Saturday, December 22, 2001

Nickelback hit #1 with “How You Remind Me”

First posted 4/23/2020; updated 5/9/2020.

How You Remind Me

Nickelback

Writer(s): Chad Kroeger, Mike Kroeger, Ryan Peake, Ryan Vikedal (see lyrics here)


Released: August 21, 2001


First Charted: July 28, 2001


Peak: 14 US, 18 RR, 2 A40, 11 AA, 113 AR, 113 MR, 4 UK, 1 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK, 1.81 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 415.8 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

When Nickelback recorded “How You Remind Me” in about ten minutes as a last minute edition to their Silver Side Up album, they had something special. SF The band has amassed a legion of detractors, and this song is “a guilty pleasure, to be sure,” TG but an “absolutely undeniable” TG “example of mainstream songwriting chops and flawlessly slick production.” TG

This was the first top 40 hit for the Canadian rock band and only the second #1 song by a Canadian group, the first being the Guess Who’s “American Woman.” SF “Remind Me” was the most-played song of 2002 in the U.S. SF and topped the Billboard year-end chart. Billboard named it the #1 rock song of the decade. WK Lead singer Chad Kroeger has referred to what is often considered their signature song as “the song that put Nickelback on the map.” WK

Kroeger told MTV he penned this song about an ex-girlfriend with whom he’d had a rather dysfunctional relationship. However, he kept the lyrics ambiguous so that listeners could relate to the idea of an ex pointing out one’s faults. SF

The band’s drum tech, Andrew Mawhinney, suggested the idea of the band dropping out at the last chorus in which Kroeger bellows, “for handing you a heart worth breaking!” Mawhinney was rewarded by the band for the suggestion with $5000. SF


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Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Tori Amos released covers album Strange Little Girls

First posted 3/24/2008; updated 9/8/2020.

Strange Little Girls

Tori Amos


Buy Here:


Released: September 18, 2001


Peak: 4 US, 16 UK, 8 CN, 7 AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)


Genre: adult alternative singer/songwriter


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. New Age
  2. ’97 Bonnie & Clyde
  3. Strange Little Girl (11/13/01, --)
  4. Enjoy the Silence
  5. I’m Not in Love
  6. Rattlesnakes
  7. Time
  8. Heart of Gold
  9. I Don’t Like Mondays
  10. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
  11. Raining Blood
  12. Real Men

Rating:

3.500 out of 5.00 (average of 3 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“Something that goes unspoken in the cult of Tori Amos is that she knows the value of press and that she knows how to exploit it. So, six albums into her career, and several years since she captured headlines, she released Strange Little Girls, a collection of covers intended to strike a dagger into the heart of how males view females in pop songs. To be honest, you wouldn’t know that from listening to the record, but you might have an idea by looking at the four separate collector-oriented covers, and reading the reviews, previews, and interviews Tori did prior to and at the time of release.” STE

“The only track that really feels that way is Eminem’s 97 Bonnie and Clyde, where Amos heightens the tension by close-mic’ing her vocals and reading with a hammy theatricalness that results in a cut about as chilling as the original, but without the context.” STE

“After that, there really aren’t many songs that sound like they’re a female switch in perspective, apart from maybe the Stranglers’ title track (which she does a nice job with), and it’s very hard to tell what she’s trying to say with these songs. Is she the fat blonde actress in the Velvet Underground’s New Age? Mother Superior in the Beatles’ Happiness is a Warm Gun (recorded with an anti-gun recitation from her father)? Is she the chair in Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence? How does Tom Waits’ Time fit into the equation?” STE

“Tori never tells us, either lyrically or through her musical arrangements – witness the bizarre deconstruction of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold, another song that doesn’t seem to fit her theme, so she dresses it up in flanged guitar and neo-trip-hop beats.” STE

