Sound Opinions

Sat 3p

Take two nationally respected rock critics, the latest music news, personal commentary, and exclusive interviews and performances, add a huge pile of records old and new, and the result is Sound Opinions—the world's only rock and roll talk show.

Based in Chicago, Sound Opinions is hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, two of the finest and best-recognized pop music writers in the nation. For over a decade they were dedicated competitors at Chicago’s two daily newspapers—Jim at the Chicago Sun-Times and Greg at the Chicago Tribune. Today, Jim writes about music for WBEZ.org and teaches criticism at Columbia College.

Every week, Sound Opinions fires up smart and spirited discussions about a wide range of popular music, from indie rock to classic rock, hip hop to R&B, and every genre under the sun.

Sound Opinions' consistently informed, engaging, and controversial dialogue makes it a unique and essential source for the top stories, albums, and trends in music. This is cutting-edge criticism and journalism presented in the great tradition of Siskel and Ebert. The discussion is as indispensible to the hardcore music fan as it is to the casual music fan who feels out of touch.

Sound Opinions is a direct result of the experience and credibility of its creators. Jim and Greg are both critically acclaimed authors who also write for some of the nation's most prestigious rock magazines, including Rolling Stone, Spin, and Vibe.

Before coming to WBEZ Chicago in December 2005, Sound Opinions aired for seven successful years on one of the Midwest's most powerful rock radio stations, Chicago's WXRT. The show has built a thriving and loyal community of inquisitive and engaged fans hungry for smart conversation and new sounds.

http://www.soundopinions.org/

What goes into writing a hit song? Sound Opinions takes a look at the craft of songwriting, from the Righteous Brothers to Beyoncé. Jim and Greg talk with legendary Brill Building songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil about their decades long career. Then they talk with Ryan Tedder about penning songs for Adele and Taylor Swift. Plus, a review of the long-awaited new album from Frank Ocean.

With all eyes turned toward the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Sound Opinions World Tour makes its next stop in Brazil, a country with an unmatched musical influence on the globe. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the rich musical history of Brazil, including the bossa nova, MPB, and Tropicália phenomena of the 1950s and '60s.

Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett’s 2015 album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit was a critical success and Sound Opinions favorite. Her conversational songwriting manages to be simultaneously clever and poignant, and her guitar technique combining lead and rhythm parts is nothing short of impressive. All of her skills are on display as Courtney Barnett joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for an interview and intimate solo performance in front of an audience.

Sound Opinions: Songs of Thanks

Dec 1, 2017

Thanksgiving is a time to gather around the dinner table with family and friends to reflect on the past year and give thanks. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their favorite songs that say "thank you." Plus, the story of the twangy guitar-bass hybrid instrument known as the Bass VI, and Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath shares the song that got him Hooked on Sonics.

Sound Opinions: Al Green's The Belle Album

Dec 1, 2017

Al Green sang some of the most acclaimed soul records of the 1970s. So when he decided to leave it all behind for the church, many questioned why. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot discuss Al Green's life and his pivotal transitional record, The Belle Album, with biographer Jimmy McDonough. 

Sound Opinions: Ted Leo

Dec 1, 2017

After a seven year gap, veteran rocker Ted Leo has expanded his sonic palette with his latest solo record, The Hanged Man. Written in the wake of emotional and financial turmoil, the album is perhaps his most personal work to date. Ted Leo joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot in front of an audience at the Goose Island Tap Room for an interview and intimate solo performance. Plus, a review of the new album from eclectic Las Vegas singer-songwriter Shamir.

Sound Opinions: Buried Treasures & Ron Gallo

Dec 1, 2017

Each season, there's a few highly anticipated albums with a ton of buzz behind them. Then, there are other deserving records that won't get that kind of attention. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their latest batch of Buried Treasures: hidden musical gems that everyone ought to hear. Plus, a conversation and live performance from Philadelphia indie rocker Ron Gallo.

