Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Black Crowes - Sometimes Salvation

I've been running into some old friends lately and find that we usually pick up right where we left off. After seeing The Black Crowes in Tulsa a few weeks ago, I scrounged up The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. Damn it is so good. Here's one of my favorites. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yeezus wept.

So, there have been approximately 3,000,000 viewpoints written about this album since it was leaked last Friday. I think most of them are absurd, so here's mine.

Full Disclosure
I really, really like Kanye. I never really got into him until a couple years ago, so I was late to the party, but he's quickly become one of my favorites. His earlier stuff is fun and clever and damn catchy (except the insufferable 808s and Heartbreak).

Then I heard "Monster," and it all changed.

There have been three rap albums from the last 5 years that I truly love: Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne, Good Kid, Mad City by Kendrick Lamar, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye.

Fantasy is actually in my top 20 albums of all time. Kanye combined the creative lyrics (not the typical "Rolex-this" and "Bentley-that" and $$$$$ shit that ruined his Watch the Throne Jay-Z collaboration and his Cruel Summer feature) with rich, layered, jack-hammer tracks to make the most original album since Outkast stopped being Outkast.

The Issue With Rock Critics
Fact #1 - Rock writers LOVE to talk about how much they love rap.
Fact #2 - White rock writers REALLY LOVE to talk about how much they love rap.
Fact #3 - Once an artist/group reaches a certain level of credibility in the rock writer community, the best thing they can possibly do is put out an album that is both a departure from their normal style, and commercially unpopular and/or subversive.

Rock writers (and music snobs in general) love to feel like they understand something that the normal fan "doesn't get." This is why Kid A is a more highly regarded album than OK Computer.

Rock writers ADORE this album. They tout it's "bravery" and "boldness" and "groundbreaking" lyrics. They also rave about the well-chosen samples, bleak tracks, and minimalist beats. All of which really just gives them a chance to show that they know who Billie Holliday, Daft Punk, and Trent Reznor are.

Granted, some of them are truly writing how they feel about it... ...but most of them are just full of shit.

My Relationship With Jeezus
The best word I can use to describe this album is "interesting." It's not a fun listen. It's not an album that you would put on while sitting on the porch having some drinks with friends. When it came on, everyone would started exchanging uncomfortable looks - sometimes because of the lyrics, and sometimes because of the music.

But it's worth a listen. It's worth a dozen listens. Kanye isn't a genius. He's not a visionary. He's not 2Pac. He's not Madonna.

He's an insanely talented rapper and a guy who's not afraid to take risks.

So, let's appreciate this record (and it's most palatable track, linked above) for what it is - not what we want to make it into.