“Uptown Funk” is certified Diamond with 11 million units

You might have seen the news that “Uptown Funk” has been certified Diamond by the RIAA, which means that it achieved 10 million sales. Billboard says that “Uptown Funk” has sold over 12,422,016 in downloads and 938,694,569 audio streams in the U.S.” and that the video “has streamed over 1.9 billion times.”

The RIAA’s certification requirements state that units are defined as follows:
• Each permanent digital download counts as 1 Unit for certification purposes.
• 150 on-demand audio and/or video streams will count as 1 Unit for certification purposes. [Note: this contradicts Billboard saying “100 streams counting as one certifiable unit.”]

But if those numbers are accurate, that would add up to 31,346,646.46 certifiable units. And the RIAA only has 11 million units certified for “Uptown Funk.” So who knows? Math is hard.

This is only the thirteenth Diamond single since the RIAA established the certification in 1999. The first single to be certified Diamond was Elton John’s Princess Diana tribute “Candle In The Wind 1997” and it took almost 16 years for the next one: Bieber and Luda’s “Baby.” If you look at the rest of the list there’s certainly plenty of garbage, but there are also some jams.

1. Elton John – “Candle In The Wind 1997 / Something.You Look Tonight” (October 9, 1997)
2. Justin Bieber – “Baby (Feat. Ludacris)” (May 9, 2013)
3. Eminem – “Love The Way You Lie (Feat. Rihanna)” (May 9, 2013)
4. Eminem – “Not Afraid” (June 10, 2014)
5. Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance” (May 29, 2015)
6. Imagine Dragons – “Radioactive” (July 6, 2015)
7. Katy Perry – “Dark Horse” (October 29, 2015)
8. Katy Perry – “Firework” (October 29, 2015)
9. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Thrift Shop (Feat. Wanz)” (November 19, 2015)
10. Lady Gaga – “Poker Face” (November 30, 2015)
11. Florida Georgia Line – “Cruise” (April 1, 2016)
12. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” (September 28, 2016)
13. Mark Ronson – “Uptown Funk Feat. Bruno Mars” (October 18, 2016)

Continue reading “Uptown Funk” is certified Diamond with 11 million units

Paul McCartney at Pappy and Harriet’s Looks as Amazing As You’d Imagine

How many times have you watch a bar band cover The Beatles? How many times has that band actually included a Beatle?

On his way to Desert Trip, AKA Oldchella, Paul McCartney and band stopped off to play a quick set at Pappy and Harriet’s, a high desert bar with a capacity of 300 people. Yes, three HUNDRED people.

By the looks of this fan video of the band playing “A Hard Days Night,” I probably would have peed my pants and then exploded had I been there.

Photo VIA Paul MCCartney’s Facebook.

Timeline of the early Beatles solo era

George Harrison was the first Beatle to put out a solo project when he released his Wonderwall Music soundtrack on November 1, 1968. At that point, the Beatles were still together and had just wrapped up the recording of the White Album. They would spend the month of January 1969 filming and recording what eventually became Let It Be. By the end of August 1969 Abbey Road was in the can, and the next month John Lennon told the other Beatles, “The group’s over, I’m leaving.” They all kept quiet about it while they renegotiated their record contracts. But Paul McCartney told Life magazine in November 1969, “The Beatles thing is over. It has been exploded, partly by what we have done, and partly by other people. We are individuals, all different.” Nobody seems to have picked up on this at the time though.

It wasn’t until April 1970, when Paul released McCartney, that the world figured out that the Beatles had in fact broken up. By that time, though, there had already been six prior solo albums released and three singles.

When you look at the timeline from the release of Wonderwall Music through the end of 1970, it’s crazy how much stuff they put out.

November 1, 1968: Wonderwall Music (George)
November 11, 1968: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (John)
November 22, 1968: The Beatles (White Album) (Beatles)
January 13, 1969: Yellow Submarine (Beatles)
April 11, 1969: “Get Back” (Beatles)
May 30, 1969: “The Ballad of John and Yoko” (Beatles)
May 9, 1969: Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions (John)
May 9, 1969: Electronic Sound (George)
July 4, 1969: “Give Peace a Chance” (John)
September 26, 1969: Abbey Road (Beatles)
October 6, 1969: “Something”/”Come Together” (Beatles)
October 20, 1969: Wedding Album (John)
October 20, 1969: “Cold Turkey” (John)
December 12, 1969: Live Peace in Toronto 1969 (John)
February 6, 1970: “Instant Karma!” (John)
February 26, 1970: Hey Jude album (Beatles)
March 6, 1970: “Let It Be” single (Beatles)
March 27, 1970: Sentimental Journey (Ringo)
April 17, 1970: McCartney (Paul)
May 8, 1970: Let It Be album (Beatles)
May 11, 1970: “The Long and Winding Road” (Beatles)
September 25, 1970: Beaucoups of Blues album (Ringo)
October 5, 1970: “Beaucoups of Blues” single (Ringo)
November 23, 1970: “My Sweet Lord” (George)
November 27, 1970: All Things Must Pass (George)
December 11, 1970: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (John)
December 28, 1970: “Mother” (John)

* When UK and US release dates differ, the earlier of the two is displayed.

