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Full Albums:

  • Nas, Life is Good1
  • Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music2
  • El-P, Cancer for Cure3
  • Future Islands, On the Water4
  • Usher, Looking 4 Myself5
  • Andrew W.K., I Get Wet6
  • Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don’t7
  • Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals8
  • The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten9
  • Oh Land, Fauna10
  • Passion Pit, Gossamer11
  • Big K.R.I.T., K.R.I.T. Wuz Here12
  • Genesis, Invisible Touch
  • Frank Ocean, Channel Orange13
  • Baroness, Yellow & Green14
  • Girl Talk, Feed the Animals
  • Ice Cube, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted
  • LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • Left Lane Cruiser, Junkyard Speed Ball
  • The Rolling Stones, Beggar’s Banquet and Let it Bleed
  • The-Dream, Love King

Random Excellence:

  • Action Bronson, “Back 2 the Future”
  • The Afghan Whigs, “John the Baptist”
  • The Bar-Kays, “Holy Ghost”
  • Big P.O.P.E, “Don’t Go”
  • Desmond Dekker, “007 (Shanty Town)”
  • Kasabian, “Sun Rise Light Flies”
  • Lupe Fiasco, “Say Something”15
  • Saves the Day, “Bones”
  • Spoon, “Was it You?”
  • Tom Vek, “We Do Nothing”
  • TV on the Radio, “New Cannonball Run”
  • U2, “Bullet the Blue Sky”

Songs of the Month:

  • Paul Wall, “Sittin’ Sidewayz”16
  • Cults, “Oh My God”
  • Driver F, “I Have Better Things to Do Tonight than Die”
  • Eddie Money, “Shakin'”
  • The Gaslight Anthem, “The ’59 Sound”
  • Rage Against the Machine, “Bulls on Parade”17

Reviews:

1. The amazing thing about this album is that it’s getting billed as a divorce album and that it’s really only partially about that. Maybe Nas took a cue from bands like Fall Out Boy and cut the depression shit before he imploded on himself. Really, if songs like “Bye Baby” and “Cherry Wine” didn’t have amazing counterbalances like “You Wouldn’t Understand,” “Nasty,” or “Daughters,” this would be a very difficult album to stomach. But even at his darkest depths, he still pulls something beautiful out of something so painful. He’s not wallowing so much as just examining, reflecting, and planning his next move. Best believe that next move gonna peel your cap back, too.

2. Remember back in the day when Killer Mike was always a great guest rapper on Outkast albums? That reliable guy who could show up for 16 bars and crush them like a Crunch bar…yet still not be so exciting that you’d dash off to Best Buy to find all his albums? Well, this is not that Killer Mike. This is the Killer Mike who likes the early nineties, but raps like it’s already tomorrow. He withdrew all of his trust in a police state so he could invest it in indie rap production from El-P. He’s listening to more Ice Cube than I am (Yes, I caught some of the references, but he bobbed and weaved within the Cube and refined it to make something even more relevant). Sure, the greatest barrier might be the beats that place him distinctly outside of popular modern rap. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Mike is off in the future, waiting for everyone else to catch up.

3. I’ve heard whispers, but little did I know how great he could be. His strength genuinely lies in producing, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have his rhyming highlights or coordination skills. If this really laid the groundwork for R.A.P., then I wouldn’t be surprised.

4. It’s Empire of the Sun making slow-jam babies to TV on the Radio. Which is to say, it’s much slower and doesn’t quite hit the highlights of either, but it is a unique album where the two come together to create something good. Hopefully they don’t collapse under the weight of industry before they create something great.

5. Thank goodness he tattooed the map to himself on the side of his neck, right!? Because he can see it?! On the side of his neck?!? Dumb tattoos, am I right? Is this thing on? At any rate, this was as much of a normal Usher album as a departure. I read something saying he wanted to work outside of his comfort zone (clearly evident in the title track with half of Empire of the Sun–also the album highlight), but this record still produced “Scream.” Most of the same sentiments are all still there: My life is hard (double entendre!) because I’m a sex addict! We’re in the club! I regret being in the club! Let’s go back to the club! Etc. Whatever your gripes with him, though, it’s hard to argue with his business model: he covers all his bases. Whether you’re a classic R&B fan or two seconds away from forgoing everything that isn’t dubstepped, the man has a song for you.

6. It’s like pop metal. I mean, these are great songs, yet I somehow skipped the boat on this one. Seriously, I have friends who hang out with this dude and his wife on the regular, and only now have I considered “Good gravy, maybe I should check that out.” Somehow his image–from the bloody cover to his partying hard image, whatever that means to you–became too much for me to take seriously. But this is just a whole lot of fun.

