Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best Comments

Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best Comments

We published a lot of great interviews and features this week. Please read them all, as there will be a test, but start with Zach’s follow-up on Wednesday’s viral SXSW tweet and Rachel’s We’ve Got A File On Jewel that includes some shocking music biz horror stories.

Also, this week in Radiohead featured cameos from Donald Glover, Third Eye Blind, Pinegrove, and the guys in Radiohead.

Your best comments are ranked below, and happy Rex Manning Day to those who celebrate.


minor major 7th
Score: 22 | Apr 4th

Hi everyone,

This will be a sad post.
I have been going through a lot lately. 
Some I have discussed: miscarriage; concussion.
Some is new: my grandmother having died last week; a ridiculously heavy work load.
It has all brought a lot of emotion.
I have decided that, for the next little while, I need to keep things simple.
For this reason, I will be taking a self-imposed leave from this amazing community.

This is a wonderful place and I love contributing, which is why I would feel bad with only
a small comment here, a thumbs-up there.
I want to do more–and you all deserve a friend who will be thorough and engaged. I just can’t do
that right now.

When I’m ready, I will return.

It has been a beautiful, amazing ride since I joined in virtual ’91.
This has been the exact antidote I needed for so long; a place to finally share all
the memories associated with so much music I love, whether it be a Number One 
or all the music we discuss in the comments.

To each and every one of you: thank you.

Please accept the following, as a small token of gratitude and my parting gift.
It is the outline of a post I have been thinking about.

I assumed it would be a good post for when the column was, unfortunately, stuck with a vile creature as the day’s topic. I have looked ahead, and you will be, sadly, stuck with R. Kelly one more time.
Anyway, I thought this would have been a good palette cleanser.

The post would be titled something like: 

“And now, a record label that will most certainly never have a Number One: ECM Records”

The upshot: if you don’t know ECM, you should.
It has been around for over 50 years. You can find the catalogue on all the streaming services.
If you are into collecting vinyl, ECMs are easy to find and can still be picked up at a decent price.
While associated with jazz, ECM is not really in the same sphere as Blue Note, Riverside, or Prestige (all of which are amazing labels).
The adjectives most often associated with ECM: etheral; melancholic; experimental.
To my mind, its catalogue in the 1970s is an embarrassment of riches. 
The production on all the records is fantastic. 
They sound great–and you get the same feeling you get from Motown: an ECM record has “a sound” that came
from the same producer, same mics, same mixing board, in the same studio, all with the same producer.

Starter pack:

– DeJohnette/Abercrombie/Holland – Gateway
– Ralph Towner – Solstice
– Pat Metheny – Bright Size Life
– Chick Corea/Gary Burton – Crystal Silence

When you are ready to level up:

– Jan Garbarek – (anything by or with him)
-Keith Jarrett (same)
– Egberto Gismondi – Sol Do Meio Dia
– Ralph Towner/Gary Moore – Trios/Solos

Advanced Studies:

– Bennie Maupin – The Jewel in the Lotus
– Dave Holland – Conference of the Birds

As with most jazz labels, once you find someone you like, look at the lineup of players on his/her record and then go find records by, or with, those players.

Thank you again, all of you.
Until we meet again.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy”
Score: 22 | Apr 4th

Genius of Love is my all-time fave JAM and unrateble on a 10/10 scale and that’s the only reason Fantasy is a 10/10.

Without reservations this is my favorite Mariah Carey song and the sole reason I tolerate seeing her from only one side.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy”
Score: 22 | Apr 4th

Wow, Tom is early today, and with a 10/10 to boot!

I can see why “Fantasy” was such a big hit, staying at #1 for eight weeks. It’s no ballad, and it’s catchy, peppy, upbeat and fun. However, the first thing that I think of whenever I hear the song….roller skating in cut-offs. The video is distractingly effective!

Posted in: The Number Ones: Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy”
Score: 22 | Apr 1st

This is the part where if I’m going to comment honestly about today’s topic. I have to say I never had any idea that “Gangsta’s Paradise” was based on Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” until Tom covered Stevie’s two legendary #1s from Songs in the Key of Life in the fall of 2019. This exposes the fact that although I was very familiar with today’s #1 and liked it, I wasn’t very knowledgeable about the nuts and bolts behind it, which doesn’t bother me to admit. More shameful to me is that this also of course means that I never heard Songs in the Key of Life in its entirety until Tom’s reviews of “I Wish” and “Sir Duke” and the ensuing gushfest in the comment section on the album, This all led me to finally listen to it as a whole. As soon as I heard “Pastime Paradise”, it was like “well there’s a fine how-do-you-do”. I could hide behind the fact that I was 11 years old at the time of SITKOL’s release and basically at that point in my life, if someone in the family didn’t own the album, I didn’t hear it. But the fact remains that for many years after that I relied on others to shape my musical experience, and much of what I came to love was because someone else in my life loved it first.  

