Saturday, December 22, 2001

Nickelback hit #1 with “How You Remind Me”

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, 1.2 UK, 2.41 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 7.25.8 video, 608.23 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

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


Resources:


First posted 4/23/2020; last updated 4/3/2022.

Thursday, October 4, 2001

50 years ago: American in Paris soundtrack released

An American in Paris

George & Ira Gershwin (composers)


Composed: 1928


Soundtrack Released: October 4, 1951


Peak: 116 US


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US


Genre: classical


Tracks:

  1. Overture
  2. Embraceable You
  3. By Strauss
  4. I Got Rhythm
  5. Tra-La-La
  6. Love is Here to Stay
  7. I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise
  8. Concerto in F, Third Movement
  9. Tra-La-La/ Love Is Here to Stay
  10. 'S Wonderful
  11. “Something to Tell You…”
  12. An American in Paris (Ballet)
  13. Finale


Singles/Hit Songs:

These were covers of songs from this musical which became hits:

  • “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” – Carl Fenton (#12, 1922)
  • “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” – Paul Whiteman (#1, 1923)
  • “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” – Ben Selvin (#8, 1923)
  • “’S Wonderful” – Frank Crumit (#5, 1928)
  • “’S Wonderful” – Ipana Troubadors (#12, 1928)
  • “Embraceable You” – Red Nichols (#2, 1929)
  • ”Embraceable You” – Jimmy Dorsey (#23, 1941)
  • ”An American in Paris” – Victor Symphony Orchestra featuring George Gershwin (#7, 1929)
  • ”An American in Paris (excerpt entitled ‘Blues’)” – Ralph Flanagan (#15, 1951)
  • ”Concerto in F, Parts 1 & 2” – Paul Whiteman (#10, 1929)
  • ”I Got Rhythm” – Red Nichols (#5, 1931)
  • ”I Got Rhythm” – Ethel Waters (#17, 1931)
  • ”I Got Rhythm” – Louis Armstrong (#17, 1932)
  • ”Love Is Here to Stay” – Larry Clinton (#15, 1938)
  • ”Love Is Here to Stay” – Red Norvo (#16, 1938)

Rating:

4.334 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

The 1951 MGM musical An American in Paris was “inspired by the 1928 classical composition by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, and Oscar Levant, the film is set in Paris, and was directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner.” WK The film “won a well-deserved eight Academy Awards, including Best Score.” RM

“The plot is interspersed with showstopping dance numbers choreographed by Gene Kelly and set to popular Gershwin tunes.” WK “The climax is an 18 minute ballet featuring Kelly and Caron and set to Gershwin’s An American in Paris. The ballet alone cost more than half a million dollars, a staggering sum in those days.” WK

“In its original form, the soundtrack album…ran 25 minutes on a 10" LP (also released on 78s and 45s).” WR That collection included “Kelly and/or co-star Georges Guetary warbling their way through the Gershwin favorites S’Wonderful, Love Is Here to Stay, I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise, and I Got Rhythm.” WR

“Later reissues by CBS/Sony and Rhino vastly expanded that running time with outtakes and other bonus tracks.” WR Notably, “after 50 years, the soundtrack went out of copyright in Europe, enabling Britain’s Prism Leisure label, which specializes in unlicensed reissues, to come up with its own version,” WR which followed the original track listing “plus a 13-minute abridgement” WR of the aforementioned climatic ballet that closes the film. Also added were “42 minutes of bonus tracks not actually related to An American in Paris…[making it] more of a compilation of Gershwin movie music from the 1930s to the 1950s than a simple soundtrack recording.” BE

However, it is the two-CD Turner/Rhino set that “represents the ultimate musical resource for the MGM film.” BE “In the early ‘90s, Turner Entertainment undertook a major restoration of the movie and, in doing so, in addition to original film elements, unearthed a treasure trove of original audio masters and studio session recordings, including alternate takes, unused songs, and rehearsals. Some of these (which included many tracks by Georges Guetary) turned up on the 1992 vintage laser disc box, and now they’re here, remastered yet again, along with elements of the film’s underscore, which contained dozens of George Gershwin tunes that were never actually ‘featured’ in the movie.” BE

