Results for Mariah Carey

interviews

L.A. Reid

lareidcoachella TLC, Mariah Carey, Pink, Justin Bieber, Outkast, Usher, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Kanye West…you name the pop star, and chances are he or she has worked with this week's guest, Antonio“L.A.”Reid. While he began as a drummer in the R&B group The Deele, it's really behind-the-scenes that L.A. has made the most awesome noise—first, as a songwriter/producer with Babyface in the 1980s and 1990s, then as a record exec at LaFace, Arista, Island Def Jam and now Epic Records.

L.A. shares his insights into what makes a great pop song, great (melody, hooks, emotion and the ability to sound good, even with a pillow over it) and some of his biggest professional triumphs (signing“the Beast”Rihanna, coaching Kanye West) and failures (Lady Gaga…the one that got away). He's also not afraid to get candid about music industry sacred cows, whether it's Michael Jackson or major labels themselves.

Go to episode 542
reviews
Memoirs of an Imperfect AngelMemoirs of an Imperfect Angel available on iTunes

Mariah Carey Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel

Mariah Carey's new album is more than just a collection of songs. It's a corporate multi-media experience. Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel comes with an ad-filled mini mag, but lucky for Jim and Greg, they only need to worry about the music. Carey has never been Greg's favorite vocalist, but he applauds her choice to base the record around slow-jam R&B. It's not cluttered with mega-guest producers, and Greg thinks it's her best record yet. He gives it a Buy It. Jim is shocked. He describes the songs as empty and hollow and gives it a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 200
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
St. ElsewhereSt. Elsewhere available on iTunes

Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere

St. Elsewhere is the debut album from Gnarls Barkley, the imaginary front-person for a project helmed by vocalist and rapper Cee-Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse. Gnarls describes himself as the pen pal of long-deceased rock critic Lester Bangs, soul singer Isaac Hayes, and Violent Femmes singer Gordon Gano. He also claims to be the lover of both Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey and the man who taught Kraftwerk English. Most importantly, though, he has become a British phenomenon. The first single, "Crazy," went to number one on the UK singles chart after simply being released as a download, and Jim and Greg hope that the hype can be sustained stateside. Both critics love the combination of Cee-Lo's half-preacher, half-freak vocal style and DJ Danger Mouse's eclectic production choices. St. Elsewhere gets a double Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 23
news

Music News

First up in the news, Verizon is expected to send letters to its customers on behalf of the RIAA to those accused of illegally downloading content from the web. This marks a shift in attitude for Verizon. Previously they were one of the more reluctant companies to intervene in copyright cases. Jim and Greg point out that no one knows what the letters will say, or rather what kinds of action they will threaten, but they do have concern about ISP's making partnerships with big Hollywood.

One of the more interesting music pieces to hit the newsstand this week came from the U.K.'s Sunday Times. Their profile of Mariah Carey portrays her not just as a pop diva, but as a forward-thinking business person along the lines of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. 10 years ago, Mariah was a punchline in the music (and film) business. Now, she not only has a successful album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, but unique marketing and money-making methods, including an Elle-sponsored mini-mag. As the Times article explains, this partnership wasn't beneficial for Elle, but did funded Mariah's album. In addition, it gave the singer a number of different business opportunities. Who knew she was such a mad genius?

Go to episode 208

Music News

The Grateful Dead are coming back from…well…the dead. The four surviving original members of the jam band progenitor are reuniting for a series of shows this July at Soldier Field in Chicago. These performances will commemorate their 50th anniversary as a band, as well as the 20th anniversary of leader Jerry Garcia's death. The band claims these will be their final shows together, but Jim and Greg have their doubts.

The buzz is already building for this summer's big music festivals. Major events like Coachella, Bonnarroo, and the New Orleans Jazz Fest are already announcing big name headliners. There seems to be a growing trend of booking veteran performers like Billy Joel and Elton John who could otherwise fill stadium gigs of their own. Greg's early pick is the Governors Ball in New York featuring Björk, while Jim's curiosity is piqued by the avant-garde lineup at Knoxville, Tennessee's Big Ears Festival.

