Kanye’s disdain towards past romantic and business relationships to be petty and old news. Music-wise, he thinks there are just too many tracks on The Life of Pablo and wishes he had edited more diligently. He gives it a Trash It.

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