Dave Matthews Band Defended From Rock Snobs

Dave Matthews Band Defended From Rock Snobs

Fourth of July.  Watermelon.  Baseball.  Dave Matthews Band on tour.

Those are four of the most popular hallmarks of summer.  You may balk at the final item on my list but for the last 21 of 22 summers, the Dave Matthews Band has gallivanted around the United States.   This year is no different.

The one summer DMB took off, 2011, they still managed to host four three-day music festivals called “Dave Matthews Band Caravan.”  Oddly enough, 2011 was the group’s 20th Anniversary.

This summer, Dave Matthews Bands has a slew of dates planned for the U.S. and Canada.  In fact, they’ll be on the road until Sept. 6.

Tour Schedule
DMB has two dates planned for Camden, New Jersey on June 11 and June 13.  After that, they’ll play back-to-back nights in Noblesville, Indiana at the Klipsch Music Center.

Look for Dave Matthews Band in Chicago on July 4 and 5.  The group is booked at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island.

When will Dave Matthews Band will be at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington?  I’m glad you asked.  Dave and company descend on that beautiful venue over Labor Day Weekend also known Aug. 29 through Aug. 31.  Labor Day comes early in 2014.  It’s Sept. 1.

What To Expect
This summer, DMB is doing something a little different.  They’re playing two sets.  The first is all acoustic while the second is all electric. 

Their acoustic set lasts about an hour.  They’ll stay plugged in for more than two.  The acoustic portion of the show is just the musicians.  The lights and video projections show up when the juice is turned on.

If you throw in a 30-minute intermission, you’re looking to spend more than three and half hours with Dave, Carter, Stefan, Boyd, Tim, Rashawn, Jeff, and 25,000 of your closest friends.

The show is billed as “A Very Special Evening with Dave Matthews Band. “

There’s no opening act.

Resume
Without a doubt, Dave Matthews Band is one of the all-time greats.  The living legends are destined for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the “live performance hall of fame” is there was such of a thing.

Their last six studio albums have debuted at number one—no group has ever done that.  Overall, they’ve sold more than 30 million albums and earned 14 Grammy Award nominations.

If the band quit playing music today—or let’s say for the sake of those with Dave Matthews Band tickets, after the conclusion of their summer tour—their place in rock and roll history is secure.

Rock Snobs
Besides being an integral part in the annuals of rock music, Dave Matthews Band is also a central figure of another group’s history.  This group is far less illustrious and far less important.  I’m talking about rock snobs.

Dave Matthews Band is a seminal artist in rock snobbery because they constantly defy classification.  Are they cool?  Are they not cool?  Can you listen to them ironically?  Or can you not listen to them ironically?

Former Rock Snob
I know this because I’m a recovering rock snob.  I entered myself into a 12-step program and now I’m cured.  I urge all rock snobs to purge themselves of their snobbery.  You won’t regret it.

It’s so nice to be able to participate in conversations about Glee and American Idol without having to fain ignorance. 

It’s reaffirming to be able to sing along to Air Supply when they come on the radio without having to make sure no one is watching (as well as listening to a radio station that plays Air Supply). 

It’s refreshing to be able to wear a Bon Jovi t-shirt because you like their music and not because you’re being ironic although that’s a difference without a distinction.

Bottom line, it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to listen to whatever I want to listen to without having to worry about what others think.  Yes, The National and Bon Iver albums I own don’t get played anymore but Kid Rock and Kelly Clarkson sure are fun.

Cool?
What makes Dave Matthews Band so difficult for the rock snob is they used to be a slam dunk “cool” band,” but over the years, for some reason, their standing amongst the snob-gentsia has changed.  Since DMB’s debut in 1994 and now, conventional wisdom amongst rock snobs (if you can use “wisdom” and “rock snob” in the same sentence) has done a complete one-eighty.

In a recent blog entry on LA Weekly, Dave Matthews Band was named the worst band of all-time.  DMB can’t be the worst band of all-time as long no one has gone back in time and eliminated all evidence of The Black Keys.

Top Worst
In the forward to the article titled “Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List” (don’t “top” and “worst” contradict one another?), Ben Westhoff writes that all the groups on the rundown create “simultaneously pretentious and dopey, derivative and uniquely craptastic” music.

That’s an interesting description.   Oddly enough, it also describes most of the music championed by rock snobs especially the “pretentious” part.

In the entry explaining why Dave Matthews Band is “tops” at being worst, writer Jeff Weiss, in true rock snob fashion, claims that DMB’s music is for “folks whose favorite book is The Da Vinci Code and favorite TV show is Two and a Half Men.” 

