Thursday, October 07, 2010
Monday, February 08, 2010
There's a deep-rooted melancholia suffusing "Remind Me," which makes it perfect for bone-cold winter days when spring is but a fading memory, slipping through your fingers as you try to grasp it. Erlend Øye's vocals are distant and broken; they barely rise above a whisper, allowing you to zone out and let his wistful melodies wash over you, like muted light refracting off of snow—it doesn't warm your soul, but it makes you feel better somehow.
"BLACK AND WHITE TOWN"
Doves' third album, Some Cities, is a quintessential winter album to me (the first four songs are still "impregnable," as Sam Ubl correctly described them in his Pitchfork review of the disc). The album is suffocated by the season, but is also a stand against it. The winter of "Black and White Town" is not one of desolate landscapes or endless taiga, but an urgent, urban one where the risk of cabin fever is just as great as it is in some abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. Built on one of the most memorable piano loops in a 00s rock song, the song pushes forward with all its being; it wards winter off and at the same time draws from it for what is one of the most charged, blustery tunes to soundtrack a snowstorm—a song that can make winter almost life-affirming, if not bearable.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
01. dj quik and kurupt, BLAQKOUT
02. junior boys, BEGONE DULL CARE
03. ryan leslie, RYAN LESLIE
04. the-dream, LOVE VS. MONEY
05. islands, VAPOURS
06. faltydl, LOVE IS A LIABILITY
07. animal collective, MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION
08. dizzee rascal, TONGUE 'N' CHEEK
09. fever ray, FEVER RAY
10. röyksopp, JUNIOR
singles (although very few, if any, of the songs I voted for were actual "singles"):
01. destroyer, "BAY OF PIGS"
02. dizzee rascal, "CHILLIN' WIV DA MAN DEM"
03. starkey, "GUTTER MUSIC (feat DURRTY GOODZ)"
04. animal collective, "MY GIRLS"
05. morrissey, "IT'S NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY ANYMORE"
06. the streets, "TRUST ME"
07. gucci mane, "LEMONADE"
08. the arctic monkeys, "CORNERSTONE"
09. donkeyboy, "SOMETIMES"
10. drake, "HOUSTATLANTAVEGAS"
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Friday, September 18, 2009
Pitchfork, holla at me.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
I thought you had to be Akon to get an artist to take a hike on their own song to this extent."Down," from Jay Sean (who?), is a song so lame that it makes a phoned-in Weezy guest spot sound better than it really is.
If the sky was falling, I'm pretty sure you'd be worrying about something other than whether some girl is going to put out. Just sayin'.Although it might sometimes feel like it, I don't only write about rap, and my review of Vitalic's latest track, "Your Disco Song," is evidence of that. Although "Down" isn't really a rap song at all either, even if it has rapping on it. "Your Disco Song" is pretty clumsy and brutish and way too obvious, but kinda awesome nonetheless.
The title almost carries a condescending tone, as if Arbez is saying, "This is what you asked for," and then washing his hands clean of the result. Justice took this sound to its logical (and maximalist) conclusion, and Arbez seems kind of stuck now. Turn things up even louder and he risks entering fuzz-disco (electro-static?) territory, which might not be such a bad idea at all. He can't go minimal all of the sudden; subtlety is not one of the clubs in his bag. So he does what he knows best, and admittedly this is still pretty engaging—I could definitely see myself being pretty amped if this came on at a club, but I wouldn't lose my shit over it.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Del the Funky Homosapien has the rare ability not only to rap about nerdy things without sounding like a nerd, but to make these nerdy things sound positively badass. This is due largely to his prodigious talent as an emcee, which includes his singular voice—a buoyant thing that's always in motion, never stretching syllables too long but never rushing through them either, taking joy in carving the shapes of words as they leave his lips. Deltron 3030 finds Del at his nerdiest, which means at the top of his game. Over the best beats he's ever rapped over, produced by Del's Gorillaz collaborator Dan the Automator and with scratches from Kid Koala, Del concocts a futuristic allegory for the kind of turn-of-the-century uncertainty that society was going through in 2000, when the album was released; 3030 is pre-Obama cynicism packaged as a space-rap opera.
Rapping as an ex-mech soldier-turned-freelance rhyme mercenary gives Del an excuse to work in words like "hyperwarp" and "parsecs" and "nanoseconds" and "psychotropics" into his verses—all words that sound great in a rap song. Hearing him rhyme "digital," "citadel," "critical," and "pivotal" in the same bar ("Things You Can Do") is one of rap's purest highs. And crucially, Del doesn't sound like one of those rappers that try to cram fifty-two polysyllabic words in one line, as if using as many Big Words as you can makes you a good rapper. He's just being Del, the nerdy (but not a nerd!) badass rapper who fights aliens in intergalactic rap battles while sounding cool as fuck.
It's tempting to say that if it weren't for "What You Know" T.I.'s career wouldn't have shot into the stratosphere, but the rest of King proves that Clifford Harris was already well on his way to appearing in Ridley Scott movies and topping the Billboard charts, even if his Roberta Flack-interpolating behemoth never existed. Revisiting King, "What You Know" still shines as brightly, but what's most striking about T.I.'s fourth full-length is how well it synthesizes the styles T.I. had been working on since I'm Serious, and how on subsequent albums, he would return to the templates perfected and erected on King, albeit unable to recapture the dirt-under-the-nails scowl and snot-nosed unrespectability that infused songs like "I'm Straight," where he sounds almost repulsed by the prospect of being a pop star: "You can keep the game and the fame, the haters and the lames/ Just gimme some cocaine and somewhere I can slang."
King has the best versions of every kind of T.I. song: the Mannie Fresh Trunk-Rattler ("Top Back"), the Bankhead Anthem ("Bankhead," duh), the Produced By An East Coast Producer Doing A "Southern" Beat song (the pair of Just Blaze tracks "King Back" and "I'm Talking to You"), the Unexpected Left-Field Collaboration ("Goodlife," with Common). Hell, even the songs for the ladies are charming. King is the sound of a monarch assuming his throne and donning his crown—or in T.I.'s case, his almost-falling-off fitted cap.