Al Shipley

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What Are The Ingredients In This Nasty Soup We Call “Modern Rock”?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the narrative surrounding the ‘90s alternative rock boom, and how oversimplified it’s become over the years. Too often, we get a simple line like “Nirvana changed everything,” and if we’re lucky, a little follow-up along the lines of “Limp Bizkit ruined everything.” So I decided to identify the scenes, subgenres,…

By: Al Shipley / April 24, 2009

Pearl Jam’s “Ten” Returns To Rock Radio With A Vengeance

Pop quiz: What was the biggest Modern Rock hit from Pearl Jam‘s Ten? The answer is “Jeremy,” which peaked at No. 5 in 1992. But if we brought the recent reissue of the 18-year-old album into the mix, the answer would not be “Jeremy,” “Even Flow,” or “Alive”—it would be “Brother,” a bonus track that…

By: Al Shipley / March 30, 2009

U2 Triangulates The Rock Charts

After Billboard launched its Adult Album Alternative singles chart last year, I compared and contrasted it with the two existing rock charts, Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock, and noted how few bands, let alone songs, would be able to make a dent on all three charts. At the time, I wrote: “I’ll be very curiou…

By: Al Shipley / February 25, 2009

Lil Wayne Just Wants To Rock–But Will Rock Radio Let Him?

The gap between hip-hop and rock, whether musical or cultural, is often greatly exaggerated. There are simply too many people who enjoy large amounts of both genres, too many musicians from either discipline who have crossed that gradually disappearing line. But every time a rapper tries to rock or a rocker tries to rap, we…

By: Al Shipley / January 26, 2009

No. 34: Blake Leyh Makes Us Listen Closer To “The Wire”

On March 9, HBO’s The Wire aired its series finale, and its evocative closing credits theme, “The Fall,” rolled out its ominous bass line and eerie violin for the last time. For five seasons, music supervisor Blake Leyh‘s sole contribution to the show’s score, which followed every episode’s closing scene, was equally fitting to punctuate…

By: Al Shipley / December 22, 2008

No. 40: Max Martin And Dr. Luke Infiltrate Rock Radio

One of the stranger turning points in recent pop history occurred around 2004, when songs like Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” signaled a full shift in white Top 40 toward uptempo guitar rock, completing the trend that had begun a few years earlier with Avril Lavigne’s first hits. It felt like a regime change…

By: Al Shipley / December 18, 2008

Heartbreak No. 2: The Death Of Baltimore Club Music’s Queen, DJ K-Swift

On the morning of July 21, I woke up to find a text message on my phone informing me that Khia “DJ K-Swift” Edgerton, Baltimore’s most popular radio personality and a focal point of the percolating Baltimore club music scene, had been pronounced dead at a hospital after a swimming pool accident at her home.

By: Al Shipley / December 10, 2008

No. 77: Nine Inch Nails’ Flood of Digitally Distributed New Music

In the decade after 1994’s The Downward Spiral made Nine Inch Nails a household name, Trent Reznor cultivated a reputation as a reclusive perfectionist of nearly Chinese Democracy-level procrastination, releasing just one bloated double album, 1999’s The Fragile. And though 2005’s With Teeth hinted at a leaner and more workmanlike model of NIN, nobody could’ve…

By: Al Shipley / December 8, 2008

Mudvayne And Rob Zombie Prove That Corpsepaint Rock Also Sells

The hard-rock scene has long been locked in a power struggle between two warring factions: bands that wear crazy masks, and bands that paint crazy shit on their faces. You’d think they’d be brothers in arms, allied against all the boring bands who never wear any sort of costume or disguise, but there are viciou…

By: Al Shipley / November 19, 2008

Rap’s Resident Martian Gets The Alien Ant Farm Treatment

As I noted when I proclaimed him pop music’s new Prince of Darkness, Lil Wayne has been doing everything possible in the past couple years to act like a rock star. He plays guitar (badly); he got a lip piercing; he joins Fall Out Boy and Kid Rock onstage at awards shows. But while the…

