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Full Albums:

  • Adele, 21
  • Audioslave, Audioslave
  • Big K.R.I.T., K.R.I.T. Wuz Here
  • The Black Keys, Brothers
  • Cee-Lo Green, The Lady Killer
  • The Clash, The Essential Clash
  • The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
  • Earl Sweatshirt, EARL1
  • Girl Talk, All Day
  • James Pants, Welcome2
  • Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak
  • LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver3
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient
  • Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  • Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang
  • Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Transference
  • Van Halen, Van Halen
  • Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles, Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers

Random Excellence:

  • The Afghan Whigs, “Magazine”
  • Justice, “Phantom”
  • Robyn, “Hang with Me”
  • Saves the Day, “34”
  • NWA, “100 Miles and Runnin'”

Songs of the Week:

  • Spoon, “I Turn my Camera On”
  • LCD Soundsystem, “Someone Great”3
  • Fleetwood Mac, “Gypsy”
  • Kanye West, “Good Life”
  • Queens of the Stone Age, “Misfit Love”

Reviews:

1. This probably belongs in a separate post, but I think Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill ‘Em All is just the whitest incarnation of rap around right now. And I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing.

I was talking with one of my bosses who likes them and he was saying they reminded him of Eminem’s first couple of albums. Which, for me, isn’t really helpful because my mom never allowed me to listen to any Eminem after she saw one of the songs was called “cum on my shoes” or something. Regardless, they’re still being compared to the first white guy who could rap consistently well. No one should be surprised Vanilla Ice doesn’t count. Which is to say, Eminem, despite my inability to grant him an audience, is sort of the standard for “Holy shit that is one of the angriest people I’ve ever heard rapping and you mean to tell me he’s white?” Which, says a lot about their audience, I think.

Their main point of reference is a white guy. They rap, as he did, about raping and murdering and torturing and all that good stuff. Whereas it was just one guy perfecting terrifying rhymes, this is like 8 or 15 kids rapping about the same shit. I see it as a sign of the times in the sense that a couple of black kids are attempting to recapture that Venting While Rapping genre.

These kids are all skateboarders. They took the whitest sport (xtreme!) and adopted it while proclaiming punk roots and intentions to tour in punk concert halls. Which isn’t a bad thing, it just feels like a regression, like they’re aiming high but shooting low. In that attempt to embrace all things rebellion and different, they’ve embraced symbols that are no longer all that rebellious. Everyone has a favorite punk band and Blink-182 used to run MTV.

I think the reason they yell “Fuck Steve Harvey!” for almost no determinate reason and almost all the time is because, for them, he is the symbol of all things normal. He hosts Family Feud, he did the Kings of Comedy tour, he’s a devout Christian and he hosts a radio show that is, in some circles, a sort of taste-making ground for healthy and wholesome pop music. In telling that guy to fuck off, they’re saying, “Fuck you commercial radio and fuck you comedy; we take our music seriously and we’ll do this on our own. We don’t know what family values are and if you like those you can get fucked.”

People have also called them our generation’s Wu-Tang Clan. I don’t know if I agree with that because there’s something a little more controlled about the Wu-Tang–something more regimented. Wu feels like more of an experienced group of heavy-hitters instead of an imaginary escape for a bunch of teenagers. Raekwon is called “The Chef” because he used to cook up a whole bunch of crack–which, considering all his new CD, he might still be cooking. Sure, Jay-Z still raps about crack and he’s not selling, but if any rapper’s still in the crack game, it’s probably The Chef. But listening to Odd Future, I don’t get the impression–I’m hoping, wishing–they’ve ever raped girls’ belly buttons or having sex with, as Earl raps about, gashes in girls they’ve tied up.

So I understand the appeal (particularly for white people), but it’s just not for me. Sure, like NPR argues, some of them are very talented rappers, but it’s not my kind of rap. And sure, some could argue Biggie spit that line, “Your daughter’s tied up in a Brooklyn basement,” long before they did with similar violent intentions, but I don’t think he was as disgusting or vile almost simply for the sake of freaking people out. I get that it’s an escape, part of expressing the frustration with your situation, but I just don’t like imagining raping girls. Yes, they’re storytellers, but they’re not telling the kind of stories I’m a fan of. I might keep listening to some of their stuff, just to keep abreast of what’s going on in modern hip-hop, but I don’t think I’ll ever really like it.

2. How this white man got so funky? Color this white man impressed.

3. Pretty much had to listen to this as someone great retired back on Saturday.

Comment:

I think Friday night was my last shift at [shitty retail job]. Technically, the end of my two week’s notice falls on Friday, but they didn’t schedule me and Saturday and Sunday was full of on-call shifts that they didn’t have me come in for. It’s weird to have a last day without realizing it was your last day until two days later.

I really want to just draft up a bunch of stories about why that place almost sucked out my soul, but I’m terrified there’s a slight chance that I’ll have to work there again someday. I love both of my jobs (Freelance Copywriter and Associate Editor), but the freelance nature of both absolutely terrifies me. I’m just freelancing and they could let me go literally any second. It doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case, but I’m afraid it could happen. Though I love what I’m doing, the lack of dependability or a salary is almost as scary as some of Earl Sweatshirt’s lyrics.

I mean, this site doesn’t have my last name on it, but I am Facebook friends with some people who work there, and they could easily find all these links–though we’re Facebook friends because we’re actually friends and as such they probably already know how I feel about “The Company.” Besides that, a lot of readers here know who I am anyway. Maybe I’ll just start an even more secret blog without any links to it that doesn’t even have my first name. “The Blog That Knew Too Much…About Panties” or something less stupid.

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