The Second Disc

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Archive for June 18th, 2010

Friday Feature: “Toy Story”

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This week’s Friday Feature should come as no surprise. There’s one movie on more minds than any other this week: Toy Story 3, the 11th effort by Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios. Like the other films in the series, it promises to be a funny, adventurous and touching affair that adults will connect to as easily as kids. Like the others, it promises massive box office returns and universal acclaim (as of this writing, film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has not picked up a single negative review, a feat also astoundingly attained by the previous entry in the series).

And, like the others, it will feature a score by Randy Newman. One of the sharpest pop/rock writers of the latter half of the rock era, Newman’s no slouch as a film composer. That phase of his career took off with a pair of Oscar nominations for the 1981 film Ragtime and an Elmer Bernstein-esque score to The Natural in 1985. (A year later, Newman would collaborate with Bernstein on Three Amigos! in 1986 – and a bit of mind-bending trivia: Newman also co-wrote the film with Steve Martin and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels).

For the younger generation, though, Newman is renowned for those soundtracks he did for Disney films. In addition to all three Toy Story pictures, Newman scored A Bug’s Life (1998), Monsters Inc. (2001) and Cars (2006) for Pixar (as well as the stop-motion animated adaptation of James and the Giant Peach in 1996 and last year’s The Princess and the Frog). While they were all solid scores, the two Toy Story films are head and shoulders above the others. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 18, 2010 at 15:22

Reissue Theory: The Time Part II

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Our continuing look at The Time’s back catalogue culminates with some of the biggest hits in the band’s career – and the weird career turns that seemed to prevent them from ever enjoying them as a band.

By 1982, The Time were a well-received seven-piece electro-funk outfit that could play rings around other live bands. Despite their live quality, none of their studio efforts were their own, with Prince meticulously playing all the instruments and guiding lead vocalist Morris Day through all his lines.

That disparity between The Time’s albums and their live performances was growing as Prince gained more exposure outside the black music scene. The Time were a much-anticipated feature of Prince’s Triple Threat Tour in 1983, but backstage they felt they weren’t getting the credit they deserved (not only did they do their own set, but played backup for fellow support act/protegees Vanity 6 from behind a curtain).

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 18, 2010 at 11:30

Posted in Features, Prince, Reissues, The Time

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