Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Rolling Stone – The Immortals

image from

In 2004, Rolling Stone released its list of “The Immortals” – the artists it picked as the 100 greatest of the rock era. The list was updated in 2011.

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Elvis Presley
  4. Rolling Stones
  5. Chuck Berry
  6. Jimi Hendrix
  7. James Brown
  8. Little Richard
  9. Aretha Franklin
  10. Ray Charles

  11. Bob Marley
  12. Beach Boys
  13. Buddy Holly
  14. Led Zeppelin
  15. Stevie Wonder
  16. Sam Cooke
  17. Muddy Waters
  18. Marvin Gaye
  19. Velvet Underground
  20. Bo Diddley

  21. Otis Redding
  22. U2
  23. Bruce Springsteen
  24. Jerry Lee Lewis
  25. Fats Domino
  26. Ramones
  27. Nirvana
  28. Prince
  29. The Who
  30. The Clash

  31. Johnny Cash
  32. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  33. Everly Brothers
  34. Neil Young
  35. Michael Jackson
  36. Madonna
  37. Roy Orbison
  38. John Lennon
  39. David Bowie
  40. Simon & Garfunkel

  41. The Doors
  42. Van Morrison
  43. Sly & The Family Stone
  44. Public Enemy
  45. The Byrds
  46. Janis Joplin
  47. Patti Smith
  48. Run-D.M.C.
  49. Elton John
  50. The Band

  51. Howlin' Wolf
  52. Allman Brothers Band
  53. Eric Clapton
  54. Dr. Dre
  55. Grateful Dead
  56. Parliament / Funkadelic
  57. Aerosmith
  58. Sex Pistols
  59. Louis Jordan
  60. Joni Mitchell

  61. Tina Turner
  62. Etta James
  63. Phil Spector
  64. The Kinks
  65. Al Green
  66. Cream
  67. The Temptations
  68. Jackie Wilson
  69. Carl Perkins
  70. The Police

  71. Frank Zappa
  72. AC/DC
  73. Radiohead
  74. Hank Williams
  75. The Eagles
  76. The Shirelles
  77. Beastie Boys
  78. The Stooges
  79. The Four Tops
  80. Elvis Costello

  81. The Drifters
  82. Eminem
  83. N.W.A.
  84. James Taylor
  85. Black Sabbath
  86. Tupac (2pac) Shakur
  87. Gram Parsons
  88. Miles Davis
  89. The Yardbirds
  90. Carlos Santana

  91. Ricky Nelson
  92. Guns N' Roses
  93. Booker T & The MG's
  94. Nine Inch Nails
  95. Lynyrd Skynrd
  96. Martha & The Vandellas
  97. Diana Ross & The Supremes
  98. Roxy Music
  99. Curtis Mayfield
  100. Lee "Scratch" Perry


Saturday, April 10, 2004

Usher debuted at #1 with Confessions



Released: March 23, 2004

Charted: April 10, 2004

Peak: 19 US, 111 RB, 11 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU

Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 1.2 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: R&B


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

  1. Intro
  2. Yeah! (with Lil’ Jon & Ludacris) (1/3/04, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 RB, platinum single)
  3. Throwback (2/5/05, 36 RB)
  4. Confessions (Interlude)
  5. Confessions Part II (4/10/04, 1 US, 5 UK, 1 RB, gold single)
  6. Burn (3/13/04, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 RB, platinum single)
  7. Caught Up (8/28/04, 8 US, 9 UK, 13 RB)
  8. Superstar (Interlude)
  9. Superstar
  10. Truth Hurts
  11. Simple Things
  12. Bad Girl
  13. That’s What It’s Made For (12/25/04, 59 RB)
  14. Can U Handle It?
  15. Do It to Me
  16. Take Your Hand
  17. Follow Me
  18. My Boo (with Alicia Keys) (9/4/04, 1 US, 1 RB, platinum single) *
  19. Red Light
  20. Seduction (2/19/05, 68 RB) *
  21. Confessions Part II (remix with Shyne, Kanye West, and Twista)

* Added to the expanded edition of the album.

