Results for Clive Davis

reviews
My DecemberMy December available on iTunes

Kelly Clarkson My December

On June 14, Live Nation, or the concert promoters formerly known as Clear Channel canceled American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson's first nationwide arena tour due to“lackluster ticket sales.”This event, combined with the firing of her manager and the anticipation of the release of her third album My December has made for a dramatic couple of weeks for the singer. Clive Davis, the music mogul responsible for signing a ton of hit acts ranging from Whitney Houston to Barry Manilow to the Notorious B.I.G., has been overseeing the careers of Clarkson and all the Idol products thus far. But, much to the chagrin of Davis and her label RCA, Clarkson took My December as an opportunity to do her own songwriting and drift away from the guaranteed success of hit-makers like "Since You've Been Gone" scribe Max Martin. Jim and Greg commentate ringside for the blow by blow between America's first pop princess and the pop recording legend. Listening to the album, Greg cannot understand the controversy surrounding the album's pop potential, finding it reminiscent of a post-Dave Coulier Alanis Morrisette. Jim, on the other hand, thanks Clive Davis for trying to spare us the torment of this record. He thinks Clarkson is“at the level of a sub-par Midwestern bar band.”Greg gives it a Burn It, and Jim gives it a triple Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 82
As I AmAs I Am available on iTunes

Alicia Keys As I Am

Alicia Keys has a record out this week that's poised to be #1. Keys has been groomed by Clive Davis in the old school star-making machine, and has become one of the biggest recording artists of this decade. Jim has never been overly impressed by Keys' style which is part polished R&B, part gritty hip hop. But, As I Am is so campy and over the top, that he found himself enjoying the record…even the John Mayer duet. Like a bag of candy, Jim knows it's not good for him, but he gives the record a Buy It. Greg wants to like Keys a lot more; she's obviously got real talent. But, he thinks her lyrics are nothing but a string of clichés. He also wishes she wasn't so bogged down by the over-production. He gives As I Am a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 103
All I Ever WantedAll I Ever Wanted available on iTunes

Kelly Clarkson All I Ever Wanted

America's first“Idol”Kelly Clarkson has a new album out called All I Ever Wanted. Clarkson's last release was a stinker even by label head Clive Davis' standards, so this was her chance at redemption. Did she succeed? Jim likes a lot of feminist pop punk, but he's mystified by Kelly Clarkson's appeal. That said, half of this album is undeniably catchy pop rock. He has no use for the other half, however, which is full of soggy ballads. Jim gives the album a Try It. Greg can see why fans are taken with the singer. She has an endearing personality and a great voice. But her conservative production choices overshadow any good ideas Clarkson might be trying to get across. All I Ever Wanted is far from what Greg wants; he gives it a Trash It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 171
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
I Look to YouI Look To You available on iTunes

Whitney Houston I Look To You

She was the queen of pop in the '80s and '90s, but for the past few years she's mostly been a punchline. Now Whitney Houston is back with a new record called I Look To You. Clive Davis has spared no expense on this comeback effort-pulling in big names like Swizz Beats, Alicia Keys and Diane Warren. Greg wishes those big names brought something bigger to the table. With the exception of "Million Dollar Bill," the one track where Greg hears Whitney getting“frisky,”she's mostly straight-jacketed and robotic. Greg gives the album a Trash It. Jim actually likes that the production keeps things focused on her voice. And he finds that voice still powerful and full of emotion. He gives I Look to You a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 196
dijs

Greg

“Politicians in My Eyes”Death

In the 1970's, an all African-American band out of Detroit named Death crafted abrasive, no reservations proto-punk songs responding to the city's bleak politics and poverty. Their raw rock edge caught the ear of infamous music industry executive Clive Davis who wanted to debut the band to the world, but only if they'd change their morbid name. The band (of brothers) refused, broke up, and their songs were nearly lost until Chicago record label Drag City got a hold of them and reissued the collection in 2009. Since that release entitled …For the Whole World to See, the band has gotten back together and impressed many with a sound that was clearly ahead of its time. To demonstrate, Greg plays "Politicians in My Eyes."

Go to episode 451
news

Music News

Legendary hit-maker and label head Clive Davis announced that he'll be stepping down from his post at Sony BMG. He'll remain on as“chief creative officer,”but this is definitely a demotion for the man who broke the careers of Whitney Houston, Aerosmith, Alicia Keys, and most recently, Leona Lewis. With Lewis on the path towards diva-dom, why's Davis being pushed out now? Jim and Greg surmise that the music mogul just became too expensive for Sony? Davis is perhaps the perfect representation of the old way of doing business in the music industry. But with album sales down, music videos gone and music radio on the way out, it may be time for the old guard to change.

