Peter Gabriel’s groundbreaking “Sledgehammer” video remaster in 4K
Now here’s a teaser for the new version. Unfortunately, most of us have only seen it in its original non-digital 4:3 NTSC version. Now the video has been refurbished in stunning 4K. Let’s compare. Even though it’s over 30 years old. Compared to even what we’d consider barely okay resolution (say, 720p), that original looks pretty grainy. Here’s the version we’re used to seeing. Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” is a delight to watch.
But things seem to be changing, a notion that does my heart some good. And we bragged about how many linear feet our music collections occupied. Yes, it can be an expensive and time-consuming pursuit. Crappy earbuds (or worse, overhyped, too expensive Beats headphones), mono Bluetooth speakers, smart speakers, computer speakers (especially laptops) all suck when it comes to reproducing music. These young people are the future of hi-fi. They’re the ones that mostly design, sell, and buy audiophile gear. It doesn’t even have to take up space on your hard drive. Nothing was more important than the ability to play your music collection LOUD and CLEAR. All audiophile companies are small businesses and their products are mostly hand crafted. That’s why I’m happy to report there’s a growing contingent of younger men and women making outstanding audio products attracting younger buyers. Music is increasingly virtual, streamed from some distant server for next to nothing. Album purchases were often chosen based on the clarity of their production. And most of that music is encoded in some awful compressed format (MP3s, for example), meaning that up 90% of the audio information has been stripped out to make the file smaller. And since convenience and price trump everything, it’s understandable why high-end audio remains the domain of Baby Boomers. There’s no getting around it, the high-end audio demographic skews to baby boomers. Back in the 70s and 80s, untold billions were sunk into amps, speakers, turntables, high-end cassette decks, and CD players, all in an effort to achieve the best audio possible for the living room/bedroom/car. One big benefit for customers is they have greater access to the companies’ owners and engineers than they do with giant corporations meaning more personalized product support. As a result, I’m hoping this will help these companies to better connect with younger audiophiles and music lovers than the established brands. This is the polar opposite to the way previous generations treated music. Keep reading. But once you’re bitten by the audiophile bug, it’s really, really hard to turn back. “See how much personal space I have devoted to my albums? This is from CNET.
THAT’S how much I love music!”
I can still recite the brands and model numbers of all the gear I bought in chronological order: Sansui, Akai, Denon, Carver, Cerwin-Vega, Polk, Technics, Pioneer, Yamaha, Tannoy, Klipsch, Merdian, NAD, PSB. Regular readers will know that I routine whinge and kvetch about how too many people are missing out on the power and the glory of music by settling for substandard audio. While some young people inherit their parent’s or older owner’s businesses I’m more interested in young entrepreneurs who took the initiative and built their companies from the ground up. If you grew up during that era, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
This is good: More young people are getting into high-end audio
The finances of the remaining 47 acts on this list reveal some interesting facts. Younger fans? U2 is the biggest moneymaker this year, bringing in $54.4 million USD. Its list of the biggest earners so far in 2018 provides some interesting insight into how much the music industry has changed. But those days were back in the 90s when we were still buying CDs by the boatload. But look how they made that cash. Income from publishing and streaming is no more than a rounding error for them. Billboard likes to keep tabs on how much artists earn with periodic rich lists. Metallica is next on the list with a total of $43.2 million. Examine the whole list here. The majority (29) are the artists are “heritage acts,” a nice way of calling them “superstar acts from the pre-streaming era.”
Only two acts made the list without touring: Drake (he made most of his money through streaming) and Taylor Swift (out on the road now, but made $5 million through music sales through the first half of the year.)
