Saturday, July 31, 2010

Eminem and Rihanna hit #1 with “Love the Way You Lie”

Love the Way You Lie

Eminem with Rihanna

Writer(s): Eminem, Alex da Kid, Skylar Grey (see lyrics here)

Released: August 9, 2010

First Charted: June 20, 2010

Peak: 17 US, 18 BA, 17 DG, 12 RR, 29 A40, 7 RB, 2 UK, 17 CN, 16 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 13.0 US, 2.4 UK, 16.1 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.4 radio, 1900.0 video, 1227.92 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In 2010, singer Rihanna was a tabloid fixation thanks to a very public domestic violence incident with R&B singer Chris Brown. In the aftermath, rapper Eminem tapped her as the guest vocalist on a song about – of all things – abusive relationships. As Rihanna said, though, it was something that she and Eminem “both experienced…on different sides…It was believable for us to do a record like that…He pretty much just broke down the cycle of domestic violence.” SF

As BBC Radio 1 said, Eminem “understands the psychology well, and can express the feelings with enormous clarity.” WK Billboard’s Michael Menachem added that, “Rihanna’s chorus is exquisitely melodic and surprisingly hopeful, complementing the turmoil of Eminem’s dark, introspective rant.” WK

Em’s rant and Rihanna’s chorus went all the way to #1, the fourth time for him and seventh for her. Since then, she’s graced the top of the Billboard Hot 100 three more times, making her the youngest artist (23) in the chart’s history to land ten songs in the peak position.

The video featured actors Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox in a love-hate relationship. It broke YouTube’s record for most hits in 24 hours with 6.6 million logged 18 million views in five days. Within a year, it had been seen 360 million times. WK

The song was named Song of the Year by Dave’s Music Database and is in the DMDB list of the top 100 songs of the 21st century. It is also one of the top 100 best-selling songs in the world. Among other honors and awards – it was the United Kingdom’s best-selling single of 2010 and won awards as Billboard’s Top Rap Song, Soul Train’s Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year, and People’s Choice awards for Favorite Song and Favorite Music Video. The song was also nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Rap Song.


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Last updated 7/29/2023.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Music Goes to the Movies

image from

There is a moment in Pirate Radio (2009) – an inexplicably deleted scene relegated to DVD extras status – that nails the joy of being a music geek better than anything since High Fidelity (2000). Academy Award winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman leads his band of fellow DJs through London in the late ‘60s on a bachelor party night of depravity. They pause for reflection across the street from Abbey Road studios. Hoffman points out that the Beatles might be in there recording at that very minute. In a salute to the power of music, he states “there’ll always be poverty and pain and war and injustice in this world, but there will, thank the Lord, also always be the Beatles.”

Similarly, there will always be movies about poverty and pain and war and injustice, but there will also be those about the Beatles. And Elvis. And the Rolling Stones and the Who and Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and Ray Charles and…Anvil.

Anvil? In the mid ‘80s, these metal-also-rans seemed poised to take over the world alongside contemporaries like the Scorpions, Whitesnake, and Bon Jovi. The where-are-they-now documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008) is a real-life This Is Spinal Tap (1984) that doubles as a heartwarming tearjerker about a group that should have hung it up years ago, but just can’t abandon the dream that they still might make it big. Singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow says that jumping off a cliff would be the easy way out to which drummer Robb Reiner replies, “You won’t jump off the cliff ‘cause I’ll stop you.”

Of course, music-oriented movies aren’t just about rock ‘n’ roll. The relationship between the two mediums dates to roughly the births of both art forms. The first couple of decades of the 20th century saw the simultaneous rise of recorded music and the addition of sound to film, the latter most notably in 1927’s The Jazz Singer. As soon as Hollywood saw dollar signs and discovered the power of pilfering instead of creating something new, they raided Broadway. If it was big on stage, it could be big on screen (1933’s 42nd Street, 1936’s Show Boat, 1949’s South Pacific, 1956’s The King and I).

Disney spawned its own version, complete with animated princesses, woodland creatures, and puppets (1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1940’s Pinocchio, 1940’s Fantasia, 1941’s Dumbo, 1942’s Bambi, 1950’s Cinderella).

