Posts Tagged 'Billy Idol'

What I’m Hearing, Vol. 15

{for last month’s What I’m Hearing, click here}

July’s iPod update was an extremely diverse one, not just for the artists, but for the songs themselves. Taking a new tact, I made July an all mash-up month, checking out some of the ways in which DJs have started taking on the mix and match genre full-throttle. While Danger Mouse helped pioneer it with the Grey Album and AmpLive took it another step with his remixes of Radiohead’s In Rainbows, the mash-up culture is far past those now. But while there is much to be said for the style of Girl Talk where there are more layers than you can reasonably dissect in a listening, I find the club mash-ups utilizing 2 to 3 songs to be a most effective use of the genre. The best news? As all of these are off the grid, they’re all available for download, so follow the links to check the music out for yourself. July’s iPod update included 118 songs.

50 Cent vs. The 50s, DJ Doc Rok: Currently residing in Washington, D.C., DJ Doc Rok’s (djdocrok@gmail.com) work is among the strongest of all artists I heard this month. What’s more is that while he does have a collection of odd mash-ups and various artists, he also sets out to create complete albums of one to two artists. On this album, Rok focuses on all lyrics from 50 Cent songs and combines them with Golden Oldie hits from the R&B and Pop genres. The result? 50 Cent party songs with a touch of flair, moved out of the straight club motif that dominates so many of his songs and saturated with style and soul. Using songs like Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” The Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and Booker T. and the MG’s “Green Onions,” Rok flips the 50 acapellas on their head with fantastic result. Definitely my favorite download of the month. Don’t Sleep On: “Rowdy Rowdy/It’s My Party (And I’ll Cry If I Want To),” “Like My Style/One Fine Day,” and “The Good Die Young/Little Susie.”

Best of 2007 (Mash-Up Your Bootz), Various Artists: If you’re looking for a comprehensive blog that provides a vast cross-section of the variety of mash-ups available online, check out Mash-up Your Bootz. They provide comprehensive year-end wrap-up mixes, links to other mash-up sites, and breaking news in the genre. I downloaded both their 2007 and 2008 Best of Mixes and wasn’t disappointed with either. Beck takes on Green Day, AC/DC meets 50 Cent and the Scissor Sisters, Peggy Lee and Iggy Pop collide and Peter Bjorn and John find their whistle backing both Bloc Party and Amy Winehouse. Some of the mashers on this mix include DJ Peaking, DJ Le Clown, CheekyBoy, DJ Lobsterdust, and Party Ben. Perhaps the most pleasant track is by Norwegian Recycling who put together a very simple acoustic mash-up called “How Six Songs Collide” featuring Jason Mraz, Howie Day, Five For Fighting, Angela Ammons, Boyzone, and 3 Doors Down. This one is mirrored nicely with the eerie and melancholy mash of Placebo, Kate Bush and the Pet Shop Boys called, “Love Comes Running Up That Hill Quickly.” Don’t Sleep On: “Young Folks Rehab” by DJ Topcat (Amy Winehouse’s v. Peter Bjorn and John), “Love Comes Running Up That Hill Quickly” by DJ Magnet (Pet Shop Boys v. Placebo v. Kate Bush) and “Break Through Love” by DJ Zebra (The Doors v. Led Zeppelin)

Best of 2008 (Mash-Up Your Bootz), Various Artists: The 2008 mix picks up where 2007 left off and offers an impressive array of very different artists finding their songs blended with people of opposite genres. The album kicks off with Bryan Adams going head to head with Metallica, James Brown duels The Offspring, and Rage Against the Machine gets thrown together with AC/DC, Joan Jett, Queen and Red Hot Chili Peppers. To say that these songs stretch the concept of mashable genres is an understatement. Contributors include Wax Audio, MadMixMustang, DJ Morgoth and Divide and Kreate. Best track has to come when DJ Schmolli brings the haunting guitar lilt of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” and fills it with a slowed down Billy Idol singing “White Wedding.” The result is astounding. Don’t Sleep On: “Wicked Wedding” by DJ Schmolli (Chris Isaak v. Billy Idol v. HIM) “The Low Anthem” by Bass 211 (Flo Rida v. Pitbull) and “Dance Dreams” by Divide and Kreate (Eurythmics v. Lady Gaga)

Michael Jackson: With the unfortunate and untimely death of Michael Jackson last month, I decided to go back and flesh out my Jackson music collection. Sure, I had Thriller and parts of Bad, but I was still missing a large chunk of music from the Jackson 5 days as well as the tracks he did as part of The Jacksons. In all of these outings, Michael’s voice is distinct and easy to pick out, and his energy serves to carry most of the songs. So if you’re looking for some tracks you may not have heard, Don’t Sleep On: “Too Late to Change the Time,” (Jackson 5) “State of Shock,” (The Jacksons) “Another Part of Me” (Michael Jackson)

