Friday, November 30, 2012

Thriller at 30

Well, Bad gets a Documentary, but let's not forget that Thriller was released 30 years ago today.
A few things to remember about this incredible album:

The first single was "The Girl Is Mine", not a great duet with Paul McCartney.  And the album was just hanging out on the charts until the next single "Billie Jean" was released.  And then all Hell broke loose.

There are 9 songs on it and 7 were released as singles.  The 2 that weren't, "Baby Be Mine" which ended up as the B-side on Bad's first single, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You".
The other, "Lady In My Life" turned out to be a Quiet Storm classic and covered by quite a few artists.  Both were written by the overlooked  Rod Temperton, who also wrote "Thriller", and was a member of Heatwave.  And wrote their biggest hits.

There are some who will tell you that Off The Wall was better, but Thriller had the better timing. The Industry needed something like this.  The blockbuster was born.   It was a cultural milestone.

But more importantly, it was a great album.  Every music fan should own it.  And probably does.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

X Factor vs. The Voice

Okay, the X Factor is a train wreck this year.  The Voice?  Not a train wreck, but in its 3rd year it has yet to product one star.  The jury is out on season 3, but I'm doubtful.

The difference between the two?  On The Voice the contestants are at least singing songs that aren't too obvious.

On the X Factor it's all Whitney, Mariah and every other overplayed song you can think of.
The nadir was when the so-called "Rocker" sang "God Bless the USA" on a show about who their heroes were.

Another?  The judges.  While the Voice judges are annoyingly nice, the X Factor is full of bad advice from the likes of a Demi Lovato, a spineless Simon Cowell, a bored Britney Spears and an invisible LA Reid.
Let's face it, Demi and Britney were a disaster this year.

Fox is bringing back the X Factor next year, although I don't know why.  Guess the youth demographics are good.  The Voice is also coming back, and is now on a twice a year cycle.  

Oh, and I forgot about American Idol, which had a horrible year. But is already making headlines with the annoying Nicki Minaj added as a judge.

Why do I keep watching these things?

Top TV Themes Poll

Latest Poll.  This one ranking picking Top 30 TV Themes.  Very hard, of course.  And none are recent.
But if I could have just expanded it to 50 more modern ones would have made it.

1.  Mission Impossible
2.  Hawaii - 5-0
3.  Andy Griffith Show
4.  Twilight Zone
5.  Peter Gunn
6.  Sesame Street
7.  Rockford Files
8.  Addams Family
9.  Batman (1966)
10. Sopranos
11. MASH
12. I Love Lucy
13. Star Trek
14. Partridge Family
15. Jeffersons
16. Monkees
17. Cheers
18. Happy Days
19. All In The Family
20. Miami Vice
21. Hill Street Blues
22. WKRP In Cincinnati  
23. Courtship of Eddie's Father
24. Barnaby Jones
25. Sanford & Son
26. Spider-Man  (1967)
27. Greatest American Hero
28. Brady Bunch
29. Theme From SWAT 
30. Welcome Back Kotter

Monday, November 26, 2012

Playlist for 11/26

Just a reminder about these Playlists:
These are albums I've listened to:  some I like, some I don't.  But whatever gets played gets listed.

Aerosmith - Music from Another Dimension
Mountain Goats -Transcendtal Youth
David Ware - Surrender
Terry Callier - What Color Is Love
Jens Lekman -I Know What Love Isn't
Paul Carrack - Good Feeling
Go Go's - Talk Show

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Now 44

People remain puzzled how these Now series of singles compilations continue to sell.  But remember that having a smattering of Itunes downloads on your computer/phone is not the same as having them all in one nifty place.

Other than that, even I'm amazed in this instant Itunes download era that people still buy these, and I still believe the main reason why is they sell to impulse buyers.  Especially the ones who shop Target and Wal-Mart.

Anyway, I'm now bought all 44 of these.  I hope they make it to 50.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Best James Bond Songs

The latest James Bond film, Skyfall, is really good.  And when it was released a bunch of articles came up online about what are the best Bond songs.
You might be surprised to hear this:  but there aren't that many great ones.  The great ones do standout and set the template for many others to follow, but many are just passable at best.

