Tag Archives: U2

Super Bowl Musical Hype

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about Super Bowl hype.  Fear not Steelers Nation, we will be back!  Not the hype of the game, or the rivalries that pit storied franchise against each, but the musical hype that surrounds the game.  With such a high profile venue, I mean come on, it is the Super Bowl, and the expectations are high.  In some years, the game is a distant second or third to the music and commercials.  Love the Darth Vader commercial and the finger licking Dorrito dude! 

The Half Time Show has become a separate entity within the game.  In recent years, we have had a range of talent that skewered towards the top of the musical stratosphere with such notables as Paul McCartney, Prince, The Rolling Stones,U2, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, and last year, The Who.   

Historically, the half time performance was a college marching band and maybe a single special musical guest who sang a song.  This all changed in 1993 when Michael Jackson, in all his uniqueness, turned the half time performance into the Half Time Show.  Since 1993 some of the performances have included the following artists:

  • Clint Black
  • The Judds
  • Travis Tritt
  • Teddy Pendergrass
  • Tony Bennett
  • Dianna Ross
  • Boyz II Men
  • Mary J Blige
  • U2
  • Shania Twain
  • Janet Jackson (I’m pretty sure we all remember that one)
  • Paul McCartney
  • Prince
  • Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Phil Collins
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Aerosmith
  • N Sync
  • Britney Spears
  • Nelly
  • Miami Sound Machine
  • No Doubt
  • Sting
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Kid Rock
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  • The Who
 

Perusing this fine list, you can see that there have been some hit and miss performances.  Some of the performances such as The Boss, U2, and Tom Petty were deserving of a solo show that covered a few of their big hits and maybe a mash up medley or two.  Other lesser known or listened to artists shared the bill with other spares. 

Last night, I was decidedly underwhelmed at the prospect of The Black Eyed Peas taking the stage for even the briefest of moments.  So, much to my surprise, they sucked so much more than my lowest of expectations.  While I try, albeit not very hard, to appreciate their take on music and their apparent enthusiasm for a good time, I just think everyone would have had a better time if their music and their performance did not suck quite so much.  I realize that their brand of music is hard to recreate live.  I would imagine it is excruciatingly difficult when the entire band consists of talentless hacks that look like they should be in another remake of Lost in Space and your lead singer is vocally challenged. 

A quick side note: As if Axl Rose does not have enough anger issues, Slash, what they hell were you thinking?  I suggest you shave your head, lose the hat and go in to hiding.  Your playing guitar while Fergie brayed out what I think were the lyrics to Sweet Child O Mine makes you complicit and just as guilty in the crime that was The Half Time Show.  Clean living has clearly altered your ability to make good musical decisions.  Someone get that man a fifth of Jack, some black tar heroin, any G n R groupies that might be left, and a new agent.

Oh, and I think Usher was on the stage as well.  Well, I think his musical relevancy at this point is the fact that he is partly responsible for exposing the entire world to Beiber Fever. With that being said, he is definitely deserving of the front row on the Hell Express.

I would be remiss if I did not discuss the National Anthem debacle with Christina Aguilera.  I can only imagine the pressure of singing that song in front a hundred thousand live people and also being viewed by millions.  I give her a partial pass on the words.  However, I do not give her a pass on the bluesy, sultry, diva type delivery that she tricked up last night.  I’m just spit balling here but I bet the words would be a little easier to remember if you just sang them straight!  We all know it is a difficult song to sing and we have seen it screwed up countless times by far less talented people.  We all know you have an amazing voice with great range.  We also know that by your quickly released statement, you have a great management team.  Here is a hint fellas, big, theatrical award show let the pipes blow, nationally televised, time honored traditional song, stick to the damn script!

As for the game, I’m more than a little disappointed in the outcome.  I’m a huge Steelers fan and really held on until the last fatal mistake of the game.  Hats off to The Pack and their fans, they did the Super Bowl proud.  This is more than I can say for the music.

Great music hopefully awaits!


My Top 40 at 40!

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday February 2nd, which just happens to be my day of birth, a buddy of mine threw down the musical gauntlet.  I have briefly and succinctly paraphrased the challenge below:

Top 40 Artists of your life. Not simply a list of 40, but a ranking from 40 to 1. You have to do it. It must be done. It’s your personal Hall of Fame. This is your preference, your jukebox, regardless of genre or generation. This isn’t educational or time relevant. It’s YOUR Top 40 of all time.

