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Full Albums:

  • Big Punisher, Capital Punishment1
  • The Ike Reilly Assassination, Salesmen and Racists2
  • The Stooges, The Stooges and Funhouse3
  • The Replacements, Tim
  • Commodores, Caught in the Act4
  • Yelawolf, Radioactive5
  • John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Crusade and A Hard Road6
  • Mick Taylor, Mick Taylor7
  • The Meters, Rejuvenation8
  • Beyonce, 4
  • Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne
  • Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • Spoon, Gimme Fiction
  • The Weeknd, House of Balloons
Random Excellence:
  • Terius Nash, “Wake Me when it’s Over”
  • Soundgarden, “Slaves & Bulldozers”
  • Raekwon, “Wu-Gambinos”
  • The Knife, “Heartbeats”
  • Kanye West, “The Joy”
  • Animal Collective, “My Girls”

Songs of the Weeks:

  • The Roots“Get Busy”
  • Left Lane Cruiser, “Justify”
  • Queens of the Stone Age, “Turning on the Screw”
  • Jay-Z, “Public Service Announcement”
  • Big K.R.I.T., “Country Shit (Remix)”

Reviews:

1. I think it’s funny Big Pun will probably go down in history as a one-hit wonder thanks to the popularity of “Still Not a Player.” It’s a great song, but some other hits just as big would have solidified this album as something the kids need to look up. (I think what I’m saying specifically is that “Twinz” is crazy good lyrically and musically, but it’s also incredibly dark. Terror Squad, “Taster’s Choice,” and other exciting things probably made this one very unapproachable for non-gangster rap fans.) This is a surprisingly good album that reminds me of Notorious B.I.G. and the Wu-Tang Clan. Sure, that’s probably because of his sex skits and when he name-checked “C.R.E.A.M.” about a third of the album, but it’s a nineties rap album that blends in with the best nineties rap albums.

2. This is probably going to be the worst review I ever write. I was busy and stressed at work–despite knowing full well that this was a thinker of an album. Something to play a couple of times and listen to a lot. But I was so focused on my work that I spared none of my focus on his lyrics. I heard a lot of rock with all the classic trappings–distorted and jangly guitars, horn sections and an angry singer–on an album worthy of a revisit and a serious listen.

3. This was another set of albums deep in the heart of my extreme focus. However, I was surprised that I might have only really enjoyed “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Which terrifies me. They have the kind of hype behind them that positions them as the meeting point between The Ramones and The Rolling Stones. Like they’re part-garage-rock gods and part-heroin-addled punk and rock geniuses. I just felt like they were unorganized, but talented musicians. And I know that’s not what I’m supposed to feel, so I feel weird about it and generally try to soothe my apprehensions with another hit of “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

4. When I first picked up a bass and wanted to play every funk song in existence, how did I not get to these guys? For some reason, I was working my way through the early Red Hot Chili Peppers’ and Led Zeppelin’s discography. This albums totally fills that funky hole in my heart with a whole bunch of awesome.

5. This might be yet another one of the most bleak albums of the year. I feel like there’s a reigning theme in rap right now, where people finally make it but know nothing’s still okay. Whereas in a lot of rock music right now, the focus is on how awesome things are or how awesome things are about to be. I think it’s a bizarre dichotomy because getting to the mainstream in either genre requires a whole lot of struggle. But with this album, the struggle’s palpable. It’s something very real that demands to be reckoned with–like he’s daring you to pull the headphones off or something. Just don’t.

6. Oh man, what a guitarist. It feels like albums full of the bluesiest blues out. Like, you might never remember the lyrics because it’s the same songs that every good blues musician plays. And the solos are just as hard to differentiate because they’re all so good.

7. I was beyond shocked to find out this album isn’t even in print anymore. I was pretty sure it was going to be good because the only time Mick Jagger and Keith Richards ever gave him a writing credit was for “Ventilator Blues,” probably my favorite Rolling Stones song of all time. So I had high expectations and was pleased that Taylor delivered. But keeping this album out of print feels like a crime. Let them listen to aural cake, etc.

8. When I heard the closing song, I was baffled. How did I know this? Wasn’t this a Red Hot Chili Peppers song? It’s sure as hell funky enough to be theirs, but…my God. They covered it. George Clinton had them cover Sly and The Family Stone and The Meters…and I let that slip past me. Now, probably about ten years too late, I find the music they were tipping their caps to, like “No, seriously: Go listen to them. We do.” So I need to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers (of the eighties. Because they’re like Whitney these days, right? D.O.A.? And I’m not talking about an awesome Van Halen song.) and welcome The Meters into my personal discography. Christ, my college band used to cover “Cissy Strut” about five years ago and I didn’t even bother to look into them back then. I’ve wasted so much time not listening to them.

Comment:

I sincerely apologize for the extreme lateness. My life as of late has been a whirlwind of nonstop activity. It’s exciting and fun, but holy shit do I hate waking up during the week. I need so much more sleep than I’ve been getting since before I went on vacation. Everything’s like a game of catch-up where I’m the tomato trying to get to the front of the vine. I’ve been getting crushed, but add some sugar and vinegar and I just might turn out okay. And that’s your ketchup pun of the week. Keep on keepin’ on and tip your waitresses.

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