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J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 11, 2007; 2:00 PM

Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac is online every Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: alternative, country, alt-country, pop, hyphy, harp-rock, reggae, reggaeton, R and B and whatever it is that Dan Deacon does.

The transcript follows.

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washingtonpost.com: Swelled Head Of the Class; Kanye West's Latest Is Rap's Boast of the Town

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washingtonpost.com: Musicians Say, No Matter What, Nashville Will Be Imus Country

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washingtonpost.com: Singer Bettye LaVette, Eclipsed by Famous Friends, Finally Steps Out of the Shadows

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J. Freedom du Lac:[A moment of silence please for Britney's career.]

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J. Freedom du Lac: OK, let's do this.

Raise your mouse if you were at the Willie Nelson-Merle Haggard-Ray Price concert last week at Merriweather. A Very Good Show, indeed, by the three Country Hall of Famers. Too bad the turnout was so lousy. If only they'd invited Kenny Chesney to open! Sigh.

Anyway, the review by Chris Klimek is spot-on, though I was tempted to send him one of those, "Were you and I even at the same show?" e-mails that I sometimes get, since I've always wanted to send one. (Wouldn't have worked, though, since we sat next to each other.) So much music history on that stage, but these guys are hardly museum pieces being shuffled from city to city. Ray Price was in great voice. Merle had a strong second half to his own set (too tentative at first) and played a GREAT electric guitar solo on Willie's "Funny How Time Slips Away." Willie's own guitarwork on was exceptional throughout. He also did some interesting newish stuff -- and an oldie that doesn't seem to show up often on his set list in "Blue Skies." Loved that he closed out the show with his new tune, "Peaceful Revolution," instead of a hit.

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washingtonpost.com: Country's Old Lions, In Full Roar; Haggard, Price And Nelson Are Refusing To Go Quietly

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Just South of E Street: With the new Springsteen album freely available on the Interweb, if you know where to look (Google, people, Google), doesn't this make the concept of "release dates" pretty much moot? Why wouldn't the record company just put it out at this point before everybody grabs it for free, rather than waiting til Oct. 2.

PS--I've been immersed in the album for several days now, and it's very good. Probably not classic, but very good--and it'll be terrific live.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, release dates are sort of meaningless now, though the RIAA and its army of attorneys would disagree. I think it was Producer David who observed that release dates are like MSRP.

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Poor Britney: She can't catch a break. Did you shed a tear for her?

J. Freedom du Lac: No, but I did yawn for her. Seriously, WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THAT? She was totally catatonic. Lame attempt at lip-synching, no presence, no spark to the performance. L. Freedom said it looked like Britney was just marking it at rehearsal. But I saw some of the rehearsal footage on MTV.com and it was actually MORE interesting than the actual performance. The New York Post had a funny line in noting that BritBrit "danced like she had a pantload." Of course, she wasn't actually wearing pants. Just a few sequins and some freaky blue contacts. Oh, and maybe a wig.

Not sure what Britney's handlers were thinking. That was a horrible reintroduction. They should have pulled the plug and waited for another day. In, like, 2009.

Loved Sarah Silverman, though! So great. Best music awards-show comedy routine since Chris Rock crashed the VMAs a decade ago and said the Spice Girls are like heroin. (Somebody's doing it, but nobody wants to admit it. Or something like that.)

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submitting early . . .: because I just read your review of Kanye. "the best rap album of 2007"? Have you heard Desire by Pharoahe Monch? The Undisputed Truth by Brother Ali? Bayani by Blue Scholars? If not, you should. If so, how can you say that Kanye's rhymes come anywhere near comparing to the passion of Pharoahe; the intellect of Blue Scholars; or the sheer passion and dexterity of Ali (my pick for best of '07, no contest and hands down)? I mean, I like West's album but it's nowhere near his first two and the beats far outshine the lyrics.

