The Doors and Various Artists When You’re Strange (Songs From The Motion Picture)
Releasing: 6 April
Tom DiCillo’s new documentary about the Doors explores the band’s history and provides new insight on the impact the classic rock legends made on music. The documentary was narrated by Johnny Depp, who also provides audio for the film’s soundtrack (he reads a selection of Jim Morrison’s poetry). The album is now streaming over on Spinner and includes interviews and live performances by the band.
01 Poem: Cinema - By Johnny Depp
02 Poem: The Spirit of Music - By Johnny Depp
03 Moonlight Drive
04 Poem: The Doors of Perception - By Johnny Depp
05 Break On Through [To The Other Side] [Live at The Isle
06 Poem: A Visitation Of Energy - By Johnny Depp
07 Light My Fire [Live on The Ed Sullivan Show] [Mono]
08 To Be a Real Superstar [Interview Segment] - By Jim
09 Five To One
10 Poem: Wasting the Dawn - By Johnny Depp
11 When The Music’s Over [Live on Danish TV] [Mono]
12 The Four Of Us Are Musicians / I’d Like Them To Listen
13 Hello, I Love You
14 Dead Serious [Interview Segment] - By Jim Morrison
15 People Are Strange
16 Poem: Inside the Dream - By Johnny Depp
17 Soul Kitchen
18 Poem: We Have Been Metamorphosized - By Johnny
19 Poem: Touch Scares - By Johnny Depp
20 Touch Me
21 Poem: Naked We Come - By Johnny Depp
22 Poem: O Great Creator of Being - By Johnny Depp
23 The End
24 Poem: The Girl of the Ghetto - By Johnny Depp
25 L A Woman
26 Poem: Crossroads - By Johnny Depp
27 Roadhouse Blues
28 Poem: Ensenada - By Johnny Depp
29 Riders on the Storm
30 Poem: As I Look Back - By Johnny Depp
31 The Crystal Ship
32 Poem: Goodbye America - By Johnny Depp
Releasing: 13 April
Recording the follow-up to your critically-acclaimed debut album has to be a nerve-wracking affair. As a band, do you go with the same sound/formula you used on the first record? Or, do you venture outside the box and approach things from a completely different perspective? On MGMT’s sophomore album Congratulations, they successfully manage to do both.
Currently streaming on their homepage, the duo’s new record is decorated with the same new wave synthesizer riffs and catchy pop melodies they used on their first album, Oracular Spectacular in 2008. But this time, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden have injected the album’s nine songs with a heavy dose of prog rock and ‘60s psychedelia (that is, more psychedelia than the first album).
01 It’s Working
02 Song for Dan Treacy
03 Someone’s Missing
04 Flash Delirium
05 I Found a Whistle
06 Siberian Breaks
07 Brian Eno
08 Lady Dada’s Nightmare
Though it doesn’t seem likely, or fair, the world has changed a lot in ten years. A decade ago, I stood in line at the local Best Buy to buy one of the most anticipated albums of the year: ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached. The place was more crowded than usual, and many people in line were buying it, but hardly anyone suspected that it would not only break a sales record, but also become the highest selling album of the decade. Since this was years before I had internet access, I learned the news of how well it sold a week later, when ‘N Sync appeared via satellite on Early Today. I was shocked then, but looking back on it now, I’m not.
Experts will tell us that it was the high point of a “teen pop” trend, when the combination of a high number of teenagers and a good economy equaled success. Truth is, I was that optimum age at the time, but I can tell you that many more factors were a part of it.