“Tori’s sexual politics are so poorly constructed, appearing almost nonexistent, that the music by default rises to the forefront and it almost meets the demands. For the most part, this is a solid record – overly produced and not as inventive as her takes on ‘Angie’ and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ but rarely as wretched as ‘Heart of Gold.’ Though there’s a bit too much surface sheen, it’s a solid record, yet it’s not particularly distinctive, so the pre-release hype about the gender deconstructions of Strange Little Girls makes sense, because the only way this distinguishes itself is through its stated intention – and if the album doesn’t make the intentions specific, it’s best to get the word out any way possible. And while all that press may have given the impression that this is something new, something different – precisely what it was meant to do – it really is nothing more than another, pretty good Tori Amos record, only not quite as interesting because she didn’t write the tunes.” STE

Personally, the DMDB saw an intriguing story line that played out, based on the track order. First, the album introduces an eccentric girl through tracks like Strange Little Girl. Then, we see her struggling with an unrequited relationship (I’m Not in Love, ‘Heart of Gold’). Finally, she is pushed over the edge and goes on a murderous rampage (I Don’t Like Mondays, ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun,’ Raining Blood).

In the end, the listener is left with Tori’s take on Joe Jackson’s already phenomenal commentary on our stereotypes of men (Real Men), only now it takes on a very different meaning. The listener wonders if the album’s character is struggling with male/female identities, potentially even gender identity crisis, that has led to her behavior. It may not have been Tori’s intent, but it is how the DMDB interpreted it.

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Saturday, September 8, 2001

Kylie Minogue released “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”

Last updated 10/24/2020.

Can’t Get You Out of My Head

Kylie Minogue

Writer(s): Cathy Dennis/Rob Davis (see lyrics here)


Released: September 8, 2001


First Charted: September 17, 2001


Peak: 7 US, 3 RR, 23 A40, 14 UK, 14 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 0.53 US, 1.3 UK, 5.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.3 radio, 154.4 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

“There is no false advertising here.” AB’00 “Never has a pop song more effectively done what it says” TL With its “catchy hooks, a salaciously cool video and lyrical content” NME this “irresistibly fun, flirty dance-pop confection” MX “can be very very difficult to get out of your head.” AB’00 “The Cathy Dennis and Rob Davis-penned single sinks its playground chant of a hook into the brain and just refuses to let go as Kylie sexes it up.” TL

Before penning this song, Dennis had a couple top 10 hits in the U.S. in the early ‘90s. This one was offered first to Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who turned it down. SF The song is also known as “The La La Song” because Kylie sings “la la la, la la la la la la” repeatedly in the chorus. SF That “hook wormed its way into several billion ears worldwide” PD as the song topped the charts in over 40 countries. It was her 20th top ten hit in the UK, where it was also the most played song of 2001 and her best-selling single. SF

While Kylie had been a successful actress and sex symbol in her native Australia and musically was huge around the world, she hadn’t graced the American charts since her 1988 debut. However, “the pint-size Aussie disco dolly seduced the U.S. with this mirror-ball classic.” RS’09

So “how did Kylie make one of the decade’s finest dance-pop anthems” PF and what PopEater.com called “one of the greatest dance-pop cuts of all time”? PE “By offering less: less singing, less melody, less feeling. What’s left is a buzzy, insatiable desire, an itch you can’t scratch but maybe can dance out.” PF She knows “intuitively how each coy purr, each insouciant whisper can speak to and for the lust of her audience.” PF “If its sleek, synthetic surfaces feel hollow, it’s because fantasy is hollow, a shell for impossible expectation.” PF


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Saturday, August 18, 2001

Alicia Keys hit #1 with “Fallin’”

Last updated 3/18/2020.

Fallin’

Alicia Keys

Writer(s): Alicia Keys (see lyrics here)


Released: April 2, 2001


First Charted: May 5, 2001


Peak: 16 US, 15 RR, 24 AC, 14 A40, 14 RB, 3 UK, 24 CN, 7 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.6 UK, 1.92 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.6 radio, 160.37 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

Alicia Keys grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan with her mother. She has said her mother was the inspiration for the song “Fallin’”, about caring deeply about a person who one loves very much, but drives one crazy at times. SF Musically the song revealed Keys’ roots playing classical piano; it opens with a piece taken from Chopin. SF

She landed a record deal with Columbia Records which fell through SF but then Arista Records executive Clive Davis saw her perform. He kicked off his new company, J Records, with Keys at the forefront. He wrote a personal letter to Oprah Winfrey landing Keys a gig on The Oprah Winfrey Show before the album had even come out. SF

