Monday, July 31, 2000

Coldplay’s “Yellow” charted: July 31, 2000

Originally posted July 31, 2012.

image from billboard.com

Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay, reportedly got his inspiration for this song from the yellow pages phone book. AB’00 Martin said, “It was simply because that word sounded nice, it just seemed to fit, no other reason. None of the other colors would have sounded right really!’” SF

This was the American market’s introduction to Coldplay and “Martin’s unique dreaminess.” RS’09 As Rolling Stone said, “Has any band had a better line for their first single than ‘Look at the stars, see how they shine for you’?” RS’09

Yellow

The song tells a familiar tale of unrequited love, although Martin has said it could be brotherly love and not necessarily romantic devotion. SF While a simple song, it is elevated by the “romantic, spiraling boy-wail” TB of Martin’s “killer falsetto in the bridge” TB and the unusual move of closing with the same chords as played throughout, but switching them from major to minor. TB

In addition, a bare-bones emphasis on “the song’s sheer quality ensured classic status for the video.” TB Only Martin was featured in the video as his Coldplay cohorts attended the funeral of mother of Will Champion, the band’s drummer. Since it was shot at a fast shutter speed to achieve a slow motion effect, Martin had to lip-sync to the song played at twice its normal speed. SF

Martin used to change the song’s melody while performing it, but R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe told him, “’Stop doing that. People want to hear the songs the way they know them.’” SF


Awards:


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Sunday, July 23, 2000

In Concert: Sting and Tracy Chapman

image from sting.com

Venue: Sandstone Ampitheatre; Bonner Springs, KS
Tour: Sting’s Brand New Day Tour
Opening Act: Tracy Chapman


Tracy Chapman’s Set List:

1. It’s OK
2. Baby, Can I Hold You
3. Wedding Song
4. Crossroads
5. For My Lover
6. Less Than Strangers
7. The Promise
8. Fast Car
9. Speak the Word
10. Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution
11. Telling Stories
12. Give Me One Reason


Sting’s Set List:

1. A Thousand Years
2. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
3. After the Rain Has Fallen
4. We’ll Be Together
5. Perfect Love...Gone Wrong
6. All This Time
7. Seven Days
8. Fill Her Up
9. Fields of Gold
10. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
11. Moon Over Bourbon Street
12. Tomorrow We’ll See
13. Englishman in New York
14. Brand New Day
15. Roxanne
16. Desert Rose
17. When the World Is Running Down You Make the Best of What’s Still Around

Encore 1:

18. If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
19. Every Breath You Take

Encore 2:

20. Message in a Bottle
21. Fragile

Saturday, June 10, 2000

Eminem hit #1 with The Marshall Mathers LP: June 10, 2000

Originally posted June 10, 2012.

image from plixid.com


Release date: May 23, 2000
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Public Service Announcement 2000 / Kill You / Stan (10/7/00, #48a US, #1 UK, #31 RB) / Paul / Who Knew / Steve Berman / The Way I Am (8/5/00, #52a US, #8 UK, #22a RB) / The Real Slim Shady (5/6/00, #2a US, #1 UK, #10a RB, #19 MR) / Remember Me? / I’m Back / Marshall Mathers / Ken Kaniff / Drug Ballad (3/17/01, #65a RB) / Amityville / Bitch Please II (7/8/00, #51a RB) / Kim / Under the Influence / Criminal

Sales (in millions): 10.07 US, 2.23 UK, 6.0 Europe, 23.35 world

Peak: 18 US, 12 UK

Rating:


Review: “It’s hard to know what to make of Eminem.” AMG “His debut, The Slim Shady LP, established [him] as a major force in both hip-hop and broader contemporary culture, but there was still doubt as to whether he would be the latest in a string of short-lived white rap novelties.” TL “Even if you know that half of what he says is sincere and half is a put-on; the trick is realizing that there’s truth in the joke, and vice versa. Many dismissed his considerable skills as a rapper and social satirist because the vulgarity and gross-out humor on The Slim Shady LP were too detailed for some to believe that it was anything but real.” AMG

“To Eminem’s credit, he decided to exploit that confusion on his masterful second record, The Marshall Mathers LP.” AMG “Rap’s superlative wordsmith blurs the line between autobiography and cartoons in hilarious and vulgar high-velocity rhymes.” UT It is “a fairly brilliant expansion of his debut, turning his spare, menacing hip-hop into a hyper-surreal, wittily disturbing thrill ride. It’s both funnier and darker than his debut, and Eminem’s writing is so sharp and clever that the jokes cut as deeply as the explorations of his ruptured psyche.” AMG “He lashed out at the hypocrisy of American society, exposed the prejudices that fuelled rap music, and held his constituency’s psychosis up to the light.” VUThe Marshall Mathers LP raised the stakes, raised his profile, and damn near raised the dead.” TL

The Way I Am

“Eminem delivered dizzying, blistering rhymes that laid bare his neuroses, his fury, and his confusion. He jumped from laugh-out-loud funny to chillingly menacing from one line to the next, and went after his critics (The Way I Am) and his fans (Stan, the mesmerizing high-wire act in a stalker’s voice) with equal fever.” TL

Stan

“The production is nearly as evocative as the raps, with liquid basslines, stuttering rhythms, slight sound effects, and spacious soundscapes. There may not be overpowering hooks on every track, but the album works as a whole, always drawing the listener in. But, once you’re in, Eminem doesn’t care if you understand exactly where he’s at, and he doesn’t offer any apologies if you can’t sort the fact from the fiction. As an artist, he’s supposed to create his own world, and with this terrific second effort, he certainly has. It may be a world that is as infuriating as it is intriguing, but it is without question his own, which is far more than most of his peers are able to accomplish at the dawn of a new millennium.” AMG

