Till My News Release Falls Off 12.02.03

Daniels asked me to sit in for him this week as he helps Widro put the finishing touches on 411 Black, set to launch NEXT MONDAY. I’ll kind of stick with my normal format, in this news-heavy edition of “Till My Head Falls Off” – enjoy!

Oh, but before you do that, make sure to check some of these out:

— Jeff feels bad that he doesn’t pimp anyone this week, so this should make him feel even worse!

— Jacob Ziegler has a review up for the latest from the Beatles, and I think it’s telling that even though he doesn’t seem to like the new version of Let It Be, he still gives it a 7 rating out of 10. Just goes to show you that it’s impossible for Beatles music to stink. Oh, and I disagree with him, I think it’s a good listen, and even though we’ll never know what “the Beatles truly wanted this album to sound like,” at least some of the Philler is stripped away, and us fans have an alternative take at the last release from possibly the greatest rock band ever…

— I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring your eyes over to the latest from Dr. Katz.

— I care, Blottie! I care!

Phil (or is it Pete?) hits you up from Across the Pond…

— …and in 411’s other Zones, make sure you click over to the Wild Wild West, a most extraordinary DVD Rant, the latest from Figures, Comics and Games (oh my!), and last but not least, don’t forget to cross The Finish Line.

— Oh, and why haven’t you been here yet? Slackers.

For Your Listening Pleasure
Foo Fighters – The Colour and the Shape

Somehow, I left this one off of my Essentials column, even though whenever I decide to put this CD into my rotation, it stays for months.

News to You
I’m going to focus on news this week, so let’s just jump right into it…

— Starting off with some of the more bizarre music news, it looks like Michael Jackson’s psychic friend Uri Geller is having regrets for not having the foresight necessary to dissuade MJ from participating in the infamous Martin Bashir documentary. I think Alanis Morissette has a song about this type of thing. Nonetheless, Geller is regrettably doing the “I told you so dance” in interviews, as can be seen from this quote from MTV.com:

“I told him, ‘You’ll end up in jail,’ ” Geller said. “Not because he’s guilty … but because this behavior of inviting children into the bedroom, the behavior is unacceptable to the outside world, to the community, to society, and society gets very, very suspicious.”

Ya think so, Uri? All I have to say is as sad as this story is that if Michael is guilty, of course he should be locked away for a long, long time, but WHAT in the blue hell are these parents thinking letting their kid(s) spend the night at this 45 year old man’s house?

Oh, and if he’s innocent, there are quite a few people, from all sides of this situation, that ought to be held accountable.

And, can you believe that this week marks the 21 year anniversary of the release of Thriller? Man, those zombies must be rolling over in their graves…

— On the “should celebrities speak up or shut up?” front, Rolling Stone recently wrote a story about all of the rock stars that are getting together to support a variety of non-George W. Bush candidates for the 2004 presidential election. I’m not sure that this is news, however, since I can’t think of more than two or three musicians that have openly come out in support of a Republican politician since I’ve been old enough to vote, but in case you’re curious, the article can be found if you click here.

— In a music-meets-politics story that’s more along the lines of something I enjoy reporting on, several musicians including Beyoncé Knowles, Peter Gabriel, Brian May, Ms. Dynamite, Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) , the Corrs, and others including, of course, Bono, performed in an AIDS benefit this weekend in Cape Town, South Africa, in front of over 30,000. The concert was shown yesterday on MTV, so if you missed it… well, it will probably air three or four hundred more times this week.

DJ Quik is apparently wanted for burglary and allegedly assaulting his sister, and there is a $50,000 warrant out for his arrest. In a strange twist, this alleged incident occurred on November 2, yet the warrant for Quik wasn’t issued until yesterday…

— In a continuation of possibly the silliest hip-hop feud ever, an unreleased Eminem track entitled “Bully” has been making the rounds. Apparently there’s some guy named Benzino who can’t really rap, but writes songs about Eminem, and for some reason, Eminem keeps responding to him. This feud has gotten Benzino, also a co-founder of The Source more press then he could ever give himself. Rumors of a Benzino/Debbie Mathers romance have not been confirmed.

— In sad news, Celine Dion’s father, Adehmar Dion, died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday. He was 80 years old. The youngest of his 12 children, Celine has cancelled her December 3 and 4 Las Vegas shows, but plans to return to the stage on December 5. Concertgoers should expect a set of several sad, yearning, theatrical songs that should bring them to tears. In other words, the same as last week.

