Freedom Rock

J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 30, 2006; 2:00 PM

Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac is online every Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: hip-hop, pop, alternative, country, alt-country, rock, reggae, reggaeton, R and B and whatever it is that the Beatles did.

The transcript follows.

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washingtonpost.com: Parsing the Riddles of Bob Dylan's 'Modern Times'

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washingtonpost.com: The Cradle Will Rock, to Metallica

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washingtonpost.com: Timberlake, Stripping Down (The Spectacle)

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J. Freedom du Lac: Big news, music fans: Linkin Park has finally agreed to sell its songs on the iTunes Music Store. Wow. I'm glad we can all get on with our lives.

Sort of. My life has pretty much come to a complete standstill thanks to San Diego's request last week for my five all-time favorite songs from five different genres. Putting together this list has become so distracting that I haven't even had time to listen to the new Jessica Simpson album. Can you imagine?!

Anyway, I actually came up with a list of five pretty quickly.

Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone ("folk"); Marvin Gaye, What's Going On (soul); George Jones, He Stopped Loving Her Today (country); The Who, My Generation (rock); The Clash, London Calling (punk).

But then I started thinking about songs that HAD to be on the list. So the thing started to grow. And grow. I started making up genres. It's getting out of control. This a totally ridiculous exercise. Never again!! (Until next week, when I come up with a similar list of favorite sorta obscure songs from various genres.)

Anyway, here are some additions to the original 5x5:

Billie Holiday, Strange Fruit (jazz); Beach Boys, God Only Knows (pop); Abba, SOS (Swedish pop); John Lennon, Imagine (British pop); Sam Cooke, A Change Is Gonna Come (soul - I've changed What's Going On to the genre of ... Motown); Muddy Waters, Mannish Boy (blues); Public Enemy, Welcome to the Terrordome (rap); Pixies, Monkey Gone to Heaven (indie rock); Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit (alternative rock); Prince, When Doves Cry (Prince); OutKast, Hey Ya (post-Prince); Toots and the Maytalls, Pressure Drop (reggae); John Prine and Iris DeMent, In Spite of Ourselves (raunchy love folk thingy).

I could go on and on here. But I'm really starting to bore myself. So let's get on with it. And please, don't ask me for any more lists. Unless you want to know my five favorite Shakira body parts.

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Downtown D.C.: Hey JFDL:

Is it me, or has Bob Dylan turned into Tom Waits?

J. Freedom du Lac: It's just you.

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TkPk, Md.: I'm so very excited about the Tool and QOTSA lullaby albums! We're expecting our first in January, and its first concert was Tool earlier this year. It gets to hear Zero7, Massive Attack, George Clinton, and Tool (again) next month! This is freaking brilliant! We've always wondered how parents are supposed to introduce their kids to Tool...

J. Freedom du Lac: I love the idea of a baby at a George Clinton show. So, apparently, does Garry "Diaper Man" Shider.

The lullaby albums are pretty weird. But intriguing. But weird. The Tool stuff sounds especially spooky. (You can hear samples on the label's web site, BabyRockRecords.com.)

Interestingly, the guy who's doing the music for the series, Michael Armstrong, says that the easiest catalogue to re-work thus far has been Nirvana's because of the simplicity of the music. The toughest among the albums he's finished so far? Radiohead. Apparently, it took him forever to transcribe their songs, as he was finding random (and tricky) guitar parts that he didn't want to just edit out before glockenspieling the whole thing. He says 'Let Down' was a particularly tough one for him. 'It took four hours to figure that one out,' he says. 'I hope they appreciate it because nobody else probably will.'

Not surprisingly, another toughie is the band whose catalogue he's working through now: The Beach Boys. 'It's about five times as hard as Radiohead. It's not the toughest to match the sentiment; but musically, there's a lot of vocal harmonies. It's really tough to fit all the music in, and I'm not sure I'm going to. But it'll resemble the Beach Boys some way.'