Image is a detail of the cover of Electronic Sound, painted by George Harrison.

Hillary Clinton is Not the Lesser of Two Evils: She is GOOD

I consider myself a connoisseur of reality television. I realize that many smart people dismiss the genre in favor of make-believe stories, and I get it. There is a lot of really terrible reality tv. Of course, there is also a lot terrible scripted tv. Sturgeon’s revelation, yo. At its best, reality tv features all the hallmarks of any good narrative: interesting character development, unexpected plot twists, a reflection of a societal value.

The Apprentice was never great television. But it was entertaining for a while. I watched most of the first twelve seasons of The Apprentice/Celebrity Apprentice. I enjoyed the premise of contestants working together on teams to complete a mission each week with one person from the losing team being eliminated. Celebrity Apprentice often exposed a different side of famous people than what is typically showcased in official publicity campaigns. You could find out who was actually smart (Joan Rivers, Arsenio Hall, Bret Michaels), and who was as dumb as you’d thought they would be (Gene Simmons, Rod Blagojevich).

The host, Donald Trump, fell into the latter class. On the show, he came across as a self-important buffoon. In the “boardroom” at the end of each episode where Trump decides who gets fired, he would ask the contestants and his advisors for their opinions on who should be “fired” and why. Revealing the attention span of a toddler, Trump would frequently cut short these discussions and make a brash decision based on something stupid that had nothing directly to do with the challenge. One week somebody would get fired for not defending themselves strongly enough in the boardroom; the next week another person would get fired for being too argumentative and abrasive. It was arbitrary. After the contestants left the boardroom, Trump inevitably would say to his advisors, “That was the right decision, don’t you agree?”

It was hilarious. His insecurity was so obvious. He’s so blatantly the “tough guy” with no real backbone. He’s Francis from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. This was all completely clear when you watched the show. And it was funny.

But it’s not funny anymore.

Because now instead of his ill-informed decisions sending Khloé Kardashian packing her bags, his decisions could determine who is sitting on the Supreme Court, and whether or not the United States will honor its treaties with NATO.

Even before he called Mexicans rapists, incited political violence, encouraged racism and religious discrimination, he proved himself unfit for the presidency by just being such a clown.

Continue reading Hillary Clinton is Not the Lesser of Two Evils: She is GOOD

Riot Fest 2016: I Remember Halloween

I was never a punk. In high school I was a trendy little femme who liked the Smiths and sixties music. Duckie was my fashion icon. The only punk rock I listened to was the Dead Milkmen.

The king of the punks at my school was a senior named Alex who came to class one morning with perfectly spiked hair. Multiple four-inch spikes of Ziggy-red hair held up with egg whites or Elmer’s or some other gravity defying concoction. While he was walking down the hall some big dumb jock took a donut and placed it on one of those epic spikes.

Alex left the donut on his head for the rest of the day.

To me, that epitomizes punk rock. You make a personal statement that goes against the grain, you get hassled for it, but ultimately you subvert that mockery by reclaiming it and making it your own.

I didn’t see any donuts at Riot Fest this year but there was no shortage of that same punk rock attitude.

Continue reading Riot Fest 2016: I Remember Halloween

Three Hundred Things People Are Saying About #TrumpDoc


A lot of people are saying things about this photo. Not us, but a lot of people. Some very smart people; the best people.

I updated my Facebook picture with his smirking mug and added a couple comments. That got people talking…a lot of them.

Here are 300+ things people are saying about #TrumpDoc (of the 570, and counting).

  1. Can’t stop telling you about the time he met Donald Fagan at a boat show.
  2. Ends every question during a physical with, “If you know what I mean…”
  3. Signs your high school physical form on sight, asks if your mom’s dating.
  4. Asks if you’ve ever ridden in a convertible, casually dangles Sebring keys.
  5. Won’t stop asking if you’ve signed up for his band’s mailing list.
  6. Has a secret stash of Zima on his boat, Breakin’ Wind.
  7. Says Michael McDonald is “the voice of my generation!”
  8. Thinks AOL is the Internet. Concurrently somehow still has a NetZero account.
  9. Invites you over to see his margarita glass signed by Jimmy Buffett after he “saved his f*ckin’ life from a ‘gator the size of a goddamn Buick” in a parking lot in the Keys
  10. His favorite coffee mug is a badly stained, circa 1985 plastic one with a barely legible racist joke on it. It leaks, so he wraps it in a bandanna. Continue reading Three Hundred Things People Are Saying About #TrumpDoc

Dumb new Father John Misty ditty: This Is America

YouTube: Father John Misty – “This Is America”

I don’t watch whatever show this video is promoting, but the song is kinda funny. Let’s hope Josh Tillman gets back to work on the third FJM LP. He gave us more of a hint of what that might actually sound like (maybe?) when he released “Real Love Baby” a couple months ago.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if he finished up his album of Taylor Swift/Velvet Underground mashups…but that’s probably just me.

