Results for Madonna

reviews
Rebel Heart - EPRebel Heart available on iTunes

Madonna Rebel Heart

In the early '80s, people questioned whether pop diva Madonna was just a girl of the moment or here to stay. While her music has been the soundtrack to our lives, her work in the 21st century has received mixed reviews. Plus in the Internet age, Madge experienced issues when she was forced to release her 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, early after tracks leaked online. Greg thinks that Madonna is at her best when she's being introspective, like on 1998's Ray of Light. The more experimental and honest tracks on the latest record outshine the dance pop numbers that are usually her specialty. He argues that Rebel Heart is half of a good album and gives it a Try It. In Jim's opinion, Greg is being kind to the Material Girl, and thinks "Holy Water" is probably Madonna's worst song ever. He perceives the confessional songs as inauthentic and her attempts at provocation as tawdry. He gives Rebel Heart a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 485
MDNA (Deluxe Version)MDNA available on iTunes

Madonna MDNA

No other dance pop artist has been at it successfully for as long as Madonna. With a career spanning 30 years and 300 million albums sold worldwide, she's earned the title "Queen of Pop." However, with royal status, should come different expectations. No longer is Madonna on the cutting edge, as critics of her new album MDNA have complained. But that's okay, says Greg. She's still able to bring personality, especially on the songs produced by William Orbit of Ray of Light fame. But Orbit only tackles half the record, so Greg gives MDNA a Burn It. Jim knows Greg thinks it's foolish to criticize Madonna's lyrics, but her music used to have conceptual strength in addition to pop power. Now she just goes on about being a bad girl…and at the age of 53. Jim says Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 331
Born This WayBorn This Way available on iTunes

Lady Gaga Born This Way

There's a new hit pop album with Euro-pop dance beats and controversial lyrics designed to tweak the Catholic Church. Sound familiar? No, it's not Madonna, but Lady Gaga and her new album Born This Way. She might be the biggest star in the world right now, but she still has some surprises in her–including a fondness for '80s hair metal bombast. Jim was disappointed to hear Clarence Clemons on sax and Mutt Lange on production. He was further disappointed to hear the amount of over-singing. Jim wanted to love Born This Way, but it's a Trash It. Greg agrees that the record is totally overblown. It's like Gaga on steroids, and unfortunately, never lets up. A few standout tracks will work pounding in a stadium or club, but as an album, he'd just say Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 287
Hard Candy (Deluxe Version)Hard Candy available on iTunes

Madonna Hard Candy

If there's any artist who is the opposite of a one note wonder, it might be Madonna. The pop diva prides herself on her chameleon-like ability to transform from one look or genre of music to another. So, how does she fare on her 11th studio album Hard Candy? Greg thinks not so well. Madonna teamed up with super-producers Timbaland and Pharrell to give her an up-to-date sound, but Greg thinks it's more retro than cutting edge. For the first time the notorious button-pusher seems kind of bored to Greg. He gives Hard Candy a Trash It. Jim is shocked to hear this review. He had fun listening to Madonna for the first time in years. The beats are there, the grooves are there, and he recommends people Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 126
Songs of Mass Destruction (Bonus Track Version)Songs of Mass Destruction available on iTunes

Annie Lennox Songs of Mass Destruction

Songs of Mass Destruction is pop diva Annie Lennox's first album in over four years, but for her die-hard fans, anything she does is well worth the wait. On this effort, she not only tackles life post-divorce, but also the African AIDS crisis. The track "Sing" features 23 singers including Madonna, k.d. lang, and Celine Dion, and was written to raise awareness about the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Both Jim and Greg praise Lennox for this song and her always impressive, soulful voice. But Greg for one wishes she wasn't attracted to such glossy production. For Songs of Mass Destruction, she hired Glen Ballard, the producer who is responsible for some of the most generic,“schlocky”albums ever made by people like Barbra Streisand and Aerosmith. The slickness doesn‘t allow Lennox’s voice to shine, so Greg has to give this album a Try It. Jim agrees Lennox would benefit from a turn with a more authentic producer and grittier band, but he can't deny her voice. He gives it a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 98
Confessions on a Dance FloorConfessions on a Dance Floor available on iTunes

Madonna Confessions on a Dance Floor

The Europeans are devouring Madonna's newest album, Confessions on a Dance Floor. But Greg? Not as much. He gives it a Burn It, only because it won't cost you anything. Jim agrees.