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Maggie's farm : So, du Lac, is the new Zimmerman worth dropping fresh coin on? Other than Dirt Road Blues off Time Out Of, I haven't been whelmed over by his later stuff. He's scoring credit for keeping on in some respects, no? Is he worth seeing live these days, I've had him on my life-long list and much of my sand has dropped. thanks.

J. Freedom du Lac: I don't think he's getting credit just for keeping on. If the album was lousy, I'd say so, and my critical bretheren would, as well. Dylan was also keeping on in the late '70s and on into the early '90s, but he wasn't exactly winning raves then, as he simply wasn't delivering the goods - at least not like those goods he's given us over the past decade. As for seeing him live, why wait? You have to do it at least once. And who knows, you just might catch him on one of those truly great nights. (Don't bet the farm on it, though.)

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Dylan: He is no Justin Timberlake. And praise the Lord for that!

J. Freedom du Lac: Nah, praise the lord that Justin ain't Dylan. The world doesn't need any more Next Dylan pretenders. Especially with the Bobster himself still operating at such a high level. Timberlake is like the ice cream sundae at the end of the filling yet intellectually challenging multi-course meal that is Dylan. And I have a major sweet tooth. I love me some pop music, especially when done well. And Timberlake does it well.

I listened to his new album this morning, and while it didn't have the immediate sizzle factor of his solo debut, it sounded very promising at first pass. By the way, if 'Justified' was Timberlake's Michael Jackson album, then I think 'FutureSex/LoveSounds' is his take on Prince - though the Rick Rubin-produced '(Another Song) All Over Again' is Donny Hathaway all the way.

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The Keys Question: Didn't Bob have a thing with Mavis Staples ?

J. Freedom du Lac: Apparently, he wanted her to become Mavis Dylan. She declined to take him there.

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Birmingham, Ala.: Your opening blurb says you will talk about reggaeton but you never talk about reggaeton. What kind of bait and switch nonsense is this? I hate you.

J. Freedom du Lac: Te odio tambien.

As for the false advertising, I never talk about it because nobody ever asks. Plus, I ran out of things to say about the genre after writing a Daddy Yankee opus for Sunday Arts last summer.

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Washington, D.C.: Have you listened to the entire Rockabye album inspired by Metallica tunes? Which era are most of the songs from? Can I expect to find them on Napster?

J. Freedom du Lac: In its entirety, baby. Here's the track listing:

One, Wherever I May Roam, Enter Sandman, Fade to Black, Nothing Else Matters, Battery, The Unforgiven, Master of Puppets, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), (Anethesia) Pulling Teeth, ... And Justice For All.

Alas, no Whiplash.

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Washington, D.C.: Here's an idea - we send you top five lists (oh great arbiter of musical taste) and you not only deign to post only those that please you, but you guess the category.

1. Dry Cleaner From Des Moines (Joni Mitchell)

2. Waiting Room (Fugazi)

3. Thank You (Sly and the Family)

4. Haitian Fight Song (Charles Mingus)

5. Higher Ground (RHCP with props to Steveland Wonder)

J. Freedom du Lac: 1. Punk

2. Bossa nova

3. Death metal

4. Holiday music

5. Math rock

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Landau the Magnificient: Is it true that Bruce is dumping Patty for a 9/11 widow in his never-ending quest to be relevant and attuned to today's important issue ?

J. Freedom du Lac: Not according to Bruce, it isn't. He posted a statement on his web site refuting the Page Six report.

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Rock it, Bobby Z!: J. Free:

I have to confess, that the few clips I've heard from Dylan's new album sound pretty good. He's got what sounds a like a rocking little band and they do a good job of propping up (or covering up) what's left of his voice. Is this record a little more of a rocker than what he's done lately?

J. Freedom du Lac: He used his touring band for this album, and they certainly know how to frame his vocals. The album doesn't exactly rock, per se, but it does feature some pretty spry blues tunes.

