Michael Jackson's Thriller

Thriller (Classic Album Dissection) & Opinions on Eminem and Wolf Parade

One year after Michael Jackson's death, Jim and Greg explore the legacy of the King of Pop's most famous album with Nelson George, author of Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson. Plus Jim and Greg review the new albums from Eminem and Wolf Parade.

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Music News

One of the news stories Jim and Greg have been writing about this week is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's anti-trust investigation of Lollapalooza promoters C3 Presents. Chicago's Lollapalooza, like many large music festivals across the country, imposes a radius clause on its artists. That's an industry-standard contract of exclusivity with performers that restricts their touring within a certain distance. These clauses impact not only bands, but local music clubs, and really shrink their bookings for the summer. Jim and Greg wonder if this type of investigation will grow to the federal level.

Also in the news this week, Led Zeppelin is being sued for copyright infringement by Jake Holmes, a 70-year-old folk singer. Holmes, who toured with Jimmy Page and the Yardbirds in 1967, claims he actually wrote "Dazed and Confused." Lawsuits like this are a dime a dozen these days, but this one sparked Jim and Greg's interested because the evidence is just so darn convincing. Listen for yourself.

classic album dissectionThrillerThriller available on iTunes

Michael Jackson Thriller

Last week marked the year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, and there's been a lot of talk about some of the more controversial aspects of the artist's life and death. But, there hasn't been enough about the music. So, Jim and Greg turned to previous guest Nelson George, author of Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson. For George, Thriller was not only the high point of the King of Pop's career, but perhaps of pop music in general. Never again will a single album have as big a cultural or commercial impact. He even thinks Jackson's success paved the way for more African-American stars to emerge. Plus, there'd be no Thriller dance.

reviewRecoveryRecovery available on iTunes

Eminem Recovery

Eminem released a new album this week, and it went on to not only debut at #1, but it became the biggest seller in a single week since 2008. Recovery is the follow-up to Relapse, an album that the rapper himself admits was kind of misstep. But now, after going through a lot of pain in his personal life, he's taking a more“emo”approach according to Greg. The lyrics are more introspective, which Greg applauds, but the production really brings it all down. It's only a partial“Recovery,”so Greg gives it a Try It rating. Jim also hears introspection, but it's of the Lifetime movie variety. He admits that Eminem is still a truly impressive rapper, but enough with the lame pop culture pot shots. Jim gives this record a Trash It.

reviewExpo 86Expo 86 available on iTunes

Wolf Parade Expo 86

Montreal quartet Wolf Parade also released an album this week called Expo 86. Jim was a skeptic with the first couple of albums, but he hears a big step forward in the songwriting. The melodies are better than ever, and there's not as much“lo-fi clatter.”He gives Expo 86 an enthusiastic Buy It. Of our two hosts, Greg was actually a Wolf Parade fan. But the dynamic contrasts that songwriters Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner brought to the table last time around are less evident. Greg calls the sound more cohesive, but because of that, blander. He gives Wolf Parade a Try It.


Featured Songs

  1. The Strokes, Someday, Is This It?, RCA, 2001
  2. Led Zeppelin, Dazed and Confused, Led Zeppelin, WEA, 1969
  3. Jake Holmes, Dazed and Confused, Above Ground Sound of Jake Holmes, Phoenix USA, 1967, 4. Michael Jackson,“Billie Jean,”Thriller, Epic, 1982
  4. Michael Jackson, Wanna Be Startin Something, Thriller, Epic, 1982
  5. Michael Jackson, Leave Me Alone, Bad, Epic, 1987
  6. Michael Jackson, Billie Jean, Thriller, Epic, 1982
  7. Michael Jackson, PYT ( Pretty Young Thing), Thriller, Epic, 1982
  8. Michael Jackson, Thriller, Thriller, Epic, 1982
  9. Michael Jackson, Human Nature, Thriller, Epic, 1982
  10. Michael Jackson, Beat It, Thriller, Epic, 1982
  11. Prince, Purple Rain, Purple Rain, Warner, 1984
  12. Michael Jackson, Starlight, Thriller Demo, Unreleased, 1982
  13. Michael Jackson, Thriller, Thriller, Epic, 1982
  14. Michael Jackson, Baby Be Mine, Thriller, Epic, 1982
  15. Eminem, Love the Way You Lie, Recovery, Interscope, 2010
  16. Eminem, Going Through Changes, Recovery, Interscope, 2010
  17. Eminem, Talkin 2 Myself, Recovery, Interscope, 2010
  18. Wolf Parade, Palm Road, Expo 86, Sub Pop, 2010
  19. Wolf Parade, Cave-o-Sapien, Expo 86, Sub Pop, 2010
  20. Salem, King Night, King Night, IAMSOUND Records, 2010
  21. Wolf Parade, Language City, At Mount Zoomer, Sub Pop, 2008
  22. Sweet, Ballroom Blitz, Desolation Boulevard, Capitol, 1974
  23. Scritti Politti, Absolute, Cupid & Psyche 85, Warner Bros, 1985


theguardian.com Led Zeppelin Lawsuit michaeljackson.com Michael Jackson eminem.com Eminem subpop.com Wolf Parade chicagotribune.com Greg's review on“Relapse”