This did indeed get the blood rushing and made my musical pants go a little crazy.  I started to brainstorm a list (and by brainstorm I mean immediately sat down and pounded out 40 names, clarified his initial challenge, perused my list again, and started typing the first sentence you read. 

The initial list was not a difficult as I thought.  The ranking of 1-40 took a little bit of time as did my annotations (those are in my tiny, little head) as to why the band/musician made the list.  The list that lies before you is organic in nature and I believe it to be fairly finite to the time that it was written.  The list is not to be likened to a doctoral thesis, packed with statistics that verify the respective placement, resourced with renowned critical fawning, or any type of research other than my ears and their time on earth. 

Be mindful of the fact that there are only 40 spots on this list.  I can tell you that there are probably some glaring omissions on this list.  Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Waylon, Willie, and the boys, did not make the list as well as a litany of other great, well deserving artists.  This list is completely subjective and the omission of anyone is not meant to be a form of disparagement.  It is quite simply a list of bands/musicians that I have loved over the years and also value their contributions to the musical world. 

The final piece of the musical puzzle for this list was really a late night revelation.  I realize it has only been a moment or two since you began reading this but I actually have been running the various scenarios of greatness in my head all night.  And then it hit me, the true measure of an artist’s greatness is my personal commitment to that particular artist. 

  •  How much of myself have I invested in the artists? 
  • What percentage of their catalog do I own? 
  • Would I take the time to see them live if the following were aligned:
    • They are still alive
    • They band is still together
    • The venue was geographically conducive to seeing them live
    • The cost of the ticket did not require me selling my 1st born child.  Although at 15 years of age and being really good at being 15 I would be willing to barter for a really good show right now.

Oddly enough, this revelation did not greatly alter my original list, there were a few additions and subtractions of artists and then the harrowing process of ranking them, with reason, was underway. 

No musicians were harmed in this list.  Of course, egos might be slightly bruised if they ever happen to stumble upon this little read blog and realize their spot on or omission to the list.

So, I give to you my Top 40 at 40!

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Led Zeppelin
  6. The Who
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. Tom Petty
  9. The Eagles
  10. Eric Clapton
  11. Elton John
  12. Jimi Hendrix
  13. The Doors
  14. U2
  15. Metallica
  16. Pearl Jam
  17. Van Morrison
  18. Billy Joel
  19. R.E.M.
  20. Rush
  21. Lynryd Skynyrd
  22. Simon & Garfunkel
  23. John Mellencamp
  24. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  25. Prince
  26. Nirvana
  27. Uncle Tupelo
  28. Eminem
  29. Nine Inch Nails
  30. Beck
  31. The Dave Matthews Band
  32. Rage Against the Machine
  33. Robert Earl Keen
  34. N.W.A
  35. The Black Crowes
  36. The Beastie Boys
  37. The White Stripes
  38. Ryan Adams
  39. Ben Harper
  40. Joe Purdy

 

Great music awaits!


2011 Sneak Peak of Music You Should Be Listening To!

Another year has come and gone and we are in the early stages of a new year.  Out with the old and in with the new!  Today, I give you a sneak peak at some of the highly anticipated releases of 2011.  So sit back and let your music pants go crazy as you peruse this fine list of music to come.

My Morning Jacket

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

Let the love and reverb flow as Jim James and gang do their thing.  Producing the set themselves the band used a converted gym as their recording space.  The Louisville, Kentucky, rockers are keeping it real on their sixth record.  I’m going out on a limb and stating that this album will be one of the best albums of 2011.

Beastie Boys

‘Hot Sauce Committee Part 2’ (Unscheduled 2011)

Now that Adam Yauch is on the road to recovery from throat cancer, the New York trio will release their first album in four years. I for one am glad to see the boys back in the studio mixing and mingling their distinctive sound. 

Drive-By Truckers

Go-Go Boots (February 15)

The boys are back and I could not be happier.  Cooley and Hood continue their southern styled rock with their topical lyrics and swagger.  Expect plenty of guitars, stories steeped in deep southern experiences and the vocal contrast of Cooley’s drawl and Hoods howl.

 R.E.M.

Collapse Into Now (March 8 ) 

Rumor has it that the 12-tracks are some of their strongest rock songs in years. It also finds front man Michael Stipe rocking old school R.E.M machine gun like phrases with the frantic cadence of classic tunes like “It’s The End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”. The boys have teamed with producer Garrett “Jacknife” Lee (U2, Weezer,) and laid down the tracks for their 15th album in locations within the contiguous 48 states and Europe. And as is the latest craze, the album has guest vocals from none other than Mr. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame.