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Chicago, Ill.: Bob Dylan sounds like a dying cat. You guys need your ears checked. Seriously.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'd love to meet a dying cat that can dash off a line like "the landscape is glowin', gleamin' in the golden light of day."

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Bethesda, Md.: The rapper Pittbull is HOTT. Have you had a chance to meet him? What do you think of his latest album?

J. Freedom du Lac: Haven't heard the new CD. It's out in a couple of weeks, no? I think he's aight. He was a nice addition to Lil Jon's set at Nissan last year. Still, he's no Tego Calderon. (Hey, two reggaeton references in one chat! I'm taking the rest of the year off.)

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Washington, D.C.: Hiya JFduL

Have you seen the OK GO video for "Here It Goes Again?" A cool band, a way-cool song, and treadmill choreography: It is guaranteed to make you smile. If you haven't, check it out! Muchas Gracias!

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, one of the most memorable official videos of '06. That's kind of their thing, isn't it? The video for 'A Million Ways' was kinda kooky, too.

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Arlington, Va.: so do the lullaby people have to get the rights to rework these songs? Are the copyright holders all keeping mum or do they have anything to say about these things?

J. Freedom du Lac: They did, indeed, have to deal with the publishing/licensing piece. Everything is on the up and up.

Not sure that any of the bands have actually heard the lullabyzed treatments. Baby Rock Records has sent the music to their reps, but so far, nary a word from anybody. I tried to get some of the bands or their managers to comment through the various publicists but came up empty.

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Washington, D.C.: Have you heard the sugary sweet 60's retro pop put out by The Pipettes? Do I risk losing my Man Card if I say I was nodding my head to their infectious sounds at a cookout over the weekend?

J. Freedom du Lac: Love them. Esp that song, 'Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me.' I guess we both need to turn in our man cards. You go first.

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Cleveland Rocks: Is it possible to kick people out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Pink Floyd is garbage and needs to be treated accordingly.

J. Freedom du Lac: Start a petition. Everybody's doing it these days.

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Anonymous: Mr.Freedom,

Like a Rollin' Stone was post-folk, electic Bob Dylan! At least pick one of his acoustic anthems. How about "The genres, they are a changin'"?

J. Freedom du Lac: I know, as I said last week, it's totally cheating. But I get to write the rules here. It's my chat. If you don't like it, then go bug Barry Svrluga for his picks. I dare you. (And yes, I think the Nats should re-sign Soriano.)

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Columbia, Md.: Baby Rock Records: I just listed to some of the cd's on their website. Weird yet pretty cool and original. They should do U2 next.

J. Freedom du Lac: They already did Coldplay. What's the difference?

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Anonymous: Brett Dennen is no wannabe, but comes very close to a righteous middle ground between Paul Simon and early Dylan. His new CD rules. He's opening for Sheryl Crow and Jon Mayer for a Sept/Oct. tour.

J. Freedom du Lac: This is a plant. It must be. One of my favorite freelance writers has been agitating to review the Brett Dennen album for us. Deeds, you're so transparent.

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New York, N.Y.: While we're kicking Pinky Floyd out of the Hall of Fame can Bob Dylan go too?

J. Freedom du Lac: That would be like kicking Babe Ruth out of the Baseball Hall. Now excuse me while I go all Wilbon on you and call you an idiot.

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New Haven, Conn.: Ray LaMontagne was interviewed on NPR over the weekend re: his new album. Was waiting for Scott Simon to ask Ray what he thought of Taylor Hicks doing his "Trouble" and giving him a "Soul Patrol" shout out; alas, the question never came. What gives...any chance of a Taylor-Ray mash up?

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes -- in my own, personal hell.

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Boston, Mass.: J-Man,

Honestly...how many celebrity butts have you accidently brushed against at an event? I know it's gotta be in the 100's

J. Freedom du Lac: The most famous was Cher's. I was at some trendy club in LA in the early 90s, and I was dancing, and I turned around and who was bumping up against me (sort of) but ... Cher. Alas, she was wearing jeans and not that weird leotard-tights-chaps-whatever get-up from the video.