One thing's for sure though: It clobbers Fiddy.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes on the first two (no on the third) -- and I've also heard Talib Kweli's "Ear Drum," which is very good, indeed. Common's "Finding Forever" is also pretty good. But to me, "Graduation" is the best of the lot. Kanye is an interesting writer with a sharp wit and a great ear. He has some pretty unique production ideas, and I love his willingness to experiment -- even if the experiments sometimes fall flat, as with "Drunk and Hot Girls." His flow is definitely lacking vis-a-vis that field, but I'm not judging the album on its vocal merits alone. On the whole, "Graduation" is the most compelling and rewarding hip-hop album I've heard this year.

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Chicago, Ill.: Yeah, that Bettye LaVette is great, but she's no Britney. When she's able to botch a lip-synced song while wearing clothes two sizes too small, then I'll be impressed.

J. Freedom du Lac: Oh, yes -- we do love us some Bettye LaVette around here. Here's a bonus entry from our interview.

Q: When you're reworking a song - whether it's Elton John's "Talking Old Soldiers" or Willie Nelson's "Somebody Pick Up My Pieces" - how do you go about drilling down to the emotional center of the lyrics?

A: I don't do it consciously. It's not contrived. When I hear a song I like, I don't hear it the way it's being sung. I just hear *myself* singing it. I'm an arrogant singer.

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Atlanta, Ga.: I saw the Willie/Merle/Ray concert in ATL a few weeks ago. Agree that no 81-year-old has any right to sound as strong as Ray Price.

Merle was more tentative/ornery that he's been when I've seen him before. But I'd be ornery too if the loudest applause during my set was when Willie walked out on stage, night after night.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, that's probably true about Hag vis-a-vis Willie. Strangely enough, though, Merle did seem to enjoy playing guitar behind Willie. He was out there for a good chunk of the set, just noodling around behind him.

Ray sounded especially great when he came out to do "Crazy" with Willie and Merle. He sounded so good, in fact, that almost nobody noticed that he flubbed the lyrics. Not that his host minded, since Willie lost his way at least once himself -- on his own material. Too many space cakes on the tour bus!

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Washington, D.C.: Hey J - Why does Kanye West think it's his inalienable right to win every award for which he's nominated? He comes off as a major tool every time he acts up after not winning. He's in for a real surprise when the time comes- and it will, when people stop buying his records.

J. Freedom du Lac: His ego made him do it. That has to be it, right? Love the petulance, though. I mean, why SHOULD he be a good loser? Isn't it more fun to talk about his whining than to see him grin/grimace for the cameras when somebody else's name is called? He's the guy people love to hate, sort of like Phil Hellmuth or John McEnroe.

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Brit, Ne: i didnt think her performance was that bad but then again i'd been partying at RFK all day and was a little 3 sheets.

do you think she was too?

J. Freedom du Lac: She was horrible. Watch the replay tonight on MTV.com. You'll hate yourself in the morning.

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9:30!: Do you know if Neko Case is on tour with the New Pornographers this time around? One can never tell...and Carl Newman's sister is a truly AWFUL singer and horrible replacement for Neko.

J. Freedom du Lac: I would think so, given that her own Web site has an ON TOUR WITH THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS post on it. (The post does include the 9:30 date.) Looks like Neko's own tour wrapped up last month.

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Indianapolis, Ind.: That Springsteen single ... wow.

How the mighty have fallen.

Don't you think Steven or Clarence or someone should have said, "Hey, Boss, doesn't this sound just like Tommy Tutone?"

J. Freedom du Lac: No, but Landau sure should have.

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Glen Ellyn, Ill.:"...His flow is definitely lacking vis-a-vis that field..."

Cranberry juice will help clear that up.

J. Freedom du Lac: I suppose I should avoid making a "spot-on" reference here, yeah?

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I-Man!: Great story on IMUS!! The I-Man turned me on to some great music over the years. I never heard of The Flatlanders or Blind Boys of Alabama before the I-Man had them on. Because of him I bought albums from Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakam, Allison Kraus, Loretta Lynn - it is a really LONG list. I cannot wait till he gets his show back!!!

