Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yello - Part 2

So, I just wrote about Yello, and how odd the band and the music is. Well, just in case you couldn't get the strangeness conveyed over the audio, here is some video to go along with it.

Oh Yeah Video

I mean, if the vocal isn't odd enough on it's own, the lyrics? The sun...beautiful. The moon...even more beautiful. Such a good time. I get these guys are Swiss, and this feels like a super strange German video or something. But jeez, this takes out there to a new level. And while I'm sure many people consider this a solid art form, I think it's nonsense. I mean, to the point I find it absolutely hilarious. If that's what they intended, then I give them a huge "spot on" and a giant high five. I have a feeling though, it was more meant as the aforementioned art form.

And I'm not sure who else is a fan out there, but I enjoy the show 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia'. And here is a clip of them making fun of the song:

Always Sunny Clip

Simply Awesome.

B Side

Yello - Stella

Strange music? Yeah, there is a ton out there. Have a done some "odd" reviews that weren't super out there? Sure. But this one my friends, is about as odd as it gets. I think I'm going to break this out into two pieces, just because there are different elements to this band that make them so strange. Anyways, Yello. Two men make up a Swiss electronica band - Dieter Meier and Boris Blank. The reason I'm reviewing this album, is due to the smash hit 'Oh Yeah' which may not ring any immediate bells, but will as soon as you hear the sample. Dieter is the vocal of the gang, and what can you say about them? When they do the manipulation technique such as 'Oh Yeah' - it's so dark and twisted. Anything that he says basically sounds like he's a psychopath. The name came when Dieter talking about "a yelled hello" which turned into the pun "Yello". Oddly enough, that word is fairly commonplace nowadays for a phone greeting or any other initial contact setting. Anyway, I digress. These guys have been sampled in music, TV and video games forever - but 9 times out of 10 you'd have no idea it was them. Heck, even in their most well known feature - "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" - you probably had no clue who the band was. You just knew it was the 'Oh Yeah' song, or the 'Chick, chicka chicka' song. Any of those things. Turns out there is a real band behind that nonsense, and they've been making music since 1979. They have twelve studio albums out, with this one dropping in 1985. The arrangements on this album are so random, and some of the lyrics are just so strange, it's hard not to at least be intrigued and want to listen to more. You know what's wacky? It's so strange, that it works! Sure, 'Oh Yeah' is the centerpiece, and you'll want to surround your listening experience behind that, but there are some other tracks that make you think these guys are for real. But there are great percussion strings on this album, and the composition is really tight. It's a very well produced album. I won't jump off the deep end and tell you it's phenomenal or anything, but very worth checking into.

1. Desire
2. Vicious Games
3. Oh Yeah
4. Desert Inn
5. Stalakdrama
6. Koladi-Ola
7. Domingo
8. Sometimes
9. Let Me Cry
10. Ciel Ouvert
11. Angel No
12. Blue Nabou
13. Oh Yeah
14. Desire (12" Mix)
15. Vicious Games (12" Mix)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Oh Yeah
2. Vicious Games
3. Desire

3 out of 5 stars

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nickelback - Dark Horse

So it goes that I'm not a big fan of the Nickelback, and some people think I'm a genius, and some others think I'm a poor, misguided soul. I was talking to the latter not long ago, and she was discussing how I should give 'Dark Horse' a shot. It appears this album came out three years ago to the day - talk about timing! The album is a shocking 3x platinum, but I shouldn't be so shocked, because they've always been a pretty solid selling band. I have no idea why, but their pop/rock hybrid has been a huge hit in terms of fans. But like Creed, no one admits to actually spending their money on the albums. The album is 11 tracks deep, and somehow 8 of the singles were released for radio. That's an astounding feat in and of itself. Getting through this whole album, that surprises me a little bit only because the sound of a lot of the tracks doesn't seem to be catchy enough to warrant radioplay. I know there was one big get for this album, the WWE uses 'Burn It To The Ground' as their lead intro song on their Monday Night Raw program. Millions of people still watch pro wrestling to this day, and that isn't going to hurt band exposure. I know 'Something In Your Mouth' really won over the sexist crowds all over the US too. What douchebag of a guy didn't say that line to every girl they met for a year or so? (by the way, prime example of why I hate Nickelback) In a single word, this album is terrible. It's this blend of pop/rock/mood - and it just doesn't work. Kroger's vocal is one nearly saving grace, as he can still rock the heck out of a ballad. But the lyrics are awful, the idea that you can cram this "heavy" sound down my throat and try to sing about nonsense, but make it seem like it has a message? Ugh. It isn't even good mindless music. It doesn't get my toe tapping or anything, it just makes me angry with how I listen to it, and I think - "what is this? Why would anyone make this music?" You've got no class and no taste? Those are your lyrics? Well done Nickelback, that's one thing we finally agree on.