7. When Outkast said, “Offisuh, get off me, suh. Don’t make me call L.A.; he’ll have ya walkin’, suh,” that was a piece of art: Maybe if you delved deeper into Outkast’s entire history would you then find out what that meant, instead of actually having Mr. Reid say some stupid shit about bosses on an outro. Artists need to make some art, and yet Rozay’s still rhyming some bullshit like (Miami) “Heat” with “heat” (guns/weather/being overweight/who knows), but this is leaps and bounds beyond the the last Bawse album I listened to (his first, where he notoriously rhymed “Atlantic” {record label} with “Atlantic” {the fucking ocean}). The greatest relief might be that he has so many amazing guest rappers to give us a relief from his garbage raps. More importantly, the beats are pretty amazing, which most assuredly keeps both him and his raps in the game. Shit, Jay-Z even stops mid-a-Capella to ask if the engineer caught all his work, and it still sounds kind of great, if not too heartfelt for the song he’s rapping on. It’s sort of like Ross is sitting, grunting in the background to set up all his guests, supporting them no matter what kind of falls they might make. But even if Ross is rap’s greatest third base coach, that doesn’t mean he can’t bring in the hits.

8. Nearly every song was a delight. They’re walking the line between Southern rock and country music, which frequently delights and confuses me. As songs get closer to country, the more uncomfortable I get. Sure, she’s not singing about her dog, blue-ribbon horse or dying tractor, but I just needed more rock and roll from all of them. Not just because country sucks, but because that’s when they shine most.

9. It’s not their best effort, but it’s still leaps and bounds ahead of the current Americana competition. It’s sort of like Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen got into a bar fight when they were twenty, but in suburban New Jersey less than a year ago. They’re still the masters of spreading themes across their own work while glorifying love, tattoos, terrible decisions, and the tri-state area.

10. Nope, this is nothing like her first album and I don’t like it. Where that last album could make you want to dance, this one could make you want to stay inside and sleep it all off.

11. This is sort of the opposite spectrum of the Nas album, if only in the sense that this indie band tried to capture something so tragic with uplifting music, but the lyrics were too heavy to sink beneath the symphony. Instead of the warm embrace of their first album, this bears some sort of regretful hug with a distinct fear of embarrassment, discovery, or exposure. It’s a paranoia. It feels more like a peek into the tip of the iceberg than the discovery of two hearts beating for each other. And it does wallow, despite gorgeous climaxes and choruses.

12. This is better than his major-label debut. Though he was signed to Def Jam already, it has all the trappings of a man trying to prove himself, whether by assuring you he produced the song you’re listening to or rapping the pants off of every single song like they’re all women he’s trying to get into his car.

13. “Pyramids” and “Super Rich Kids” are easily the highlights, though I can’t guarantee I’ll be listening to them for long. I feel like he’s the new Chris Brown: incredible asset as a chorus singer, so long as he doesn’t start punching women in the face. However, at that point, he’ll probably still have a career for some godforsaken reason. Probably his dulcet tones.

14. All of a sudden, America’s greatest sludge metal band got all acoustic. The greatest relief is that the hard-rockingest songs here are still some of the best songs they’ve ever done.

15. YOU GUYS! I KNOW HOW TO SOLVE RAP! GIVE ALL OF DRAKE’S DOPEST BEATS TO LUPE!

16. It only gets better when you think about how he’s not only the People’s Champ, but a gold medalist by grillz proxy.

17. I know it’s supposed to make me angry and want to start a riot, but I find it soothing. For example, I finally realized “pocket full of shells” meant bullets, not clams or turtles. And what did I do instead of considering the plight of children in war-torn countries where empty shell casings are more prevalent than books? I calmed down and was able to focus on the tasks at hand. Completely the opposite of the song’s intention, but I get what I need out of it.

Comment:

I realize this has slowly deteriorated from twim to tmim. I think I can blame part of that on Breaking Bad. I mean, you guys’ve seen that show, right? Because sweet baby jayhovah, it is captivating. Even more dangerous: it’s always on Sunday nights. The time when I used to do most of my twim drafting is now danger time. Even my summer plan to play more lacrosse has suffered because guess when that happens? Yep, same time as Breaking Bad.

Which means I need to alter my schedule in some way so that I have time to chip away at twim; when tmim amasses, it becomes an incredibly difficult task that parallels in intensity with the aforementioned TV show. And as my iPod loses the ability to pause and turn off completely, I grow ever more suspicious that important songs, if not entire albums disappear when they might have surfaced in a weekly roundup.

That means you should expect me to either attempt a slight rearrangement of my weekend priorities in order to increase productivity or none for a while because my iPod is getting fixed.

Now I will try to make sleeps to increase my work productivity–or else my boss might boxcutter me. More likely, however, I’ll just drink a ton of coffee and review my work too much.

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