By: Al Shipley / November 7, 2008

Seven Potential Heirs To Ozzy Osbourne’s “Prince Of Darkness” Throne

When Ozzy Osbourne declared himself “the prince of fucking darkness” on a 2002 episode of The Osbournes, he may as well have simultaneously relinquished the title. The MTV hit quickly dissolved 30 years’ worth of mystique and danger as it revealed him to be in reality a doddering old family man. But when Ozzy rose…

By: Al Shipley / October 31, 2008

Hollywood Undead Crawl Out Of MySpace To Invade Your Space

A while back, when Maura noted that one of the few albums that had experienced a sales increase during a particularly grim week on the Billboard 200 was by the MySpace-spawned mask-wearing rap metal goofballs Hollywood Undead, I cracked, “I don’t know if I’m dreading or anticipating this ridiculous band cracking a radio chart so…

By: Al Shipley / October 24, 2008

“Billboard” Breaks Down, Dials Up Triple-A

Many people find it hard to tell the great from the godawful when it comes to 21st-century mainstream rock. To help figure out which is which, here’s “Corporate Rock Still Sells,” where Al Shipley examines what’s good, bad, and ugly in the world of rock and roll. This time around, he gives Billboard‘s newest radio-airplay

By: Al Shipley / October 9, 2008

Zack De La Rocha Comes Out Of Hiding

Many people find it hard to tell the great from the godawful when it comes to 21st-century mainstream rock. To help figure out which is which, here’s “Corporate Rock Still Sells,” where Al Shipley examines what’s good, bad, and ugly in the world of rock and roll. This time around, he looks at new singles

By: Al Shipley / September 23, 2008

Celebrating 20 Years Of Modern-Rock Countdowns, From Siouxsie To Staind

Many people find it hard to tell the great from the godawful when it comes to 21st-century mainstream rock. To help figure out which is which, here’s “Corporate Rock Still Sells,” where Al “GovernmentNames” Shipley examines what’s good, bad, and ugly in the world of rock and roll. This time around, he celebrates the 20th

By: Al Shipley / September 10, 2008

Who Will Be The Next Blog Rock Crossover Star?

Many people find it hard to tell the great from the godawful when it comes to 21st-century mainstream rock. To help figure out which is which, here’s “Corporate Rock Still Sells,” where Al “GovernmentNames” Shipley examines what’s good, bad, and ugly in the world of rock and roll. This time around, he holds a few

By: Al Shipley / August 29, 2008

Girl-On-Girl Action Breaks Up The Modern Rock Sausage Party

Many people find it hard to tell the great from the godawful when it comes to 21st-century mainstream rock. To help figure out which is which, here’s “Corporate Rock Still Sells,” where Al “GovernmentNames” Shipley examines what’s good, bad, and ugly in the world of rock and roll. This time around, he notes that rock

By: Al Shipley / August 15, 2008

They Tried To Make Me Listen To Rehab, I Said, “No, No, No”

Many people find it hard to tell the great from the godawful when it comes to 21st-century mainstream rock. To help figure out which is which, here’s “Corporate Rock Still Sells,” where Al “GovernmentNames” Shipley examines what’s good, bad, and ugly in the world of rock and roll. This time around, he looks at an

By: Al Shipley / July 31, 2008

The Half-Year In Review: Dave Grohl Owns Alt-Rock Airwaves (What Else Is New?)

Many people find it hard to tell the great from the godawful when it comes to 21st-century mainstream rock. To help figure out which is which, here’s “Corporate Rock Still Sells,” where Al “GovernmentNames” Shipley examines what’s good, bad, and ugly in the world of rock and roll. This time around, he gives the year’s

By: Al Shipley / July 17, 2008

Annie Is Feeling A Little Crazy

ARTIST: Annie
TITLE: “Loco”
WEB DEBUT: June 26, 2008…

By: Al Shipley / June 26, 2008

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