Mixed Media

Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young Set for Glastonbury; Coachella Rumors Heat Up

| Mon Dec. 22, 2008 4:26 PM EST

Neil Young Bruce SpringsteenWhat better pastime on this dreary winter day than happily imagining ourselves sprawled on the lawn at a summer music festival, trying to catch a glimpse of the performers between the dancing hippies? Festival promoters are even helping with our creative visualizations by making some lineup announcements. The UK Sun reports that Glastonbury has "gone back to basics" this year with two legendary performers set as headliners: Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. God bless those guys, but they're probably the only respectable musicians around who could make co-headliners Blur seem young. Ouch, I know, but for reals. Of course, this is the festival that caused an outburst of creepily-verging-on-racist complaints when headliner Jay-Z was announced for the 2008 edition, although the fact that the rapper ended up cheekily covering Oasis' "Wonderwall" at the show seemed to make it all worthwhile. But you can't help wondering if festival boss Michael Eavis is so desperate to avoid a similar controversy, he's going with the oldest, whitest, most respectable rockers around? (And Blur?) (Why am I being so mean to them?)

After the jump: can we legally start Coachella rumors before January 1?

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U2 Set to Release New Album in March

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 5:53 PM EST

U2Irish combo U2 will release a new album, No Line on the Horizon, on March 3, the band's label announced yesterday. Horizon was originally expected this year, but there were some false starts: material recorded in 2006 with producer Rick Rubin was tossed, and longtime U2 collaborators and producers Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite were brought back in; then, as the album was nearing the finishing stages, the band decided it needed two more songs. But I guess they finally finished the thing, and Billboard quotes a source as calling the material "amazing and a little out there." Okay!

Horizon will be U2's twelfth studio album, the follow-up to How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which has sold over 9 million copies worldwide since its 2004 release. The band is also planning a 2009 tour as part of its crazy-lucrative stock deal with Live Nation.

After the jump, RX's brilliant edit of George W. Bush doing "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

Christmas Carols Get 8-bit Makeover

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 5:32 PM EST

mojo-8bitsofxmas.gifWhile most music genres race forward, absorbing new sonic technologies like a giant music-box Borg, the 8-bit phenomenon clings proudly to the past—specifically, the restrictive palette of classic computer and video game consoles. Even artists like Beck have seen the appeal of their buzzy, blippy tones; witness the 8-bit remix of "Hell Yes", renamed "Ghettochip Malfunction":

If you liked that, get ready for a very bleepy Christmas.

Analysis Shows White Dudes Dominated Billboard Charts in 2008

| Thu Dec. 18, 2008 4:01 PM EST

mojo-photo-laweeklychart.jpgBoy, am I glad I didn't have to do the Excel work to come up with these charts. A dogged reporter named Randall Roberts at the LA Weekly has delved into the Billboard Top 10 album and singles charts for every week this year, tallied up demographic data about the artists, and made some dandy little diagrams with the results. It turns out that Americans really like white guys. Whites outnumbered blacks on the charts by 63 to 36 per cent (with Latinos grabbing the leftover 1%), while men outnumbered women on the charts by nearly a 5-to-2 ratio. High five, bros! As far as musical genre goes, R&B/hip-hop dominated the singles charts, while pop/rock commanded the album charts, so, combined, they're just about equal, with country way behind. Other odd statistical revelations include the fact that the South was the region that produced the most Top 10 hitmakers by far (attributable to an "unlikely Southern coalition" of country and R&B) and Rihanna singlehandedly helped her native Barbados to the Top 7 list of foreign countries represented on our charts. Okay, Barbados, you get a high-five too.

Top Ten Awesome Bush Shoe-Toss Animated GIFs

| Tue Dec. 16, 2008 4:39 PM EST

mojo-photo-bushshoe.jpgSometimes the internet might seem like a vast wasteland of empty-headed blogs (ahem!), pornography, and pop-up ads, but then something like this happens, and it renews one's faith in having this series of tubes hooked up to our idea trucks. Or whatever. Journalist Muntather al Zaidi not only expressed Iraqi frustrations at still-President Bush with his famous footwear lob, but also inspired legions of Photoshoppers to create their own chuckle-riffic versions of the event and provide them on their internets for all to see. My ten favorite, via Boing Boing, HuffPo, Wired, and Urlesque after the jump.