Rock is the dominant genre, taking 24 of the 50 spots, followed by pop (9), country (9), and hip-hop/R&B (8). His $52.2 million income breaks down like this:
Touring: $46.7 million
Sales: 4.8 million
Keep in mind that Garth Brooks is the second best-selling artist in the world behind only The Beatles. Touring: $30.7 million
Sales: $8.7 million
Publishing: $1.6 million
Streaming: $2.2 million
It’s all about ticket sales. Touring: $52.2 million
Music sales: $1.1 million
In the Olden Days–i.e. Now they make more than fifty times more by being on the road than selling records. They’d rather just stream the hits. Garth Brooks comes in second place. pre-streaming–U2 would have seen the bulk of their earnings come from album sales. Chances are the people who come to see these acts already have all the albums they need so they’re not about to buy them again.
Who are America’s highest-paid musicians so far this year? And where is their money coming from?
Was this alt-rock hit inspired by a hard-to-open pickle jar?
Please let me know what comes of it, and good luck with your research. I certainly did lol. From that drunken struggle with the pickle jar came the inspiration for some of the lyrics to Staind’s song Outside. Oddball origin stories like this are fantastic and are likely happen more often than we realize, and help to both humanize the artist and allow the listener to connect in a new way. If you start your analysis from the point of view of a drunk guy who just wants some pickles, you can kinda see it. I heard this story the radio in the 90’s about Aaron Lewis and the band Staind. Here’s a sample of the lyrics. And you
Can bring me to my knees
All the times
That I could beg you please
All the times
That I felt insecure
And I leave
My burdens at the door
But I’m on the outside
I’m looking in
I can see through you
See your true colors
‘Cause inside you’re ugly
You’re ugly like me
I can see through you
See to the real you
All the times
That I felt like this won’t end
It’s for you
And I taste
What I could never have
It was from you
All those times
That I cry my intentions
Full of pride
But I waste
More time than anyone
This is a new one on me. If you look at the lyrics in eyes of a hungry drunk I think you can see a glint of truth behind this story. This email arrived over the weekend from Adam. Can anyone remember this story? Aaron came home drunk and hungry and the only food he had was a jar of pickles which he couldn’t open.
It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, Billy Joel (1980)
In Da Club, 50 Cent (2003)
You can bet that songwriters will want to use this list to help predict what new songs could be danceable hits. There’s a school of thought that says if you break anything down into the correct number of data points, you can understand how it works and the effect this thing has. New research from Columbia School of Business and INSEAD, a French business school, says they’ve got it figured out. The result was a list they called “The Most Danceable US Billboard Number Ones since 1958.”
Give it to Me, Timbaland (2007)
SexyBack, Justin Timberlake (2006)
Hot in Herrem Nelly (2002)
Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice (1990)
Pop Muzik, M (1979)
Another One Bites the Dust, Queen (1980)
Funkytown, Lipps, Inc. Using chart data from Billboard going back to 1958 and streaming info from Echonest (the data-crunching arm of Spotify), the research analyzed things like beat, instrumentation, key signature, and valence to create an algorithm to determine the danceability of a given track. For example, why do certain songs make us want to dance? (Via Quartz) In other words, if the song featured a break or bridge that interrupted the beat, it was ranked lower. (1980)
Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down, Puff Daddy (1997)
Baby Got Back, Sir Mix-A-Lot (1992)
Billie Jean, Michael Jackson (1983)
Bad Girls, Donna Summer (1979)
I’ll Be Missing You, Puff Daddy & Faith Evans (1997)
Hollaback Girl, Gwen Stefani (2005)
Fancy, Iggy Azalea (2014)
Then Came You, Dionne Warwick (1974)
Boogie Fever, Sylvers (1976)
Low, Flo Rida (2008)
Hypnotize, Notorious B.I.G. It also looked at things like consistency of beat, meaning that it favoured songs that allowed dancing at a steady rate from beginning to end. Take music, for example. Is there any way to analyze a piece of music in such a way that tells us why it makes us feel the way it does? Meanwhile, you might want to dance along to this playlist as you read the original research paper.
What are the most danceable songs of all time? Let’s ask computer science.
Brian Wilson (the Beach Boy) sings “Brian Wilson (the Barenaked Ladies song)
COOL!” (Via John)
Still mind-blowing. You continue to inspire me. Thank you @brianwilsonlive for the honour. #brianwilson
A post shared by Steven Page (@stevenpage) on Jul 22, 2018 at 12:22pm PDT All I can say about this is “WOW!
