Nelson George & Opinions on Eminem and Passion Pit

Author and critic Nelson George talks with Jim and Greg about his new book City Kid: A Writer’s Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success. Later Jim and Greg review Eminem’s new album Relapse.

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After much debate, France has passed its three strikes law against filesharers. That means that if you are caught illegally downloading three times your internet could be shut down. It also signals an alliance between the French government and the record industry, and according to the EU, a limiting of personal freedom.

Speaking of limited personal freedom, the Chinese government continues to hinder access to popular music. Eager to curb potential protests, China’s Ministry of Culture has cancelled major Oasis shows and moved the major MIDI festival from centrally located Beijing. Jim is not usually a fan of censorship, but actually favors an Oasis crackdown.

While we in this country have been busy with American Idol, Europeans were anxiously anticipating the winner of the biggest song contest in the world. This year’s Eurovision winner is Alexander Rybeck of Norway. More than 100 million people watched his song Fairytale take the crown. Of course, Jim and Greg don’t take this contest too seriously, but it’s nice to know that the love of schlock pop is universal.

Alexander Rybak

Nelson George

Music critic, author and screenwriter Nelson George joins Jim and Greg on the show this week. His many books have become cornerstones on American thinking about hip hop, soul and pop music. Now he has a new book out called City Kid: A Writer’s Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success. After years of exploring the lives of others, including Chris Rock, James Brown and Russell Simmons, Nelson took himself on as a subject. He relays his experience growing up in Brownsville. Music and art gave him a way to experience the outside world and later became his ticket to success. He even made his way to Hollywood, writing and producing the hip hop parody film CB4.

Relapse Eminem

Relapse

One of hip hop’s most successful artists is Eminem. After a five-year wait, he’s back with a new album called Relapse. The Detroit rapper has again sought help from producer Dr. Dre, and is again relying on violence and misogyny to shock and entertain listeners. The problem-it’s not so shocking anymore. Both Jim and Greg were bored by this record, and Greg hears boredom in Eminem’s own voice. Perhaps Em should try a little good taste for a change. He gets a double Trash It.

Manners Passion Pit

Manners (Bonus Track Version)

The next album up for review is Manners, the debut from Boston-based Passion Pit. The electro-pop quintet is helmed by Michael Angelakos. It’s his falsetto that dominates the album, in addition to the lush, swirling synths. In fact, the music is a little too lush and sugary for Mr. Kot, who wishes there were a few more moments of calm. He gives Manners a Try It rating. Jim was certain Greg would be all over this record. He hears the music as a successful, indie take on ‘80s disco and gives the album a Buy It.

Jim

Jim and Greg’s choices for the Desert Island Jukebox are often influenced by current events or discussion in an episode. But this week, Jim just wanted to hear some Buzzcocks. Their album Singles Going Steady is one of the great compilation albums of all time. But the one great single that didn’t make it on is the band’s 1979 song I Believe. Is it a manifesto? Or just a joke? Jim doesn’t know, but he’ll be happy listening over and over again.

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