‘Revolver’ Classic Album Dissection & The Raconteurs Review

This year marks the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest albums of all time—Revolver. Jim and Greg will dissect this Beatles masterpiece and talk with the man who engineered it. Plus, they’ll review albums from singer/songwriter T-Bone Burnett and indie rock supergroup The Raconteurs.

Revolver
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Music News

The Payola investigation conducted by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is making some headway. Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music company, has agreed to pay $12 million to settle accusations that its executives paid radio programmers to play certain songs. This is the largest settlement of its kind. Warner Music Group and Sony BMG made similar deals last year, and Mr. Spitzer is still in the process of investigating EMI, as well as radio companies like Clear Channel and CBS Radio. And, as we heard a couple of weeks ago, the FCC is conducting a similar inquiry. As always, Sound Opinions H.Q. will keep you posted.

Another story in the news this week suggests that record company lawyers won’t be taking a break any time soon. All four of the major record labels have just launched a lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio. Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI all claim that a new XM device called the Inno violates music copyright law by allowing people to not only listen to satellite radio, but record it. Therefore, according to the labels, XM has become a digital retailer, like iTunes, and should be required to pay similar fees. It’s yet another example of the recording industry scorning new technology rather than embracing it.

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose is also making news, though Jim and Greg are wondering why. The buzz is that his long-awaited album Chinese Democracy is forthcoming—but our hosts are skeptical. Rose has been saying that he’s on the brink of finishing for years (15 to be exact), and in the process he’s become one of the long-running jokes in the music industry. But fans can take solace in the fact that the singer recently performed some Chinese Democracy tracks in New York. A good sign indeed.

Revolver

Revolver

Later this summer Revolver will celebrate its 40th anniversary. To honor that occasion, our own rock scientists, Drs. DeRogatis and Kot, decided to dissect The Beatles’ masterpiece. In their interview with Geoff Emerick, the man who engineered the album at Abbey Road, and wrote a memoir on his time with the band, they break down what made the music so revolutionary. A sampling of the fun facts and analysis:

Revolver covers

To show the range of influence Revolver has had on the music industry, Jim and Greg commissioned this montage of covers from The Beatles’ album:

  1. Taxman by Stevie Ray Vaughan
  2. Eleanor Rigby by Ray Charles
  3. I’m Only Sleeping by Rosanne Cash
  4. Love You To by Bongwater
  5. Here, There and Everywhere by Emmylou Harris
  6. Yellow Submarine by Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops
  7. She Said, She Said, by Gov’t Mule
  8. Good Day Sunshine, by Jimmy James & the Vagabonds
  9. And Your Bird Can Sing by Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
  10. For No One by Rickie Lee Jones
  11. Doctor Robert by Bozo Allegro
  12. I Want to Tell You by Ted Nugent
  13. Got To Get You Into My Life by Earth, Wind & Fire
  14. Tomorrow Never Knows by Brian Eno

The True False Identity T-Bone Burnett

The True False Identity

Singer/songwriter and producer T-Bone Burnett recently put out The True False Identity, his first album in 14 years. Burnett is best known for having produced albums for Los Lobos, Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello and ex-wife Sam Phillips. He also produced the hugely successful soundtracks for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Cold Mountain, and A Mighty Wind. After over a decade-long hiatus, he returned to the studio with drummer Jim Keltner and guitarist Mark Ribot. Greg is glad to have T-Bone back. He loves how the musician uses the studio as an instrument and gives The True False Identity a Buy It. Jim, on the other hand, listened to the album and prepared to rumble. He compares the music to that of a similar artist: Tom Waits. Jim feels that both men try to be weird simply for the sake of being weird. He wishes that T-Bone Burnett was as effective a producer for his own work as he is for others’, and gives this album a definite Trash It.

Broken Boy Soldiers The Raconteurs

Broken Boy Soldiers

The next album up for review is Broken Boy Soldiers by The Raconteurs. The Raconteurs is a side-project for Jack White of The White Stripes. He is joined by power popster (and fellow Michigan native) Brendan Benson as well as members of garage band The Greenhornes. This marks a bit of a departure for White, who favors a much more minimalist approach with the White Stripes, and Greg is not entirely impressed. He feels that too much of the record is merely a classic rock imitation. Greg suspects that White ceded too much power to Brendan Benson, and wishes that he made more innovative musical choices, as he did on the album he produced for country star Loretta Lynn. Broken Boy Soldiers gets a Burn It from this critic. Jim, however, cannot stop listening to The Raconteurs, and for him that’s all that matters. Rock and roll has never been about originality, and according to Jim, every song is catchy and energetic. Jim would Buy It.

Greg

It is Greg’s turn to pop a quarter into the Desert Island Jukebox, but this week he had a hard time choosing just one song. According to our host, hip-hop star Missy Elliott is the top singles artist of the last 10 years. Along with producers like Timbaland, she makes truly avant-garde music, but does so in a really fun, accessible way. Therefore, it’s no wonder that her songs are critical and commercial hits. For this week’s show, Greg went with the song Work It. The song demonstrates Missy’s novel approach to sounds and words. It isn’t really about anything new, but the lyrics, beats and sounds (note the elephant’s wail) couldn’t sound fresher. In fact, only Missy Elliott could get away with having the hook to a Top 40 hit be sung backwards. So, you may not be able to sing along to this week’s DIJ, but you’ll certainly want to.

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