Posts Tagged ‘ nas ’

2010 Music in Review

This is part 1 of my list.  This thing’s so big, I had to separate it into two posts! Instead of just listing the good albums, I decided to review every new album I heard in 2010.  So here’s albums 34-16.

 

34.      4×4=12-Deadmau5-Rave program Deadmau5 outdid himself with his most creative album title yet.  If only I could say the same about anything else.  4×4=12 is a groundbreaking work in predictability, even when he tries his hand at some obnoxious rave-rap and dubstep.  (How topical!)  Give it a spin if you’re looking for something to put you to sleep.

33.      Straight Killa No Filla-Freddie Gibbs.  Oh really?  Look, I know it’s just a mixtape, but so was The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs, and that was incredible.

32.      I Am Not A Human Being-Lil Wayne-Lil Wayne has no fucking taste.  All of these songs are lazy, the beats are uninspired, and the rhymes are just stupid.  “So smart she coulda’ gone to college?”  What the hell, Wayne?  I didn’t have the highest expectations for this record released from prison, and at least Drake isn’t on every song.  Unfortunately, Drake is on all of the good songs.  All three of them.  And they’re not even really good.  They just sound a little better than the fucking banal pop-rap production that dominates the record.  Seriously, it’s like he’s using the demo that came with his EZ-Synth Jambox.  Lil Wayne being in prison, there’s a lot of guest stars.  Because what else, Young Money goons are all over this thing, and Nicki Minaj doesn’t even have to decency to rap on it.  A half-hearted effort from everybody involved.

31.      Pink Friday-Nicki Minaj-Nicki Minaj fared a little bit better on her solo debut than anything else a Young Money Goon* did this year.  If only it were good!  She wastes most of the album singing, which she sucks at.  She still managed to get in a few decent songs.  I’m a fan of “Did it on Em” and the Kanye assisted “Blazin.”  “Roman’s Revenge” is the only other song worth checking, if only for the novelty of Eminem making animal noises while referring to himself as a dungeon dragon.

*. Is “young Money Goon” the official term, or should I not take Gudda Gudda so seriously?  Also, is  it Wu-Tang Clansmen?

30. Hurley-Weezer-Ugh.  They came so close!  Hurley’s the best album they’ve made since Maladroit, but it’s still not very good.  I can live with the weak lyrics, it’s the production that’s killing me.  This shit is so clean and shiny, it sounds instantly dated.  At least they stopped trying to reinvent themselves.

29.      OMG!-Rusko-Wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp Gucci Mane wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp wamp.

28.      Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys-My Chemical Romance-Was The Black Parade a fluke, or am I just delusional?  The follow-up to that record I loved so much is overproduced and uninspired to its breaking point.  C’mon guys.  That over-the-top dour shit was what made you good.  This is a step backwards.

27.      Album of the Year-Black Milk-More like 27th best album of the year!  Ha ha!  There’s nothing bad about this record, there’s just nothing great about it.  It’s like Be with weaker beats.  I don’t care how good a rapper Black Milk is, he doesn’t make good songs.

26.      Trunk Music 0-60-Yelawolf Yelawolf isn’t incredible by any means.  Right now he just sounds like a white trash T.I.  But as we’ve learned from Rick Ross and T.I. himself, nobody starts out great anymore.  I’ll give him a few more years, see if this goes anywhere.  At the very least, he’s a big improvement on Asher Roth.  Good job, white rapper committee.

25.      Distant Relatives-Nas and Damien Marley-This was almost a good album, and then Damien Marley showed up.

24.      Pilot Talk-Curren$y-Curren$y’s come a long way since I first encountered him three years ago.  It’s now possible to understand what he’s saying, there’s some emotion in his voice, he’s classed up his production, and he’s upgraded the guest features to include Snoop Dogg, Mikey Rocks and Big KRIT.  Mos Def lends his voice for the chorus of the two best songs on the album, (“Breakfast” & Jay Electronica assisted “The Day”) The guests make for the highlights of the album, simply because Curren$y has the worst fucking hooks.  Curren$y’s a big fan of the Bobby Digital method, where you repeat the title of the song 8 to 44 times or spell a sentence.  If he could get it together and spend more than 20 seconds crafting the song, he’d be set.

23.      Tron: Legacy-Daft Punk-Will a new Daft Punk album ever come?  It seems unlikely after this excursion into the world of movie soundtracks.  It’s lacking in computer wizardry, and most of the songs all sound like typical blockbuster music, but there’s just barely enough to make it okay for a few listens.