So here are my 10  favorite James Bond songs:

1.  Shirley Bassey - Goldfinger  (set the mark for all others)
2.  Paul McCartney & Wings - Live and Let Die  (then this set if for the next couple of decades)
3.  Duran Duran - View To A Kill (forgettable movie, great song + only Bond song to go to #1)
4.  Carly Simon - Nobody Does It Better (from Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore's best Bond film)
5.  Sheena Easton - For Your Eyes Only  (Adult Contemporary Bond)
6.  Nancy Sinatra - You Only Live Twice  (I think this has grown on me the most over the years)
7.  Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever  (not as good as "Goldfinger", but what is?)
8.  Tom Jones - Thunderball  (Bond + Tom Jones = almost but not quite great theme song)
9.  Matt Munro - From Russia With Love  (crooner Bond)
10.  Adele - Skyfall (might be too new to judge, but better than the below Honorable Mentions)

Honorable Mentions:                                                                                                                                   Gladys Knight - License to Kill (dud Timothy Dalton Bond, and the music is badly dated, but Gladys is in top form)

Garbage - World Is Not Enough (More Brosnan Bond, this one has many fans.  Better than the Madonna one)

Monday, November 19, 2012

AC/DC On Itunes

I see where AC/DC has finally given up and are now carrying all their albums on Itunes.
One of the last of the big name holdouts has woken up and realized this is 2012 not 1982.  While most people have Highway to Hell and Back In Black in their collection, I've always been curious how much the rest of their catalog was selling.
One of the biggest contentions with these artists is that they want to sell their albums as a whole unit, not to be broken up by individual songs.  But with AC/DC you can now make your own Greatest Hits album.

Not only were they holding out on Itunes, but they have yet to release a compilation.  Not many artists left doing that either.  Metallica come to mind.

Whose left when it comes to Itunes holdouts?  There's still Garth Brooks.  Eventually they will all come around, regardless of how rich they are.  Once albums are no longer selling at Wal-Mart or Target or Best Buy, then the last of the holdouts will give in.

Playlist for 11/19

Now 44
Rosie Flores - Working Girl's Guitar
James Hand - Mighty Lonesome Man
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson - Wreck & Ruin
Neil Young - Psychedelic Pill

Friday, November 16, 2012

End Of Year Lists Again

End of the year lists, yes it's that time of the year where I start thinking about my Top albums/singles.   Although I post these at the end of December, I usually start ranking them earlier.
I've got a pretty good idea for my Top picks in both, especially albums, but singles will be a tougher call.

I used to do a reissue/best of list every year, but those categories are thinning out with good titles.  I still might come up with 10 titles for 2012, if not I'll go back to last year and figure out stuff I missed.

Don't know if Village Voice is doing their annual Pazz & Jop Critic's poll.  Most of the music people working there got canned a few months ago.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Comfort Food

New albums and concert tours by "Heritage" acts are pure comfort food for a generation that can't stomach most of today's new acts.
The article listed below is all about that, and  when I see rave reviews this year for albums by Dylan, Neil Young & Springsteen, regardless if anyone is buying them, I know from Facebook postings by older Rock critics that they are pretty dismissive of what's charting today.

Bob Lefsetz always makes a big deal about how these classic rock acts should never release another album, because no one wants to hear or buy their new songs.
But that's just cranky old rock-crit musings.  I'm glad a Paul Simon still wants to put out albums.  These artists aren't stupid.  They know their best-selling days are behind them, but screw it, they still love to make records.  And we hope they continue to do so.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Playlist for 11/12

Gary Clark Jr. - Blak & Blue
Tony Bennett - Viva Duets
Ellie Goulding -Halcyon
Waylon Jennings - Goin Down Rockin
Rodriguez - Searching for Sugar Man
Taylor Swift - Red
Wanda Jackson - Unfinished Business

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Terry Callier

I often post on people whose names I'm familiar with, but whose music I've rarely hear.
Terry Callier was one of those.  He passed away last week from cancer.

I immediately headed to Rhapsody and streamed some of his albums & songs.  How did I miss this guy?
No matter how much music history you study or how much music from the past you listen too, you will never get caught up.  That's sad to a music nut like me.

It took the passing of Callier to get me into his music.  If you like Soul with a folkie twist than check him out.

