Category Archives: Music

Lloyd Weber To Make A New “Phantom”

Sequels, especially to classics, are tricky things.  Hopefully this won’t be a terrible, horrible mistake:

Andrew Lloyd Weber has announced a sequel to his massively successful "Phantom of the Opera" that will be set at Coney Island.

Weber’s new production, "Love Never Dies," is due to open in London in March of next year.

Lee and Lifeson on That Metal Show

For you Rush fans out there, there’s an interview with Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson on the site for VH1’s That Metal Show.  The video for the episode is in three parts, and the Rush interview starts right at the 3 minute mark in Part 1, in case you want to jump right to it. 

One humorous moment, regarding the inclusion of Tom Sawyer in the game Rock Band 2, Geddy observes that it’s terrific way for younger audiences to be introduced to bands they might otherwise not encounter, but:

Lifeson: “We need to rehearse a little more [on the game].” 
Lee: “We tried it once, and we were really bad.”
Interviewer: “So you guys didn’t sound like the original guys?”
Lee: “Not at all.”
Lifeson: “We didn’t even look like the original guys!”

(Via Power Windows.)

A Ringtone A Day…

…is a web site that delivers exactly what it promises:  free iPhone ringtones every day delivered via RSS feed.  The quality of the tunes delivered is great, and the feeds is set up so they appear auto-magically in the selection list in your phone’s settings.  I like it.

Apple’s Latest iPhone Ad is Brilliant

The format of the ads in the series, as may you know, are that they posit one of those little problems in modern life, then demo an iPhone apps that solves the problem.   In this latest ad, the problem is, “you know when you don’t know what song is playing, and it’s driving you crazy?” and the app demonstrated is Shazam, one of several iPhone apps that will identify a song based on listening to several seconds of it playing.

Where it gets clever is that they incorporate the hooky tune that’s been the instrumental background for all of the iPhone 3G ads as if it’s being played out of a speaker on screen—then identify the song just like Shazam would.  So the commercial itself is not only actually useful to people who like the song, it gives proper credit to the artists, which you rarely see in TV ads.  (The song is “You Me and the Bourgeoisie” by The Submarines, by the way).  Then, at the touch of the screen, the ad transitions seamlessly into the vocal version of the song (also clever), which swells to fill your TV’s speakers as the AT&T and Apple logos appear.  It’s very well done. 

Of course, the song itself is about the materialism and excess of those of us in the developed world—how if we love more we need fewer physical things, and how “we not living the good life / Unless we’re fighting the good fight.”  Yet it has become the theme song for one of the most well known, most influential mass market commercial products in recent memory, sold by a company built on selling premium electronics to the bourgeoisie?  I think if I wrote the song, and really felt its message, that might annoy me a bit.  On the other hand… if you’re an indie band from LA, and you can get over the philosophical implications… how cool would it be to have one of your songs picked as the theme song for one of the most well known, most influential mass market commercial products in recent memory?

One last thought.  I went online and bought the song immediately after hearing the ad; I’ve always like the instrumental version, and I liked the vocal version even more.  But I bought it from the Amazon MP3 store, not from iTunes.  Know why?  DRM.  I’ve gotten into the habit of buying from Amazon instead of iTunes, because I won’t tolerate someone else trying to lock up my music.  As it turns out, “You Me and the Bourgeoisie” is an iTunes Plus track—it has no DRM.   Too bad for Apple I didn’t know that—their ad did a great job of closing a sale for their competition.  Getting rid of DRM sooner, rather than later?  Probably a good idea.

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Rush On The Colbert Report

“The band Rush is here.  Either that, or a drum factory exploded in my studio.”  In case you missed it, as I did, Rush appeared on The Colbert Report last week, their first television appearance in 30 years.  The complete episode is available here online.  Stephen’s first interview question: “You’ve been touring for over 30 years.  Do you ever get tired of being so awesome, and kicking so much ass?”

‘Ode to Joy’ as performed by The Muppets’ Beaker

A Reputable Source

I am flattered to be referenced in the recent Rolling Stone article on overcompression in audio mastering.  It’s about time they caught on.

A Man, A Plan… Wierd Al

“The Lord of the Rings”

While I was in London recently I went to see a musical that I was intrigued by: “The Lord of the Rings”. As a moderate fan of the somewhat windy novel, and a major fan of the nearly perfect movie series, I wondered how the sprawling story could ever be crunched down into a three-hour stage presentation.

To be perfectly honest, I think that for anyone without a grounding in the story, this musical will be confusing and inpenetrable. Even though it has been remarkably streamlined, (Rohan? What’s that?) there’s still a lot of characters and peoples and places to try and keep up with.

How does it stack up for Tolkienphiles? I wasn’t particularly annoyed by any choices they made. It almost seems as if they went out their way to reintroduce aspects of the original story that Peter Jackson left behind. (Saruman’s plan to overthrow Sauron, the scouring of the Shire, even a quick mention of Tom Bombadil) It’s pretty drastically cut down, but the essence is still there.

As a technical stage production, it was quite good. The costumes and “sets” are all well done. And the stage itself, with counter-rotating multi-level sections rising and falling, does a nice job of simulating mountains and castles and whatnot. The representation of the giant spider Shelob gave me chills.

As a musical, it was okay, nothing special. The performers sang well enough, but I won’t be rushing out to buy the CD.

I’m glad I saw it, but I can’t really recommend it to anyone unless they really are Tolkien completists.