J. Freedom du Lac: Imus really was/is a good friend to the country-music world -- at least to those citizens of the country world whose music Imus actually likes. Publicists didn't really have any luck pitching artists to Imus. If he liked ya, he had you on. If not: No dice. That's not really the norm among TV and radio programs, which don't necessarily have to like the guests they bring on. I think that's one of the things that made Imus such a good cheerleader for country. He wasn't helping the labels promote their latest hat acts and ingenues; he was helping his favorite artits. Big difference.

Funny anecdote, from Marty Stuart. I'd asked Marty about sitting in the "Imus in the Morning" hot seat, and Stuart relayed a story about going on Imus for the first time. Marty had just finished producing a tribute to Johnny Cash on which 'Keb'Mo did "Folsom Prison Blues." But 'Keb decided he couldn't say, "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" -- because, Marty says: "He felt he couldn't say that line as a black man. So I told him to change it." The lyric became "They say I shot a man in Reno but that's just a lie."

"Well, Don Imus crucified me for changing one of the most sacred lines in country music," Stuart says. "Not only that but he had Johnny Cash on the line from Jamaica. Imus totally set me up!"

I guess Cash was giving Stuart -- his former son-in-law and band member -- a really hard time about the remake.

That is, until Stuart called him out. "I said: 'Cash, you told me you stole that line from Jimmie Rogers!' John conveninently forget to tell eveyrbody that he'd stolen the line. I had to bust him right there on Don Imus's show, just to get myself out of the hot seat. But Imus was just mining the truth."

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Brit's Stylings: I read somewhere that Britney was like a 19-year-old who takes a job as a stripper, but then just walks back and forth and cries.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeah, but a stripper would have picked a better song.

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Swelled Heads: I'm so sick of the egos! I don't want to hear rappers singing about how cool they are, or rock stars singing about how rockin' they are, or female pop stars singing about how hot they are and how YOU can't have them. If you are the coolest, the baddest, the most rockin' or the hottest, we will figure it out without being told.

J. Freedom du Lac: Duly noted. Though it's sort of a cultural thing. Kind of like somebody saying they're tired of hearing emo-rockers whine or protest singers protest. It's what they do.

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Do you know anything about what has happened to the Ponys now that the Spoon shows have been shifted to play with the Shins at Merriweather next month? While I love Spoon and like the Shins, half of why I bought the ticket was to see one of my favorite Chicago bands!

J. Freedom du Lac: The Ponys won't be playing at Merriweather -- but they will be at the 9:30 club with Spoon. I'll let Producer D explain.

washingtonpost.com: Spoon felt bad that people who bought tickets to see them at the 9:30 Club wouldn't get that opportunity. So the compromise is that people who bought tickets for either of the two Spoon shows at 9:30 will exclusively be able to attend an early show at the 9:30 Club on Oct. 23, the night after the Shins/Spoon/Vetiver show at Merriweather. There won't be capacity issues, but some people already got refunds on their tickets, which should cause some confusion. The Ponys are slotted for a 30-minute opening set that night, so that's all you'll get this time around. No excuses, though, since they headlined shows at the Black Cat back in March and July.

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Rockin' in the Freedom World: Party like it's 1979!

The Police - Nov 5, Verizon Center

Bruce Springsteen - Nov 11, Verizon Center

Neil Young - Nov 15, DAR Constitution Hall

Which shows are you planning to attend, J-Free?

J. Freedom du Lac: All of the above. (I think.)

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Baltimore, Md.: Hey,

I can't wait to pick up the new Kanye (and, frankly was disappointed that I couldn't find any retailers who broke street date on it, though I'm sure there were plenty).

That said, my next big question is this: I'm guessing the Kanye album is a better album than 50 Cent's but, assuming you've heard both and are familiar with all the hype around them, which do you think will be the top selling?

As a side note, I've also heard rumblings that Kenny Chesney could compete with both of them, but I have serious doubts....

