You could hear the sigh of relief among pop fans a couple of weeks ago, when Carly Rae Jepsen's single with Owl City, "Good Time," broke into the Top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100.
In his weekly chart roundup, veteran columnist Paul Grein remarked, "'Good Time' is an appropriately positive title for a song that guarantees that neither act can (fairly) be referred to as a one-hit wonder." (Emphasis mine.)
Hang on a sec: The week before it leapt to No. 9 on the big chart, "Good Time" was sitting at No. 13. What if it had gone no higher than that? Would it have been fair to call Jepsen, famed for the 2012 Song Of The Summer "Call Me Maybe," or Adam "Owl City" Young, owner of the 2009 bedroom-pop megahit "Fireflies," one-hit wonders? Didn't the rise of "Good Time" into the Top 20 already preclude that ignominy for both of them? Heck, didn't the one-hit wonder tag go away the minute the song appeared on the Hot 100 two months ago?
I know what some of you are thinking, though: C'mon... of course she's a one-hit wonder. She's always gonna be Ms. "Call Me Maybe."More »
In an effort to
"DON'T MAKE ME FIT INTO YOUR CRITICAL PANTHEON!!" stanch the flow of stale complaining about its "elitism" invite its readership into the magical world of music-publication listmaking, the online-tastemaker behemoth Pitchfork is putting together The Pitchfork List, which purports to count down its readers' favorite albums released between the year of its founding, 1996, and 2011. (Voting is here, and readers can put in their two cents until August 17; you can state your case for anywhere between 20 and 100 albums.) What records will finish at the top? A few ideas, culled from the site's lists of former albums of the year and perfect 10s and other Big Records of the recent past, below, with betting odds should you decide to take a trip to Vegas before the list's big reveal at the end of this month.
Radiohead w/ Caribou
Friday, June 1
Better than: Spazzing out (ahem, dancing) in a warehouse all by your lonesome.
Any inclination of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke being, as he put it, "sick as a dog" was not obvious until the band screwed up "Idioteque" and Yorke walked off with a frustrated "oh fuck it." Apparently the song had been a bit of a mess the night before, during Radiohead's first of two shows at Newark's Prudential Center. When he emerged for the first of two encores, Yorke explained that sometimes that happens, and if you consider that Radiohead now performs live with two drummers, you can understand how the arrangement of "Idioteque" could become more complicated in concert. But it was actually Johnny Greenwood, the mastermind behind the intricate electronic track from Kid A, who was slightly off.More »
This morning, Radiohead announced more tour dates, and the British band has finally filled in the New York City area on its 2012 map; they'll perform at the Prudential Center in Newark on May 31 and June 1. Tickets go on sale this Thursday, March 8 via W.A.S.T.E., while the public will get its hands on them on Saturday, March 10.
Our sister paper, the Miami New Times, attended last week's tour kickoff; the set list drew chiefly from Radiohead's 2011 album The King Of Limbs, although the band also debuted two songs and played the 1998 song "Meeting In The Aisle" (from the Airbag/How Am I Driving? EP) in concert for the first time. Video of that performance below.More »
Unlike MTV's Video Music Awards, which usually reward some combination of pop excellence, symbolic audacity, and likelihood of being controversial, the Grammys' short-form music video category is a lot like the Oscars. They don't always pick the best videosthis year's list omits such highlights as Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass," Ke$ha's "Blow," the Beastie Boys' "Make Some Noise," and Beyoncé's "Girls (Who Run the World)"but they do a good job of capturing the middlebrow zeitgeist, recognizing those videos that manage to combine critical respectability with popular appeal. Looking through their past winners, they generally pick the right one from the bunch ("Opposites Attract" in 1991, "Losing My Religion" in 1992, "Digging in the Dirt" in 1993). Their blind spot is the same one in every other category: older artists. That's why "Free as a Bird" beat "Tonight, Tonight" in 1997, and Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down" won over Feist's "1234" in 2008. With no dead artists eligible this year, will the righteous (Adele) triumph? Or will Grammy voters give in to their lazier impulses and just pick OK Go?
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences introduced the Best Alternative Music Performance category in 1991 in anticipation of punk breaking later that year (and permanently renamed the award in 2000). Over the past two decades, the changing demographics of the nominees have reflected the ever shifting and hotly debated definition of the word "alternative." The Foo Fighters' debut was nominated for in 1996, but without changing their sound much at all they've since migrated toand dominatedthe Best Rock Album category. This year, the award continues to struggle with its identity with a field that's more unpredictable than usual: There's no lock like Beck or The White Stripes present and no big commercial breakthrough for a long-running band like the last two winners, Phoenix and The Black Keys.
To supplement this year's Pazz & Jop launch, Sound of the City asked a few critics to expand on the reasonings behind their voting. Here, Michael Tedder breaks down his entire ballot, and along the way he talks about about the operatic heights of Fucked Up, the shredding ability of Annie Clark and Ritzy Bryan, and the power of the "boof."
Fucked Up, David Comes to Life (30 points): I was starting to get a sense of the way the wind was blowing for this year's roundup, and I'm generally aware that aggressive music, no matter how smart and inventive, has a ceiling for critical support. (I should point out that I submitted my ballot before the Spin endorsement.) So, just like I did last year with Titus Andronicus' The Monitor (I will not accept the idea that anyone this decade wrote a better album about America now, or a better album period than that), I went all in, points wise, to try to get my favorite album in to the top ten. Like last year, I failed, and I regret nothing. Anyway, people focusing on the intentionally confusing plot of this rock opera are not paying enough attention to the operatic arrangements (that term is not used as loosely as you imagine) Mike Haliechuk and company are offering up here, like some bizarre amalgam of Crass, Queen and Chavez. Also, I still don't know how Veronica died, and I'm surprised that in these #OWS days no one is discussing the working-class fatigue subtext ("those better days have passed us by") on display here.
Thursday, September 29
Better than: Groceries for the next six weeks.
When Radiohead took the stage at 10:07 p.m. on Thursday night, people were talking. When the amusingly Cobain-coiffed frontman Thom Yorke acknowledged the sold-out crowd of 3,500 with a one-word salutation ("Hey") after the set-opening "Bloom," people were talking. Throughout OK Computer bustout "Subterranean Homesick Alien"? More chit-chat. Even during the delicate "Codex"a plot point at Radiohead shows where I've seen large theaters and even arenas taper down to an impossible church-like silencepeople talked and talked. And talked. How they managed to score tickets. Why the band couldn't just suck it up and play "Creep." How they were crushing it despite the recession. No topic was off limits. "That's alright," said Yorke with a trace of irony during the upright-piano intro to "The Daily Mail" near the end of the set. "It's Thursday night. You can talk, I don't care."
So sayeth the official web site of the downtown occupation. Is it a surprise show if it's announced ahead of time? (Not really!) Do you think they'll break out "Creep" from the archives and tweak the lyrics? "No, you're the creep, you fatcats!" (Probably not!) Should you probably start heading down there right now if you want to be within aspirating distance of Thom Yorke? (Uh, you're probably late already?) UPDATE: Oh, Internet: Radiohead's spokesperson says it isn't happening. Well, enjoy your Friday afternoon off, those of you who decided to extend Summer Fridays to the end of September. And, uh, I would maybe advise against going down there? I have angered that band's diehards in the past, and they get pissed, at least on the Internet.