Monday, February 22, 2010

Of Pietropoli and Nickelback: The Worst of the Best

The other night, my seven-year-old son leapt up and down on the couch watching Shaun White win the men’s halfpipe. The guy had wrapped up the gold and then did an unnecessary third run and bested himself with a 48.4 score out of 50! Amazing!

How about that Manuel Pietropoli, though?

Who?

Yeah, he also competed in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. In the halfpipe. While White glided to glory, Pietropoli stunk up the joint with a 9.3 in his first qualifying run and a 5.2 in his second. He’s what you might call “the worst of the best.”

I saw a comedian years ago do a hilarious routine about a runner in the Olympics. The comedian jogged in place at the mike, pondering what the last place runner might be thinking. “Four years. Four years I trained for this. So that I could be in last place. Last place. I could have done nothing and come here and taken last place.”

Pietropoli may have come in last place (although technically a 40th contestant didn’t take either run – don’t know why) and may be a punch line, but here’s the reality: he’s still an OLYMPIAN. I often joke about how much more impressive the Olympics would be if average Joes like me competed side by side with the world’s best. Watch me flip head over heels a couple times right into the back of an ambulance or a hearse and Manuel will look like a superstar. Which, of course, he is.

By now, you’re checking the name of this blog, thinking “did this change to Dave’s Sports Database? Uh, no. This entry is dedicated to the Manuel Pietropoli’s of the music world. If Shaun White is the Sgt. Pepper of the halfpipe world, then Pietropoli is the…Nickelback. That’s right. An also ran. A mocked contender. But one that still gets to boast of being one of the elite.

Dave’s Music Database Top 1000 Albums of All Time are determined by the consolidation of hundreds of best-of-all-time album lists mixed in with sales figures, chart numbers, and album ratings from critics. The resulting list showcases a lot of the expected “winners” on top of the leader board. But what about the bottom?

If you sort all 1000 albums by critics’ ratings, the bottom ten of the list are the duds that sold by the bucket loads even as they made music snobs wince. Here’s the thing to remember, though – no matter how Pietropoli-like the scores, these albums still made the big time – the “musical Olympics.” They may be overshadowed by the Shaun White’s of the music world, but they still bested thousands of others who didn’t even make the cut.

These albums may be flash-in-the-pans, but each represents a spot on the musical landscape. You may wretch at the impact of Garth Brooks or the Spice Girls (neither of which makes this list), but they sold hoards not just because they were well marketed, but because they tapped into the public conscience. Throw your nose in the air in disgust, but the unwashed masses say you’re wrong. They scooped ‘em up – and, if you’re honest, chances are there’s something on this list that you bought as well. I’ll admit to owning three of them, but danged if I’ll admit which ones.

Enough talk. Here’s the * ahem * slightly less than the cream of the crop:

10. Elvis Presley – Blue Hawaii (1961)
9. Celine Dion – The Colour of My Love (1993)
8. New Kids on the Block – Hangin’ Tough (1988)
7. Celine Dion – Let’s Talk about Love (1997)
6. Genesis – We Can’t Dance (1991)
5. MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (1990)
4. Backstreet Boys – Black & Blue (2000)
3. Britney Spears – Baby One More Time (1999)
2. Nickelback – All the Right Reasons (2005)
1. Vanilla Ice – To the Extreme (1990)

Congrats to all the competitors. You didn’t win, but despite what anyone says, you didn’t lose either.


Also check out Dave’s Music Database on Facebook.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now hit #1 on country album charts for 1st of 31 weeks

Need You Now

Lady Antebellum


Released: February 26, 2010


Peak: 14 US, 131 CW, 8 UK, 13 CN, 5 AU


Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 0.3 UK, 9.3 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: country


Tracks:

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

  1. Need You Now (8/11/09, 2 US, 3 RR, 115 AC, 19 A40, 15 CW, 15 UK, 2 CN, 27 AU, sales: 9.81 million)
  2. Our Kind of Love (2/6/10, 51 US, 12 CW, 61 CN)
  3. American Honey (1/2/10, 25 US, 12 CW, 50 CN, sales: 1 million)
  4. Hello World (10/9/10, 58 US, 39 CW, 70 CN)
  5. Perfect Day
  6. Love This Pain (1/23/10, 93 US)
  7. When You Got a Good Thing
  8. Stars Tonight
  9. If I Knew Then
  10. Something ‘Bout a Woman
  11. Ready to Love Again (1/30/10, 72 US)


Total Running Time: 44:10


The Players:

  • Dave Haywood (guitar, mandolin, background vocals)
  • Charles Kelley (vocals, background vocals)
  • Hillary Scott (vocals, background vocals)

Rating:

4.174 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


Quotable: --


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

With their 2008 self-titled debut, Lady Antebellum made their mark on country radio. The album topped the Billboard country album chart and scored three hits, including the #1 “I Run to You.” The band prove “there is no sophomore slump on Need You Now. Here, the band’s seamless, polished, and savvy brand of contemporary country is even more consistent than it was on their debut; it’s virtually flawless in its songwriting, production, and performance.” AMG

The album was preceded by two singles. The title cut was released six months earlier and made it to #1 on the country chart and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. American Honey was released about six weeks before the album and also made it to the pinnacle on the country charts and was a top-40 pop hit.