There proved to be an audience. She fit into the neo-soul genre “without being as spacy as Macy Gray or as hippie mystic as Erykah Badu while being more reliable than Lauryn Hill.” AMG “Fallin’” “is a testament to Keys’ skills as a musician;” AMG it “was rich enough to compensate for some thinness in the writing” AMG and has become her signature song. WK It was an “aching piano ballad” TB-296 which made Keys “an instant heartthrob and a household name in record time.” TB-296 Entertainment Weekly’s Beth Johnson described the song as “gospel fervor of lovesick righteousness.” WK PopMatters.com’s Mark Anthony Neal said it combined “Keys’ natural blues register with a subtle, and brilliantly so, sample of James Brown’s ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.’” WK

The song cleaned up at the Grammys nabbing awards for Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Vocal Performance. She also took home the prizes for Best New Artist and Best R&B Album. MTV gave her the award for Best New Artist in a Video.


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Tuesday, August 7, 2001

In Concert: Barenaked Ladies

image from rateyourmusic.com

Venue: City Market; Kansas City, MO


The Set List:

1. Never Do Anything
2. It’s All Been Done
3. The Old Apartment
4. Filthy Frenchmen (improv)
5. Falling for the First Time
6. Pinch Me
7. Ear (improv)
8. Get in Line
9. Alcohol
10. Turn Me Loose (Loverboy cover)

11. Break Your Heart
12. One Week
13. Shoebox
14. If I Had a Million Dollars
15. Medley of other people’s hits

Encore:

16. Careless Whisper
17. Too Little, Too Late

Encore 2:

18. Brian Wilson


Monday, July 30, 2001

The Strokes released Is This It

First posted 3/29/2008; updated 9/24/2020.

Is This It

The Strokes


Released: July 30, 2001


Peak: 33 US, 2 UK, 50 CN, 5 AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK, 2.05 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: garage rock revival


Tracks:

Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Is This It [2:35]
  2. The Modern Age [3:32] (1/29/01, --)
  3. Soma [2:37]
  4. Barely Legal [3:58]
  5. Someday [3:07] (9/14/02, 17 MR, 27 UK)
  6. Alone, Together [3:12]
  7. Last Nite [3:17] (11/10/01, 5 MR, 14 UK, 47 AU)
  8. Hard to Explain [3:47] (6/25/01, 27 MR, 16 UK, 66 AU)
  9. New York City Cops [3:36]
  10. Trying Your Luck [3:27]
  11. Take It or Leave It [3:16]

All songs written by Julian Casablancas.


Total Running Time: 36:28


The Players:

  • Julian Casablancas (vocals)
  • Albert Hammond Jr. (guitar)
  • Nick Valensi (guitar)
  • Nikolai Fraiture (bass)
  • Fabrizio Moretti (drums)

Rating:

4.231 out of 5.00 (average of 25 ratings)


Quotable: “A pop version of the Velvet Underground with totally 21st-century lyrics,” ZS it was “crucial in the development of other alternative bands and of the post-millennial music industry.” – Wikipedia.org


Awards:

About the Album:

With their debut album, these “mod ragamuffins” RS from New York City “mixed Velvet Underground grime and skinny-tie New Wave jangle” RS with “late-‘70s New York punk;” AMG in essence, they combined “all the trademarks of pre-1977 rock” EW or “pre-alternative alternative music.” EW The music was “sometimes acidic, always full of great melody,” RS and marked by “off-kilter guitar solos,” EW “primitive tom-tom rhythms (shades of the Velvets’ Moe Tucker),” EW and “an insistently chugging backbeat.” AMG It was all accompanied by “attitude-heavy slurring (by singer Julian Casablancas)” EW and his “raw, world-weary” AMG and “half-buried vocals (à la ‘Louie, Louie’).” EW

