VH1 put its talking-head yakfest Best Week Ever on very long hiatus a few weeks ago, but they haven’t completely retired the “Best Ever” brand just yet. The show’s attendant blog is still alive, and today came the news that the channel would be sponsoring its own Best Cruise Ever, which promises to have “non-stop concerts from your favorite artists, VH1-themed activities and contests, plus the chance to hang with your favorite bands” for those people on board. (There will probably also be at least one chance to play Texas Hold ‘Em.) So who are these awesome bands scheduled to set sail to Grand Cayman next April? More »
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 from the bombastic synth pop of the Britney/Backstreet era, and it would’ve been, if not for the fact that the same producer, Swedish pop mastermind Max Martin, was behind both “…Baby One More Time” and “Since U Been Gone.” Along with songwriter and co-producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, Martin reinvented his signature sound with a campaign of chugging guitar riffs and shout-along choruses that shared more musical common ground with Fall Out Boy than Jessica Simpson, although his hits remained the sole province of Top 40 radio.
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 return of modern-rock radio to his home city of Baltimore with a look at the newest crop of artists to hit the rock charts, and reveals superproducer Max Martin’s stealth assault on the corporate-rock airwaves.