Exclusive: The Cure’s Greatest Hits on Slacker

CURE MUSIC GUIDE3As The Cure prepares to headline Lollapalooza this Sunday night, Slacker celebrates with an exclusive station built out of their greatest hits.

This all-Cure countdown is determined by Slacker users, via our E.Q. (“Engagement Quotient”) methodology—allowing us to rank their 33 most played, most hearted and most shared classics.

Stations built from the music of one artist is a listening experience usually reserved for premium users but, thanks to a special arrangement with the band, all users are welcome to enjoy The Cure’s greatest through Sunday, 8/4.

The Cure 33, powered by real user engagement…something that could only happen on Slacker right here. 

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is the Album of the Week

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 3.23.47 PMRobin Thicke maintains his rule-breaker status with his sixth studio album, “Blurred Lines,” which is now available to listen on demand on Slacker’s Album of the Week here.

The 11-songs represent a genre-mixing blend of R&B, pop, soul, hip-hop and dance music. Pour in his smooth vocals, and you’ll either want to dance or relax with a glass of wine.

Listen in its entirety, as Robin Thicke channels both Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye. “Blurred Lines,” Slacker’s Album of the Week.

Pearl Jam’s “Mind Your Manners” is the Song Stuck in our Head

PEARL-JAM2-472x472Seattle’s Pearl Jam have sold 60 million albums worldwide and garnered 14 Grammy nominations since their formation in 1990, and they’re still going strong.

Their first album in four years, “Lightning Bolt,” is set for an October 24 release, and we’ve already got the first single, “Mind Your Manners.”

It’s Slacker’s Song Stuck In My Head so you can listen on demand and on repeat – we definitely are!


The Grateful Dead is Slacker’s Artist Of The Week to Celebrate Jerry Garcia’s Birthday

GRATEFULThis week would have been Jerry Garcia’s 71st birthday, and Slacker is joining music fans all over the globe in celebrating his life, memory, and music.

As a founder of the Grateful Dead, he wrote and performed songs that galvanized an entire community. His musical legacy spans 4 decades and transcends generations. He was incredibly prolific, and even though he rejected the title, he is the center of a musical universe that produced hundreds of players and dozens of side projects.

This week’s Artist of the Week station is an expertly-curated overview of all things Dead, from their studio albums and legendary live sets, to individual members’ solo projects, collaborations, and session work.

You’ll hear classic Dead tracks along with music from New Riders Of The Purple Sage, The Other Ones, Mickey Hart Band, RatDog, Furthur, and the numerous artists they influenced like String Cheese, Widespread, Phish, and many more. Jerry, Phil, Mickey, Bob, Pigpen, and their merry band of misfits—the gang’s all here to celebrate Jerry Week.

The Grateful Dead is Slacker’s Artist Of The Week.

Jennifer Nettles’ Solo Album Merges Mix of Influences

179521_569869983053192_436173243_nDynamo country duo Sugarland has always incorporated a hodgepodge of influences in their platinum-selling music, blending country with pop, rock and soul, and even going so far as to cover Beyonce and Pearl Jam. So it’s no surprise that when lead singer Jennifer Nettles stepped out on her own to make a solo album, she colored outside the country lines.

“I started writing for this project a few years ago, leaving myself open as a writer and not wanting to stagnate, not wanting to become a caricature of myself,” the singer told Slacker and other music industry friends at a recent party previewing her upcoming album. “I wanted to take the risk of recreation, and that’s what this record turned out to be.”

Teaming with famed rock producer Rick Rubin and recording at his Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, Calif., Jennifer didn’t have much of a rulebook to play by when it came to making the album. But she was adamant about one thing: keeping production to a minimum.

“Rick is wonderful at capturing the most live sound that we can,” explains the 38-year-old musician. “We have all this technology, but it’s a performing art that’s meant to be experienced live. And to capture that live performance sound is sometimes illusive, especially with technology now because you can auto-tune it to death.”

While its track list incorporates influences ranging from gospel to classic rock, the yet-to-be-titled album will most surely be embraced by country radio. In fact, its first single, “That Girl,” serves as a long-awaited response to country queen Dolly Parton’s iconic tune, “Jolene.”

