Results for Prince

interviews

Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges

Jim and Greg sit down with Texas soul singer Leon Bridges. Leon's debut album, 2015's Coming Home, was drenched in a retro 1960s vibe reminiscent of Sam Cooke. For his sophomore effort, Bridges told Jim and Greg that he didn‘t want to be put in a box stylistically:“I wanted to make something that was reflective of all the styles of R&B that I dig.”Leon’s latest album, Good Thing, takes a complete 180; and marks his transition into an adventurous new sound that's more akin to R&B artists like Prince and D'Angelo.

Go to episode 653

Steve Wynn

In preparation for this week's guest, Steve Wynn, Jim and Greg do a little primer on the Paisley Underground music scene that developed in California in the 1980s. Jim plays a song by one of the seminal bands of this scene, The 3 O'Clock, whose very psychedelic name was inspired by Tom Wolfe's assertion in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" that if one drops acid in the early evening, the high of the trip will occur at 3:00 a.m. The 3 O'Clock was helmed by Michael Quercio, a musician who started as a punk rocker. After discovering psychedelic rock, however, his sound, and his look, began to change. It was Cuercio's affinity for the music of the '60s, as well as the brightly colored paisley clothes, that gave this scene its name. While the name did not do the music justice, the influence of the Paisley Underground on contemporary bands like Oasis and The Secret Machines is undeniable.

It may surprise to listeners who are only familiar with "Walk Like an Egyptian," but The Bangles were also pioneers of the Paisley Underground. Their original sound, with its three- and four-part harmonies and sing-songy melodies, paralleled that of The Mamas and the Papas and The Byrds. Lead singer Susanna Hoffs continues to work in this genre; she and '90s indie pop star Matthew Sweet just released a 1960s covers album featuring songs by The Left Banke, The Beach Boys and The Who.

Greg points out that the Paisley Underground sound was not a homogenous one — in fact, what bonded these bands was a punk sensibility that welcomed other musical styles. Unlike many other punk bands at the time, these acts didn't see why they had to conform to a strict policy of three-minute, Ramones-style songs. And what's more punk rock than non-conformity? One band that went above and beyond its punk and psychedelic influences was The Long Ryders. They took more of a country approach and can be seen as pioneers of the alternative country scene that now houses bands like Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, and The Bottle Rockets.

The Rain Parade is the next Paisley Underground band up for discussion. While the members of The Rain Parade never saw the major label success like their peers in The Bangles or The 3 O'Clock (who were signed to Prince's Paisley Park label), many went on to work on successful projects. David Robeck formed the band Mazzy Star, which had an alternative hit single with "Fade Into You" in 1993 and Matt Piucci went on to work with Crazy Horse. The remaining bandmates reincarnated themselves as Viva Saturn.

Greg plays a song featuring this week's guest, Steve Wynn. His band The Dream Syndicate was a group that both Jim and Greg became fans of in the early '80s. They emerged in LA as one of the pioneers of the Paisley Underground sound. Steve then released a number of solo records and has spent the last few years with his most recent band, The Miracle 3. Steve and his band members, Linda Pitmon, Dave DeCastro and Kirk Swan, joined Jim and Greg for an interview and performance at the Chicago Recording Company.

The Dream Syndicate never made it into the 1990s, but its innovative sound continued to influence artists. While other LA bands at the time, like Black Flag, Social Distortion and Bad Religion, were making post-punk and punk music with a really hard edge, The Dream Syndicate stuck to a swirlier, psychedelic pop sound. For this reason, Jim and Greg explain, no matter how many solo projects he embarks on, our guest will most likely always be remembered as the lead singer of The Dream Syndicate.

After playing a track from Days of Wine and Roses, which Greg calls one of the masterpieces of the Paisley Underground era, our host asks Steve about the chemistry between two guitarists. In this case, Steve's partner in guitar is Kirk Swan, who was in another innovative '80s indie pop band, Dumptruck, Steve responds that the basic formula of guitar, drums, and bass is simple, but never gets old. He points to bands like Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Television as examples.

Jim asks Steve about why he continues on in this business after so many years. As Steve jokes on his website, this new album is one of several“comebacks,”but music is not such an easy life to come back to. After being pegged the“new Springsteen,”Steve and the band had somewhat of a difficult time. He explains how that hurt the band (and indirectly how he hurt Jim one drunken night). Thankfully they both came out on the other side.

Go to episode 21

Mavis Staples

It's not often we get to share a room with a genuine national treasure. Jim and Greg were honored to speak with gospel and soul legend and Civil Rights icon Mavis Staples. (Greg is also the author of Mavis's 2014 biography I'll Take You There). Beginning her career at age eleven as the lead singer of her family band The Staple Singers, Mavis has inspired countless artists over the past half century.

Her father Pops Staples learned guitar at the feet of Charley Patton in Dockery Farms, Mississippi before moving to Chicago. There, he formed The Staple Singers, a gospel vocal group featuring his children – Pervis, Cleotha, Yvonne, and Mavis taking the lead. The combination of Pops's blues guitar, Cleotha's counterpoint, and Mavis's precociously powerful voice launched them into national attention with their 1956 hit "Uncloudy Day." Soon, the Staple Singers were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, often serving as the opening act to Martin Luther King, Jr. (We'll cover that period in more detail in a second episode with Mavis).

The group had its greatest success once it signed to Stax Records and began recording with the famed session musicians in Muscle Shoals, Alabama on hits like "I'll Take You There." That's also when Mavis began her solo career – reluctantly at first, but still going as strong as ever today. Her latest album Livin' on a High Note found her working with songwriters like Nick Cave, tUnE-yArDs, and Neko Case. Mavis offers Jim and Greg an intimate look at growing up on Chicago's South Side, forming the Staple Singers' signature sound, meeting Mahalia Jackson, and collaborating with Curtis Mayfield and Prince.

