Results for Rihanna

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
UnapologeticUnapologetic available on iTunes

Rihanna Unapologetic

Reigning pop/R&B queen and hook-singer du jour Rihanna is back with a new release called Unapologetic - her first to top the Billboard albums chart. The 24-year-old Barbadian singer has been all over the news in recent weeks, though not necessarily for her music. By dueting with the man who assaulted her in 2009 (fellow R&B singer Chris Brown) on“Nobody's Business,”Rihanna ensured her seventh studio album would be everybody's business. So how's the music? Jim calls the upbeat dance-pop fare on the first half of the record“pure pop pleasure.”But when things get sappier and slowed-down on side two, her limits as a vocalist become clear. Greg agrees with Jim that Rihanna's Chris Brown collab is pure“button-pushing.”He points to her 2009 album Rated R as a more ambitious and successful exploration of that troubled relationship. While he appreciates that the singer is moving in a more serious direction, he laments that the pop hooks just aren't there. Unapologetic gets a double Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 366
Rated R: RemixedRated R available on iTunes

Rihanna Rated R

Jim and Greg review two new albums-are they triumphs or turkeys? First up is Rated R, the 4th album from Rihanna. The pop singer blew up in 2007 with her song "Umbrella." She was recently in the news for an incident with boyfriend Chris Brown. While Brown was being sentenced for felony assault, Rihanna began working on Rated R. The result, for Greg, is surprisingly a record of substance. While Rihanna didn‘t write the songs, they are haunting and seem to directly address her abusive relationship. He never expected to say it, but Greg thinks this is one of the best records of the year. Jim agrees. He won’t go so far as to compare the pop star to the towering voices of Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin, but Jim thinks Rated R is a record of empowerment. It gets a double Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 209
Graffiti (Deluxe Version)Rated R available on iTunes

Chris Brown & Rihanna Rated R

Last week Jim and Greg reviewed Rihanna's new album Rated R. This week they look at her former boyfriend Chris Brown's new album Graffiti. The R&B star's third album is being released only months after he pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna, and Jim and Greg hear more of a botched public relations attempt than a good record. The songs might have been innocuous had Brown not addressed the violent incident, but he does and seemingly without much remorse. To Greg it's a taudry he said/she said game. To Jim it's bad experimentation, not to mention creepy. Either way, it's a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 210
lists

Best Albums of 2009

Go to episode 211

The Best Songs of 2010 - Mixtapes

At the end of each year, Jim and Greg look back and pick out their favorite songs to make you a mixtape. Think of it as a soundtrack for 2010. They both play samples of the mix during the show, but you can stream both compilations in their entirety.

Go to episode 266
news

Music News

Anyone who has ever taught his or her parent to use an iPhone knows that the older generation doesn‘t always mix well with the digital age. But don’t tell that to the Rolling Stones. The veteran rockers are celebrating their 50 years in the business by releasing an app. As Mick explains, the Stones wanted to something“special and innovative.”And of course, they wanna sell stuff. Also coming around to this new fangled digital world is AC/DC. The longstanding Apple holdouts will finally make their catalog available on iTunes. That just leaves a short list of withholders including Black Sabbath and Garth Brooks.

Rihanna hit #1 this week for the first time. Jim and Greg review the new album later in the show, but are interested in the fact that Ri-Ri joined a long list of prominent artists in an open letter to Congress opposing the Internet Radio Fairness Act. Apparently, she doesn't credit streaming services like Pandora with her success. Members of Maroon 5, Pink Floyd and Katy Perry join Rihanna in saying, we dig you Pandora, but don't gut our royalties. Check out Greg's coverage of the debate from the recent Future of Music Summit.

Go to episode 366

Music News

Everyone loves a steal, even corporations. Specific Media recently got quite a deal in procuring MySpace. News Corp. purchased the website in 2005 for $580 million; now they‘ve unloaded it for $35 million. It’s proof that MySpace doesn't have the cultural cache it once did. But Justin Timberlake is doing his best to fix that. The pop singer and actor (who incidentally portrayed Facebook's Sean Parker) will work with the new owners to“rebuild and reinvigorate”the site. But websites are like reality stars – it's rare to get more than fifteen minutes of fame.

