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Sound Opinions, being the scholarly work it is, has provided footnotes to help you navigate through the show's vast maze of musical knowledge.

Because, let's face it—sometimes even we have no idea what the heck Jim and Greg are talking about.
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04-06-07 Footnotes
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1 Earlier this week the music label EMI agreed to drop Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions from its digital music files. In addition, the files will be of a higher quality than those available now. Essentially this means that consumers who purchase EMI tracks from bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Beyoncé, and Nelly Furtado, can play them on any player, regardless of where they purchased it. But, there is a catch—these digital songs will be almost 30% more expensive.

EMI’s announcement seems to be a response to a plea that Apple head Steve Jobs made earlier this year for all record companies to remove DRM from their digital music. And while these songs will be available for purchase and download from all online retailers, it’s interesting to note how much Jobs is thrusting himself into the music industry. In fact, he was posed right next to EMI chief Eric Nicoli for this announcement. For Greg’s take on this issue, check out his recent article post in the Chicago Tribune.

2 This first album up for review this week is of Back to Black, the second album by British import Amy Winehouse. The singer/songwriter was one of the most buzzed about acts at this year’s SXSW Festival, and her off-stage antics are getting her a flurry of attention in the British press. Jim and Greg, however, aren’t sure the phenomenon will translate overseas. Winehouse prides herself on being influenced by jazz and the R&B and soul singers of the 1960’s. But, both critics find her music to be a retro parody more than an authentic homage. In fact, Jim outright hates this album and gives his Trash It rating right up front. Greg didn’t dislike the album as much as he thought he would, but was still unimpressed by Winehouse’s pale imitation of artists like Donnie Hathaway and Nina Simone. He also gives Back to Black a Trash It.

3 This week’s guest is singer/songwriter Neko Case. It’s hard to categorize Neko’s music. Some call her “alt-country.” Others throw the word “soul” in there. But whatever you call it, fans and critics alike are happy to hear it. In addition to making her own music, Neko records and performs with Canadian pop band the New Pornographers. After wrapping up her current tour, Neko will go out on tour with the New Pornographers in support of their new album.

4 Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is Neko’s most successful album to date. It’s also one for which she did much more of the songwriting. Neko credits that songwriting with learning to play the tenor guitar. Greg compares Neko’s guitar playing to that of Steve Howe, but she likes to think of herself as more of a Paul Butterfield.

5 Neko calls Fox Confessor Brings the Flood her most “smart-ass” album. The way in which the songwriter tells stories on the record is in large part inspired by Eastern European folktales. Neko grew up listening to this style of storytelling from her Ukrainian grandparents and appreciated how open-ended and non-judgmental the tales were.

6 Two of the songs Neko performs for the show have unique inspirations. The first, “That Teenage Feeling,” was written after her guitarist, Paul Rigby, exclaimed that he didn’t feel the need to get married for the sake of getting married. Rather, he desired that simpler, no-strings feeling that love gives you when you are a teenager. The second song, “Margaret vs. Pauline,” is based on a book by Beat novelist and poet Richard Brautigan called In Watermelon Sugar. Jim’s relieved to hear the song has a far less ominous meaning than he thought. You can also hear a bonus performance of “Sometimes When I Get To Thinking” by Buffy Sainte-Marie.

7 Superstar producer Timbaland also has a new solo album called Timbaland Presents: Shock Value. Timbaland, otherwise known as Tim Mosley, has produced massive hits for pop and hip hop stars like Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake. But, in addition to having a knack for making commercially successful tunes, Timbaland is also one of the most inventive, innovative and avant-garde producers of all time. This fact makes it all the more difficult for Jim and Greg to give their ratings of this album. Jim thinks the first half of the album is worth checking out for some solid production. But, he wishes Timbaland hadn’t been so base and clichéd in his lyrics. He also questions the creativity involved in the album’s all-star collaborations. He gives Shock Value a Burn It. Greg can’t even be that kind. He is completely disappointed by this album and is forced to give it a Trash It rating.

8 It’s Jim’s turn to select a song to take with him to the desert island this week. His DIJ pick was inspired by the two albums reviewed in the show. Amy Winehouse considers herself a modern day Nina Simone, and Timbaland uses a Nina Simone sample in his song “Oh Timbaland.” Jim is in favor of referencing the past, but wanted to go back to a band that was able to bring a hip hop attitude to classic 60s soul and jazz much more successfully than Winehouse ever could. That band is Portishead. Portishead came out of England during the 1990’s as part of the “trip-hop” movement. While their tenure was short (though word is they are making music again), Jim is still impressed by the group’s ability to merge American hip hop with British psychedelia with early soul and R&B. The album he urges listeners to go back to is 1994’s Dummy, and the track he wants to add to the Desert Island Jukebox is “Sour Times.”

Songs Featured in Show #71

Sex Pistols, “E.M.I.” Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols, 1977
Amy Winehouse, “Rehab,” Back to Black, 2007
Amy Winehouse, “You Know I’m No Good,” Back to Black, 2007
Neko Case, “Hold On, Hold On,” Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, 2006
Neko Case, “That Teenage Feeling,” Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, 2006 Live in Studio
Neko Case, “Dirty Knife,” Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, 2006
Neko Case, “Margaret vs. Pauline,” Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, 2006
Neko Case, “Margaret vs. Pauline,” Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, 2006 Live in Studio
Neko Case, “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, 2006
Timbaland, “Oh Timbaland,” Timbaland Presents Shock Value, 2007
Timbaland, “Give It To Me,” Timbaland Presents Shock Value, 2007
Timbaland, “Throw It On Me,” Timbaland Presents Shock Value, 2007
Portishead, “Sour Times,” Dummy, 1994
Trick Daddy, “Tuck Ya Ice,” Back by Thug Demand, 2006
De La Soul, “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey),” De La Soul is Dead, 1991
Olivia Tremor Control, “Memories of Jacqueline 1906,” Music from the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle, 1996
Neutral Milk Hotel, “King of Carrot Flowers,” In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, 1998
Rhymefest, “Bullet,” Blue Collar, 2006

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