“The result is a two-hour celebration of Gershwin’s music that may hold up better than any of the other MGM songbook musicals of this period, thoroughly annotated for the serious listener and pleasingly, entertainingly packaged for the casual purchaser, for whom the only drawback may be the relatively steep price of the double-disc set.” BE

All the bonus material makes it the only “issue of the original soundtrack…that contains all of Gershwin's work on An American in Paris. According to Rhino Records, previous soundtrack albums have included abbreviated versions of songs, some of which were ruined by sound effects and dialogue overriding the music.” RM


Notes: There are multiple versions of this soundtrack available. You can see many at Soundtrack Collector.

The track listing here is based on 1990 CBS Special Products release. Only charted versions of songs from that collection have been listed above.

However, it is the 2-CD, 47-track Rhino reissue that is the cream of the crop. For its full track listing, check out All Music Guide. That collection included many more well-known Gershwin tunes that had charted versions, including Someone to Watch Over Me, I’ve Got a Crush on You, Nice Work if You Can Get It, How Long Has This Been Going On?, But Not for Me, Biding My Time, Love Walked In, and Do, Do, Do.

Resources and Related Links:


Last updated 4/17/2022.

Saturday, September 29, 2001

Jay-Z 'sThe Blueprint hit #1

The Blueprint

Jay-Z


Released: September 18, 2001


Charted: September 29, 2001


Peak: 13 US, 13 RB, 30 UK, 3 CN


Sales (in millions): 2.3 US, 0.21 UK, 3.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: rap


Tracks:

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

  1. The Ruler’s Back
  2. Takeover
  3. Izzo (H.O.V.A.) (7/21/01, 7a US, 2a RB, 21 UK)
  4. Girls, Girls, Girls (9/29/01, 15a US, 11 UK, 4 RB)
  5. Jigga That Nigga (11/3/01, 64a US, 26a RB)
  6. U Don’t Know
  7. Hola’ Hovito
  8. Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)
  9. Never Change
  10. Song Cry (4/27/02, 45 RB)
  11. All I Need
  12. Renegade (with Eminem)
  13. Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)


Total Running Time: 63:25

Rating:

4.148 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


Quotable: Nobody in New York could match Jay-Z rhyme for rhyme and nobody in New York had fresher beats.” – Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

After the death of the Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z “claimed New York’s hip-hop throne” AMG At the time, “many smirked and some even snickered.” AMG However, he “solidified his position with gigantic hits like ‘Big Pimpin’ and ‘I Just Wanna Love You (Give It 2 Me).’” AMG On The Blueprint, “everything came together to assert Hova as the best rapper around” FO and “no one was smirking and no one dared snicker.” AMG “Everything that makes Jay-Z a true king can be heard on this LP. From the soulful seventies beats, the introduction of Kanye as his producer, to the way he tells stories with consummate ease.” FO

“Nobody in New York could match Jay-Z rhyme for rhyme and nobody in New York had fresher beats – and many would argue that Jigga’s reign was not just confined to New York but was, in fact, national.” AMG “Jay-Z took on anyone and everyone who wanted to sit on his throne.” RS’20 For example, on Takeover, “one of the greatest diss tracks of all time,” FO “he brutally dismisses two of his most formidable opponents, Mobb Deep and Nas.” AMG “There’s little doubt that Jay-Z’s status as the top MC in the game is justified.” AMG

“Leadoff single, Izzo (H.O.V.A.), dominated urban radio numerous weeks before the album hit the streets, generating so much demand that Def Jam had to push up the album’s street date because it was being so heavily bootlegged.” AMG “With dynamic production by Kanye West,” RS’20 and “a joyous sample of the Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’” NRR it “gave him his first Top 10 single. Jay-Z elevates clever rhymes and innovations with an unmatched air of calm control and a cavalier confidence” RS’20 in a song complete “with a rumination on changing perceptions of black wealth.” NRR