Total Running Time: 60:30


3.921 out of 5.00 (average of 25 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Usher was already a star in 2004, a sly singer and slick dancer whose R&B hits found a home with pop fans.” RS’20 This was Usher’s fourth album, following two multi-platinum, top-5 outings which produced six songs to peak in the top 3. However, Confessions took Usher to a new level. It sold more than a million copies in its first week, debuted at the pinnacle, spent nine weeks there, and generated four #1 songs – plus a fifth top-10 hit. It ended up as the second-best selling album of the 2000s behind Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP, WK “one of the last 10-million-plus sellers ever made.” RS’20

It ”turned him into an unstoppable juggernaut. Usher worked with a murderers’ row of R&B and hip-hop talent, from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to Jermaine Dupri to Just Blaze; the album moves easily from club wreckers like the Lil Jon- and Ludacris-assisted smash ‘Yeah!’ to forgive-me-for-cheating ballads to love-you-forever duets.” RS’20

The lead-off single, Yeah!, with its “crunk-meets-R&B foundation” AMG is the “only club track” AMG on the album. Its “instantly addictive eight-note keyboard vamp” AMG was “one of Usher’s most muscular turns [and] is so absorbing that Ludacris’ 1500th guest verse floats by with little notice.” AMG The song was definitely noticed, spending 12 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and being named the song of the year by the magazine.

Overall, Usher felt this was “his most personal record to date.” WK Chart-toppers Burn and Confessions Part II dealt respectively with the winding down of Usher’s two-year relationship with TLC’s Chilli Thomas and the concept of an impregnated mistress. WK

There was also a conscious effort to showcase Usher’s new talents. Songs like Superstar and Follow demonstrated Usher in “crooner mode” WK and “the ballad-oriented ‘Burn’ also showcases his vocal aptitute.” WK That song and “the upbeat Caught Up…rate as some of the vocalist’s best moments yet.” AMG

Throwback, produced by Just Blaze, sounds like it was made for the sole purpose of trailing Alicia Keys’ ‘You Don't Know My Name.’ Like that hit, ‘Throwback’s sensitively treated soul sample provides a nostalgic tint that complements the wistful, regret-filled tone of the lyrics.” AMG

“A small batch of Jam & Lewis productions, including the effortlessly gliding Truth Hurts, continue to help raise Usher's loverman stock.” AMG

Confessions’ most detracting factor is its length. At an hour in duration, it could be stripped of five songs and be far more powerful, especially since no one would have to do any wading to get to the meaty parts.” AMG Instead, the album was released as a special edition which made the album even longer.

Notes: A special edition of Confessions was released which added My Boo, Red Light, Seduction, and an alternate version of Confessions Part II that featured Kanye West, Shyne, and Twista.

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/25/2008; last updated 4/27/2022.

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Modest Mouse Good News for People Who Love Bad News released

Good News for People Who Love Bad News

Modest Mouse

Released: April 6, 2004

Peak: 18 US, 40 UK

Sales (in millions): 1.5 US, 0.06 UK, 4.56 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: alternative rock


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

  1. Horn Intro [0:09]
  2. The World at Large [4:32] (2/22/05, --)
  3. Float On [3:28] (4/3/04, 68 US, 29 RR, 11 MR, 4 AA, 46 UK, 94 AU)
  4. Ocean Breathes Salty [3:49] (9/11/04, 6 MR, 96 UK)
  5. Dig Your Grave [0:13]
  6. Bury Me with It [3:49]
  7. Dance Hall [2:57]
  8. Bukowski [4:14]
  9. This Devil’s Workday [2:19]
  10. The View [4:13]
  11. Satin in a Coffin [2:35]
  12. Interlude (Milo) [0:58]
  13. Blame It on the Tetons [5:25]
  14. Black Cadillacs [2:43]
  15. One Chance [3:04]
  16. The Good Times Are Killing Me [4:16]
All songs written by Isaac Brock, Dann Gallucci, Eric Judy, and Benjamin Weikel.

Total Running Time: 48:50

The Players:

  • Isaac Brock (vocals, guitar)
  • Eric Judy (bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals)
  • Dann Gallucci (guitar, organ, backing vocals)
  • Benjamin Weikel (drums, percussion)
  • Tom Peloso (standup bass, fiddle)


4.148 out of 5.00 (average of 33 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“After more than a decade with Modest Mouse, Isaac Brock still sounds young and weird and searching, and never more so than on Good News for People Who Love Bad News, which follows the band’s meditative The Moon & Antarctica with a set of songs that are more focused, but also less obviously profound. The occasionally indulgent feel of The Moon & Antarctica allowed Modest Mouse the room to make epic statements about life, death, and the afterlife; while Good News for People Who Love Bad News is equally concerned with mortality and spirituality, it has a more active, immediate feel that makes its comments on these subjects that much more pointed.” AMG

