Tag Archives: Eminem

Listen to Frontier Justice 2/19/17

The Thousand Points Of Light Memorial Waterfall lies dry at the center of the Super 7 Mega Mall food court tetrahedron, and everybody’s got an opinion as to why. Hair triggers, we have them. In this new reality of hot takes and burning questions, it’s fun to clamber onto a roof and shout “BELL BOTTOMS” over and over into the night sky. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion strut their way outta “Frontier Justice” in its college radio days and into this new consciousness, the latest FJ delivery system being Spotify. And speaking of that new consciousness, on this set JSBX drops into the void between Danny Brown‘s stuttering, claustrophobic “Ain’t It Funny” on one side and Lady Gaga‘s “Diamond Heart” on the other. Young, wild Americans, both.

Spotify: Frontier Justice 2/19/17 (35 songs, 2 hr 3 min)

At the top of the set, Norway’s Sigrid makes her debut with “Don’t Kill My Vibe” and M.I.A. returns with the typically martial “P.O.W.A.” Minor Threat and Agent Orange remind us that the establishment was riling up the youth in the early moments of the Me Decade, Patti Smith remains royalty, and “Said It Already” is new, incisive and grooving from young Londoner Ama Lou. Elsewhere, Tommy Genesis oozes volatility and effortless after-hours club cool on “Art,” and Dai Burger wants to be your class president. Did you know Michelle Branch is back? Hopeless Romantic is her first full-length in 13 years; it was written and co-produced with Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, and sounds like it. Angel Olsen released one of 2016’s best records in My Woman — The engrossing, cinematic “Sister” is a highlight — and digging deep into the Spotify Sound Vaults reveals classic material in a new light: Elvis Presley brings both vulnerability and bluesy swing to an alternate take of “Heartbreak Hotel,” and The Supremes are full of funky soul on “Bad Weather,” the 1973 nugget produced and written by Stevie Wonder.

There’s some Ratt along the way, because after all, what goes around comes around (and they’ll tell you why), L.A. Witch is back with cool new stuff for Suicide Squeeze, RTJ remind us to stay hungry and pissed, and Eminem is no less than unhinged on “No Favors,” one of the many standouts on Big Sean‘s terrific new record I Decided.

Making playlists isn’t protest. It’s not political action. But it can be a soundtrack for both dancing and dissent, and do its best to uphold the art of discourse, which in these polarizing times is increasingly under attack. And if you want to completely check out, there’s always room on Goat‘s delightfully weird magic carpet. Here, “Try My Robe.”

JTL

You can also try an Apple Music playlist. Let me know if this works. -ed.

Continue reading Listen to Frontier Justice 2/19/17

Eminem Goes 5 for 5 at No. 1

Eminem - RecoveryDang, I was kidding a while ago about Eminem and Susan Boyle, but dude’s looking unstoppable. I just read Spin‘s cover story on him, and now I’m going to have to listen to the album, I guess. Interesting character.

Speaking of interesting characters, does it surprise anybody (besides Glenn Peoples) that despite the non-stop internet chatter, a controversial New York Times Sunday magazine profile, and a very cool appearance on Letterman, M.I.A. has still failed to move more than 40,000 units over two weeks? Billboard 200:

1. Eminem – “Recovery” – 187,000 (down 4%; cume: 1,700,000)

2. Rick Ross – “Teflon Don” – 176,000 (debut)

3. Sheryl Crow – “100 Miles From Memphis” – 55,000 (debut)

4. Drake – “Thank Me Later” – 47,000 (down 6%)

5. “Kidz Bop 18” – 43,000 (debut)

6. Justin Bieber – “My World 2.0” – 39,000 (down 5%)

7. The Jonas Brothers – “Jonas L.A.” soundtrack – 32,000 (debut)

8. “Now 34” – 27,000 (down 1%)

9. Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now” – 25,000 (down 8%)

10. Lady Gaga – “The Fame” – 24,000 (down 9%)

Continue reading Eminem Goes 5 for 5 at No. 1

Eminem’s Recovery Has (Relatively) Huge Week

Eminem - RecoveryWith the biggest sales week for a single album since 2008, when AC/DC‘s Black Ice (review) debuted with 784,000, Eminem is back on top. While he now admits, “That last Relapse CD was ehh,” even that album debuted with 608,000, no small feat. Of course, ten years ago *N Sync sold more than that in a single day. But still, Yahoo’s Paul Grein points out that Em’s the only artists in the Soundscan era to “top the 700K plateau in weekly sales with four albums.” So congrats.