22.      Wu-Massacre-Meth, Ghost & Rae-Actually, it’s mostly the cronies of Meth, Ghost, and Rae.  Sheek Louch, Sun God and more also-rans do the bulk of the work here.  It sounds more like a mixtape than an actual album.  Tired beats, tired rhymes. There’s still a few god ones, like “Miranda” and “Youngstown Heist.”  It’s not a crowning achievement for any of these guys, but coming out six months after the incredible Only Built 4 Cuban Links Pt 2 and the awful Ghostdeni Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City, it’s forgivable.  It’s not like I was that lacking in Wu-Tang.

21.      Swim-Caribou-This record might be in the top ten if I didn’t have to listen to the guy sing.  As is, it’s still a damn good collection of electronica.  It’s not as high-energy as I typically like my computer music, but at least it feels like he’s trying.  If Kid Cudi was good, this is what his beats might sound like.

20.      Congratulations-MGMT-One of the year’s most unexpected records, Congratulations is also one of the few albums of “neo-psychdelica” worth listening to.  It sounds a lot like early Bowie-Jangly guitars, lyrics about famous people and fantasy.  There’s nothing here even trying to be as good and catchy as “Kids” or “Time to Pretend,” but they at least made enough changes to their sound to keep it interesting.

19.      Sea of Cowards-The Dead Weather-Jack White takes over on the second Dead Weather album.  It reminds me of the second Raconteurs album.  It has little to say, but it rocks a lot harder and benefits from it.  It’s not as good as anything The White Stripes ever put out, but it’s the best non-White Stripes record Jack White’s made.

18.      The Monitor-Titus Andronicus- If Bright Eyes wasn’t afraid to rock, this is exactly what he’d sound like. If that statement doesn’t make you cringe, you’ll love this album.  It also features the best saxophone solo of the year.

17. The Archandroid-Janelle Monae-Not quite as groundbreaking and futuristic than everybody says it is, but it’s a contemporary R & B album, so “groundbreaking and futuristic” is a relative term.  What it is is a collection of great pop songs.  Monae can sing better than anybody else on this list, and she delivers her lines with such conviction that I forgot I was listening to a sci-fi pop-opera about robot spiders (or something.)

16. The Suburbs-Arcade Fire-I didn’t listen to much serious music this year.  Until this came out, none of the good stuff was that serious.  The Suburbs caught me off guard.  It’s a lyrical album that came out in the middle of a six month Phish binge.  (Well, really a one month Lightning Bolt/Daft Punk binge. Suddenly trapped with lyrics to scrutinize, I was lost.  The Suburbs has meaning and a message.  It’s also incredibly dense.  The music’s still great.  We’ve got some more Springsteen posturing, some radio pop, and mandatory stadium blaster, but they’ve expanded into some cool new territory too.  There’s a lot going on, and I may not like sitting through all of it, but I’m not going to hate for sheer ambition.  It’s a fine album.  I just wish somebody had the decency to make one that rocked harder than its predecessors.

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Hit Singles

First of all, many thanks to Parker for posting a link to me on his blog.  As you can see, I’ve already returned the favor.  Al l you have to do is click on his name there and you’ll be redirected to his blog.  It’s pretty rad.  It’s got lots of pictures and laffs and he finds the time to update it way more often than I do, but I’m working on it.  Expect something from me at least weekly, if not more often.  Today, I’d like to veer away from those things called “complete albums” and instead focus on these things called “singles.”  These are the songs that I somehow missed the first time around, big hits that most people have probably already heard, but I didn’t because I didn’t have cable and there’s no hip hop station in Butte, Montana and my internet was reaaaaaaally show in high school.  I don’t know if the rest of you guys are as in the dark as I am, but that’s what this post is for-rectification.

I was thinking about starting a special section of movie reviews dedicated to really famous movies I somehow hadn’t seen yet.  (I started with Midnight Cowboy.  Others  include Braveheart, Dog Day Afternoon, Sunset Blvd and Seven Samurai)  However, this would include me posting often enough to justify me having sections, so maybe once I’ve got a few more under my belt.  Anyway, this is kind of the musical equivalent and I imagine we’ll be having more of them in the future.

R. Kelly-Ignition (Remix) – R Kelly’s a weird guy.  Part genius, part pervert, part idiot-savant.  Most the time, I’m not crazy about his music, but when it works, it really works, and when it really really really works, it’s the Remix to Ignition.  Hot and fresh in the kitchen.