“The band hits these points home with a louder, more rock-oriented sound than they’ve had since The Lonesome Crowded West, particularly on Bury Me with It, which embodies many of the contradictions that continue to make Modest Mouse fascinating. For a song loosely about contemplating death, it sounds strikingly vital and liberated; Brock delivers finely shaded lyrics like ‘We are hummingbirds who’ve lost the plot and we will not move’ with a barbaric yawp; it’s nonsensical but oddly climactic, conveying how what seems trivial can be anything but.” AMG

The View’s angular bassline and scratchy guitars underscore the Talking Heads influence on Modest Mouse, but since the Heads have become a more trendy touchstone (mostly for bands with less creativity than either Talking Heads or Modest Mouse), it’s nice to hear how Brock and company take that influence in a different direction instead of just rehashing it with less inspiration.” AMG

“Feeling stuck is a major theme on Good News for People Who Love Bad News, but the same can’t be said about the album’s sound, which spans the forceful rock of the aforementioned songs, to the pretty guitar pop of Float On and Ocean Breathes Salty, to the lovely, rustic Blame It on the Tetons.” AMG

“That’s not even mentioning the contributions of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who open Good News for People Who Love Bad News with the aptly named Horn Intro.” AMG

“They also add a theatrical jolt to the wickedly funny, Tom Waits-inspired Devil’s Workday, which along with the noisy stomp of Dance Hall and Bukowski’s witty self-loathing, underscore that Modest Mouse haven’t lost the edge that made the band compelling in the first place.” AMG

“Other standouts include Satin in a Coffin, a creatively creepy mix of rattling bluegrass-rock with a tango beat that nods to the group's backwater roots; One Chance, an unusually open and straightforward ballad; and the dreamlike World at Large, on which Brock sings, ‘I like songs about drifters – books about the same/They both seem to make me feel a little less insane,’ once again proving that he’s a past master of lyrics that are both abstract and precise.” AMG

“Even though this album isn’t as immediately or showily brilliant as The Moon & Antarctica, Good News for People Who Love Bad News reveals itself as just as strong a statement. By drawing an even sharper contrast between the harsh and beautiful things about their music, as well as life, Modest Mouse have made an album that's moving and relevant without being pretentious about it.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/29/2008; last updated 3/13/2022.

Tears for Fears released Everybody Loves a Happy Ending

Everybody Loves a Happy Ending

Tears for Fears

Released: April 6, 2004

Peak: 46 US, 45 UK

Sales (in millions): 0.5 world

Genre: new wave


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

  1. Everybody Loves a Happy Ending [4:21] (single, --)
  2. Closest Thing to Heaven [3:37] (2/9/04, 40 UK)
  3. Call Me Mellow [3:37] (9/18/04, 28 A40)
  4. Size of Sorrow (Orzabal) [4:43]
  5. Who Killed Tangerine? [5:32]
  6. Quiet Ones (Orzabal) [4:22]
  7. Who You Are (Pettus/Smith) [3:41]
  8. The Devil (Orzabal) [3:30]
  9. Secret World (Orzabal) [5:12]
  10. Killing with Kindness [5:25]
  11. Ladybird [4:49]
  12. Last Days on Earth [5:41]
Songs written by Orzabal/Pettus/Smith unless otherwise noted.

Total Running Time: 54:40

The Players:

  • Roland Orzabal (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Curt Smith (vocals, bass, keyboards, backing vocals)


3.476 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)

Quotable: “The rich, infectious sound of a duo who have not seen their comeback as an excuse for compromise” – Tom Bishop, BBC News

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith parted ways with their soulful and ambitious swan song, Seeds of LoveAMG back in 1989. “Orzabal released two records under the Tears for Fears moniker in the mid-nineties, but the band’s signature blend of hook-filled anthems and art-pop excess seemed destined to reside eternally in the post-new wave graveyard of the eighties.” AMG

“Orzabal and Smith [said] the call of lifelong friendship and musical compatibility ‘ended the longest sulk in history’ and…quietly began working together on new material three years ago, comfortable with their new maturity and energized by a sense of balance between career and, as Smith (now a yoga devotee) said, “mental and physical health.’” BC

“Also facilitating the new music was engineer and co-producer Charlton Pettus, whose technical acumen allowed Orzabal and Smith to concentrate on ‘writing and playing together’ so that they could truly create a new Tears For Fears album and not ‘two concurrent solo albums,’ as Orzabal put it. Pettus served as a bit of a mediator as well.” BC

“Then came the film Donnie Darko, a left-field cult hit that featured [a] rendition of the band's 1983 hit ‘Mad World.’” AMG The “mellow remake…by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews…topped the U.K singles chart over the ‘03 Christmas holiday,” BC prepping the world for a new Tears for Fears release.

