Q: What do Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, The Clash, Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello, The Ramones, and Wilco all have in common?
A: They all share a place in my iTunes library, and they all have helped corporate behemoths sell stuff.
It turns out not everyone sings the same tune as Neil Young:
Ain't singin' for Pepsi
Ain't singin' for Coke
I don't sing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke
This note's for you.
Ain't singin' for Miller
Don't sing for Bud
I won't sing for politicians
Ain't singin' for Spuds
This note's for you.
If you ask me, Neil got it right (and, in the process, created perhaps the greatest music video ever).
GREAT MOMENTS IN SELLOUT HISTORY
Elvis Costello selling Lexuses (or is it Lexii???)
The estate of Nick Drake selling VWs
The Stones selling Budweiser
The Beatles (post-Lennon assassination) selling Nikes
Lou Reed selling the NFL
Iggy Pop selling Royal Caribbean
With lyrics like these, I can see how the execs at Royal Caribbean thought "Lust for Life" would be a good fit with their brand:
Here comes johnny yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And the flesh machine
He's gonna do another strip tease
Hey man, where'd ya get that lotion?
I've been hurting since I've bought the gimmick
About something called love
Yeah, something called love
Well, that's like hypnotizing chickens
The Ramones selling Diet Pepsi
The Buzzcocks selling Toyotas and Nissans
Here are three of my favorite pieces of his work: "Lightnin' Hopkins", "America's Favorite", and "Redd Foxx".
You can buy his art here.
Now that we've all had a few weeks to chew on the new Wilco release, "Sky Blue Sky", I thought I'd assemble a few of the more interesting critical reviews and offer up some of my own thoughts on the new album.
Quite simply, "Sky Blue Sky" is very pleasing to the ear - it's light, polished, instantly accessible, sitting-around-a-campfire-at-the-beach fare. Entertainment Weekly may have put it best when they said: "This may be the best Eagles album the Eagles never made."
In the growing pantheon that is Wilco's back catalog, I think "Sky Blue Sky" sits somewhere below "A Ghost Is Born" (pound-for-pound, my personal favorite), "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot", and "Being There", and above "A.M." and "Summerteeth".
What it lacks for me is the depth, rawness, inventiveness, and edge of its two immediate predecessors. "A Ghost is Born" was two parts "Tonight's the Night", one part McCartney ballad, one part "Low"-era Bowie, two parts Lennon's vulnerability, and very little polish. The Nels Cline-heavy "Sky Blue Sky" evokes memories of mid-70's Steely Dan (as my good friend Jake pointed out to me), the Grateful Dead, and the Eagles. It's more "Harvest Moon" than "Tonight's the Night".
Don't get me wrong, I'm a guitar player (albeit a pretty lousy one) myself, so I was absolutely blown away by Nels Cline's playing. The guy is unbelievable. It's just not what I'm looking for in a Wilco record.
I much prefer an album that jars me during first listen, reveals 1-2 accessible tracks (I call them the "gateway songs") in the next few listens, and ultimately takes a good 8-12 focused listens before I can really to start to comprehend it. Then, over time, it just continues to get better and better.
I haven't given up on SBS. I'm going to keep listening in hopes that once I'm able to scrape away it's radio-friendly sheen, I'll find something special below the surface.
Here is what others had to say:
- Pitchfork gives it a 5.2 out of 10.0.
- Here's a glowing piece from Crawdaddy.
- Editorial review from Amazon.
- Lots and lots of other reviews are available here.
Rolling Stone's 25 Greatest Songs Off Bad Albums
1. “Under Pressure” off Queen’s Hot Space
2. “This Is England” off the Clash’s Cut The Crap
3. “Eminence Front” off The Who’s It’s Hard
4. “Brownsville Girl” off Bob Dylan’s Knocked Out Loaded
5. “Hallo Spaceboy” off David Bowie’s Outside
6. “Kill Your Sons” off Lou Reed’s Sally Can’t Dance
7. “2000 Light Years from Home” off the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request
8. “Goin’ Home” off Neil Young’s Are You Passionate
9. “Song For Guy” off Elton John’s A Single Man
10. “Don’t Look Back” off Boston’s Don’t Look Back
11. “Jammin’ Me” off Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Let Me Up I’ve Had Enough
12. “Shipbuilding” off Elvis Costello’s Punch the Clock
13. “Go Let It Out” off Oasis’s Standing on the Shoulder of Giants
14. “Big Love” off Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In the Night
15. “Tonight” off Elton John’s Blue Moves
16. “Celluloid Heroes” off the Kinks’ Everybody’s in Show-Biz
17. “Country Death Song” off the Violent Femmes’ Hallowed Ground
18. “Busy Doin’ Nothin’” off the Beach Boys’ Friends
19. “Supernova” off Liz Phair’s Whip-Smart
20. “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” off Prince’s The Gold Experience
21. “Human Touch” off Bruce Springsteen’s Human Touch
22. “Learning To Fly” off Pink Floyd’s Momentary Lapse of Reason
23. “I Don’t Want Your Love” off Duran Duran’s Big Thing
24. “Wild Wild Life” off The Talking Heads’ True Stories
25. “My Love” off Wings’ Red Rose Speedway
See it in its original form here.