J. Freedom du Lac: It'll probably be really close between Kanye and Fiddy. Early projections have them both selling more than 500K each in the first week -- possibly 600K. Vegas would probably call this one a pick'em. Kenny Chesney is likely to be about 100K behind. By the by, gotta love the fact that Chesney went on a big urban radio station in Houston tihs morning to talk about the three-way race. I need to hear a recording of that.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I'm a huge, long time fan, but as far as the new single, at least 867-5309 had a major hook. Thoroughly unimpressed with Radio Nowhere. How about the Amazon video. Case in point of why MTV doesn't show videos. Why does Patty have a guitar? 4 guitarists. The Hills is much more timely and entertaining.

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote against "Radio Nowhere."

I haven't seen the video. Who watches videos anymore, anyway? I can't find the time between "Celebrity Rap Superstar" and "Rock of Love."

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Kid Rock, Tommy Lee: Can we get these two to agree to a "dance off?"

J. Freedom du Lac: Jamie Foxx's reaction to the fight? "Stop all this white-on-white violence."

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Washington, D.C.: I think I'm actually happy people don't seem to like Radio Nowhere. I've heard the rest of the album now, and it's probably the weakest song on there (definitely weaker than Livin' In the Future, I'll Work For Your Love, and the non-creepy Girls In Their Summer Clothes).

But if people judge the album on just the single, that's great for me. It'll be just a little easier to get a ticket to the show.

J. Freedom du Lac: You really think that Springsteen fans would be reluctant to see Bruce and the ESB live just because they might not like the new abum? Now THAT is funny.

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Washington, D.C.: That guy didn't like radio nowhere? Sure, it's pop, but it sounds good. The rest of the album, is just inconsistent. It tries to be rock, it tries to be pop, then there are some tracks that sound like leftovers from Devils and Dust.

That being said, he puts on the BEST show in rock n roll. Couldn't get tix to the Philly show, but I do plan on going to both DC shows.

J. Freedom du Lac: (Case in point.)

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Pittsburgh, Pa.: Any chance Chesney will retire if he doesn't outsell Kanye and/or Fiddy?

J. Freedom du Lac: Hahaha!

Shyeahright. Apparently, at his Iota show recently, Dale Watson started talking about Chesney (along with Rascal Flatts and Shania Twain) and the audience started to boo and hiss. Watson told the crowd to stop booing because those artists are "very good at what they do ... which is sucking." Hah!

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Brit's Hair: Thank God that she had extensions put in because the only thing better than that "train wreck of a performance" would have been for her to run her fingers thru her hair and her wig come off....LOLOL!

Brit - take a hint sister, find a rock and crawl under it, give your kids to K-Fed or your folks and don't come out for a long, long time.

But wait...then who would we chat about???

J. Freedom du Lac: Amy Winehouse!

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Indiana: Got to stand up for the Boss since everyone is against him so far today. I bought my tickets for the Chicago show the other day and I can't wait. I think Radio Nowhere is going to be great live, especially if he does what he used to do with Prove it all Night or Backstreets and extend it into 8 or 9 minute opus, give Clarence some space to bust out in the sax solo.

J. Freedom du Lac: I do think "Radio Nowhere" will be better live than on CD, but it's a low bar.

By the by, how long do you think Bruce and the ESB can play these days? Do they still have the energy to do the occasional marathon show?

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South of E Street: Yeah, the Springsteen album is scaring people away from his shows: He sold out two shows each at the Meadowlands and the Garden in about 10 minutes yesterday morning!

J. Freedom du Lac: That's because everybody wants to see how "Radio Nowhere" translates live. Don't you know???

Bruce's "people" turned down our request for an interview, by the way. Must have been something I said. (But wait -- isn't that my review that's quoted on the back cover of the "Live in Dublin" DVD? No love at all. Thanks, Landau.)

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Philly, Pa.: About B. Spears/Silverman--come JF, did you REALLY think that Silverman was that good? I think her routine (tired retread of shock culture jokes), was sorta the summation of MTV itself nowadays; lots of flashy 'controversy' to try and remain relevant. Maybe she, like Brit, should work on her material more. More audience folks laughed AT Brit than they did at SS's jokes.

