Friday, February 28, 2003

Blender – Top 50 Rock Geniuses

image from

This American music magazine launched in 1994 and stopped printing in 2009, going to an online-only format. Since the original article (published in the January/February 2003 issue) is no longer online, I cannot find details on how this list was generated.

1. Bob Dylan
2. John Lennon
3. Chuck Berry
4. Eminem
5. Bob Marley
6. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones)
7. Stevie Wonder
8. Kurt Cobain
9. Miles Davis
10. Madonna

11. Elvis Presley
12. James Brown
13. Michael Jackson
14. Jimi Hendrix
15. Paul McCartney
16. Pete Townshend
17. Grandmaster Flash
18. Aretha Franklin
19. Neil Young
20. Little Richard

21. Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider (of Kraftwerk)
22. Burt Bacharach
23. Lou Reed
24. Hank Williams
25. George Clinton
26. Phil Spector
27. Prince
28. Jimmy Page
29. Joni Mitchell
30. Berry Gordy Jr.

31. David Bowie
32. Tupac Shakur
33. Brian Wilson
34. Barry Gibb
35. Earl Young
36. Brian Eno
37. Patti Smith
38. Dr. Dre
39. Freddie Mercury
40. Chuck D

41. Andy Warhol
42. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot
43. Lee “Scratch” Perry
44. Thom Yorke
45. Rick Rubin
46. Eddie Van Halen
47. Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (ABBA)
48. PJ Harvey
49. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
50. Jack White


Saturday, February 22, 2003

50 Cent hit #1 with Get Rich Or Die Tryin’

Get Rich Or Die Tryin’

50 Cent

Released: February 6, 2003

Charted: February 22, 2003

Peak: 16 US, 18, 2 UK, 13 CN, 4 AU

Sales (in millions): 8.3 US, 1.12 UK, 15.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: rap


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

  1. Intro
  2. What Up Gangsta (5/3/03, 26 RB)
  3. Patiently Waiting (with Eminem) (2/15/03, 56 RB)
  4. Many Men (Wish Death)
  5. In Da Club (12/28/02, 1 US, 1 RB, 3 UK)
  6. High All the Time
  7. Heat
  8. If I Can’t (2/22/03, 34 RB, 76 US)
  9. Blood Hound (with Young Buck)
  10. Back Down
  11. P.I.M.P. (4/12/03, 3 US, 2 RB, 5 UK)
  12. Like My Style (with Tony Yayo)
  13. Poor Lil’ Rich
  14. 21 Questions (with Nate Dogg) (3/8/03, 1 US, 1 RB, 6 UK)
  15. Don’t Push Me (with Lloyd Banks & Eminem)
  16. Gotta Make It to Heaven

Total Running Time: 53:44


3.712 out of 5.00 (average of 29 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Probably the most hyped debut album by a rap artist in about a decade, most likely since Snoop’s Doggystyle (1993) or perhaps Nas’ Illmatic (1994), 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ certainly arrived amid massive expectations.” AMG “The backstory – promising street rapper gets shot nine times and lives to make a classic debut – was irresistible.” RS’20 “His hulking figure, physically and metaphorically, loomed over the rap charts for years, teaching a generation of artists that nothing sold like fear itself.” RS’20

“The expectations were so massive…that you had to be skeptical, particularly given the marketing-savvy nature of the rap world. Even so, Get Rich is indeed an impressive debut, not quite on the level of such landmark debuts as the aforementioned ones by Snoop or Nas – or those by Biggie, Wu-Tang, or DMX either – but impressive nonetheless, definitely ushering in 50 as one of the truly eminent rappers of his era.” AMG 50 Cent cooked up “precision-engineered beats and hooks…with his new mentor, Dr. Dre.” RS’20

“The thing, though, is that 50 isn’t exactly a rookie, and it’s debatable as to whether or not Get Rich can be considered a true debut (see the unreleased Power of the Dollar [1999] and the Guess Who's Back? compilation [2002]).” AMG

“That debate aside, however, Get Rich plays like a blueprint rap debut should: there’s a tense, suspenseful intro (What Up Gangsta), an ethos-establishing tag-team spar with Eminem (Patiently Waiting), [and] a street-cred appeal (Many Men [Wish Death])” AMG in which he “antagonized an entire generation of his peers.” RS’20

Most significantly, 50 Cent “enraptured the suburbs with In da Club,” RS’20 “a tailor-made mass-market good-time single.” AMG He also served up “a multifaceted tread through somber ghetto drama (from High All the Time to Gotta Make It to Heaven).” AMG

“In sum, Get Rich is an incredibly calculated album, albeit an amazing one. After all, when co-executive producer Eminem raps, ‘Take some Big and some Pac/And you mix them up in a pot/Sprinkle a little Big L on top/What the fuck do you got?’ you know the answer.” AMG