The Simpsons would not exist without The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. It saved her life. It’s the 25th anniversary of the infamous Air Canada Gimli Glider incident. How is Best Buy surviving (nay, thriving!) in the age of Amazon? You may be surprised. Try these hidden tricks that unlock the potential of your smartphone. Save the whales through…noise reduction? Was George Michael’s death a suicide? Discuss. Now he’s recording his first album. Bored? Smart speakers and health care? That’s the claim. What are your old tech items worth? (Via Tom)
DJ Hodor spins again. Could this kill off the rampant attempts at gaming Spotify through payola? And if you have a smart speaker, you might want to read this about erasing conversations you have with it. If you find yourself online buying some of this stuff, stop whatHodo you’re doing and launch a total re-evaluation of your life. It’s coming. Speaking of whom, she’s got another lawsuit to deal with. You can now buy merch for Taylor Swift’s cats. A band spit beer in this woman’s eye. I’m surprised there aren’t more of these: turntable cafes. Interesting idea: Emergency alerts delivered through streaming services. As for what’s happening in music news on July 23, 2018…
Because it’s Monday, you need this dog singing “Toxic” by Britney Spears. Imagine being stuck next to this guy on the bus. Richard Branson is now in the cruise ship business. Read this. Doctors said this guy would never speak. The Rockin’ 1000 was at it again this weekend.
Random music news for Monday, July 23, 2018
Artist: Trash Boat
Song: “Inside Out”
Album: Crown Shyness
Trash Boat’s most recent album Crown Shyness explores a variety of emotions and juxtaposes hard-fought introspection with the drive to create captivating punk and melodic hardcore. Her debut album is set for release in November. Her debut album is set for release this fall. They are currently travelling with the Vans Warped Tour. The operatic album is full of secret symbols and obscure meanings. Watch:
Artist: Calling All Captains
From Edmonton, Alberta, this pop-punk quintet has been working to hone their style since their formation in 2014. Currently, Calling All Captains is touring Canada. Watch here. Listen: Artist: KormaK
Italian folk-metal band KormaK recently released their debut album Faerenus. Artist: Zola
Song: “Too Fast, Too Soon”
A rich, piano driven track, Zola’s debut single blends influences of soul, jazz, R&B, and indie-pop. The video was choreographed and styled by the band’s bassist. Watch:
Song: “We Were Just Talking”
The debut single from Dallas-born Xuan (pronounced “swan”) is a fun track with jangle-pop guitar chords and a touch of college rock. Listen:
Artist: The New Respects
Song: “Before the Sun Goes Down”
From their upcoming album, set for release next month, The New Respects’ latest single is fun and full of pop-influence.
New Music from the Inbox for July 23, 2018: KormaK, Xuan, The New Respects, & More!
Why do so many people lose their sh*t over Jimi Hendrix’s guitar playing? Here’s why.
He’s been dead since 1970, but people are still dazzled by the guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix. Here’s why.
A few days back, I had this story about a bronze statue of Chris Cornell that will be unveiled in Seattle next month. Chris Cornell Sculpture Completed https://t.co/5VWbJmmY2m
— TMZ (@TMZ) July 20, 2018
(July 20, 1964 – Forever)
“Here’s a first look at the life-size Chris Cornell statue that will be erected next month at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture.”https://t.co/j85t7kbf9I
💔 #ChrisCornell #LegendsNeverDie pic.twitter.com/ULbs6hQZrH
— Sylvia Simon (@sziszke69) July 21, 2018 Here’s a tease of what it looks like.
Here’s our first look at the Chris Cornell statue
Can you play Korn songs with corn? Yes, you can. Yes.
Why has it taken so long for this to happen? Because it’s Monday, you’re probably looking to kill some time by watching this guy play Korn with, er, corn. BONUS: Watch this German astronaut perform “Spacelab” with Kraftwerk.
