Jay-Z, 'Love,' Legend inspire readers to write

December 1, 2006


  • 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 1 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.

    Jamie Drier

    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.

    Lorraine Gibson

    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 other explanation.

    Michael Howe

    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" was stunning.

    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?

    Brendan McKillip

    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.

    Dave Gulbransen

    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.

    Chris Eden