When Elvis started swiveling his hips the musical gasped for breath. The rock ‘n’ roll era saw the arrival of vanity projects from the genre’s biggest stars. The King of Rock and Roll churned out Jailhouse Rock (1957) and a slew of other B-grade movies while the Beatles made A Hard Day’s Night (1964), which some call the greatest music movie ever made.

The traditional movie musical sounded a few last hurrahs (1961’s West Side Story, 1965’s The Sound of Music) before going largely mute until the new millennium (2001’s Moulin Rouge!, 2002’s Chicago). In the meantime, though, Hollywood figured out how to marry the musical to rock ‘n’ roll (1973’s Jesus Christ Superstar, 1979’s Hair) and churn out celluloid treatments of classic rock albums (The Who’s 1975 Tommy, Pink Floyd’s 1982 The Wall). The Wall and Heavy Metal (1981) also de-Disneyed the cartoon world with decidedly non-kid-oriented animated fare.

Shooting a dose of electric guitar into the film community didn’t just banish the musical to has-been status, but also birthed new genres. The tradition of seeing rock legends on stage and off kicked into high gear with 1967’s Don’t Look Back, 1970’s Woodstock, and 1970’s Gimme Shelter and has continued to the present with the aforementioned Anvil movie, Michael Jackson’s This Is It (2009), and It Might Get Loud (2008). How can you not be awed into rock star worship by the scene in the latter movie of Jack White crafting an electric guitar out of scrap material?

Of course, reality isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be so the film industry also embraced the biopic. This allowed film makers to more liberally edit which details of real-life personalities to embellish and which to forget. While telling the story of a musical legend was nothing new – the story of composer George M. Cohan in 1942’s Yankee Doodle Dandy comes to mind – the zest and decadence of rock star lives (1986’s Sid & Nancy, 1987’s La Bamba, 1989’s Great Balls of Fire) gave the format a new twist, for better or worse. On the plus side, the past decade has rewarded us with Academy-Award-winning performances in the depictions of musical icons Ray Charles (2004’s Ray!) and Johnny Cash (2005’s Walk the Line).

On the negative side, the rock-and-roll lifestyle is little more than a cliché in other movies. The Runaways (2010) had its moments, including Kristen Stewart’s spot-on Joan Jett look, but what should have been deeper commentary on the exploitation of girls in a predominantly male-driven business was yet another look-how-drugs-destroyed-them cautionary tale.

Then there was Crazy Heart (2009). While seemingly about a fictional character, it played like a biopic about Kris Kristofferson in an alternative world where he:

a) passes out nightly in a drunken or drugged stupor
b) is relegated to performing in small-town seedy bars and bowling alleys
c) has an inevitable meltdown on stage as “a” clashes headlong into “b”
d) still commands more than his share of sexual conquests no matter how old, fat, or drug-addled he becomes

Don’t get me wrong – Jeff Bridges earned his long overdue Best Actor Oscar – but did we need another musical journey through the life of a damaged soul who beds much younger women on his hopeful road to redemption?

Movies don’t always take music so seriously. The Blues Brothers (1980) reminded us just how fun music is. This Is Spinal Tap delighted in its absurdities. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) gave us the full-on participation of live performance in all its camp and bad movie-making glory.

Speaking of camp, the ‘80s saw the MTV-inspired era of “is this a film or one big soundtrack promo?” with Flashdance (1983), Footloose (1984), and Dirty Dancing (1987). Not that light, adolescent-oriented fare was new – Elvis’ movies weren’t exactly competing for Oscars and the Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon music-fueled Beach Party romps of the ‘60s weren’t focusing energy on commentary about the political relationships of the world’s super powers.

Of course, the very birth of rock ‘n’ roll, and subsequently its introduction in film, is tied to marketing to teens. Bill Haley & the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” provided the soundtrack for the opening of 1955’s Blackboard Jungle. While the movie aimed for anti-social commentary, it incited its audience to riot more than ponder the consequences of delinquent behavior.

Okay, so what’s the point of this music-goes-to-the-movies history lesson? Well, the first point is a music-goes-to-the-movies history lesson. Second, though, is this: at its worst, music-meets-film can evoke eye-rolls with over-the-top portrayals of people inspired to delinquency or decadence. At its best, however, a cherished musical film moment serves up a metaphor for pondering the human condition.

