DJ Shadow & Reviews of Lindsey Buckingham and Lady Sovereign

Hip Hop pioneer DJ Shadow sits down with Jim and Greg for a truly enlightening conversation. Then, our hosts will discuss the latest solo release from Fleetwood Mac mastermind Lindsey Buckingham, as well as the major label debut from up-and-coming British rapper Lady Sovereign.

DJ Shadow
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There were not one, but two hissy fits thrown by major pop stars this year. The first was by the always incendiary rapper Kanye West. Sound Opinions is a big fan of West, but sometimes he makes it darn hard. At the MTV Europe Music Awards, which will air in the States this weekend, West stormed the stage after losing the award for Best Music Video. He interrupted winners Justice and Simian as they were accepting their award and told viewers that by not winning, the show loses credibility. The number of expletives the Chicago native used was less shocking than the fact that he thinks MTV awards have credibility. But, we’ll let you be the judge: Touch the Sky vs. We Are Your Friends.

Hissy fit #2 was thrown by Elton John. At a recent concert in New York, the singer/songwriter ranted about his label’s lack of interest in promoting his new album, The Captain and the Kid. He demanded to be dropped from Universal Music Group, and told the audience, I’m 58 and I don’t care anymore. He also dropped the F-bomb 15 times. (Insert Bitch is Back joke here). Jim and Greg are rarely ones to defend major labels, but they float the idea that perhaps The Captain and the Kid just wasn’t very good.

DJ Shadow

This week Jim and Greg are joined by John Davis, otherwise known as DJ Shadow. For listeners not familiar with DJ Shadow, he is an innovative and experimental hip-hop producer with an ability to infuse other music genres, sounds and samples into his work. For many, his album Entroducing is one of the landmark works of the last decade. His recent album The Outsider was not received as well. (Check out Jim and Greg’s review. Our hosts ask Shadow about the scrutiny and why he chose to compose an album on his own instead of emphasizing samples. Fans, even those who were disheartened by The Outsider, will appreciate his desire to stretch himself and make something completely new.

As mentioned above, The Outsider put more of the focus on guest vocalists and rappers than on samples. But with the current state of the music industry, Sound Opinions can’t blame him. Greg asks the DJ what it was like to make music in the post-Paul’s Boutique era, when copyright laws are making life more difficult for sample-based musicians. DJ Shadow explains that for him, using other people’s music is both a way to be nostalgic and a way to call attention to music that people wouldn’t hear otherwise. For more insight into copyright and copyright culture, check out Jim and Greg’s interview with legal expert Lawrence Lessig.

Under the Skin Lindsey Buckingham

Under the Skin

Lindsey Buckingham, best known as the man behind Fleetwood Mac (and Stevie Nicks’ ex), recently released his first solo album in 14 years. Under the Skin is a quiet, stripped-down record that was largely recorded in hotel rooms. But, Jim and Greg explain, Buckingham’s dulcet tones should by no means imply a lack of turmoil. In fact, he seems as troubled as ever. Both critics really admire how open and emotional the singer is, and how much he has challenged himself musically—but, they’re not sure how accessible Under the Skin is. Jim and Greg recommend most fans try the album out for a while and Burn It.

Public Warning Lady Sovereign

Public Warning

After much buzz and anticipation, the major-label debut album from Lady Sovereign has finally been released. The British rapper, who is at once both diminutive and loud-mouthed, caught fans’ attention after releasing an EP and a number of hit singles, and appearing at festivals like SXSW and Intonation. Now her first full-length album, Public Warning, is being put out by Def Jam. Not a bad way to make an entrance, but Jim and Greg wonder if there was too much expectation. They are both a little disappointed in Public Warning, and wish Lady Sovereign had released an album earlier and with some of her old material. But, they agree that there are a number of catchy, attitude-filled tracks and impressive rhymes, and they strongly urge listeners to not only Burn It, but keep an eye out for Lady Sov in the future.

Greg

Greg is choosing not to hold Sir Elton’s recent bad behavior against him. He wants to think back to a kindler, gentler time when John wasn’t just a diva, but also a good songwriter. One example of his prowess is Where to Now St. Peter?, off of the Tumbleweed Connection album, and Greg adds it to the Desert Island Jukebox this week. He thinks Tumbleweed Connection is Elton John and writing partner Bernie Taupin’s strongest beginning-to-end concept album, as opposed to the commonly named Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. Greg explains that both men were at the top of their games: Taupin at conjuring up the Wild West in his lyrics and John at composing great songs, as opposed to great outfits.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!