Editor’s Note: This list originally ran in 2012, but with the election ramping up with Rand Paul and Hilary Clinton announcing their candidacy this week, we thought it would be a good time to remind our candidates which sort of songs to avoid when choosing your election anthem.
The first Presidential debate of 2012 was last night, which seemed to us like perfect timing to take a serious (and not-so-serious) look at the choice of campaign songs over our proud American history. What we found was plenty of choices not to be so proud of, with a lot of songs standing out as completely perplexing. While every step made and word said is carefully planned in presidential campaigns, it’s surprising how ridiculous and flat-out confusing so many campaign song choices are. So without further ado, here are ten most ridiculous campaign songs in U.S. History.
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There aren’t a lot of records that sound more stuck in time than Ryan Adams’ self-titled album, his first release in three years. But it’s not stuck in Ryan Adams’ era of music (the early aughts when he was one of the hottest singer/songwriters around), but rather the 80’s and early 90’s, when driving Heartland rock like Tom Petty, chimy college rock like R.E.M., and heart-on-your-sleeve garage rock like The Replacements dominated the music landscape. However, despite being lost in a time capsule, Ryan Adams sounds as urgent and as re-energized as he has since 2005’s Cold Roses with the Cardinals.
Continue reading “Ryan Adams Review: Ryan Adams”
It is hard to find a palatable picture of Tom Petty. You know, one where he doesn’t look like a trashy lady. But I think I did it, and discovered bearded, sunglassed, mouth-closed Petty is certainly the best for your viewing pleasure. But, luckily for Petty, he didn’t have to rely on his looks to get shit done in this world. We are of course here to talk about the storied career of Tom Petty, the musician. Tom Petty is almost no one’s favorite artist, but damned if almost everyone doesn’t own a copy of his greatest hits. Petty may have only made a handful of albums that succeed at a very high level in their entirety, but he made many good albums that featured a hit or two apiece. I’m almost led to believe Petty knew he had three great albums of material at the beginning of his career and was like, “eff it, I’m in this for the long haul”. That, my friends, is called longevity. As always, enjoy the list, and let us know which of your favorite Petty songs we missed.
10. “I Won’t Back Down”
In structure and message, “I Won’t Back Down” is one of the simplest of Petty’s tunes. Never trying to over-complicate things, this is Tom Petty at his most basic.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Top Ten Tom Petty Songs”
No, that picture above is not Ernest Hemingway and Steve Earle’s love child. It is in fact uber-producer Rick Rubin, the man who has successfully navigated alt-rock, hip-hop, country, and just about every other genre in music with startling success. Currently on Rubin’s radar is helping Kanye fine-tune Yeezus, easily the most eagerly awaited hip-hop album of 2013. This is interesting, because Kanye has always been a bit of a “do-it-your-selfer” which has served him very very well. It makes sense though to bring in the man who produced some Public Enemy, Beastie Boys and Run D.MC. when Kanye is aiming for a more minimalist experience (explained more fully in the New York Times interview). This minimalism Ye is going for highlights an overriding theme for the albums on our list: Strip down artists to their most raw and basic qualities and build the album up from there. Rubin may not have one musical style he can be attached to, but there does seem to be a way of making music that is very clear.
We tried to limit this list to albums Rubin had a large hand in producing, leaving off the likes of Jay-Z’s Black Album and JT’s FutureSex/LoveSounds where he only produced one track each. We also left off sure top-5 Lucinda Williams album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road because Rubin only handled the mixing of the album. The only other major qualm people might have with this list is the lack of a Slayer album. Well, I personally just don’t like metal, and so even if Slayer is the cream of the crop, I’m not gonna listen to it. Enjoy the list, and as always feel free to comment on albums you think we missed or erroneously included.
10. The Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker
Interestingly, I read Rick Rubin wouldn’t allow his name to be put on as producer of Shake Your Money Maker until it sold one million copies. Was he not happy with the outcome? Did he think it was destined for commercial and/or critical failure? I don’t know, but I do know The Black Crowes in 1990 did The Stones better than The Stones were doing themselves. With the alternative scene blowing up at the time, Shake Your Money Maker was a nice respite from the uniformity of most everything else out there.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Top Ten Rick Rubin Produced Albums”
We decided it was finally time to make a list concerning the combination of kindred vocals. Duets that is. A guy and a girl is the most popular concoction, but there is certainly room to wiggle with that formula on this list. For frame of reference, we attempted to stay away from two very specific types tracks that may be considered duets. The first area is hip hop tracks. R&B tracks are fine, as long as they don’t interfere with the next criteria, but it seems every hip-hop song has multiple rappers, or at the least one rapper and someone else for the hook. Just seemed a little too muddled. The second criteria we aimed to stay away from were artists that have two vocalists, where almost every one of their tracks might be able to be considered duets. Sorry, but we were looking for duets where the source recording is at most part of a one-off album. As always, I think we crafted a solid list, but am certain we missed something along the way. Feel free to offer suggestions, and enjoy.
10. The Postal Service & Jenny Lewis – “Nothing Better”
Ben Gibbard & Jenny Lewis combine for an electonic-infused back and forth on The Postal Service’s 2003 track “Nothing Better”. The conversational tone of Gibbard and Lewis vocals is about as fun as it gets, and makes us thirst for more than just a Postal Service tour reunion. Record a new album!
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Duets to Die For”
The time has come for our favorite festival announcement of the year. If you’ve been following us for a while, I’m sure you’ve heard us gush over the glories of the Bonnaroo music festival on more than one occasion. If you are new to LxL and continue to follow us, I promise this won’t be the last you hear of it either. Today the full lineup was finally released. Rumors of Paul McCartney and and Wu-Tang Clan came true, while others such as Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s fell short. One thing that I have found with music festivals is that each year the immediate reaction to an actual lineup announcement seems to be increasingly less exciting than the anticipation and wonderment of who will be there. Not that I am not excited about this year’s lineup, because I am, but I think that everyone’s expectations always seem greater than what they should be. This is mostly due to rumor-mills, fake posters, and people’s assumptions based on who is touring at the time, who is coming out with and album this summer, or who recently had just toured. All that to say, there certainly exists some major disappointments such as the lack of Jack White (again), no Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and no sight of Thom Yorke’s new collaboration Atoms for Peace.
Regardless, here we have it. A mix’n’match of hot new indie artists, some interesting solo/duo combinations, a few rarities, and some classic big guns. Let’s break this lineup down in a Bonnaroo 2013 pre-cap:
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Super Bowl halftime shows have had a pretty wide range over the years; starting out with mostly college marching bands and currently sometimes ending up in huge controversy (like the above or M.I.A. last year). For the past twenty years or so, though, the halftime show has settled into two categories for the most part: aging rock star or in-the-moment pop sensations. There just hasn’t been a lot of imagination. I truly believe, and so do Todd and Wes deep down even though they won’t admit it, the combination of Aerosmith, N’Sync, and Nelly was pretty electric, and a legitimate combination of current and aging talents. Alas, they didn’t make the list. Neither did The Who (decrepit), Madonna (mummified), or the Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting combination (puzzling). In fact, this list is not nearly as strong as we would have expected, so I ripped to some degree on several acts. Enjoy, and as always let us know what you think in the comments.
10. 2006 – The Rolling Stones
After the 2004 Janet Jackson debacle (blessing?), the NFL decided to trot out a lot of very “safe” acts for some time. Hence, a bunch of old bags of bones (stones?) took the stage in 2006 and sounded much smaller than the event demands. As a consolation, the stage is phenomenal, and Keith Richards puppet-master continues to get paid for his superb work.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Best Super Bowl Halftime Shows”