JimGreg
Go to episode 1
Day & Age (Deluxe Version)Day & Age available on iTunes

The Killers Day & Age

On their 3rd album Day & Age, The Killers have teamed up with Madonna producer Stuart Price, further confusing their identity. Are they Nu-New Wave? Are they Nu-Springsteen? Or Nu-Dance Pop? Greg's answer is that they are merely a great singles band. Brandon Flowers is not a great lyricist, but there are a handful of great, glam rock pop songs on this new album, and together with the handful of other tracks from their previous albums, he predicts they'll have a hell of a compilation one day. But for now he gives Day & Age a Try It. Jim is less kind. He finds the album over-produced and packed with the worst steel drums and saxophones he's heard in a long time. He gives it a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 157
Pink Friday (Roman Reloaded) [Deluxe Edition]Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded available on iTunes

Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

She may be hip hop's answer to Lady Gaga. Nicki Minaj has the hair and costumes, and now chart success to boot. Her new album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded has gone to #1, taking down fellow diva Madonna. It's a follow up to 2010's Pink Friday, which Jim thought had an interesting and unlikely combination of diverse elements including Missy Elliott's eccentricity and Lil Kim's provocation. But now she's added pop to the stew, and things aren't melding as well. Jim criticizes the sub-American Idol balladry and her awful singing. But most offensive is her harsh language about women. Greg agrees Minaj is a frustrating artist. He's fascinated by some of her work and her alter-ego Roman Zolanski, but she falls into some terrible clichés. Roman Reloaded gets a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 333
dijs

Greg

“She's Lost Control”Grace Jones

As a nod to Peaches‘ irreverent, gender-bending ways, Greg digs deep down in his music collection for this week’s Desert Island Jukebox pick. He chooses a track by '70s and '80s model/pop star/diva Grace Jones. Before Peaches, or even Madonna, shocked and awed people with their controversial lyrics and style, Grace Jones was crossing lines between genders and musical genres. She was beautiful, but also masculine. Her music was rock, but also disco. So, like David Bowie, Jones had audiences questioning the idea of identity. But it wasn't until she collaborated with Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and his Compass Point house band that she made music that could be taken seriously. Greg chooses to play her cover of Joy Division's song "She's Lost Control." In her version, Jones assumes the role of the woman on the verge of a losing her mind. And after listening to the song, you may find that this role wasn't such a stretch.

Go to episode 34
lists

Pop Stars vs. God

A big news story this week involves the ever-controversial Kanye West. The February issue of Rolling Stone features West on the cover posing as Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns. This is not the first time the rapper has been public about his conflicted relationship with Jesus, nor is it the first time a musician has pushed hot buttons with religion. Jim and Greg explore this issue and pick the top five instances when a rock star made religious waves.

  • John Lennon makes the statement: "The Beatles are more popular than Jesus." While this was more a statement about the absurd level of fame the Beatles had attained, feathers were ruffled nonetheless.
  • Madonna kisses an African-American Jesus figure and includes images of cross burning and the stigmata in her video for "Like a Prayer." As a result, Pepsi dropped Madonna as a spokesperson.
  • In a misinterpreted move, Sinéad O'Connor rips up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live.
  • XTC releases "Dear God," causing a controversy by aggressively questioning the existence of God.
  • Marilyn Manson tells a Spin reporter, "Hopefully I'll be the person who puts an end to Christianity." This comment propelled Tipper Gore's organization, the Parents Music Resource Center, to start a campaign against the self-proclaimed Anti-Christ.
Go to episode 9
news

