Oliver Sacks & Opinions on TV on the Radio, T.I., and Oasis

Awakenings neurologist Oliver Sacks joins Jim and Greg for an enlightening discussion about the powerful connection between music and the brain. And later the critics rate new albums from TV on the Radio and Oasis.

Oliver Sacks on Sound Opinions
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The music industry’s transition into a digital economy has not been the smoothest. But, in England, artists are banding together to make sure their voices will be heard in this revolution. British musicians including Radiohead, Billy Bragg and Robbie Williams have formed the Featured Artists’ Coalition to insure that they can maintain the rights to their music and have more say about distribution in the future. Artists have traditionally been abused by big music corporations, and Jim and Greg think the changing landscape of music gives musicians the perfect opportunity to get more rights. Hopefully musicians in the States can follow suit.

Filmgoers are eagerly anticipating the release of the next James Bond film. For now they’ll have to settle for the new opening theme recorded by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Traditionally each Bond movie is accompanied by an original song, making it one of the biggest song franchises in history. Some were hits, and others were big misses. Neither Jim nor Greg think that the White/Keys collaboration ranks up there with great Bond tracks like Goldfinger, Nobody Does it Better, or You Only Live Twice. They’d put it in the misses category with The Living Daylights.

Oliver Sacks

As critics Jim and Greg have always suspected that music affects your brain, but they needed an expert to confirm their hypothesis. This week they speak with Dr. Oliver Sacks, author of the book Awakenings, which later went on to become a film starring Robin Williams. His new book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain is a collection of anecdotes illustrating the powerful effects music can have on the brain. Sacks relays his clinical experiences working with a range of patients including individuals who struggle to connect with music’s melody, Parkinsonian patients who depend on music’s rhythm, and Alzheimer’s patients who find comfort in music’s emotion. These people use music as a lifeline and a way to connect to the world–something rock fans certainly understand.

Dig Out Your Soul Oasis

Dig Out Your Soul

With their first two records Oasis re-invigorated the British pop world. Now they are back with number seven. Jim thinks that now it’s time for Noel and Liam Gallagher to consider a career change. Perhaps stand-up comedy? He finds Dig Out Your Soul laughable, especially the pace. If Noel had picked up more of the slack the album might have been more successful, but Jim has to deem it a Trash It. Greg actually grew to be a fan of Oasis’ earlier work, but he agrees with Jim on this one. He admits that they shamelessly rip off The Beatles, but that’s the least of the Gallaghers’ problems. Dig Out Your Soul is merely a third rate rip off, and the lyrics are even worse. So Liam and Noel get two Trash Its.

Paper Trail T.I.

Paper Trail (Deluxe Version)

T.I. went straight to #1 this week with his new record Paper Trail. Unfortunately that’s not the only headline the rapper has made. In a few months he’s scheduled to serve a year long prison sentence for gun possession. But, as Greg points out, that should’ve made for great fodder for songwriting - should’ve being the operative word. He sees Paper Trail as a missed opportunity to do something deeper. Rather, this is T.I.’s most commercial record. It’s packed with a handful of terrific tracks, but not enough to warrant a Buy It from Greg. Jim agrees; He enjoyed the hook-filled songs, but was left wanting more out of T.I. He recommends the rapper use his time away to channel his more poetic inspiration - Tupac Shakur. Therefore the album gets two Try Its.

Dear Science TV on the Radio

Dear Science (Bonus Track Version)

The final album up for review is by Brooklyn indie band TV on the Radio. Now on major label Interscope, they’ve become one of the most talked about groups. Greg even put their last album in the #1 slot on his Best of 2007 list. Jim was not as big a fan of that record, but admits this one is stronger. They have success with their up-tempo tracks, but Jim becomes skeptical when the group slows down. He thinks they set their horizons a little too wide, and gives Dear Science a Try It. Greg is more positive. Return to Cookie Mountain was like a soundtrack to such a dark period in the world. With Dear Science, he can almost hear the clouds parting. The album is weirdly optimistic to Greg and deserves a Buy It.

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