Go to episode 593
specials

Remembering Prince

Prince Remembered

"Life is just a party, and parties weren't meant to last." Yet the party ended much too soon for music legend Prince, who died on April 21 at the age of 57 at his Paisley Park home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Volumes have been said about the late Prince Rogers Nelson in the past week, but Jim and Greg draw attention to aspects of his music and career that aren't acknowledged enough. Growing out of the Minneapolis funk scene, Prince refused to be boxed into a single genre, fearlessly blending funk, pop, rock, soul, new wave, and R&B to create a sound all his own. He was known as a guitar god, but could really play any instrument he touched and often was the only musician on his recordings. Prince carried on the Marvin Gaye and Al Green tradition in R&B of mixing the sacred and the profane, sex and salvation. On records like The Black Album, he created some of the most lascivious music ever, but at the same time, Jim and Greg argue he showed a deep respect for women. Not only did he mentor and collaborate with up-and-coming female stars, but he also was eager to help out his idols like Chaka Khan and Mavis Staples.

Prince was unafraid to explore psychedelia, especially in the crucial three album run of Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, and Parade in the mid-80s. He spent the rest of his life toiling away at Paisley Park, churning out recording after recording – not without quality control issues. But in the past couple decades, Prince was defined by his unpredictable and often transcendent live performances. Prince was ahead of his time in recognizing the internet as a way to sell music directly to his fans without a label. But his greatest legacy will of course be his music, and his influence on generations of artists is immeasurable.

Go to episode 544

Desert Island Jukebox

Frequently at the end of Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg add songs to the Desert Island Jukebox. This jukebox is filled with tracks that Jim and Greg would take with them if stranded on a desert island. They‘ve posed this same age-old rock question to many of their guests. In this episode you’ll hear the music that these artists say they can't live without:

  • Saul Williams: James Brown, Live at the Olympia
  • Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand: Leonard Cohen, The Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand: Neil Young, "Ohio"
  • Peaches: Prince, Purple Rain
  • Laurent Brancowitz of Phoenix: Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire de Melody Nelson
  • Thomas Mars of Phoenix: D'Angelo, Voodoo
  • Craig Finn of The Hold Steady: The Replacements, "I Will Dare"
  • Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady: American Music Club, Mercury
  • Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: Bob Dylan, Planet Waves
  • Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips: John Lennon, "(Just Like) Starting Over"
Go to episode 213

Record Store Day 2009

The official Record Store Day is April 18, but for Jim, Greg and other hardcore music fans, every day is Record Store Day. To honor the independent record store industry, Jim and Greg speak with Matt Jencik, head buyer at Reckless Records in Chicago, Marc Weinstein, co-founder of Amoeba Music in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and John Kunz, owner and president of Waterloo Records in Austin. These veterans of mom and pop record shops discuss the challenges they face in the wake of the digital music revolution, including exclusivity deals that artists like Prince and AC/DC have made with big box retailers. They also stress the value local retailers have in our communities.

Jim and Greg both have personal relationships with record stores as well as professional ones. During the next segment they recall two indie shops that were important to them and play songs they discovered subsequently. Jim plays "You're So Cool," by The Cyclones, a band he discovered at Pier Platters in Hoboken, NJ. Greg plays, "Temptation" by New Order, a band he fell in love with at Wax Trax in Chicago.

Go to episode 177

Culinary Music

During this episode we also hear from other music-loving chefs from around the country including:

  • Wesley Genovart of Degustation in New York
  • Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's in Chicago
  • Brenda Langton of Spoon River and Café Brenda in Minneapolis
  • Craig Serbousek of Crow and Bette in Seattle
  • Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues in Chicago

To cap off this show, Jim and Greg run through their favorite culinary-inspired songs. All of them are either about food, inspired by food, or simply name foods, and all of them certainly rock.

Go to episode 113
classic album dissections
Purple Rain (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)Purple Rain available on iTunes

Prince Purple Rain

Believe it or not, Prince's blockbuster album Purple Rain turns 30-years-old this month. To mark the occasion, Jim and Greg give Purple Rain the Classic Album Dissection treatment. They talk to former Revolution members Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman about their relationship with Prince and the making of the album. Wendy & Lisa are now a musical duo, and also score music for TV shows like Heroes and Nurse Jackie, which won them an Emmy Award in 2010. But back in 1984, they were part of Prince's first major recording and performing team — Wendy on guitar and Lisa on keyboards. As Jim and Greg explain, it was unique for Prince to be collaborate on this level. The auteur even shared songwriting credits with The Revolution. Jim and Greg also credit Wendy and Lisa with opening Prince up to new music and new sounds.

To cap off their dissection, Jim and Greg talk about two specific songs from Purple Rain. Jim plays "Darling Nikki," one of the only songs on the album written solely by Prince. It was targeted by Tipper Gore and the PMRC for its suggestive lyrics, but Jim sees it as a love/lust story similar to The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood." Greg choses "When Doves Cry." With no bass line, multiple guitar parts and a multi-tracked voice, it's a perfect example of Prince's modern and avant-garde side.

Go to episode 449
Purple Rain (Deluxe)Purple Rain available on iTunes

Prince Purple Rain

It's hard to believe, but Prince's blockbuster album Purple Rain is now celebrating its 25th anniversary. To honor this occasion Jim and Greg conduct a Classic Album Dissection. They talk to former Revolution members Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman about their relationship with Prince and the making of the album. Wendy & Lisa are now a musical duo, and also score music for TV shows like Heroes and Nurse Jackie. But back in 1984, they were part of Prince's recording and performing team — Wendy on guitar and Lisa on keyboards. As Jim and Greg explain, it was unique for Prince to be collaborative. He even shared songwriting credits with The Revolution. Jim and Greg also credit Wendy and Lisa with opening Prince up to new music and new sounds.

To cap off their dissection Jim and Greg talk about two specific songs from Purple Rain. Jim plays "Darling Nikki," one of the only songs on the album written solely by Prince. It was targeted by Tipper Gore and the PMRC for its suggestive lyrics, but Jim sees it as a love/lust story similar to "Norwegian Wood." Greg plays "When Doves Cry." With no bass line, multiple guitar parts and a multi-tracked voice, it's an example of Prince's modern and avant-garde side.

