Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ultimate First World Problem: Complaining About a Free U2 Album From iTunes

When news broke that the new U2 album Songs of Innocence would be released free on iTunes automatically in every users library, many people were happy. And many people were not happy, from regular users on twitter to Sharon Osbourne, that it downloaded into their library.

But the uproar about an "invasion of privacy" (even though there is a thing called a user agreement that you accept when you get an iPhone/iTunes...) and complaining about an album taking up space on your phone is ridiculous.

I mean picture this: a person (probably a hipster) is sitting in a nice air conditioned Starbucks with their complicated coffee order in hand. They turn on their 500 dollar iPhone and all of a sudden the new U2 album is in their music library for free. They immediately go onto social media and start complaining about it furiously. I about a first world problem. If the worst moment of your week was a free album by a talented rock band being downloaded into your music library, well then you've probably had a pretty good week.

Maybe all these people should walk into a local homeless shelter or hospital and then complain about how awful it was to be gifted a free album by Apple. Let's see how that works out for you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New U2 Album "Songs of Innocence" Out NOW...for FREE

How do you combat the lack of people buying albums? Well, you just give it away for free apparently.

The Temporary Cover of the Free Version of "Songs of Innocence"
U2 (Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr, Adam Clayton) announced at the Apple iPhone 6 event that their new album, Songs of Innocence, is now out exclusively on iTunes until October 13 for Free, automatically in every users iTunes around the world, where you can listen or download the album for free. Of course that means the album will not count towards the Billboard charts, but for a band like U2 who have sold millions upon millions of albums that really isn't a big deal. You can check for the album here:

On October 13 the physical album will be released on CD and Vinyl, containing acoustic versions of the songs as well as four new tracks not on the free digital version, plus other goodies like a book. This may be a smart idea in this age when album sales are at record lows. More people will listen to the free album that normally wouldn't pay for it anyway. Then when the deluxe/physical version comes out the fans who would buy it anyway will get that one. Bono also stated that another album called Songs of Experience may be released in the not too distant future.

So far my favorite song would be "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)", with fuzzed out guitars that scream ROCK. Sorry Gene Simmons, but Rock is not dead, just ask U2, the Foo Fighters, and Paramore among others.

The track listing:
1. The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)
2. Every Breaking Wave
3. California (There is no End to Love)
4. Song for Someone
5. Iris (Hold Me Close)
6. Volcano
7. Raised By Wolves
8. Cedarwood Road
9. Sleep Like a Baby Tonight
10. This Is Where You Can Reach Me
11. The Troubles - Featuring Lykee Li

New U2 Album Being Revealed At Apple Event

The updated U2 iPod from 2006
It's been 5 and a half years since U2 last released an album, 2009's No Line On The Horizon. That is about to change, as rumor has it U2 will be releasing some information about the new album, with the date of release soon.

According to the New York Times, U2 (Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr, Adam Clayton) will be at the Apple event September 9th. Apple will be revealing the iPhone 6 that day, which should go on sale shortly after. Now the rumor is U2 will be streaming the entire album on the iPhone 6. One can assume the album will then be released shortly after that. They may also be performing their new single at the event. This all comes with little hype or warning, which worked for David Bowie & Beyonce among others. 

There may be more in relation to Apple, but that is being kept under wraps. The music industry has changed with album sales at an all time low, and artists are finding new ways to get music out there. We can possibly expect some unique new thing U2 and Apple will be trying to improve the listening experience in the digital age. The album will be released in an "innovative" way according to some. We'll find out soon what innovative actually means. 

This isn't the first time the two have linked up. Their hit song "Vertigo" was featured in the memorable silhouette iPod commercials in 2004 and 2005. Apple also released a Special Edition U2 iPod in 2004 and video iPod in 2006. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Joan Rivers: Ultimate Trailblazer

Joan Rivers passed away at the age of 81 due to complications of an outpatient throat surgery. She was on life support, and daughter Melissa Rivers had to make the tough decision to take her off. It was a preventable death, as the spry & sharp comedian had plenty of years left in her, yet something went wrong while under anesthesia and questions will now persist on just how safe it is to go into surgery as an outpatient rather than in a hospital.

Rivers steamrolled through the comedy world at a time when it was tough for women to make it. She opened doors left and right, and we now live in a society where women are all over the comedy landscape. She also didn't care what other people thought or who she offended, which has always been a breath of fresh air. Her reasoning was that you should try and laugh about anything and everything, because it takes some of the power away and can make a tragedy a little easier to deal with. I can laugh at anything, so Rivers was perfect for my style.

She had also managed to pick up new fans through her many decades in the business. It can be difficult for people, especially comedians, to pick up and relate to younger audiences. Joan showed how it was done though, with new fans from various generations getting a laugh from her.

I know it shouldn't be shocking if someone over the age of 80 dies, but its different with someone like Joan Rivers. She was still a fixture on TV, having two shows plus an online talk show. She had written two books in the past two years, was constantly performing stand up comedy at venues big and small, from big cities to the smaller ignored towns. She was always wonderful to her fans, taking time to answer their questions and take pictures. She was also a regular on the Howard Stern Show, giving some of the best interviews, never fearing any topic. She could have easily lived another ten years or more much like the great Betty White, which makes it all the sadder.

However, she would want us to laugh, so every Christmas i'll remember the joke she made saying that she was starting a charity for Paris Hilton called "Toys for Twats" and instantly put a smile on my face.