Results for Saul Williams

interviews

Saul Williams

This week's guest has an incredible portfolio: poet, screenwriter, actor, activist, and, of course, musician. But, while we have many words to describe Saul Williams, it's hard to describe his music. Saul blends rock, funk, hip hop and electronica with political lyrics. This combo was most recently heard on an album Saul made with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. Last year they released The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust exclusively on the web. Now Saul is again getting attention through his involvement in a Nike ad campaign. The singer, and admitted activist, explains to Jim and Greg why he agreed to let the corporation use his song "List of Demands," in a recent commercial. He believes that the ad calls more attention to his song than it does the product, and therefore spreads the message of his music. You can hear that song performed live on the show, as well the Niggy Tardust tracks, "Banged and Blown Through" and "Convict Colony."

Go to episode 129
specials

Desert Island Jukebox

Frequently at the end of Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg add songs to the Desert Island Jukebox. This jukebox is filled with tracks that Jim and Greg would take with them if stranded on a desert island. They‘ve posed this same age-old rock question to many of their guests. In this episode you’ll hear the music that these artists say they can't live without:

  • Saul Williams: James Brown, Live at the Olympia
  • Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand: Leonard Cohen, The Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand: Neil Young, "Ohio"
  • Peaches: Prince, Purple Rain
  • Laurent Brancowitz of Phoenix: Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire de Melody Nelson
  • Thomas Mars of Phoenix: D'Angelo, Voodoo
  • Craig Finn of The Hold Steady: The Replacements, "I Will Dare"
  • Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady: American Music Club, Mercury
  • Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: Bob Dylan, Planet Waves
  • Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips: John Lennon, "(Just Like) Starting Over"
Go to episode 213
reviews
The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy TardustThe Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust available on iTunes

Saul Williams The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust

But, the real question is whether or not The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust is worth your $5. Greg calls the album a dissertation on the Black American experience. That's no small topic for sure, but he enjoyed Saul Williams‘ lyrics more when he got personal towards the end. The real star of the album is Reznor’s production which is as intense and skuzzy as ever. Jim agrees, saying that the album is sonically and conceptionally mind-blowing, and would've been a contender for his best of last year. Both critics give The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 111
Ghosts I-IVGhosts I-IV available on iTunes

Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV

Following in the footsteps of Radiohead, who successfully released an internet version of In Rainbows, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has a new web release called Ghosts I-IV. The four-part instrumental release comes on the heels of an album Reznor produced and digitally released by Saul Williams. This time Reznor is offering fans different listening options at different prices. Whether you want a free, nine song collection, or a $300 box set, there appears to be something for everyone. But is the music worth your time or money? Jim was a big fan of Reznor's last record, a concept album called Year Zero, but this time he is more interested in hearing what other artists will do with these instrumentals. He thinks Ghosts I-IV is worth a listen but only as a Burn It. Greg found Reznor's production to be as inventive as ever and would recommend people Buy It — at whatever level they choose.

JimGreg
Go to episode 119
One Day As a Lion - EPOne Day as a Lion available on iTunes

Zack de la Rocha One Day as a Lion

Ever since Zack de la Rocha quit Rage Against the Machine he has been talking about his upcoming solo album. It's been eight years, but an EP has finally been delivered called One Day as a Lion. De la Rocha brought Mars Volta drummer John Theodore onto the record for percussion, and de la Rocha plays keyboard under his vocals. The lyrics are as politically charged as ever, but Jim is sick of the bombastic silliness of de la Rocha's“revolutionary nonsense rhetoric”and says that the lyrics warrant a Trash It rating. But he gives the music a Try It for the drums alone. Greg gives the album a Try It, saying that it's nothing that hasn't been done before. He likes the sound of the album, but thinks that a similar artist like Saul Williams does the style much better.

JimGreg
Go to episode 141
dijs

Greg

“List of Demands”Saul Williams

Kanye's mixed success on Yeezus gets Greg thinking about West's creative predecessors, and an artist who did anger-filled“industrial rap”even better. Saul Williams' 2004 self-titled album merged aggressive, minimalist, production with anger-filled rap in a way that got industrial music heavyweights like NIN's Trent Reznor to pay attention. (Reznor later produced an album for Williams.) Greg plays "List of Demands" for his Desert Island Jukebox as an example of what Yeezus could have been.

Go to episode 395
lists

The Best of 2008… So Far

Hard to believe it's almost the midpoint of 2008, but lucky for Sound Opinions listeners, that means it's time for a list! Here are Jim and Greg's lists for 2008's mid-year best.

Go to episode 135

Best Albums of 2008

Jim and Greg listened to hundreds of albums this year. Which ones soared to the top? Check out their lists for the Best Albums of 2008 below. You can also see what albums made the cut in years past in our Lists section.

Go to episode 159
news

Music News

Lately it seems like all the record industry can talk about is what to do about all the digital downloading out there. Now the Songwriters Association of Canada thinks it has a solution. They‘ve proposed to allow domestic consumers access to all recorded music available online in return for adding a $5 monthly fee to every wireless and Internet account in the country. The Canadian recording industry hasn’t responded favorably, but as SAC president Eddie Schwartz explains to Jim and Greg, it's the best way to compensate songwriters and musicians for the 50+ billion downloads that are expected to take place in 2008.

In other news American Idol Taylor Hicks has been dropped by his label, J Records. This comes shortly after the dismissal of former Idol runner-up Ruben Studdard. And, after a disappointing year for Kelly Clarkson, Jim and Greg wonder if the Idol effect is wearing off. Sure, both Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood had a very successful year, but as the new season of Idol kicks off, Sound Opinions H.Q. has to wonder —maybe this pop culture phenomenon should stick to television, where it belongs.

Radiohead's album In Rainbows went to number one this week after being initially released as a pick-your-own-price digital download. The band hasn't released any sales figures from their digital experiment, but another music giant has been less tight-lipped. Trent Reznor recently posted the download and sales numbers for The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, the Saul Williams album he produced and helped release. Reznor made the album available as a free, lower-quality download as well as a higher-quality download for $5. According to Reznor, over 150,000 people downloaded the album, but only 18% paid for it. While he was disheartened by the news, Jim and Greg think the situation fares well for Saul Williams, who previously never had such a large audience. Artists rarely get a large cut of record sales, and this kind of exposure will help Williams build a fan base for the bigger money-maker: touring.

Go to episode 111