Sound Opinions: Musical Costumes

Dec 1, 2017

Halloween is all about being someone else for a night – and musicians like to put on costumes, too. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their favorite examples of artists temporarily donning a musical costume and performing in a different style under a fake name.

Sound Opinions: Julie Klausner

Dec 1, 2017

As creator, writer, and star of the critically acclaimed TV comedy Difficult People, Julie Klausner not only crafts the show's jokes but also guides its soundtrack. This week, she joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a hilarious discussion of the show's music and her own musical tastes, and she even attempts to win them over to musical theatre. Plus, Jim and Greg review a new album from Beck and a collaboration between Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.

Sound Opinions: Jamila Woods

Dec 1, 2017

On her debut album HEAVN, Jamila Woods contrasts weighty issues like police violence and the invisibility of black women with a breezy musical touch. The Chicago-based poet, singer, and songwriter joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for an interview and performance. Plus, a review of the new album from St. Vincent, and folk legend Judy Collins tells us about the song that got her Hooked on Sonics. 

Sound Opinions: Tom Petty

Dec 1, 2017

Tom Petty was a master of the perfect three-chord pop song and an icon of American music. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot pay tribute to the late Florida rocker. They discuss Petty's tremendous songwriting gifts and revisit their 2003 interview with him on Sound Opinions.

Sound Opinions: Mavis Staples

Dec 1, 2017

This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with gospel and soul legend Mavis Staples. She speaks about her role on the front line of the Civil Rights Movement as part of the Staple Singers and recounts a harrowing story of touring through the Jim Crow South. Plus, a review of the latest from Protomartyr, and a tribute to the late soul singer Charles Bradley.

Sound Opinions: Bonus Songs

Dec 1, 2017

So many talented musicians perform on Sound Opinions, but we don't always have time to share every song. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot play some of their favorite never-before-heard live performances from guests like Courtney Barnett, Drive-By Truckers, and more. Plus, a tribute to Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü.

Sound Opinions: Late Bloomers

Dec 1, 2017

Some say that making music is a young person's game, but several artists beg to differ. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their favorite "late blooming" musicians - artists that didn't achieve success or even start music until later in life. Plus, the debut album from rock supergroup Filthy Friends, and the song that got Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon Hooked on Sonics.

Sound Opinions: Art vs. Artist

Dec 1, 2017

Should we hold up a musician's output to a moral standard? Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk about whether art can be evaluated separately from the artist's ethics. Plus, reviews of new releases by The National and Queens of the Stone Age, and tributes to Walter Becker of Steely Dan, and Holger Czukay of the influential "Krautrock" group Can.

Sound Opinions: Back to School

Dec 1, 2017

The beginning of September means students return to the classroom. Whether you're excited to be back to school or the very thought inspires dread and anxiety, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot have put together a playlist to ease back to the grind. Plus, they review albums by LCD Soundsystem and Van Hunt.

Sound Opinions: The Melvins & Billy Bragg

Dec 1, 2017

The Melvins were an inspiration to the '90s alternative explosion, but the band's unclassifiable sound and uncommercial stance set them apart. In a frank discussion with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, the Melvins reflect on their career and bust myths about the grunge scene. Plus, singer-songwriter Billy Bragg makes the case for the 1950s skiffle craze as the origin of guitar rock and punk sensibilities in the UK.

Sound Opinions: One-Person Bands

Dec 1, 2017

Certain artists are perfectionists at heart, and if you want something done right, do it yourself. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their favorite One-Person Bands – artists who have recorded albums playing all the instruments themselves. Plus, reviews of the latest from legendary songwriter Randy Newman and Rhode Island punk band Downtown Boys.

Sound Opinions: Steve Earle

Dec 1, 2017

Over his decades long career, Steve Earle has been many things - songwriter, novelist, actor, activist. But for his latest record, So You Wannabe An Outlaw, he went back to the foundation he started from: outlaw country. Steve joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot to talk about about those early influences and how he sees his duty as a songwriter. Plus, he performs a special solo set in front of a live audience at the Goose Island Tap Room in Chicago. Plus, a review of the debut album from Chicago rapper Vic Mensa and a tribute to the late Glen Campbell.

