The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in 25 Songs: Bill Haley and the Comets – "Rock Around The Clock"

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll is 17 Track’s attempt to squeeze more than sixty years of music onto a mixtape.There are many ways to tell a story, and the story of rock ‘n’ roll is one that has been told many times in many ways. It’s messy, complicated and difficult to follow in some parts, and the entire history of it could fill volumes. But what if you didn’t have volumes? What if you only had a blank CD-R and you had to tell the story through songs? Each song in this list represents a moment or movement in the development of popular music. It’s not a list of the best, most important or most influential songs, it’s exactly what it professes to be – a history.

The second song, Bill Haley and the Comet’s “Rock Around The Clock,” tells the story of rock ‘n’ roll reaching the mainstream, and the challenges it faced along the way.


Review: Hanna

Written by John Forbyn on . Posted in Film

Jason Bourne and Beatrice Kiddo have a Finnish baby daughter who, big surprise, was conceived as some sort of super soldier but is now being sought for elimination by the very agency who created her, thus prompting her to cut a bloody swath of independent vengeance up to the front door of the secret program’s director (directrice, in this case), eh? Well, we’ve already played it out in our heads, but, sure, we’ll buy it. Of course, we will. Formulaic, but it’s the formula for awesome, so sign us up.

No, Ludlum’s and Tarantino’s characters are not explicitly alluded to or literally borrowed from, but the flavor is inexcapably familiar. Here’s the good news, though: Hanna is significantly more than just a tundrafied teenager mashup of these new classics — it has a meaningful story all its own sneaked in between the fights.


CHART WATCH: Winning Streak: Katy Perry Goes 4-For-4

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

Lady Gaga finally gives up the No. 1 spot after six weeks as “Born This Way” drops to No. 4. In its place is Katy Perry’s “E.T.” featuring Kanye West. This gives Perry her fifth No. 1 and her fourth from 2010′s Teenage Dream album. Her perfect record – four for four – puts her in an elite club. Excluding compilation albums, Teenage Dream is only the ninth album in chart history to be home to more than three No. 1 songs.

What makes Perry’s feat all the more impressive is that her album is nearly seven months old. That’s a lifetime in the world of pop. Sure, Britney Spears sent “Hold It Against Me,” Femme Fatale‘s first single, to No. 1, but the follow-up, “Till The World Ends,” spent a single week in the top ten (and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t return). Getting a splashy debut with the first single from a new album is relatively easy if the record label plays their cards right. A big enough artist with a large enough fan base will snap up anything the moment it’s released. What’s a lot more difficult is scoring four No. 1s. If you can do that, there’s a lot more at work than just overeager fans.


Review: Rango

Written by John Forbyn on . Posted in Film

“Well, well, well, the director of the first Budweiser frog commercial and the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy (listed in order of dramatic excellence), has combined the two and stuck them in a Western atmosphere for yet another CGI-candy-with-barely-enough-of-a-plot-to-hold-together-what-is-essentially-a-string-of-technical-showings-off, eh?”

That’s what you said to yourself upon your first exposure to a trailer for Rango, isn’t it? Well, that or “Yeah, I guess Johnny Depp hasn’t been a chameleon yet. :: audible sigh :: ”

Well, it turns out it was awesome.

We all know, as has been proven in a series of very scientific method-y studies, that 99 percent of CG animated films are cranked out by tremendously, really stupendously talented animators, illustrators, and virtual physics masters who, when some conscientious minority interrupts the sketching party with “Shouldn’t we have a bit of narrative in there, too?”, go “What? Oh, yeah… One of those… Sure, I guess.” BUT not Mr. Verbinski and friends.

Roger Federer

Tennis’ Top Gun Moment

Written by Daniel Anderson on . Posted in Sports

There is this fantastic scene in Top Gun, just after the best fighter pilots in the country arrive in Miramar, where Chief Instructor Mike “Viper” Metcalf explains the objective of the Top Gun program. Essentially, with the advent of heat seeking missiles, fighter pilots lost touch with the nuance of flying jets. They let the technology do all the work and, as a result, U.S. fighter pilot records dipped sharply during the Vietnam War (or so says the film). Top Gun was created to train pilots in the art of dog fighting, shifting the emphasis back on individual performance. Success rates (again, according to the movie) radically improved.