This comparison isn’t pithy.  It’s mean and pretentious. 

Rock Snob Argument #1
The rock snob spends an inordinate amount of time listening to music and discovering new bands.  There’s nothing wrong with that except they berate people who don’t follow suit.  The expect everyone to spend the necessary time and energy to make bands like Beirut and White Rabbits tolerable.  The rock snob doesn’t understand, and won’t comprehend, that sometimes people want to see a jam band and the only jam band they know is the one fronted by Dave Matthews.  There’s nothing wrong with that and ultimately it’s a compliment to DMB. 

5 Reasons We Love To Hate Dave Matthews Band
The snobbery doesn’t stop there.  On May 28, Chris Baker posted “5 Reasons We Love to Hate Dave Matthews Band” on Syracuse.com.

He starts by going to the first page of the rock snob’s playbook.  He ridicules the band’s fans and calls DMB “jam rock for people who don’t like jam rock.” 

Jam Rock For People Who Like Jam Rock
I responded to a similar sentiment earlier in the article, but let me also say that all throughout the history of popular music, the really great artists have taken a marginalized, or somewhat marginalized, genre and made it accessible.  Elvis did it with rhythm and blues.  The Beatles did it with folk music.  Dave Mathews Band did it with jam rock.

Baker then writes that DMB is “Nickelback for Kids with bachelor’s degrees.”  I don’t know what that means.  Kids don’t have bachelor degrees.  

What I do know is Nickelback is the go-to-band when a rock snob needs a punchline and the second bestselling foreign band in the United States in the decade of the 2000s.

Reason #1
Baker’s first reason why we love to hate Dave Matthews Band is “because they’re generic.”  I think DMB is anything but generic.  After all, not too many rock bands have a full-time violin player.  Dave Matthews Band has one of the most unique sounds in all of music.

Funny, in this section of the article, Baker writes “DMB is music for people who aren’t fans of music but want people to think they are.”  It’s funny, because you can say the same about people who hate Dave Matthews Band.

Reason #2
Baker’s second reason is “because they’re safe.”  This is a trick rock snobs love to pull.  They call something safe because in popular music “safe” is bad.  In their eyes, dangerous is good.  Do they mean dangerous like Volcano Choir or dangerous like the ultra-scary Poliça

Josh Groban is safe.  OneRepublic is safe.  Dave Matthews Band is not safe.

Later, Baker explains that Dave Matthews Band is not as “inaccessible” as Neutral Milk Hotel or Umphrey’s McGree.  As if being “difficult to understand” is a good thing.  How many people listen to Neutral Milk Hotel and Umphrey’s McGee?  The answer is (relatively) no one.  Rock snobs consistently punish artists who have the ability to relate to large numbers of people and extol artists who connect with very few individuals.

Reason #3
His third reason for why he loves to hate Dave Matthews Band is “lacrosse jerseys, flat brim hats and beer pong.”  In other words, he doesn’t like their fans.  I get that.  All bands have a swatch of obnoxious fans, even the ones beloved by rock snobs, but that’s no reason to dislike someone’s music. 

Rock Snob Argument #2
Let’s talk a little bit about this because it’s the great contradiction of the rock snob.  They chide people for not listening to “cool music” but when the band that makes “cool music” becomes popular the rock snob stops liking them.  Rock snobs are never happy.  That’s why you should ignore their punditry. 

Reason #4
Baker’s fourth reason is “because they dumped crap on a whole bunch of people in Chicago.”  He’s referencing the 2004 incident where Boyd Tinsley’s bus driver emptied the vehicle’s septic tank while on a bridge.  The contents, 800-plus pounds of human sewage, rained down on a tour boat.  I actually agree with him on this one.  The bus driver took the fall, but I think the band, or at least a few of its members, was culpable. 

Reason #5
The rock snob’s final reason is “because they’ve made ‘Under The Table And Dreaming’ eight times.”  Baker is referring to the band’s debut album and how their subsequent seven studio releases sound similar. 

Rock Snob Argument #3
This is another trap rock snobs love to set.  They think every artist has to be revolutionary and on the vanguard ALL THE TIME.  Being cutting edge doesn’t necessarily make your music good just as being “dull edged” doesn’t necessarily make your music bad.

Listener Supporter
Overall, I think this criticism is a little harsh.  Has DMB changed their sound as much as U2?  Of course not, but their eight studio albums are not interchangeable.

Furthermore, Dave Matthews Band is a live product more than a studio product.  Their greatness is best experienced at a live venue and not via the mp3 player.   