Music News

First up in the news is Billboard's annual list of the year's biggest money makers in the music industry. The chart magazine compiled the list using CD and digital sales, publishing royalties and touring. And while most of the artists at the top still sell records, the majority made the cut because of their hugely successful blockbuster tours. At #1 is U2, who raked in more than $108 million in 2009, mostly through their gigantic 360-degree tour. The band is followed by Bruce Springsteen and Madonna, though a number of younger acts also made the cut including The Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift. Two glaring omissions: Beyonce and The Black Eyed Peas, neither of whom toured in 2009.

In more Billboard news, Sade is at the top of the charts for the third week in a row with her new release Soldier of Love. She's sold more than 800,000 records. Jim and Greg were interested to see so many adult-skewing artists on the charts, including Johnny Cash and Susan Boyle. It's the older consumers who are continuing to purchase physical product. However, they note that these sales numbers wouldn't have gotten an artist into the Top 50 ten years ago.

main image

Go to episode 223

Music News

Google has added music to its growing list of endeavors. The internet giants launched a new music service this week that will offer users a link to purchase records. Google won‘t be selling music directly, but they’ll be competing with iTunes in cooperation with other services like Lala, Rhapsody and Pandora. It's exciting news for artists who are concerned with getting their music out there. But after many years where a small group of labels controlled everything in the music industry, Jim and Greg wonder if this is simply a case of one corporate hierarchy replacing another.

Lady Gaga broke Billboard records this week by becoming the first pop artist to score 4 consecutive No. 1 hits from a debut album. The most recent chart-topping song is "Paparazzi." The singer will continue to make news this year after she embarks on a visually exciting theater tour next month. We‘ll be watching that. Other than an avant-garde look, Jim and Greg aren’t sure what separates her from any other female pop singer. But every generation needs its own Madonna. In other chart news, Michael Jackson's This Is It movie and album both did well in sales last week. The album debuted at No. 1, and the film earned $106.3 million worldwide.

Downloading continues to be a huge issue for the music industry. The big question is how it affects the market. Now a British study commissioned by think tank Demos has one answer. According to its findings, people who engage in file-sharing spend 75% more than people who don't. They are simply more excited about music. This news presents a counter-argument to those in favor of the UK government's plan to sever the internet connections of persistent downloaders. But it will be hard to sway the British recording trade association BPI, who estimates that illegal downloaders cost the industry $330 million in 2009.

Go to episode 206

Music News

The first news item this week is a sad one for Jim, Greg and all indie music fans in and outside of Chicago. Long-time label Touch and Go Records has announced that it is shrinking its business and cutting ties with more than 20 other indie labels. Label founder Corey Rusk made a statement explaining that Touch and Go can no longer afford to provide manufacturing and distribution services to such labels as Drag City, Flameshovel and Kill Rock Stars. This announcement is especially disheartening since it comes on the heels of the label's 25th anniversary.

Anyone who discounted Madonna after she turned 50 will be surprised to hear that she is as relevant as ever — at least commercially. According to Billboard, the pop star is the top-earning artist of 2008 with over $240 million. As Jim and Greg explain, this is not just good news for Madonna, but for her 360 promoters Live Nation. Distantly trailing the Material Girl are Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, The Police and Celine Dion — not a youngin' in the bunch.

Go to episode 169

Music News

Madonna is the world's highest-paid musician according to Forbes. (Insert "Material Girl" joke here.) But, more surprising is how well some artists have done without even releasing music. Toby Keith can thank his record label, restaurant chain and mescal line for some of his $65 million. And Diddy can thank Ciroc for his $50 mil.