The Real Slim Shady


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Sunday, April 9, 2000

In Concert: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

image from consequenceofsound.net

Venue: Kemper Arena; Kansas City, MO


The Set List: *

1. Take 'Em As They Come
2. The Promised Land 4
3. Two Hearts 5
4. Darkness on the Edge of Town 4
5. Darlington County 7
6. Factory 4
7. The River 5
8. Youngstown 11
9. Murder Inc.
10. Badlands 4
11. Out in the Street 5
12. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 3
13. Downbound Train 7
14. Candy’s Room 4
15. The Ghost of Tom Joad 11
16. Racing in the Street 4
17. Light of Day
18. Ramrod 5
19. Bobby Jean 7
20. Born to Run 3
21. Thunder Road 3
22. If I Should Fall Behind 10
23. Land of Hope and Dreams

* Numbers refer to the studio album which first featured the song.

Prepare yourselves – this is as anal as it gets when it comes to details you probably don’t really need to know. It’s rare that I get any chance to share my useless knowledge of music trivia, though, and the occasion of a Springsteen concert comes as close as I can probably get to justifying my torture of others with such knowledge.

So, let’s tackle the set list based on his album releases.

1 Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ (1973)

2 The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle (1973)

Alas, Bruce played NOTHING from his first two albums. I wouldn’t have minded seeing “Blinded by the Light,” “For You,” or “Spirit in the Night” off his first album. Those have all been made much better known as Manfred Mann songs. I’d have loved to see Bruce steal ‘em back.

3 Born to Run (1975): Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out was arguably the most rocking point of the evening. Bruce certainly got the crowd revved up, though. It also worked well to do an extended jam and band introductions in conjunction with this song. Of course he played Born to Run. What a shocker. Who would ever guess he would’ve played this? Of course everyone knows this as Bruce’s classic – rock lists, especially album-rock stations like KY, often put this song in their top 10 lists of all-time. However, from the standpoint of commercial success, this song only reached #23 on the pop charts. Amazingly, he had sixteen songs which were more successful on the charts and he played NONE of them! Not many artists could pull that off and still put on such a great show.

4 Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978): Bruce tackled six cuts from Darkness on the Edge of Town. I was surprised to see that album so heavily represented. It was a shame he completely ignored FIVE of his studio albums in placing so much emphasis on this album. Badlands was a rocking song, but not one of my favorites. Good choice for a live performance, though. He also tackled the title cut, which I really like, so I was glad to see it. Racing in the Street was another gem. Between this, “The River,” “Thunder Road,” “If I Should Fall Behind” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” I totally got my money’s worth.

5 The River (1980): Two Hearts is not one of my favorite cuts from The River. Just a plain ol’ rocker. However, the title cut was my personal highlight of the evening. At the risk of revealing a bit too much sentimentality, I was actually in tears at this one. It was absolutely gorgeous with that long sax solo, harmonica solo, and Bruce’s powerful vocal. I recognized Out in the Street when he played it, but couldn’t remember what album it was on. I never got into The River album very much. I’ll listen to it more now. Take 'Em As They Come, the opener, was on the 1998 box set of never-released material that spanned his entire career, but was recorded in 1980. I was surprised he kicked off with a fairly unknown tune.

6 Nebraska (1982): Come on! Nothing? Not even “Atlantic City”?

7 Born in the U.S.A. (1984): Darlington County was the first of three Born in the U.S.A. songs. Amazing, Bruce completely avoided the 7 top 10 hits from that album. I must say, I didn’t mind, but was quite surprised at how much he avoided the hit material from that album. I would have loved to hear a stripped down, slow version of “Born in the U.S.A.” I have such an animal from a 1996 EP that is absolutely beautiful. I love Bobby Jean. I read recently that this song isn’t really about a long-lost love, but about when Steve Van Zant first left the E Street Band. It puts the song in a new context. He also tackled Murder Inc., which first appeared on the 1995 Greatest Hits, but dates back to the Born in the U.S.A. days. I didn’t expect this, but it definitely was a good choice.

8 Tunnel of Love (1988): Sigh. Another album completely overlooked.

Light of Day (1987) was originally recorded by The Barbusters (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) in that classic, memorable 1987 film of the same name starring Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox. (Then again, aren’t all of Fox’s screen moments classics – think Teen Wolf, Casualties of War, Greed, The Frighteners, Bright Lights Big City, etc.)

9 Human Touch (1992): Nothing.

10 Lucky Town (1992): An incredible version of If I Should Fall Behind with Patti Scalfia, Clarence Clemons, Nils Lofgren, and Little Stevie Van Zant all taking turns on vocals. I loved it! It blew away the original album version!

11 The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995): I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple cuts off this album. Then again, it’s the last studio album he recorded (time for new material, Bruce!). The original version of Youngstown was the hardest-rocking song on from that album, but was still very stripped-down and acoustic in the original version. I really liked the harder-rocking live version.

Well, there you have it - far more detail than you could have possibly wanted. I loved the concert, though, and wasn’t quite ready to move on. While I’ve been typing, I’ve “relived” the concert by playing all the album versions of the songs in order (other than the couple that I can’t identify). Not quite the same, but it’s O.K. Bruuuuuuce!