The Strokes intentionally sought out “the raw, muddy sonics of garage-band 45s.” EW Casablancas said they wanted to sound like “a band from the past that took a time trip into the future to make their record.” WK However, “the Strokes don’t rehash the sounds that inspire them,” AMG namely Television, the Stooges, and aforementioned Velvets, but “remake them in their own image.” AMG The subject matter behind their songs “reflected their own early-twenties lust for life.” AMG and made “the timeworn themes of sex, drugs, and rock & roll and the basic guitars-drum-bass lineup seem new and vital again.” AMG

On one hand, the Strokes became “the most hyped band [in the UK] since Oasis in the mid 1990s;” TB the New Musical Express “placed the Strokes at the head of its ‘new rock revolution’” TB However, “haters threw whatever they had at them.” SY After all, these were were guys straight out of “the exclusive Dwight School in Manhattan” TB decked out in “expensive leather and denim.” SY However, the band’s “daily twelve-hour practices are so blindingly evident on Is This ItSY that “the Strokes prove to be one of the few groups deserving of their glowing reviews.” AMG “The record is considered crucial in the development of other alternative bands and of the post-millennial music industry.” WK Rolling Stone’s Joe Levy said it was “the stuff of which legends are made” WK while NME’s John Robinson said “Is This It was one of the best debut LPs by a guitar band during the past 20 years.” WK

The title track “sets the joys of being young, jaded, and yearning to a wonderfully bouncy bassline.” AMG It also “features a simple, metronomic drum line, a recurring feature in the rest of the record. Containing one of the slowest tempos, Is This It is the Strokes attempt at a ballad.” WK

“The band mix swaggering self-assurance with barely concealed insecurity on The Modern Age,” AMG “a rant about the oddness fo modern life.” WK It “includes a prominent guitar riff accompanied by a complementary drum line. Its staccato verse is followed by an upbeat, singalong chorus and a technically difficult guitar solo.” WK

The band “reveal something akin to earnestness on Barely Legal,” AMG which “concerns the subject matter of a girl who has just arrived at the age of consent.” WK It also “containes some of the album’s softer guitar melodies inspired by Britpop as well as drumming patterns that evoke the sound of primitive 1980s drum machines.” WK

Alone, Together continues the sexual theme by dropping hints about cunnilingus” WK and is “driven by a staccato rhythm, and climaxes first with a guitar solo, then a repeat of the central guitar hook.” WK That song and “Trying Your Luck develop the group's brooding, coming-down side.” AMG

Last Nite is another “guitar-driven song, but leans towards pop music influences. At its core, there are reggae-inspired rhythm guitar lines played by Hammond, and studio noise effects. The rhythm section plays simple interlocking notes and beats.” WK

New York City Cops was created as a pastiche of rock band Aerosmith,” WK a song which also “revamps [Iggy Pop’s] ‘Lust for Life.’” AMGTrying Your Luck, the album’s mellowest point, follows and shows more melancholic vocals.” WK

The Strokes combine “their raw power and infectious melodies on Hard to Explain, arguably the finest song they've written in their career.” AMG That song and “New York City Cops” incorporate “spliced ad-libbing extras from Casablancas” WK while “Explain” and Soma both contain “processed drum tracks using dynamic range compression and equalization studio techniques to make them sound like a drum machine.” WK The latter “incorporates jerky rhythms and starts and ends with the same guitar and drum chimes.” WK

Meanwhile, “Someday “is infused with rockabilly elements and interlocking guitar lines, …a recurrent element of Is This It.” WK That song and “Take It or Leave It capture the Strokes at their most sneeringly exuberant,” AMG both managing to “overcome the muddy, low-budget production.” EW The latter “is the only song in which Hammond used the bridge pickup of his Fender Stratocaster guitar.” WK

“The album’s cover photograph courted controversy for being too sexually explicit and was replaced for the U.S. market” WK with a “microscopic close-up of particle collisions.” WK “The American track listing was also amended in light of the September 11 terrorist attacks.” WK The song “New York City Cops” was replaced with B-side “When It Started.”


Notes: Despite being New York-based, the Strokes’ Is This It was released in the U.K. a month earlier than in the U.S. In between, New York’s World Trade Center towers were destroyed by terrorists and the less than flattering New York City Cops was pulled in favor of B-side When It Started. The U.S. version also went with less provocative cover art.

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