Here’s the rest of the top ten on this week’s Billboard 200:

1. Eminem – “Recovery” – 741,000 (debut)

2. Drake – “Thank Me Later” – 157,000 (down 65%)

3. Miley Cyrus – “Can’t Be Tamed” – 102,000 (debut)

4. Ozzy Osbourne – “Scream” – 81,000 (debut)

5. “Now 34” – 55,000 (down 38%)

6. The Roots – “How I Got Over” – 51,000 (debut)

7. Jack Johnson – “To The Sea” – 44,000 (down 36%)

8. Justin Bieber – “My World 2.0” – 43,000 (down 9%)

9. Sarah McLachlan – “Laws of Illusion” – 38,000 (down 59%)

10. “Twilight: Eclipse” soundtrack – 38,000 (down 30%)

Continue reading Eminem’s Recovery Has (Relatively) Huge Week

Five Years Ago: 8 Mile-Inspired “Battles” Get Nuts

Five years ago today, the comments page for Johnny’s review of 8 Mile got so out of control that we had to break it off into a separate page because it was crashing our server: Your Comments on 8 Mile Is Worth the Hype.

And then the insanity continued on our message boards: Eminem’s 8 Mile Battles…and yours.

Looking back today, it cracks me up that we attempted to moderate these lunatics at all. Now, I wish we would have just let the crazies go on forever. What a snapshot of 2002 internet culture. Online rap battles. Wow.

Think I Give A Damn About…

Barbra Streisand reacts as she presents the award best original songEminem won the best-song Oscar for “Lose Yourself,” the dramatic anthem from his film 8 Mile. It was the only nominated song not to be performed during the ceremony, but Em’s decision to skip the show saved the Oscar people, since they were shitting their pants over “Lose Yourself”‘s liberal use of profanity. Indeed, the track was a different animal than its fellow nominees. Rounding out the category was the more-boring-than-Paul Simon-himself ballad “Father and Daughter,” (Wild Thornberrys); U2’s “Hands That Built America” (Gangs of New York); “Burn It Blue” (Frida); and “I Move On” (Chicago).

Barbra Streisand was charged with presenting the award. With the room on an emotional high (horse) from Adrien Brody’s ass-kicking of Caine, Cage, and Nicholson in the Best Actor category, Streisand spoke graciously of the awe-inspiring breadth of art, and how proud everyone should be for the opportunity to make it. She spoke of music, and its true power to speak as one artist’s voice while inspiring or angering, helping or saddening millions of others.

She then bugged out her eyes and made an exasperated face when Eminem won for “Lose Yourself.” Wow, nice sincerity, Babs. Why don’t you go home and put James Brolin’s old balls back on your chin?

JTL

Don’t Know Why – The 2003 Grammys

The Glorious Noise compound was alive with laughter after the 45th Annual Grammy Awards concluded last Sunday night. Sure, this year’s show featured numerous artists who made the big decision to actually sing, which is a real milestone, since it happens so rarely anymore. And performances from Eminem, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, James Taylor, and Yo Yo Ma were entertaining for different reasons. But in the end, it was just another howler of an award show, and it deserves to be eviscerated. Yes, of course it’s an easy target. But so is MTV’s John Norris. And you don’t see Glorious Noise making fun of that corpse-like fancypants, do you?

What follows then is a quick rundown of this year’s show. Fred Durst is in aggreeance with Glorious Noise that it sucked, and Peace is cool, or something.

Continue reading Don’t Know Why – The 2003 Grammys

Johnny’s Musical Memories, 2002

The Chinese lunar calendar declares 2003 will be the year of the goat. While this definitely portends danger for many musicians who are currently heroes or heroines in hearts of millions (Kelly Rowland should be very worried), let’s take a moment to look back on what the same calendar called the year of the black horse, 2002. Some musical highlights are described below. In the meantime, let’s all look forward to “American Idol 2”, “Joe Millionaire”, “Star Search: Live!”, “The Bachelorette”, and “Celebrity Mole: Hawaii”, which curiously features no actual celebrities. (Aside to Stephen Baldwin – It’s true. You’re not really a celebrity. Get a real job and leave us alone.)

Continue reading Johnny’s Musical Memories, 2002

8 Mile Is Worth the Hype

8 Mile, Eminem’s cinematic debut, is the hip-hop variation of Purple Rain, a foul-mouthed Karate Kid, a Roadhouse for those too young or hip to remember the ethos guiding that film’s epochal man-against-the-world theme. The film presents its characters’ dilemmas and goals, following them as they try like hell to fight the power and prove themselves as worthy human beings – warts, trailers, and all.

Ever since “Slim Shady,” Marshall Mathers III has never handled anything with kid gloves. And the gloves haven’t come off here; Mathers dominates almost every scene of 8 Mile. Now, keep in mind that this film is not Eminem: The E! True Hollywood Story. To be sure, the film is tailor-made for its star. After all, it’s not like he picked Out of Africa 2 as his first celluloid vehicle. But 8 Mile ‘s principal parts are far enough from Eminem’s own well-published road to fame that you don’t feel like his character, Jimmy “Rabbit” Smith, is just another of the rapper’s personas, delivered visually instead of aurally.

[Warning: Article contains spoilers; stop reading now if you don’t want certain plot details revealed… – Ed.]

Continue reading 8 Mile Is Worth the Hype

AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A G THING, BABY

Tragically, the Grammy viewing audience found itself asking all night, “Where’s Soy Bomb?” The utter lack of anything more controversial than another plunging neckline made even host Jon Stewart’s bits about a gay Eminem seem watered-down. The cavernous Staples Center was nicely decorated in shades of purple. But so is a baby’s nursery. After all, it’s the Grammys. It’s like watching a Soviet awards show – always 25 years behind.

