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, and trends that most influenced the Modern Rock charts over the past two decades; I figured I’d come up with a dozen or so. Instead, I ended up with almost 30, which I’ve broken down below. (I’m sure in the comments we can argue about which ones I left out, or which bands shouldn’t have been lumped together.) More »
Not content with scandalizing SpongeBob SquarePants-loving tykes with images of big, juicy, four-cornered bootys, Burger King has unleashed another ad campaign that’s keeping them in the press; this time, it’s for the “Texican Whopper,” a curiously double-pattied burger that is being advertised by the pairing of a cowboy and a Lucha Libre (who is draped in a Mexican flag and referred to as a “Little Mexican,” hence the controversy). The ads are being pulled, but the wire stories live on, and for some reason every clip online I’ve seen so far has claimed that the rolling piano music underneath the heartwarming story of these two unlikely pals coming together is a snippet of R.E.M.’s “At My Most Beautiful.” After extensive consultation with fans of Michael Stipe et al on my buddy list, I’m comfortable saying that the Internet is wrong on that point. Compare the original with the ad, after the jump.
Somehow I missed the news that Christina Aguilera was going to sing a track for the comic book tie-in The Spirit, although that could be because the film itself barely blipped onto my radar. Speaking of blips, “Falling In Love Again (Can’t Help It)” is an eight-minute plugged-in reworking of the Frederik Hollander/Sammy Lerner song first brought to prominence by Marlene Dietrich, and subsequently covered by lots of other acts; Aguilera’s version has a musical bed that echoes the moody electro of Broadcast and Pram, and a remarkably restrained vocal take. Clip after the jump.
Halloween is only four days away! Although the fun is rapidly being sucked from the whole holiday thanks to church-sponsored “Harvest Festivals” and the jackass who thinks a “FBI: Female Body Inspector” t-shirt is a costume, we hope to help you, the reader, inject a bit more excitement into the celebration with some costume ideas from your favorite music videos.
Ah, the dog days of August, when the news cycle is so slow, Michael Stipe’s profession that he “very publicly despise[s]” George W. Bush is worthy of a headline. I suppose it could be worse, though–he could be coming out for the 38,584th time. More »
Soundchecks often serve as safe zones for musicians, a place where they can feel free to goof off and take chances that might not be suitable for an audience of people who’ve paid big money to hear straight versions of their favorite songs. More »
Midnight tonight isn’t the exact midway point of this year, but hey, it’s the last day of its sixth month, which is close enough for roadwork. Or, er, listwork, that is: After the jump, I give you the seven songs that I would be more likely to put on a mix CD than any other, in YouTube/blurb form. Think of it as a post for me and my creaky, prone-to-forgetting-stuff brain to come back to when the year-end listmaking craze hits in a couple of months and an invitation for you to engage in similar Monday afternoon quantifying!
The attention the media gives to Guns N’ Roses and My Bloody Valentine may give young bands the idea that it’d actually be good for their legacy to record regularly for six years, then hold off for at least another 15 so that fan excitement can build and their myth can blossom. (Hey, if Sting and Joe Strummer had waited that long to record follow-ups to Synchronicity and Combat Rock, maybe people would have cared more about Brand New Day and Rock Art And The X-Ray Style!) So I looked at what would have happened to some of rock’s most legendary figures if they, too, had waited 15 years to release new albums once their first six years of putting out records were done–and found that extended absences rarely make later projects look much better.
The New York metropolitan area was treated to some fierce (in both power and awesomeness to behold) thunderstorms on Saturday, and they happened to coincide with R.E.M.’s concert at Long Island’s Jones Beach Theater–a venue which, as you might deduce from the name, sits right on the Atlantic Ocean, and which also has a “rain or shine” policy for pretty much all of its shows. In keeping with the evening’s theme, Michael Stipe & Co. opened their set (which was delayed by about half an hour) with a one-two punch of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” and their own “South Central Rain.” (What, no cover Live’s “Lightning Crashes” for the trifecta?) After the jump, footage of Modest Mouse playing through increasingly closing-in lightning, and R.E.M. pulling out a long-banished-from-the-set-list track for the soggy faithful.
The producers of Bands Go Pop! want to provide physical training, cosmetics and even cosmetic surgery for “bands who provided the soundtrack to our youth but who now for whatever reason no longer look like the poster picture that once adorned the walls of the nations teenagers.” According to Popbitch, they naturally decided to offer their services to St. Etienne, who understandably declined. Still, I hope the producers aren’t too dismayed by this cold shoulder. Judging by the recent actions of once defiant bands like R.E.M. and Metallica, plenty of artists will take any measures necessary to attempt to reclaim their former glory. We’ve got some recommendations.