Go to episode 417

Music News

A number of free agents are popping up in 2009 including 50 Cent, Beck, Ryan Adams, Pearl Jam and Metallica. These music heavyweights have been on label rosters for years, but now, following in the footsteps of bands like Radiohead, it appears they have a shot at going out on their own. Jim and Greg agree that none of these artists actually need a record label. But, Greg points out that many might be tempted by 360 deals similar to what Madonna and Jay-Z have with Live Nation. The money's not in record sales anymore, so if major labels can entice an artist with the promise of profits from touring and merchandise, we may not see as much independence.

Go to episode 165

Music News

After inking a deal with Live Nation earlier this year, Madonna has announced plans to go into business with another concert industry player: StubHub. The secondary ticket company will be the official re-sellers for Madonna's upcoming tour. That means that Madonna will not only get a cut of regular tickets, which range from $55 to $350, but a cut of“fan-to-fan”tickets as well. This news begs the question — is Madonna endorsing scalping? Jim and Greg talk to Sean Pate, StubHub's head of corporate communications, about the decision to strike a deal with Madonna and how that will impact fans.

Go to episode 129

Music News

Jay Z just launched his music streaming service, Tidal, to the public. Kanye West, Madonna and Daft Punk were just a few of the artists who attended a press conference to announce their support for the service. According to emphatic speaker Alicia Keys, Tidal's mission is to give artists more control over how their music is distributed while taking some of the authority out of the hands of tech companies. The basic monthly fee is $9.99, while the premium, hi-fi subscription is $19.99. It will be interesting to see how the service will compete with giants like Spotify and Beats, or fellow artist Garth Brooks' brand Ghost Tunes.

This year Lollapalooza Festival is being anchored by a Beatle. Paul McCartney is one of the Lolla 2015 headliners, which also includes Metallica, Florence + the Machine, Sam Smith, Alabama Shakes and The Weeknd. This will be McCartney's first stint at Lollapalooza, though he previously played at Bonnaroo in 2013.

In other festival news, if you're planning on getting a pass, don't bring your selfie stick. Lollapalooza and Coachella have banned the photographic aids from the grounds as the monopods often block the views of other concertgoers and could be potentially dangerous. However rest assured, you can still take pictures and selfies as long as you use your arms like a normal person.

Go to episode 488

Music News

Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana, recently launched a national tour, but many parents and tweens are finding it impossible to secure tickets through Ticketmaster. The Disney star (and daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus) is being compared to The Beatles because of how hot these tickets are. Even moments after tickets were officially for sale on the Ticketmaster site, secondary market websites like StubHub and Craigslist had scored tickets and were making them available for hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. This phenomenon has got everyone from industry analysts to state attorneys general to 12-year-old fans suspecting that something fishy is going on. Ticketmaster has pleaded innocence and recently requested an injunction against RMG Technologies, one of the computer programs that have made it easier for ticket brokers to circumvent its protections. Jim and Greg agree that the issue merits investigation, but they're wondering what has taken so long.

In related news, Live Nation, the country's largest concert promoter and Ticketmaster's current business partner, has announced a $120 million deal with pop icon Madonna. The agreement gives Live Nation a cut of not only her touring revenues, but also record sales, merchandising, web sites, movies, TV specials and so on. With record labels floundering, it's easy to understand the appeal of such a deal-companies can no longer count on traditional revenue streams like selling albums, so why not delve into other arenas? But, Jim and Greg are a little concerned about one large corporation having such a monopoly over every aspect of the industry. Does this mean that in order for a band to get booked at a Live Nation venue, they need to ink a recording and merchandising deal with them? It will be interesting to see who follows Madonna's lead, and who follows the lead of the other newsmakers of the week…

That would, of course, be Radiohead. Last week Jim and Greg talked about the band's revolutionary,“pick your own price”distribution method. Now, only days later they‘ve already seen how successful it has been. In the week following the album’s release, the band sold 1.2 million copies of In Rainbows for an average price of $8. Not a bad debut, especially considering they‘ve done this without the assistance of a record company. There’s been some discussion about the quality of the songs, which are slightly below standard CD rates, but as Jim explains, many music fans are used to even lower quality digital files due to the proliferation of iTunes. The ingenuity of Radiohead's scheme is undeniable, but it always comes down to the music. Jim and Greg tackle that next.