Conclusion
You don’t have to enjoy the music of Dave Matthews Band.  You don’t have to enjoy attending a Dave Matthews Band concert.  Love them or hate them, it doesn’t matter.  Just don’t dislike them because they’re not blazing new trails, or their concerts are attended by a certain ilk of people, or their fan base has exceeded a certain size.

Don’t listen to rock snobs and especially don’t listen to them when it concerns DMB.  Instead, attend one of their concerts and experience the group and their music for yourself.  Chances are very good you’ll leave realizing that there’s just one reason to love Dave Matthews Band and that reason is they make great music.

By David B.

2014 NBA Playoffs And Nine Things That Must, Should, And Will Happen

2014 NBA Playoffs And Nine Things That Must, Should, And Will Happen

Donald Sterling has been a distraction during the 2014 NBA Playoffs but he hasn’t completely sidetracked fans.  Despite the taint of his bigotry, this is one of the best NBA postseasons in recent memory.  Already we’ve had multiple buzzer beaters, overtimes, and Game 7s. 

LaMarcus Aldridge notched back-to-back 40-plus games, Chris Paul made eight of nine three-pointers against the Thunder, and DeAndre Jordan is dunking more than patrons at a coffee shop that’s giving away free doughnuts.

Do you know that there’s a stat to measure the awesomeness of the NBA Playoffs?  It’s called “clutch time” and it’s accrues in the final five minutes of a game when the margin is five points or less.  In the first round of the NBA Playoffs there were more than 320 minutes of “clutch time.”

What’s coming up in Association?  To answer that question you can either watch the games or read our list of the nine things that MUST, SHOULD, and WILL happen in 2014 NBA Playoffs.  There’s actually a third option and that’s to do both.  We recommend doing both.

Must Happen #1
>>Pundits MUST Admonish Wizards For Poor Rooster Moves.

The Washington Wizards are fun to watch and easy to cheer for.  They have an exciting backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal and likable veterans in Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat, Nene, and Martell Webster—as well as semi-likable veterans in Andre Miller and Drew Gooden.  With tons of excitement surrounding the team’s first round victory, pundits are feeling the need to applaud general manager Ernie Grunfeld for putting the team together. 

Well, his team could actually be a whole lot better.  He botched the number three pick in 2013 (Otto Porter), the number six pick in 2011 (Jan Vesely), and the number five pick in 2009 (traded it for Mike Miller and Randy Foye).  You shouldn’t give kudos to a guy who bungled more than half of his team lottery picks in a five-year period.

Must Happen #2
>>Fans MUST Realize That There Is A “Mr. Unreliable” On The Oklahoma City Thunder.

On May 1, after the Oklahoma City Thunder went down 3-2 to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Oklahoman newspaper ran the headline “Mr. Unreliable” over a picture of Kevin Durant.  They had the right nickname but a picture of the wrong guy.  Durant is Mr. MVP.  OKC’s “Mr. Unreliable” is Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook is über talented but he’s not a MVP.  Unfortunately for the Thunder he thinks he’s one.  When the game is on the line the ball needs to be in KD’s paws no ifs, ands, or buts.  Westbrook wants to be The Man.  Someday he might be The Man.  But right now Durant is The Man. You hate to knock Westbrook’s confidence and ambition, but sometimes his chutzpah is a detriment to his team. 

Must Happen #3
>>There Are Some Coaches That MUST Win To Keep Their Jobs.

The Golden State Warriors failed to escape round one.  That sealed the fate of head coach Mark Jackson.  You’d think that once round two began all coaches would be safe from the unemployment line.  Not this year.  Thunder coach Scott Brooks and Pacers coach Frank Vogel are both staring down the barrel of loaded pink slips.  Each of their teams have too much talent to be satisfied with a mere first round victory.  We don’t have any inside knowledge, but we expect Brooks and Vogel to be gone if their teams don’t reach the NBA Finals.

Should Happen #1
>>Roy Hibbert SHOULD Grab At Least One Rebound In Every Playoff Game He Plays.

In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert notched one of the greatest playoff performances of all-time.  And by “great” I mean amazingly inept, spectacularly awful, and wonderfully unproductive.  In just under 18 minutes of play Hibbert grabbed zero rebounds, missed all two of his shots, committed five fouls, turned the ball over twice, and finished with a plus-minus of 17.  His only production was one assist and two block shots.

How can a seven-foot, two-inch, two-time all-star play that many minutes in an NBA game and not grab at least one board?  Based on his sheer size alone, you’d figure one missed shot would randomly bounce into his massive mitts.  Six-foot, two-inch guard C.J. Watson played 15 minutes and even he was able to tally a rebound.  You have to go out of your way to be Hibbert and not grab a rebound.  That should never happen and it should definitely never happen again.