“Arista Records was scheduled to put it out in April, but dropped the ball amid reorganization, the merger with Sony Music, and the ouster of Antonio ‘LA’ Reid from the top spot at the label.” BC

“Few would think to match the heaving, synth-heavy boys who lit up the '80s with ‘Head Over Heels’ to this new material. Which is mostly a good thing. The vocals of lead singer Roland Orzabal…still squash all traces of irony in their path, and there's a moodiness to the music, minus a lot of the old broodiness, that borders on the masterly. Yet the sound has changed completely.” AZ

“Tears For Fears have always dabbled in the Beatle-esque, but never as blatantly as on the full peacock-flush of the colorful title cut. Like ELO re-arranging Wings' ‘Uncle Albert,’ it's the first flag in a sea of red signaling the return to form that many deemed unlikely.” AMG The song combines “soul and alternative rock elements of the band’s earlier sound, with sing-along melodies, fascinating and varied production, and most important, magic.” BC Tears for Fears merges the sounds of “‘Lady Madonna,’ ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ and the Mothers of Invention together under the same tent and comes out the stronger on the other end. The duo’s voices and secure, quirky melodic sense have only grown in width and depth over their time apart.” BC

First single Closest Thing to Heaven was “the first song the reunited duo wrote together.” BC “The rhythmic, mid-tempo tune is a great ‘70s-type Euro-soul number” BC that “builds off of ‘Sowing the Seeds of Love’’s blueprints—it even utilizes the mid-track reverse drum fill—without coming off as a carbon copy. This is the closest the band's come to crafting a possible hit single in years, and it's a testament to their ‘still flexing’ pop chops they can meld a bittersweet piano-dirge with a sunny seventies soft-rock chorus without sounding contrived.” AMG

“Old-school overproduction has fallen away in favor of real guitars, pounding pianos, and a melody-driven…sensibility. It's there on…Call Me Mellow,” AZ a slice of “beautiful jangly rock that stretches in an unbroken chain back through the La’s, early R.E.M., to the Beatles and the Byrds.” BC

The song is “only slightly eclipsed by something pleasantly Bacharach-ish on Secret World,” AZ a chunk of “orchestral, poppy perfection.” BC The pair of songs “would sit comfortably on daytime radio, daring other songs to match their ambition and bright, joyous spirit.” BBC

“Like their previous work, there is darkness here if you look for it. The echoing beat of Size of Sorrow introduces the line ‘bathe in another man's grave.’” BBC

There is also a “dark experimental nature [in] songs like Quiet Ones and The Devil.” AMG “’Quiet Ones’ has a forceful ringing guitar figure that U2 would be happy to claim, and beguiling phased vocals from Orzabal on the verses, and sweet falsetto dual-vocal choruses.” BC “The Devil” is a “simple piano tune [that] bursts into a fraught drum-heavy chorus.” BBC

“But the most mellow and introspective tunes – Who You Are, sung by Curt, and Ladybird - have a warmth that helps the songs flow seductively rather than stutter into self-indulgence.” BBC

Who Killed Tangerine? is more Fab Four-inspired brilliance” BC “juxtaposing each spooky verse against a chorus reminiscent of ‘Hey Jude.’” AMG “Mysterious quiet verses…give way to a rousing chorus and even more rousing secondary chorus — this could easily be another single.” BC

Killing with Kindness has an appealing rough edge amidst the lilting melodicism and Last Days on Earth concludes…the…album…with a gently funky groove and a lovely, spacey keyboard figure” BC that “lowers us gently back to reality, a restrained hint that Tears For Fears have more tricks hidden up their sleeves.” BBC

Everybody Loves a Happy Ending is the rich, infectious sound of a duo who have not seen their comeback as an excuse for compromise.” BBC It “will do little to convert those that winced at Orzabal and Smith's obtuse lyrics and over-the-top production the first time around, but loyal followers, fans of XTC's Apple Venus Vol. 1 and lovers of intricately arranged and artfully executed pop music will find themselves delightfully consumed by this enigmatic group's (final?) chapter.” AMG “Tears for Fears skirts the has-been trap impressively, translating years of experience into play-it-again, sophisticated modern pop worth paying attention to.” AZ

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 2/22/2022.