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Full Albums:

  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Boogie, Summertime 31
  • Ice Cube, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted and Death Certificate2
  • Eric B. & Rakim, Follow the Leader3
  • Norah Jones, Little Broken Hearts4
  • Azealia Banks, 1991 EP5
  • Queens of the Stone Age, Queens of the Stone Age and Era Vulgaris6
  • James Brown & The Famous Flames, Cold Sweat7
  • T. Rex, Electric Warrior8
  • The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses9
  • Pulp, Different Class10
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band, Revelator11
  • Foster the People, Torches
  • Two Door Cinema Club, Tourist History12
  • Childish Gambino, EP
  • The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • Tom Vek, Leisure Seizure and We Have Sound
Random Excellence:
  • B.B. King & Eric Clapton, “I Wanna Be”13
  • Money Making Jam Boys, “Tear it Down”
  • Brand New, “Magazines”
  • Kelly Clarkson, “Impossible”
  • Soundgarden, “Black Rain”
  • Mayer Hawthorne, “No Strings (Clasixx Original)”
  • Method Man, “Sub Crazy”
  • Nine Inch Nails, “Survivalism”
  • Saves the Day, “Can’t Stay the Same”
  • Raekwon, “We Will Rob You”
  • Rage Against the Machine, “I’m Housin'”

Songs of the Weeks:

  • The Stone Roses, “Fools Gold”
  • Ice Cube, “Who’s the Mack?”14
  • T. Rex, “20th Century Boy”
  • Queens of the Stone Age, “Mexicola”
  • The Hold Steady, “Constructive Summer”15
  • Lupe Fiasco, “Hip Hop Saved My Life”

Reviews:

1. Dope beats from dope dudes. Made me wanna get outside and dance.

2. STOP THE CD PRESSES (is something that has mostly already happened). Where have these albums been all my life and why is Ice Cube allowed to be a children’s movie star? This dude hates everyone. Let my try to start a list: white people, cops, N.W.A., white people, racists, women, ign’ant mufuggas, white people–holy shit, all the things. Seriously, though: these are true pieces of art that I’m only going to understand more as time goes on. Things the youth are missing out on these days: Bomb Squad production, rappers questioning the status quo (and everyone who looks at them sideways). For the love of jeebus, Bomb Squad produces a song called “Jackin’ for Beats,” then proceeds to jack all the dopest beats out at the time; lyrical descriptions parallel musical theft, just as in their seminal work, “Caught, Can We Get a Witness?” I would say, “GODDAMN, STOP LETTING THEM ALL BE SO GOOD,” but that obviously already happened.

3. Yikes. Not as good as I was hoping for. Gots ta git paid, son. IN FULL.

4. Lay out the pillows because I almost fell asleep. I know she’s great, experimenting, and a beautiful songwriter, but this was just frustrating filler between QotSA albums.

5. I weep for the children.

6. Holy god, the self-titled is every bit as good as rumored and more. I remember looking up a copy once and discovering this was both out of print and selling for $40. At the time, I thought, “What? This had better sound like Zeus mating with Mnemosyne. Otherwise, I don’t have the scrilla for this.” So I never heard the whole thing until last week. Of course, I heard live stuff because Dave Grohl’s drumming on this version of “Avon” is incredible. So, theoretically, it could be worth $40 now that it’s streaming on Spotify and back in print, but I still think more than $15 for a single album is kind of ridiculous. Which is why the back-in-print thing is a relief.

7. I was shocked by how little this sounded like “Sex Machine.” Don’t get me wrong, all the beginnings are clearly there. He’s still a vocal maestro, but I don’t find it nearly as interesting as his later recordings, when everything started falling into funky place.

8. I really only felt like this had a couple great songs on it. They seem like the kind of band that specialized in songs, not perfecting an entire album. Because if you wrap all of their best songs together, boom–perfect. Get it on.

9. The variety! It’s rock with hints of folk, British invasion pop, prog rock, and so many more things. A delightful album.

10. I don’t think this one’s meant for me. I can see why it’s good, or at least considered one of the better albums by a British band in the nineties, but there’s a kind of darkness in the lyrics that isn’t either buoyed or reflected by the music. I listened trying to pair everything up, but felt genuinely confused: “Where’s the guitar this time?” “Is that an accordion?” “Did someone just slip me some ecstasy, then force me to ride in a van with gypsies for a week?” “Who’s making love to your old lady?”

11. It’s like butter for your ears. Smooth, bluesy, and neatly riffed: the emphasis is just as much on the singer as on the guitarist. I suspect there’d be marital disagreements, otherwise. But, hey! That’s the blues.

12. I had no idea so many songs from working at Victoria’s Secret were on here! Which isn’t to say it’s bad; consider my love of Ladyhawke’s first album. They packed all the best songs in the middle, but it’s a vivid, hip-shaking indie album.

13. For the first time, I spent a couple listens just tracking the licks swapping between their guitars. B.B.’s is the cleaner one and Clapton’s is (obviously) the distorted one, but they’re sort of watching each other work, filling the space one leaves for the other. Short fill is met with short fill like the world’s friendliest sparring match–the smiles brought on by their mutual satisfaction are nearly tangible. Their happiness at watching genuine craftsmen at work seeps right through the speakers (earbuds).

14. This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say his stuff’s art: At first listen, it’s a funky song with a chorus that, as per usual rap parlance, would try to imply that Ice Cube is the mack. Yet, each verse is a different caricature of dudes calling themselves macks who suck. The more you listen, the more it becomes clear that the idea of a mack is still idolized during the nineties, though it’s old, tired, and terrible. As the sound gets funkier, the stench coming off these terrible humans gets just as funky.

15. I know no one else likes these dudes, but these lyrics are perfect for every summer solstice, no matter who you are. Sure, maybe you don’t give a shit about Joe Strummer, but I do; yet, this isn’t really about that so much as finding your religion in your friends. This is an old punk’s manifesto, a holy vow for people who still like drinking on rooftops and accidentally charring hot dogs a little too much.

Comment:

I had pink eye for the first time in my life on Sunday. I thought I was going to lose an eye. Then it all went away. I’m reaching for some kind of metaphor here (but I’m missing it! Get it? Hand-eye coordination, y’all). My eyball is like my inability to sleep this week. My eyeball is like all the work I have to catch up on. My eyeball is a wandering orb, searching for the right socket and the right subject to lose itself on.

Realistically, though, those are all just exaggerations or simplifications. Summer Fridays are amazing, though a clear reason I’m behind on some of my work. If I could pull my head out of Ice Cube albums, maybe I’d be further ahead. So I’ll keep chipping away, both at listening to what I need to and at my to-do list. As the cube gets smaller at the end of the to-do pickaxe, I will be more satisfied.

Feed the children dope beats.

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