It's one fine day for fans of Mariah Carey. The chart-topping chanteuse will be holding a residency at Caesars Las Vegas beginning in May. She'll perform selections from her many #1 singles to coincide with a new release aptly called #1s. And while it seems like the stuff of sweet, sweet fantasy, Mr. Showmanship himself, Liberace, is also returning to Vegas, despite having died in 1987. Following in the footsteps of Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur, the glittery entertainer will be recreated as a hologram by the company Hologram USA.

liberace

Go to episode 478

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

The week's first news story concerns two different markers of achievement in the music industry: The Grammy Awards and the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll. Everyone, of course, knows about The Grammys—the annual awards given by the Recording Academy—but Jim and Greg argue that a better indicator of who deserved praise this year is the Pazz & Jop poll, which was taken by almost 800 music critics. There aren't many crossovers on the list of Village Voice winners and Grammy nominees, except for the critical and popular favorite Kanye West. The other musicians who finish out the top five—M.I.A., Sufjan Stevens, Sleater-Kinney and Fiona Apple—definitely don't appear on the Grammy ballot for "Album of the Year." The artists honored in that category include Mariah Carey, U2, Gwen Stefani and Paul McCartney.

Go to episode 10

Music News

Last week a federal jury concluded that 25-year-old college student Joel Tennenbaum must pay $675,000 - or $22,500 for each of the 30 songs he was found liable of infringing. He was the country's second RIAA file-sharing defendant to go before a jury; the other was Minnesotawoman Jammie Thomas-Rasset. She was ordered to pay even more–$1.92 million for the 24 songs she shared on Kazaa. Both of these cases have been high-profile, leading Jim, Gregand guest Nate Anderson of Ars Technica to wonder if the defendents are being made examples of, especially since the damages were so high. Adding to the media attention was Tennenbaum's lawyer, Charles Nesson of Harvard, who took this case as a celebre. Nesson tried to use a fair-use defense, but the judge in the case was having none of it. Tenenbaum plans to appeal, but otherwise has plans to file for bankruptcy.

Mariah Carey announced this week that she'll include an ad-packed mini magazine with her next release, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. The 34-page spread will include ads for Mariah's perfume, as well as other luxury brands and Mariah-centric content. And a version will be included in Elle Magazine. Jim and Greg wonder if commercials between songs are next?

Black Eyed Peas The Black Eyed Peas have been consistent hit-makers since bringing Fergie on in 2003. Now they are record breakers. With "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling," they have the longest successive chart run in the history of Billboard. The last group to do this was Boyz II Men. The Black Eyed Peas are solidifying their status as the dominant force in commercial music today.

Sun Records recording artist Billy Lee Riley died last week at the age of 75. Riley never achieved great mainstream success and didn't get to record a full album for Sun, but his string of singles were hugely influential according to Jim and Greg. The best way to remember him is by listening to his biggest hit "Flyin' Saucers Rock and Roll."

Go to episode 193

Music News

It's the dirty little secret of the music industry. If you've got the loot, Mariah Carey, Nelly Furtado and Usher, among others, can perform at your wedding, birthday party or bar mitzvah. And these big stars don't appear to be too selective about their gigs – a fact that has caused some controversy recently. The aforementioned pop singers performed at private parties for members of Muammar Gaddafi's family. Now they are expressing regret, and in some instances, promising to donate their fees to charity. Usher, for one, has claimed ignorance, but Jim and Greg think these high powered artists can afford to pay a little more attention to their schedules.

Phil Collins has sold about 100 million albums – and to him that seems like a good place to stop. The Genesis drummer recently announced his retirement and was then hit with a number of unkind rumors about the impetus for this decision. He set the record straight on his website, explaining that he wants to spend more time with his children. Jim and Greg think this is a noble way to bow out – assuming he doesn't launch an expensive comeback tour in a few years.

Go to episode 276