Kanye West & Jay-Z

Watch the Throne (Unscheduled 2011)

In keeping with the bigger than life style of hip/hop royalty these two juggernauts the laid down tracks all over the world, including the South of France and Australia. Their first single “H.A.M.,” hit the airwaves this month.  Even before he released, his 2010 masterpiece, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye was already working on this collaboration with Jay-Z, The record was initially set as an EP but morphed into a full-length album.

 The Kills

Blood Pressures (April 5)

 For the duo’s fourth studio album, both Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart wrote separately, more out of necessity brought on by Mosshart’s involvement with Jack White’s musical love child The Dead Weather.  In other Weather news, Jack Lawrence’s band The Greenhornes also recently released an album!  Incidentally, Lawrence is also in White’s other musical venture The Raconteurs.  Allow another side note: Jack White is musical genius!

U2

Songs of Ascent (Unscheduled 2011)

The veteran rockers are busy working on three albums, (talk about over achieving), and the first to arrive will be their collaboration with super producer Danger Mouse. So, how does the Broadway production of Spiderman fit into the mix?  Danger Mouse has been on fire as of late.  He contributed production value to the Black Keys major breakthrough Attack & Release and last year he teamed up with The Shins front man James Mercer and gave us Broken Bells

Foo Fighters

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

After the side project of Them Crooked Vultures, I am looking forward to this little rock’n’roll revival for the Foo Fighters’ first disc in five years. There are 11 songs on the album and the word on the street is that from start to finish, there’s not one ballad.  This album finds Dave Grohl reuniting with Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic and Butch Vig, who produced 1991’s Nevermind.

Lady Gaga

Born This Way (May 23)

Some might believe this to be the most anticipated pop record of the year. As for Lady Gaga, she won’t let you forget it. For months, she’s been teasing bits of info via the time suck of Twitter and at her shows about the 2011 release. The wait is almost up: Gaga will drop album’s first single, “Born This Way,” on February 13.

Fleet Foxes

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

Washington State’s hirsute folk style band was close to wrapping the follow-up to their self-titled debut last fall. Ever the perfectionist, Robin Pecknold scrapped much of the material to “return to the cave,” as he called it, and start over. The record has since been mastered and is prepped for release. No new territory explored on the follow up; Folksy, sweetly layered vocals and harmonies that call to mind the early harmonious groups such as The Eagles and Crosby Stills, and Nash and sometimes Young!

Radiohead

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

Their first album since 2007’s In Rainbows with the record, which will be produced by Nigel Godrich. Still, a rep for the band confirms a new record is due out sometime this year.

Jane’s Addiction

 (Unscheduled 2011)

With the abrupt departure of, Perry and crew went way out on a limb and hired TV on the Radio guru/producer-instrumentalist Dave Sitek to handle the bass lines and possibly contribute ideas as well as a cool infusion of new life for their new LP, tentatively titled The Great Escape Artist

 Red Hot Chili Peppers

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

With the loss of guitarist John Frusciante, The Peppers have recruited touring guitarist Josh Klinghoffer for their latest LP.   Some of the disc will include songs that were written by Flea on piano, as well as material inspired by Afro-beat music from Lagos, Nigeria.  

Wilco

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

After splitting from their longtime home Nonesuch last year Jeff Tweedy and the Wilco boys will release their latest effort on their own label. The band has been quiet about details of the new album but there has been confirmation, by a band rep, that the album is due out sometime in 2011.

Lil Wayne

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

Since his release from the joint Weezy has been on lockdown in his Miami studio working on Tha Carter IV, his sequel to 2008’s Tha Carter III. Its first single, “6 Foot 7 Foot,” featuring Cory Gunz, was released on last month. The word is that Wayne, who started working on the album before his state sanctioned vacation, started over and will use rhymes from his time spent reflecting in the pokey.  How many funny jail references can you work in one paragraph?

Outkast

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

It’s been four years since the Atlanta duo dropped and we quickly forgot Idelwild, but there has been confirmation that they’re working on their long overdue follow-up, which is expected this year. Both Andre 3000 and Big Boi have been busy working on solo projects.  Boi dropped his solo release (Sir Lucious Left Foot:  in 2010 with much hype and was on several year best of lists, including mine.  Dre’s efforts have yet to come to fruition but might also appear in 2011.