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wash dc: what do you think of tool? amazing that an occult-tinged progressive hard rock band specializing in odd time signatures would have such a huge following.

J. Freedom du Lac: It really is amazing, isn't it? Their popularity is a bigger mystery to me than the Alicia Keys name-checks on the new Dylan CD.

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Raleigh, N.C.: Musically, does 2006 feel like a down year for all genres? No big releases this year so far from Radiohead, U2, Coldplay, Eminem, Green Day, Usher, or Maroon 5 to name a few. Are we gearing up for a big 2007 or are we just gonna get more 3rd rate pop music? Perhaps music is going to be taking a backseat to youtube and fantasy football.

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, you - and perhaps you alone - will be pleased to learn that Maroon 5 has a new album scheduled for release later this year.

Not sure how you're defining "big releases." Do you mean commercially? There have absolutely been some major releases this year on that front, including the OutKast and Christina Aguilera albums that just came out. Plus, the new Dylan, an amazing posthumous Johnny Cash CD, Dixie Chicks, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool, Pearl Jam and, of course, the new Jordan Knight-Deborah Gibson single. (Hah.) Rascal Flatts - those power balladeers posing as country stars - are selling up a storm, too.

And there are plenty of big guns being rolled out over the final few months of the year: Timberlake, Beck, The Killers, John Legend, The Game, Janet Jackson, My Chemical Romance, John Mayer, Bob Seger, Diddy, Fergie, Nas, etc. Of course, yes, it's quite possible that all of them will be nothing more than third-rate albums (pop music and otherwise). Of that list, I have the highest hopes for the new Beck, Timberlake, John Legend and Nas albums.

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Bethesda, Md.: I gave Ray Lamontagne's new one a cursory listen (OK, I just listened to the samples on iTunes). Sounded pleasant, (but/and) very similar to "Trouble." Break it down for me.

J. Freedom du Lac: I don't get the fuss over this guy. I listened to 'Till the Sun Turns Black' last week and was bored to tears. Pretty bland stuff, if you ask me. (Which I think you just did.) But his beard looks good, I guess.

Any LaMontagne fans out there care to explain this guy to me/us?

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Kids Rock: J Freedom: Wow, think of the opportunties for toddler tunes. They could do an oldies recording featuring classic rock tunes like Here Comes My Baby, Baby Love, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Hey Girl, Hey There Lonely Boy and for the slightrly confused, A Boy named Sue. If it sells, then, Baby You're A Rich Man.

J. Freedom du Lac: Plus, entries by Kid N Play, Baby Cham, Young Joc, Little Milton, Junior Brown and Too $hort. (Can you imagine a lullabyzed version of the former's 'Freaky Tales'? Neither can I.)

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Radiobedhead: Which album is worse, the Radiodread tribute? Or this lullaby album you wrote up? OR do they both need to be tossed with baby's soiled diapers?

J. Freedom du Lac: Of the three Rockabye Baby! albums that came out this week, the Radiohead CD is the most interesting to me. It's a really fascinating way to take another look at the band's compositions. Not saying I'll be listening to it often. But it's worth a spin. I haven't yet heard the reggae tribute.

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Atlanta, Ga.: Bob Dylan is wheezy but awesome.

J. Freedom du Lac: Not to be confused with Lil Wayne, aka Weezy F. Baby.

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Anonymous: Greetings, Freedom

Here's my five:

Jazz: My favorite things Coltrane

Blues: La Grange ZZ TOP

Folk: Here's to the State of Mississippi

Phil Ochs

Rock: Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix

Soul: Anything by Otis Redding

J. Freedom du Lac: Another list.

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Norfolk, Va.: How About:

Things Have Changed--Dylan--Acoustic Rock

Same Thing--Muddy Waters--Blues

So Much Trouble--Bob Marley--Reggae

Dead Flowers--Rolling Stones--Rock

Sexy Sadie--Beatles--Whatever it was they did

Wanted to include Short People but no room

J. Freedom du Lac: And another.

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Bruce's New Love Song: When the Towers Fell (I Fell For You)

J. Freedom du Lac: Very funny. (Though I don't think Patti would be amused.)

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Glen Ellyn, Ill.: Mr. J the F,

Last week, while driving the kid from Chicago to college in Ohio, all I could hear on the radio was either Justin Timberlake or bad country music. I need something fresh - any suggestions?