J. Freedom du Lac: Why would that audience laugh at SS's jokes if they were all about them? The industry doesn't like to laugh at itself.

I think she was funny. But I'm no expert in funny. You should ask Weingarten if she was funny. And then ask me why he's wrong about that Plain White T's song. (Though there's no need, since we've already covered that.)

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Amy Winehouse and...:... Lindsey, Paris, Nicole, Kid, Tommy, Pam, Kanye, Diddy, Whitney and the list goes on and on and on.

Makes for good online chat, huh?

J. Freedom du Lac: I just work here.

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Washington, D.C.:"You really think that Springsteen fans would be reluctant to see Bruce and the ESB live just because they might not like the new abum? Now THAT is funny."

I know a couple of people who've already decided to skip this tour. Seriously.

J. Freedom du Lac: They won't be missed. Seriously. Bruce will sell out two shows at the Can You Hear Me Now? Center.

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mr. kanye: if we wire his jaw shut, he can't verbally complain.

who's with me?

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for Callate Kanye!

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Sue Jovi: J. Freedom,

Have you heard that JBJ is suing some drink maker for trademark infringement for naming his drink Mijovi ?

Are we all in trouble for those Naan Jovi jokes we were telling a few weeks ago ?

J. Freedom du Lac: Is there an echo in here?

(Didn't we already cover this?)

How DARE you not read every word from every chat.

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Patti Scialfa (Mrs. Springsteen): Last week a poster or two questioned her work. If you like a singer-songwriter who's a grown-up woman and likes her music a little funky and R&B-tinged, then you'll like Patti Scialfa. If that doesn't appeal to you, then that's OK. Don't buy the record.

She had a musical career long before she joined the E Street Band and a record deal long before she and Springsteen became a couple. I bought her first CD, "Rumble Doll," because Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt (two artists I've been listening to for more than 30 years) expressed their admiration for Scialfa's work. And they were right--I did like it.

Who knows, if she'd never married Springsteen, maybe she would have ended up as one of many good female singer-songwriters like Shawn Colvin, whom one poster compared her to. But life turned out to include marriage, kids, a steady gig with the E Street Band--and an occasional solo side project just like the rest of the E Streeters.

You also have to appreciate their low-key public life and that their 3 teenagers are neither recovering in rehab, prancing down a fashion runway, nor starring in a reality show.

Just a few words of support for the woman beside the Boss.

J. Freedom du Lac: I swear, I'm going to listen to the new album, "Play It As It Lays." Eventually. But first ... I need to absorb Bruce's own "Magic." The Editor Formerly Known As My Own has correctly observed that the third track on the album sounds a whole lot like "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out." (Much better than Tommy Tutone!)

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Washington, D.C.: JFDL,

Hip-hop to me has become such a dead genre replaying the same themes that Tupac used 10 years ago. I'm reminded that my kids are teenagers and yet I listened to the Sugarhill Gang on the radio. I sort of liked Lupe Fiasco's skateboarding songs, but is there anyone going the slacker rap route like Beck did so well? Anyone who is not trying to pretend they're from the streets?

J. Freedom du Lac: First of all, NOT everybody is rapping about the thug life. You need to get out more. Or do some more online sampling. The artists mentioned in the earlier post really don't have anything to do with Tupac. Lupe Fiasco supposedly has another album coming this fall, and I'm dying to hear it. (You should check out The Pack, too, if you're into songs about skateboarding.) Beck, eh? Huh.

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Arlington, Va.: What are your thoughts on Britney's new single?

J. Freedom du Lac: Meh.

But Dr. Singles, Chris Paul Richards, digs it. (He wrote it up in a recent Singles File.)

washingtonpost.com: The Singles File

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RE: 2007 VMAs: Wow! THAT was exciting! Is it too soon to start laying bets on the big winners @ the 2008 VMAs? I'm just glad I can tell my future grandchildren I watched last night's x-travaganza, because MTV is going to last FOREVER!