Go to episode 191
reviews
ART OFFICIAL AGEArt Official Age available on iTunes

Prince Art Official Age

More than fifteen years after a dramatic falling out with Warner Bros. Records, Prince and the WB are once again reunited. To celebrate the occasion, The Purple One has released not one, but two full-length studio albums. Jim thinks the first record, Art Official Age, is a bloated, science fiction-tinged concept album that borrows too liberally from artists like Led Zeppelin, Janelle Monae, and even Crosby, Stills and Nash. Fans of Prince will probably love it, but Jim's finds it to be mostly filler from a once brilliant artist: Trash It. Greg disagrees, as he thinks this is some of Prince's best material in 20 years. On Art Official Age, Prince creates a rich, layered world of sound where he's free to embody a variety of eccentric and electric musical personalities. And despite Prince being 56-years old, the album's energy stands up next to contemporary R&B auteurs like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. Greg says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 462
PLECTRUMELECTRUMPlectrumelectrum available on iTunes

3rdeyegirl & Prince Plectrumelectrum

The second Prince album, out the same day as Art Official Age, is Plectrumelectrum, a collaboration between Prince and female funk band 3rdeyegirl. Of Prince's two albums, Jim prefers this one, which features a hard-hitting sound from the band and some fine psychedelic guitar playing from Prince. Although he admits no one's doing any real heavy lifting in terms of innovation, the record is still fun and worth a Try It. Greg concurs. Unlike Art Official Age, Greg feels like Prince is coasting a bit on this record by having picked a backing band that doesn‘t challenge him in any real way. Mediocre songwriting means the songs range from simply OK to good, but nothing’s so bad as not to recommend you Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 462
Piano & a Microphone 1983Piano & a Microphone 1983 available on iTunes

Prince Piano & a Microphone 1983

Prince's estate has released a new album, titled Piano & a Microphone 1983, which aptly describes the sparse quality to the recording. Greg notes that this is a demo, just Prince singing and playing the piano, recorded to a cassette tape in 1983. Greg says that the album is valuable because its a glimpse into Prince's artistic process, recorded on the cusp of his breakthrough album, Purple Rain. He adds that, for a Prince fan, this is“manna from heaven.”Both Jim and Greg agree that the album has a couple of revelatory songs, "Cold Coffee and Cocaine" and a cover of the classic spiritual "Mary Don't You Weep;" but ultimately, Jim wonders whether Prince would have wanted this recording released. Prince is no longer with us, but his extensive vault of unreleased material promises that we'll keep seeing new material from him for a long time.

JimGreg
Go to episode 673
3121

Prince 3121

This week's show begins with a discussion of the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince. The enigmatic musician made news this week when his new album 3121 debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard charts. Hard to believe, but this was Prince's first number-one debut. He has since been dethroned by Atlanta rapper T.I., but it was certainly an impressive comeback for this revolutionary pop icon. Before giving reviews of the album, Jim and Greg discuss other late-career comebacks. In the '90s the Grateful Dead found a new audience with their only Top 40 song, "Touch of Grey." Santana is another artist whose first couple of albums went platinum, but did not find further success until 1999's Supernatural. That album, which paired the guitarist with contemporary pop artists like Rob Thomas, Wyclef Jean and Everlast, sold 15 million copies. Clive Davis tried this same approach with Prince on the album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, but the results were not as, um, fantastic. Other late career successes include Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, and most recently, Mariah Carey. So is 3121 an artistic comeback as well as a commercial one? For Jim, it is not the achievement that Prince's earlier albums were, but still merits a Buy It rating. Greg is not so kind. There are a handful of tracks that are worth sampling, but this critic only suggests you Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 19
PopularPopular available on iTunes

Van Hunt Popular

The first album up for review this week is Popular by soul singer Van Hunt. Jim and Greg both received their review copies, and were excited to talk about the album on the air. Then, they saw a post on Van Hunt's blog. The singer announced that he had been cut from the Blue Note roster and wasn‘t sure if the album would ever see the light of day. Both Jim and Greg agree that this is a shame. Jim admits that Van Hunt isn’t reinventing the wheel, but he borrows from all the right places. He thinks the singer has great style and great taste and loves this record to pieces. Greg calls the album lean and sparse, and says that it will be jarring to most R&B fans. But, he hears more of Van Hunt himself in this album, rather than just Prince and Sly Stone. Both Jim and Greg urge listeners to seek the music out online, and if they could give it a Buy It, they would.

JimGreg
Go to episode 114
A Tribute to Joni MitchellA Tribute to Joni Mitchell available on iTunes

Joni Mitchell & Elvis Costello & James Taylor & Sufjan Stevens & Prince & Caetano Veloso A Tribute to Joni Mitchell

The last album up for review is A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. On this album, tracks penned by the famous songwriter are performed by Prince, Sufjan Stevens, James Taylor and Elvis Costello among them. Greg explains that Joni Mitchell is a difficult artist to cover, and with the exception of singers like Caetano Veloso, many of the artists on this tribute just simply aren't good enough to tackle her work. Jim agrees, noting that all of the artists on the album are on the Nonesuch roster. He predicts that the record would have been stronger if more obscure performers were chosen. Therefore A Tribute to Joni Mitchell gets two Burn Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 79
Planet Earth

Prince Planet Earth

Lastly, Jim and Greg address Planet Earth, Prince's 24th studio album in nearly 30 years. On July 10th, Prince gave away the album as a free cover mount through the national UK paper The Mail on Sunday, stirring considerable controversy in the record industry. Jim and Greg discuss Prince's long disdain for major labels and his history of alternative marketing. Jim notes the sort of "funk-messianism" that precedes each Prince release. However, Planet Earth doesn't seem to offer much promise. Greg finds a decent jazzy ballad here, a good slow jam there, and complete re-write in "The One U Wanna C," but nothing sounds new in Prince's sound. Jim appreciates the old fashioned funk on tracks like "Chelsea Rodgers," but couldn't get past doozies like "Mr. Goodnight," which comes off as Prince imitating Ronald Isley imitating R. Kelly. The album is too inconsistent, so both hosts give Planet Earth a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 86
On the Jungle FloorOn the Jungle Floor available on iTunes

Van Hunt On the Jungle Floor

R&B/soul singer Van Hunt also has a new album out. His 2004 self-titled debut album was very well-received — listeners could hear the funk influences of bands like Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield, as well as the more romantic, slow jams of singers like Marvin Gaye or D'Angelo. (And with a pimp for a father and a nurturing caregiver as a mother, Greg muses, Van Hunt's own family parallels his musical influences'.) On On the Jungle Floor, Van Hunt stretches himself more. He makes the surprising choice to cover "No Sense of Crime," a punk classic by The Stooges. And, fans will hear the influence of yet another R&B/funk idol: Prince. However, both Jim and Greg assert that with this release, the grasshopper has surpassed the master, and rate On the Jungle Floor higher than Prince's new album 3121. It's a Buy It for both critics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 21
Dirty Pictures (Part 1)Dirty Pictures (Part 1) available on iTunes

Low Cut Connie Dirty Pictures (Part 1)

Low Cut Connie is a bar band at its roots. According to Greg, Dirty Pictures (Part 1), their fourth album, is the closest the band has come to "matching the energy of one of [their] stage shows". Jim says that their version of Prince's "Controversy" "make[s] a song that great and a sound that signature their own". He also says that Low Cut Connie is part "bar room shtick, with a lot of melody and a message".

