Posts Tagged ‘Say Anything’

Music Journal, June 6th 2016

June 5, 2016


Islah by Kevin Gates

The great contradictions of a person make them interesting, like when Vin Diesel goes to give a woman a kiss. Kevin Gates is the greatest embodiment of contrast, with moments of real empathy and openness right alongside tracks where he goes on and on defending his decision to assault a fan at a show. The music is good to great across the board, lush and full without being overproduced, the beats aren’t particularly showy but never generic. Islah has Gates offering footrubs while his lady talks about her day, juggles his two phones(business and pleasure) and he loves to fuck. He can also rap, sing the hook, and eschews guests. Kevin Gates is too real.

Ξ by The Toxic Avenger 

The overhanging menace is a bit much. No attempts to dance. I think there is a GG Allin sound bite. A good reminder that blog house is dead too. Closing track “Together” aspires to some kind of lights in the sky, hands up in the air losing it moment but that dark menace, for whatever purpose it is supposed to lend, just sucks the air out of the room. This is so tasteful it might as well be hors d’oeuvres tray.

The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us by Beach Slang

The lead singer has that nice grit in his voice that makes guys like Ryan Adams and Walter Schreifels so appealing. The majority of these tracks rip it up, and “Dirty Lights” might be the rippiest of them all. My favorite part is this line in “Ride the Wild Haze”:

Get really high
Stay up for days
I come back down and somehow things are all the same

That’s fucking life, man.

The Life of Pablo by Kanye West

7 for 7, or 8 for 8 if you count Watch The Throne. For all the mess of the release and the fact that you still can’t buy it unless you have a Tidal account, TLOP is a winner. I’ve been listening to it incessently and it’s one of my favorite things he’s ever done, just like Yeezus before it. Kanye doesn’t seem interested in being a rapper anymore, and his twitter bears this out, but his curating and production abilities are still without peer. Is this a mess? I feel like Late Registration was a messier album, plus it had those terrible skits. TLOP doesn’t have any skits, it does have more prayers but it also has the drops and misogyny and that certainly gives you whiplash but that’s every Kanye album.

Post Pop Depression by Iggy Pop 

Iggy has made hints that this is a retirement record and it sounds like it. More subdued than one would expect considering the Josh Homme assembled band, Iggy Pop gets some jabs and wails in but he mostly sounds like someone who is tying up loose ends. A nice record to go out on, just don’t expect him to tear the world down around him while he exits.

Don’t You by Wet

This album is boring and sucks.

Majid Jordan by Majid Jordan

This is nice and pleasant and then you’ve fallen asleep on the couch.

Hotel Paranoia by Jazz Cartier

Fake Drake songs bump into fake Meek Mill songs into fake everybody else. Guy has no personality of his own. He is sure of himself though, so shouts to his self esteem.

I Don’t Think It Is by Say Anything

This is the worst album Say Anything have ever made. The production is either purposely bad or they literally had no budget. I kinda think it’s the latter. Max Bemis does more of the same from the last couple Say Anything albums, but with weaker hooks and a thin sound. I would say it’s a cry for help but every Say Anything album is a cry for help. This one just sounds more desperate.

Khalifa by Wiz Khalifa 

Wiz Khalifa is the owner of the most bored tone in rap, maybe tied with Big Sean. He just never sounds that interested in anything he is saying. The production on this one is not bad, always good to see Lex Luger getting a check. Strictly for the die hard Wizheads, or whatever they’re called.

10 Ways to Steal Home Plate by Wolfgang Gartner

We’re ten years removed from the Summer of 06, the beginning of the blog house era, an incredible time to be alive and have an internet connection. We’re now in a sort of post EDM era, so guys like Gartner, who as recently as 2011 were dropping mega opus albums with 8 minute tracks, are turning around and making 3 minute pop tracks featuring rappers. Not complaining, you have to work hard to put food on your family. 10 Ways gets the job done.

Views by Drake

I guess I’m back off the Drake train again. After the back to back delivery of Nothing Was The Same and it’s run of all timers (“Worst Behavior”, “Hold On We’re Going Home”) with 2015’s If You’re Reading This Its Too Late I figured Views would be a slam dunk. But instead Drake has delivered his first dirge record. Rapping at a minimum, singing and whining cranked up to 11, all over 40’s “The fridge is running” production soundscapes. No one needs these cold bummer tracks for such a hot summer.

Anti by Rihanna

It is easy to declare “Best Rihanna Album” on first listen. It seems so cohesive! I went back and listened to Rated R, Loud, Unapologetic and Talk That Talk just to be sure and those albums basically have the same success/failure rate as Anti, though Anti has less obvious A&R trend chasing.  Without any bangers, much of Anti’s runtime is given over to moody midtempo slither. “Needed Me” and “Kiss It Better” have a simple majesty and as a singer Rihanna has never sounded better and maybe one day she’ll make a true front to back burner. “Work” still sounds like RiRi’s “The Lady I Know” and that Tame Impala song is now a Rihanna song, sorry, no take backs.

Hymns by Bloc Party

A couple years ago I went to my cousin’s high school graduation party and I happened to mention an upcoming Bloc Party concert. “No one cares about Bloc Party anymore”, my cousin informed me. Hymns will not change that view. The title is taken in a literal sense, with endless soft paeans to a higher power that have no interest in strong hooks or melodies. Now running without Matt Tong’s iconic drumming or Gordon Moakes bass work, Bloc Party has taken on the guise of one of front man Kele Okereke’s tedious solo records. This guys used to be the jam. A real bummer.

