Musical Stocking Stuffers: New Music Tuesday Out today are Rufus Wainwright and Daft Punk live albums, a new Christmas tradition from The Killers, a return to his roots from Wyclef Jean and an American Idol debut. A look at the latest CD releases by Lizzy Goodman of Blender magazine.


Music Reviews

Musical Stocking Stuffers: New Music Tuesday

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Well, it's Tuesday, which means new music time out today, releases from Scarface, GhostFace Killah, Wyclef - plus Daft Punk has dropped a live album. Rufus Wainwright, with much love for the Judy Garland. We'll have more on that in a moment, don't you worry. Possibly the gayest moment in public radio, Rufus Wainwright covering Judy Garland.


I don't know what you're talking about.

BURBANK: Awesome. And, of course, being that it's the holidays and all, The Killers have a Christmas single out titled "Don't Shoot Me Santa Claus." Let's get lost in the season.

(Soundbite of song, "Don't Shoot Me Santa")

Mr. BRANDON FLOWERS (Vocalist, The Killers): (Singing) Don't shoot me, Santa Claus. I've been a clean living boy, I promise you. Did every little thing you asked me to. I can't believe the things I'm going through. Don't shoot me, Santa Claus…

BURBANK: Lizzy Goodman is the editor-at-large of Blender magazine and a giant fan of The Killers. We welcome her to the show now.

Hi, Lizzy.

Ms. LIZZY GOODMAN (Editor-at-Large, Blender Magazine): Hi, there.

BURBANK: You love you some Killers, huh?

Ms. GOODMAN: I do. And I love this song. I love a little Christmas angst. It's one of my favorite things. So…

BURBANK: Are they…

Ms. GOODMAN: …thanks to The Killers.

BURBANK: Do they put out - have they been putting out a Christmas single the last few years?

Ms. GOODMAN: I think there's just the two. They did one last year. "Great Big Sled," it was called. And so I guess this is a semi-annual thing now. You know, they're doing it - doing again. So that's good. Yeah, it's nice. Nice of them.

BURBANK: I am also a fan of the kind of pop take on Christmas. I think The Waitresses…

STEWART: The best.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah.

BURBANK: The best Christmas song.

STEWART: "Christmas in Hollis," Run D.M.C.

Ms. GOODMAN: Oh, yeah.

BURBANK: Oh, my goodness.

Ms. GOODMAN: That's some good stuff.

BURBANK: Exactly. All right…

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. The Killers are competing with them. I'm not sure they're up there yet, but they're trying.

BURBANK: That's all right. They'll putting their - put their name on the list.

Ms. GOODMAN: Exactly.

BURBANK: All right. Let's take a listen to a new release by Wyclef - "Carnival 2: Memoirs of an Immigrant." This song is called the "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)."

(Soundbite of song, "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)")

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Where my money at?

WYCLEF (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing) She ended up in a road car, bruised up, scarred hard. All you wanna know is…

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Where my money at?

WYCLEF: (Singing) She thought he'd call.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Where my money at?

WYCLEF: (Singing) 'Cause I'm going to tell you like you told me. Cash rules everything around me. Singin' dollar dollar bill y'all.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Dollar dollar bill y'all.

WYCLEF: (Singing) A dollar dollar bill y'all.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Dollar dollar bill y'all.

WYCLEF: (Singing) 'Cause I'm going to tell you like you told me…

BURBANK: It's like a Wayne Wonder reinterpretation of that Wu-Tang song. I don't know if I'm feeling it. What do you think?

Ms. GOODMAN: It's very - it's one of those songs that sort of - the message seems to be contradicting the way it actually sounds. It's got this sort of nice, classic, sweet Wyclef-style beat to it. But, you know, it's really just about, you know, how you need to keep your women with dollar bills. So it's kind of an interesting multi-message there.

But I like it. You know, he's become - he's so established as kind of a collaborator and producer at this point. He really is an icon, Wyclef. And we've known him in so many different incarnations. And it's nice to see him sort of coming back and doing another solo album. This record is sort of in honor of the 10-year anniversary of his first solo album. So it's kind of nice. It's nice to see him coming back with that side of his personality as a musician.

BURBANK: He had some help from producer Wonda Duplessis on this record. Are you hearing that, and is it working?

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. I mean, he's, you know, again, it's sort of like this album is all over the place because he has so many different collaborators on it. He worked with a really wide array of people on the record, including T.I., Shakira, of course, Mary J. Blige, even Nora Jones is on here. Chamillionaire is on here.

So there's kind if a lot of influences. And, of course, he has - his influences is consistently there throughout, but you hear a lot of - it's kind of a multi-faceted piece of music all the way through, with everyone's different collaborative voices kind of coming out. So it's nice. It's nice to have a collection of different voices on one person's record but still have it feel consistently like them.

BURBANK: Well, from a guy like Wyclef, who everybody knows about, who has sort of a big body of work to somebody who's just putting out their first real record after getting famous on "American Idol," a young man from the 206 - the Seattle, Washington 0 Mr. Blake Lewis. His record's called "Audio Day Dream," which, if you at the letters, is ADD, which is a radio term for when you put a record, start spinning a record.


BURBANK: We added that record.

Ms. GOODMAN: Or ADD, which I think you might have. I'm not sure.

BURBANK: This is a song called "Break Another." Let's hear some of that.

(Soundbite of song, "Break Another")

Mr. BLAKE LEWIS (Singer): (Singing) Playing a role, he don't care what he's stole. He's a gentleman, a lover, get you undercover. You try to prove that his love is for you. Just when you think he's changed his tune. He'll break, break another - he'll break, break another - he'll break, break another - break another heart, babe. He'll break, break another - he'll break, break another -he'll break, break another - break your heart, babe. He'll break, break another - he'll break, break another - he'll break, break another…

STEWART: I'm going out of the limb. Not terrible. Right?