"C'mon, children, rip it up," lead singer Adam Weiner commands on "Revolution Rock ‘n’ Roll", while "Death and Destruction" tells of a world teetering on the brink of disaster. Greg says that Weiner returns to his cabaret roots in "Forever". Both Jim and Greg dig it and give it a Buy Itrating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 599
PopularPopular available on iTunes

Van Hunt Popular

Soul-rocker Van Hunt's album Popular, originally slated for release back in 2008, is finally seeing the light of day. According to Greg, the record is“totally contemporary, and totally of the moment… still.” The album, a stylistic diversion from Van Hunt's previous efforts (Van Hunt [2006] and On the Jungle Floor [2007]), was shelved by Blue Note Records after promotional copies had been distributed to critics. Jim and Greg received copies of the album back then and gave the album an "enthusiastic double Buy It" – despite listeners not being able to purchase the music at the time. Now that Blue Note has given the record a proper release, Jim and Greg revisited the record. Greg calls it a Freudian, avant-garde take on Prince's Dirty Mind. He adds that the record has an“adventurous”blend of sonic elements like the mix of punk with falsetto soul vocals in "Turn My TV On." Jim says the record was ahead of its time in 2008 and still sounds absolutely fresh and current beside "other genre-bending maestros of R&B like Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar." Both Greg and Jim give Popular another double Buy It (and this time you can actually buy it).

JimGreg
Go to episode 614
The Love E.P.The Love EP available on iTunes

Corinne Bailey Rae The Love EP

Pop music is filled with great love songs, and Corinne Bailey Rae picks her favorites to cover on The Love EP. The British singer's last release, The Sea, was her first since the death of her husband. Jim empathizes with Rae, but just doesn't like her vocal performance. It lacks guts and soul. And he also questions her song choices. Jim gives The Love EP a Trash It. Greg finds this review a little harsh. He admits there's nothing dark or emotional about Corinne Bailey Rae, but he hears a new friskiness not on other releases. He loves her takes on songs by Prince, Belly and even Doris Day. Greg recommends listeners Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 268
G I R LG I R L available on iTunes

Pharrell G I R L

For a long time, baby-faced Pharrell Williams was better known as a producer for artists like Jay-Z and his own N.E.R.D. But in 2006 Pharrell stepped out more as a vocalist, releasing a lukewarm solo album and increasing his guest appereances on other artist's tracks. In 2012, two of those tracks, one with Robin Thicke and the other with Daft Punk, launched him to new heights of stardom. And with that momentum, Williams is back with a second solo album. G I R L's slick combination of disco and R&B sounds make the record an instant Try It for Jim. He would‘ve gone Buy It if it weren’t for Pharrell's tired lyrics about women. Greg also sighs at the empty lyrics, adding that Williams should stick with what he does best: producing. His ability to channel dancable rhythms from the likes of Prince and Stevie Wonder is his greatest asset and ultimately the only thing earning G I R L a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 433
Dirty ComputerDirty Computer available on iTunes

Janelle Monáe Dirty Computer

After a five year hiatus, Janelle Monáe has returned with Dirty Computer, an album that Jim calls“a new masterpiece.”He adds that in the past (with 2010's The ArchAndroid and 2013's Electric Lady), "she was playing with afrofuturism and science fiction themes," but Dirty Computer "comes together is a much more organic way as a great pop album." Greg notes that this record strips away her alias, an android named Cindi Mayweather. The result is Janelle at her most personal. Monáe is influenced by Prince, and Greg says in songs like "Make Me Feel"“you can hear it in the way those grooves work. It's a call to action record built for dancing.”Jim and Greg both give the album a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 649
What Were You Hoping For?What Were You Hoping For available on iTunes

Van Hunt What Were You Hoping For

After being cut loose from his major-label deal, singer/songwriter Van Hunt has a new independently released album out called What Were You Hoping For. Jim and Greg received exactly what they were hoping for - a musically inventive album that doesn't fit into one particular genre. Van Hunt is finally free to let his freak flag fly, and fly it does. Jim and Greg compare him to George Clinton and Prince and encourage you to Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 307
The Electric LadyThe Electric Lady available on iTunes

Janelle Monáe The Electric Lady

Janelle Monáe wowed Jim and Greg with her 2010 album The ArchAndroid. Apparently she wowed the likes of Erykah Badu and Prince too, because they are just some of the guest stars on her new release The Electric Lady. But unfortunately, none of these collaborators helped Monáe edit herself. Jim and Greg love tracks like "Givin Em What They Love" and "Dance Apocalyptic," but they also hear some real mistakes. Jim would include some of the non-musical interludes among them. The Electric Lady gets a double Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 407
blackSUMMERS'nightblackSUMMERS'night available on iTunes

Maxwell blackSUMMERS'night

Neo soul artist Maxwell does things his own way and on his own schedule. Over his twenty year career he has put out five albums, sometimes with long periods of time between them. In 2009 he released BLACKsummers'night and announced it as the first of a trilogy. Seven years later, he has finally released part two of that series with the confusingly similar title blackSUMMERS'night. Jim and Greg both say Maxwell's sensitive style on this album is well worth the wait. Greg notes that Maxwell bucks the R&B trend of loading up on guest appearances and star producers. Instead he does it on his own and creates a sound that is unique and complex. And that complexity carries through to the album's“bedroom jams”adding a level of“lyrical density”to the genre. Jim hears echoes of Prince on the album as“gender gets lost in the mix”and notes an overarching respect for love and relationships. blackSUMMERS'night gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 554
Unorthodox JukeboxUnorthodox Jukebox available on iTunes