— The 2003 Billboard Music Awards finalists have been announced. Wow, I couldn’t care less about an awards show. I mean, at least with the GRAMMYs and American Music Awards, I can enjoy seeing who wins, and then complain about how whoever selected the nominees “didn’t know what they were doing” or “are old, short-sighted fogies” who “only voted for him because he’s dead”… but can someone please tell me the point of an awards show that has absolutely no suspense, with winners based solely on their position on the Billboard Charts (i.e., more or less based on total album sales)? Anyway, if you’re interested, here is the complete list of finalists for the awards, which will be presented on December 10 in Las Vegas:

2003 Billboard Music Awards Finalists

Album of the year:
50 Cent, “Get Rich Or Die Tryin'”
Dixie Chicks, “Home”
Norah Jones, “Come Away With Me”
Shania Twain, “Up!”

Artist of the year:
50 Cent
R. Kelly
Sean Paul
Justin Timberlake

Duo/group artist of the year:
3 Doors Down
Dixie Chicks
Linkin Park
Matchbox Twenty

New artist of the year:
Beyoncé
Chingy
Evanescence
Justin Timberlake

Hot 100 single of the year:
50 Cent, “In Da Club”
Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Crazy In Love”
R. Kelly, “Ignition”
Sean Paul, “Get Busy”

R&B/Hip-Hop artist of the year:
50 Cent
Aaliyah
Jay-Z
R. Kelly

R&B/Hip-Hop duo/group of the year:
B2K
Dru Hill
Floetry
Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz

R&B/Hip-Hop new artist of the year:
Beyoncé
Chingy
Floetry
Heather Headley

Rap artist of the year:
50 Cent
Chingy
Fabolous
Sean Paul

Rock artist of the year:
3 Doors Down
Audioslave
Disturbed
Trapt

Modern rock artist of the year:
Audioslave
Chevelle
Foo Fighters
Linkin Park

Country artist of the year:
Dixie Chicks
Toby Keith
Tim McGraw
Shania Twain

Best-selling single of the year:
American Idol Finalists, “God Bless The U.S.A.”
Clay Aiken, “This Is the Night” / “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Kid Rock featuring Allison Moorer, “Picture”
Ruben Studdard, “Flying Without Wings” / “Superstar”

Hot 100 Male artist of the year:
50 Cent
R. Kelly
Sean Paul
Justin Timberlake

Hot 100 female artist of the year:
Aaliyah
Christina Aguilera
Ashanti
Beyoncé

Hot 100 duo/group artist of the year:
3 Doors Down
Dixie Chicks
Matchbox Twenty
Santana

Hot 100 producer of the year:
R. Kelly
Steven “Lenky” Marsden
The Neptunes
Timbaland

Internet artist of the year:
Josh Groban
Norah Jones
Dave Matthews
Rod Stewart

Digital track of the year:
Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Crazy In Love”
Black Eyed Peas, “Where is The Love?”
Coldplay, “Clocks”
OutKast, “Hey Ya!”

VH1.com, RollingStone.com, Undercover.com and Billboard.com were used as sources for these stories.

The New Releases
It doesn’t seem like a very busy week as far as Holiday Season new releases go, but nonetheless here is a taste of some of the most notable albums that you should be able to find at your favorite online or bricks-and-mortar retailer starting today, according to Billboard.com:

Alberto Plaza – Febrero 14
Alicia Keys – Diary of Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys – Diary of Alicia Keys [Bonus DVD]
Atomic Rooster – In Hearing of Atomic Rooster
Coco B’S/Eskimohunter – Fast Trak Holy Nova Symphony
David Bowie – Best of Bowie [Bonus DVD]
Dirty Rig – Blood, Sweat and Beer Make America Strong
Glossary – How to Handle Our Midnights
James Yorkston – Someplace Simple [EP]
John Hammond – Footwork
Kinky – Atlas
L.A. Carnival – Pose a Question
Oregon – Distant Hills
Oregon – Music of Another Present Era
Paris – Devil Made Me Do It
Paris – Guerrilla Funk
Paris – Sleeping With the Enemy
Paulina Rubio – Historia
Paulina Rubio – Historia [Bonus DVD]
Pillar – Broken Down: The EP [EP]
Raphael – De Vuelta
The 101 – 101
The Hollies – Long Road Home: The 40th Anniversary Collection
The Honorary Title – Honorary Title
The Iditarod & Sharron Kraus – Yuletide
The Volebeats – Country Favorites
They Walk Among Us – Mathematics, Art in Progress
Trace Adkins – Comin on Strong
Various Artists – Tooth & Nail 10th Anniversary
Wax Poetic – Nublu Sessions

Notable releases for next week (December 9, 2003): Ruben Studdard, The Offspring, Westside Connection..

That about wraps it up for me this week. I hope all of you who celebrated it had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Oh, and a happy birthday to Bette Midler… I know you’re reading!

Until next time…

peace. love. moe.

– Matt

Matthew Michaels’s Till My Head Falls Off can be found weekly on 411 Music (old columns are archived in the pull-down menu below each column). Already hit everything on 411? You can find more from Matthew Michaels at moodspins and 1-42.