Rock Doctors

Rock Doctors Couples Therapy & Opinions on Chris Cornell and Cursive

Jim and Greg briefly abandon their posts as critics to become the Rock Doctors. A young couple seeks help bridging the musical divide in their relationship.

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Music News

Capitol Hill continues to hear from the rock world this week as they conduct hearings on the Performance Rights Act. One of those testifying before our nation's lawmakers is Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan. Corgan is one of many artists who support a bill that would insure that musicians are paid for radio broadcast performances just as songwriters already are. As Jim and Greg explain, for a long time radio was able to respond to pleas for additional royalties by saying that radio airtime is like an advertisement for musicians. But, now that the landscape of radio has changed, they can no longer make this claim. Fewer and fewer artists are able to use radio as a publicity tool. What was Congress‘ response to this problem? Work it out and learn to play nice, because you can’t afford for us not to intervene.

In other royalty-related news, a verdict came down last week in a case that could have dramatically changed the way artists are paid for their music. Two Detroit producers who had a hand in Eminem's 1999 album The Slim Shady LP sued Universal Music over payments on ringtones and digital downloads. The producers claim they were shortchanged, but according to a Los Angeles jury, the label can continue doing business as usual. This was lucky news to the music industry, according to our hosts. In today's dying music business, digital revenue is looked at as a saving grace.


The Compact Disc

Rock Doctors

Thirty years ago this month, the team from Phillips developed the technology behind Compact Discs. Since the pressing of the first CD, the music industry has become completely revolutionized. By 1999 CDs brought in 15 billion dollars to record labels. But, that same technology has also lead to the industry's downfall.

To honor, and mourn, the CD in its old age, Jim and Greg each play a song that illustrates what the shiny disc has meant to them. Jim plays a song from the first album he purchased on CD, The Beatles' Revolver. Previously "And Your Bird Can Sing" was only available on the UK release, but after the advent of CDs, Jim was able to have it in the US.

Greg chooses to play "Get It Together," from the James Brown box set Star Time. For him the CD era was an opportunity to get access to music you might not otherwise hear. The labels were curating their back catalog with box sets of early Elvis or Robert Johnson.“Get It Together”was a track Greg searched for for years, and thanks to CDs, he got to hear it again.

rock doctors

Mag & Patrick

Jim and Greg know that not everyone can spend all their waking hours studying and discovering music. So as The Rock Doctors, they can help listeners ailing in the music department. This week's patients are Mag and Patrick, a young couple from Brooklyn. This is Jim and Greg's first stab at couple's therapy, and their task is to find music both Mag and Patrick can enjoy. Mag favors classic rock, while Patrick is a huge fan of Dave Matthews Band and Green Day.

Jim is interested in finding a Green Day equivalent that Mag can stomach. He recommends Texas punk band The Marked Men. Greg's prescription, Blitzen Trapper, has bluesy classic rock elements that Mag loves, as well as the strong lyrics Patrick appreciates.

Both patients diligently take their course of pills and report back a week later. Both Mag and Patrick absolutely loved the Blitzen Trapper. Mag was less high on The Marked Men, but says she‘d be willing to listen again as long as it was with Patrick. It sounds like the healing has begun, and that’s all the Doctors can ask for.

Unless you are a full-time rock critic, it can be difficult to maintain good musical health. That's where the Rock Doctors come in. Do you have a musical allergy or addiction? Or do you have a friend or relative who needs an intervention? The Sound Opinions clinic has its doors open​.

reviewScreamScream available on iTunes

Chris Cornell Scream

Former Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell has a surprising new solo album out this week. Scream was not produced by someone from the alternative rock world, but by hip hop super-producer Timbaland. The result is less than super, however. Jim even wonders if Cornell is playing a massive joke on everyone. It's sexist, insulting, and ten steps below a Trash It to Jim. Greg thinks the album is worth hearing once just for the shock factor. But he notes that it might be the worst album ever reviewed in Sound Opinions history. Scream gets a double Trash It.

reviewMama, I'm SwollenMama, I'm Swollen available on iTunes

Cursive Mama, I'm Swollen

Omaha band Cursive has a new album out this week called Mama, I'm Swollen. Jim and Greg got a sneak preview of some of the songs on this album when they talked to the band last year. Now that it's out, they can say whether or not it lives up to the high point of Happy Hollow. Greg thinks lead singer and songwriter Tim Kasher is one of the most brilliant songwriters of the past decade. He hears him wrestling with a lot of issues on this album and wouldn‘t be surprised if this is the last Cursive release. Unfortunately, it’s not their best. Greg gives the album a Try It rating. Jim thinks Greg needs a little more time with the album. He thinks Kasher is asking some really important questions about his generation. He gives Mama, I'm Swollen a Buy It.


Featured Songs

  1. Eminem, My Name Is, The Slim Shady LP, Interscope, 1999
  2. Abba, I Let the Music Speak, The Visitors, Atlantic, 1981
  3. The Beatles, And Your Bird Can Sing, Revolver, Parlophone, 1966
  4. James Brown, Get it Together, Star Time, PolyGram, 1991
  5. Prefuse 73, Regato, Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian, Warp, 2009
  6. The Who,“Doctor, Doctor”Magic Bus, MCA, 1968
  7. Dave Matthews Band, Song that Jane Likes, Remember Two Things, Bama Rags, 1993
  8. Green Day, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, American Idiot, Reprise, 2004
  9. The White Stripes, Girl You Have No Faith in Medicine, Elephant, V2 Records Japan, 2003
  10. Blitzen Trapper,“Furr”Furr, Sub Pop, 2008
  11. Blitzen Trapper,“Lady on the Water”Furr, Sub Pop, 2008
  12. The Marked Men, Sully My Name, Fix My Brain, Swami, 2006
  13. Little Feat, Rock and Roll Doctor, Feats Don't Fail Me Now, Warner Bros., 1974
  14. Chris Cornell, Ground Zero, Scream, Mosley Music Group, 2009
  15. Chris Cornell, Part of Me, Scream, Mosley Music Group, 2009
  16. Cursive,“Mama, I'm Swollen”Mama, I'm Swollen, Saddle Creek, 2009
  17. Cursive, From the Hips, Mama, I'm Swollen, Saddle Creek, 2009
  18. Handsome Furs,“I'm Confused”Face Control, Sub Pop, 2009
  19. Abba, Ring Ring, Ring Ring, Polydor, 1973
  20. D'Angelo,“Feel Like Making Love”Voodoo, Virgin, 2000
  21. Morrissey,“I Don't Mind If You Forget Me”Viva Hate, Sire, 1988
  22. Van Morrison,“The Way Young Lovers Do,”Astral Weeks, 1968

Footnotes Billy Corgan speaks before Congress Slim Shady LP producers lose royalty lawsuit How the CD was developed Listen to“Get it Together” Listen to“And Your Bird Can Sing” Chris Cornell Cursive