2 videos worth checking out:
- Dave Grohl - Tiny Dancer (live acoustic on the Craig Kilborn Show)
- R.E.M. - E-Bow the Letter (live, featuring Thom Yorke), Tibetan Freedom Concert, 1998
A.V. Club interview with Jeff Tweedy.
A cut from the new Beastie Boys album, The Mix-Up:
- Beastie Boys - The Rat Cage
Rolling Stone's 15 Worst Albums By Great Bands:
1. Bob Dylan, "Down In the Groove"
2. Rolling Stones, "Dirty Work"
3. David Bowie, "Tonight"
4. Van Morrison, "Beautiful Vision"
5. The Clash, "Cut the Crap"
6. Neil Young, "Old Ways"
7. Van Halen, "Diver Down"
8. The Who, "Face Dances"
9. Elvis Costello, "Mighty Like A Rose"
10. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "One Hot Minute"
11. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, "American Dream"
12. Aerosmith, "Rock in a Hard Place"
13. Lou Reed, "Mistrial"
14. Morrissey, "Kill Uncle"
15. Led Zeppelin, "Presence"
I'm compiling a list of the greatest albums of all time, as determined by you, my circle of music-loving friends.
Want to be a part of it? Email me your Top 20.
- Albums from all genres acceptable
- Live albums acceptable
- No box sets
- Including multiple albums by the same artist is fine
- Completely optional: 1-2 sentences describing what's so special about each entry
I've got 10 people participating so far.
I've been away for quite some time, folks. I'm back.
You've really done it now, Prince.
Artificially used Fender telecasters.
Rolling Stone's picks for the 5 best singers ever:
- Aretha Franklin
- Frank Sinatra
- Dusty Springfield
- Thom Yorke
- Billie Holiday
Q Magazine's picks for the 10 best singers ever:
1. Elvis Presley
2. Aretha Franklin
3. Frank Sinatra
4. Otis Redding
5. John Lennon
6. Marvin Gaye
7. Kurt Cobain
8. Robert Plant
9. Mick Jagger
10. Jeff Buckley
A time-lapse video of somebody painting a portrait in Photoshop of Thom Yorke.
Bowie sings for the little fat man.
Report: Live from a Dutch Oven
Friday, June 2nd, 2006.
Philadelphia. City of Brosephly love.
Sweet Pete, 3 close friends, Thom, Colin, Ed, Phil, Jonny, and 3,198 other broke Radiohead fans.
9:16pm - The show.
[props to Pitchfork for the pic]
MP3s live from the Tower Theatre, 6/2/06
11:13pm - Conditions outside the theatre after the show.
"Dude, where's my kayak?"
Song -> Target
- The Campaigner -> Nixon
- Goodbye Dick -> Nixon
- Pocahontas -> The White Man
- Alabama -> Alabama
- Southern Man -> The South
- Walk On -> The Media
- Rockin' In the Free World -> Reagan, Bush Senior
- Ohio -> The 60's/70's U.S. Military Establishment
- This Note's For You -> Corporate America and Sponsorship, Coke, Pepsi, Miller Brewing Company, Politicians, Budweiser, Spuds McKenzie, Michael Jackson, MTV
- Cortez the Killer -> Hernando Cortez
- Piece of Crap -> The American Consumer Experience
- Dog House -> Nagging Wife
- Let's Roll -> Flight 93 Hijackers
- Thrasher -> Crosby, Stills, and Nash
- Mr. Disappointment -> Himself
- The Needle & The Damage Done -> Heroin/Dying Young
- Tonight's The Night -> Heroin/Dying Young
- Sleeps With Angels -> Suicide/Dying Young
- Mideast Vacation -> Moammar Khaddafi
- Throw Your Hatred Down -> Hatred
- Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze -> Mo Ostin
As you've probably heard by now, Neil Young has decided to square off against the Bush Administration and its, umm, policies.
And as anyone who has followed Young's career knows, he's not afraid to express himself - even if it means eroding his fan base or selling fewer records. We're talking about a guy who was once famously sued by Geffen Records for making music that did not sound like Neil Young.