“Give Em (who produces two tracks) and Dr. Dre (who does four) credit for laying out the red carpet here, and also give 50 credit for reveling brilliantly in his much-documented mystique – from his gun fetish to his witty swagger, 50 has the makings of a street legend, and it's no secret. And though he very well could be the rightful successor to the Biggie-Jigga-Nas triptych, Get Rich isn’t quite the masterpiece 50 seems capable of, impressive or not. But until he drops that truly jaw-dropping album – or falls victim to his own hubris – this will certainly do.” AMG

Notes: The album was also released with bonus tracks “Wanksta,” “U Not Like Me,” and “Life’s on the Line.”

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 7/6/2010; last updated 4/24/2022.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Styx released Cyclorama



Released: February 18, 2003

Peak: 127 US

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: classic rock veteran


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

  1. Do Things My Way [4:57]
  2. Waiting for Our Time [4:12] (3/1/03, 37 AR)
  3. Fields of the Brave [3:23]
  4. Bourgeois Pig [:49]
  5. Kiss Your Ass Goodbye [3:13]
  6. These Are the Times [6:45]
  7. Yes I Can (Shaw/ Blades) [3:50]
  8. More Love for the Money [3:47]
  9. Together [4:46]
  10. Fooling Yourself (Palm of Your Hands)
    (Shaw) [:39]
  11. Captain America [3:53]
  12. Killing the Thing That You Love (Burtnik/ Shaw/ Gowan/ Young/ Sucherman/ Burger) [5:36]
  13. One With Everything [5:56]
  14. Genki Desu Ka [6:13]

All songs written by Burtnik/ Gowan/ Shaw/ Sucherman/ Young unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 58:09

The Players:

  • Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar)
  • James “JY” Young (guitar, vocals)
  • Chuck Panozzo (bass)
  • Glen Burtnik (bass, vocals)
  • Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards)
  • Todd Sucherman (drums)


3.438 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)

Quotable: “More straight-ahead rock than anything the band has ever done” – Greg Prato, All Music Guide

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“During the '90s, such veteran arena rockers as Journey and Styx mounted comebacks, both of which featured…their classic lineups.” AMG “Both reunions were fleeting, and instead of packing it up for good, both acts soldiered on with new frontmen.” AMG Styx’s path involved “a very disjointed effort (1999's Brave New World), the ousting of founding member Dennis DeYoung, constant touring…and an endless stream of live discs while all the legal issues were being sorted out.” OU With longtime guitarist/singer Tommy Shaw (not an original member, but with the group since their ‘70s heyday) now captaining the ship, “Cyclorama is expectedly more straight-ahead rock than anything the band has ever done.” AMG

This doesn’t look or sound a lot like the classic Styx of the ‘70s. Of the founders, only guitarist/sometime singer James “JY” Young remains, although original bassist Chuck Panozzo puts in some appearances. Filling Panozzo’s shoes is Glen Burtnik, who returns to the fold more than a dozen years after replacing Shaw on the 1990 Edge of the Century comeback album (an album which also lacked that Styx feel). Drummer Todd Sucherman, replaced the late John Panozzo in the mid-‘90s, and recorded with the band on the 1999 Brave New World album. Singer/keyboardist Lawrence Gowan, ”whose voice is in the same general ballpark as DeYoung's but never seems imitative” CDU stepped in as DeYoung’s replacement as far back as 2000, but makes his first album appearance here.

It is Gowan who will either attract or detract fans. Replacing a legend has its price. “DeYoung brought balladry and…a flair for the dramatic” AMG which, even when silly (“Mr. Roboto”) or sickly sweet (“Babe”), gave the band it’s success and identity. DeYoung’s keyboard work also defined the Styx sound that made them the kings of arena rock in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

Having said all that, and that the 2003 edition of Styx doesn’t exactly recall its counterpart of 25 years earlier, replacing DeYoung was the right move. On Styx’s two album efforts of the ‘90s, DeYoung’s taste toward balladry killed what little interest was left in the band. In fact, DeYoung hadn’t really churned out a pop gem with its feet firmly in both of Styx’s camps of rock and pop since 1981’s “The Best of Times.” After years of struggling to find their sound again, Styx returns to a much-needed rock base.