1. Something in Your Mouth
2. Burn It to the Ground
3. Gotta Be Somebody
4. I'd Come for You
5. Next Go Round
6. Just To Get High
7. Never Gonna Be Alone
8. Shakin' Hands
9. S.E.X.
10. If Today Was Your Last Day
11. This Afternoon

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Burn It To The Ground
2. If Today Was Your Last Day
3. None

1 out of 5 stars

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Drake - Take Care

After finally recovering from Lambeau, I'm ready to get back to work with a little New Music Tuesday entry done on Thursday. Drake's 'Take Care' came out this week, surprisingly to not a whole ton of publicity. Even though his last album came out just a year ago pretty much, he was slamming the studio time and banging out another recording. The danger of dropping albums once a year is quality - which we've seen with countless acts, but most notably - Ludacris. If the quality slips for Drake's albums, he'll alienate the already jaded fans that feel he's more pop than hip hop. Right from the bat, this album feels substantially more low-key than any other rap album that dropped this year. It's got this atmospheric sound, that uses really subtle beats, really slow tempos and just really laid back grooves. The focus would appear to be on the lyrics and subject matter, and not the really over-the-top productions. Isn't that funny? You actually spend MORE time producing an album to make it feel under-produced. I've heard this album compared to some TLC's tracks, where you have this really smooth feel with a blues overtone, which is pretty much what this is. It's very blues meets R&B meets a little rap, which is about what TLC was in their day. This might have a little more synth and electronic elements to it, but not all that unique. Lyrically this seems to be about the strained romances in his life, the relationship with other family and friends and then the overall difficulties of gaining all this new found fame. His stance about life is very different because he's a biracial kid from some means, and he never had to sell drugs or get into gang life. So that take is almost refreshing to hear, and to listen to him talk about his own self doubts and no belief that he's as talented as some of the critics would lead on, is almost nice to hear. Even though he's more "relateable" to the common listener, I don't think his music appeals to everyone. This album doesn't contain a single "go hard" track to satisfy the rap moguls and it's probably too pop to make the R&B nuts do a double take. While Drake has been a master of giving a little bit to everyone, I'm not sure where I stand with this one. While I personally really like the laidback groovy stylings, I could see it not being for everyone. His flow isn't Pac-ian, but whose is? If you take this for what it is, a soul rap album that is all about his emotions and not his cars/girls/drugs, I think you'll enjoy it.

1. Over My Dead Body
2. Shot for Me
3. Headlines
4. Crew Love
5. Take Care
6. Marvins Room/Buried Alive Interlude
7. Under Ground Kings
8. We'll Be Fine
9. Make Me Proud
10. Lord Knows
11. Cameras/Good Ones Go Interlude
12. Doing It Wrong
13. Real Her, The
14. Look What You've Done
15. HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)
16. Practice
17. Ride, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Take Care
3. Headlines

3.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, November 14, 2011

B Side Presents, "Are You Ready For Some Football?"

As a lot of you already know, sports is pretty much just as big for me as music is. And it so happens tonight, I have tickets to go watch my Green Bay Packers take on the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football! I'm pretty pumped.

It dawned on me that they haven't lost in forever - as they won 6 straight to end the year last year - and now eight straight to start this season. Hopefully the streak goes up to 15 tonight!

Anyways, it reminded me about some music related to the team. Last year when the Super Bowl was about to hit, Lil Wayne dropped the epic Wiz Khalifa remix of his Steelers 'Black and Yellow' and named it 'Green and Yellow'. Made even more epic by the fact those two teams happened to be playing each other in the most watched tv event every year. The Packers obviously came out victorious, which made both me and Weezy incredibly happy.

Green And Yellow!!

