Buddy Guy & Gwen Stefani Review

Blues legend Buddy Guy is Sound Opinions’ first guest of the New Year. Tune in to hear him perform and talk with Jim and Greg about his illustrious career.

Buddy Guy
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Hip Hop is Dead Nas

Hip Hop Is Dead (Bonus Track Version)

Rapper Nas had the number one album last week entitled Hip Hop is Dead. While Jim and Greg don’t agree with that sentiment, there wasn’t much about the album that would prove otherwise. In fact, Jim muses that this record is hip hop on life support. Nas first broke out with his album Illmatic when he was only 20 years old. He has only come close to topping that debut with singles like Ether that played on his rivalry with fellow New York rapper Jay-Z. Now, after what must have been epic peace accords, Nas has been signed to Jay-Z’s Def Jam label. His new boss even appears on the track Black Republicans. Both rappers have tremendous deft and flow, but Jay-Z has always been able to remain popular with songs of very little substance. Nas, by contrast, is better when he is using language to say something, not make party music. Both critics found Hip Hop is Dead empty, boring, and at times, a little schticky, and subsequently, it gets a double Trash It.

Buddy Guy

Blues legend and fellow Chicagoan Buddy Guy visits the show this week. The 70-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is back in town for a month-long stint at his club Buddy Guy’s Legends. The club has been a mainstay for blues in downtown Chicago for more than a decade, but Buddy recently announced that he is being forced to find a new location. As residents and Sound Opinions listeners know, the city is not always kind to music clubs, but in his interview with Jim and Greg, Buddy stresses the need to maintain such venues. Our hosts also recommend listeners check out the bluesman at his best—live and stripped down at Legends—while they can.

One thing that makes Buddy Guy’s music so unique is his sense of melody. He explains how he will listen to spiritual and gospel music on the radio as inspiration. As Greg states: he’s trying to imitate the voices. He learned this from B.B. King and went on to inspire vocalists like George Benson. Another musician who inspired Buddy was Guitar Slim. Before seeing Slim play, Buddy didn’t know how far he could go with a strat. Now he is known for his violent, high-energy style. This style wasn’t appreciated by his former label Chess Records, but was adored and emulated by British blues fans like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Andy Summers.

Love.Angel.Music.Baby Gwen Stefani

The Sweet Escape

Next up is a review of the second solo disc from Gwen Stefani. The No Doubt frontwoman’s first attempt at solo success, Love.Angel.Music.Baby, sold over 3 million copies in 2004. Jim and Greg are certain that The Sweet Escape will also chart well, but they’re not sure why. Jim describes this record as a truly dreadful, dreadful, dreadful, despicable, abysmally bad album that he hates with the core of his being. His main complaint is that he wishes Gwen would act her age. Mrs. Gavin Rossdale is now a mother, and he’s certain she should have something more interesting to sing about than boys and Orange County. Greg agrees that this album is a snooze, but even wishes Stefani played more of a Lolita role; at least that would be interesting. He expected another fun, frothy pop record, but instead he is completely bored by most of the beats on this record, many courtesy of big names like The Neptunes and Swizz Beatz. Despite its nod to The Sound of Music, The Sweet Escape gets two big Trash Its.

Jim

For his first Desert Island Jukebox pick of 2007, Jim makes a surprising choice. Inspired by Nas’ use of the song in his latest single Hip Hop is Dead, Jim decides to go with the epic rock track In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly. Not many music critics will defend this song, but Jim stands by it—the single version, that is. He can’t defend the 17-minute album version with an unnecessary drum solo. There are rumors that In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was supposed to be In the Garden of Eden, as interpreted through... LSD. Then some say it refers to the Bhagavad Gita. The most common explanation is that it was a lack of communication between band members and their headphones. However the song got its name, Jim is looking forward to sitting on his deserted island and rocking out to the classic guitar and bass riff, or ostinato.

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