BURBANK: Every white guy got to want to be Justin Timberlake, though, now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: And maybe the guy from Maroon 5, Adam. Throw him in there. But not bad.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. It's surprisingly - I was surprised by how much I liked this song. You know, I'm kind of embarrassed by it, but I'm trying to get over that as quickly as possible, you know?

BURBANK: There's no shame.

Ms. GOODMAN: I'm going to go to support group and see if I can do something about this. But no, it's kind of good. And he's, you know, he's - the things that we loved about him on "American Idol" are coming across. It's lively. It's sort of weirdly experimental - as horrified as I am to us that word in this context. But it kind of is, and he's the beat-boxing king of "American Idol." What's not to love?

STEWART: Why is it that some "American Idol" contestants, it's okay to like? You don't have to be quite as embarrassed to like maybe Daughtry or Carrie Underwood. But you get sort of embarrassed when you say you like Blake Lewis or…

BURBANK: Wait a second. Wait a second. Hold on. Slow your roll. You don't get embarrassed when you say you like Daughtry?

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. I was going to say. I might have to adjust that one.

STEWART: Not at the time, I didn't. I have to be honest.

BURBANK: All right. All right.

STEWART: Oh, you alterna-kids.

BURBANK: I know. I know. Well, he wrote - Blake Lewis apparently wrote a lot of this album himself. And there's always this thing when these folks get big on "American Idol," some of them will have a record kind of wholly produced for them and written. Some of them will sort of - like Kelly Clarkson, want to write their own music. Is it a good move on Blake Lewis's part to actually write a lot of this record?

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, it is if it works. You know, like it's working here. I mean, you know, Kelly Clarkson may be getting jealous because it took her till album three to get away with writing it all herself or most of herself. You know, I think he had some help on this album as well, but it's - yeah. It seems to work. So in that sense, nobody's going to - this is the music that says if it does well and it sounds good and he wrote it, nobody's going to, you know, going to fault him for it. If it flops, then that's the reason everyone will get for why. So it's kind of like he's really - he's put his neck on the chopping block here. But so far, so good. It sounds - it's pretty appealing, this record. So good for Blake.

BURBANK: Well, something for the indie kids, or the - at least the kids who like the electronica - Daft Punk. They have been touring a lot lately and doing a lot of, you know, live performances - as bands want to do when they tour live. They have a record out. Is the record called "Around The World?"

Ms. GOODMAN: I think so.

BURBANK: Okay. And this is a little bit of them from this live record.

(Soundbite of song, "Around The World")

DAFT PUNK (Electronica Group): (Singing) Work It. Make It. Do It. Mix it harder, better, faster, stronger.

BURBANK: So that was them going from "Around The World" into "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger."

Ms. GOODMAN: Right. Exactly.

BURBANK: We thought playing the transition would be useful because the thing that's interesting about Daft Punk live show is these are two guys wearing robot masks who kind of just hunched over these turntables and keyboards. They don't do a lot of moving. But are they fun to see live?

Ms. GOODMAN: Oh, my God. And - yeah. The - I mean, I think that, compared to the sort of interesting song titles they have, I think the album is actually just called "Daft Funk Alive 2007"…

BURBANK: Right. Right.

Ms. GOODMAN: …which just really gets the message out there, right? You're going to hear what the band is like live. And, I mean, honestly, I think they came across in 2007 as the hottest live story. You know, who do you really want to see? Who do you want to make sure you get see this year? You want to see Daft Punk live. And I think it's because, really, with a sound like this, with what they do, it's almost like you're not getting the full picture if you don't get to see it on some level. And this record is as close as you're going to get, because you really hear the sort of - the crowd energy, and you hear their reaction to these songs. And you can kind of visualize what it might be like to be there, experiencing the lightshow and experiencing the sort of automated movements that go along with the song. So yeah, I think they were pretty much the live rock story of this year.

BURBANK: I'm ready for my glow necklace.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. You need some glow wear.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Whatever glows that have rainbow (unintelligible). All right. Let's crank it back about a half century to Judy Garland.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah.

BURBANK: Rufus Wainwright, this summer, performed an entire Judy Garland concert at Carnegie Hall. And that record is out now and available for people to pick up. This is a Rufus doing "How Long Has This Been Going On."

(Soundbite of song, "How Long Has This Been Going On")

Mr. RUFUS WAINWRIGHT (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing) I could cry salty tears. Where have I been all these years? Listen you, tell me…

BURBANK: I have to say, I didn't even hear this album until this morning before the show. It's so great, because the crowd is so excited. It's, like, really does kind of feel like an old-timey, like, you know, a Judy Garland concert. I guess that's not surprising.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. I mean, you know, he really does a true homage to her record here. He's doing a version of everything that she sang and every performance that she gave - or every sort of little mini detail of the performance that she gave on her Carnegie Hall Live album. And it's kind of an interesting pop cultural music achievement to even attempt that in the first place.

BURBANK: Well, and as you listen to it, you forget how many awesome songs Judy Garland did.


BURBANK: Hey, Lizzy. We're up against the clock. But I just want to thank you so much for spinning these tracks for us.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. Thank you for having me again. It's nice to talk to you guys.

BURBANK: All right. Lizzy Goodman…

STEWART: See you, Lizzy. Bye.

BURBANK: …editor-at-large with Blender magazine and fan of The Killers…

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: And friend of the BPP. Thanks a lot.

Ms. GOODMAN: Bye-bye.

STEWART: Doesn't like the Daughtry, though.

BURBANK: Hey, come on.

STEWART: No love for the Daughtry.


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