Should Happen #2
>>A “New” Team SHOULD Reach The NBA Finals.

There aren’t any “new” teams in the NBA playoffs but you know what we mean—a team that hasn’t been there in a while, or in the case of the Los Angeles Clippers, has never been there.  Ideally, a Blazers-Heat or Spurs-Wizards NBA Finals would incredibly exciting and interesting.  Of course, the league won’t let Portland win the West and no one in the East can topple Miami.  Therefore our best choice for fresh blood in the NBA Finals is the Clippers.  Fans get the excitement of watching a team that has never been there before and the league gets the television audience of a major market.  Oh yeah, there’s the whole “We Are One” thing they have going for them too.

Should Happen #3
>>Los Angeles Clippers SHOULD Become America’s Team.

Do you think rooting against the Clippers will somehow hurt Donald Sterling?  Are you afraid that a deep playoff run for the Clips will increase the price of the team and thus increase the pocketbook of its racist owner?  If you think either one of things you need to reevaluate.  Sterling bought the team in the early 1980s for $12.5 million.  The franchise is now worth a billion dollars.  Regardless of what happens, regardless of how much you root against him, he’s going to make a boatload of money on the sale of the Clippers.

Sterling’s racist comments are his alone and they don’t represent the zeitgeist of the franchise.  What he put Clippers’ employees, players, and coaches through should be more than enough to endear you, and the rest of America, to L.A.’s redheaded basketball stepchild. 

The Clippers are historically one of the worst franchises in the NBA.  Since moving to California, the team has made the playoffs just seven times and never past the second round.  Furthermore, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are great players, good guys, and both star in clever commercials.  So there’s that.  And while the Nets have Jay-Z and Beyoncé, the Raptors have Drake, and the Lakers have Jack Nicholson, the Clippers are stuck with Penny Marshall.  If that’s not enough to win your sympathies then you must be a diehard Miami Heat fan since 2010.

Will Happen #1
>>The Miami Heat WILL Win Their Third Straight NBA Championship.

By being the East’s number one seed, the Indiana Pacers were the rebel alliance’s only hope of defeating the Miami Heat.  But something happened on the way to the postseason, the wheels fell off the Pacers’ bandwagon.  Indiana will be lucky to even make the Eastern Conference Finals.  As for the West, the Spurs are too old, the Thunder are too erratic, the Blazers are too young, and the Clippers are… well, the Clippers.  Like it or not, the Heat are still the best team in the NBA, they still have the best player, and they will still be in possession of the Larry O’Brien Trophy come the end of the NBA Playoffs.

Will Happen #2
>>The Playoffs Will Sometimes Be An Air Ball.

The first round had five Game 7s and eight overtimes.  Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard eliminated the Houston Rockets with a buzzer-beating three-pointer.  Even with the Donald Sterling blemish, the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs was sensational—probably the best ever.

Yet, there are going to be moments that are anything but memorable.  For example, the Blazers shooting 38 percent in Game 1 of their series against the San Antonio Spurs or Roy Hibbert’s aforementioned performance against the Wizards or the entire Brooklyn Nets team.  The basketball gods giveth and they taketh away.  Don’t be surprised if we’ve already seen all the overtimes and Game 7s the 2014 NBA Playoffs has to offer.

Will Happen #3
>>The Playoffs Will Separate The Superstars From The Wannabes.

In Game 1 of the second round, Chris Paul scored 32 points in 28 minutes.  He was 8 for 9 from behind the 3-point arc and 12 for 14 from the field.  Paul dished out ten dimes and only turned the ball over twice.  It wasn’t an elimination game but it was clutch nonetheless.  Paul reminded the basketball universe that he’s still the best point guard in the game.

That’s what the playoffs do and that’s what the playoffs will continue to do—separate the real superstars from the wannabes.  For guys like Chris Paul, Tony Parker, and Paul Pierce it’s a chance to remind people of your greatness.  For guys like Damian Lillard and John Wall it’s a chance to enjoy a coming out party.  And for guys like Roy Hibbert, Kendrick Perkins, and Shaun Livingston the playoffs are, at least this year, a cruel mistress.

Queen and Adam Lambert Route Tour You Must See

Queen and Adam Lambert Route Tour You Must See

Queen Tickets

By now, I would have thought people were done talking about it.  After all, the issue has been settled.  Objections are moot.

Besides, it’s happened before.  So it’s not like it’s anything new.