It doesn’t have to be that deep, though. Sometimes a movie simply prompts people to dance in the aisles or be transported beyond their surroundings for the moment. One afternoon, my sons and I were walking home from school during a light drizzle. We were all equipped with umbrellas but I soon noticed my boys twirling theirs on the ground and dancing around them instead of holding them aloft. Sure enough, their impromptu rain-soaked musical number was inspired by – what else? Singin’ in the Rain.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Eminem’s Recovery debuts at #1



Released: June 21, 2010

Charted: July 10, 2010

Peak: 17 US, 116, 15 UK, 17 CN, 19 AU

Sales (in millions): 4.9 US, 1.03 UK, 10.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: rap


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

  1. Cold Wind Blows (7/10/10, #71 US)
  2. Talkin’ 2 Myself [w/ Kobe] (7/10/10, #88 US)
  3. On Fire
  4. Won’t Back Down [w/ Pink] (7/10/10, #62 US)
  5. W.T.P.
  6. Going Through Changes
  7. Not Afraid (4/29/10, #11 US, #70 RB, #5 UK, #11 CN, #4 AU, sales: 11.94 million worldwide)
  8. Seduction
  9. No Love [w/ Lil’ Wayne] (7/10/10, #23 US, #59 RB, #33 UK, #24 CN, #21 AU, sales: 4.2 million worldwide)
  10. Space Bound (6/18/11, #34 UK, #51 AU, sales: 2.2 million worldwide)
  11. Cinderella Man
  12. 25 to Life (7/10/10, #92 US)
  13. So Bad
  14. Almost Famous
  15. Love the Way You Lie [w/ Rihanna] (6/20/10, #17 US, #29 A40, #7 RB, #2 UK, #17 CN, #16 AU, sales: 15.87 million worldwide)
  16. You’re Never Old
  17. [untitled hidden track]

Total Running Time: 76:56


3.988 out of 5.00 (average of 24 ratings)

Quotable: Eminem “hasn’t sounded this unfiltered and proud since The Marshall Mathers LP.” – David Jeffries, All Music Guide

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“This lean, mean bipolar machine began life as Relapse 2DJ, a sequel to Eminem’s 2009 album Relapse. However, “when Shady decided he wasn’t really Shady at the moment and that he was no longer keen on RelapseDJ he went with this collection that “features more introspective and emotional content than its predecessor.” WK Critic Robert Christgau says this is Em at “his most confessional” WK and, as Eminem himself says “on Talkin’ 2 Myself – it became Marshall Mathers time again.” DJ

In its debut week, Recovery sold over 700,000 copies, making Eminem the first artist in Soundscan history to have four albums debut at such lofty heights. WK Lead single, Not Afraid, became only the second rap song to debut at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. WK Love the Way You Lie, which featured Rihanna in a song which referenced her own recent trouble in an abusive relationship, debuted at #2 and went on to #1.

From a critical standpoint, “it becomes obvious that Eminem’s richest albums aren’t necessarily his most structurally sound, which isn’t much of a surprise when considering the rapper’s full-on embrace of flaws and contradictions.” DJ “This results in an album where a shameless but killer Michael J. Fox punch line (‘The world will stop spinnin’ and Michael J. Fox’ll come to a standstill’ from Cold Wind) is followed by a song with another, less effective MJF joke (‘Make like Michael J. Fox in your drawers, playin’ with an Etch-A-Sketch’), although that song is the lurching heavy metal monster Won’t Back Down with P!nk, and it could be used as the lead-in to ‘Lose Yourself’ on any ego-boosting mixtape.” DJ

“Following an apology for your recent work with a damnation of critics and haters is just sloppy; taking off the skits and then overstuffing your album by a track or two is undermining what’s good; and the beats here are collectively just a B+ with only one production (the so good So Bad) coming from Dr. Dre. Add to that the detractor idea that being privy to the man’s therapy sessions just isn’t compelling anymore and the only persuasive moments remaining are the highlights, but fans can feed on the energy, the renewed sense of purpose, and Marshall doing whatever the hell he wants.” DJ

