Posts Tagged ‘M.I.A.’

Lorin’s Favorite Music of the year 2013

December 30, 2013

2013 turned about to be the year when every major artist in the game dropped a big album and maybe half of them were any good. For every triumph like Yeezus or Hesitation Marks you’d have a disappointment like Magna Carta Holy Grail or Random Access Memories. I could write a whole thing on the let down albums this year. Nah. Too easy.

20) Stay Trippy – Juicy J

Those Rubberband Business mixtapes were my shit and Stay Trippy was a long time coming and totally worth the wait. All bangers about strippers and drugs, which is what we as human beings want from Juicy J. “All I Blow Is Loud” and “Gun Plus a Mask” are instant classics and “The Woods” is probably the best thing Justin Timberlake did all year.

19) Heartthrob – Tegan and Sara

“Love They Say” is pure beauty and sadness. So is “Closer”. Whole thing has this weird mix of happy/sad going on. I’ve never really cared for Tegan and Sara before this album and I know there was talk about Heartthrob as some kind of craven grab at popularity but these songs sound real good, and real true. Getting a budget doesn’t mean you can’t still be true! And everyone wants to be popular! Who are we to tell Tegan and Sara they can’t put food on their families?

18) Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke

If this guy could dance he would have the world on a string. Still, everything on this album is better than both those bloated 20/20 thuds. Breezy and fun, done in 40 minutes.

17) Trap Lord– A$AP Ferg

All you need to know about this album is that the chorus to “Dump Dump” is

“I fucked your bitch, nigga, I fucked your bitch

I fucked your bitch, nigga, I fucked your bitch

She suck my dick, nigga, she suck my dick

She suck my dick, nigga, she suck my dick”

16) Artpop– Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is overstudied and not nearly as good as she thinks she is. And yet, this album is fire. So many bangers, just vicious shit. Purposely ugly in all the ways that appeal to me, yet with these huge neon hooks. The hook for “Sexxx Dreams” is like a laser to the face. “Aura” is a monster.

15) B.O.A.T.S II: #MeTime – 2 Chainz

2 Chainz goes front to back here, just casually dropping bangers and classics like it is just the most natural thing in the world.

14) Save Rock and Roll – Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy are one of my favorite bands. Their three album run in the mid 2000’s is some hall of fame shit. They don’t get any respect though because their audience is largely girls and old men like to write rock history. Save Rock and Roll is weird and actually doesn’t have a ton of guitars on it, but it still has great hooks, fantastic singing from Patrick Stump, and a song about masturbation. The boys are back.

13) Nothing Was The Same – Drake

2013 was my year of Drake. I know why people don’t like him and sometimes I still don’t like him but I think he has more songs I like than dislike and Nothing Was The Same is pretty good. I think it could have used a couple more bangers like “Started From The Bottom” but that wasn’t what he was feeling at the moment. But did you hear “Trophies”? Shittttt.

12) Excuse My French – French Montana

This may be the last we hear from French Montana. The album flopped and people have already moved on but this album has tracks. Hot fire all over and these beats, son. Diddy paid good money for these beats and it would be a shame for all of us to ignore them. Also, the ignorance of “Pop That”, “Marble Floors” and “Ocho Cinco” all on the same album is awe inspiring. May French continue to be worried about nothing.

11) Dynamics – Holy Ghost!

The first three songs are kinda eh but then it makes a huge jump in quality and you can forgive those first tracks and come to like them a little bit. I saw these guys live this year and they aren’t very interesting performers but the songs sounded good and while they can’t really pull off their ballads live, those tracks are the best songs on Dynamics. “I Want To Be Your Hand” is an instant classic.

10) Matangi– M.I.A.

This album should have been called Bangers. M.I.A. never fell off, really. I’ve gone back to MAYA a few times and it is still hit and miss but who doesn’t have a moment like that? We keep giving Jay-Z second chances. Matangi is easily M.I.A.’s best album, no contest. The production is vicious, she still doesn’t give a fuck, and unlike her other records it isn’t back loaded, it’s just loaded.

9) My Name Is My Name– Pusha T

I still listen to Hell Hath No Fury all the time. I bought Till The Casket Drops even though the reviews were bad. I listened to No Malice’s solo album(terrible, btw). I rocked that Play Clothes mixtape for like half of 2009. I’ve listened to the Re-Up Gang record at least 4 times. I really really like The Clipse. My Name Is My Name is largely flames, Pusha T goes hard, Kanye hooked him up with some hot beats(“No Regrets” oh shit), dude is back. I wish The Clipse were back but this is great. Best Pusha track of the year is “Millions” off of the Wrath of Kaine mixtape.