I’m of course talking about the upcoming tour involving Queen and Adam Lambert.  The legendary arena rock band has tapped the American Idol contestant to be their lead vocalist.

Adam Lambert first sang with Queen—which is now guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor—back in 2009 during an episode of American Idol.  They also performed at the MTV European Music Awards and the IHeartRadio Music Festival as well as a short series of concerts in Europe.

This year, Queen and Adam Lambert are touring North America.  Their odyssey begins June 19 in Chicago at the United Center and ends 18 dates later in Washington D.C. on July 20.

Highlights of their adventure include Los Angeles on July 3, Houston on July 9, and Madison Square Garden on July 17.  Queen and Lambert have two shows planned for Las Vegas on July 5 and July 6.

Their tour, which has seven dates plotted in Canada, is raising the question that’s as old as the 12-bar blues.  When does a band stop being a band?

There are many Queen fans (and non-Queen fans for that matter) who are not happy with the Adam Lambert selection.  They have called Lambert a teenybopper, an American Idol singer (derogatorily) and lame (some people just aren’t very creative).

These music fans believe Queen died when Freddie Mercury did in 1991.  Anything without Mercury is tantamount to a tribute band.

Never mind that we went through all this before.  Paul Rodgers, lead singer of Free and Bad Company, sang for Queen from 2004 to 2009.  Queen has also used the crooning services of Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, and Zucchero in the 1990s. 

Asking “is this Queen or not” is the wrong question.  Neither Rodgers nor Lambert joined/is joining Queen.  They just toured/are touring with the band.  That’s why it was “Queen + Paul Rodgers” and soon to be “Queen + Adam Lambert.”

Also, remember that Lambert was picked by May and Taylor not the other way around.  The British musicians are huge fans of Lambert and felt he had the “something” needed to sing the dynamic songs in their repertoire.  As one fan put it, Adam Lambert is no Freddie Mercury but he’s the next best thing.  I totally agree.

Taylor called Lambert a “diva.”  Then he defined “diva” as an “extraordinary, outrageously theatrical, brilliant performer.”  When May first heard Lambert sing he thought “Wow, what a voice.”

The question rock fans and supporters should be asking is: “Should I to attend a Queen + Adam Lambert concert?” 

The answer is yes. 

Queen is one of the bestselling rock bands of all-time.  They’re not on the Elvis-Beatles-Michael Jackson level of units sold but they’re definitely on the next tier down.

May and Taylor are 66 and 64 respectively but they can still get it done on stage.  Also, they are not launching a nostalgia tour.  Both new and old fans will get a kick out of their upcoming jaunt.

“This is the closest that you’ll ever get to see Queen as it was in our golden days, but it’s not a reproduction. It’s not an imitation. We’re here live and real and we have a great singer. They’ll be a lot of newness about this. I think that’s very exciting. It’ll be loud and dangerous and all the things that people used to look for in us.” – Brian May

Beyond seeing two legends of rock (May and Taylor), and hearing their great catalog of music, you’ll also be treated to a wonderful performer and singer in Adam Lambert.  Put your American Idol prejudices aside.  Lambert is a tremendous talent and a world class artist.

Beyond the iconic music and the dynamic performances, there’s an urgency to this tour.  Judging from comments May and Taylor made to Rolling Stone magazine, this may be the last time Queen tours North America.  Along those same lines, Lambert insinuated that his partnership with Queen has an expiration date.

“I think the thing that’s special about this is that it is a limited thing. It’s this special engagement. It’s not like, "Now we’re off to the grind." It’s a once-in-a-lifetime tour.” – Adam Lambert

So, if you want to see Queen (in any sense of the term), and/or Queen with Adam Lambert, you better do it now.  There doesn’t appear to be a later.

There will be those who say this isn’t Queen and their concerts are not worthy of their money.  To those I ask would you go to the show if it wasn’t billed as “Queen + Adam Lambert” but billed as “May, Taylor & Lambert” or “Leen” (a portmanteau of Lambert and Queen)?

I know why the parties involved are billing it at “Queen + Adam Lambert.”  They want to sell concert tickets, but let’s be serious.  Most people who object to this tour would probably have no problem if May, Taylor, and Lambert performed under a different name. 

To those people, I have to ask why all the animosity over a name on the marquee? 

Then there are some cynics who would even besmirch my contrived “Leen.”  For them, not only did Queen die with Mercury but if you didn’t see them at their peak, the News of the World Tour in late 1977, then you didn’t really see them at all.  Anything but “Queen in 1977” is a waste of time.

Ah, rock snobs, you’ve got to love them.