“Jay-Z continues the braggadocio with U Don’t Know.” Perhaps the most bombastic song on the album – if not Jay-Z’s career (‘I will not lose, ever’) – it doubles as a financial history of his life…He opens up about the wealth gathered as a drug dealer (‘So much coke that you could run a slalom’) before explaining a musical revelation (‘Could make forty [thousand dollars] off a brick, but one rhyme could beat that’) and offering an accounting of his millions – ‘Put me anywhere on God’s green Earth,’ he explains, ‘I triple my worth..’” NRR

All the songs are “stunning, to the point where the album seems almost flawless.” AMG “The album packs a powerful range of topics and emotions into its 60-plus minutes.” NRR “When Hova isn’t taking shots at record executives, cops, critics, haters, biters, and his absent dad (and still, sadly, using the word “faggot”), he inches toward vulnerability on Song Cry.” RS’20 The song “reveals a version of the rapper willing to show emotion and admit mistakes,” NRR such as when “he reminisces over a lost love, his voice crackling with partially-supressed grief as he acknowledges the toll his infidelity took on the relationship.” NRR Far Out referred to that song and Never Change as “moments that will live in his legacy for a long time to come.” FO

“Besides rhymes that challenge those on Reasonable Doubt as the most crafted of Jay-Z’s career to date in terms of not only lyrics but also flow and delivery, The Blueprint also boasts some of his most extravagant beats, courtesy of impressive newcomers Kayne West and Just Blaze.” AMG

“If the rhymes and beats alone don’t make The Blueprint a career highlight for Jay-Z, the minimal guest appearances surely do.” AMG With the exception of a duet with Eminem, “listeners get exactly what they want: Jay-Z and nothing but Jay-Z, over beats so loaded with marvelously flipped samples the songs don't even need big vocal hooks.” AMG

“Jay-Z spent the first half-decade of his career in a delicate balancing act: trying to stay true to the hard-edged sound and subject matter that drew fans to his debut, while capturing new crowds with the glitzy production and pop hooks that characterized his second. Perhaps more than any album in his career--and certainly more than any to that point – Blueprint accomplished that feat.” NRR “Uneven albums like Hard Knock Life were the crossover attempts.” AMG This is “a fully realized masterpiece” AMG and “easily Jay-Z’s greatest album of all time.” FO

The album has the noted accomplishment of being the first of the 21st century to be selected by the National Recording Registry. It represents a peak in the career of “a son of Brooklyn’s notorious housing projects who became hip-hop’s first billionaire in 2019” NRR and would be crowned as the solo artist with the most number one albums for a solo artist. NRR

Resources and Related Links:


First posted 3/30/2008; last updated 4/28/2022.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Tori Amos released covers album Strange Little Girls

Strange Little Girls

Tori Amos


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:

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

  1. New Age (Lou Reed) [4:37]
  2. ’97 Bonnie & Clyde (Marshall Mathers, Jeff Bass, Mark Bass) [5:46]
  3. Strange Little Girl (Brian Duffy, Dave Greenfield, Hans Warmling, Hugh Cornwell, Jean-Jacques Burnel) [3:50] (11/13/01, --)
  4. Enjoy the Silence (Martin Gore) [4:10]
  5. I’m Not in Love (Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman) [5:39]
  6. Rattlesnakes (Lloyd Cole, Neil Clark) [3:59]
  7. Time (Tom Waits) [5:23]
  8. Heart of Gold (Neil Young) [4:00]
  9. I Don’t Like Mondays (Bob Geldof) [4:21]
  10. Happiness Is a Warm Gun (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) [9:55]
  11. Raining Blood (Jeff Hanneman, Kerry King) [6:22]
  12. Real Men (Joe Jackson) [4:07]


Total Running Time: 62:09

Rating:

3.408 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

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.” AMG

“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.” AMG

“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?” AMG

“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.” AMG

“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.” AMG

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.

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 6/3/2022.