Estelle-American Boy – Graduation is my least favorite Kanye West album, but I think I get what he was going for.  He wanted to make something that EVERYBODY liked, and let’s face it, he pulled it off pretty well, talk to anybody.  Even people who fucking hate Kanye like at least one song, and that one song is usually “Flashing Lights” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” or his guest spot on Estelle’s “American Boy,” which came out a little later than Graduation, so I guess this is his insurance song.

Grizzly Bear-While You Wait For the Others – I am not a fan of Grizzly Bear.  I don’t hate them in an way, I just find their music boring, dry and disengaging most of the time.  Not so much as Dirty Projectors, who are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too sophisticated for me to comprehend.   However, Trevor has tried his best to get me interested and I really like this song.  Grizzly Bear certainly doesn’t rock, but sometimes they sound like the Beatles without actually being a blatant ripoff.  A few more listens of this and I might be ready to give Veckatimist a try again.  Maybe if I saw them live I’d change my mind.

The Killers – When You Were Young – The Killers are a singles band.  I can never make it through one of their albums in its entirety, but I eagerly await the release of The Killers’ Greatest Hits.  Their debut, Hot Fuss, was probably their best, but this cut from follow up Sam’s Town ain’t half bad.  They’re a band who tries hard, sometimes too hard, but I think hit the nail on the head here.

UGK ft Outkast-International Players Anthem-Holy shit!  This song was what prompted me to compose this post.  Not much to say, other than that it’s really fucking good.

Juelz Santana-Dipset (Santana’s Town) – I don’t know if I’d call Juelz Santana a good MC, but I’ll give him this much, he’s got a unique style.  He works best in small doses, particularly when he’s rapping over a trademark DIpset beat.  Lines like “I’m a baller baller/You’re not at all a baller” would sound utterly moronic over a beat with any subtlety, they still sound moronic over apocalyptic strings and a choir chanting “Dipset” but they at least sound sincere.  There’s amoral fury to Santana’s delivery, and the instrumentals bang hard.

Young Jeezy-My President-Young Jeezy could be the hip hop Tom Waits.  He’s got the voice.  Unfortunately, Jeezy seems more at home amidst the most bombastic synths this side of DJ Khaled.  Jeezy’s got a great voice.  He just doesn’t know what to do with it.  Despite all of that, I think this song works great because he’s got to live up to the guest star, Nas.

Fun fact-When I saw Nas live, this was the one he closed with.

Three 6 Mafia-Stay Fly-Okay, I guess I didn’t miss this when it first came around, I just didn’t like it.  Nothing very insightful to say, just wanted to apologize.  Stay Fly, you’re alright.

Also this one about cough syrup.

The Game-Wouldn’t Get Far and one Blood-I’m a big fan of The Documentary, The Game’s first album, but I never gave much of a listen to the second one, Doctor’s Advocate.  Part of that could be that they have the same fucking cover and I mistook Doctor’s Advocate for a special edition when I first saw it.

Seriously, how was this a good business decision?

I’ve listened to it recently though, and it’s pretty good.  Maybe not as good as the first one, but still a good follow-up.  Freshly kicked out of the 50 Cent’s friends club, Game had to get others to pitch in on the production this time.  Kanye helps out on “Wouldn’t Get Far” with the chopped ‘n’ chipmunked soul he was so fond of at the time, while One Blood is just a great showcase of Game being PISSED OFF.  “You’re 38 and you’re still rappin?  Ugh./ I’m 26 nigga, so is the dubs.”  You here that, Dr. Dre?  The Game is fucking disgusted that you’re still rappin.  The video for One Blood also includes some of the most unintentionally hilarious thug mugging I’ve ever seen.  I guess it’s not Game’s fault he has the face of an infant, but boy, does he get silly.

Wouldn’t Get Far

One Blood

Missy Elliott-Gossip Folks – I can safely assume that we’ve all heard Get Ur Freak on and Work It, right?  Don’t let me down.  Maybe you haven’t heard Gossip Folks though.  Get to it.

Outkast-Ghetto Musick – Is it wrong that Speakerboxxx is my favorite Outkast album?  Not Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, just the Big Boi solo album?  Am I the only person in the world who thinks Big Boi is a better rapper than Andre 3000?  Can you really blame me after listening to this?  Big Boi must wax his tongue, because his flow is smoother than a bowling alley.

Jay-Z – Roc Boys – What?  Everybody’s heard Roc Boys, right? More people know the words to this than they do 99 Problems, right?  Fuck, even I’ve heard Roc Boys, but in the spirit of things, I thought it would be a good one to include, just in case.

Be here next week when I post the 1960’s version of this.  That one should actually contain more hidden gems.