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 3/19/2020.

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: July 30, 2001

Originally posted July 30, 2012.

image from mxdwn.com

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

Last Nite

Highlights from the album included Last Nite, a “guitar-driven song” WK with “reggae-inspired rhythm guitar lines” WK and Hard to Explain, “arguably the finest song they've written in their career.” AMG

Hard to Explain


Awards:

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Friday, July 20, 2001

In Concert: Eric Clapton

image from guitardevil.com

Venue: Kemper Arena; Kansas City, MO
Opening Act: Doyle Bramhall II
The Players: Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar), Billy Preston (keyboards), Andy Fairweather-Low (back-up guitarist and vocalist), Nathan East (bass), Steve Gadd (drums)


The Set List:

1. Key to the Highway
2. Reptile
3. Got You on My Mind
4. Tears in Heaven
5. Bell Bottom Blues
6. Change the World
7. My Father’s Eyes
8. River of Tears
9. Going Down Slow
10. She’s Gone
11. I Want a Little Girl
12. Badge
13. Hoochie Coochie Man
14. Five Long Years
15. Cocaine
16. Wonderful Tonight
17. Layla

ENCORE:

18. Will It Go Round in Circles
19. Sunshine of Your Love
20. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Here’s a timeline of when each of the above songs was originally released. It’s interesting that the entire decade of the ‘80s was neglected. He also avoided perhaps his three best-known covers: “After Midnight,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” and “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”

  • 1939: Judy Garland in the movie The Wizard of Oz: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Not featured on any Clapton albums.
  • 1967: Cream’s album Disraeli Gears: “Sunshine of Your Love”
  • 1969: Cream’s album Goodbye: “Badge”
  • 1970: Derek and the Dominoes’ album Layla…and Other Assorted Love Songs: “Key to the Highway,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Layla”
  • 1972: Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round in Circles,” a #1 single from Preston’s album Music Is My Life. Not featured on any Clapton albums.
  • 1977: Slow Hand: “Cocaine,” “Wonderful Tonight”
  • 1992: Rush Soundtrack: “Tears in Heaven”
  • 1994: From the Cradle: “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Five Long Years”
  • 1996: Phenomenon Soundtrack: “Change the World”
  • 1998: Pilgrim: “My Father’s Eyes,” “River of Tears,” “Going Down Slow,” “She’s Gone”
  • 2001: Reptile: “Reptile,” “Got You on My Mind,” “I Want a Little Girl”

    Billy Preston is most noted as the only artist to share billing with the Beatles on one of their songs (“Get Back”). Also a successful solo artist; at his peak in the early ‘70s. He was playing keyboards for gospel diva Mahalia Jackson by the age of 10. Andy Fairweather-Low has toured and recorded with Eric Clapton since 1992. He has also worked with George Harrison, Roger Waters, Stevie Nicks, and Kate Bush, among others. In the late ‘60s, Andy was the lead singer of British group Amen Corner. Nathan East has worked with Clapton since 1986. He has also worked with Barry White, Dionne Warwick, Johnny Mathis, Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, and Kenny Loggins. He also has been a member of the jazz group Fourplay in the ‘90s. Steve Gadd has worked with Clapton since 1998. Gadd also has worked as a jazz drummer with Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, Bob James, Grover Washington Jr., and David Sanborn. All of the above, including opening act Doyle Bramhall II, were involved in the recording of the Reptile album. Only Dave Sancious, Bruce Springsteen’s keyboardist on his first three albums, was added for the tour. He has also worked as a solo artist, as well as a keyboardist for Sting, Peter Gabriel, and Bryan Ferry.

Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Asia released seventh album, Aura

First posted 4/20/2008; updated 9/10/2020.