But getting back to my original thought, I often feel bad that artists pass me by until the die.
Yet, I'm glad I finally got around to this underrated singer/songwriter.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Indie Money

The above is an article about Indie singer Cat Power saying that she may have to cancel her European tour because of health & financial problems.
But the blogosphere doesn't seem to be warming to her problems.
Indie artists can sell records, but they make most of their money on touring and get this, product placement.
Getting their songs in movies, TV shows and commercials.

Cat Power & many other Indie artists don't have health insurance, so when problems arise, the bills add up.
It's funny to see this article say that she's a big name.  She's a big name in the Indie world, but that doesn't mean she can sell albums, outside of that genre.

But there's also the question of how these acts handle their money.  We can't tell by this article if she's going broke because of health bills or spending too much on other things.

Either way, it's a cautionary tale, one already told in New York Magazine about indie band Grizzly  Bear.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Elections Over, Thankfully

Hey 4 years from now we get to do the same thing again.  And then we find out that that certain acts aren't Republicans or Democrats and we get ticked off at them for a moment and then move on.

Someone on Facebook posted a list of mostly 2nd and 3rd rate Country artists who supported Romney.  But the name that got the most attention was Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, who signed some Romney-supported statement.

I guess because he's Black and didn't support Obama it got a lot of comments.  These are types of surprises that happen every election cycle.  This year we had Lemmy of Motorhead supporting Obama and Ted Nugent crying like a child because Obama won.

I'm not looking forward to following all this again in 2016.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Playlist for 11/5

AC Newman - Shut Down The Streets
Mika - Origin of Love
Rob Lytle -Repose
K'naan - Country, God or the Girl
Meshell Ndegeocello - Pour Une
Barbra Streisand - Release Me
Rick Springfield - Songs for the End of the World

Friday, November 02, 2012

70's Rawk Poll

Latest Poll was something called 70's Rawk Trax.  Somebody came up with the list of song nominations, and there were some questionable ones, especially among big name acts.
It's all random really.
I was going for more of a Dazed and Confused feel to my choices.
So here's what I came up with.
If some act is missing, it's probably because they weren't nominated or the songs by them I had to choose from weren't their best, IMO.

AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Aerosmith - Dream On
Aerosmith - Sweet Emotion
Aerosmith - Walk This Way
Argent - Hold Your Head Up
Alice Cooper - School's Out
Bachman-Turner Overdrive - You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
Bachman -Turner Overdrive - Takin' Care of Business
Bad Company - Feel Like Makin' Love
Blackfoot - Jim Dandy
Black Sabbath - Iron Man
Blue Oyster Cult - Don't Fear The Reaper
Boston - More Than A Feeling
Boston - Foreplay/Long Time
Cheap Trick - Surrender
Chicago - 25 or 6 to 4
David Bowie - Rebel Rebel
Deep Purple - Highway Star
Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water
Derek & The Dominoes - Layla
Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein
ELO - Do Ya
Elton John - Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
Faces - Stay With Me
Foghat - Slow Ride
Foghat - Fool For The City
Foreigner - Feels Like The First Time
Free - All Right Now
Golden Earring - Radar Love
Grand Funk Railroad - We're An American Band
Heart - Crazy On You
Heart - Barracuda
Ian Hunter - Just Another Night
Iggy Pop - Lust for Life
James Gang - Funk #49
Jefferson Starship - Jane
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Joe Walsh - Rocky Mountain Way
Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son
KISS - Detroit Rock City
Led Zeppelin - Rock and Roll
Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
Led Zeppelin - Kashmir
Led Zeppelin - Black Dog
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird
Mountain - Mississippi Queen
Nazareth - Hair of the Dog
New York Dolls - Personality Crisis
Pat Benatar - Heartbreaker
Queen - Sheer Heart Attack
REO  Speedwagon - Roll With the Changes
Rod Stewart - (I Know) I'm Losing You
Rush - Fly By Night
Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen
Slade - Cum On Feel The Noize
Slade - Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Styx - Come Sail Away
Sweet - Fox On The Run
Sweet - Ballroom Blitz
T. Rex - 20th Century Man
The Clash - London Calling
The Guess Who - American Woman
The Guess Who - Not Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature
The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
The Rolling Stones - Tumbling Dice
The Who - Baba O'Riley
The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town
Toto - Hold The Line
Van Halen - Runnin' With The Devil
Yes - Roundabout
ZZ Top - Tush
ZZ Top - La range
ZZ Top - Cheap Sunglasses
 Cheap Sunglasses
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