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by PopMatters Staff

13 Feb 2009

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
I don’t like the latest books and movies, but I always cry when I see Now Voyager and at leat 10 other black and white movies made before 1940.

2. The fictional character most like you?
Blanche Dubois from A Streetcar Named Desire because life drove her crazy, too.

3. The greatest album, ever?
John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (1963) and Coltrane’s Lush Life, which is the last time that John Coltrane played and I could understand it.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek, because I remember the first episode and went through all of the others with them. Star Wars was made by children.

5. Your ideal brain food?
Champagne.

by Jason Gross

12 Feb 2009

Billboard put out its own list of top music money makers, with the top five with their dollar figures below:

1. Madonna: $242,176,466
2. Bon Jovi: $157,177,766
3. Bruce Springsteen: $156,327,964
4. The Police: $109,976,894
5. Celine Dion: $99,171,237

Here’s some more numbers for you: 50, 46, 59 and 40.  That’s the ages of numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5 on the list.  Sting’s 57 but his group has disbanded again.  As you move down the list, you see an interesting age spread:

6. Kenny Chesney: $90,823,990 (age 40)
7. Neil Diamond: $82,174,000 (age 68)
8. Rascall Flatts: $63,522,160 (ages 38, 37, 33)
9. Jonas Brothers: $62,638,814 (ages 21, 19, 16)
10. Coldplay: $62,175,555 (ages 31, 31, 30, 30)
11. The Eagles: $61,132,213 (ages 60, 61, 61, 61)
12. Lil Wayne: $57,441,334 (age 26)
13. AC/DC: $56,505,296 (ages 61, 53, 56, 59, 54)
14. Michael Buble: $50,257,364 (age 33)
15. Miley Cyrus: $48,920,806 (age 16)
16. Taylor Swift: $45,588,730 (age 19)
17. Journey: $44,787,328 (ages 54, 60, 58, 43, 41)
18. Billy Joel: $44,581,010 (age 59)
19. Mary J. Blige: $43,472,850 (age 38)
20. Kanye West: $42,552,402 (age 31)

You see the problem here, right?  A lot of top earners are entering their golden years, which brings into question how much longer they’re going to be able to stay in the game.  Of course, everyone ages differently and some of them are going to still play as long as they can but as any AARP member can tell you (and some of us who aren’t quite there yet), the body and mind have a funny way of giving out little by little. 

Even with tens of millions of dollars to buy you the best health care (unlike most of us can afford), there’s no guarantee that any of the middle-aged-or-older stars is still going to be able to keep doing music in 10-15 years time.  Will Bruce still be able to do marathon sets at age 75?  How much of a Grand Dame will Madonna be at 65?  Will the girls still find Bon Jovi cute at 60?  Honestly, I hope that all of them will still be able to hit the road then but even for seemingly tireless performers like these, they’re gonna start to feel it in time.

Maybe they’d have to cut back on touring or just cut it out period but that’s where most of their money comes from, and that was true even before album sales tanked so badly in the last few years.

As for Taylor, Miley and the Jonases, there’s no guarantee that their stars are still gonna shine bright in say 5-10 years from now (I think the first two have a good shot at it at least).

Right now, the safest bets are the performers who have a solid track record and still have some relative youth in ‘em: Wayne, Kanye, Mary J., Coldplay.

by Sarah Zupko

12 Feb 2009

Elizabeth Willis is a classically trained violinist and pianist who began playing at the age of four. Yet, she left that behind to focus on pop music composition. Given her classical background, it’s not surprising that Willis sought vocal instruction when she realized she’d need to sing her songs. Lead single “One” from her self-titled album drew praise from Ludacris after he discovered the tune on his WeMix.com web site. “One” is a beautifully constructed song with rich strings, moody piano and a rather melancholoy atmosphere. Willis credits Russian music as a major influence and one can hear those minor chord shadings and Slavic moodiness being a prime driver of “One”.

Elizabeth Willis
One [MP3]
     

by Michael Kabran

12 Feb 2009

Recently, new age music got a major dose of street cred courtesy of an unlikely source. Though it wasn’t televised or even publicized all that much, legendary jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette snagged the 2009 Grammy for—get this—best new age album.

You may remember DeJohnette as the man holding down the beat for several little known musicians like Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and some guy called Miles Davis. Over the years, DeJohnette has tackled and mastered nearly every type of jazz and pop form, from free jazz and fusion to rock and R&B. Now, we can add new age to that list.

I must admit that new age music has never been at the top of my list. Embarrassingly for a music critic, I’ve always viewed it the way people look at abstract art: It’s pretty, but what’s so special about something my four-year-old nephew could do. If music were a collection of animals, new age would surely be the snail. Slow and methodical, it seems to rarely change its pace and direction. If jazz is the epitome of spontaneous, exciting, and emotional music, new age always seemed like the opposite—stagnant, boring, and devoid of genuine feeling. A not-so-scientific look at the past Grammy winners for best new age album reveals names like Paul Winter, Enya, and the Clannad. Accomplished musicians in their own right, but not exactly the artists that speak for a generation. Jack DeJohnette is another story.

by Sarah Zupko

12 Feb 2009

Marissa Nadler’s “River of Dirt” is a haunting, melancholy tune from her upcoming Kemado release Little Hells (March 3). The video for the song was directed by Joana Linda and evokes the feelings of loneliness and homesickness in the lyrics via scenes of wide open spaces and pensive expressions.

 

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