So, the story goes something like this...
- Neil observes what's happening in America.
- Neil decides to doesn't like it.
- Neil grows angry.
- Neil disappears for 9 days.
- Neil emerges with a completed album called Living With War.
- Neil informs his record company, who has no idea at this point.
- Neil plays the album to 100 invited guests.
- Guests give Neil a standing ovation.
- Word spreads like wildfire.
- Neil begins streaming lyrics at his website, using scrolling ticker effects circa 1995.
- Neil to release all the songs for free at his website on Friday, April 28th.
- Neil to release all the songs for online purchase on Tuesday, May 2nd.
- Neil to release album in stores everywhere in early May.
- Neil Interview with ShowBiz tonight (yes, seriously)
- Exclusive Review of LWW at RollingStone.com
- LWW lyrics and Neil's bizarre infatuation with the scrolling ticker
- The LWW blog
- Another review of LWW by the former President of Reprise Records
- An explosive live performance of "One Big Holiday" My Morning Jacket's 2003 appearance on Conan O'Brien.
- Great live, stripped down Jeff Tweedy performance (use the dashboard on the bottom left side of the page to change the track).
- Hilarious Ricky Gervais (from The Office) interview of Chris Martin.
From the brilliant and hilarious Ze Frank - performance artist, humorist, filmmaker, and web designer:
- Where it all began in 2001: the How To Dance Properly video.
- Sing-along Songs for Children with Short Attention Spans.
- His legendary performance of James Brown's Supah Bad.
- Create your own song for free using his sequencer.
- His love song to Condi Rice.
If you like...
David Dye, Norah Jones, or Al Kooper...
What they consider to be the 10 Greatest Albums of All-time:
Note: Albums with an * next to them also appear on Sweet Pete's 100 Greatest Albums list.
David Dye - Host of World Cafe
1. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited*
2. The Beatles - Revolver *
3. The Allman Brothers Band - Live At Fillmore East
4. Joni Mitchell - Hejira
5. Bob Marley And The Wailers - Natty Dread
6. Bruce Springsteen - Greetings From Asbury Park
7. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
8. Gillian Welch - Time (The Revelator)
9. Richard And Linda Thompson - Pour Down Like Silver
10. Lucinda Williams - Lucinda Williams
1. Billie Holiday - Lady In Autumn
2. Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger
3. The Band - The Band
4. Tom Waits - Mule Variations
5. John Coltrane - Lush Life
6. Cassandra Wilson - New Moon Daughter
7. Joni Mitchell - Blue*
8. Aretha Franklin - Young Gifted And Black
9. Ray Charles - Modern Sounds In Country And Western*
10. Bob Marley - Natty Dread
1. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds*
2. James Brown - Live At The Apollo*
3. Elvis Presley - Sun Sessions*
4. Burt Bachrach - Box Set
5. Ray Charles - Rhino Box Set
6. Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde*
7. Swan Silvertones - Saviour Pass Me Not
8. Free - Highway
9. Phillipe Koutev - Music From Bulgaria
10. The Beatles - '65
Want more? Check out the 885 greatest albums and more at the WXPN website.
I like to read books about music. I've read a bunch. Here are the best of the best.
The Heavyweight Champions of the World
- "The Mansion on the Hill: Dylan, Young, Geffen, Springsteen, and The Head-on Collision of Rock and Commerce" by Fred Goodman
- "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby
- "Down The Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan" by Howard Sounes
- "The History of the Blues" by Francis Davis
- "Music Lust" by Nic Harcourt
- "On the Road with Bob Dylan" by Larry "Ratso" Sloman
- "Shakey: Neil Young's Biography" by Jimmy McDonough
- "Deep Blues" by Robert Palmer
Worth Buying For The Liner Notes Alone
- Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961
- Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Live 1966 - The Royal Albert Hall Concert
- T-Bone Walker - Complete Capitol/Black & White Recordings
- Rushmore - Criterion Collection DVD
- Nashville Skyline - for Johnny Cash's poem
Killer Reference Books
- "The Da Capo Jazz and Blues Lover's Guide to the U.S., 3rd Edition" by Christiane Bird
- "The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, 3rd Edition"
- "All Music Guide to The Blues" or "to Jazz"
Rockin' Your Coffee Table
- "The Bob Dylan Scrapbook, 1956-1966"
- "State of The Blues: The Living Legacy of the Delta" by Jeff Dunas
- "Blue Note: The Album Cover Art"
- "Bill Wyman's Blues Odyssey: A Journey to Music's Heart and Soul"