Moby & Reviews of John Legend and My Chemical Romance

One of Jim and Greg’s favorite guests, Moby, visits the show this week. Plus, the critics will review the latest efforts from R&B singer John Legend and pop-punk band My Chemical Romance.

Moby
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Music News

Major labels made a bit of news this week, and allowed Jim and Greg to justify their use of the brontosaurus hurdling toward the tar pit metaphor. So what is driving this particular dinosaur into extinction? According to our hosts, it’s technology. Universal Music appeared to recognize this hurdle this week when they announced that they were cutting costs of some of their online music in Europe. So if you want to buy something from their catalog as a digital file, rather than as a physical CD, you’ll only have to pay around $10. Seems reasonable to us here in the States. The CEO of EMI Music reiterated this idea in a statement to the London School of Economics. He said, The CD as it is right now is dead. A bit of an overstatement perhaps, but it’s entirely possible that the market will split between iTunes listeners and die hard collectors (who want vinyl). In the meantime, EMI consumers can expect more content packaged with their old-fashioned audio CD.

One artist who hasn’t been hurt by extinction is Kurt Cobain. Forbes named him the number-one-earning dead celebrity, even ahead of The King, Elvis Presley. Cobain’s estate earned over $50 million this year alone, mostly due to the sale of Nirvana’s song catalog to Primary Wave Publishing. Fans have widow Courtney Love to thank for that.

Sound Opinions always loves when Bono is in the news (which is usually every day). This time, though, it’s more U2’s music than the man himself. Apparently 150 Episcopal churches across the nation have adopted a new service entitled the U2charist, which blends the band’s songs with the traditional Eucharist. The service kicks off with a rendition of Pride, and also includes a collection for Bono’s campaign to eradicate extreme poverty and global AIDS. Of course rock + religion is nothing new. Al Green and Solomon Burke infuse their pop music into religious ceremonies with great success. But the real question is how Bono measures up to Mase.

The Black Parade My Chemical Romance

The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance debuted at number two on the Billboard charts this week. In fact, the only obstacle between the band and the top spot was a High School Musical star. #2 ain’t bad—but the question is whether not or not the album is. The Black Parade is the pop-punk band’s third release, made with the help of Rob Cavallo, who also produced Green Day’s last album, American Idiot. Both releases are concept albums, but if Green Day was trying to make their version of a Who record, My Chemical Romance seems to be channeling more over-the-top artists like Queen. Jim even calls it the modern day equivalent to Bat Out of Hell (for those of you who don’t know Jim, that is a compliment). He is completely impressed by this tale of teen angst and death, and gives The Black Parade a Buy It. Greg appreciates the band’s sense of humor (black with a heavy dose of sarcasm), and thinks that the album’s finest moments are the over-the-top dramatic ones filled with glockenspiel, drum machines, layered guitars, and even fake cannon shots. But the rest of the songs struck him as generic radio tracks, and he can only give a Burn It rating.

Moby

Singer, songwriter, producer, and now troubadour Moby joined Jim and Greg a few weeks ago for a live interview and performance at the Public Radio Programmer’s Conference in Philadelphia, PA, known to us in the biz as the PRPD. Moby has been on the show a number of times, but never before a live audience. The first song he performs is actually one he worked on for John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004—and we’d like to think this event was no less auspicious for Moby. Also enjoy his rendition of a Johnny Cash song (one written by June Carter Cash), and feel free to sing along!

In between musical interludes that include the tracks Go and Porcelain, Jim and Greg walk Moby through his musical evolution. His career, which now spans over 20 years, is celebrated in a new double-disc set entitled Go: The Very Best of Moby. Though, as Jim points out, the album doesn’t do justice’s to Moby’s hardcore punk, or even hardcore electronica roots. Fans know that Moby is no stranger to extremes, though. In addition to being a rock star, Moby is a Christian, a vegan, and... a tea lover!

Once Again John Legend

Once Again

The second album up for review this week also charted high on Billboard. John Legend’s new album, Once Again, debuted at number three, following My Chemical Romance. Legend received a lot of acclaim, as well as a number of Grammy Awards, for his first release, Get Lifted. So, the pressure was on for this sophomore effort. Both Jim and Greg think Legend is a really wonderful songwriter who brings R&B back to its heyday. And both critics find tracks like Show Me (which had surprising inspirations in Jeff Buckley and Sufjan Stevens) to be standouts. But neither felt that Legend was really doing anything new. Therefore Jim only recommends listeners Burn It. Greg agrees that Once Again gives listeners much of the same, but he thinks the same is pretty good. He gives it a Buy It rating.

Jim

A couple of classic rock reunions made the news recently. First was Black Sabbath sans Ozzy Osbourne. The second was Genesis sans Peter Gabriel. Jim is a self-professed prog rock nerd and wanted to use his turn at the Desert Island Jukebox as an opportunity to defend Genesis, even in the days after Gabriel (and according to some, the band’s credibility) left. He goes with One for the Vine, which our host explains may have been written by Tony Banks as a companion to Salsbury Hill, which was written by Gabriel, his friend and former bandmate. Jim believes the song is about a messianic leader who brings his people into a war fought in his name, and then gets pulled up into heaven... or something like that. Regardless of the content, Jim thinks it’s a beautiful song. Greg scoffs, but you be the judge.

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