These are the same people who say you didn’t see the Rolling Stones in concert unless you saw them during their 1972 North American tour or you didn’t really see U2 in concert unless you saw them in the 1980s.  Journey isn’t really “Journey” without Steve Perry and Weezer isn’t Weezer without Matt Sharp.

If you tell one of these bombastic critics that you saw Queen and Adam Lambert last night they won’t ask you how you enjoyed the show.  They’ll obnoxiously respond, “Well, I saw them in ’77 when they actually meant something.  Thanks for playing.” 

Tours are scrutinized far too much and marquees are way over parsed.  Rock is meant to be fun.  Some fans need to stop worrying about whether or not they’re seeing an historic concert, experiencing an epic tour, or witnessing a band at its zenith.  They just need to relax and enjoy. 

Less talk.  More rock.

A rock concert is an occasion to hear live music; get away with wearing black t-shirts, jeans, and vinyl sneakers; and having an overpriced beer.  Let’s stop concerning ourselves over where every artist falls in the annals of rock history or who is and who isn’t in their prime.  What’s important is having the chance to get your air guitar on and singing-a-long to some classic rock songs.

That’s why you should see Queen and Adam Lambert in concert.  They check a lot of boxes.

By David B.

Justin Timberlake Joins Exclusive Club

Justin Timberlake Joins Exclusive Club

Justin Timberlake Tickets

Justin Timberlake joined an exclusive club in 2013.  This club has nothing to do with making bad movies (Runner, Runner) or hosting a television show (Saturday Night Live) or selling a bunch of Justin Timberlake tickets (he toured with Jay-Z and by himself in 2013).  Timberlake joined the very exclusive club of having two number one albums in the same calendar year.  His 20/20 Experience went to number one on April 6 (stayed there for three weeks) and his follow-up, The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2, claimed the top spot on the Billboard 200 on October 19.

You’ll hear lots of cuts from both of those top albums during Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience World Tour.”  In 2014, Justin Timberlake is in Toronto on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14; Justin Timberlake performs in Chicago on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17; Justin Timberlake visits New York City on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20; and Justin Timberlake has a show in Philadelphia on Feb. 25.  The final date of his first North American leg is March 5.  On that night, Justin Timberlake takes the stage in Miami.  The singer has nearly 30 dates planned for Europe before returning to North America in July for 15 more concerts, including a Justin Timberlake show in Boston.

Below is a list of other acts that have had two number one albums in the same calendar year.  Membership to this club comes with several caveats.  One, it starts in 1970.  Artists released albums at a quicker pace in the 1960s and 1950s so we skipped those decades.  Two, we didn’t count soundtracks unless the artist was responsible for the entire soundtrack.  We did count greatest hits collections, live albums, holiday LPs, and remix collections.  Remember, it’s not two different number one albums in a 12-month period but two different number one albums in the same calendar year.

Elton John
Elton John founded the club in 1973 when Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player went to number one in March and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road went to number one in November.  He did it again in 1974 with Caribou and Elton John’s Greatest Hits.  The Rocket Man didn’t stop there.  His Greatest Hits collection held the top stop into February of 1975.  So do we count that for both 1974 and 1975?  It doesn’t matter because later in the year John released Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy and Rock of Westies.  Both went to the proverbial mountain top.  To recap, John had two number one albums in ’73, ’74, and ’75.  If you count the overlap of his Greatest Hits then he had three in 1975.  

Chicago
The year 1975 was a big one for the “Two Number One Albums In The Same Year Club.”  Not only did John solidify his place in its hallowed halls, but he got some company.  Chicago scored a number one in May with Chicago VIII.  Then they scored another number one in December with Chicago IX – Chicago’s Greatest Hits.

Prince
Prince didn’t need the entire year to rack up two number ones.  He needed just six months.  Purple Rain was the first number one album of 1985.   His Around the World In A Day reached the ultimate position on the Billboard 200 on June 1.

Bruce Springsteen
There were just nine number one albums in 1987 and Bruce Springsteen had two of them.  Live/1975–85 was number one for the first two weeks of the year.  Then in November, sandwiched between Michael Jackson’s Bad and The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack, Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love topped the chart for a week.

Garth Brooks
In 1992, Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus each held the foremost station on the main album log for 17 weeks.  Cyrus’ 17 weeks were consecutive and all for one album, Some Gave All.  Brooks’ 17 weeks were scattered throughout the year and split between Ropin’ the Wind and The Chase.  Fast forward to 1998,   Brooks starts a new club when he has three different albums go to number one: Sevens (January), The Limited Series (May), and Double Live (December).