I think it's great to see fans of sports teams make music related to their love. When Weezy dropped this track, I didn't think it was the most amazing raps I'd ever heard or anything - but I think it's fantastic to hear a guy like Lil Wayne talk about his love for the Pack in a song. Music and sports really do go hand and hand, and it's fairly surprising more artists don't make music as it relates to their favorite teams. Even it's just as simple as the little music riff followed by the "GO PACK GO" at the stadium, there is always room for music as sports venues. I remember when Will Blackmon was returning kicks, he had the stadium blast 'Crank Dat' by Soulja Boy and that really got him all fired up. I did a post about this before, but athletes use music to motivate themselves ALL THE TIME. So why not have artist do the same for fans? I know a variety of people that were all fired up when this song came out, and made them that much more hyped for the game itself.

I applaud Weezy for making this and showing his fanship. He bleeds green and yellow just like me - and it's fun to hear a rapper I like, rap about a team I love. Always goes down smooth.


B Side

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jealousy Curve - Life As An Addict

It's Friday - and I'm going back in the archives to find a suggestion from follower Digger in Jealousy Curve. Now, what I find odd this morning is I know I've heard of this band before - but finding them on the internet is like finding Carmen Sandiego. They don't even have a Wikipedia page? Are you kidding? It sounds like these guys grew up together and started playing music in high school. They were friends, yet they seemed to have reported issues with each other even before the band started playing. They thought getting everyone together and laying down some tasty tracks could squash and beefs between members. They were getting a great local following in the Philadelphia area, and were beginning to play some of the best regional venues around - without having dropped an album. It wasn't until January of 2005 that this album came out - completely on the bands own dime. They self recorded, produced, marketing and distributed this album. It was the bands total "do-it-yourself" attitude that made them such a hit with the fans. Two of the tracks on this album were picked up by 'Cruel Intentions 3' and the band started to really take off on a national level. There is no doubt this album is full of questions about life and what it all means. It's a very reflective record which I think the writers is intending some sort of contemplation about it all. Not just life, but just a sit back and think about what everything means. Because of that, it's got this very melodic feel to it, and the very smooth vocals are really great to listen to. It's like a hard rock/alt rock type band meets this angelic type male voice - and it really works. Combine that with the message I took away from it - and you've got a nice little diddy. I don't have anything really to comment in the negative of this record. It really struck me as a well done album today. I hope they keep making music, I'd love to hear more.

1. Bruise
2. Selfish Thing
3. Useless
4. The World Is You
5. Misery/Love
6. Appreciated
7. Lazy Days
8. Gravity (I've Waited Long Enough)
9. Day in the Sun
10. Letter to the Lonely

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Bruise
2. Appreciated
3. The World Is You

3.75 out of 5 stars

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Washed Out - Within & Without

We're going to go forward and assume Techno Tuesday has lived a long enough, yet too short a life - and just start posting dance music when I get around to it. So it's Thursday, and we've got this electronic artist Washed Out. It's really a guy named Earnest Greene from Perry, Georgia - who considers himself one of the pioneers of the "chillwave" movement. What is that you ask? Let me tell you. Basically, it is a genre of music whose artists are often characterized by their heavy use of effects: processing, synthesizers, looping, sampling, and heavily filtered vocals with simple melodic lines. You'll hear a lot of retro type 80's stuff in these kinds of music, just because people seem to think the styles of today and the 80's blend really well together. Not sure I agree, but hey - what do I know? Turns out Greene is a librarian. He got a masters degree from South Carolina in Library and Information Science. Had no clue that existed. After he couldn't find library work, he turned to music. This album was his first, and it came out in July of this year. Track 5, 'Far Away' is a perfect way to describe the vocals on this album. They have that muffled sound to make it feel like the vocal is at a distance, but the beat and arrangement is in the forefront. The only criticism I have of this album is the lack of tempo change from start to finish. While a couple tracks still somehow manage to be slightly "dancy" - it plays through like a really somber record, which I'm not sure was the intention. I know the chillwave idea is to be well, chill - but some of this stuff you could play at a funeral, and that's not chill - it's just sad. Anyway, I like the style, and a few tracks are super cool. So I'm hoping Washed Out keeps making music, so I can keep listening to how he'll grow as an artist.

1. Eyes Be Closed
2. Echoes
3. Amor Fati
4. Soft
5. Far Away
6. Before
7. You and I
8. Within and Without
9. Dedication, A

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Eyes Be Closed
2. Amor Fati
3. Before

3 out of 5 stars