J. Freedom du Lac: How great was it seeing Justin Timberlake tell MTV to start playing more videos not once but twice -- the second time after receiving an award presented by ... the "stars" of yet another MTV reality show, "The Hills"? Sure, that wasn't awkward at all, MTV. Nope!

The show was exceedingly dull. Though that Chris Brown sure can dance. And that Alicia Keys sure can dress like Irene Cara!

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Washington, D.C.: If Kanye's album is the best hip-hop album this year, it is definitely a bad year for hip-hop. His beats usually made up for his weak rhymes but most of the beats on this album are pretty dull. Kanye gave better beats to Common this time.

J. Freedom du Lac: This is the worst year for hip-hop that I can remember. Ever. And I've been listening to the music since they started playing "Rapper's Delight" on the radio. That was a whole lot of Pazz and Jop polls ago.

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silverman: i only watched the first 20 minutes or so of the vma's but I thought Sarah Silverman was bombing big time.

J. Freedom du Lac: Define bombing. Just because that crowd wasn't laughing doesn't really mean anything to me. She was making those people nervous.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Got to stand up for Britney today cause it seems as if the whole world is against her. I just can't wait to hear her lip-synch Gimme More live. Maybe she'll do her patented mix with Do that to Me One More Time when she plays the White Oak Mall in April

J. Freedom du Lac: That would sort of mark a return to her roots, no? Or did she get too big too fast to do a mall tour before she hit the road with N Sync back in '99? I know you know.

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New Classic Rock Bands?: I need a great gift for a classic rock fan--think Allman brothers and Cream. Are there any new or notable bands with this kind of sound?

J. Freedom du Lac: Don't classic rock fans prefer to listen to ... classic rock? Why not get a newish release from one of those classic bands? Cream at Royal Albert Hall, eg.

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Spare Me: A Springsteen fan who would boycott his live shows for any reason simply ain't a Springsteen fan. And then there's the true tale of a Bruce-freak friend of mine who was repulsed by the very idea of the Seeger Sessions album and was dragged kicking and screaming to the Nissan Pavilion show. Three songs in, she texted me, "OK, I get it."

J. Freedom du Lac: Those songs were so much better live than on the Seeger Sessions album, I thought. Springsteen knows his way around a live show, no?

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for "mr. kanye": uh, kanye already had his mouth wired shut, or are you not familiar with his 1st single "through the wire"? now that Sarah Silverman--get out the barbed twine!

J. Freedom du Lac: I do believe that's why the poster was making the wire reference. But for those who don't ... here.

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Gene: He already commented on Silverman's bit in this chat today:

Gene Weingarten: You know, it was startlingly vicious, which is okay, but not all that funny. Shock has a value. Imitating Britney's vulva made me snort out my beer.

But mostly, she needed an editor.

J. Freedom du Lac: So here it is. Sarah Silverman was, in fact, NOT FUNNY.

(I still laughed, though. And I hadn't been drinking all day at the Redskins game. I'm easy, I guess.)

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Annandale Dude: Having to hear the Delila song is more tolerable than listening to Kanye whine.

As for his VMA tantrum and 50 Beef, I didn't know video awards and outselling someone were as important as being heard, getting your music and artwork out to the people.

J. Freedom du Lac: He wants validation. Clearly.

But wasn't it Fitty who first started talking about the first-week sales total?

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Washington, D.C.: Did the post do a review of the new Manu Chao album? I couldn't seem to find it. If not, have you heard it?

I think I'll pick up the album tonite and am interested in hearing it - supposedly he's singing in 6 or 7 languages.

washingtonpost.com: Tuning In to Sorrow; Wordly-Wise and World-Weary Manu Chao Returns With Personally Charged 'Radiolina'

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Bruce: Anytime someone stays in the game rather than retire when their "era" is up always gets slammed. If they write stuff too much like their old stuff then they haven't changed enough and are just rehashing what's been done. If it's different than their old stuff, then they're trying too hard to be current and they shouldn't have strayed so far from what made them famous.

