Friday, November 28, 2008

Song of the Week 11/28/08

Kanye West -

Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak is one of the most intriguing albums of the year. Its sound is reminiscent of the early 80s rap tracks that I loved growing up. That doesn't make it some sort of retro album. (The autotune all over West's "sung" vocals places it squarely in the early 21st century.) Its just that most of the backing tracks come off like cold and clinical electro music, as if Newcleus () had returned as West's producer.

My favorite song so far is "Paranoid." I had planned on writing much more about this track, then I read the always interesting blogger Matthew Perpetua's piece on
Fluxblog about the same song. And he summed it up much better than I ever could. So I'd suggesting checking out his entry.

One last thing: 808s & Heartbreak is not for everyone. I can't imagine to many folks wanting to hear a poorly sung rap equivalent of Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. However, I encourage you to give it a chance. If you "get" this album, it will likely blow your mind and become one of your favorite discs of the year. I know that's the case with yours truly.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Song of the Week 11/21/08

Estelle featuring Kanye West - “American Boy”

For the first time in say, oh, eight years, I feel proud to be American. And I credit it all to U.K. singer Estelle and this song. Okay, maybe she doesn’t deserve all the credit. It did take until after our Presidential election for this bouncy and oh so hummable song to click in my mind. I heard it all throughout the summer but thought it was the last single from West’s Graduation, an album that didn’t really hold up for me after repeated listens. Then the first Saturday after the election I heard “American Boy” cranked in the NHL store in midtown Manhattan. Standing there next to a batch of Sidney Crosby jerseys the lines “I just met this 5 foot 7 guy who's just my type/Like the way he speak here, his confidence is peaking” and “Take me to your hood/I neva been to Brooklyn and I'd like to see what's good” hooked me. She’s a very attractive singer (who has an English accent, which always slays me) proclaiming she likes guys from the good ol’ U S of A. How could you not like this song? I finally broke down and downloaded it Saturday afternoon. If we’re lucky, perhaps Estelle will lead a cultural revolution around the globe that makes us American boys seem just slightly less evil than we look right now to the rest of the planet.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Song of the Week 11/7/08

The Replacements -

Last week I finally got the reissues of the Mats final four albums (Tim, Pleased to Meet Me, Don't Tell a Soul and All Shook Down). This new Pleased to Meet Me disc includes "Election Day," a track first issued on the 1997 compilation All for Nothing/Nothing for All. For some reason I listened to it a lot Monday and Tuesday. I wonder why...