This includes “shoehorning a grand D12-like comedy number (W.T.P., which stands for ‘White Trash Party’) into this emotionally heavy album. It’s fascinating when Em admits ‘Hatred was flowin’ through my veins, on the verge of goin’ insane/ I almost made a song dissin’ Lil Wayne’ and then ‘Thank God I didn’t do it/ I’da had my ass handed to me, and I knew it’ before sparring with said Weezy on the Haddaway-sampling No Love.” DJ

“When the recovery-minded Going Through Changes gets back on the wagon by sampling Black Sabbath’s very druggy ‘Changes’ it’s a brilliant and layered idea that’s executed with poignant lyrics on top. Add the man at his most profound…and his most profane (‘You wanna get graphic? We can go the scenic route/ You couldn’t make a bulimic puke on a piece of corn and peanut poop’ from On Fire)…and the fans who really listen are instantly on board.” DJ

Certainly there was some criticism of the album. Andy Gill of The Independent said there is “nothing here quite as engaging as” Em’s previous albums WK and Pitchfork Media’s Jayson Greene said that “for the first time in his career, he actually sounds clumsy.” WK Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune said the album was “brutally short on hooks and, most of all, fun.” WK

Still, Eminem received plenty of praise for the album. Entertainment Weekly’s Simon Vozick-Levinson says, “Eminem’s lyrical craftsmanship is second to none…and there are flashes of new maturity.” WK Of similar sentiment is USA Today’s Steve Jones comments that the album is “a strong return to form.” WK “It may be flawed and the rapper’s attitude is sometimes one step ahead of his output, but he hasn’t sounded this unfiltered and proud since The Marshall Mathers LP.” DJ As Rolling Stone’s Jody Rosen said, it is Eminem’s “most casual-sounding album in years.” WK

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First posted 1/26/2011; last updated 4/30/2022.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hooters released Five by Five EP

Five by Five


Released: July 9, 2010

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: rock


Song Title [time]

  1. Pissing in the Rhine [2:37]
  2. Silver Lining [3:54]
  3. One of Us [4:52]
  4. Time After Time [3:46]
  5. Really Fine Wine [3:12]

The Players:

  • Eric Bazilian (vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, saxophone)
  • Rob Hyman (vocals, keyboards, accordion, melodica)
  • John Lilley (guitar, mandolin, dobro, keyboards, backing vocals)
  • Fran Smith Jr. (bass, backing vocals)
  • David Uosikkinen (drums, percussion)


3.767 out of 5.00 (average of 3 ratings)

About the Album:

While this is only a five-song EP, it is a pretty important addition to the Hooters’ discography. The band achieved popularity in the 1980s after Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman both served as players and arrangers on Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 blockbuster She’s So Unusual. The album produced the #1 hit Time After Time, which was written by Hyman and Lauper. While the band have often performed the song and even included a live version on their Hooterization greatest-hits compilation, this is their first studio recording of the song.

After gaining attention because of Lauper, the Hooters had three top-40 hits of their own from their 1985 Nervous Night album. Four of the five players from that album are featured in this, the 2010 lineup. The fifth player, Fran Smith, Jr., came on board in 1987. That lineup made three more studio albums with One Way Home (1987), Zig Zag (1989), and Out of Body (1993) before going on hiatus.

Unlike so many reunions, however, when the band returned in 2007 for the Time Stand Still album, it was a genuine return of the same guys who’d made those aforementioned albums. That same quintet came back in 2010 to record this EP.

In the interim, Bazilian released a pair of solo albums and wrote or co-wrote songs for a slew of artists. The most notable song from that era was One of Us, a song recorded by Joan Osborne for her 1995 album Relish. The clever lyrics mused about “what if God was one of us.” The song reached the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and garnered three Grammy nominations. Like “Time After Time,” the Hooters have often performed the song live. Bazilian recorded it as an unlisted bonus track on his 2000 album The Optimist. It makes its first appearance as a studio recording by the Hooters on Five by Five.

While EP’s are typically placeholders to keep fans happy while prepping a full-fledged studio album, that wasn’t the case here. The Hooters did come back in 2012 to record the song If I Should Fall Behind, but as of this writing, they had yet to return to the studio to record a full-fledged album. However, the inclusion of “Time After Time” and “One of Us” on this set makes this an essential part of a Hooters library.

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First posted 6/16/2021.