When Pink Floyd put out some of their newer stuff, I went to the concert. It was amazing. At first I thought the newer songs were too pop for Pink Floyd, but then I learned to just like those songs for what they were. New Pink Floyd. Not as amazing as the old stuff for sure, but still enjoyable.

The only band I can slam for changing too much is Kiss for putting out a disco album.

J. Freedom du Lac: I don't think that's why people are slamming the single. They're slamming it because it's just not very good. If it echoed Tommy Tutone and was great, nobody would care. The whole album sounds sort of unoriginal, actually. That won't matter so much if the writing is great. I haven't listened closely to the lyrics yet so I don't have an opinion about that.

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incognito at shows: do you ever get recognized at shows by us?

are you incognito like mr. seitsema?

or are you the guy with the golf pencil and little pads of paper in the corner?

J. Freedom du Lac: No, that's Mark Jenkins.

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Why not get a newish release from one of those classic bands? : or their favorite album digitally remastered

J. Freedom du Lac: A fine recommendation.

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Waco, Tex.: Kenny Chesney is fraudulent.

J. Freedom du Lac: Dale Watson, is that you??!??

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Nashville, Tenn.: Hi -

Great piece on Imus, but you left one singer out who's probably benefited more than anyone from the I-Man's plugs and support: Delbert McClinton. He played "When Rita Leaves" from one of Delbert's last CDs every day for what seem liked months. A very good song, though...!

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, yes -- dude definitely loves Delbert, who should be dedicating "I Wanna Thank You Baby" to Imus every time he plays it live.

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Fairfax, Va.: some selective editing on the post on silverman.... here's what else he said.

Sarah Silverman: She is all about shock. Do you think she is funny generally?

Gene Weingarten: She was GREAT in the Aristocrats. I think she is very cute and sporadically very funny.

J. Freedom du Lac: More cross-posting.

Did Gene say anything about poop today that we should re-post here? You know, in honor of the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's classic appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards. And/or the general quality of the VMAs these days.

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Dale Watson, is that you: No, it's Renee Zellweger.

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks for everything! - Julie Newmar

Are there any Kenny Chesney fans here? Can somebody please explain his mass appeal to me? Dude comes to DC and sells out Merriweather and Nissan on consecutive nights. He even sells out stadiums. He sells tons of records. He wins CMA Entertainer of the Year Awards. And I don't get it.

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Greensboro, N.C.: J. Freedom du Lac: "First of all, NOT everybody is rapping about the thug life. You need to get out more. Or do some more online sampling. The artists mentioned in the earlier post really don't have anything to do with Tupac. Lupe Fiasco supposedly has another album coming this fall, and I'm dying to hear it. (You should check out The Pack, too, if you're into songs about skateboarding.) Beck, eh? Huh"

No, not every rapper raps about thug life, but as one who has been a music fan since 2 years old (31 now) of all forms of popular music, I can say that most of the rap we hear on our radios are watered down terrible. I have to give credit to Kanye West for daring to be a bit different, but it is just the same old stuff (ho's, bling, bootie shaking, and sampling the heck out of every other song more so than than 10 years ago). In fact, much of the music that we hear so much of now is watered down way past what the 80s did. Oh, and Beck did have the courage to be different, even though he was weird. Which is more than I can say for 90% of the paid entertainers we have now.

J. Freedom du Lac: This reminds me of the old joke about the guy who goes in to the doctor and says: "Doc, it hurts when I do this." And the doctor says: "Stop doing that."

Stop listening to the radio. It's evil.

To follow your logic, we could also say that rock music is lousy because people have been playing the same chords for decades and using the same time signatures and singing about the same old stuff (love, loss, longing, partying, etc.). Ditto R&B. And on down the line.

Now get off my lawn.

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cheesney: his tractor is sexy. what else can i say

J. Freedom du Lac: Nothing, if that's all you got.

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Washington, D.C.: I was trying to think of people who'd boycott a Springsteen concert for reasons other than not liking a single.

