Results for 2012

reviews
G I R LG I R L available on iTunes

Pharrell G I R L

For a long time, baby-faced Pharrell Williams was better known as a producer for artists like Jay-Z and his own N.E.R.D. But in 2006 Pharrell stepped out more as a vocalist, releasing a lukewarm solo album and increasing his guest appereances on other artist's tracks. In 2012, two of those tracks, one with Robin Thicke and the other with Daft Punk, launched him to new heights of stardom. And with that momentum, Williams is back with a second solo album. G I R L's slick combination of disco and R&B sounds make the record an instant Try It for Jim. He would‘ve gone Buy It if it weren’t for Pharrell's tired lyrics about women. Greg also sighs at the empty lyrics, adding that Williams should stick with what he does best: producing. His ability to channel dancable rhythms from the likes of Prince and Stevie Wonder is his greatest asset and ultimately the only thing earning G I R L a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 433
Somewhere ElseSomewhere Else available on iTunes

Lydia Loveless Somewhere Else

At just 23, Lydia Loveless already has three albums worth of romantic troubles, documented with amazing emotion. The latest, Somewhere Else, might be the best yet, according to Jim and Greg. Greg enjoys the way she arranges the songs in a slightly melancholic country style. He was blown away by her last release, Indestructible Machine in 2012 (especially the songs she performed in our studio). But this album is a step above. Greg says Buy It. Jim hears Loveless going all over the pop spectrum, name dropping Tommy Tutone and pulling out a great cover of a song by the underrated '90s artist, Kirsty MacColl. And throughout it all she maintains her own identity. He seconds the Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 431
Art AngelsArt Angels available on iTunes

Grimes Art Angels

Canadian electronic artist Grimes recently released her fourth album called Art Angels. She came from the underground music scene and rose to popularity with her 2012 album Visions, and was later signed to Jay Z's management company Roc Nation. Although Grimes is a talented singer and multi-instrumentalist, she's best known for the electronic dream pop sound that Art Angels is full of. At first, Greg was concerned that Grimes would lose her edge by putting out a more mainstream pop record. However, he is happy to report that Art Angels contains some elements of mainstream music but the entire album is done on her terms. Greg gives it a Buy It. Jim agrees; he not only enjoys the sonic components but also the powerful and feminist lyrics. He loves the record most because it's both energizing and fun. An enthusiastic Double Buy It for Art Angels.

JimGreg
Go to episode 521
dijs

Jim

“Rubber Lover”Deee-Lite,Deee-Lite

Ever since Bootsy Collins visited the Sound Opinions studio in 2012, Jim has been thinking of dance band Deee-Lite and its hit 1990 single, "Groove Is In The Heart" which features Bootsy on bass guitar and guest vocals. Many consider Deee-Lite to be a one-hit wonder, but Jim is a big fan of all the band's albums, particularly their second, Infinity Within, which took a turn away from the first album's neo-hippy tone towards the political with songs about voter registration, environmental stewardship, and the judicial system. One track, "Rubber Lover" features the return of Bootsy Collins, and delights Jim with its safe sex message atop Chicago house mixed with New York rave sound.

Go to episode 458
lists

Turkey Shoot

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means it's time for Sound Opinions' annual Turkey Shoot. These aren‘t just bad records, they’re bad records from artists that are capable of better. Nothing stings like disappointment, and these were the biggest musical disappointments of 2012:

Go to episode 364
news

Music News

The numbers are in for 2011, and not surprisingly Adele has come out on top. Her album 21 sold over 5 million copies, as did her digital single "Rolling in the Deep." It's this combination of being able to push physical product and digital downloads that makes the British singer so desirable to the music industry. Number two of the year was kind of a surprise to our hosts: Michael Buble's Christmas. Over on the live music side, U2 is the touring winner with worldwide ticket sales totaling $231.9 million.

Move over Nina Totenberg, Jim and Greg have also become legal eagles. Increasingly, music trends are being affected by the courts, and according to Variety, there are a number of cases coming up in 2012 that will impact not just the record industry, but the habits of average fans. Here are a few to keep your eye on:

Go to episode 319

Music News

It's been a busy week for the pop charts. For 45 years, Elvis dominated the Billboard Top 100 with 108 career hits. This week Lil' Wayne beat The King's record with his 109th hit - a cameo in The Game's "Celebration." And with 600,000 in first week sales British folkies Mumford & Sons had the biggest opening of 2012 with Babel. They also beat Spotify's streaming record, with 8 million listens in its first week. So much for the theory that streaming cannibalizes sales.

After upsetting fans at New York's Global Citizen Festival with the announcement that the band had no upcoming shows, Dave Grohl has finally put those Foo Fighter breakup fears to rest (or not?). In a letter on the band's website, Grohl says the band is simply on hiatus. Jim says he wouldn't mind if the hiatus were permanent.

Go to episode 358

Music News

While this year's Fourth of July has already come and gone, the spirit of independence is still alive and kicking for indie record labels like Domino, Ninja Tune, and Sub Pop. They, and more than 700 others small labels from across the globe, recently signed the Fair Digital Deals Declaration, a manifesto of sorts that seeks to standardize the way artists and music companies deal with digital music sales. Among the five main points the signatories swear to abide are clearer explanations to artist about what their cut of digital sales will be, as well as a commitment to supporting artists who oppose their music being used without permission. Jim and Greg certainly support the intent of the quasi-policy, but they wonder what effect it will ultimately have, as there's no clear way to enforce it.

Speaking of the independent spirit, Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot isn't done raging against the Kremlin. Its two most outspoken members are now suing the Russian government in the European Court of Human Rights for the violation of their rights during their original Russian court proceedings, and for the treatment they received during the nearly two years they spent in prison following the group's“sacrilegious”protest/performance inside a Moscow cathedral in 2012. Beyond financial reparations, the members' lawsuit also wants to set the precedent that freedom of expression cannot be stifled in Russia, even though at the time of their sentencing, the majority of Russians supported punishing the women. Jim and Greg wish them the best fighting the good fight.

Check out our World Tour visit to Russia.

Go to episode 453

Music News

Whitney Houston is just the latest in a series of deceased musicians who have been made into holograms in order to tour around the world. Other famous holograms include Tupac, Buddy Holly, Liberace and Roy Orbison but this isn't anything new for the entertainment industry. For years, images of Elvis Presley and even Frank Sinatra were shown in concerts singing along with a live band and performers. And while the joke is that death is a great career move, Jim finds it interesting that it is no longer an impediment to touring. Who would you like to see as a hologram or do you think the whole thing is just too weird?

Back in 1972, Aretha Franklin recorded one of the great gospel albums of all time, Amazing Grace. In 2012, Jim and Greg even did a Classic Album Dissection on the live record because it was so good and so iconic. Famous director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, Out of Africa) filmed the concert back in the '70s and now more than 40 years later, two major film festivals were finally supposed to show the movie. However, Aretha took legal action to block the film festivals from presenting it. Apparently she loves the film but Greg suspects this whole thing has something to do with money. This one may drag on, but Greg and Jim really hope that they sort things out because this is a true piece of musical history.

Go to episode 512