“It’s the story of a woman who doesn’t realize that the person she’s just been with has somebody else,” says Nettles. “And then when she does, she calls her immediately and says, ‘Even though I had my eye on this guy, I don’t want to be that girl. I don’t want your man.’ Consequently, we’ve taken to calling it ‘The Ballad of Jolene.’”

Another song that will fit right in on country radio is one the lauded vocalist co-wrote with ‘80s and ‘90s pop legend, Richard Marx. “Know You Want to Know” is a toe-tapping tune that pokes fun of the magnification of celebrity through social media and tabloid journalism. (It’s certainly a far cry from “Hold On to the Nights” and “Right Here Waiting,” so Nettles jokes that Marx is quite proud of stepping outside the box himself, as well.) Other songs previewed at the party in Nashville included a soulful cover of Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock,” along with a few touching, powerful ballads written by Jennifer.

Jennifer Nettles’ “That Girl” is set to hit country radio on Aug. 19. There’s no word yet on a release date for the full album but in the meantime, check out Sugarland and other hits on Slacker’s New Country station.

The “55 Best Ideas in Music History” Station Rewards Risk-Takers Who Expanded Our Musical Palates

55 BEST IDEAS IN MUSIC HISTORY2“This is never going to work.”

That was the recurring theme when it came to creating Slacker’s brand-new station, the “55 Best Ideas in Music History.” The brainchild of music historians (and two of the funniest guys we know), Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, this station counts down the creative curveballs that left lasting impressions on the music world. Most of these ideas warrant a big, fat “I told you so” from their respective artists, as they started out as pipe dreams that others swore would never work.

“55 Best Ideas in Music History” spans several decades and genres, with an eclectic mix of musical gambles. For instance, what was Adele thinking when she made an entire album about one bad relationship? She was thinking all the way to the bank. Trailblazing folk icon Bob Dylan infuriated fans when he dared to plug in on an album and on tour. But adding a little electricity to his repertoire certainly received more cheers than jeers.

Slacker caught up with Craig and Rob, who also host the station, to reminisce on these musical milestones. The guys, who co-authored the hilariously poignant book, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, explained to us how they crafted this station and which off-the-wall musical moves shocked them the most.


Slacker: How did you come up with this list of ideas and songs?

Craig: We thought about shifts that may have seemed unusual or profound at the time, but turned out to be the best thing [the artist] has ever done. We put a lot of hours in, researching and combing through the history of music, and we asked some friends for their opinions.

Rob: Let’s put the emphasis on “asked friends.” We like to crowd source as much as possible, so that other people are doing our work and we’re getting paid for it.

Slacker: A lot of these ideas were huge risks at the time, from sampling animal sounds on a song to publicly poking fun at Justin Bieber. What would you say is the biggest career risk on this station?

Rob: Probably Taylor Swift dating John Mayer.

Craig: Biggest risk for whom? I’d say for him, really!

Rob: We’re talking about a risk/reward scenario. This shows how smart Taylor Swift is. There are lots of other less-smart women who’ve dated John Mayer and ended up miserable over it. She managed to make it work for her.

Rob: Another great example is Fleetwood Mac’s orgy. If you were in Fleetwood Mac and said to a friend, “Hey, what do you think of the idea of us all having sex with each other over a period of years?,” the friend would say, “Are you out of your mind? That’s a horrible idea!” And that’s why you should never listen to your friends. Fleetwood Mac ended up having multiple affairs with one another and then made one of the best rock records of all time, specifically about their affairs.

Slacker: A lot of these musical ideas also led to iconic moments in television and film — for instance, Blue Oyster Cult’s use of a cowbell in “Don’t Fear the Reaper” was hilariously parodied on “Saturday Night Live.” You also reference “Wayne’s World,” “The Sopranos” and “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” on this countdown.  How did the big and small screens become such a big part of this station?

Craig: With “Bohemian Rhapsody” and songs like that, we wanted to tap into popular rock songs from the ‘70s and make you think about them in a new way. Plus, Rob and I think that scene in “Wayne’s World” was one of the greatest scenes in any movie in film history. And in the case of Blue Oyster Cult, it was an amazing parody of “Behind the Music” and gave the band an enormous boost.