J. Freedom du Lac: Sure, check out the Eric Church album. GOOD country music. That dude is the real deal. Or, if you want older country, there's a new/old Waylon Jennings album out this week: 'Waylon Sings Hank Williams.'

Or, you could be our guinea pig and investigate the new album by Zox. The CD sticker says it's "for fans of Sublime, Jack Jonhson, Guster, Pixies & Cure." There's something unintentionally hilarious about that list.

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Anonymous: I like your chats, I just need to define what you say, that's all. If Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield are folk, then I'm hip-hop.

You're right about lists, though, one needs to make their own rules!

J. Freedom du Lac: Your flow is pretty decent, so yeah, maybe you *are* hip-hop. Yes, I know I was totally cheating by putting Dylan in that category. In retrospect, I should have just given him the category of Dylan. (And done the same for the Beatles.) Now go away. Svrluga awaits.

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Washington, D.C.: Lady Sovereign...seems that everywhere you turn people are raving about her being the 'new face in hip-hop' (and why sirius chooses to play her on their alt rock station, i don't know, but that's another discussion).

Her first single is good, but it just gets me wondering whether she's another product of the industry. Does she write her own music? Does she choose her own image? Or is this another canned product that people are supposed to buy? It seems like every other new artist that comes along is mass-produced - think Avril Lavigne.

So what's the scoop?

J. Freedom du Lac: As I understand it, the album that Def Jam is releasing in October ('Public Warning') is basically the same album Lady Sov had already recorded. They pretty much just let her be. No A&R tinkering, no image-tooling, etc. So no, I don't think she's a product of the industry or some kind of a puppet. She is, however, being swallowed whole by the hype machine. We'll see if she can actually deliver.

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Raleigh, N.C.: In the past couple of years we've seen the rise of Lil' Jon's crunk and its many derivatives come and go. Fortunately, that fad has fizzled out through summer 2006. Kanye is quiet, Outkast hasn't made a complete rebound. What's the next big wave?

J. Freedom du Lac: The next big wave is the current big wave: Crack rap. Just say no? Not really. Those Atlanta cats are moving units in a big way: T.I., Young Jeezy, Young Dro.

By the way, looks like OutKast's 'Idlewild' didn't get the #1 slot on Billboard this week. They were outsold by none other than the stars of MTV's 'Making the Band 3,' Danity Kane.

By the way, redux: A colleague came up with a pretty great analogy for OutKast. 'Those two brothers remind me a bit of Parliament Funkadelic in more than a few ways. Big Boi's stuff is like Parliament, generally: classic funk/dance arrangements; Andre is like Funkadelic...never know where he'll take you musically.' I wish I'd thought of that.

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Washington, D.C.: Greetings Mr. du Lac - A little off topic, but I'm curious if you read and have any reaction to Tim Page's Sunday piece about his top 25 20th century classical composers. Speaking as a life-long rock'n'roller who occasionally dabbles in classical music, I was surprised to find that I actually own seven or eight of the recordings on Mr. Page's list. Do you ever do any such dabbling beyond pop music?

J. Freedom du Lac: I do some dabbling beyond the confines of pop, but not much. Surely not enough. Tim made a great case, didn't he?

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Takoma Park, Md.: I heard Beyonce's new cd last night. It's pretty bad. What do you think is going on? Also, I heard the new Kelis cd is bad as well...is it worth a purchase?