Bruno Mars Unorthodox Jukebox

Two years ago, Bruno Mars won Jim over with his infectious (and ubiquitous) "Lazy Song." Like its author,“The Lazy Song”was youthful and hard to dislike. Plus, who can resist Bruno's backstory? The pop phenom got his start at age four impersonating Elvis in his hometown of Honolulu before founding top-tier production team The Smeezingtons. Having crafted hits for the likes of Cee Lo Green and Travis McCoy, Bruno released a solo debut, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, in 2011. Late last year we got the follow up, Unorthodox Jukebox. Jim and Greg kick off their review by playing "Gorilla". It's“the stupidest song on the album”according to Greg, though there are some other contenders. Bruno's randy lyrics are nothing to write home about, but even on this record's stinkiest tracks, there are redeeming pop touches - a cool chord progression or a spot-on Prince falsetto. Jim agrees. Bruno Mars may be a lightweight, but his re-workings of Elton John, disco, and Sam Cooke are appealing and melodic. This is appropriation, but it's good appropriation. Unorthodox Jukebox gets a double Burn it.

JimGreg
Go to episode 372
dijs

Jim

“Her Head's Revolving”The Three O'Clock

During his most recent adventure on the desert island, Jim took comfort in a Paisley Underground classic called "Her Head's Revolving" by a band that truly exemplifies the genre. The Three O'Clock* came up in Los Angeles at the start of the 1980's alongside similar sounding groups such as The Dream Syndicate, Green on Red and The Bangles. The band's mix of 1960's psychedelic harmonies and 1980's pop flavor produced a new distinct twist on a classic sound. Lead vocalist Michael Quercio dubbed it“Paisley Underground,”a tribute to the“far out”decade. And none other than Prince took notice.

Go to episode 449

Greg

“Why”Lonnie Mack

Lost in the global media spotlight on Prince's death was the passing of another important musical innovator – guitarist Lonnie Mack, who died at 74 on April 21. Born an Indiana farmboy, Mack inspired generations of artists by blending country, blues, and soul on his famous Flying V guitar. He was one of the first to turn the whammy bar into a true textural instrument. But Greg feels Mack's vocal style is sadly underrated. He was a true soul singer, and Greg calls his recording of "Why" from the 1963 debut album The Wham of That Memphis Man! one of the great vocal performances of the era. Because of that, it's Greg's Desert Island Jukebox selection of the week.

Go to episode 545

Greg

“If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up”Betty Davis

Miles Davis has been on Greg's mind lately, and his revolutionary string of early '70s albums(including Bitches Brew, Live-Evil, and On the Corner) have been fixtures on Greg's turntable for weeks. Miles' rock and funk explorations can be partially credited to (or blamed on, depending on your point of view) his then wife, Betty Davis. She put out her own series of great records after their divorce. For his Desert Island Jukebox pick this week, Greg turns to the first song on Betty Davis' 1973 self-titled debut, "If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up." Betty put together an incredible band of Santana and Sly Stone sidemen (including Larry Graham on bass!), and wrote parts for them that contained more than enough grit and grime to complement her raspy blues roar and bawdy lyrics. Even Prince personally told Greg that he uses this song as a frequent source of inspiration!

Go to episode 379

Jim

“I'm the Toughest Girl Alive”Candye Kane

It has become a sad cliché at this point that 2016 has been a terrible year for losses in the music world. This week, Jim pays tribute to Candye Kane – an artist less famous than Prince or Bowie, but every bit as exceptional. She came out of the Los Angeles punk scene, but wore many hats throughout her life: feminist, porn star, bisexual, fat activist – and big, bold, and brash blues singer. Over dozens of albums, she showcased her power, raunchiness, humor and an unforgettable voice. Kane died on May 6 from pancreatic cancer at age 54. In her honor, Jim nominates her 2000 anthem "I'm the Toughest Girl Alive" for the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 550
lists

Guitar Riffs

Does anything define rock and roll more than its basic element, the guitar riff? Rock solos can be overblown and overrated, but a riff, when done right, can rule a song. It it in many ways, the essence of rock ‘n’ roll. So, inspired by Greg's recent BBC essay, Jim and Greg run through their favorite examples of guitar riffs in rock history, and they hear some picks from listeners across the country. But first, a definition. A riff is a brief statement – sometime only a handful of notes or chords – that recurs throughout the arrangement and can become the song's central hook. And for a guitarist like Nile Rodgers, it's not just a static foundational element, but like a river moving through the song. Now onto the goods.

Go to episode 462

Musical Costumes for Halloween

Sometimes, even musicians feel like“dressing up”and becoming an entirely different artist – if only for one album. To get into the spirit of Halloween, Jim and Greg share some of their favorite examples of musical costumes – artists who musically transform under fake personas.

Go to episode 622

The Best Albums of 2006 (So Far)

While most pop culture mavens wait until the end of the year to tally their favorites, Sound Opinions is so list-crazy, that we've decided to take 2006's half-way mark as an opportunity to take stock. Here are the albums Jim and Greg are loving so far:

Jim DeRogatis:

  1. Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  2. Van Hunt, On the Jungle Floor (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  3. Misson of Burma, The Obliterati (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  4. Wolfmother, Wolfmother (Interscope)
  5. The Bellrays, Have a Little Faith (Cheap Lullaby)
  6. Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Downtown) (hear Jim and Greg's interview with Art Brut)
  7. Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit (Matador) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  8. Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  9. Dilated Peoples, 20/20 (Capitol)
  10. Alejandro Escovedo, The Boxing Mirror (Back Porch Records) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  11. The Flaming Lips, At War with the Mystics (Warner Bros.) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  12. Grandaddy, Just Like the Fambly Cat (V2) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  13. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat (Team Love) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  14. Prince, 3121 (Universal/Motown) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  15. The Raconteurs, Broken Boy Soldiers (V2) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  16. Secret Machines, Ten Silver Drops (Reprise) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  17. The Strokes, First Impressions of Earth (RCA) (hear Greg's original review and interview with Julian Casablancas)
  18. The Subways, Young for Eternity (Sire)
  19. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, Under the Covers Vol. 1 (Shout Factory)
  20. Neil Young, Living with War (Reprise) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)

Greg Kot (in no particular order):