Rob: I’d also say that Jimmy Fallon and The Roots help illustrate how we came up with this whole list: realizing we’re idiots. I remember when it was announced that the Roots were going to be Fallon’s late night band. I thought, “That’s a terrible idea. That’s never going to work.” Of course, Fallon and the Roots were right, and I was a moron. So this was a way for both of us to use our stupidity for our own personal gain.

Slacker: A few alter egos made the list, such as Beyonce’s “Sasha Fierce” persona. But why no Garth Brooks as “Chris Gaines”?

Rob: We are both fascinated by Chris Gaines and have to restrain ourselves from not putting him in every list we do. But we’re working on the “55 Worst Ideas in Music History” right now, so maybe he’ll show up on that list.

Slacker: Without giving away your choice for the #1 best idea in music, what criteria played a part in choosing it?

Rob: The decision was once again motivated by laziness. Craig and I co-wrote a book about MTV, and it’s a topic that, for once, we know a lot about. We’d already done the research. Music videos are things we love, so this gets our personal preferences up at the top.

Craig: If you listen to pop radio today, it’s largely centered around urban music. [Our #1 pick] was really one of the primary agents to allow black pop music to become the dominant stream of pop music in America. While Dylan going electric was profound, it didn’t have the affect on music that this video had that still resonates today.


Check out our new station, “55 Best Ideas in Music History” to hear Craig and Rob’s picks for the risks that changed the course of music, along with their humorous, expert commentary. It’s a history lesson that will actually keep you awake! Also, check out the guys’ cleverly comedic ode to the good old days when MTV actually played music videos, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. 

Slacker EQ Charts for the Week are Here!

play-1Welcome to Slacker’s EQ Charts for the week of July 21st! Take a look here. 

This week on the Slacker EQ, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” continues to resonate with Slacker listeners across many stations and genres; it’s #1 on the Pop, Hip Hop/R&B, and Overall EQ charts. This appears to be the official song of the summer amongst Slacker music fans. We are carefully watching Anna Kendrick’s “Cups”, and Bruno Mars’ “Treasure”, as they are both very close to unseating Robin Thicke on both the Pop and Overall charts.

The biggest story on Slacker’s EDM chart is Timeflies’ “I Choose U”, which rockets on to the chart to debut at number 11. We haven’t seen such an overwhelmingly positive audience response to a song on this chart since Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child, “ which went on to top the charts for 10 weeks. Also notable is the debut of Icona Pop’s new single “We Got The World,” which is up 14 spots to land at #49 in its first week of release.

On our Alt/Indie chart, you’ll see Passenger’s “Let Her Go” make its debut at #40. Here we have a song that is a huge international hit, but has gone largely unnoticed in the US. Some of our more enterprising curators started to play the song on their stations, and Slacker listeners have responded favorably. Also on the Alt/Indie chart, Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound” is presenting the first real challenge for the #1 spot currently occupied by Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” that we’ve seen in 6 weeks!

Jay-Z’s “Holy Grail” debuts this week at #13 on the Hip Hop/R&B chart, and if early audience engagement is any indication, this is headed to #1. Meanwhile, Avenged Sevenfold makes a huge debut on the Rock chart with a new song from their first album since 2010; “Hail to the King” checks in at #23 in its first week of release. Clearly the Slacker rock audience has been awaiting the return of A7X!

Finally, Slacker listeners powered a new number one on the Country chart. Brett Eldridge’s “Don’t Ya” is the most engaging country song on Slacker this week, narrowly unseating Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party.”

Slacker’s EQ charts are powered by the people—these are the songs that millions of Slacker listeners positively engaged with the most. Check back next week to see which songs Slacker music fans push up the charts! Make sure to also check out our Slacker EQ Top 40 station, updated every week based on our EQ scores. Not sure what the EQ score is? Read more here or check out our nifty infographic here.

Selena Gomez Grows Up with New Album of the Week

SELENA-472x472Selena Gomez has graduated from Disney princess to club queen with her new album “Stars Dance.” Led by the top 10 hit “Come & Get It,” her first solo album is full of EDM-leaning dance pop that is perfectly suited for summer fun.

From the throbbing bass of the dance flavored “B.E.A.T.” to the all star hit “Like a Champion,” this album has a solid mix of dubstep, house and even Bollywood like influences.

“Stars Dance” is Slacker’s Album of the Week. Listen here!

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