Latest Blog Posts

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

15 Apr 2011


Mendelsohn: Klinger, this is the fifth time we will be talking about a Beatles album here at Counterbalance and we haven’t got out of the top 30. Think about that for a second. This one band put out a string of six records from 1965 to 1969—four years, six records—and all but one ended up in the top 30 of the Great List. Nearly one-fifth of all the records we’ve gone over so far were Beatles records.

Klinger: Assuming you’re not counting Yellow Submarine, which you’re justified in doing, you’re correct. Not only that, but the one that got away was originally only released as an EP in the UK. Capitol for once in its life showed foresight, stringing together a few stray singles and making Magical Mystery Tour a full-length LP upon its release in 1967. So it could be argued that the Beatles went 1.000 in the UK from ’65 to ’69.

by Evan Sawdey

14 Apr 2011


Photo: Quang Le

Let’s briefly discuss the two careers of Travie McCoy.

The first one involves his band, Gym Class Heroes.  Formed in 1997 with his long-time friend Matt McGinley, the group is best described as “alternative hip-hop”—they mix quirky lyrics, samples, and left-field cameos with tracks ranging from party anthems to somewhat more thoughtful meditations.  After being signed to Fueled By Ramen, the band really broke through with their 2006 sophomore album As Cruel as School Children, which generated single after single, ranging from the Patrick Stump-assisted “Cupid’s Chokehold” to the Rockwell-sampling “Clothes Off!”.  The album was a hit, and spurred the band to record the more rock-oriented 2008 The Quilt, which debuted in the Billboard Top 20.

by Sean Murphy

14 Apr 2011


“Good poets borrow; great poets steal.” That’s according to the great T.S. Eliot. Or is it?

Debate rages (well, amongst the handful of people who are aware of—or care about—quotations like this, or literature in general) as to who actually said it. Pablo Picasso occasionally gets the attribution, as does the critic Lionel Trilling (replacing poets with artists in his version).  So, even trying to correctly identify the ultimate epigram about plagiarism can lead to charges of… plagiarism. Brilliant! And, upon reflection, could it be any other way?

by Corey Beasley

12 Apr 2011


What else to say about the early demise of LCD Soundsystem? The blogosphere already let the digital tears roll with eulogies ranging from the fantastically extensive to the cut-and-dry to, yes, remarks from the naysayers. For those who couldn’t make either the week-long victory lap at Terminal 5 or the final blow out at Madison Square Garden on April 2, setlists and reviews and videos abound. The show at MSG was as explosive and far-reaching as promised, a sea of black and white (and occasional spots of color from those who either didn’t get the memo or were too embarrassed to indulge in some fan-boy dress code respect) and palpable energy, even when James Murphy scrounged deeply into his pockets to pull out b-sides rarely or never heard live (“Freak Out/Starry Eyes”, anyone?).

But LCD Soundsystem was always tremendous live, so none of that should be any surprise. What is actually astonishing—not surprising, but really something to stand back and look at without the sense of irony that surrounds so much of our dialogue about indie music—is how this outpouring of love for the band reveals just how much LCD Soundsystem came to mean to so many people over a relatively short amount of time. It’s no real mystery how James Murphy pulled it off: he’s a damn good songwriter and a seemingly tireless workhorse, to boot. Still, how many bands in 2011 could call it quits and hear such an immense gasp of real sadness from every corner of the globe? We’re talking genuine emotion on the Internet, folks—and on a massive scale. Chew on that one for a second.

by George de Stefano

11 Apr 2011


“Wang Dang Doodle” fades to the sound of Hubert Sumlin’s guitar and Howlin’ Wolf’s promise that the wild party will go “all night long, all night long”. With “Little Baby”, the mood shifts from riotous to playful and affectionate, as Wolf pledges total devotion to his love, in good times and bad. “You go and I’ll come with you little baby / You go and I’ll come with you/you bet your life that I won’t quit you”, he declares. He’ll stick by Little Baby even if she runs afoul of the law and gets locked up: “You go to court / And I’ll come along / You’ll go to jail / And I’ll go your bond / You got time, tell you what I’ll do / Stay outside and wait for you”. But this love affair, and Wolf’s devotion, rests, at least partly, on the cash nexus: “You get paid / I’ll hold the money”; “You bet the horses / And I’ll pick up the dough”.

“Little Baby”, by Willie Dixon, is a well-crafted, catchy pop tune with clever lyrics. Howlin’ Wolf sounds like he’s having a great time with it; unlike other Dixon tunes whose words he sometimes messed up, here he gives the wryly comic lyrics their full due. You’d never guess that the partnership between singer and songwriter was so fraught with anger and resentment.

//Mixed media
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Supernatural Sets the Stage for Season Finalé With “There's Something About Mary”

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