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Showing posts from August, 2005

Rock Star: INXS -- week 7

Goodbye, Deanna. The contestant whom I had originally pegged as the standout performer during the first week was sent home the seventh week. At this point, it's no surprise at all. As the weeks went on, the husky-voiced singer showed little variety. She did what she did well, but it was all she did. However, she did get a great showcase on her final Tuesday night performance. She was able to perform her original composition "My Truth", a suitable blues-rock number that was co-written by her and Ty, in front of a worldwide audience of millions, and she did well. She has already lived many a musician's dream, and I'm almost certain we'll hear more from her in the future. When she sang the INXS song "Elegantly Wasted" on Wednesday night, her voice put a unique spin on the song, but it showed that she was not the appropriate person to become the full-time frontperson for INXS. But I hope to buy a Deanna Johnston CD someday.

My vote this week went to Ty. …

"Best of" albums

This article appeared in the Associated Press a few days ago:

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/music/wire/sns-ap-music-greatest-hits,0,5706787.story

It doesn't surprise me at all that "Best Of" collections are available for so many artists. You can usually see how well such CDs sell when you look at Billboard magazine's Top Pop Catalog Albums Chart:

http://www.billboard.com/bb/charts/popcat.jsp

It is a matter of free market demand, and I'm all for CD buyers having these types of choices and conveniences. The only thing that worries me is that catalog titles in general have reportedly not been selling well in recent years. If consumers continue to mainly buy compilations and avoid buying the artists' proper albums, it could lead to more albums going out of print.

Garth Brooks Albums to Only Be Sold at Wal-Mart

Today it was announced that country star Garth Brooks has signed a contract with Wal-Mart Stores that will make his CDs available exclusively at Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and their online outlets. Here is the AP article:

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/news/wire/sns-ap-people-garth-brooks,0,4298324.story?coll=sns-ap-entertainment-headlines

I have never been a fan of Brooks. I've always failed to understand the broad appeal of his generic country music, and I certainly find it incredible that he is one of the all-time best-selling recording artists. But that brings me to my point. If a recording artist as successful as Brooks is willing to sign on to a deal that will allow only one company to sell his CDs, will other artists follow suit? Time will tell, but I don't like the looks of this. This does not seem like a healthy thing for music retailers in general.

Rock Star: INXS -- week 6

How about that all-acoustic show? The eight performances on Tuesday night were quite a change of pace for this show. The songs were chosen for the singers, and all of them were performed acoustically, which presented dual challenges for them.

My vote went to Suzie this week, for her classy rendition of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me". (Evidently, my vote couldn't save her from the bottom three). Close runners-up were Ty for his soulful interpretation of Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" (although I agree that he should lose the tongue affectation) and Mig's solo piano performance of Peter Frampton's "Baby I Love Your Way" (although his inclusion of Jordis and Marty for the Wednesday night encore was a bit corny).

Deanna struggled through "I Can't Make You Love Me". Her voice is well-suited to the heartbroken country ballad, but she couldn't quite make it ache like Bonnie Raitt could. Jessica actually did fairly well with …

Joydrop with Tara Slone

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Tara Slone, the Rock Star: INXS contestant who was eliminated during the fourth week, is the former lead singer of a defunct Canadian band called Joydrop. Joydrop released two albums: Metasexual in 1998 and Viberate in 2001. Metasexual is currently in print. Viberate is out of print but isn't hard to find; I was able to find a factory sealed CD with relative ease.

Metasexual at once sounds modern and retro-'80's. Musically, it has traces of '90's alt-rock and ambient sounds. But Slone's opera-trained vocals are more reminiscent of '80's hair bands like Heart and Vixen. Slone avoids the '90's "riot-grrl" trend almost completely. In fact, the lyrics of "Fizz" seem to poke fun of the '90's alternative mentality. A few songs ("Spiders", "All Too Well") hint at post-Alanis angst, but Slone bears more vocal resemblance to Pat Benatar and Debbie Harry on those songs. The unexpected mixture of '80's…

Deconstruction (1994)

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Seeing Dave Navarro co-hosting Rock Star: INXS brought one of his lesser-known projects to mind. After the breakup of Jane's Addiction and before Navarro's recruitment by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Navarro and former Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery formed a short-lived trio called Deconstruction with a drummer named Michael Murphy. Their only album was the self-titled Deconstruction, released in 1994 on Rick Rubin's American Records label. The album is out of print, and has become the subject of Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #9:

http://rarebird9.net/deconstruction.html

Eric Avery was the main creative force behind Deconstruction. He was a fine bassist, but was far less skilled as a vocalist, lyricist, and band leader. He and Navarro shared vocal duties, but both of them had unappealing voices that sank the album. Navarro's guitar heroics are the only thing that redeem the long and labored Deconstruction album.

Rock Star: INXS -- week 5

I thought it would be Jessica who would go this week. Instead, it was Brandon. Jessica redeemed herself (again) after a forced performance of Nirvana's "Come As You Are" on Tuesday with a strong rendition of INXS' "Disappear" on Wednesday. She covers INXS songs better than she covers anyone else's, which has been the key to her survival up to this point. Brandon was given the task of singing the obscure INXS song "Don't Lose Your Head", from their out-of-print 1997 album Elegantly Wasted. His fate was sealed when he forgot the words to the band's song on judgment night. He never seemed like a top contender in this contest. Maybe he has a future as a Southern rocker. Has anyone from New West Records been watching?

My vote this week went to Marty. He took a very gutsy chance performing the Killers song "Mr. Brightside" acoustically and without the house band. It was a move that could have destroyed him if he didn't pull it o…

Rock Star: INXS -- week 4

Jordis! Jordis! Jordis! It's all about Jordis this week. Did you see Jordis? When I saw her emotional performance of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World" Tuesday night on Rock Star, I didn't feel like I was watching a 22-year old novice contestant on a reality show. I felt like I was watching a star. Jordis shone as brightly as a world-famous pop star on an awards show. As Dave Navarro and the INXS members said, I felt it. There's a new front-runner in town!

However, there were no slackers on Tuesday night's show. It was the most solid episode yet. The contestants were more aware than ever that one bad performance could be the end of them, so they sang for their lives. The bottom three was not a matter of who didn't perform well. It was a matter of who didn't measure up to the rest. Ty can be forgiven for a less-than-perfect performance of the Foo Fighters' "Everlong", a song he claims he never heard before(!). There's no wa…