Transmission by Death in Vegas

Richard Fearless is now partnering with Sasha Grey on his ventures as Death in Vegas, and while it’s a better album than 2011’s endless drone Trans-Love Energies it doesn’t play as much more than extended interludes. Grey doesn’t add much to the mix besides some monotone vocals, and besides functioning as a kind of white noise, I’m not sure what anyone is supposed to do with this music. It never elevates to the point of interesting art and instead functions as elaborate “on hold” muzak.

Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper

I still can’t take Chance’s voice for too long. Too thin, always sounds like he’s on the verge of a gasp or a crack. And if he tries to sing, it’s even worse. Sorry Chance, you’re no Kevin Gates. Still, Coloring Book has his best songs so far. “No Problem” has an incredible hook and some pretty good verses from 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne and “All Night” is the kind of party banger that you have to put on repeat because 2 minutes and 21 seconds isn’t long enough. Chance says his favorite Kanye album is The College Dropout and Coloring Book is slathered in it’s influence. Not a bad place to start.





Favorite Albums of the 2000’s: 40 – 31

August 19, 2010

Albums 100 – 91

Albums 90 – 81

Albums 80 – 71

Albums 70 – 61

Albums 60 – 51

Albums 50 – 41

40.  !!! – Myth Takes (2007)

Every great album should have a song that makes people scream and freak out, sending them running down hallways, grabbing random passersby and telling, nay, demanding they listen to this song! “Heart of Hearts” is that song and my friend Lauren ran down a short hallway in order to grab me and make sure I heard it. The pulsing funk beat of “Heart” is !!! at their finest and Myth Takes is their finest work to date, eschewing the jammier moments of their previous records and generating some good old fashion tension and release. Nic Offer’s “perv in the corner of the club” vocals hang just fine though any attempts at sincerity don’t work. Who cares? DANCING!

39.  Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006)

If you ever see Justin Timberlake on TV, in interviews, walking down the street, you’ll notice that he is stylishly dressed and pretty pleased with himself. If you made FutureSex/LoveSounds you would also have a sunny attitude and the money in which to buy stylish clothing. While what the songs are about is nothing new(Love found, love lost, love solidified, the return of Sexy), their delivery and presentation are(or were) innovative and mindblowing. “My Love” was that shit, is that shit, shall always be that shit. FutureSex/LoveSounds is so good that can’t even ruin it with the worst rap in the world.

38.  Nada Surf – Let Go (2002)

I was having the greatest day when I first heard Let Go. I remember picking it out of a pile of promo discs at my college radio station and proclaiming, “My day is going so great, I’m going to give the new Nada Surf album a try. I didn’t even know they still existed, and it might suck, but I’m feeling charitable.” I’m paraphrasing myself but it was something like that. Let Go extended my good mood by being a fantastic album. Nada Surf sounded confident and assured with sharp production and good tunes. While Let Go is a sad record for the most part, it’s a sincere melancholy that is earned and not at all garish. But enough about the sad stuff. This record has Nada Surf’s most rocking material: “Fruit Fly”, “Hi-Speed Soul”, and “Treading Water”, highlights all. “Inside of Love” is the standout and the blueprint Nada Surf have structured everything they’ve done since. Not a bad choice.

37.  LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem (2005)

James Murphy has this rep as being a curmudgeon which is fitting since he is a bit of a comedian. “Losing My Edge” and “Beat Connection” are funny, funny songs that you just also happen to be able to dance to. “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” has the joke right in the title, and has the common courtesy to actually address this occurrence in the song. I’m just saying, plenty of songs have titles that don’t actually pay off lyrically.

36.  Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze (2005)

After three great albums Josh Homme decided to make a fourth great album. Lullabies can sorta be thought of as a break up album, seeing as it was made after Josh booted Nick Oliveri from the band. But the lyrical themes remain the same and the riffs just as heavy. Plus, when I picked it as my favorite album of 2005 I jokingly photographed myself post-coitus with the CD for a livejournal post. Youthful indiscretions.

35.  Say Anything – …Is A Real Boy (2004)

Emo music tends to be the worst kind of music for the simple fact that the emotions on display never evoke any emotion from me. It is plenty of handwringing and yelping while still managing to be boring as hell. If you’re going to make such introverted music then at the very least keep my attention. …Is A Real Boy is an album that keeps my attention. Max Bemis writes personal songs about how he wrote a personal song about a girl and she heard it and now she won’t fuck him anymore so you better hit up the merch table. Hilarious! Seriously. Say Anything are a pretty great band with chops, hooks, and a just a touch of charm under all that bile. If you’re going to say things like “I want to do you right where you are standing”, at least put that line in a song with a great bait and switch open.

34.  Justice – † (2007)

“Waters of Nazareth” is for parties where you burn down the house at the end, “DVNO” is for your inner diva, and “D.A.N.C.E.” is good with the kids. French people continue to be great.

33.  Kanye West – The College Dropout (2004)

Kanye West’s funniest album. It is so eager to please you’d think someone told him he’d never get to make another one. The skits suck and the last track is something no one ever makes it through but the guy clearly had it from the start. “Slow Jamz”, “We Don’t Care”, “Spaceship”: fire, son. Hate him all you want, but hits for days.

32.  At The Drive In – Relationship of Command (2000)

The Mars Volta are too wanky and Sparta are a goddamn bore. Yet if you put them together their differences temper the others weaknesses and you get Relationship of Command, which quite simply rules. The lyrics are still gibberish as in Volta but the songs are precise jams. Powerful, speaker blowing freakouts.

31.  …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – Source Tags and Codes (2002)

Hey, these guys were never able to top this record either. Starts loud and stays loud, Source Tags and Codes instantly solidified Trail of Dead as some bad-ass motherfuckers. The riff on “Another Morning Stoner” is effortlessly tossed out as if to say, “We do this shit all the time.” Subsequent records would prove this untrue but for Source Tags and Codes‘ 45 minute run time these guys are making it sound easy.