Friday, February 22, 2008

In Concert: Alan Parsons Live Project

image from

Venue: Ameristar Casino; Kansas City, MO
The Players: Alan Parsons (keyboards/vocals/percussion), P.J. Olsson (vocals), Godfrey Townsend (lead guitar/vocals), John Montagna (bass/vocals), Manny Focarazzo (keyboards/backing vocals), Steve Murphy (drums/vocals)

The Set List:

1. Instrumental
2. Damned if I Do
3. Don’t Answer Me
4. Breakdown/
5. The Raven (medley)
6. instrumental
7. The Show Must Go On (Day after Day)
8. La Sagrada Familia
9. Time
10. Psychobabble
11. I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You
12. We Play the Game
13. Don’t Let It Show
14. Prime Time
15. Eye in the Sky


16. Old and Wise
17. Games People Play

Monday, February 11, 2008

M.I.A. “Paper Planes” released

Paper Planes


Writer(s): Maya "M.I.A." Arulpragasam, Wesley "Diplo" Pentz, Topper Headon, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Joe Strummer (see lyrics here)

Released: February 11, 2008

First Charted: August 2, 2008

Peak: 4 US, 10 RR, 36 RB, 12 MR, 19 UK, 7 CN, 66 AU, 18 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 1.2 UK, 5.68 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 284.15 video, 558.93 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Nothing says pop hit quite like a Sri Lankan-born singer using “negative, violent stereotypes of immigrants as source material,” AB’00 “mocking the perception of dark-skinned immigrants as somehow dangerous,” PD and giving “shout-outs to Third World slums.” RS’09 Rapper Maya Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A., combined those unlikely commercial elements for “one of the unlikeliest Top 10 jams ever” RS’09 with “Paper Planes,” the third single from her second album, Kala. It was “the sound of the third world and the digital age colliding head-on, with results that were equal parts scary and thrilling.” MX She took “third-world survivalism and, while not glamorizing it, certainly [made] us feel it at a level far more elemental than easy sympathy.” LR

A year after its initial release, the trailer for Pineapple Express gave the song a second life, letting it expand “from its hipster dance-music niche into broader consciousness.” PF It also packs a whollop at a pivotal moment in Slumdog Millionaire, “the Oscar-winning film that was the late-00’s other great border-hopping underdog story.” PF

The song wraps “irresistible catchiness, political relevance, and musical surprises in one tight package” AB’00 “with global-minded beats and revolutionary chic.” PF The song is built over “a beat sampled from the Clash’s ‘Straight to Hell,’” RS’09 “which itself was an indictment of immigrants’ treatment in the West, permeated with southeast-Asian tonal influences” PD and wrapped in a “gently rolling, almost lazy sounding package so laidback that the first time you hear the gunshots it may jolt you out of your seat.” AB’00 The song’s success suggested “that given the right synergy of personality, topicality, and marketing, something like a mass audience could still gather around even the unlikeliest of phenomena.” PF


First posted 8/2/2012; last updated 11/7/2022.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” wins Grammys for Record and Song of the Year


Amy Winehouse

Writer(s): Amy Winehouse (see lyrics here)

Released: October 23, 2006

First Charted: October 28, 2006

Peak: 9 US, 13 RR, 14 A40, 7 AA, 32 MR, 7 UK, 10 CN, 27 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.6 UK, 2.6 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 307.44 video, 397.58 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Aided by Mark Ronson’s production, Amy Winehouse’s second album, Back to Black, got her lauded as “supposedly the greatest thing to happen to soul music since Aretha Franklin.” MX The lead single, “Rehab,” became a top ten hit in her native UK and the U.S. and, more than a year after its release, cemented her acclaimed status with Grammy wins for Record and Song of the Year.

However, the song also documented the impending troubles Winehouse would inflict upon herself. Initially, when she sang “he’s trying to make me go to rehab” and replied with “I won’t go, go, go,” it evoked amusement. As her self-destructive exploits made her a regular in the British tabloids, her behavior “would come to seem less defiant than foolish.” PD She arguably became “more famous for her addictions and misbehavior than for her music.” DS

Ironically, “she set up her tabloid narrative with such precision in this song – and, by analogy, making the addictions and misbehavior of previous generations of pop stars seem less comfortably glamorous and more cellphone-photo sordid in the process.” DS

If one can get past the life-imitates-art quality of the song, “self-destructive behavior never sounded sexier.” MX Critic Josh Tyrangiel called it “the best song of 2007,” saying it “references four decades worth of soul music without once ripping it off.” WK The combination of her “sonically letter-perfect retro soul with producer Mark Ronson's 21st-century beat-muscle and cheekiness” RS’09 effectively updates “early-’60s orchestral pop into a sound that conjures Shirley Bassey working with Phil Spector.” PD Rolling Stone characterized it as a “Motown-style winner with a banging beat and a lovesick bad girl testifying like Etta James.” WK

The public hoped for years that she would get it together and release a follow-up album. Sadly, she succumbed to alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, passing away at only 27 years old.


Related Links:

Last updated 10/23/2022.