Aura

Asia


Released: June 5, 2001


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


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


Genre: rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Awake
  2. Wherever You Are (2001, –)
  3. Ready to Go Home (2001, --)
  4. The Last Time
  5. Forgive Me
  6. Kings of the Day [Regis Diem]
  7. On the Coldest Day in Hell
  8. Free
  9. You’re the Stranger
  10. The Longest Night
  11. Aura


The Players:

  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • John Payne (vocals/ bass)
  • Steve Howe, Ian Crichton, Guthrie Govan, Elliott Randall, Pat Thrall (guitar)
  • Chris Slade, Michael Sturgis (drums)

Rating:

3.874 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

About the Album:

Keeping track of Asia’s ever-changing lineup can be a nightmare. Its greatest consistency comes from the 1992-2004 run of albums spearheaded by keyboardist Geoff Downes (the only Asia member on every album) and vocalist John Payne. 2001’s Aura followed a five-year delay since the band’s last studio effort, 1996’s Arena. The interim was flooded with a pair of Downes/Payne era archival releases, three separate hits compilations (Anthology, The Collection, and Heat of the Moment – The Very Best of), and four live albums released in 1997 alone, although recorded at different phases of the band’s career. And that wasn’t everything! Even die-hard fans had to wonder if it was worth it.

The band’s eventual return to recording new material brought a similar rehash approach. Downes and Payne reached back over the years to bring in former guitarists Steve Howe, Pat Thrall, and Elliott Randall. As if that weren’t enough, Ian Crichton and Guthrie Govan put in a few licks as well. Drummer Michael Sturgis, who’d worked on the last couple albums, was here again, but split time with Chris Slade.

With such a hodge podge lineup, it isn’t surprising that there isn’t a “powerful and striking…thread throughout.” AZ However, this album “is not so much about dynamics, power, anthemic velocity and…perfection” AZ as it is about “melancholy, mellowness, warmness, appeal and thematic soundness;” AZ in essence, “subtle sensory stimulation (as the name of album indicates).” AZ


Notes: The special edition of the album also featurd “Under the Gun,” “Come Make My Day,” and “Hands of Time.”

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Saturday, April 21, 2001

Les Paul & Mary Ford hit #1 with “How High the Moon” 50 years ago (4/21/1951)

Last updated 4/13/2020.

How High the Moon

Les Paul & Mary Ford

Writer(s): Morgan Lewis/Nancy Hamilton (see lyrics here)


First Charted: March 31, 1951


Peak: 19 US, 3 HP, 12 CB (Click for codes to singles charts.)


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


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.5 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

Hamilton and Lewis wrote the Broadway revues One for the Money, Two for the Show, Three to Get Ready, and New Faces. They also collaborated on the Oscar-winning documentary film, Helen Keller – Her Life. Without question, though, their most noable accomplishment was “How High the Moon.”

Lewis was known for witty songs which lacked social significance, but when Two for the Show needed a romantic ballad, he adjusted. SB Alfred Drake and Frances Comstock sang it in the 1940 revue and it went on to be a chart hit for Benny Goodman and His Orchestra with Helen Forrest on vocal (#6). It was also a hit for Mitchell Ayres (#18, 1940) and Stan Kenton (#20, 1948) and was covered by Count Basie, Nat “King” Cole, Duke Ellington, Anita O’Day, Billy Taylor, and Mel Tormé.

The most noted version, however, was by guitarist Les Paul and his singing wife Mary Ford. They developed a reputation in the pre-rock era for “pretty, perky renditions of classic pop tunes.” TM “How High the Moon” was originally “a slow fox-trot, a song of longing where the moon is just a distant prop for melancholy.” TM However, Paul sped it up and infused it with guitar power chords which established a template for rock and roll. TM Bill Haley borrowed the song’s opening descending chord pattern for “Rock Around the Clock.” TM The Beatles’ Paul McCartney said, “We used to start our gigs with the opening riffs from ‘How High the Moon.’” TM

He also, without the benefit of audiotape, merged 21 different tracks of vocal and guitar parts – and no drums SA – into “a bubbly blast of pop immortality.” TM His pioneering over-dubbing and multi-tracking techniques are still used today. NRR The result was a #1 hit which became “a jazz and nightclub favorite” JA and “the bebop national anthem.” SA


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