There is no shame in that whatsoever; I would think everyone has people in their lives that have influenced their musical tastes, and you all continually inspire me to go down rabbit holes of all kinds. But for me personally, by only purchasing music here and there, and relying mostly on the radio or friends and family’s taste in music, a lot of gaps developed in my formation as a music lover, more than I ever cared to admit. I was always passionate about music and open minded to all different kinds of styles and genres. I just never really let my freak flag fly for various reasons, and let’s just say that listening almost exclusively to CCM for several years in my 20s didn’t help. Only in the last couple of decades of music subscription services (Rhapsody anyone?) and streaming have I begun to consistently take the initiative of finding what I like and discovering great music on my own and making up for lost time.  

This is a big reason behind my obsession with building playlists, doing deep dives into every genre imaginable, and finding my next musical fix (my Spotify Wrapped made me look like a musical whore of the highest order). I missed out on so much of it when others were building their extensive record collections. This also explains why I spend an unholy amount of time on this website. Not only have I learned so much from Tom’s columns (and other writers here) and the font of knowledge in the comment sections, but I feel like I’ve found my tribe with this wonderful, diverse, music-crazed group here at Stereogum. Much love to all of you today.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” (Feat. LV)
Score: 24 | Apr 6th

Hey everyone, I’m still here watching from the shaodws. Coming out for a change, to let you know im still ok.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Whitney Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)”
Score: 27 | Apr 1st

This month marks 10 years since I first started commenting on Stereogum. I couldn’t even begin to put a number on the amount of great music I’ve discovered here, not to mention the people I’ve met (even if I’ve never actually met any of you IRL). Not to get all sentimental or anything, I just really like it here.

Posted in: Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best Comments
Score: 28 | Apr 4th

Oops, I know our “homework” usually means listen to the song for the finer details, but I ended up singing along to the whole thing. 😳 So yeah…I might miss some things.

In my opinion, “Fantasy” is a blissed-out, candy-coated pop confection, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. It’s so sugary, but that’s kind of the point (also what makes it amazing). It’s sweet but also dream-like. That “Genius of Love” sample is the perfect choice for evoking all that, and Carey singing on top of it could be another sample unto itself!

It works as this kind of hazy, joy-filled fever dream that never seems to end. “Fantasy” is just one of those perfect pop songs to me. It gets to the root of what pop often consists of, which is the declaration of a crush. And just sprinkle this earworm chorus throughout and there you go! You got a hit. I’m not sure how else to describe it other than it’s one of the most contagiously effusive songs I’ve ever heard. It’s pure serotonin rush.

I can even pinpoint an absolute favorite moment. The bridge is an excellent candidate, as It’s a direct lyrical homage to “Genius of Love”. But, that’s not it. For me, it’s when Carey hits and holds a high note on “sweeeeeeet”. Not quite a whistle note but close. It just shows the level of power and control she has over her voice. I think you could make a convincing argument that she’s never sounded better than on “Fantasy”.

Yeah, this is an easy 10 for me and my favorite number one hit of ’95! I don’t care how often it pops up elsewhere, I will find it irresistible every time. It’s aural cotton candy! It’s like floating on a cloud. It is a great example of what a pop song should be, which is a good mood sugar rush.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy”
Score: 32 | Apr 6th

Chills reading this entry. This column is magical and captures the trials and tribulations of the human condition in such a profound way, really cuts to the core of what makes us music nerds: the inspiring power of connection and togetherness that music can give us. There’s something inside all of us that long for a meaning beyond our physical existence, and I love learning about these artists that succeeded in expressing a part of themselves that lives on after they die. Whitney Houston is one of those artists, and I feel I have a deeper understanding of what went into those timeless hits of hers. Thank you Stereogum, and thank you Tom.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Whitney Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)”
Score: 33 | Apr 5th

The lack of empathy from music fans is what I find most surprising. Recently when Caroline Polachek tore her ankle and had to withdraw from Dua Lipa’s last shows, a ton of people were suggesting that she should just sing sitting down or lying down / on a couch like Lucy Dacus. Zero understanding on where artists are coming from to make such a difficult / physically painful decision, being it needing the money from the tour or dealing with physical pain onstage.

Posted in: Why Are Musicians Expected To Be Miserable On Tour Just To Break Even?
Score: 42 | Apr 1st

This is a picture with me and Fred Bronson, writer of The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. I ate dinner with him yesterday as part of my current vacation in Southern California. Fred knows about this column and appreciates all the love and shoutouts he gets from Tom and TNOCS members. He told me he stopped doing updates for the book after 2002 because his publisher said it would have to be two volumes to carry all of the hits and he doubted many people would buy the older volume. Fred is still active as a contributor to Billboard and the new NBC series American Song Contest.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” (Feat. LV)


Apr 4th

Meanwhile in Canada…

The blandly appealing Gin Blossoms’ “Til I Hear It From You”
spent 6 weeks at #1. It was the lead single from the soundtrack for Empire
Records, a film I’ve never seen and don’t quite understand why not. It was
later released in the US as a double A-side with “Follow You Down,” reaching #9
on Billboard Hot 100.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy”

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