Speaking of cheap deals, pop music is anything but. Planet Money recently tallied the costs that went into making Rihanna's "Man Down" a hit. Between the big name songwriters, producers and expensive promotion, the dollar amount comes to $1,078,000. As Greg explains, this is nothing new. Record companies were spending this kind of dough twenty years ago. But at that time the returns were much greater. To spend a million on a song that might make two to three million? The math doesn't add up.

Go to episode 293

Music News

Susan Boye Last week Jim and Greg reviewed the new album by The Black Eyed Peas, and this week they were sure it would be a #1 hit. But if there's anyone that can give the Peas a run for their money, it's…Susan Boyle? The Britain's Got Talent winner is the top seller of the week with her new album The Gift, beating out not only The Black Eyed Peas, but Kanye West and Taylor Swift. This news is further evidence that the physical album chart is dominated by people who still buy physical albums, a.k.a.“older folks.”Which leads to the next story…

Billboard has recognized that its standard album chart might not be a fully accurate representation of what's“popular”in music. In today's world, an artist's tweets, followers, fans, friends and hits are just as important indicators as record sales. So with that in mind they've launched the new Social 50. At the top of Social 50 are artists like Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Eminem and Nicki Minaj – all performers who sell records. But the chart also has the potential to recognize non-traditional acts like Widespread Panic, Girl Talk and Robyn, who consistently sell out shows, but don't have a big retail presence. Jim and Greg welcome Billboard to the 21st century.

Still shopping for holiday gifts and got a few thousand to spare? Well, you could get your loved one the original lyrics to Bob Dylan's song "The Times They Are a-Changin." And by a few thousand we mean $300,000. That's how much the sheet of unruled notebook paper is expected to go for at an upcoming auction. December certainly seems to be the month of rock memorabilia sales. Johnny Cash's jumpsuit, which he wore during his concert at San Quentin and made famous in this image, went for $50,000. Michael Jackson's glove sold for $300,000, and a decades old legal letter featuring John Lennon's original lyrics to "I'm Only Sleeping" is expected to go for over $500,000.

Go to episode 263

Music News

In 2014, Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" was the definitive song of the summer. In the past few years, tracks by Robin Thicke, Katy Perry and Rihanna dominated the charts without much competition. And while many summer hits are released in the springtime, it's already and a frontrunner for the 2015 song of the summer has yet to emerge. In fact, Greg and Jim couldn't even think of many contenders. Could there be no winner in 2015?

Go to episode 496

Music News

Hard rock gods Led Zeppelin announced its surviving members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones will perform live for one night only at England's 02 arena. The missing John Bonham drum slot will be filled by his son Jason Bonham. This event is all for charity. It's in honor of the late Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegün. All proceeds will go towards the Ahmet Ertegün Education Fund. Robert Plant's altruism and high regard for Mr. Ertegün must be quite substantial considering he had this harsh thing to say back in 2002 about the band reuniting. Jim points out that nowadays no band ever stays broken up and predicts that once the band finishes this gig, they'll launch a world tour. Zep heads everywhere are crossing their fingers.

"Amateur" singer-songwriter Marié Digby rose to pop success this summer from her“DIY”video of her covering Rihanna's "Umbrella" on acoustic guitar. The video has been viewed 2.3 million times and launched her into US radio and iTunes success. It turns out her entire“amateur”marketing campaign was orchestrated by the not-so-amateur Hollywood Records. The Disney owned Hollywood Records signed Digby back in 2005 — well before she/the machine posted her YouTube video. The fact the she was on a major label was kept hidden until only very recently. Greg points out how this shows you how much a sham the major labels have become when Digby herself states she didn't think people would like her if they knew she was on a major label. Greg feels now that the artifice is exposed, her 15 minutes are over.

Pioneering jazz keyboardist Joe Zawinul died recently at the age of 75. Zawinul was one of the founding members of the 1970s jazz fusion band The Weather Report. According to Jim and Greg, the band was the pinnacle of the jazz fusion sound, a melding of rock ‘n’ roll and jazz. Zawinul introduced the synthesizer and electronic instrumentation to jazz. He helped pioneer the jazz fusion genre with Miles Davis on Davis's In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Jim and Greg also ask listeners not to blame Zawinul and Davis for where the jazz/rock fusion led to. As a tribute to Joe Zawinul, Jim and Greg play The Weather Report's most iconic song, "Birdland."

Go to episode 94