411 Music Fact or Fiction 10.12.12: Let The Sky Fall
Posted by Joseph Lee on 10.12.2012
Is the American Idol feud between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey staged? What did we think of Muse's new album The 2nd Law? Was Adele's "Skyfall" one of the best Bond themes ever? 411's Shawn S. Lealos and Chris Bell answer these questions and more!
Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I'm your host, Joseph Lee.
This week we have Chris Bell against Shawn S. Lealos.
Adele's "Skyfall" is a very good song and I think it will be a great return to a classic James Bond style. I like the song, but it is not one of the best ever and isn't even in the Top 5. "Live and Let Die," "Nobody Does it Better," "A View to Kill," "Thunderball" and Shirley Bassey's additions all rank higher in my mind than Adele's song does right now. Let me see how it plays over the opening credits of the movie, and we'll see if that moves it up any.
Chris Bell: FICTION.
First, it's important to say that all great Bond songs have a distinct sound that are more about the Bond style than the artist. While Adele is a slam dunk choice for being close to that style, this still feels more like B-Side from 21 than a Bond theme. It just lacks that extra swagger of the greatest Bond songs. Second, and I'm afraid of using something silly as evidence of something greater, but this isn't Adele at her strongest. Adele's greatest strength is using her voice in a way that can take paint from a wall. That isn't here. She's using some trickery on the chorus, but it only seems like it's a way out of trying harder. I can't say that it has anything to do with your throat still healing, but nothing about this performance approaches the impact of even her weakest moment on 21. Regardless of why, they should have just offered the job to Lana Del Rey. That's about what this song sounds like, and I'm sure Lana would have come cheaper.
I haven't listened to the album in its entirety, so I can't really comment on whether I enjoyed it or not. However, the songs I have heard ("Madness," "Survival," "Panic Room" and "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable") actually have me interested in getting the album. I like the band and this new stuff sounds pretty good, so from a guess based on what I have heard, I liked it enough.
Chris Bell: FICTION.
Confession time; I haven't listened to the newest Muse record. So, my labeling this as 'fiction' isn't saying that they've made a bad record, just that I haven't personally enjoyed it. Now, the real question is why have I chosen not to listen. First, this is an insane time of year for music releases. September/October is like sweeps week for critically acclaimed records. This is the last big push to get on those vaunted 'best of' year-end lists. In the last month, we've seen releases from David Byrne/St. Vincent, Ty Segall, Band of Horses, The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, The Mountain Goats, Dinosaur Jr., Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar), Animal Collective, Deerhoof, Cat Power, Bob Dylan, Menomena, How To Dress Well, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Dum Dum Girls, The xx, Woods, Thee Oh Sees, and and Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers). Now, regardless of how many of those artists you think are worthless, I'm expected to have an opinion on all of them. Furthermore, if someone handed me a list of every single one of those artists and Muse, then asked me to rank them according the how good I thought their next album would be, Muse would be dead last. It actually hurts my soul a little to say that. I cannot think of a band that was able to dispense with my support for them in such an efficient fashion as Muse. The only way they could have done it quicker would have been if Matt Bellamy started every show on the Resistance tour by kicking a puppy. With that one really empty album and an even more dreadful Olympic theme, my interest in Muse has been completely deflated. I love the alternative metal take on Queen, but it's almost as if Bellamy really wants to be taken seriously while doing something utterly silly. In a way, the only comparable track is Kings of Leon. There's just something icky about it. The Darkness know they are being silly, which is exactly what makes that band so much fun. I'm not saying I refuse to give Muse another shot, it's just they've fallen awfully far down the priority list and there are only so many hours in the day. Let these guys take some time off to experience things outside of the road or promotional tours. Right now, I've got other fish to fry.
I am not hanging on and waiting to see Rage come out with something new. I am not someone who will rush out to the store (or online, whatever) to buy it the day it comes out. I don't even know if I would buy it at all. However, I like Rage Against the Machine when they are on top of their game. If they release a new album, I will be very interested in hearing it, and if it is anywhere as good as Evil Empire, I will be happy. I really liked Audioslave, so I know the band can still go, I would just like to see them do something that brings back the memories of the '90s.
Chris Bell: FACT.
Rage Against the Machine is one of those bands that came along at that perfect time in my life that will keep them with me forever. I was lucky enough to be just really experiencing my own love for music as Tool and Rage Against the Machine were exploding onto rock radio. For that, I'll owe them a debt forever. I think they've been apart long enough and still have the necessary taste to pull off something listenable. Furthermore, I honestly don't believe these guys would get back together unless they felt there was something left to be done. Then again...Audioslave. I could always be wrong about it being good, but I'll also always be excited by the chance it could be fantastic.
Who? Seriously, I don't have time for this. It's just going to bring the final stroke that much closer. First, she probably won't actually write it. Second, I would only be interested in the memoirs of someone I found interesting as a person. Third, I don't care for supporting people that treat music as a secondary concern on the path to celebrity. On the plus side, if it keeps her from attempting to make a song...
Shawn S. Lealos: FACT.
I'll be completely honest, I don't care about the music performed by Ke$ha. If I hear "Tik Tok" one more time, it will be one too many times. She is a gimmick, an annoying pseudo-celebrity and an untalented hack. Therefore, reading her memoir will do nothing but keep this waste of music space in the public eye longer than she deserves. It still blows my mind that she has won so many awards. Seriously, Ke$ha, go away.
Jesus Christ, I could not care less. I do not care for the concept of American Idol. I have never watched an episode. I don't have a lot of positive things to say about either of the people involved. Any drama that exists between them isn't my business and doesn't interest me in the slightest. So, we have Chris Tucker's character from The Fifth Element after a few years of Twinkie binges in one corner, and that dude who married the guy from Drumline in the other? In the time it would take me to learn about this, I could do something that would make my life better.
Shawn S. Lealos: FICTION.
I see where this is coming from, and there is a very good chance that the feud is being staged to help build ratings for the new season of Idol. Now, I am saying Fiction because that would be a mistake for the show to make. Look, American Idol is supposed to be about one thing: finding the next major star. When Carrie Underwood won the show, she became one of country music's hottest acts. Yes, a lot of it was because of talent, but fans also fell in love with her on the show. If fans care more about the Minaj and Carey soap opera, that takes away from the talent. If it is staged, it will help ratings for a short time, and just might make this the last season for the show.
I'm really torn on this. Bruno Mars is one of those musicians who I'm really not personally into, but in the world of modern mainstream pop there is so much else that is so much worse, I feel like I have to defend him. Is this a song that I would pay money for? No. Is this a song that is among his best so far? No. Would I rather hear this than another breakup song from Taylor Swift? You bet your ass. Yeah, he's far too smiley and there are way too many squeaky clean production tricks, but this kid obviously cares about music and he makes some okay taste-related decisions. His heart is in the right place. I can't hate him for that. It's heads above his contemporaries.
Shawn S. Lealos: FICTION.
I won't listen to an album, but I like Bruno Mars as far as listening to a song here and there. He has a style that you don't hear a lot of and I like it. This song in particular has a strong similarity to older Sting songs, and while I don't like some of the background beats, I do like the song as far as that is concerned. The kid has chopped and this wasn't that bad. With that said, it doesn't make me want to get his new album, but I wouldn't change the channel if this song came on.
Score Card: 5 for 6
Anything you agree with? Disagree with? Sound off in the comment section.