Go to episode 99

Music News

The internet phenomenon of the year, YouTube, is again making headlines this week. Warner Music Group struck a deal to make its library of music videos available to the website. This is the first time a record company has agreed to distribute its content through a“user-generated”media company. Now webgoers can enjoy videos by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, and of course, everyone's favorite sand romp video by Chris Isaak. Warner seems to be recognizing the Internet's value in promoting artists — an attitude that stands in stark contrast to most other major labels. Of course Warner will also be monitoring its YouTube content, which leads our hosts to believe that large-scale corporatization and homogenization is not too far in the distance. What this deal means for a future LonelyGirl15 remains to be seen.

Go to episode 43

Music News

This week music industry giant Live Nation swallowed up its sole competitor, House of Blues Entertainment. The company formerly known as Clear Channel is now that much closer to total concert industry domination. They reportedly grossed over $1.3 billion dollars last year, compared to the House of Blues's mere $245 million. But, while the HOB was never close to nipping at Live Nations's heels, they, along with the few remaining local concert promoters, represented an alternative for music fans. For lay people, Jim compares this transaction to that of Microsoft procuring Apple. A scary thought indeed.

It was quite the Fourth of July weekend for R&B producer Dallas Austin. The Grammy-winner, who has composed hits for TLC, Madonna and Pink, flew to Dubai to attend the birthday party of supermodel (and super-boss) Naomi Campbell. Apparently Austin wanted to get this party started a little too quickly. At the airport he was arrested for possession of 1.26 grams of cocaine, then sentenced to four years in prison. But, just a few hours later, he was pardoned by Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Perhaps the Sheikh is trying to maintain Dubai's growing status as a party destination. Or perhaps he is simply a "Motownphilly" fan. Either way, this is one lucky guy, who Sound Opinions imagines "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." (Sorry, we couldn't resist)

Go to episode 32

Music News

Live Nation has already conquered this continent, and now they have their sights on our neighbors to the south. The biggest concert promoters in North America just struck a deal with the biggest concert promoters in Latin America, CIE. The arrangement gives Live Nation the exclusive right to book world tours into CIE venues. This means they've got their paws on nearly all the major concert halls and arenas in Mexico, and a big chunk of those in Brazil. CIE sees the deal as a way to get access to all the major talent in the world, that is, of course, assuming Madonna, Shakira and Jay-Z fill your talent quota.

Next time you want to“Do the Dew,”that could mean popping on some headphones. Soda company Mountain Dew just started a new music company, Green Label, that will release free exclusive downloads by artists like Cool Kids and Matt and Kim. To music fans wary of these kind of corporate relationships, Cool Kid Chuck Inglish explains that the company is just trying to support music, not sell their products. Jim is not convinced, but Greg responds that these days an artist needs support wherever he can get it.

The last news item this week concerns The Doors' long time legal drama. The California Supreme Court just denied a petition by two surviving members of the band, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, to review a lower court's decision that blocked them from touring under The Doors' name. Manzarek and Krieger added“of the 21st Century,”but still continued to use images of the late Jim Morrison in their advertising. Now they'll have to pay up to the third surviving member John Densmore, as well as Morrison's family.

Go to episode 144

Music News

Dick Clark, an adult even more youthful than Jim or Greg, died this week at age 82. The“world's oldest teenager”helped put rock and roll on the map through American Bandstand. As Greg explains, he was the bridge between the teens and the grown-ups and introduced people to a number of important acts including James Brown, Buddy Holly, and Ike and Tina Turner. While not the hippest of music fans, he also provided a platform for acts like Public Image Limited and a young Madonna. Though perhaps that was much to his chagrin.