An interesting tug of war: Ban cell phones at concerts or incorporate them into the show?
Then we have the artists who have embraced the technology and have figured out ways to incorporate mobile devices into the show. There are plenty of artists who have come out against fans using cell phones during concerts. So which is it? Let’s go to this story at Ultimate Classic Rock. [Concert design director Ray Winkler] continued: “[Y]ou’re very minded to make the experience mobile-friendly. Are cell phones an asset or a liability when it comes to concerts? You can’t underestimate the power of making sure a show looks good the moment people walk into a stadium – it’s now as important as the show itself.”
Read the whole thing here. That changes the way one thinks about design, quite considerably. Jack White, Tool, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Green Day, and others have all either put tough measures in place or choose to excoriate fans who aren’t getting into the gig because they’re intent on watching it through their tiny screams. … A lot of people don’t even watch the show anymore – they film the show and watch it on their phones. U2 and Coldplay are two examples.
This long preamble brings me to an infamous protest against disco music at Comiskey Park in Chicago on July 12, 1979, and its continuing dissection. Would Mel Brooks have made Blazing Saddles (1974), a film loaded with racial stereotypes and N-bombs, in today’s environment? Think about the jokes made at the expense of Otis Day and The Knights in Animal House (1978), not to mention Pinto’s accidental statutory rape of the mayor’s 13-year-old daughter? Or what about Ted Nugent’s homicidal rough sex fantasy in 1975’s Stranglehold? [This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca – AC]
After a couple of rough days (including having my parked car bashed while I was grocery shopping), I decided I needed some nostalgic laughs for relief. We can flip the conversation to music. Then there’s Airplane! Instead, I was kind of appalled at some of what I saw. The good news is that all these examples (and our reactions to them) prove that we continue to evolve in matters of race, gender issues, sexuality, and other issues of societal behavior. Sure, Spicoli was still amusing and the relationship between Brad and his sister Stacy had its poignant moments, but there were a few scenes of teenage nudity that, had they been shot today, might be classified as kiddie porn in some jurisdictions. It’s hard to imagine a song like Alice Cooper’s School’s Out (1972) becoming a hit in the era of school shootings. (1980) which featured plenty of cracks about child molestation? And you gotta admit that it’s creepy hearing Gene Simmons sing about his crush on a high school girl in KISS’ “Christine Sixteen.” (1977) (I have more examples here.)
All very un-PC material, for sure. As a bonus, here’s a song that was all over Winnipeg’s CITI-FM in 1979: Brother Jake’s “Disco’s in the Garbage.” Again, all we hated was the mindless nature of disco. I searched around and finally decided on 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High because I remembered it being really, really funny. Keep reading. That’s it. (To be fair, Jennifer Jason Leigh, the actress who played Stacy, was 19 when the movie was shot, but she was definitely playing someone much younger.)
This got me thinking about other classic movies that would cause outrage if they were made today.
The dangers of looking at old music through today’s eyes
Weekly survey: What’s the best guitar riff of all time?
(Here’s an attempt to explain the difference.)
But which riff is the best of all time? Much of the rock music canon has been built on the foundation of the riff, that magical collection of notes and chords played on a guitar, the progression that anchors the song. They are examples only, not suggestions. The riff is the thing that captures your attention and drags you into the song. No rules here except that I’m looking for riffs, not licks. There’s no right answer to this question, obviously, but I’m looking to gather as many individual opinions as possible. It’s a reoccurring theme that shows up again and again within the track. And while there are keyboard bits that can be described as riffs, let’s just focus on the six- and four-string variety. A “riff” is different than a “lick,” which is a cool guitar bit but isn’t as complete as a riff. And yes, there is such a thing as a bass riff. Think the opening bits of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” Kurt Cobain hammering E A G C at the beginning of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or any one of a thousand AC/DC songs. Here are some classics to get you thinking. It’s so identifiable that if you just hear the riff, you automatically know the song.