  1. Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll (hear Jim and Greg's interview with Art Brut)
  2. Love is All, Nine Times That Same Song
  3. Ghostface Killah, Fishscale (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  4. Neil Young, Living With War (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  5. Dirty on Purpose, Hallelujah Sirens
  6. Parts and Labor, Stay Afraid
  7. Alejandro Escovedo, The Boxing Mirror (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  8. Mission of Burma, The Obliterati (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  9. Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  10. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Rabbit Furcoat (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  11. Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  12. Anthony Hamilton, Ain‘t Nobody Worryin’ (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  13. Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  14. Midlake, The Trials of Van Occupanther
  15. Van Hunt, On the Jungle Floor (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
Go to episode 31

Guitar Riffs

Does anything define rock and roll more than its basic element, the guitar riff? Rock solos can be overblown and overrated, but a riff, when done right, can rule a song. In many ways, it's the essence of rock ‘n’ roll. Jim and Greg run through their favorite examples of guitar riffs in rock history, and they hear some picks from listeners across the country. But first, a definition. A riff is a brief statement – sometime only a handful of notes or chords – that recurs throughout the arrangement and can become the song's central hook. And for a guitarist like Nile Rodgers, it's not just a static foundational element, but like a river moving through the song. Now onto the goods.

Go to episode 596

Favorite Culinary-Inspired Songs

To cap off this show, Jim and Greg run through their favorite culinary-inspired songs. All of them are either about food, inspired by food, or simply name foods, and all of them certainly rock.

Go to episode 187

Turkey Shoot 2015

It's time for the annual Sound Opinions Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot! Each year, Jim and Greg serve up their biggest musical turkeys of the year with a hefty glob of cranberry sauce. They share the albums that they had high hopes for, but ended up letting them down.

Go to episode 521
news

Music News

Jim and Greg begin the show by discussing two of the oddest news stories to pop up in a while. And both speak to people's paranoia about music“ownership.”The first news item involves record industry enemy #1: 18-month old Holden Lenz from rural Pennsylvania. His parents uploaded his free-form dance performance to YouTube to share with friends and family, but unfortunately the song Baby Lenz was dancing to is none other than Prince's 1984 copyrighted classic "Let's Go Crazy." In the past couple of years Prince has made it clear that he doesn‘t support anyone enjoying his songs for free — whether it’s an illegal downloader or a bouncing baby boy. So, Universal Music, Prince's label has demanded the content be removed from YouTube, and now there's flurry of legal activity from both parties. Jim and Greg are simply baffled.

The other bit of news that caught our hosts' eyes is a press release put out by the heavy-metal band W.A.S.P. If you remember W.A.S.P. at all, you remember them from their role in Tipper Gore's PMRC campaign against explicit music. But, more likely you have no idea who W.A.S.P. is and have no interest in recording their live music to make a profit. Well, the band isn‘t taking any chances and have notified fans that they will not only confiscate digital cameras and video recorders, but also cell phones with cameras. So, with no lighters, and no cell phones, how’s a fan supposed to salute a great performance?

Go to episode 101

Music News

Prince has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to distribution, but now he is joining the ranks of musicians who have made deals with big box merchandisers. His new three-disc collection will be sold exclusively at Target later this month for just $11.98. Previously he tried to deliver an album through The Daily Mail and also bundled wtih concert tickets. No Doubt is following suit. They are offering the band's entire catalog for free along with the purchase of a concert ticket. Seems like a pretty good deal for consumers, but may not be as good of a deal to independent retailers.

Go to episode 171

Music News

The hype of Beyoncé's Lemonade has effectively swept the nation–all 12 tracks rank among the Billboard Hot 100, the phrase ‘good hair’ will never again be used so nonchalantly, and the singer has become the first act to not only reach #1 with her first six studio albums, but also debut at that top spot.

As we've said before, death is always a good career move. And Prince is also having a good sales week. While it remains to be seen who will benefit from such sales, five Prince albums–including some "Greatest Hits"– rank among the top 10. This feat hasn't been achived since 1963. While Jim and Greg understand the outpouring of affection for the Minneapolis singer, they aren't sure why fans need to own multiple copies of "Kiss."

Dweezil and Frank Guitarist Dweezil Zappa, son of rock legend Frank, has made changes to the name of his current tour "Zappa plays Zappa" to avoid a $150,000 lawsuit threatened against him by his siblings. Since Frank's widow Gail Zappa died in October, two of the four Zappa children, Ahmet and Diva, control the Zappa Family Trust. It was this trust that informed Dweezil he did not have the permission to tour under his act's former name. So, he's being forced to tour as "Dweezil Zappa plays Frank Zappa." Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?

Go to episode 545

Music News

First up in the news, Jim and Greg discuss the murder trial of famed producer Phil Spector. Spector was found guilty of shooting actress Lana Clarkson six years ago. This was the second trial for the man behind the sounds of The Beatles, The Righteous Brothers and The Ronettes. While the first jury was deadlocked, this one handed Spector a conviction that will lead to a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Jim and Greg have been following the debates in France concerning internet piracy with some interest. The French parliament recently defeated a highly anticipated bill that would have given users caught illegally downloading files two strikes before disconnecting them from the internet entirely. A re-vote is scheduled for later this month. Back in the states, President Obama tapped Recording Industry Association of America attorney Ian Gershengorn to join the Department of Justice's Civil Division. This is the fifth RIAA attorney to join the DOJ–not a promising precedent for file-sharing proponents.

While most of us are spending more modestly in today's economy, some Prince fans will be shelling out $2,100 for his limited edition Opus iPod. For that price, 950 devoted fans will get purple touch iPods loaded with live tracks and a 40 minute movie. Sounds absurd, but Jim and Greg agree that there is a market for high end, specialty items like this one. Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead had luck with their box sets last year, and Pearl Jam recently released a deluxe reissue of Ten.

Go to episode 177

Music News

Jim and Greg start off the news segment by discussing Police drummer Stewart Copeland's blog posting about the band's first reunion gig. Despite critical praise, Copeland was dissatisfied by their performance to say the least. Jim and Greg wonder how dissatisfied fans were, especially those who dropped hundreds of dollars to see Copeland, Sting and Andy Summers.

