The Big Hurt: Soundgarden's platinum shenanigans

Plus more music news in brief
By DAVID THORPE  |  September 29, 2010

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Thanks to some clever bundling, the new SOUNDGARDEN greatest-hits album will emerge into the world with built-in platinum status: it's shipping as a free bonus with a million units of the upcoming Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock video game. "This release marks the first time a music album will be simultaneously released and bundled with a video-game launch," boasts a Soundgarden press release, "and also marks the first time the RIAA will be certifying an album platinum in this way."

It's strange to think that an album could go platinum just by being unloaded on a million people who might not give a shit about it. But, hey, congrazzles, your gimmick worked! Next, we'll have dudes going 20x platinum by putting their discs between burger buns — rock your mouth with the Aerosmith Platinum CrunchWhopper Extreme!

STEVIE WONDER lent his fame to a good cause recently, appealing to the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization to ease copyright restrictions on books to allow transcription into blind-friendly formats. Aside from doing a good deed, he also made an awesome threat to the UN: "Please work it out. Or I'll have to write a song about what you didn't do." That's some serious shit. If Stevie's going to write a song about your not doing something, you'd damn well better do it.

In case you're not familiar with NAS's MO: he usually records a few dozen tracks at a time, then painstakingly selects the weakest for his albums in order to further his legacy of legendary disappointments. Meanwhile, the good tracks are left officially unreleased so we can wonder why the hell they didn't wind up on the record. But there's an upside. Back in 2002, he treated us to The Lost Tapes, a collection of castoffs that held up better than most of his real albums. Now he's got a sequel in the works, Lost Tapes 2, which is scheduled for December release. Please, Nas, grace us once more with your delicious leavings!

And speaking of his perverse drive to undermine his own legend: he always gets us excited by claiming he's gonna work with some amazing producer, then forgets about it and goes right back to rapping over the shittiest beats in the known universe. He said he'd make an entire album with DJ Premier, but that'll never happen. He said he wanted to make an album with Dre, but nothing came of it. He said he wanted to work with MF DOOM and never did. He laid down a verse on one of the best beats Just Blaze ever produced but never made it back to the studio to finish up. This time, it's RZA's turn. "We're still trying to figure our schedule out," the producer told MTV, weeping like a jilted prom date.

Elsewhere, at the opposite end of the hip-hop bell curve, JA RULE is attempting to develop a sit-com. If it's anywhere near as good as his rap career, we might have the next Greg Evigan on our hands.

For once, a musician describes his album exactly as I would: "It sounds like a fucking Maroon 5 album," said Adam Levine, the singer of fucking MAROON 5.

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