Saturday, October 26, 1996

Toni Braxton charted with "Un-Break My Heart": October 26, 1996

Originally posted October 26, 2011.



Braxton was a preacher’s daughter “raised in a household where pop music was strictly forbidden.” KX In 1990, she recorded with her sisters as The Braxtons, but by 1992 she’d launched a solo career. In 1993, she landed the Grammy for Best New Artist and found her way into the top 10 of the pop charts with “Another Sad Love Song” and “Breathe Again”.

Braxton’s second album, Secrets, proved she would not suffer the Best New Artist Grammy curse of disappearing from the music scene. Lead-off single “You’re Makin’ Me High” was a #1 hit which won a Grammy for R&B Female Vocal.

However, even more successful was the album’s second single, “Un-Break My Heart”, a ballad of “blistering heartbreak” SF in which Braxton begs a former lover to return and undo the pain he has caused. SF In her “distinctive, husky alto” BB100 Braxton delivered a performance which was “both poignant and hopeful.” TB The song’s eleven weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 put it amongst the biggest #1 songs of all time. It sold more than 4 million worldwide and won her yet another Grammy – this one for Pop Female Vocal.

The song was written by Diane Warren who’d penned such #1 hits as Chicago’s “Look Away” and Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”, but this was her most successful song in the U.S. in terms of chart performance. SF Warren said she knew immediately that “Heart” would be a hit, but that Braxton didn’t want to sing it. Even after the song succeeded, Braxton told Warren she “didn’t want another one of those”. SF




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Friday, September 13, 1996

The Death of Tupac Shakur: September 13, 1996

Originally posted September 13, 2012.

image from vigilantcitizen.com

On September 7, 1996, rapper/actor Tupac Shakur (generally referred to as 2Pac) attended the Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon boxing match in Las Vegas, Nevada. When Shakur and his Death Row Records entourage left the MGM Grand Hotel, a fight broke out. Later that night, Shakur was in the riding to an event with Death Row’s Suge Knight when a car pulled up beside them and fired roughly 13 shots at the car. Shakur was hit four times. He died a week later on September 13, 1996. He was 25.

He is estimated to have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. His songs often depicted the harsh realities of ghetto life, largely inspired by his own upbringing in East Harlem. His parents’ background as members of the Black Panthers also shaped the social commentary in 2Pac’s music. Shakur faced trouble with the law and was caught up in the East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry commonly assumed to be the reason for his gang-style killing.

His music career started with Digital Underground in 1990. He worked as a roadie and backup dancer and contributed a rap on their “Same Song” for the 1991 film Nothing But Trouble. He launched his solo career that same year with 2Pacalypse Now. Me Against the World (1995) and All Eyez on Me (1996) are both DMDB top 1000 albums and went to #1, a position he attained three more times posthumously. He’s charted more than 20 albums; only four were released in his lifetime. Eleven of his albums have been top tens.


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Sunday, July 28, 1996

In Concert: Styx

image from youtube.com


Venue: Sandstone Ampitheatre; Bonner Springs, KS
Tour: Return to Paradise
The Players: Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards), Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar), James Young (vocals, guitar), Chuck Panozzo (bass), Todd Sucherman (drums)
Opening Act: Kansas


The Set List: *

1. A.D. 1928/Rockin' the Paradise
2. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
3. Lady
4. Too Much Time on My Hands
5. Snowblind
6. Suite Madame Blue
7. Crystal Ball
8. The Grand Illusion
9. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
10. Show Me the Way
11. Boat on the River
12. Lorelei
13. Babe
14. Miss America
15. Come Sail Away

Encore:

16. Renegade
17. The Best of Times

* Setlist unknown so listing comes from 1997 Return to Paradise live album


Tuesday, June 18, 1996

Beck released Odelay: June 18, 1996

image from spinner.com

Originally posted 6/18/2012. Updated 3/9/2013.


Released: 18 June 1996
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. Devil’s Haircut (9/28/96, #94 US, #22 UK, #23 AR) 2. Hotwax 3. Lord Only Knows 4. The New Pollution (2/22/97, #78 US, #14 UK, #9 AR) 5. Derelict 6. Novacane 7. Jack-Ass (8/2/97, #73 US, #15 AR) 8. Where It’s At (6/15/96, #40a US, #5 UK, #5 AR) 9. Minus 10. Sissyneck (5/24/97, #30 UK) 11. Readymade 12. High 5 (Rock the Catskills) 13. Ramshackle

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.3 UK, 2.3 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 16 US, 18 UK

Rating:


Review: Beck’s song “Loser” “became the alternative-rock anthem of the summer” TB of 1994, but “many self-styled citizens of the alternative nation wrote him off as a one-hit wonder.” EW However, anyone who gave the “wildly eclectic Mellow Gold an open-minded listen knows that Beck Hansen is no novelty-tune phony.” EW The follow-up album proved to be “an eclectic melting pot of ideas,” TB which showcased “Beck’s rock-chameleon identity” EW via an ability “to jump from genre to genre in the manner of David Bowie in the 1970s.” TB With his “technicolor version of his Woody Guthrie-meets-Grandmaster Flash vision,” RS Odelay “found Beck collecting the grooves of generations past and reshaping them into a postmodern tapestry, merging countless samples and styles into one cohesive whole.” SL “Songs frequently morph from one genre to another, seemingly unrelated genre – bursts of noise give way to country songs with hip-hop beats, easy listening melodies transform into a weird fusion of pop, jazz, and cinematic strings.” AMG

An important trait to Beck’s success is his “whacked-out street poetry” EW and “ever-present sense of humor: Without straying into Weird Al territory, he imbues his lyrics with a healthy sense of the absurd – something almost entirely lacking in rock today. ‘'I got a stolen wife and a rhinestone life, and some good old boys/ I’m writing my will on a three-dollar bill,'’ he sings in ‘Sissyneck’.” EW “‘Devil’s Haircut’ describes a demented hell while The New Pollution parodies an age-old caricature of corrupt women.” SL

Credit also goes to “sampledelic producers the Dust Brothers,” RS who were “responsible for the smorgasbord of tasty, left-field samples on the Beastie Boys’ seminal Paul’s Boutique.” EW As a result, Odelay samples everyone from Tchaikovsky to the Frogs EW and tracks are filled “with background tambourines, maracas, and synthesizers, lending the album much of its bizarre, oddly gratifying texture.” SL

It isn’t just that Beck “accomplishes his sonic experiment” SL with “resolute confidence” SL and surprisingly “relative coherency.” SL The album is a “defining statement of an entire generation in the throes of finding its own voice.” SLOdelay can be seen as the artist’s own cheeky response to other Gen X alternative acts.” SL He “completely ignored the angst-driven nihilistic trends of the grunge bands” SL AMG by “channeling the independent exuberance of alternative’s New Wave roots” SL and “demonstrating to his rock peers that turntables had a brighter future than refried grunge.” RS Beck “asks us to look past our conventional views of what something should or shouldn’t sound like.” SLOdelay was just as much a swan song for alternative’s passing era as it was the ushering in of a new generation of pop music that was ever so left-of-center.” SL This is “vital music with a flea market ‘tude.” ZS

Where It’s At


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