Results for Hear Music

reviews
Some People Have Real ProblemsSome People Have Real Problems available on iTunes

Sia Some People Have Real Problems

After releasing albums by Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan, Starbucks' Hear Music label is finally putting out music by someone under 40. Sia is an Australian singer/songwriter who made a name for herself by appearing on various TV soundtracks and providing vocals to groups like Zero 7. Now she's released her third album Some People Have Real Problems. Greg is very impressed by the artist's soulful singing, but he has major problems with her songwriting. He describes the record as a boring, overproduced, tarted-up pop record with one of the worst covers he's ever seen. He gives the music and the art a Trash It. Jim completely disagrees and can't believe that a Feist fan wouldn't get Sia. He finds her lyrics to be filled with smart social commentary and gives it a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 118
Shine

Joni Mitchell Shine

The first album up for review is folk legend Joni Mitchell's first release in over nine years. The singer/songwriter famously quit the music biz in 2002 and criticized the record industry, calling it a“cesspool‘”full of“pornographic pigs.”So it’s surprising she's back at all, let alone with a Starbucks deal. For the album Shine, Mitchell has joined Paul McCartney on the Hear Music label, owned by the coffee chain. Jim is shocked by her choice to associate herself with such megalithic corporation, but Greg understands why someone who doesn't get commercial radio play would go this route. The music itself is another story. Jim absolutely“hated”this record. He realizes that dissing Joni Mitchell might get him kicked out of the critic's club, but after seven listens, he found no reason not to Trash It. Greg thinks Joni's harmonics, chords and voicing are as good as ever, but he doesn't find many traces of the great songwriting fans heard with "Big Yellow Taxi." He wished the lyrics had a little more poetry and a little less-finger pointing. That said, according to Greg Joni's always worth hearing, so he gives Shine a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 96
Memory Almost FullMemory Almost Full available on iTunes

Paul McCartney Memory Almost Full

Sir Paul McCartney released a new album this week called Memory Almost Full. This is the former Beatle's 21st solo album, but only his first for the new Starbucks' Hear Music record label. Jim explains that McCartney perfectly timed this release with the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the 65th birthday of the man who wrote "When I'm Sixty-Four." Jim explains that there are such extremes in McCartney's work, but one strain that has been in his songs since he was 18 is his nostalgia for lost youth. Almost every song on Memory Almost Full is about yearning for a simpler time, or reminiscing about his own legacy. Jim thinks there are a few lousy songs on the album, but for the most part it's an inspiring late-career turn. Greg agrees. He explains that McCartney could fall out of bed and write a good song, but for the first time in years, he is emotionally invested in the material. He even responds to his recent divorce from Heather Mills in a really generous and poignant way. Greg doesn't think the album is a masterpiece, and calls "See Your Sunshine," a“maudlin piece of tripe.”But, he thinks Memory Almost Full is one of McCartney's best albums in two decades. Both Jim and Greg give this coffee house fare two Buy Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 80
lists

The Best of 2007… So Far

Jim and Greg just couldn‘t wait until the end of the year to start picking their favorite albums, so they’ve decided to name their 2007 mid-year best.

Go to episode 81
news

Music News

First up in the news Jim and Greg discuss Joni Mitchell's decision to team up with Starbucks. Her first album in almost 10 years will be released on the coffee chain's Hear Music label. Jim and Greg imagine that the singer/songwriter must have been impressed with the success of Paul McCartney's recent Starbucks-released album Memory Almost Full, especially considering her notorious distaste of the music industry. One group they are surprised to hear has joined the coffee family is Sonic Youth. The alt-rockers will release a compilation on Hear Music next year.

Jim and Greg update some stories they've discussed on current shows. The first concerns pop star Kelly Clarkson. When her album My December was released a few weeks ago, our hosts talked about Clarkson's high-profile feud with BMG chairman Clive Davis. The singer appeared to be taking a tough-girl stance and defended her artistic integrity, but now she's trying to lay it all to rest. Check out her retraction.

Another topic Jim and Greg covered on the show is the scrutiny hip hop lyrics have been facing post-Imus. A recent victim is Chicago rapper Twista. McDonalds decided to pull the speed rapper from its Live Trek tour because of his“controversial lyrics.”Twista's response is that he's been making the same kind of rhymes for years, but no one cared until Don Imus said something negative about black women. He also added that he usually cleans up lyrics for kid-friendly performances.

While the gossip pages are filled with celebrities who aren't forced to pay for their crimes, singer Ron Isley is no such lucky star. He is slated to begin his five-year prison sentence for tax evasion next week, but Def Jam is hoping that Isley fans can convince the government otherwise. They sent out a petition imploring people to“call, fax or email the White House immediately to help the 64-year old cancer sufferer.”If you'd like to join in the effort you can call the President at (202) 456-1414, email him at president@whitehouse.gov, or contact the Congressional Black Caucus.

Last week Eric Clapton held the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, IL, and Greg was there to see the action. He recounts how historic it was to see Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton play together 38 years after Blind Faith disbanded. Greg's other highlights were witnessing B.B. King give what might be his final performance and hearing Jeff Beck do a beautiful rendition of The Beatles' "Day in the Life." Check out Greg's entire recap here.

Go to episode 88

Music News

Greg recently returned from the Future of Music Policy Summit in Washington D.C. Two of the central themes of the summit were how people will get more access to the internet and how artists will get paid. Senator Al Franken and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski both spoke about these issues and passionately expressed support for net neutrality. But Franken and Genachowski also stressed that any internet activity that violates artist copyright could not be tolerated. Because it's difficult to tell if p2p activity is legal or illegal, the question remains: how do you reconcile these two ideals?

Call her vain, but Carly Simon needs a little more tender, loving care. She is suing Starbucks, saying that the coffee company's now-defunct music label, Hear Music, didn't adequately promote her 2008 album This Kind of Love. Jim and Greg see this is as the final piece in the Hear Music tale. At first it was seen as a great, alternative way for musicians like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell to market their music, and a way for the coffee company to morph into a tastemaking brand. Now, only a couple of years later, everyone agrees Starbucks should stick to lattes.

Go to episode 203

Music News

After being heralded as the next wave of music retail, Starbucks' Hear Music label is folding and moving its artists to Concord Music. Apparently Starbucks has realized that physical music sales is not an easy business. And now artists like Paul McCartney, James Taylor and Sia won't be able to depend on the coffee chain for their…um…buzz.

Jim and Greg's next news item concerns one of the biggest selling bands of all time: Coldplay. But this time, the British pop group is making headlines for making absolutely no money at all. The Chris Martin-fronted band released their new single "Violet Hill" as a free download earlier this week, and so far their strategy is a success. Within a day over 600,000 people downloaded the song the song for free. Jim and Greg will review the Brian Eno-produced album when it comes out in June, but right now they're more interested in this promotional plan. In the music industry's new era, even a band as established as Coldplay has to shake up the formula to get and keep fans.

Go to episode 127