Dr. Dre

Detox (Unscheduled 2011)

Though there’s no official release date, and appears that this release might be Hip Hops version of “Chinese Democracy” but given Dre’s musical genius and many collaborations it just might be worth the wait. 

Here is a cursory view of what is expected in 2011.

 Monthly Breakdown of Releases

January 11

  • Cage the Elephant, ‘Thank You, Happy Birthday’
  • Cake, ‘Showroom of Compassion’
  • Edie Brickell, ‘Edie Brickell

January 18

  • Decemberists, ‘The King is Dead’
  • Gregg Allman, ‘Low Country Blues’
  • James Blunt, ‘Some Kind of Trouble’
  • Social Distortion, ‘Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes’

January 25

  • Amos Lee, ‘Mission Bell’
  • Cold War Kids, ‘Mine is Yours’
  • Corinne Bailey Rae, ‘Love
  • Deerhoof, ‘Deerhoof vs. Evil’
  • Iron & Wine, ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’
  • Talib Kweli, ‘Gutter Rainbows’
  • Wanda Jackson, ‘The Party Ain’t Over’

February 1

  • The Go! Team, ‘Rolling Blackouts’
  • Matisyahu, ‘Live at Stubb’s Vol II

February 8

  • …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, ‘Tao of the Dead’
  • Alison Krauss, TBA

February 15

  • Bright Eyes, ‘The People’s Key’
  • The Dears, ‘Degeneration Street’
  • Drive-By Truckers, ‘Go-Go Boots’
  • Mogwai, ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’
  • PJ Harvey, ‘Let England Shake’

February 22

  • Harry Connick Jr., ‘Harry Connick Jr. in Concert on Broadway’
  • INXS, ‘Original Sin’
  • Jeff Beck, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Party: Honoring Les Paul’
  • John Waite, ‘Rough & Tumble’
  • The Low Anthem, ‘Smart Flesh’

March 1

  • Blessed Union of Souls, ‘The Mission Field’
  • Dropkick Murphys, ‘Going out of Style’
  • John Popper & the Duskray Troubadours, ‘John Popper & the Duskray Troubadours’
  • Lucinda Williams, ‘Blessed

March 8

  • Avril Lavigne, ‘Good Bye Lullaby’
  • Lupe Fiasco, ‘Lasers
  • R.E.M., ‘Collapse Into Now’
  • Sara Evans, ‘Stronger

March 15

  • Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, ‘Rome’
  • Green Day, ‘Awesome as F**k’
  • New York Dolls, ‘Dancing Backward in High Heels’

March 22

  • Edwyn Collins, ‘Losing Sleep’
  • Pitbull, ‘Planet Pit’
  • Raphael Saadiq, ‘Stone Rollin’
  • Ray Davies, ‘See My Friends’

March 29

  • Mountain Goats, ‘All Eternals Deck’
  • Peter Bjorn and John, TBA

April 12

  • Paul Simon, ‘So Beautiful or So What’

April 26

  • Dirty Vegas, ‘Electric Love’

 2011 Releases With No Date Etched In Granite:

  • Aerosmith, TBA
  • Andre 3000, TBA
  • Fiona Apple, TBA
  • Busta Rhymes, ‘The Chemo’
  • Chingy, ‘1st Quarter’
  • Coldplay, TBA
  • Common, ‘The Believer’
  • Death Cab for Cutie, TBA
  • Eve, ‘Lip Lock’
  • Wyclef Jean, ‘If I Were President: My Haitian Experience’
  • Nickelback, TBA
  • Britney Spears, TBA
  • Justin Timberlake, TBA
  • Ting Tings, TBA

Tune In Tuesday: 6/29/10

Welcome back for yet another installment of Tune In Tuesday

Music’s connectivity varies by person but I believe that there is some resonating emotional cord that is struck when we are truly touched by the music.  While I appreciate the complexity of the instrumentation, I tend to gravitate to the lyrical aspect of music.  While this is not always etched in granite, it holds about 90% of the time.

Today I am going to go back a few years and highlight some albums that are indelibly etched in my fabric for various and sundry reasons.

Under the Table and Dreaming

Dave Matthews Band

This was the first studio album from Dave and the band and was a really musically liberating sound.  The combination of guitar, bass, violin, saxophone and drums just sounded so fresh in the early 90’s.  The vibe from the music was so upbeat that you couldn’t help but move while listening to it. 

This album was in heavy rotation during college and began a twenty year relationship with the band.  I’ve seen them live several times and own all their studio albums as well as the majority of the live albums. 