Remarkably, men’s professional tennis has gone through a similar transformation. If you’ve never had the chance to YouTube tennis highlights from the early- and mid-1980s, I highly recommend you try it soon. It will startle you how different the game is. Points last two or three strokes — serve, return, volley off the side of the court. Rackets of this era are indistinguishable from badminton rackets, and provide almost no pace to groundstrokes. It’s all about technique — a chess game, or an episode of cat-and-mouse.


CHART WATCH: It’s Game Change Alright: Britney Goes Rogue, Beyonce Flops and Rihanna’s Maverick Wears Off

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

Chart Watch is 17 Tracks’ weekly look at the happenings on the Billboard Hot 100 with chart expert Hunter Schwarz.

After spending a single week at the summit, Rihanna’s “S&M” featuring Britney Spears slides to No. 4 as Katy Perry’s “E.T.” featuring Kanye West retakes the No. 1 position with an impressive burst of sales and radio airplay.

In my last Chart Watch column, I compared the battle between Perry/West and Fenty/Spears to a presidential campaign, and likened Spears to the Sarah Palin of pop. Those comparisons aren’t that far off. Def Jam’s last minute decision to add Spears to “S&M” was a calculated Hail Mary. The label correctly assumed that by courting Britney’s rabid fan base, the song could finally break from its No.2  position and overtake “E.T.”

Remember when McCain picked Palin and suddenly, the disgruntled Republican base had someone to cheer for on the ticket? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.


CHART WATCH: What’s the Difference Between a Pitbull and a Femme Fatale? Lipstick…

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

Chart Watch is 17 Tracks’ weekly look at the happenings on the Billboard Hot 100 with chart expert Hunter Schwarz.

Kelly Clarkson announced the completion of her fifth studio album this March, but RCA is pushing the release date to September. One could assume the delay is due to the overcrowded pop market right now. If RCA wants Clarkson to make the biggest splash possible, they’re doing themselves a favor by waiting until the airwaves have calmed down a bit.

For the past several months, the upper echelons of the Hot 100 have been dominated by female pop stars. Katy Perry stays at No. 1 this week with “E.T.” featuring Kanye West, Rihanna comes up short once again with “S&M” at No. 2, and both Britney Spears and Lady Gaga have songs in the top 10.

In-N-Out Five Guys

In-N-Out vs. Five Guys

Written by Kasey Yardley on . Posted in Food

I never met a cheeseburger I didn’t like. Of all the wonderful foods in this world, I think cheeseburgers are one thing I could probably eat everyday. (In a world with no calories, that is.) However, not all cheeseburgers are created equal.

I took a recent survey amongst some of my Facebook friends and was surprised to find a pretty even division between In-N-Out and Five Guys lovers. I thought it might be interesting to compare them and see which cheeseburger reigns supreme. I’ve graded the burgers according to five categories: meat, bun, toppings, sauce, and overall taste. I think that pretty much covers the important stuff. Here we go…


Is This It? Yes, It Is: The Strokes Are Back

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

New York-based band The Strokes released one of the decade’s most acclaimed albums 10 years ago and failed to live up to it since — until now.

The Strokes virtually defined an infant decade’s emerging sound when they released Is This It in 2001. Songs like “Last Nite” and “Someday” were the template for other melodic, garage rock bands hoping to receive the same level of universal critical praise and commercial success as the Strokes. End-of-the-decade lists revealed people still hold the band’s debut in high regard. Critic-aggregating site ranked Is This It as the third most acclaimed album of the decade.


Synthesizers Not Included: How Adele Broke In America

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

This year, Adele became the first artist since the Beatles to have two top five albums and singles simultaneously in the UK. Her album, 21, and the single “Someone Like You,” have remained atop the British charts for weeks.

With dance pop ruling the airwaves, it doesn’t seem like British soul singers in their 20s could sell many records. Somehow, 22-year-old Adele has done it though. Her sophomore album, 21, debuted atop the charts in ten countries, including the United States. In the UK, she became the first artist to have two top five albums and singles in the chart at the same time since the Beatles in 1964.