Fans of print music journalism will be disheartened by the next news item. According to recent reports, ad revenues for major music magazines like Rolling Stone, Vibe and Blender are significantly down this quarter. Only Spin is experiencing growth, but that's after a dismal couple of years. This comes after the news of smaller titles like Harp and No Depression closing up shop. Jim and Greg speak with No Depression co-editor and co-founder Peter Blackstock about the magazine's decision to cease publication. Blackstock sees this trend as evidence that there's been a devaluation of the written word in our culture. But, he's hopeful that the long-time alt-country title will be able to thrive on the web and in longer magazine/book form.

Go to episode 126

Music News

First up in the news Jim and Greg discuss Joni Mitchell's decision to team up with Starbucks. Her first album in almost 10 years will be released on the coffee chain's Hear Music label. Jim and Greg imagine that the singer/songwriter must have been impressed with the success of Paul McCartney's recent Starbucks-released album Memory Almost Full, especially considering her notorious distaste of the music industry. One group they are surprised to hear has joined the coffee family is Sonic Youth. The alt-rockers will release a compilation on Hear Music next year.

Jim and Greg update some stories they've discussed on current shows. The first concerns pop star Kelly Clarkson. When her album My December was released a few weeks ago, our hosts talked about Clarkson's high-profile feud with BMG chairman Clive Davis. The singer appeared to be taking a tough-girl stance and defended her artistic integrity, but now she's trying to lay it all to rest. Check out her retraction.

Another topic Jim and Greg covered on the show is the scrutiny hip hop lyrics have been facing post-Imus. A recent victim is Chicago rapper Twista. McDonalds decided to pull the speed rapper from its Live Trek tour because of his“controversial lyrics.”Twista's response is that he's been making the same kind of rhymes for years, but no one cared until Don Imus said something negative about black women. He also added that he usually cleans up lyrics for kid-friendly performances.

While the gossip pages are filled with celebrities who aren't forced to pay for their crimes, singer Ron Isley is no such lucky star. He is slated to begin his five-year prison sentence for tax evasion next week, but Def Jam is hoping that Isley fans can convince the government otherwise. They sent out a petition imploring people to“call, fax or email the White House immediately to help the 64-year old cancer sufferer.”If you'd like to join in the effort you can call the President at (202) 456-1414, email him at president@whitehouse.gov, or contact the Congressional Black Caucus.

Last week Eric Clapton held the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, IL, and Greg was there to see the action. He recounts how historic it was to see Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton play together 38 years after Blind Faith disbanded. Greg's other highlights were witnessing B.B. King give what might be his final performance and hearing Jeff Beck do a beautiful rendition of The Beatles' "Day in the Life." Check out Greg's entire recap here.

Go to episode 88

Music News

Pop phenom Leona Lewis made news this week by becoming the first British artist to debut at number one on the U.S. album charts. It seems that the hit factory built by Clive Davis and Simon Cowell is serving the X-Factor winner well. She's poised to become the most successful alum of the Arista-American Idol partnership. But, Jim and Greg are not impressed by Lewis' dramatic vocal style — one that owes a lot to Mariah Carey. Carey also has a new album out next week called E=MC2. The diva may give the upstart a run for her money, but as Jim and Greg explain, neither have sales that compare with the success of this style of music years ago. Despite the wishes of Davis and Cowell, audiences may be ready for a new sound.

Go to episode 125

Music News

American Idol is currently on summer vacation, but they've still been making quite a bit of news. The pop music contest and music industry juggernaut has decided to take its business to Universal Music and away from Sony. In years past, the show's winners and runners-up released albums on Sony under the direction of powerhouse Clive Davis. Now it appears that Interscope executive Jimmy Iovine will become the new mentor. In addition, both Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres are out as hosts. Kara DioGuardi may also be leaving. In their place? Possibly Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. And, since it's been years since Idol produced a Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson, hopefully these changes will mean more exciting winners as well.

It doesn't look like we can count on an “Iranian Idol” anytime soon. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made a strong statement against music this week, proclaiming that it is“not compatible”with the values of the Islamic republic. Many are seeing this as leading to an outright ban of music in Iran and an expression of Khamenei's long-held mistrust of Western cultural influence. As rock evangelists, this attitude toward music is, of course, disheartening to Jim and Greg. For more on rebel culture in Iran check out Marjane Satrapi graphic novel and film Persepolis and the Cannes winner No One Knows About Persian Cats.

Go to episode 245

Music News

Greg calls Gil Scott-Heron one of the most profound artists of the last half-century, and last week he died at age 62. The man behind "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" began as a poet, but was attracted to the way music could reach a larger audience. However, even after signing with Clive Davis, he never abandoned his politics. Scott-Heron fused biting commentary with powerful beats and arrangements. It was a sound that inspired many hip-hop artists, though he rejected that association. To remember Gil Scott-Heron, Jim and Greg play one of his near-hits called "Johannesburg" from 1975.

Go to episode 288