Key Tracks: The Best of What’s Around, Typical Situation, Jimi Thing, Ants Marching, What Would You Say

Singles (Soundtrack)

Various Artists

This is the best soundtrack to come out in the 90’s and may very well be the greatest soundtrack of all times.  I realize that is a really bold claim and I’m ok with that.  I’m a rebel!

This album captured Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins on one album before they reached the collective conscience of the country.  The album went platinum and really caught the buzz of the Seattle grunge scene.  In addition to the great songs from the soon to be huge bands, there were several key tracks from stalwart Seattle bands such as Mudhoney and Mother Love Bone.

Key Tracks: Drown, Chloe Dance/Crown of Thorns, State of Love and Trust, Breath, Birth Ritual, Would

And Justice for All

Metallica

This was my heavy metal musical baptism and bible in the latter part of my high school years.  I was really into classic rock and when this album came out I could not get enough.  The guttural growls of James Hetfield, the relentless drumming of Lars, and just the all out anger of the sound was so intoxicating.  As a recalcitrant teen, this was my anthem.  As I’ve gotten older, I have learned to appreciate the level of skill that they possess as a band of musician and how they helped define the genre.

Key Tracks:  Dyers Eve, One, The Shortest Straw, Blackened

Green

R.E.M.

Green was R.E.M.’s sixth album but was their major label debut.  This album was also the debut of Peter Buck’s mandolin which would help define the band’s sound on subsequent albums.  The album had such a different sound from their previous albums.  Stipe’s singing is more deliberate and clear and the lyrics run a range of emotions. 

Key Tracks:  Stand, You Are the Everything, World Leader Pretend, Orange Crush, I Remember California

Full Moon fever

Tom Petty

This was Petty’s first venture into solo territory even though he had collaborations with his Heartbreakers and a Wilbury or two.  The album has a cleaner almost crisp sound compared to some of the earlier Heartbreakers albums.  Helmed by Jeff Lynne (Traveling Wilbury’s, Electric Light Orchestra) the album is solid with no real weak tracks. 

Key Tracks: Runnin Down a Dream, Free Fallin’, Love Is a Long Road, I Won’t Back Down,

Joshua Tree

U2

This is my all time favorite U2 album.  They had not quite blown up into the biggest rock band in the world but were well on their way.  Each track is unyielding in musical bliss and twenty plus years later, it plays like a greatest hits album.  The album is sonically heavier than their previous albums and is their foray into the influence of the blues. 

Key Tracks: With Or Without You, Running To Stand Still, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Trip Through Your Wires

Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: Numbers

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday, where I will WOW you with my whimsical list of wonderful music which is brought to you by the wonder of the World Wide Web. 

Today’s topic is Numbers:

Song:             One

Artist:              U2

Album:            Achtung Baby

Song:              16 Days

Artist:              Whiskeytown

Album:            Strangers Almanac

Song:              Seven Nation Army

Artist:              The White Stripes

Album:            Elephant

Song:              Angel Dream (No. 2)

Artist:              Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Album:            She’s the One

Song:              Say Hello 2 Heaven

Artist:              Temple of the Dog

Album:            Temple of the Dog

Song:              40 Oz. To Freedom

Artist:              Sublime

Album:            40 Oz. To Freedom

Song:              Seven Bridges Road

Artist:              Steve Young (Popularly covered by the Eagles)

Album:            Rock Salt & Nails

Song:              One for the Cutters

Artist:              the Hold Steady

Album:            Stay Positive

Song:              99 Problems

Artist:              Jay-Z

Album:            The Black Album

Song:              Dash 7

Artist:              Wilco

Album:            A.M.

Song:              Nine Bullets

Artists:            Drive-By Truckers

Album:            Pizza Deliverance

Song:              Little One

Artist:              Elliott Smith

Album:            From A Basement On the Hill

Song:              60 Feet Tall

Artist:              Dead Weather

Album:            Horehound

Song:              9 Crimes

Artist:              Damien Rice

Album:            9

Song:              40 Dogs

Artist:              Bob Schneider

Album:            Lovely Creatures

Song:              One Road to Freedom

Artist:              Ben Harper

Album:            Fight for Your Mind

Song:              1000 Bpm

Artist:              Beck

Album:            The Information

Song:              One Last Dance

Artist:              Badly Drawn Boy

Album:            Born in the U.K.

Song:              Ten Thousand Words

Artist:              The Avett Brothers

Album:            I and Love and You

 Song:              17

Artist:              Cross Canadian Ragweed

Album:            The Purple Album

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!