Sound Opinions
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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04-13-07 Footnotes
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1 Trent Reznor’s new Nine Inch Nails’ release is making news not just for its music, but for its marketing campaign. Rather than do the standard set of interviews and appearances, Reznor launched an interactive internet scavenger hunt to explain the album’s story and gain interest. The story behind Year Zero began to unfold when fans discovered that highlighted letters on a NIN concert t-shirt spelled out “I am trying to believe. Add a .com to that, and they were led to their first clue. A series of other clues were then revealed via a network of web sites, MP3 files, videos, phone lines, and even USB drives found in concert bathrooms.

2 Jim and Greg discuss how savvy and 21st century Reznor’s guerilla marketing tactics are. While some members of the music industry mourn the death of the CD, Reznor responds by giving the consumer much more than a hard disc of music. It’s the modern equivalent to the kind of interactive package and experience fans would get with the great concept albums of the previous rock era. The critics are also impressed with the album itself, which Jim explains is essentially about the end of the world. He calls Reznor a sonic architect for his ability to create amazing soundscapes with just his lap top. And, Greg notes that Reznor’s voice is more expressive than it's been on previous albums. Therefore, the album and the entire experience of Year Zero get two Buy Its from both Jim and Greg.

3 When Jim and Greg were at SXSW, they were invited to interview soul legend Booker T. Jones in front of a live audience. This week, you’ll get to hear some highlights of that interview. Jim and Greg start the interview by asking Booker how he became such a musical prodigy. The multi-instrumentalist, who has played tuba, piano, saxophone, guitar, oboe, and of course, most notably, organ, credits his musical family with steering him on that path. This path took him to Stax Records where he, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson, Jr., and Lewie Steinberg (later replaced by Duck Dunn) formed Booker T. and the MGs. While Booker was still in high school, the group recorded “Green Onions,” which went on to become one of their most well-known hits.

4 Jim asks how Booker feels about being relegated to the role of “side man,” in music history, but the musician explains that he feels nothing but pride about being “best supporting musician.” In fact, Booker explains that being a side man elevated him as a musician and allowed him to do so much more than he would have been able to solo. Some of the people our guest has recorded with over the years include Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Ray Charles, and even Barbra Streisand.

5 Booker T. and the MG’s not only played with an impressive cast in the studio, but on the road as well. Jim and Greg highlight his 1967 European tour with other Stax artists, and ask Booker what everyone must have been on to get that powerful, lighting fast tempos. Booker attributes that kind of energy and enthusiasm to people like Otis Redding and Al Jackson, describing them as “possessed people.” The Monterey International Pop Music Festival followed in the summer of 1967, and Booker describes this experience as one of the most eye-opening of his life. With everyone (including the Hell’s Angels) collectively joining in to insure its success, this concert was an affirmation of the values of peace and love everyone there believed in.
The MG’s went on to perform with Neil Young and with many artists at the Bob Dylan tribute in 1992 including George Harrison and Eric Clapton, who he dishes on later in the interview.

6 Performing at Monterey eventually led Booker to leave his steady stream of jobs at Stax and venture out to California. As a solo performer and producer Booker challenged himself with a number of new projects including a collection of standards for his neighbor, Willie Nelson. He also worked in the studio with Stephen Stills, Rita Coolidge, Bill Withers and Neil Young. Check out Greg’s 2002 review of their collaboration, Are You Passionate.

7 Southern rockers Kings of Leon have a new album out called Because of the Times. The members of the Nashville quartet were just in their teens when they first got signed to a major label, and now they’re on to their third album. Jim comes right out of the gate with his opinion. He explains, “I loathe this album with a bile I reserve for very special occasions.” He thought the band was fairly harmless when they were just a hipper take on the Black Crowes. But, after receiving much hype from their label and being brought on large scale tours by Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam and U2, they’ve added an echo-drenched, reverb-laden arena rock sound that even U2’s The Edge has moved on from. Because he finds the album retro, sexist and stupid, Jim gives it a Trash It rating. Hearing Jim’s review of the record makes Greg like it even more. He describes Kings of Leon as sloppy Southern rock to the core, and really likes their guitar sound. It’s retro, but unapologetically so for Greg. He gives Because of the Times a Burn It.

8 Up next Greg drops a track into the Desert Island Jukebox. Coming off of the Kings of Leon discussion, he goes back to Southern rock’s roots and chooses a song by the real kings of the genre—Lynyrd Skynyrd. He describes them as one of the most misunderstood bands of all time. Dismissed as just that bunch of yokels who sang “Freebird,” Greg doesn’t think they get the credit they deserve. Ronnie Van Zant, the original lead singer, and other members of the band died in a plane crash in 1977. But before that, he was able to lend a subtle sophistication to Skynyrd that other, blusier southern rock outfits didn’t have. The track that best illustrates this is “Saturday Night Special.” The song is an eloquent bit of social commentary about the dangers of guns—not the sort of thing you expect these folks to sing about. And unfortunately, not the sort of song that gets requested at live shows.

Songs Featured in Show #72

Nine Inch Nails, “Beginning of the End,” Year Zero, 2007
Nine Inch Nails, “Capital G,” Year Zero, 2007
Nine Inch Nails, “Greater Good,” Year Zero, 2007
Booker T & the MG’s, “Green Onions,” Green Onions, 1962
Sam and Dave, “Soul Man,” Soul Men, 1967
Booker T & the MG’s, “Hip Hug-Her,” Hip Hug-Her, 1967
Eddie Floyd, “Knock on Wood,” Knock on Wood, 1967
Otis Redding, “Shake,” Live in Europe, 1967
Otis Redding, “I’ve Been Loving You,” Monterey International Pop Festival Box Set, 1992
Booker T & the MG’s, “Medley: Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End-Here Comes The Sun/Come Together,” McLemore Avenue, 1970
Willie Nelson, “Georgia On My Mind,” Stardust, 1978
Bill Withers, “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Just As I Am, 1971
Neil Young, “You’re My Girl,” Are You Passionate? 2002
Booker T & the MG’s, “That’s the Way It Should Be,” That’s the Way It Should Be, 1994
Kings of Leon, “Knocked Up,” Because of the Times, 2007
Kings of Leon, “McFearless” Because of the Times, 2007
Kings of Leon, “Charmer,” Because of the Times, 2007
Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Saturday Night Special,” Nuthin’ Fancy, 1975
Booker T and the MG’s, “Boot-Leg,” The Best of Booker-T & the MG’s, 1968
The Drifters, “Answer the Phone,” I'll Take You Where the Music's Playing, 1965
Amy Winehouse, “Rehab,” Back to Black, 2007
Sneaker Pimps, “6 Underground,” 6 Underground, 1996
The Decemberists, “The Island: Come and See/The Landlord's Daughter/You'll Not Feel the Drown,” The Crane Wife, 2006

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