Brian Ferry

Bryan Ferry & Opinions on Kanye West

Jim and Greg talk with Roxy Music founder Bryan Ferry about re-interpreting his work. Later in the show, they weigh in on Kanye West's dark new album Yeezus.

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It's been quite a week for Kanye West. First an album leak, then a baby born, then an album release. But leave it to Jay-Z to steal his thunder. His upcoming album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, won't be released until next month, but already it has sold over one million copies. The buyer? Samsung. It will be giving Galaxy users early access to the record, which was further promoted by this ad during an NBA Final game. So if Billboard were to recognize these Samsung sales, this would be the album to beat this year.

Another chart success this week: Black Sabbath. Only this one was over four decades in the making. Ozzy Osbourne and his bandmates (less Bill Ward) debuted at #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. The band only came close to this kind of success once before in 1971, but 13 is a record-breaker.

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Bryan Ferry

In his 4 decade long career Bryan Ferry formed the hugely influential band Roxy Music, launched a successful solo career and became a style icon. Now, he's gone "jazz." He joins Jim and Greg to talk about his new album The Jazz Age, which features reinterpretations of his songs in a 1920's big band style. The album reunites Ferry with his Roxy co-founder Brian Eno, and despite previous creative differences, he says Eno pushed him to places he couldn‘t have gone on his own. Plus, Mr. Eno has even stated that the Roxy album released after he left is the band’s best.

reviewYeezusYeezus available on iTunes

Kanye West Yeezus

For the past decade, Kanye West has been the dominant force in hip-hop - maybe even all of pop, Jim says. And this week he came out with album no. six, Yeezus. West's last solo record, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, featured rich, radio-friendly production. On Yeezus, West has scaled back the lushness, if not the egomania. Greg says he hears everything from Chicago drill music to industrial influences on this“brutally minimalist”record. Forget the radio audience - Yeezus is about Kanye and his anger. Thematically, that means lots of songs about freedom and control, Greg says, and West's perception that, for all his sucgicess, he is still being denied a place at the“big boy table”where his fellow business and media moguls sit. Potent stuff, but West's downfall, both Jim and Greg agree, is the sloppily racist and misogynistic lyrics he relies. On the basis of the music alone, Jim says, Yeezus is a Buy it, but the lyrics are trash. Yeezus gets a double Try It.

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“List of Demands”Saul Williams

Kanye's mixed success on Yeezus gets Greg thinking about West's creative predecessors, and an artist who did anger-filled“industrial rap”even better. Saul Williams' 2004 self-titled album merged aggressive, minimalist, production with anger-filled rap in a way that got industrial music heavyweights like NIN's Trent Reznor to pay attention. (Reznor later produced an album for Williams.) Greg plays "List of Demands" for his Desert Island Jukebox as an example of what Yeezus could have been.

Featured Songs

  1. Goose Island Credit Music: Pure Sunray,“Caramel,”Pure Sunray, 2013
  2. Bryan Ferry, Love Is the Drug, The Jazz Age, BMG, 2013
  3. Charlie Parker, Now's the Time, Birdsong, Savoy Jazz, 2004
  4. Duke Ellington, Cotton Club Stomp, Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club, BMG, 1959
  5. Roxy Music, Virginia Plain, Roxy Music, Virgin, 1972
  6. Bryan Ferry, Virgina Plain, The Jazz Age, BMG, 2013
  7. Roxy Music, 2 HB, Roxy Music, Virgin, 1972
  8. Roxy Music, Ladytron, Roxy Music, Virgin, 1972
  9. Roxy Music, In Every Dream Home A Heartbreak, For Your Pleasure, Reprise, 1973
  10. Bryan Ferry, I Thought, The Jazz Age, BMG, 2013
  11. Roxy Music, Editions of You, For Your Pleasure, Reprise, 1973
  12. Roxy Music, Street Life, Stranded, Virgin, 1973
  13. Bryan Ferry, A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, These Foolish Things, Reprise, 1973
  14. Bryan Ferry, These Foolish Things, These Foolish Things, Reprise, 1973
  15. Bryan Ferry, Don't Ever Change, These Foolish Things, Reprise, 1973
  16. Roxy Music, The Bogus Man, For Your Pleasure, Reprise, 1973
  17. Roxy Music, Jealous Guy, The Complete Studio Recordings, Virgin, 2012
  18. Roxy Music, Do The Strand, For Your Pleasure, Reprise, 1973
  19. Bryan Ferry, Do The Strand, The Jazz Age, BMG, 2013
  20. Roxy Music, More Than This, Avalon, Warner Bros, 1982
  21. Roxy Music, Avalon, Avalon, Warner Bros, 1982
  22. Roxy Music, Take a Chance With Me, Avalon, Warner Bros, 1982
  23. Bryan Ferry, River of Salt, These Foolish Things, Reprise, 1973
  24. Kanye West, Black Skinhead, Yeezus, Def Jam, 2013
  25. Kanye West, Hold My Liquor, Yeezus, Def Jam, 2013
  26. Saul Williams, List of Demands (Reparations), Saul Williams, Fader, 2004De La Soul,“Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey),”De La Soul is Dead, Tommy Boy, 1991
  27. The Andrews Sisters, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (Single), Universal Pictures, 1941
  28. Rufus Wainwright, Oh What a World, Want One, DreamWorks, 2003
  29. Loudon Wainwright III, Dead Skunk, Album III, Columbia, 1972
  30. Trip Shakespeare, Lulu, Lulu, A&M, 1991

Footnotes

latimes.com Yeezus leaks wsj.com Samsung & Jay-Z reuters.com Jay-Z's Samsung copies won't chart nme.com Bill Ward leaves Sabbath billboard.com Sabbath at Number One rollingstone.com Sabbath breaks record bryanferry.com Bryan Ferry's website amazon.com Buy The Jazz Age allmusic.com Roxy without Eno kanyewest.com Kanye West's website kanyewest.com Buy Yeezus wbez.org Jim reviews Kanye chicagotribune.com Greg talks Drill Music chicagotribune.com Greg reviews Kanye saulwilliams.com Saul Williams youtube.com Saul Williams,“List of Demands”