Continue reading Dumb new Father John Misty ditty: This Is America

New Beck video: Wow

YouTube: Beck – “Wow”

Three months after Beck released the song, he’s finally made a video for it. “Wow” is easily the most fun Beck song I’ve heard since “Hell Yes,” which came out over a decade ago. And he’s apparently “putting finishing touches” on his forthcoming album on Capitol Records with co-producer Greg Kurstin. Hard to believe it’ll be his 13th studio album.

I can clearly remember the first time I saw the “Loser” video, cracking up that they let a slacker like that on MTV. He was like a better-looking, California version of me and all my dopey pals. And by the time I heard “Beercan” I was a fan. My goodness!

I still wish Beck would hook back up with Karl/Carl Stephenson, who co-wrote and produced all the best songs on Mellow Gold, recorded the brilliant Forest for the Trees album, had a nervous breakdown, and dropped out of sight. Could potentially be cool. Or terrible. Who knows? And whatever happened to the Dust Brothers? Now I’m just rambling…

Continue reading New Beck video: Wow

Steamy new White Stripes video: City Lights

YouTube: The White Stripes – “City Lights”

From the description on YouTube:

Third Man Records is pleased to share the genius surprise gift they received from their friend MICHEL GONDRY. On his own and without anyone’s knowledge, the legendary filmmaker shot a video for “City Lights,” which he sent them the other night. The video is Gondry’s fifth visual collaboration with The White Stripes.

It’s a cool video and a good song. I’ve been a little skeptical of Jack White’s Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 compilation. At first it seemed like a cheap cash-grab built around the discovery of one newly uncovered White Stripes outtake (“the first new, worldwide commercially released song by The White Stripes since 2008”). I mean, come on, right? Everything else on this comp has been previously released in one form or another.

Plus, even “City Lights” — which was apparently written for Get Behind Me Satan “but then forgotten until White revisited the 2005 album for Third Man’s Record Store Day 2015 vinyl reissue” — is a little dubious. White admits “the track was finished in 2016 with help from collaborator and childhood friend Dominic Davis.” Where’s Meg? How much of this recording is White Stripes and how much is solo Jack White? Were any vocals recorded back in 2005? Were lyrics even written for it at the time? (Third Man Records did not immediately respond to our query.)


There’s something to be said for recontextualizing the work of an artist. And this is the first collection of Jack White’s songwriting that covers multiple bands and projects. And it presents a different angle than just “Jack White, guitar hero.” This side has been there from the get-go, for anybody paying attention and actually listening to the albums, but I can see the value in putting all the pretty stuff together in one spot. So there we have it.

And there’s more rare stuff than just “City Lights.” There’s the acoustic mix of the jingle White wrote for Coca Cola (“Love Is the Truth”) plus a handful of remixes of other songs. And one of the songs he did for that Renée Zellweger movie. So I probably shouldn’t be such a grump about it. And hey: new White Stripes song!

Continue reading Steamy new White Stripes video: City Lights

Chris Staples – Golden Age

Chris Staples_HeadshotI maintain a playlist called Golden that pulls together a bunch of songs that give me fall shivers and nostalgic heartstring tugs. There’s loads of Beck’s Sea Change, Kurt Vile’s Walking on a Pretty Day, Steve Gunn’s Sundowner, Elliott Smith, Damien Jurado, Lord Huron, and now…Chris Staples.

Staples’ new album, Golden Age, shares more in common with those songs and that feeling than its title. There’s a type of sadness, without being maudlin. And maybe that’s to be expected. After a rough patch where Staples was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes that resulted in pancreas failure, a bike accident that required surgery, and the dissolution of a long-term relationship, Chris Staples is afforded some sad bastard time.

But that’s what’s great about this record: it’s not sad bastard music. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some of that. But Staples’ album maintains a bit of pop bounce with lovely melodies and simple production. It’s been described as a “subtle” record, which I guess is as good anything I would come up to describe the production. Because subtlety implies hidden complexity, and this record has that in spades.

Give a listen to lead off track “Relatively Permanent” and tell me you aren’t ready to sit down with Chris, have a beer, and talk about where you grew up.

Continue reading Chris Staples – Golden Age