Go to episode 334

Music News

For years the RIAA has been using the tactics of lawsuits and intimidation to try to curb illegal file-sharing, but recently both the consumer and the legal world are fighting back. Two prominent legal minds are calling for major copyright reform. The first is Harvard University law professor Charles Nesson, who has come to the defense of a Boston University student targeted in a music industry lawsuit. Nesson argues that as a private group, the RIAA can't carry out the civil enforcement of a criminal law and has vowed to take this case as far as it can go.

Another legal bigwig asking for reform is Marilyn Hall Patel, the judge who presided over the case that killed off original Napster. Seven years after her landmark decision, she hasn't seen the music industry make any strides to improve the situation and has proposed a new plan to create a new public/private organization with authority over the licensing and enforcement of copyrighting.

The words "Ticketmaster" and "Live Nation" are hard to escape these days, and with good reason. The two monoliths are unavoidable if you go to see concerts, and now that is the case with listening to and purchasing music as well. Jim and Greg discuss two new developments with the soon-to-be competitors. Ticketmaster has decided to be a little more customer-friendly with the next series of Eagles shows. They will reduce the convenience fees and waive delivery and handling fees for customers who print tickets at home. This decision comes after Eagles manager Irving Azoff was named the CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment. Jim and Greg think this is a move in the right direction, but still find the price of Eagles tickets to be ridiculous.

Live Nation has also taken a new step. After inking a number of 360-degree deals with artists like U2, Madonna and Jay-Z, they now have plans to launch artist pages (similar to MySpace) pages where they can sell mp3s. This will essentially make Live Nation the world's biggest music store, and an even more powerful Live Nation is not something our hosts look forward to.

Go to episode 156

Music News

The verdict is in: three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of "hooliganism" and are sentenced to two years in prison. Pussy Riot caught international notice when they performed their song "Punk Prayer" in Moscow's foremost Orthodox Cathedral in February, calling upon the Virgin Mary to“banish Putin.”The Russian government responded with a Soviet-style show trial, making Pussy Riot the darlings of the West. Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, and Madonna are just a sampling of the pop music illuminati who have publicly supported the group. Jim's impressed that in 2012, punk music still has the power to seriously rile governments. To those who think rock music is just entertainment, he says,“think again.”Greg points out that Pussy Riot aren't the first musical act to suffer serious consequences for politically charged music. They join a list that also includes Fela Kuti, Gilberto Gil, and The Plastic People of the Universe.

In other news, the RIAA's profits are way down according to their latest tax filings. Membership dues from the major labels fell 50% in two years, reflecting the hemorrhaging of the industry as a whole. Unsurprisingly, the RIAA's executives are still doing just dandy. President Carey Sherman and VP Mitch Bainwol each pulled down million-plus salaries last year.

Go to episode 352

Music News

745%. That's the increase in vinyl sales on Amazon. While vinyl sales still account for only 2% of the music industry, that's a number other retailers cannot ignore. Even Whole Foods! Want an LP with your tapenade? In Los Angeles, the food store is getting in on the vinyl action.

Last week, Jim and Greg spoke with Steve Jordan about who might win Canada's prestigious Polaris Music Prize. This week the winner was announced: Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Certainly this experimental rock group won't be walking away with a Grammy anytime soon. But, it seems that even this award might be too commercial or mainstream for the famously leftist group. Godspeed didn't show up to accept its award, and check out its response.

News broke that the N.F.L. has been secretly waging a $1.5 million war against rapper M.I.A. because of her un-ladylike conduct at last year's Superbowl halftime show. Well, compared to the violence and misogyny of the N.F.L., not to mention Madonna's underage dancers, M.I.A. says flipping the bird is nothing. Here's her response.