The Best Singles of 2008

| Tue Dec. 16, 2008 11:42 AM EST

mojo-photo-bestof2008singles.jpg

What a bonkers year for singles. The undisputed heavyweight champion song of the year, with the magical combo of hipster cred and unexpected popular appeal, is, inarguably, copyright 2007, so any replacement #1 will necessarily feel kind of anticlimactic. I suppose it's stretching it to include MGMT as well, but everybody else is, so I'm going to look the other way. It's a mess. To be honest, I finally settled on 20 great songs and then scrambled the order until it looked right. What emerged on top was at first a surprise, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense: it's a convention-smashing ode to staking a claim on your future, no matter what the haters say.

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Johnny Marr Quashes Smiths Reunion Rumor

| Mon Dec. 15, 2008 4:07 PM EST

mojo-photo-oldsmiths.jpgOr, "William, It Was Really Nothing." Ahem. Reports emerged late last week that The Smiths were possibly maybe "on the verge" of a reunion, after lead singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr "settled their differences." The UK Telegraph was reporting that "industry sources believe that a comeback could be imminent." While just about every other band who ever broke up has already reunited, long-suffering Smiths fans likely didn't get their hopes up (mostly because Smiths fans don't really have any hopes to get up) and our abject cynicism and unfettered pessimism was proven right once again, as Marr has forcefully denied the rumors of a reunion to NME:

Marr issued a statement to NME.COM saying that rumours floating around that the band were reuniting were "untrue". He declared: "The stories circulating about a Smiths reunion are, as usual, untrue." Marr added he was committed to his current band The Cribs. "I'm currently very excited about writing and recording with The Cribs for a new album to be released next summer and we're playing shows in February, so going back in time isn't in my plans," he said.

Considering your musical promiscuousness post-Smiths, I'm sure The Cribs totally believe you.

The Best Albums of 2008

| Mon Dec. 15, 2008 11:08 AM EST

mojo-photo-bestof2008artists.jpg

The word of 2008 may be "hope," but the uniting theme of the year's best albums is more like "anxiety." This year, TV on the Radio and Portishead looked ahead with trepidation, while M83 and Hercules and Love Affair found solace in excavating the past, and Kanye, Beach House and Lil Wayne gazed inward at their own troubled souls. However, bubbling under is a celebratory, genre-hopping eclecticism from Santogold, The Very Best, Vampire Weekend and Flying Lotus, a nascent vision of a new world. Maybe there's hope after all?

Some Writerly Advice

| Fri Dec. 12, 2008 7:37 PM EST

First I saw this silly article about women foregoing bikini waxes.

Then I read a WSJ article on laid-off execs growing beards.

Pubic hair. Beards.

I never wrote one word about the biggest story of my early journalism years: Monica Lewinsky. The controversy itself was so unworthy and the topic so beyond covered, I decided I'd hold off until and unless I had something worth saying about that topic. I never did, so I let that big story go without my 'expertise'. So here's my advice to writers trying to get in on Obama's win and the economy's losses: If you don't have something worthwhile to say, it's ok to say nothing. Really. A decent idea, or a story more in your line, will come along.

I will give the hair stories this though: Both the men and the women in these pieces feel like "real" men and women letting their hair go natural. What's up with that?

Torture Playlist: Trent Reznor Responds

| Fri Dec. 12, 2008 4:04 PM EST

mojo-photo-reznor2.jpgBack in February, we posted a "Torture Playlist" featuring songs that the American military had used to, um, "enhance" interrogations, including tracks by Eminem, Drowning Pool, Metallica, and Rage Against the Machine. As Jesse Finfrock covered here on Wednesday, musicians have joined forces with a human rights organization to put a stop to the use of music as torture. Now, Stereogum points out that another artist has joined the voices of protest: Trent Reznor, whose music as Nine Inch Nails was used to torture Chicago military contractor Donald Vance. Yesterday, Reznor posted an outraged message at his official website entitled "Regarding NIN music used at Guantanamo Bay for torture":