The Beatles
The Beatles had four number one albums in 1964 and two each in 1965, 1966, and 1967, but like we said the industry was different then.  In 1996, 35 years after splitting up, the Fab Four reached the promise land again… and again.  Anthology 2 captured the top spot in April and Anthology 3 reached the charts’ acme in November. A quick note, in 1973 The Beatles’ greatest hits collection, 1967-1970, summited the Billboard 200.  It was followed by Red Rose Speedway by Paul McCartney and Wings.  That was followed by George Harrison’s Living in the Material World.

Jay-Z
No male artist has had more number one albums than Jay-Z.  So it’s fitting that he made this list.  In fact, he made it twice.  In 2000, he did it all by himself reaching number one with both Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter and The Dynasty: Roc La Familia.  Four years later, he did the double again but this time with some help.  R. Kelly and Jay-Z reached the pinnacle with Unfinished Business.  Five weeks after that, Jay-Z was back on top thanks Collision Course, an EP he made with Linkin Park.

Eminem
Eminem joined this exclusive club in 2005.  His Encore was second to none for two weeks in January.  Then from Christmas Eve to the end of the year, his Curtain Call: The Hits was the top opus in all the land.

Susan Boyle
Susan Boyle is the most unlikely member of this elite guild.   In 2010, she started and ended the year at number one.  I Dream A Dream was number one for the year’s first three weeks and her The Gift was número uno for the last two weeks of the year.

Glee
You tell us if this counts.  In the spring of 2010, the cast of Glee saw three of their albums maneuver to the uppermost locus on Billboard’s main album chart: Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna; Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers; and Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals.  They’re not really a band but a number one album is a number one album.

Justin Bieber
They’re not exactly new studio releases but like we said before they count.  In early March of 2011, Biebs’ Never Say Never – The Remixes was chief among all releases.  Justin Bieber returned to the apex for one more week in November thanks to his dubious Christmas record Under the Mistletoe.

One Direction
Boy band extraordinaire One Direction crashed the party in 2012.  Up All Night and Take Me Home spent one week each at number one.  Counting Justin Timberlake, the club has grown each of the past four years.  It will be interesting to see if the trend continues.  In the 1970s and 1980s, artist stayed at number one for weeks.  Nowadays, there’s a new number one every seven days.  With so many number one albums floating around it should be easier to land two in the same calendar year.

By David B.

Boston Celtics In Rebuilding Mode For 2013-2014 Season

Boston Celtics In Rebuilding Mode For 2013-2014 Season

Boston Celtics Tickets

The Boston Celtics walked off the court this past Saturday feeling real low.  They had just fallen to the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-88 at the Target Center in Minneapolis.  The C’s managed just 38 points in the second half.  Their number one offensive option, Jeff Green, was 0-for-6 from the field, substitute Jared Sullinger finished with a minus 27, and the starting five committed a combined 16 turnovers.

Is that game an anomaly or par for the course for the 2013-2014 Boston Celtics?  Unfortunately for Celtics fan there will be far more games like the Celtics had against the T-Wolves then there will be games like they had against the defending champs.  On Nov. 9, the Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 111-110.

I hate to say it fans, but the Celtics are in rebuilding mode *gasp!* 

It’s funny how fans of teams like the Celtics cry and moan when their team goes into rebuilding mode.  I jump up and down in glee when I learn that my team is going into rebuilding mode.  It means they’re going to get better (or at least they’re going to try).  Hey, “rebuilding” sure beats another season of status quo.  I guess you don’t look at it that way when you’re used to your team being a perennial contender.

The good news about the Celtics being in rebuilding mode is it shouldn’t last long.  The team is poised to be back in the playoffs in a few years and competing for a title not long after that.  The process might be expedited if a few ping pong balls fall their way, some teams get desperate come the trade deadline, and their new head coach pans out.

Yes, the 2013-2014 NBA season will be a long one for fans with Boston Celtics tickets but after this campaign things should start looking up.  So how down will the Celtics get?  I predict they’ll finish the season with 30 or so wins (they started 4-7).  Even if the Celtics win just 35 percent of their games, that doesn’t mean there won’t be things to root for and players to cheer on.  In fact, this could be a very busy year for the 17-time champions.