“The songs themselves are not far from the material Styx tackled in their '70s glory days, minus the pomp-rock touches and with a bit more of an edge.” CDU This is “especially evident on…Do Things My Way,” BF “a good, hard–rocking tune sung by Tommy Shaw to kick off the album.” OU

That song should have been the one announcing the new Styx to radio, but instead those honors went to Waiting for Our Time. While it doesn’t have the punch of “Do Things My Way,” this does have “a good mix of acoustic and electric guitars…and Shaw's voice is in classic form.” OU

Shaw shows up as frontman again later on the mid-tempo Together and the rocking One with Everthing. The latter features “a ripping keyboard solo by Gowan [like those] DeYoung was famous for…in the band's heyday…Gowan does not miss a step. The musicianship in this entire song is top-notch and Shaw delivers another great vocal performance.” OU

Yes I Can is “a really nice acoustic guitar-driven ballad sung by Shaw and Burtnik” OU which, on one hand, is described as “maudlin,” BF but on the other hand described as “a great ballad…not overly sappy, like some of DeYoung’s recent offerings.” OU Shaw co-wrote the song with former Damn Yankees-mate Jack Blades.

Tenacious D show up as guests on the Glen Burtnik-led Kiss Your Ass Goodbye. A couple reviewers agreed that Styx are “trying to update their sound [in] an obvious attempt at honing in on Sum 41 and Blink-182 territory.” AMG The final assessment is markedly different, however, as one reviewer says that the song “misses the mark badly,” AMG while another review calls it "a pretty fast, three–chord romp that falls more in line with what bands like Blink-182 are doing. The only difference: these guys make that kind of music sound good.” OU The song is also described as “a power-pop gem with the verve of classic Cheap Trick.” BF Also of note, a funny, “hidden outtake from the sessions with Tenacious D” OU appears at the end of the album.

Also written and sung by Burtnik is the “haunting” OU Killing the Thing That You Love. “Gowan's piano work really stands out and the bridge of the song is just stellar, featuring Queen–like guitar harmonies and some great drum fills by Sucherman, almost as if he is channeling the spirit of John Panozzo.” OU

Gowan steps up as lead singer on Fields of the Brave and More Love for the Money. "The arrangements [on the former] are breathtaking and the lyrics and chorus are very powerful.” OU “Money” is “very Beatles-sounding and Gowan's voice, at times, resembles DeYoung…The songwriting is more along the lines of the old Dennis DeYoung, before he went soft.” OU

James Young leads “ambitious tracks [such] as These Are the Times,” AMG which one reviewer says “threatens to summon the spirit of Stonehenge-era Spinal Tap” BF while another reviewer calls it “the most Styx–sounding song they have done in a long time…[it] could easily fit onto classic albums such as The Grand Illusion" or Pieces of Eight.” OU JY also fronts Captain America, “an awesome rocker [that] harkens back to 1977's ‘Miss America.’” OU

One of the most noteworthy songs is Fooling Yourself (Palm of Your Hands), "a short…re–working of a Styx classic…done acapella with Beach Boys-like harmonies, and there's a reason for that” OU – “Brian Wilson’s sumptuous vocal arrangement.” BF

In the most unusual of guest turns of the album, “Billy Bob Thornton’s guttural yowling” BF is featured on the goofy, “tongue-in-cheek” OU Bourgeois Pig. Thornton has actually sung in a band, but is still best known for his acting and frequent marriages. “Guest singer on an album by a has-been rock group” probably isn’t going to shore up his resume any. It’s anyone’s guess as to why Styx thought it would help theirs, either.

Genki Desu Ka, “a nice, relaxing little piece,” OU features more guests, this time John Waite and Jude Cole who, like Styx, had their better days years ago. Like Shaw, Waite had stints in a classic rock group (The Babys), as a solo artist (best known for #1 pop hit “Missing You”), and in a short-lived comeback supergroup (Bad English). Cole had a few hits, but was never big enough to even claim has-been status.

In the end, “this sounds like a true band effort, something…lacking from the last few albums with DeYoung still in the line–up.” OU ”Though the DeYoung days are seemingly gone forever, Cyclorama suggests that the remaining members of Styx never wanted time to stand still anyway.” CDU While Cyclorama is not going to “inspire a revisionist respect for the band at its commercial peak” BF “this is the most hard–rocking and most cohesive effort from the band in quite awhile.” OU There is still enough of their “finely–tuned guitars, great keyboard work, and big vocal harmonies” OU to “prove that Styx have more than enough musical vitality to transcend their peers on the casino and county fair circuit.” BF

Notes: Also available is the DualDisc format. “A DualDisc is a two-sided disc made up of a CD on one side and a DVD on the other, DualDisc’s breakthrough technology allows one disc to have it all. A full album on the CD side. All sorts of special material on the DVD side, including the full album in a 5.1 Surround Sound, exclusive video content and lyrics. DualDisc work wherever you play CD’s and DVD’s, including car stereos, PC’s DVD Players, game consoles and CD players.” AZ

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 8/9/2021.