8) Hesitation Marks – Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails have never made a bad record. This is a fact. Look it up. Every album is good to great, though us hardcore Nailheads can argue over which is which. (Year Zero is my shit). Hesitation Marks isn’t a return to form, thank god, it’s just the next step. There are dancey songs and funky songs and songs that are slow like “Hurt” and it is all fine and good.

7) Black Panties– R. Kelly

What do I do with you, R. Kelly? How do I reconcile your past actions with the music you made and continue to make? It’s tough. And tougher for the victims of your crimes. Black Panties is a really good album. The track with Future is next level. “Legs Shakin'” is bananas. “Every Position”, totally nuts……Man. I dunno.

6) Long.Live.A$AP – A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky is a cool dude. That’s what he sells, being cool as shit. The first half of this album is like riding in a haze of cool(and weed smoke). Then he drops “Fucking Problems” and “Wild For The Night” and your heart level jumps up and you freak out and start breaking things and then you simmer down again. Then “Ghetto Symphony” comes on and you level a city.

5) Old– Danny Brown

If you ever bad mouth Danny Brown on Twitter, Danny Brown Stans will come out of the darkness and flood your mentions with anger and vitriol. “Danny Brown is the truth!”, they will scream. “Danny knows what is going down in these streets!” He does! I agree! This album is great, leave me alone.

4) Beyoncé– Beyoncé

Like the rest of you, I’m still digging into this one, but it’s highlights are plentiful. “Drunk In Love” and “Blow” were early favorites, and “XO” gets better with every listen. I was rocking “Bow Down/I’ve Been On” since January so “***Flawless” is of course my shit. Frank Ocean is still boring, though.

3) Yeezus – Kanye West

I like how nothing is going right for him in “I Am A God”, which everyone seemed to miss. Oh well, Kanye foreverandeverandeverandever.

2) For Professional Use Only – Araabmuzik

Araabmuzik got shot this year by some guy trying to steal his chain. Araab lived, dropped a sick remix album, kept on keeping on. Plus, you’re asking for trouble trying to rob the guy who made “This For The Ones Who Care”.

1) Paramore – Paramore

I started to like Paramore a lot after those two guys left the band and some astute blogger somewhere pointed out that all the songs on their last album were about how those two guys were just a bunch of assholes. That they quit because they were concerned about “keeping it real”, whatever that means in the pop/punk scene, which is the phoniest scene around. This album is a great rebuke to those guys, and really anyone who shit on this band, because the songs are sooooo good. Songs about being adults, and moving forward, and living your life after hard shit happens. I listened to this album a lot, and it was a no brainer when I had to pick my favorite of the year. “Ain’t It Fun” is a nice final “fuck you” to those guys who quit, but it could also just be about lazy people. There are levels to this shit.

Best songs of 2013
1) “This For The Ones Who Care” – Araabmuzik

2) “Fo Real” – Future featuring Drake

3) “Do What You Want” – Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly

4) “Hold On, We’re Going Home” – Drake featuring Majid Jordan

5) “Fucking Problems” – A$AP Rocky Featuring Drake, Kendrick Lamar, & 2 Chainz

6) “Suit And Commercial” – The Hood Internet (Daft Punk/Justin Timberlake)

7) “Higher” – Just Blaze x Baauer featuring Jay Z

8) “All You’re Waiting For” – Classixx featuring Nancy Whang

9) “Going With You” – Sebastien Grainger

10) “I Told Em” – French Montana

Favorite Albums of the 2000’s: 50 – 41

May 20, 2010

Albums 100 – 91

Albums 90 – 81

Albums 80 – 71

Albums 70 – 61

Albums 60 – 51

50.  My Chemical Romance – Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (2004)

I’m pretty sure Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge will be the last time me and “the kids” see eye to eye on anything. My Chemical Romance tapped into the goth kids and the cool kids by having lyrics about death and teen angst while not forgetting the importance of riffs and hooks. Too many times I hear bands for the kids and think, “Imagine what they’d sound like with some hooks.” Three Cheers has hooks aplenty and a singer who can wail. “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” is the kind of song that works on two levels: for the guy in his 20’s it is a hilarious parody of teen angst set to classic rock staples(the solo is divine). For the kid in their teens it is an accurate and honest representation of teen angst and experience as they know and live it everyday. Hell, my sister broke her foot jumping off the second story, so it’ll always be resonant. “The Ghost of You” is MCR’s serious song, slightly midtempo with a more histrionic vocal and it is about as perfect as My Chemical Romance will ever sound. The kids picked a good one here.

