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Full Albums

  • Beyonce, 4
  • Friendly Fires, Pala
  • The Secret Machines, Now Here is Nowhere1
  • Senses Fail, Let it Enfold You
  • Slick Rick, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick2
  • Terius Nash, 19773
  • Wu-Tang and Jimi Hendrix, Black & Gold4

Random Excellence:

  • The Clash, “Rock the Casbah”
  • Driver F, “Bury Me with My Money”
  • Jay-Z, “Party Life”
  • M.I.A., “Paper Planes (DFA Remix)”
  • Saves the Day, “Get Fucked Up”
  • The Von Bondies, “C’mon C’mon”
  • Shakira, “She Wolf”
  • Massive Attack, “Angel”
  • Tom Vek, “Nothing but Green Lights”

Song of the Week:

  • Martin O’Donnell & Michael Salvatori, “In Amber Clad”4

Reviews:

1. I used to listen to this album and worship the ground they were about to walk on. There’s a lot of great material, but I wonder what happened that made them collapse in on themselves. I listen to this album and want to talk to their producers like, “Did you make them do too many acid trips or something? Because this one’s good, but it could do with a little focus. They wrote a 9-minute song about battlefields and sounds like Jimmy Page lent them a riff (or an entire song). Did they break when they weren’t secret anymore? Did they have to be underground forever to improve?” I wish we could all go back and fix them.

2. Sometimes I just can’t listen to The Ruler because his raps subjects are beyond bleak, but good gravy can that man grace the mic with the illest ear-pleasers you’ll hear. I’m pretty sure, if not officially, that “Children’s Story” is every rapper and listener’s guide to quality production, storytelling, wordplay and subject matter. He’s gritty and he’s wrong, but he did it better than everyone.

3. Terius Nash, you brilliant son of a bitch. Out of my entire music library, I think he and the Wu-Tang Clan are the only people treating their music like literature and referencing all their own songs in new ways. Actually, Jay-Z might be doing it, too, but I’m not sure he’s doing it like every two songs. At any rate, Nash’s one of the few artists I know of writing songs that are catchy as hell and then throwing a couple of layers on, inviting you to listen to the rest of his catalog to dig for the rest of those layers. I don’t really like “Silly,” where he introduces Casha–after featuring her on “Rolex” and not introducing her–, but I’m willing to look past that. I’m sure the girl’s gonna be okay because that boy got her back. Now we just have to hope he doesn’t get her pregnant, but because it’s pretty clear his lyrics are very, very real.

4. I don’t know if it’s a Pavlovian thing where every time I listen to this song, I get itchy trigger fingers and a strong desire to melee everyone around me in the back of the head. Just hearing so much as the opening is enough for me to pull out of any funk like, “What? Oh, today is mine.” Just a set of strings and that hint of a chorus singer in the background leading into some amazing drums and then some of the best guitarwork the Halo franchise every produced. And sure, it’s not Steve Vai’s solo on the “Halo Theme Mjolnir Mix,” but structure and rigor of “In Amber Clad” just gets to me. It’s only one minute and forty seconds, but I want it to go on forever. Nine minutes wouldn’t be terrible. Doesn’t even need lyrics.

Comment:

I started going to the gym again and I’ve also been trying to catch up on my podcasts. I’m all the way caught up on The Bugle (6 episodes) and I have 38 more WTF Pods to go (down two episodes). So I haven’t been listening to a lot of albums because WTF takes like an hour and a half and there’s like two a week. I also just listen to my music on random when I’m running in order to keep myself distracted from the horrendous pain (and resulting hyperbole).

Hope your Labor Days were labor-free.

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