Key Celtics Home Games
>>Nov. 22 – Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers
>>Dec. 11 – Celtics vs. Los Angeles Clippers
>>Jan. 17 – Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
>>Jan. 26 – Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets
>>Feb. 12 – Celtics vs. San Antonio Spurs
>>March 12 – Celtics vs. New York Knicks
>>March 19 – Celtics vs. Miami Heat
>>March 30 – Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls
>>April 4 – Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers
>>April 16 – Celtics vs. Washington Wizards (final game of the season)

Rajon Rondo
This is a huge year for Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.  No, it’s not a contract year nor is he not on pace to break some meaningful record.  This season could lead to him remaining a Celtic for the rest of his career or it could be his last in Boston. 

Should He Stay Or Should He Go?
Rondo is currently out recovering from a partially torn ACL.  It looks like he might return sometime in December.  Celtics GM Danny Ainge will have to determine if Rondo, who’s not the easiest guy to coach or the greatest shooter, is the cornerstone of the franchise’s rebuilding process or the piece that’s traded for the cornerstone.

Fair Trade
In order to trade Rondo, and get the value they want for him, the franchise needs him to get back on the court and play well.  Right now, his trade value is at its lowest.  If the Celtics do trade him they’ll want a top 15 player in return.  Recently, rumors were floating around that the Knicks were interested in the point guard.  True or not, the Knicks have nothing the Celtics want.  The rumors did accomplish one thing, they forced Ainge to come out and publically back his floor general.

“I think a lot of people forget that Rajon was the starting guard on the Eastern Conference All-Star team last year.  Rajon has been really good. I think him and Brad (Stevens [the team’s new coach]) are developing a great relationship, and he’s just a huge part of our future. We’re building around Rajon.” – Danny Ainge

Final Word On Rondo
Here’s what I think will happen: if a team offers Celtics something like an All-Star and a few starters they’ll trade Rondo, but if an awesome deal doesn’t come along they’ll keep him.  He’s not an once-in-a-lifetime talent that you hold onto no matter what but he’s still a special player.  Bottom line, if you want Rondo you’re going to have to give up a lot (and you’ll only get him on the Celtics timeable).

Other Trade Bait
Rumors will be swirling around Celtic Nation all year.  A week won’t go by where a rumor doesn’t surface that has Rondo going to this team or that for a cadre of players, a coach, a front office executive, a hot dog vendor, and a palette load of towels. 

When the media isn’t talking about possible Rondo trades they’ll discuss deals involving Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries.  Both players have huge contracts and will be attractive to teams who think they’re a player away from a championship. I’d be very surprise if both players are still in Boston after the NBA trade deadline.

More Trade Bait
The next level of trade bait includes guard Courtney Lee and forward Brandon Bass.  Lee is a nice player but he’s taking up about $11 million in cap room.  Bass’ contract isn’t bad, just $7 million in 2014-2015, but he’s a veteran who should be playing for a playoff team.  Although he’s a starter, Jeff Green could be dealt too.  While athletic, he’s a turnover machine, doesn’t share the ball, and takes off plays.

The Prodigy
This is Brad Stevens first year as head coach of the Boston Celtics.  When talking about the Celtics rebuilding process, a lot of pundits reference Stevens, a college wunderkind, and include his ability to gel with the roster as an ingredient to the team’s comeback.  I disagree.  No offense to Stevens, who is a proven winner (at the college level), but coaching is way overrated in the NBA.

If Stevens doesn’t pan out (i.e. doesn’t get along with Rondo), the team can fire him and go with someone else.  The rebuilding process isn’t going to be stunted because of a coach.  Of course, if guys like playing for him, and he gets his team to play defense, then who knows, maybe he can expedite the rebuilding process.

Draft Picks
Celtics fans will also want to root against the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks this season (if they’re not already).  That’s because the C’s will get the Nets 2014 first round pick in the NBA Draft.  Keep in mind, Atlanta has the right to swap their first round pick with the Nets (as part of the Joe Johnson trade).  As long as the Hawks are doing better than the Nets, Celtics should count on getting the Hawks first round selection.

Regardless, the pick should be in the high teens or low twenties.  Despite the Nets’ atrocious start, you figure both teams will make the playoffs.  Still, you never know.  Both teams could post losing records, qualify for the NBA lottery, and set the Celtics up with another high first round draft pick.  Regardless of the long odds, the situation gives Celtics fans reasons to root for whoever is playing the Nets and Hawks.

Boston Celtics 2013-2014 Roster
Brandon Bass – F              
Keith Bogans – G/F         
Avery Bradley – G            
MarShon Brooks – G      
Jordan Crawford – G      
Vitor Faverani – C            
Jeff Green – G/F
Kris Humphries – F          
Courtney Lee – G             
Kelly Olynyk – C/F            
Phil Pressey – G
Rajon Rondo – G              
Jared Sullinger – F            
Gerald Wallace – F

By David B.