Rock 'n' roll is at its best when it is a spirited dialogue
between people who passionately care about the music. To that end,
this column occasionally runs feedback from its readers, and it's
time once again to dive into the mailbag!
I just saw your article
about Jay-Z [Nov. 24] and I really don't agree at all with you. He
is preaching to the youth in the 'hood on the song "30 Something"
("30's the new 20"). I have been living hip-hop since I was 10 and I
am now 32. If you are hip-hop and not just a listener, I can respect
the 1½ stars you gave this album.
Orical Films, via e-mail
Hi, Jim: As a boomer somewhat older than you, I took keen
interest in your review of the Beatles' "Love" remixes [Nov. 21].
Actually, I find it quite the same in concept as "The Grey Album":
interesting experimentation but not worthy of repeated listenings. I
really think there is a certain historical/cultural significance to
rock music, especially something as versatile and comprehensive as
the Beatles catalog. Thus, I really think that if younger listeners
need remixes or a funky beat added in order to appreciate music that
is so important, they will fail to truly appreciate it. It is always
the pristine originals that truly matter to anyone attempting to
appreciate music (or film, literature, etc.).
James L. Neibaur
Just read your article about "Love." If you want to hear an
actual Beatles mash-up, you should go to claytoncounts.com.
Clayton is a Texan who spent many years in Chicago who has mashed up
"Sgt. Pepper's" with the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds," much to the
delight of some and the disgust of others.
Dear Jim: It was apropos to include Moby's 1993 "Ambient"
CD as a paramount ambient record [Nov. 10]. Under the name of Voodoo
Child, Moby released a brilliantly poignant 1996 ambient CD titled
"The End of Everything," and with a limited edition of his
thrash-rock 1996 "Animal Rights" CD, he included a wondrously
melancholic nine-track ambient disc. The Christian vegan is much
more profound, eclectic and multitalented than many pundits believe!
Brien Comerford, Glenview
I read your interview with John Legend [Nov. 5] and I loved it. I
would consider myself a fan, and I love his music and his artistry.
I have noticed some changes in his style and approach between the
current album, "Once Again," and his previous album, "Get Lifted."
He is still very soulful, but the sound is much more experimental
and incorporates many different music genres. I went to the concert
[in November], which was fabulous! I must say that I have also
noticed an improvement in his stage presence and performance from
last year to this year: He has gotten so much more comfortable and
his voice is flawless onstage. The band and the backup singers are
wonderful. I just wanted to say thanks for a great article and thank
you so much for promoting good music.
I have disagreed with your criticism before, but your review of
"Boys and Girls in America" by the Hold Steady [Oct. 15] was totally
ridiculous and proves that you know nothing about rock music.
I guess Courtney Love's last album was worthy of more than one star,
but one of the best albums of the year isn't? Maybe Craig Finn has
sent you some Ryan Adams' phone messages? Otherwise, there is no
Just read your review of the Paul Simon concert [Oct. 18], and I
agree with you 100 percent. While I'm glad I went, I came away quite
disappointed. I appreciate and respect his daring and the need to
give a fresh sound to older songs, but many of those songs in their
original form are perfect to begin with and need no updating. The
"recent" stuff of the past 15 years or so is still so fresh, it
sounds great the way it was originally recorded. Unlike you, I found
the reworked material from "Surprise," which I think is a great
album, annoying, though his solo performance of "War Time Prayer"
The overall result left me frequently wondering what is that song
and why is he screwing it up? What was he thinking? Interesting,
too, that you picked up on the New York ennui vibe. I wonder if he
even knew he was in the Chicago area -- or maybe he did and that's
what he thinks of the "sticks"? What a shame. Maybe he hasn't shaken
his case of tortured artist syndrome.
Jeff Ferenc, Lombard
Regarding your Kevin Federline (inset) concert review [Nov. 9]: I
can't believe the Sun-Times actually made you go to that concert.
Did you lose a bet?
I'll admit, I was not blown away by the Killers [in October at
the Congress Theater], but I still think you were off base with your
pan [Oct. 19]. First, I think the Springsteen they are emulating
goes back a lot further than "Born in the U.S.A."; the single "When
You Were Young" is much more "Born to Run." The bridge and breaks
are practically out of the Springsteen songbook. And if the reaction
to Brandon Flowers from the women around me at the show were any
gauge, he's no "everyman schlub." Now, I'll give you that he needs
to polish his act, but compared to the rest of them, he's the show.
Yeah, so the show didn't give me fits of aural delight. It's a
crap venue. Still, it was overall more enjoyable than a lot of other
crap I've seen out there these days. The Killers might not have
perfected their style or their act, but I think it's more honest and
coming from a place that a lot more acts would do well to at least
try to find.
You are a complete and utter stooge! I have seen most of the
great bands live, and the Killers rocked [at the Congress Theater].
Brandon Flowers is one of the great frontmen in the world today, and
I'm not the only one that thinks that (check out the Bono interview
with NME last June). Oh, wait, maybe you have not heard of Bono:
He's in a band called U2. If you ever get a chance to perform to a
large crowd, you will only then realize how unreal Flowers is.