Go to episode 409

Music News

While more visual spectacle than musical, the MTV Video Music Awards have come and gone again, and what's most interesting is what didn't happen, rather than what did. And by“what”we mean controvery. After the Parents Television Council urged MTV to avoid a repeat of last year's Miley Cyrus twerk-fest, the watchdog group announced that they were mostly pleased with the more family-friendly content. But, the PTC did express concerns about the way women were portrayed. Guess they missed Sofia Vergara's Emmy posing.

And there were still some naked performances…Deadspin released the isolated vocals from both Taylor Swift and Beyonce's appearances. They added a spectrum analysis layer to show how well each singer stayed on pitch. Beyonce fared better, but Jim can sympethize with Miss Swift; only a capella singers sound great without musicians.

bush

Also making news, music fans around the world are celebrating the comeback of the great British singer Kate Bush. After 35 years being offstage, she received an enthusiastic response after announcing "Before the Dawn," a run of 22 shows, which sold out in 15 minutes! Fans (some say including Madonna, Lily Allen and Bjork) watched as Bush opened the first show at London's Hammersmith Apollo with "Lily," from the 1993 album Red Shoes. Bush says she was encouraged to return to performing by her son, Bertie. The show was incredibly elaborate and theatrical- hopefully not too exhausting for Kate.

We also say welcome back to Prince and his longtime frenemy Warner Bros Records. His Purple Majesty will release two new albums at the end of September, marking the end of one of the longest-running employment disputes in musical history. Prince fell out with the label in the early 1990's, prompting him to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol and appear in public with the word“slave”across his face. Now he plans to release two albums: Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum with his all-female band, 3rd Eye Girl.

Rounding out the news, Jim and Greg discuss the idea of the perfect length for a pop song. Long ago technology dictated the length of a tune. A 78 vinyl record came in two sizes—a 10-inch that held 3 minutes of music and a 12-inch that held 4. Midway through the rock ‘n’ roll era, songs like "Stairway to Heaven" blew out those conventions. And certainly, with the digital music revolution, all bets should be off, right? Not so. Brevity is the soul of Top 40. And a radio station in Calgary, Alberta is taking that philosophy to the extreme. 90.3 AMP is telling listeners they will no get“twice the music.”In fact, they'll hear half a song. The station will be editing its plays in order to keep listeners from getting bored. In effect, this is the 140 character limit of music.

We don‘t endorse this approach, but here’s our own celebration of "Short but Sweet" tracks

Go to episode 457

Music News

It's been a while since Jim and Greg have had an opportunity for a "Bono Rant," but this week U2 made big music industry news. The longtime Irish band has made a deal to hand over the management of its worldwide tours, merchandise sales and website to concert promoter Live Nation. This is a similar deal to the one Madonna inked a few months ago, only U2 will continue to release albums through Universal Music. Jim has to wonder why a band as big as U2 even needs a company like Live Nation, especially because they are so notoriously fan-unfriendly. But, he's more horrified at the prospect of seeing Bono and company performing live in their '60s. As Greg reminds him, geezers on stage are all too common these days.

Live Nation's ties with Ticketmaster will be severed at the end of this year, but the mega-company is making some new deals of its own. The Dave Matthews Band and Ticketmaster have teamed up to offer concertgoers a digital album filled with material from the band's upcoming summer tour. Since the DMB tour basically every year, this may not appear to be such big news, but Jim and Greg were both shocked to see the famously grassroots band get in bed with an evil empire like Ticketmaster. Whatever you think of their music (and it's evident where Jim and Greg stand), they were always an admirable band from a business standpoint…until now.

According to Brandweek, music tour sponsorships have grown 75% since 2003 and will hit $1.04 billion this year. This will come as no surprise to concertgoers who have experienced marketing and ads at every moment of a show. But Greg wonders why ticket prices haven't gone down if sponsorships have been so profitable. Jim is equally dismayed, and both hosts are anxious to see if anyone has the courage to stand up to the brand.

Go to episode 123