49.  Rival Schools – United By Fate (2001)

Walter Schreifels has a voice that sounds like it belongs to some roughneck bruiser but actually comes out of this. The relationships detailed on United By Fate are ironically enough about to fall apart, strained by fights(“The Switch“) and distance (“My Echo”, “Travel by Telephone“). A song like “Good Things” shows that everything isn’t sadness and disappointment in Schreifels’ world but it is immediately followed by “Used For Glue“, and well, you get the idea. Ian Love’s guitar work is equal parts raw and shiny, a perfect compliment to Schreifels’ lyrics of pained disillusionment. Yet every song ends with Walter getting the upper hand, legitimately or otherwise, and moving on with his life. We should all have that kind of momentum.

48.  The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema (2005)

I feel a little jerky rating Twin Cinema higher than Mass Romantic on the basis of Maturity. But what is done is done and it’s not like Twin Cinema isn’t a great record, just maybe not as fun as MR. The New Pornographers don’t negate their jaunty rave ups on Twin Cinema(for that, see Challengers) but they shine brightest on slower tracks like “The Bones of an Idol“, which builds to a big close that sounds deeper and more resonant than it might actually be. I can’t say I’ve ever thought hard about what most of these songs are about, but they sure sound deep and touching.

47.  LCD Soundsystem – Sounds of Silver (2007)

I love when I revisit an album and songs I’d previously dismissed I find myself suddenly in thrall to. That is what I found with “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down“, a song I would often skip over because it was too slow or damn it, it brought me down when I didn’t want to be brought down. Now, with three years to absorb and consider it, of course it is great and the perfect closing track for Sounds of Silver. For a record that acknowledges the loss of important people in our lives(“Someone Great“, duh) and that we’re going to keep losing people in our lives to death and distance, “New York I Love You…” acts, for me, as a wonderful explication to keep living and make your own happiness.

46.  M.I.A. – Arular (2005)

I think this one is back loaded with bangers, not to say that the first half isn’t good. “Galang” and “10 Dollar” just kill, aight? I’ve never paid enough attention to M.I.A.’s politics to say how they impact my views on her music. Honestly and vacuously, I just dig the beats a whole lot. And the swagger too.

45.  Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll (2005)

I think it was a Pitchfork review that said “Art Brut stay losing”. Perfect. Art Brut’s entire persona is a nerdy rock band who sing songs about failed dalliances, sexual inadequacy, and pipe dreams.  It is what they do and they do it well. Art Brut staying losing is Art Brut winning. I would not want to hear an Art Brut album where everything is just coming up roses of Eddie Argos. I’d much rather he keep on keeping on about his limp dick(“Rusted Guns of Milan“) and his hopes to be reunited with a girl that doesn’t even remember him(“Emily Kane“). Argos is a prime example of a Rock God who is frighteningly human.

44.  The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free (2004)

The Streets name is apt since you cannot get more street level and inclusive than on A Grand Don’t Come For Free. As Mike Skinner narrates his day of searching for money, getting high, breaking up with his girlfriend and finding money, you are there. The beats are ingenious and the observations always keen and off-kilter. Too bad he had to follow up with a mundane “Fame is killing me” album.

43.  Boris – Pink (2006)

I like to think the titular pink is what your face looks like after Boris sears off the flesh with their riffs. Seriously, Pink will cut off your arms and sear your soul. One of the only albums I’ve ever heard that is loud no matter how you have your volume set on your stereo. Pink was recorded, mixed and mastered at 11 AFTER they made 10 louder.  Boris once abruptly ending a show with the drummer leaving the stage yelling “More power! More Power!” He was probably right.

42.  Sleater-Kinney – One Beat (2002)

As anti-Bush screeds go, One Beat is the one to beat. While plenty of songs against Bush have been written few are worth a damn or due repeat listens. You know, like American Idiot. Sleater-Kinney beat Green Day to it two years earlier and with more gut and ingenuity. Plus, One Beat rocks so hard. “Light Rail Coyote” and “Step Aside” have guitar heroics to spare.

41.  Kanye West – Graduation (2007)

Kanye West is a loud mouthed braggart. He is also a great producer and a half decent rapper with a penchant for snappy punchlines. Graduation has been called one of Kanye’s less substantive releases, but since it is the album that features “Flashing Lights” and “Good Life” this kind of criticism doesn’t matter at all. Kanye West can actually use the “hits for days” line and not even be kidding. He does asshole moves all the time but if you’ve ever heard any of his songs you know that he knows this and yeah, who cares? As long as he keeps making songs like “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” I will allow him to continue taking awards away from Taylor Swift every year(Missed you at the Grammys, Kanye!).

Favorite Albums of the 2000’s: 80 – 71

March 6, 2010

Sorry for the long delay in posting this. Life and laziness can slow down a guy.