“This singing/songwriting trio – lead vocalists Charles Kelly and Hillary Scott, with multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist Dave Haywood – understand how Nashville works, and they know how to work it. On their sophomore effort, they stick very close to the formula of their debut: a slew of mid- and uptempo love songs, a sad ballad, and a couple of rocked-up good-time tunes, all self-written with some help from some of Nashville’s most respected writers.” AMG

“Kelly’s baritone is emotive, expressive, and deep in the pocket, no matter what he’s singing. He shines on the soft rocking Love This Pain, which could have been a single. Scott’s voice is a little less distinctive, but she does possess a unique form of phrasing and reaches deeply into her protagonist’s personal situations, whether it’s the celebratory good-time girl in ‘American Honey’ or the wildly-in-love mature woman on Hold on Tight.” AMG

“The group party anthem on the set – an obligatory addition these days – is Stars Tonight, which contains more than a few clich├ęs, but has a killer guitar riff and an infectious chorus.” AMG


Notes: For those who bought the album, new songs were offered via ladyantebellum.com. There were acoustic versions of “Need You Now” and “I Run to You” and live versions of “American Honey,” “Our Kind of Love,” “Stars Tonight,” “All We’d Ever Need,” “Do I,” “When You Got a Good Thing,” “Slow Down Sister,” “Love’s Lookin’ Good on You,” and “Hello World.”

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 8/1/2021.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Now Presenting the Half Time Show Starring the Theme Songs of CSI

I can’t shake this image of a CBS board meeting in which the discussion turns to entertainment for the Super Bowl Half Time show. Some smart alec suggests CBS find a way to shamelessly plug their shows. Everyone shifts in their chairs uncomfortably, feigning disgust while wiping the spittle from the corners of their lips as they salivate at the thought. Some genius quickly notes, “well, all three of our CSI shows use theme songs by The Who,” followed by the observation that in recent years the NFL has shown a distinct fondness for what we’ll politely call “heritage acts.” (Personal note: I’d much rather watch The Who or Springsteen or The Stones than Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus, but I don’t represent the younger audience typically coveted by the Boob Tube).

Ta-dah! Someone’s on the phone to the management of Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey and their who-the-heck-are-they fill-ins for drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle. At this point, Who critics launch into well-rehearsed arguments that the band shoulda hung it up three decades ago when a drug overdose sent Moon to the great rock and roll beyond. When illegal substances also took out Entwistle nearly a quarter century later, Townshend and Daltrey should have happily taken their senior discounts at the local multiplex and started hitting local diners for the early bird specials.

This is the kind of rallying argument that is roughly like supporting the fight against poverty or homelessness. There isn’t really anyone arguing FOR poverty or homelessness, is there? Similarly, rock music fans don’t argue in favor of, ahem, “heritage acts” milking their catalogs for every ounce of profit even if it means the star who leapt off speaker towers forty years ago is now breaking a hip when he slips off the stage.

The naysayers can whine about how good the Who were back in ’64 when they first started out, but I say, at age 64 if Townshend still wants to flail his arm around in that iconic windmill pose, then damned be the retirement home. Rock musicians are strangely held to a different standard than musicians from other genres. To my knowledge, the blues world hasn’t called for B.B. King to quietly put Lucille in her guitar case and back away. I’m not aware of anyone crying foul that Willie Nelson still trots out on stage night after night in his bandana and braided ponytails. Yet people cringe when an old fogie (are there young fogies?) who once wrote “hope I die before I get old,” uh, well, doesn’t.

The problem is how rock and roll was born out of the celebration of youth. The Beatles broke up before any of them hit their thirties. Jimi Hendrix is permanently frozen in time at age 27. Buddy Holly was tragically taken before his time because, well, the rock and roll legend-making machine said it was his time.

Let’s be real here, though. Rock and roll has also always been about making money and – believe it or not – making music. There's also the whole sex and drugs thing, but that's another blog entry. Why should anyone be faulted for doing what they know how to do and taking home a paycheck because of it? I say let the Pete Townshends of the world still perform, even when they need a walker to get on stage and a teleprompter to remember words they’ve belted out thousands of times before. I’d rather The King didn’t take his final breath on the toilet at 42. I’d prefer that the looney bin got a hold of Mark David Chapman pre-December 8, 1980. I wish the Lizard King hadn’t drowned in his bathtub, that “Me and Bobby McGee” hadn’t been a posthumous #1, and that Neil Young’s lyric “better to burn out than to fade away” wouldn’t evoke the image of a grunge god and a shotgun.

Rock and roll is littered with too many casualties whose untimely deaths were investigated by real CSI units. If the Who want to sing the CSI theme song for a possible audience of 100 million, then more power to them. Here’s hoping that all our living rock legends get a chance to milk the line “hope I die before I get old” for every last ounce of irony.


Also check out Dave's Music Database on Facebook, where a top 10 best songs of the Who list has been posted.