Jay-Z vs. Led Zeppelin, DJ Doc Rok: By taking the lyrics from Jay-Z’s soundtrack to American Gangster and mashing them with various Led Zeppelin songs, Doc Rok succeeds again in creating an album that can stand on its own. Darker and more subdued than the 50 Cent album, this outing utilizes Zeppelin songs like “Immigrant,” “No Quarter,” “Tangerine,” and “Kashmir.” The result is a new way to think of Jay-Z, liberated from much of the standard hip-hop and rap tracks he’s been tied to, the guitars and gritty classic Rock from Led Zeppelin provide a new canvas which comes off fresh. Don’t Sleep On: “Success/Moby Dick,” “Party Life/I’m Gonna Leave You,” “No Hook/Tangerine”

Party Vol. 25 (Mash-Up Your Bootz), Various Artists: Where the 2007 and 2008 span every genre, what you find most on this party album are mashes primarily utilizing hip-hop, dance and rock. DJ Lobsterdust brings The Police and Coldplay together while DJ BC brings together George Harrison, L’il Kim and Notorious B.I.G. The nice part of this album is that all of it is danceable and will appeal to most anyone on the dance floor. When Gloria Gaynor and Fall Out Boy meet each other at the hands of Mighty Mike, just about anything is possible. Don’t Sleep On: “Get the Day ‘n’Night Started” by Pheugoo (Pink v. Kid Cudi), “Beautiful Journey” by DJ MashUP (Journey v. Akon) and “Lady and the Usher” by Divide and Kreate (Usher v. Ladyhawke)

American Idol’s (Lowest Rated Ever) Results Show

Unless you live under a seriously big heavy rock or have been too busy circumnavigating the new Facebook phishing scam, areps.at [Author’s note: Seriously guys? You don’t have anything better to do than proliferate that destructive crap? C’mon. wtf?] or reading up on the NFL love triangle murder cold case [also….wtf?] or, I dunno, participating in real life or something, then you MAY have noticed that Wednesday night was the American Idol finale show! Oooooohhhhh.

Ok so, for the sake of transparency I’ll admit that I am not nearly as anti-AI as many of my cohorts. I can sit totally riveted through an entire two hour show no problem. (Just as easily as I can sit through Dancing With The Stars or So You Think You Can Dance or pretty much any other performance-related competition). But alas, I did not. So I dare not speak with any sort of authority on the matter. Nor have I watched the show this season, other than a clip here and there.

That said, let’s examine some of the facts.

The (gasp!) underdog wins and jaws drop around the world. Who knew? Despite the runner up’s consistent praise from the judges, his ambiguous androgynous glam rock sex pot appeal, his made-for-stardom stage presence, and his exceedingly obvious popularity, when it came down to it the voters went with the safe, boy-next-door, I am Jack Johnson/John Mayer/[insert any saccharine-laden male pop artist here], humble country boy. What does that say about television? About America (at least as represented by AI voters)? About the state of pop music today? About the ability of our nation to embrace a sassy, androgynous individualist?

Well, regardless of what it says about the political/musical/social/moral climate of the country, the climate of American Idol viewership is, in no uncertain terms, cooling. Wednesday night’s episode was the lowest results show rating ever apparently. Perhaps AI has passed its prime. Shall it go out on a still fairly high high note? Or should it keep on truckin as long as there are enough viewers watching to keep the money-making machine and all its sponsors in business?

For those of you reading this who also, somewhere along the line, became fans of runner-up Adam Lambert, we naturally have to wonder what is next in store for him? I doubt he’d have any trouble shimmying off the Idol stage and right into the arms of a record label ready to lap up his every ripple of stardom (all the while molding him into what they think will sell). Or maybe he’ll do something really unique and different? (Afterall, he is an individualist…) Personally I’m picturing some kind of cross between Scissor Sisters, KISS, Lady Gaga, Billy Idol and David Bowie…

Billy Idol @ The Fillmore 6/26/08

Turns out I like love Billy Idol. Not that I ever disliked him, but I never really made it past recognizing his songs on the radio.

That all changed on Thursday.

Since I have a policy of pretty much never turning down free stuff, I jumped at the opportunity to check out Idol’s show at The Fillmore when someone offered me two free tickets, despite already having plans for the evening.

After hitting up the SF Mag Best of the Bay party at the Concourse for a bit (where there was everything from free samples from awesome restaurants, silent auctions, and a Rock Band corner to dancing, free drinks and goody bags…fun times), we cruised over to Fillmore and caught maybe the last hour of the show.

Billy Idol @ The Fillmore
(crappy iPhone photo)

I’ve only been to The Fillmore a handful of times – if I remember correctly, I’ve seen Hieroglyphics, Medeski Martin & Wood, and Reel Big Fish there – but it’s probably one of my favorite concert venues, with its unique atmosphere, chandeliers etc. The audience on Thursday seemed to be made up of primarily hardcore fans who were fist-pumping and singing along to all the songs. I actually knew most of them, so he must have been singing hit after hit.

I couldn’t help but marvel at how good he looks. Still superbly fit and incredibly energetic, Idol struck me as the ultimate performer. Whether he is truly as passionate about live shows as he was early in his career, or he is just doing his job and doing it well, the man knows how to put on a show. Steve Stevens, with his retardedly good guitar playing and silly antics was impressive as well.

Check out the review by hardrockchick for more. Great venue, great vibe, great show. Billy Idol, you can officially count me among the ranks of your fans now. Hot in the City is right!

Classic 80’s Idol video below:


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