Musical Couples for Valentine's Day

Rockers in Love: Sound Opinions celebrates Valentine's Day with selections by great musical power couples. Later, Jim and Greg review the new album from punk rockers Against Me!

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Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment last Sunday morning. While Hoffman, 46, was known for dozens of lead roles, Jim had a special connection to his portrayal of rock critic Lester Bangs in the 2000 Cameron Crowe film Almost Famous. Jim—who, as a fledgling 17-year-old rock critic, had interviewed Bangs in 1982—completed his biography of Bangs around the time that the movie came out. In an interview for the book, Crowe recounted how Hoffman, to get into character, would walk the streets of San Diego listening to young Jim's conversation with the larger-than-life Bangs. As Jim says, there was a lot of rock n‘ roll in Hoffman’s soul. He'll be missed.


List: Musical Couples

What's more romantic than a couple literally making beautiful music together? Nothing, we say. And so Sound Opinions celebrates Valentine's Day with the best Musical Power Couples.

reviewTransgender Dysphoria BluesTransgender Dysphoria Blues available on iTunes

Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Against Me! has gone through some changes since forming in the late 1990s, but none more radical than that of the group's founder and front person Tom Gabel. In 2012 he announced that he would be identifying as a woman named Laura Jane Grace. This transformative experience made an impact on the group, and the result is Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Greg finds the record a harrowing document, akin to a diary entry. The stripped-down, acoustic production matches the raw content of Grace's lyrics perfectly. But those lyrics fall down when she tackles other topics like geopolitics. That said, it's a Buy It. Jim doesn‘t think Greg fully appreciates Grace’s intellectual heft the same way he does the anthemic music. The album's commentary on issues such as rape culture and death are just as provocative as the songs about Grace's personal life. He hails Transgender Dysphoria Blues as the first great album of 2014 and is happy to strongly second Greg's Buy It.


Featured Songs

  1. Sonny & Cher, I Got You Babe, Look at Us, Atco, 1965
  2. The Cramps, All Women Are Bad, Stay Sick!, Enigma, 1989
  3. Tom Tom Club, Genius of Love, Tom Tom Club, Sire, 1981
  4. Notorious B.I.G. feat. Faith Evans, One More Chance/Stay With Me (Remix), One More Chance/Stay With Me (Remix) (Single), Bad Boy, 1995
  5. George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Golden Ring, Golden Ring, Epic, 1976
  6. X, The Hungry Wolf, Under the Big Black Sun, Elektra, 1982
  7. The Handsome Family, Weightless Again, Through the Trees, Carrot Top, 1998
  8. Galaxie 500, Listen, the Snow Is Falling, This Is Our Music, Rough Trade, 1990
  9. The White Stripes, We're Going to Be Friends, White Blood Cells, Sympathy for the Record Industry, 2001
  10. Johnny Cash feat. June Carter, Jackson, At Folsom Prison, Legacy/Columbia, 1968
  11. Yo La Tengo, Our Way to Fall, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, Matador, 2000
  12. Erykah Badu feat. Common, Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop), Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop) (Single), MCA, 2002
  13. ABBA, Waterloo, Waterloo, PolyGram, 1974
  14. Siouxie and the Banshees, Cities in Dust, Tinderbox, Geffen, 1987
  15. Blondie, Heart of Glass, Parallel Lines, Capitol, 1978
  16. Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Total Treble Music, 2014
  17. Against Me!, Unconditional Love, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Total Treble Music, 2014
  18. Against Me!, Two Coffins, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Total Treble Music, 2014
  19. Iron Maiden, Mother Russia, No Prayer for the Dying, Raw Power Records, 1990
  20. The Nerves, Hanging on the Telephone, One Way Ticket, Alive Records, 2008
  21. Divine Styler, Walk of Exodus, Spiral Walls Containing Autumns of Light, Giant/Reprise/Warner Bros., 1992
  22. The Avalanches, Radio, Since I Left You, Sire, 2000
  23. Pete Seeger, The Power and the Glory, God Bless the Grass, Legacy/Columbia, 1966

Footnotes Jim's obituary for Philip Seymour Hoffman Jim's final interview with Lester Bangs Let It Blurt, Jim's biography of Lester Bangs Against Me!'s website Laura Jane Grace opens up to Rolling Stone Jim's Against Me! review