2001’s Grammy Awards made an attempt at diversity. Throwing bones to vocal jazz, classical piano, and the Native American community was weak, but at least it was more sincere than last year’s Carlos Santana blow job fest. Unfortunately, whatever momentum gained from these gestures got lost in the shuffle of a poorly produced show with plenty of weak live elements (memo to Jon Stewart: a sardonic smirk doesn’t count as a punchline).

A bizarrely coifed Macy Gray beat out Madonna (nice accent!) in the best pop female vocal category for “I Try.” But hey, do we really need to hear the song again? I wonder if the blue hairs in NARAS thought they were watching another performance by Lauryn Hill. In the role of Britney on Wednesday night was Christina Aguilera, who could have hid behind her mic stand if she hadn’t been lip-syncing. Boring blonde braids flitting about, the JV-squad diva gave us a sneak peek of her Branson future by arriving in a flying Love Toilet and performing (in Spanish?) with an orchestra. Back up the RV, sister, it’s over. Another orchestra helped Faith Hill’s “Breath” sound like the AAA/Adult Contemporary tripe that it is. Looking like an all-growed-up Jessica Simpson, Hill’s 93Lite-FM performance didn’t exactly give some big ups to her Nashville peeps. Shocker: she later won for best country album (Emmylou Harris to waiter: “Get me a drink!”)

U2 performed “Beautiful Day” capably, helped along by a nice light show and Bono’s trademark histrionics. Picking up record of the year honors, The Edge – normally numb – unveiled his Appalachian comedian side. Sounding like an Irish Harry Callas, Edge gave the first documented shout-out to Jubilee 2000, 3-blade razors and frozen pizzas. No one questioned whether his black ‘3’ shirt was related to Dale Earnhardt. After some filler featuring more bad live cueing for Stewart and unlikely celebrity pairings, not to mention about the millionth Unnecessary Carson Daly Siting, Moby took the stage with Jill Scott and Blue Man Group. It’s just like the unassuming Moby to stand back, playing the bass while the Blue Men and Scott conducted an odd re-version of his “Natural Blues.” But those pesky Intel hucksters became annoying about midway through the song, and that was BEFORE they started firing confetti from their drum cannons. Too much percussion, not enough Moby.

While an artist being an afterthought in his own song would be re-visited later during Eminem’s “Stan,” the night’s best performance was its simplest. Sheryl Crow warmly strummed an acoustic guitar as she harmonized with best “new” artist Shelby Lynne. My pal Phil and I were waiting for the moment to be ruined by an orchestra or 18 backup singers. But for once, it didn’t happen. A lone electric guitar player joined with Crow’s acoustic towards the end of the number, giving it a nice Nashville-meets-Tom Waits feel. Some of Waits’ boozy energy was no doubt conveyed by two of the hardest (and hottest) partiers in the business in Lynne and Crow. Roll out the drink cart, boys – Shelby’s in town.

As the show was winding down, most of the fidgeting crowd seemed to be longing for something, anything to be excited about. Honestly, where’s ODB when you need him? After a self-serving speech by the smarmy president of NARAS, who no doubt cornered some unfortunate soul at the after-party and talked her ear off like your smelly Uncle Ned, Eminem took the stage for his fateful pairing with Elton John, King Of All Gays. Em’s rapping during “Stan” was fine; he showed off his unique flow while keeping it street enough for his homies back in Cell Block 6 (But what was with his right hand? It kept fluttering around like Gene Wilder’s shootin’ hand). As “Stan”‘s chorus arrived, John made his appearance, emerging from behind a set piece castoff from the last stage production of “Star Wars.” The song continued with terrible censoring, and ended without fanfare. The two men raised each other’s arms in triumph, looking like a homophobic Reagan greeting a gay Gorbachev at Camp David for a photo op. Meanwhile, somewhere in England, a forgotten Dido cried in her soup.

After such an anti-climactic event as the Elton/Eminem Peace Accords, the record of the year went not to Marshall Mathers, Beck, Radiohead, or even that over-produced fossil Paul Simon. Instead, the cutting-edge trend-setters over at NARAS went with NYC art-rockers Steely Dan, who evidently released an album in 2000. While cheers could be heard in coffee houses full of goatee’d grad students, no realistic music fan could really give a shit about Steely Dan’s triumphant return to our public consciousness. And yet, in a move similar to the Academy giving “Howard The Duck 2” the Best Picture nod, Donald Fagen, et al took home record of the year. I swear, even Steely Dan looked bewildered about their victory. Someone get Jethro Tull on the line, quick! But that’s what happens when an out-of-touch, thick-as-a-brick group of old voters is confronted with a potentially challenging decision. Whatever you think of Eminem, or even Radiohead and Beck, it’s obvious that these artists’ music was a just a LITTLE BIT more vital in 2000 than a bunch of aging math rockers from Greenwich Village.

See you next year. I’ll be over here in the bread line.

JTL