J. Freedom du Lac: She needs more Rich Harrison in her life. Really, though, not sure what her deal is. I had high hopes for 'B'Day,' but the first two singles have been utterly lukewarm. I knew she was in trouble when I started hearing people call the album 'Bidet.' Ooops.

The new Kelis is pretty weak, too.

I blame all of this on Jay-Z and Nas. Somehow, it has to be their fault. Right?

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J. Freedom du Lac: Pardon the delay. I'm twisting Producer David's arm. Trying to get him to post his 5 faves/5 genre list. BRB.

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RE: Raleigh: Please don't ever include Maroon 5 in the same group/sentence/etc with Radiohead, U2, Green Day ever again.

Maroon 5 couldn't hold a candle to any of those other groups.

J. Freedom du Lac: Right, because M5 blows. (Not good for candles.)

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Arizona Bay, Ariz.: See other members of the Tool Army are coming out of the woodwork. Soon enough J. Freedom we'll all take you out back to the Toolshed.

J. Freedom du Lac: Is that like taking me snipe hunting?

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San Diego, Calif.: "The CD sticker says it's 'for fans of Sublime, Jack Jonhson, Guster, Pixies & Cure.' There's something unintentionally hilarious about that list."

That can't be "unintentionally hilarious." They have to be that funny on purpose. I might buy the album for the CD sticker alone.

J. Freedom du Lac: Please report back. (And I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you're taking one for the team. You listen so We At The Washington Post don't have to!)

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Crib Tunes: JF: Is it a coincidence your review of Rockabye Baby appears on the same day Mr Jeffs, the polygamist & baby bride broker was arrested in a red Escalade? Signed, Conspiracy Buff

J. Freedom du Lac: No, we absolutely planned it. I worked closely on this one with both the Style assignment desk and the FBI.

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Washington, D.C.: Is Phoenix the best French export since Laetitia Casta? I say yes. Them's some good sounds those guys make, J Free.

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, they're at least the best French export since the 2005-vintage first growths from Bordeaux. I'm riding shotgun in the bandwagon with 'Long Distance Call' blaring.

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Washington, D.C.: Please explain TV on the Radio to me.

J. Freedom du Lac: There's always more to the story? Oh, I thought you said Washington Post Radio. I'm still trying to figure out the TV on the Radio fuss myself. I'm kinda puzzled.

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washingtonpost.com: ok ok, here's 5x5 from producer david:

folk: "i don't believe you" -- bob dylan

rock: "just like tom thumb's blues" -- bob dylan

rap: "criminology" -- raekwon

tropicalia: "a minha menina" -- os mutantes

funk: "can you get to that" -- funkadelic

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Baltimore, Md.: I know I am about to name check someone few people on this chat have heard of, but since you are talking about Dylan, I want to give kudos to another performer from the 60s folk boom.

I went to the Birchmere two weeks and saw Ian Tyson, who back in the 60s was half of the folk duo Ian & Sylvia. (They had the same manager as Dylan, Albert Grossman.)

Tyson took a long hiatus from the music industry to ranch in Alberta, Canada. About 25 years ago, he started writing and recording songs about contemporary life in the rural west and he tours throughout Canada and U.S regularly. His recordings are released on Vanguard in the U.S. and on the Canadian label Stony Plain.

He packed them in at the Birchmere, and at the Ram's Head in Annapolis the previous night. At the Birchmere, he did two sets, each about an hour, in fine voice, playing solid rhythm guitar, backed by his longtime lead guitartist and bassist, who have travelled with him for years.

He is still out there doing it, despite being in a serious "wreck" as cowboys call it, involving a horse, a bull and himself about three years ago.

Ian Tyson is 73.

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks for the write-up. Wasn't at any of those shows myself, alas.

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Columbia, Md.: "Is that like taking me snipe hunting?"

Easy, JFree; it's OK to dislike REM, but no reason to go medieval on Michael Snipe....