Sound Opinions: Buried Treasures

Dec 1, 2017

If you're looking for something new to round out your summer playlist, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot have you covered. They'll dig out some buried treasures - albums not yet in the mainstream but deserve some more attention. Plus, an in-depth look at the history of the wah-wah pedal.

Sound Opinions: Penelope Spheeris

Dec 1, 2017

Penelope Spheeris has directed some of the most influential movies about music of all time, from Wayne's World to all three installments of The Decline of Western Civilization films. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with Penelope about the 25th anniversary of Wayne's World, her fascinating path as a director, and the legacy of her films. Plus, a review of the new album from Arcade Fire.

Sound Opinions: Fantasy Songs

Dec 1, 2017

The fantasy powerhouse Game of Thrones is returning for its penultimate season. With dragons, knights, and magic on their minds, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot play their favorite songs about fantasy worlds. Plus, a review of the latest from hip-hop stalwarts Public Enemy, and Neil Halstead of Slowdive shares the song that got him Hooked on Sonics.

Sound Opinions: Year Punk Broke (pt 2)

Dec 1, 2017

In part two of our series 1977: The Year Punk Broke, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot look at the punk movement stateside with music writer Ira Robbins. They discuss how The Ramones, Talking Heads, and the rest of the CBGB scene inspired generations of artists. Plus, an interview and live performance from Montreal electronic duo She-Devils.

Sound Opinions: Year Punk Broke (pt 1)

Dec 1, 2017

In part one of our two-part series on the historic year 1977, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the punk explosion in the UK with music writer Jon Savage. They discuss important British bands like The Buzzcocks, The Sex Pistols and The Clash and what made them so influential. Plus, they'll review the new record from indie folk band Fleet Foxes, and Big Star's Jody Stephens shares the song that got him Hooked on Sonics.

Sound Opinions: World Tour New Zealand

Dec 1, 2017

The Sound Opinions World Tour rolls along, making its next stop in beautiful New Zealand. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot take a virtual trip to the other side of the world to explore the best of kiwi music, focusing on the influential jangly pop movement known as the Dunedin Sound. Plus, they review the sophomore album from New Zealand's biggest pop star, Lorde.

Sound Opinions: Best of 2017...So Far

Dec 1, 2017

There are still six months of 2017 left, but there are already lots of contenders for album of the year. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their favorites of the year...so far. Plus, we hear picks from Sound Opinions listeners. 

Sound Opinions: Musical Road Trip

Dec 1, 2017

Summer is upon us so that means one thing: road trip! Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot take a virtual cross-country drive playing their favorite songs about American cities, states, and regions from coast-to-coast. Plus, they review the posthumous album from rock and roll legend Chuck Berry.

Sound Opinions: Benmont Tench

Dec 1, 2017

Keyboard player Benmont Tench was instrumental in the formation of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in 1976. He's also had a fruitful career as a consummate sideman and session musician, working with artists like Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, U2, Johnny Cash, and more. Tench joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for some lively conversation about his successful career in music. And we review the latest from soul-rocking guitarist and singer Benjamin Booker. 

Sound Opinions: Jack White

Dec 1, 2017

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot revisit their conversation with the hardest working man in rock, Jack White, recorded at Third Man Records in Nashville. Plus, an exploration into the history of the Rickenbacker 12-string guitar in rock. And we remember Gregg Allman, who died at the age of 69. 

Sound Opinions: Jenny Hval

Dec 1, 2017

Norwegian singer-songwriter and performance artist Jenny Hval has released six albums of ethereal and challenging music. On her latest record, she explores the links between vampirism and the female body. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot speak with Jenny Hval about her career and process. Plus, reviews of the new albums from Harry Styles and Sir the Baptist.

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