Of course, the men of the Police aren't the only musicians requesting big bucks this summer. An East Hampton concert series called Social is asking fans to pay $15,000 to see five shows by Prince, Tom Petty, Dave Matthews, Billy Joel and James Taylor. Audience members will be treated to celebrity chefs, art displays and Moroccan pillows rather than the usual uncomfortable stadium seating. This elitist trend in music is disheartening to Jim and Greg, and they wish more consumers would react as people in Italy recently did. After charging between $200 and $1200 for tickets to a show in Rome, singer Barbra Streisand received protests from Italian consumer groups. She recently had to cancel this show, though her camp has not admitted the protests were a cause.

The band Wilco is making news for more than just appearing on Sound Opinions. The Chicago rock group struck a deal with Volkswagen to allow the car company to use its music in a new series of ads. This practice is becoming more and more frequent as bands have fewer and fewer options to get their music heard, but Wilco is one of the last bands Jim, Greg and their fans expected to“sell out.”But, what makes this marketing strategy unique is that VW will feature not just one, but six different Wilco songs in six different ads. The commercials will be released almost like singles, making them as much ads for Wilco as they are for the cars. The band has already received its fair share of criticism, but thankfully they've got family on their side.

Go to episode 80

Music News

Jim and Greg discussed the great Kanye West/50 Cent sales battle a couple of weeks ago, and this week the results are in. Kanye took it in a landslide with a #1 spot on the Billboard charts and a whopping 957,000 copies sold. Kanye's album Graduation is the biggest selling album so far this year and is the 15th biggest sales frame since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. 50 Cent's album Curtis only sold 691,000 in the first week, though for a hip hop debut that's nothing to scoff at. As Jim and Greg note, no one should shed a tear for 50 Cent. On Forbes' list of the biggest earning hip hop stars, Fiddy holds the #2 spot behind mogul Jay-Z. So, despite this recent loss, 50 Cent is laughing "Straight to the Bank."

If you've been surfing YouTube recently, you may have noticed Trent Reznor's call for more stealing. The man behind Nine Inch Nails is fed up with his record company's decision to hike prices for his album Year Zero and he let his grievances be known at an Australian concert. While he doesn't legally have the authority to give his music away, he does have a point; HMV in Australia is selling Year Zero for AU $32.99, which converts to about $28 in the States. That's definitely more than a music fan should have to pay for an album, especially one that utilized a web-based marketing campaign.

And while one musician embraces the web, another does not. Pop icon Prince plans to sue YouTube and other major web sites for unauthorized use of his music in a bid to“reclaim his art on the Internet.”In a recent statement his representative wrote:“YouTube … are clearly able (to) filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success.”Prince obviously doesn‘t need to use the web to build a fan base, but to Sound Opinions H.Q., he’s beginning to sound like a cranky old man.

Also in the news is the death of longtime James Brown collaborator Bobby Byrd at the age of 73. One of the chief architects of Brown's trademark sound, Byrd is often referred to as“The Godfather of Soul's Godfather.”You can hear his contribution in tons of early Brown tracks. In fact, the repeating phrase“Get on up,”on "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" was sung by Byrd. Byrd also had a successful solo career, and as Greg explains, his music can be heard sampled in countless late early hip hop songs. To pay honor to the soul/funk/R&B legend, Jim and Greg play his song, "I Know You Got Soul."

Jim and Greg speak with John Jurgensen, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. John recently wrote an article about how US visa procedures are squelching a British pop invasion. Artists like Lily Allen, M.I.A. and recent Mercury Prize winners The Klaxons have had to cancel tour dates and postpone recording sessions due to difficulties obtaining visas. John explains that this is partly due to Homeland Security crackdowns, which now mandate that artists themselves have to go to an embassy in person for fingerprinting and a retinal scan. John also says that artists have to prove that that they are legitimate,“internationally recognizable”acts. Jim and Greg wonder just how much more legit you have to be if Mercury Prize winners are getting hassled. The three reporters understand that these procedures are in place not just to protect Americans from danger but also from a loss of jobs, but unlike in the agriculture and technology industries, you can't sub one musician for another. And a loss of jobs and tour dates for one singer means the loss of many for the hundreds and thousands of promoters, roadies, sound engineers and teamsters here in the States.

Go to episode 95

Music News

This week marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Parents Music Resource Center-inspired Senate hearings in 1985. The PMRC, co-founded by Tipper Gore and Susan Baker, was pushing Congress to clamp down on songs with questionable lyrics because it claimed the music was having an adverse effect on America's youth. But there to testify eloquently in defense of free speech was the unlikely trio of Frank Zappa, John Denver, and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. The PMRC hearings led to the ubiquitous Parental Advisory stickers that many CDs were forced to carry. Some retailers would refuse to stock any CDs that had the labels, which was a major concern in the pre-Internet era when access to music was more restricted. The PMRC even issued a "Filthy Fifteen" list of particularly objectionable songs, including tracks by Prince, Mötley Crüe, and even Cyndi Lauper.

Win Butler, lead singer of Arcade Fire, has spoken out against the poorly managed launch of the Tidal streaming service – despite being one of its celebrity investors. He still defends the concept of offering HD-quality streaming, but blames Tidal's struggles on the major labels insisting on a $20 per month fee, twice the cost of Spotify. But Greg and Jim wonder if Butler should be concerned with cleaning his own house first. Despite being signed to the respected indie Merge, Arcade Fire still has deals with major labels for distribution and promotion.

Go to episode 513

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.

Go to episode 118

Music News

In the week's most unexpected news, Prince has reconciled with Warner Music after a two-decade split. Fans may remember their public kerfuffle in 1996, when the star scrawled "SLAVE" across his face, changed his name to the unpronounceable Love Symbol, and otherwise acted out until the label released him from his contract. But independence wasn't quite the salvation Prince expected, and his album sales faltered. Now Prince has the promotional power of Warner Bros. back on his side. Plus, he regains control over his catalog, just in time to reissue a 30th-anniversary edition of Purple Rain. It's a shrewd business move—or, as Jim suggests, maybe a form of Stockholm syndrome.

Over the years, Sound Opinions has witnessed endless battles over pop music piracy, from the Pirate Bay to Limewire to the aforementioned Purple One. Now digital theft has spread to the theatre. Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz and other prominent Broadway writers have learned that thousands of fans are downloading their sheet music illegally, thus keeping them from thousands of royalty dollars. But instead of rushing to file copyright lawsuits (à la the RIAA and so many record labels), the composers have taken a more compassionate route, emailing downloaders one-by-one to let them know how piracy hurts them. To that, Jim and Greg cheer: "Bravissimo!"