J. Freedom du Lac: Funny you'd mention REM. With 'And I Feel Fine ... the Best of the IRS Years' landing in the office, I got sucked into a spirited debate via the WaPo messaging system about where REM ranks on the all-time best American bands list. Between arguing that they're not Top 20 (even though I do love a lot of their stuff) and trying to figure out whether to include 'White Christmas' on my songs list, it's a wonder I got anything done this week.

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Alexandria, Va.: M5 blows.

MC5 rawks.

J. Freedom du Lac: Absolutely.

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Back from the lake: Trying to come up with a 5x5 on the fly is tough

They Don't Know About Us - Tracy Ullman/Kirsty MacCall (pop)

Papa was a Rolling Stone - The Temptations (soul)

Surrender - Cheap Trick (rock)

Protex Blue - The Clash (punk)

Better Git In Yo Soul - Charles Mingus (jazz)

J. Freedom du Lac: Another list.

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Kingstowne, Va.: Re: "The Towers Fell". NOT FUNNY. Some people in this chat were in buildings that were attacked that day.

J. Freedom du Lac: Good point. (And bad host for having passed it through.) All apologies.

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Upper Marlboro, Md.: J.,

Is it true that Pharrell initially submitted the songs he produced on Justified to Michael Jackson for his Invincible CD and Jacko being the Wacko that he is declined to use them?

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, and 'FutureSex/LoveSounds' is the album Vanity was supposed to make with Prince.

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Atlanta, Ga.: R.E.M.'s legacy would be more secure if they all died in a plane crash ca. 1993 and weren't around to keep releasing increasingly sucky records.

J. Freedom du Lac: Plane wreck references are off-limits this week. Just ask Conan.

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WTF: REM not top 20?!?!?!? Between that and the Timberlake love, I'm starting to wonder what happened to your indy cred.

J. Freedom du Lac: Never had any to begin with. REM is somewhere between 20 and 30 on my list. Which I haven't actually compiled. I just know that they're not Top 20.

I'm trying to help make it safe for people to admit that they're in the tank for Justin Timberlake. You're not helping any.

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While we're booting people out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Dump Jefferson Airplane. The stuff they did as Starship should have kept them out in the first place.

J. Freedom du Lac: But they did have a cool band house, you have to admit.

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Arlington, Va.: If one more music critic writes that Black Thought of the Roots is "boring" I'm going to have to start burning magazines in the middle of the street like I was the second coming of Rev. Calvin Butts. What the hell is Rolling Stone thinking and what do you think about "Game Theory"? It's a gutsy art record, which will look good on their resume in the long term but looks like a dicey proposition in today's marketplace. Escapism is still the primary entertainment goal for consumers and Game Theory is mad serious. How is Jigga going to explain this to the bean counters And why wasn't "Long Time" the first single?

J. Freedom du Lac: Black Thought? Man, that guy is totally boring.

I keed, I keed.

I haven't yet heard this album, strangely enough. I say it's strange because I'm a longtime Roots fan, even if I do have a love-hate relationship with their studio catalogue.

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Ijamsville, Md.: Tomorrow night is the MTV music awards. Do you think the MTV music awards are relevant anymore? They use to be cool and exciting and feature great music performances but now it's more about pop culture and pop/hip hop music. Even the nominations for music videos are pretty predicable. I guess Korn's "Twisted Transistor" video didn't fall under their rock category. Plus, most of the "rock" bands that are performing are mostly pop rock/emo style bands. I guess MTV gears the award show (as everything else on the network) to TRL crowd these days?

J. Freedom du Lac: The awards themselves don't really matter. Well, I mean, I'm sure they do to the video directors who get to list the wins on their resumes. But does anybody really care who wins in a given year? (Correct answer: Nope.) It's all about people acting a fool on the show. Like, you know, Lisa Marie and Michael making out. Or Madonna writhing around the floor in a wedding dress. Or Courtney Love being completely out of it in a live interview. The performances are sometimes worth watching, too. But really, it's about the spectacle - and the potential for artists saying or doing ridiculous things.

