RAVE'S FAVES (on the air):
Foo Fighters, Travis ("Side"), Gorillaz ("19-2000"), Lenny Kravitz, Bad Religion, Coldplay ("Trouble"), The Strokes, 311, Jimmy Eat World, The Avalanches, Rob Zombie, U2 ("Stuck").
RAVE'S TOP FIVE AIRPLAY FAVES OF 2001
1 - MANIC STREET PREACHERS -- So Why So Sad
2 - THE LIVING END -- Roll On
3 - GORILLAZ -- Clint Eastwood
4 - TRAVIS -- Side
5 - AEROSMITH -- Just Push Play
A dark horse at #1, as the MS Preachers barely got U.S. airplay with this wonderful Brian Wilson tribute, which was huge in Europe. The Living End song was really hot, but possibly too Clash-like to become a big hit. "Roll On" sounded great in those American Express commercials, and Dodge boosted the fortunes of "Just Push Play." One of these years, Travis will have a smash, and it may be with "Side." The Strokes CD has sold fairly well, but the sales don't match the incredible hype that surrounded this release. The Avalanches are a cool electronic act from Australia.
My most listened to CDs this year, in no particular order, include The Strokes, Air, The Knack, and Daft Punk, with the Dandy Warhols and Moby from 2000. Speaking of Beach Boys tributes, The Knack have a beauty called "Man on the Beach," which is a completely new sound for them.
In October, I talked about the new Garbage CD, which I also like. They're one of my favorite bands, and sales have been a huge disappointment. In my Raves last year, I wondered whether they would harden their sound to accommodate radio. A friend of theirs replied they'd do what they wanted without commercial regard. As it has turned out, radio people are saying that their first single ("Androgyny") was too pop and too soft. "Breaking Up the Girl" is the new single, and it sounds more like their hits. Let's hope it isn't too late to save this CD. My theory is that radio-friendly bands should always supply a couple of obvious radio songs. As long as the promotion department has what they need for airplay, acts can be free to do what they'd like with the rest of the album in terms of artistry. At Capitol, we would frequently send a band back to record more songs. It seems like this doesn't happen often enough.
WHERE IS ROCK GOING?
No one ever knows for sure, but angst-ridden rap metal seems to be on the wane. Somehow, middle class white guy anger in music just doesn't seem relevant after 9/11. Even Fred Durst says he's going to reinvent Limp B. If someone still wants to rap, they better keep it positive, like the Beastie Boys. I'm really anticipating the collaboration between Chris Cornell and the guys from Rage. My hope is that they are in the vein of early Soundgarden, who were heavily metal-influenced. If they go in that direction, imagine Cornell and guitarist Tom Morello together! Word among record execs is that there is an entirely new generation of promising, unsigned rock bands with charismatic lead singers, strong musicianship, and appealing melodies. Let's hope some of them begin to surface in 2002.
Like many Angelinos, I learned about his passing from Arrow 93's Uncle Joe Benson, who was the only morning man in LA that dealt extensively with this news immediately following the announcement. Joe was tasteful and articulate without overdoing it. As George was one of the first baby boomer rockers to die of natural causes, I believe that this reaffirmation of our mortality contributed to the huge media coverage. A good friend knew George quite well, and quoted him as saying, "We're all dying, it's just that some of us are dying more quickly." George is where he's long wanted to be, and this has to be comforting to his loved ones. Let's hope for more remastered, reissued CD's in the near future. Maybe we'll even get to hear some of the new music that George has worked on over the last decade or so. I'm told that some of it is very good.
For those who read this before or during the holidays, let me take this opportunity to wish you a great holiday season; and let's all have a wonderful 2002. I'll be back with an update in February, so until then...