Go to episode 439

Music News

First up in the news is the Future of Music Coalitions' report on the state of indie airplay on commercial radio stations. In 2007, after controversies surrounding payola, the FCC and four major radio corporations signed a voluntary agreement to air more local and independent artists. The FMC has been keeping tabs on how they're doing, and the stats are not good. Just as before, 85% of music on the radio comes from major labels. This may have been the conservative and profitable way to go for radio conglomerations in the past, but as the major label system crumbles, it would behoove radio to walk on the wild side a little more.

Following in the esteemed footsteps of Prince and No Doubt, Coldplay will give away a free live album with the purchase of a ticket to their Viva La Vida tour. Jim and Greg are always encouraged to see musicians try to give consumers a little more bang for your buck, especially since Coldplay tickets are not nearly as expensive as a lot of summer shows.

In other concert industry news, one group that isn't holding back spending in this economy is the corporate sponsor. According to IEG Sponsorship Report, sponsorships will hit an all-time high in 2009. Companies like JC Penney, Clorox and KC Masterpiece want to cash in on big name music acts. After seeing the Virgin Mobile-sponsored Britney Spears show recently, Jim and Greg wonder if these are such wise investments though. And, they shudder to think of the corporate presence at the upcoming Woodstock reunion.

Go to episode 180

Music News

While more visual spectacle than musical, the MTV Video Music Awards have come and gone again, and what's most interesting is what didn't happen, rather than what did. And by“what”we mean controvery. After the Parents Television Council urged MTV to avoid a repeat of last year's Miley Cyrus twerk-fest, the watchdog group announced that they were mostly pleased with the more family-friendly content. But, the PTC did express concerns about the way women were portrayed. Guess they missed Sofia Vergara's Emmy posing.

And there were still some naked performances…Deadspin released the isolated vocals from both Taylor Swift and Beyonce's appearances. They added a spectrum analysis layer to show how well each singer stayed on pitch. Beyonce fared better, but Jim can sympethize with Miss Swift; only a capella singers sound great without musicians.

bush

Also making news, music fans around the world are celebrating the comeback of the great British singer Kate Bush. After 35 years being offstage, she received an enthusiastic response after announcing "Before the Dawn," a run of 22 shows, which sold out in 15 minutes! Fans (some say including Madonna, Lily Allen and Bjork) watched as Bush opened the first show at London's Hammersmith Apollo with "Lily," from the 1993 album Red Shoes. Bush says she was encouraged to return to performing by her son, Bertie. The show was incredibly elaborate and theatrical- hopefully not too exhausting for Kate.

We also say welcome back to Prince and his longtime frenemy Warner Bros Records. His Purple Majesty will release two new albums at the end of September, marking the end of one of the longest-running employment disputes in musical history. Prince fell out with the label in the early 1990's, prompting him to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol and appear in public with the word“slave”across his face. Now he plans to release two albums: Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum with his all-female band, 3rd Eye Girl.

Rounding out the news, Jim and Greg discuss the idea of the perfect length for a pop song. Long ago technology dictated the length of a tune. A 78 vinyl record came in two sizes—a 10-inch that held 3 minutes of music and a 12-inch that held 4. Midway through the rock ‘n’ roll era, songs like "Stairway to Heaven" blew out those conventions. And certainly, with the digital music revolution, all bets should be off, right? Not so. Brevity is the soul of Top 40. And a radio station in Calgary, Alberta is taking that philosophy to the extreme. 90.3 AMP is telling listeners they will no get“twice the music.”In fact, they'll hear half a song. The station will be editing its plays in order to keep listeners from getting bored. In effect, this is the 140 character limit of music.

We don‘t endorse this approach, but here’s our own celebration of "Short but Sweet" tracks

Go to episode 457

Music News

Adele continues down her path of superstardom by scoring the biggest recording deal in the history of music. After three albums on the British indie label XL, Adele has signed a deal with Sony for around $132 million. She will be on the conglomerate's subsidiary label, Columbia, alongside artists like Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan and John Mayer. In the mid '90s and early 2000s, musicians like Prince, R.E.M. and U2 were signing massive recording deals. However in 2016, substantial contracts are much harder to come by due to the large decrease in album sales. Adele seems to be the exception to the rule, which is reflected in her new, record-breaking contract.

Go to episode 548

Music News

Jim and Greg have resisted talking about American Idol for quite a while, but this week this pop culture phenomenon couldn‘t be ignored. While these critics still don’t care about the musical impact of the show, they can't deny its significance in the industry. An average of 25 million people tuned in each week to see who would be declared the American Idol, commanding advertising rates that are only exceeded by the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. For the music industry, this means major sales. Past contestants like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken have sold 33 million records, and songs that appear on the show in any form immediately take off on the charts. Labels have taken note, sending aging artists like Rod Stewart, Queen and Barry Manilow, as well as fresher faces like Shakira, Mary J. Blige and Prince, to appear on the show. As much as both our hosts hope that audiences will decide to turn the dial toward something of better musical quality, Greg predicts that hipper acts in need of promotion will soon be calling up Fox. And until then, fans can look forward to much of the same.

Fans who purchased Sony CDs by artists like The Foo Fighters, The Coral, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra can rest easy. While those CDs may have infected your computer with a virus-like anti-piracy software called MediaMax, a judge has ordered Sony to make up for it. Every customer infected with the software will receive a cash payment of $7.50 and one free album download or three free song downloads. Whoever claims that the record industry doesn'y care about the consumer obviously missed this news.

Rumor has it that Sri Lanka-born, England-based rapper M.I.A. is being denied a visa to come to the United States. M.I.A., or Maya Arulpragasam, has plans to record with producer Timbaland, but may have to postpone them. Whether or not the denial is related to the fact that she is the daughter of a Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebel, or the fact that many of her song lyrics are overtly political, is not known. What is known, however, is what a raw deal this is. While M.I.A., who has received masses of critical acclaim and was up for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2005, will not be gracing Americans with her presence, our own Snoop Dogg has recently been barred from the U.K. Sound Opinions is willing to enter into diplomatic negotiations to work this out.

Go to episode 26