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Undisclosed Location: I am listening to New Order's Power, Corruption, and Lies this afternoon. Just thought you should know.

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks, I feel better now that I know this. It's the last piece of the puzzle, really.

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The Airplane's house...: ...was ok, but the Grateful Dead's was cooler. 710 Ashbury!

J. Freedom du Lac: But neither was as cool 1137 Haight, where I was born. Look it up.

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Coldplay, U2, Lullabies: JFdL, please, please stop equating Coldplay with U2! Yes, Coldplay is derivative, soulless schlock that fills the void between U2 albums, but is hardly equivalent. I won't bother to defend the lyrical accomplishments of Bono (although we all can't forget how much a fish needs a bicycle), but for starters, the Edge is a much better guitarist than whoever plays for Coldplay. For seconds, Chris Martin doesn't have any apparent ability to convey emotion when he sings (except that emotion that seduces little girls into handing over their money for the music), which Bono, the big hambone, most certainly does. So a lullaby treatment of U2 would be fun, but a Coldplay version would be completely irrelevant.

Please don't enrage me again.

J. Freedom du Lac: I wasn't implying that U2 is a Coldplay knock-off. Definitely the other way around. And I'm already on the record with my thoughts about Coldplay vis-a-vis U2.

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Dayton, Ohio: Re: Tool...Ah, so that explains it. I'm a sucker for odd time signatures.

J. Freedom du Lac: Let's test that theory: Listen to Zappa, Tool, DJ Shadow and Sufjan Stevens and tell me whether you actually like all four of them.

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Top 20: Where does U2 fall on this hypothetical list?

J. Freedom du Lac: Nowhere. It's a list of American bands.

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Disorder: Maybe this isn't entirely in your purview, but I would like to share with everyone how much I loathe Meg Griffin on Sirius' Disorder channel. What's her deal? She plays good music, but listening to her drone on about herself and nothing but herself makes me get all squirly inside.

J. Freedom du Lac: Not my purview (and I've no idea what her deal is, as I've never listened to the show). I really just wanted to get a Meg Griffin reference into my chat archives.

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Washington, D.C.: As far as the poster from Takoma Park seeing a Tool show with his/her unborn child, a little over 5 years ago, my lovely wife and I saw Bob Dylan at the Towson University gym in Balmer. My wife was seven months pregnant with our son at the time, and by her reports, he bobbed and weaved and danced and shook during the entire concert. It was an awesome show. When he was born, we couldn't understand a word he said either, but since, he has turned into quite the harmonica player.

J. Freedom du Lac: Very funny.

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Washington, D.C.: People who think Dylan can't sing probably think that Van Gough couldn't "draw" either.

I stole that from Gene Weingarten, but I like it.

J. Freedom du Lac: As do I.

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RE: "dying cat": Great line, but I don't really want to hear Carl Sandburg sing either.

Yankee Chick Emily Dickinson still has it working, though.

J. Freedom du Lac: Touche, my friend.

Tou.

Che.

(And who else besides me thinks this is actually a post by Chris Richards?)

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Washington, D.C.: Who's going to end up the bigger celebrity:

Jessica Simpson or Nick Lachey?

J. Freedom du Lac: Chris Richards will be bigger than them all. Just you watch.

And just me type. I have a story to file, so I've gotta run. (And yes, Wilbonites, we really *do* have deadlines in Style.) Thanks for stopping by and sorry I couldn't get to all - or even half - of the posts.

Next week, I want a Top 5 reggaeton songs list from everybody.

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Washington, D.C.: I have always thought that Daddy Yankee's Rompe would be an excellent song to play as I was coming up to bat for my government agency's softball team. If we did that sort of thing. And I wish we did!

J. Freedom du Lac: Or, better yet, let's all name our own theme songs. Marinate on this one, folks. And see you next week.

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