Albums 100 – 91

Albums 90 – 81

80.  M.I.A. – Kala (2007)

M.I.A. actually has a whole lot in common with most rappers. She talks about how awesome she is (“Nobody on the corner got swagger like us”) whenever she isn’t espousing on the ills of her misbegotten home. In this case home is the World and it’s going to shit, slowly and surely. Obviously, dance party. M.I.A. front loads the bangers (“Boys”, “Bird Flu”) and leaves the spacey brilliance for the second half. “Paper Planes” you know, I know, everybody knows. But the best track is “$20”. The Pixies reference is great but that beat is goddamn goddamn.

79.  Girl Talk – Night Ripper (2006)

The first listen is mainly gasps and giggles. Subsequent listens range from “how’d he do it?” to “He fucking did it, son.” It’s almost best not to think about it too clinically. The man was/is able to take all your favorite songs, least favorite songs, and songs you just generally recognize and swirl them together into a mindmelting, smile inducing mix of sound. Everyone has a favorite moment; mine is the “Tiny Dancer”/”Juicy” mash. Or is it the Ying Yang Twins/”Regulate” mash? It’s like Sophie’s Choice only awesome.

78.  Les Savy Fav – Inches (2004)

Do Les Savy Fav even make sense on record? The difference between the recorded work of the Fav and their live performances cannot be further apart. Imagine a group of a practiced gentlemen led by a nude maniac. That is Les Savy Fav live. Inches justifies the existence of Les Savy Fav by running front to back great songs. They might be about something, they might not. Even without Tim Harrington entering your home dressed as Sherlock Holmes in a diaper, these are all great songs.

77.  Clipse – Hell Hath No Fury (2006)

Y’know, the beats on Hell Hath No Fury bang. They’re wicked and awkward and strange yet they still bang and stomp while the Clipse spit gold all over them. Listen to “Momma I’m So Sorry“. It’s like the descent into The Rectum in Irreversible with Miami Vice references. “Wamp Wamp (What It Do)” combines a swaggering monster beat with Clipse’s most braggidocious lines to become one of rap’s greatest songs while “Mr. Me Too” has one of Pharrell’s best bad/great raps- “Just last week I was out in Aspen/Me and Puff hopping off the plane/Both us laughin”. The sheer gall of two multi-millionaires laughing at their private joke while walking off a private plane (in Aspen!) is hip hop audaciousness at its best.

76.  Simian Mobile Disco – Attack Decay Sustain Release (2007)

Hustler” is “Hustler”. Sexy and sublime, it is one of the best songs ever. This is just a fact and I am merely restating it. Attack Decay Sustain Release has other songs on it that are not “Hustler” and they are just as good. Great, even. But at the end of the day everyone will only remember “Hustler”. Which is fine, but the other songs, really good.

75.  Fountains of Wayne – Welcome Interstate Managers (2003)

Your mileage regarding Fountains of Wayne will vary depending on whether you think they’re clever or stupid. It is a fine line. Welcome Interstate Managers sounds sincere and these guys can write some hooks. I think calling out FOW for not actually being middle class salesmen and for writing a concept record about living middle class is like calling out Led Zeppelin for not actually being from Middle Earth. You can’t have it both ways. Well, sure you can. Songs like “Hackensack” and “Valley Winter Song” are achingly sincere and devoid of irony and cynicism. I had to have one record on here like that.

74.  A.C. Newman – The Slow Wonder (2004)

A.C. Newman writes most of the music for The New Pornographers, who are great. Is it any surprise that his first solo album would also be great? Of course not, no surprise at all. Perfect indie pop songs, every single one of ’em. I’m sure that whoever Newman is shaming on “The Town Halo” probably agrees with the harsh take-down but is thrilled to have inspired such a great song.

73.  Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash (2003)

Kish Kash is Basement Jaxx’s creative peak. “Good Luck” is hall of fame, best of all time, MVP shit. “Plug It In” makes the idea of a J.C. Chavesz solo career seem plausible and “Lucky Star” is still the craziest track to ever feature Dizzee Rascal. The second half, yes, is more subdued and relaxed than the first half. It’s called having range.

72.  Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)

Arcade Fire have been grouped in with the other Canadian collectives like Broken Social Scene and Stars. The notable difference is that Arcade Fire songs all don’t sound the same. Funeral is aching yet wistful, an album about overcoming grief and moving on and up. It is never anything less than transcendent. That they acquired such a devoted following from the result of this album is not surprising but inevitable.

71.  The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (2003)

Chutes Too Narrow is the high benchmark for sensitive indie albums. Every other album in this category will forever be dismissed as “Not Chutes“. Sorry. The Shins drop ten perfect songs here and make that shit sound effortless. When this album came out I bought it at F.Y.E. for $18 dollars and thought I had overpaid. Hardly. It is priceless. On the album after this one you can hear The Shins practically give up as they realize they cannot equal Chutes. After listening to this album you also realize that Conor Oberst is trying Waaaay too hard.