Does Bruce still have conservative fans? He doesn't, does he?

J. Freedom du Lac: I haven't commissioned a poll on that recently. Or ever, really. I'm sure he's lost some of those folks. But he doesn't seem to be having trouble selling concert tickets.

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Re: Bruce/Radio Nowhere: Maybe we're missing the point on this song? Already it has generated more discussion than The Rising, which was a very good album in my opinion. So Bruce, who hasn't been getting a lot of play on the airwaves in awhile decides to critique how he and other classic rockers are treated by putting out a song that falls in the mainstream of pop sensibilities to stir the pot a bit. Maybe?

J. Freedom du Lac: Maybe. But do you really think he'd release a subpar single just to get people talking? I don't. (And for the record, I don't think people are talking because it "falls in the mainstream of pop sensibilites." They're talking because the song ain't great.)

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new york city (yes...really...): Well...I'm a Kenny Chesney fan and so I'll try to explain it. Briefly...he's found a way -- through his songs and his lifestyle -- to mirror the experiences we all have and those we wish we could have. His music is by turns fun-loving and carefree or poignant and true-to-life. Sounds cliche, I know. And many of the songs are "simple". But I wasn't a country fan AT ALL until about 4 years ago...when I heard "The Good Stuff". Made me tear up (and...yeah, I'm a sap. Still do tear up when I hear it.). And his live shows are just FUN. May not be the most masterful or genre-bending, but they are great escapist entertainment. And hey, if Joe Walsh and Dave Matthews don't have a problem hanging out on stage and singing with him (as they both did in Atlanta last weekend...) he must be doing something ok.

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks for this. He's definitely struck a chord with the masses. I can't say I'm particularly fond of his music, but then I like Billy Joe Shaver, who doesn't even have enough of a following to sell out the Birchmere, which is why he's at Jammin Java tonight -- whereas Chesney fills stadiums. Sixty thousand Kenny Chesney fans can't be wrong, right?

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Gene's Ipod: i am funnier than your ipod

J. Freedom du Lac: I dunno -- some of the John Prine songs on my iPod are pretty hilarious. Side bet?

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Atlanta, Ga.: I'm no Superfan, but I'd go see Springsteen IF he was playing anywhere closer than 500 miles from my house.

Is the new Boss certified Blue State Exclusive?

J. Freedom du Lac: No.

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Beck?: I love Beck as much as the next gal, but what the heck does he have to do with a discussion on the current state of hip-hop?

J. Freedom du Lac: That's what I'm saying. I mean, I know the dude breakdances and beat-boxes and all that, but ....

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Re: Re: Bruce/Radio Nowhere: The song is certainly not his best, but mainstream pop ain't exactly groundbreaking these days either. So it may not be great relative to his work, but compared to pop music on a whole, I don't know, still pretty decent.

J. Freedom du Lac: That's like me grading "Graduation" on a curve. Hip-hop sucks in '07 so "Graduation" gets an A. (Adjusted for grade deflation, it's more like a solid B.)

But Springsteen isn't even doing the best Springsteenesque stuff these days. Josh Ritter, Arcade Fire and the Hold Steady are kicking Bruce's backside.

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Chesney, Walsh & Matthews: Sounds like a law firm, doesn't it?

The NYC fan hit it on the head: Kenny Chesney is to country as Joe Walsh and Dave Matthews are to rock and roll.

J. Freedom du Lac: I think Chesney, Walsh and Flatts sounds better. Though I don't like that Flatts could be either Rascal Flatts or Lester Flatt. How dare they!

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If you need, ME: I'm in the club holl'ring "a bay bay, a bay bay."

J. Freedom du Lac: Noted.

And ... finished. Thanks for stopping by folks. See you all at the Billy Joe Shaver show tonight. I'll be the one standing 50 paces from the stage, hoping that Billy Joe doesn't try to shoot me (or my ride) during the encore.

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