20 Watts


Editor’s Pick #271: Green Day’s Grammy Performance by 20watts

Punk-Rock idols Green Day will perform at the 52nd Grammy Awards

PREVIEW: LISTEN to Green Day performing “21 Guns” with the cast “American Idiot” on YouTube.

Hey did you know that The Grammy Awards are on TV this Sunday! Yeah, neither did I. It’s true that The Grammy Awards are getting further from relevance every year, but there’s at least one thing to look forward to this year. Green Day will perform with the cast of “American Idiot” the musical. Having a broadway show based on your incredibly popular, mainstream CD might not be “punk-rock,” but the musical has been getting rave reviews. Recently, the musical wrapped up a record breaking three month stint at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California, and on April 20th the show will make it’s Broadway debut at the the St. James Theater. So, be sure to check out Green Day and a performance by Eminem, Lil Wayne, Drake and Travis Barker. On second thought, The Grammy’s might not be too bad this year.

–Eric Hoffman, Managing Editor

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City Sounds 11/23: Detroit by krkuchta

The Supremes are one of the many influential Motown acts to come out of the Motor City

City Sounds goes to the Motor City this week to listen to some of it’s native sounds.

Detroit is known mainly for it’s automobile industry, but a close second would be Motown.  As the birthplace of Motown Records, Detroit provided the world with one of the most important musical genres of all time. An influence to almost every other musical genre following it’s dominance, Motown and it’s notoriety still stand as the ideal for popular music.

Artists like Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, and Stevie Wonder topped the charts with hit after hit after hit, and it set a new standard for pop.  Motown reigned supreme (some pun intended) through the ’60s and into part of the ’80s. Even though the hits have dwindled in quantity, the quality of music is still heard around the world.

Motown put Detroit on the map, but it wasn’t the only source of great music.  Detroit also had it’s moments during the garage rock revival in the early 2000s with bands like The White Stripes, The Von Bondies and Electric Six.  It also presented the world with arguably one of the most influential rappers of all time, Eminem.

There’s plenty of great music from Detroit that will all be covered on Monday, November 23, from 11pm-1am on WERW. Tune in and listen up!

— Kyle Kuchta

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20 Watts Reviews 50 Cent’s Before I Self Destruct by JohnCassillo
November 17, 2009, 12:00 am
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , , , , , ,
50-cent-before-i-self-destruct-album-cover

50 Cent's Before I Self Destruct starts strong, but ultimately falls short

PREVIEW: VISIT 50 Cent’s Myspace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts

Within seconds of the start of “The Invitation,” you can’t help but feel like something has fundamentally changed about 50 Cent. Emotional, gruff and almost angry, the rapper responsible for one of the biggest hits of the decade, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, sounds like he has something to prove.

And truth be told, he does. Since the landmark release of Get Rich, 50’s released a series of duds that have simply paled in comparison. Combined with an ever-evolving popular hip-hop scene now centered around nemeses Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne, the past few years have threatened to plunge him into relative obscurity.

How much his latest, Before I Self Destruct, does to change that, however, is debatable. Continue reading



20 Watts Reviews Young Money’s Year 2K9 by gjfitton
young_money_year1

Young Money release an effective greatest hits album

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Drake’s “Ransom” (Feat. Lil Wayne) MP3
WE  GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts

2009 has surely been a definitive year for Young Money Entertainment. With collaborative single “Every Girl” and Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” charting at #10 and #2 respectively, and a slew of albums on the horizon, the label is enjoying the success of pop stardom. Led by Lil’ Wayne, Young Money is a crew consisting of rappers and singers signed to his imprint. Young Money Year 2k9 is a sort of like a greatest hits (a large portion of this album is available on previously released mixtapes), showcasing the successful mixtape songs, freestyles, and singles of 2009.

The main characters of the album are the label’s two megastars, Lil’ Wayne and Drake. They collaborate and completely rip apart “Ransom” with multisyllabic flows and crisp punch lines, while being a little more fun and laid back on “Man of the Year.” The original version of “Forever” is also featured, though it severely lacks a monster verse from Eminem, as seen on the version cut for More Than a Game. “Every Girl” shows up too, catchy as ever, even after months of radio rotation. Continue reading



Musicians are Crazy by tjwell01

michael-jackson3

Musicians, regardless of their genre, are not what you would call normal people.

Michael Jackson reminded us of that with his tragic death. Jackson was an extreme case though. He wasn’t just troubled, he was literally bonkers.  His father stole his childhood by putting him to work in the Jackson 5, and the  rest was history as he developed a severe addiction to plastic surgery and drugs over the course of his life.

Sadly though, a lot of musicians are troubled and disturbed as well, although not many to the point where their noses fall off. Kurt Cobain, Britney Spears, Eminem, Ozzy Osbourne, Elliot Smith, James Brown, James Hetfield and Johnny Cash are a few names on an endless list. Musicians have similar stories that begin with fame and fortune and end with rehab and death. They’re flat-out crazy half the time, but you’ve got to believe their craziness and troubled stories are what make them great artists. An artist doesn’t become a genius through a happy life and ice cream every day. It’s the pain, the struggle and madness that makes a musician truly great. All geniuses, after all, are always crazy before they become geniuses.

Let’s face it. The Michael Jackson we loved and idolized died a long time ago — not last Thursday. That impostor walking around in masks was a zombie. He died in the early 1990s when all his baggage came to bite him in the ass. It’s amazing he lasted this long! But people lose sight of the bigger picture every time a celebrity dies — they forget all the pain and anguish and make them martyrs. Kurt Cobain? He’s a rock God now, but in real life he was a sociopath crackhead.

It’s amazing how disconnected a crazy musician can become from his/her work. Truly crazy people can make magical works of art, and yet people only see the art. All art has a price. Van Gogh? We don’t even need to go there.

It’s rare for musicians to have long lives because their bodies and minds take such beatings. The one outlier is, of course, Keith Richards. He should have died a long time ago, and quite literally looks like grim death.

The saddest part is that a lot of nutty musicians die and never see the true value of their insanity in their art. Michael Jackson was filthy rich before he died, but he left $500 million in debt. You can bet that debt will disappear this year once all of his old albums and merchandise sell off the rack.

–Jett Wells



New Breakfast at Sullimay’s features Wilco, Dirty Projectors by caitlindewey

My grandmother hasn’t acknowledged the existence of an album since Frank Sinatra’s Nice ‘n’ Easy.  Thus, the idea of her listening to the latest from Beirut, Common or Yo La Tengo isn’t just comical — it’s downright ridiculous.  It’s also the concept behind Breakfast at Sulimay’s, a video blog/online television series that you (and your grandma) are gonna want to check out, if you haven’t already.

From the corner of what appears to be a B-grade suburban diner, three lovable senior citizens don headphones, jam to the latest from the likes of Andrew Bird, Matt & Kim and Bat for Lashes, and deliver their ruling on the tracks.

My grandmother would surely grimace and pronounce that Dan Deacon’s “Snookered” was in headache-inducing poor taste.

Joe, Ann and Bill are totally down, though — they love Dan Deacon!  They love Eminem!  And of the latest from Grizzly Bear, they say:

“Is this… English?”

Priceless!  Youth is wasted on the young.

— Caitlin Dewey

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Eminem “Crack A Bottle” by tjwell01
June 9, 2009, 2:07 pm
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: , , ,

He needs to dye his hair back. This video is more like a Manson video than an Eminem video. Creepy. The crazy homeless lady reminds me of the witch lady from Drag Me To Hell. That movie sucked so much I left halfway through.

–Jett Wells, Reviews Editor