No Strings Attached was originally planned to come out in late 1999, but legal problems between the group and their former manager, who is currently doing jail time for fraud and tax evasion, led to postponements. This led to a slow simmer of promotion and hype that drove their fans wild. I remember sitting through the painfully stupid 1999 Radio Music Awards just because of the rumor that they would perform the first single off their new album. After that, a promotional blitz went on for months. Every TV talk show you could think of at the time had ‘N Sync on as guests, at some point it seemed like they were on TV at least once a day. “Bye Bye Bye” just seemed so different from everything else that was on the radio at the time. It was pop, but it had a slightly harder edge to it. It was insanely catchy, and it didn’t just appeal to teen girls. It spawned a still-cool music video featuring marionettes, attack dogs, a train, a revolving room, and a car chase, which in turn inspired toys, parodies, and even an animated “C” watch. All of this built up a crazed anticipation. When my mother went Christmas shopping that year, someone at the mall tried to sell her a supposed bootleg CD of it. Predictably, years later the recording industry blamed future low sales of other albums on illegal disc copying and MP3 file sharing websites.
In March of 2000, however, the compact disc was king. Stores still even had a section for cassettes, but records were only something you seen at garage sales. I paid $15.99 for my CD of No Strings Attached, though I thought the price was only high because it came with a free CD visor. A year later, a lawsuit was filed against record labels and retailers for conspiring to raise prices. The prices didn’t discourage the buying public, though. No Strings Attached broke a record by selling 2.4 million copies in its first week. It went on to sell over 10 million copies and stay on the Billboard charts for eight weeks straight, making it the best selling album of the last decade.
Critics either bashed it or felt indifferent to it at the time, but it was influential to my generation. The albums included the No.1 hit “It’s Gonna Be Me” and No.5 single “This I Promise You”. Nevertheless, the real talk was about the strong R&B influence on non-singles such as “It Makes Me Ill”, “Digital Get Down” and “Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)”, which featured a guest rap by TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who tragically died two years later. There was even a cover of Johnny Kemp’s “Just Got Paid”, which some people still think to this very day was an original. It was startling to me, and my parents, who wondered why I bought a “rap album”.
Though No Strings Attached will go down in history as a time capsule of its time, it’ll always hold special memories for me. I can remember listening to it as I did pre-algebra homework. I wrote my first review of anything when I entered a “Popstar!” magazine contest for the best reader review. I didn’t win that autographed pillow, but I never guessed that it would lead me to what I do today for PopMatters. I don’t think N’Sync will ever reform as a group and release another album someday, but if they do, I would like to review it for PopMatters, for old times’ sake.
Balkan Beat Box Blue Eyed Black Boy
(Nat Geo Music)
Releasing: 27 April
Ori Kaplan—ex-Gogol Bordello—formed the “gypsy-punk” band Balkan Beat Box some years ago, having released their debut album in 2005 and finding a steady and amazing audience since then. Their new album is Blue Eyed Black Boy, and it’s kind of a rollicking adventure through so many musical forms it’ll kind of leave your head spinning.
02 Move It
03 Blue Eyed Black Boy
04 Marcha de la Vida
05 Dancing With The Moon
07 My Baby
09 Look Them Act
11 Lijepa Mare
14 War Again
David Byrne and Fatboy Slim have united to create a 22-track opus entitled Here Lies Love, sketching the life of former First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, and her childhood servant Estrella Cumpas. When conceptualizing the album Byrne set out to emulate a night club setting. In the album’s introduction Byrne stated:
“The story I am interested in is about asking what drives a powerful person—what makes them tick? How do they make and then remake themselves? I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if—as this piece would be principally composed of clubby dance music—one could experience it in a club setting? Could one bring a ‘story’ and a kind of theater to the disco? Was that possible? If so, wouldn’t that be amazing!”
Each song’s lyrics are interpreted by a different vocalist, while Fatboy Slim and Byrne provide all of the beats. Featured artists include: Tori Amos, Steve Earle, Nicole Atkins, Sia, Martha Wainwright, Santigold, St Vincent, Florence Welch and more. Here Lies Love is due out 6 April 2010 on Todomundo/Nonesuch. Each album includes a 100-page book detailing the project and a DVD. More information, track listing and insight on the project can be found at: herelieslove.net.