Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Johnny Cash - America VI: Ain't No Grave

Ever since I picked up a Johnny Cash greatest hits album a few years back and heard the track 'Hurt', I've been obsessed with his later in life work. Seeing the video for Hurt and then listening to what really seems to be a broken man who just wants to hit the final resting place is somewhat mind blowing. Ain't No Grave appears to be his final record in a legendary career. Now - I'll admit I'm a bit biased just because I love any artist that puts such raw emotion into their work, and normally I'd say I love this just because of that fact. But in all honesty, this one seems to fall short for me. It doesn't have that signature Hurt type track, and while I love the very minimal studio effects to this album, lyrically it's just not as mesmerizing as his other late stuff. The guitar work and arrangements are all right up there, but when I sit back and listen to it a few times, I just feel it lacks the substance overall. It's still worth checking out, and if nothing else, grab some of this other post death releases. I think overall, you'll be impressed by how much his style changed, and how one man and a guitar can really move you.

1. Ain't No Grave - (featuring Scott Avett)
2. Redemption Day
3. For the Good Times
4. I Corinthians 15:55
5. Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
6. Satisfied Mind
7. I Don't Hurt Anymore
8. Cool Water
9. Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream
10. Aloha Oe

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Ain't No Grave
2. Satisfied Mind
3. Redemption Day

3 out of 5 stars

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rant #1: "The B Side Killed The Radio Star"

As I was reviewing an album recently, someone pointed out that they've never listened to anything but the singles you'd hear on the radio. When I asked why, the response was simply just there was no interest in purchasing music or any device that plays music. Okay...I understand that. But here is my rant for the day:

MUSIC IS AWESOME! Don't let the radio dictate what clogs your ears! I look at great artists and I'll toss one out there like Weezer. (I'm also a huge Weezer fan as you'll learn soon too). I'll toss aside their most current work, Ratitude and go back to The Red Album. Here are the singles released: Pork and Beans, Troublemaker and The Greatest Man That Ever Lived. That's it! Now - not only did you hear 3 songs out of 14, you also didn't hear anything that would be in my top 3! Yeah, going out and buying a cd might cost you 12 dollars. Yeah, buying it on iTunes might cost you 10 dollars. Yeah, downloading it illegally might get you tossed in the clink. But any of those are WAY better options than just listening to the radio! Not only did you hear Pork and Beans, you heard it 17,000 times in three days and you grew to hate it. You missed out on 11 songs that are all really good and you got sick of the three that got sampled. And this probably leads you to believe that the rest of the record isn't that great. Couldn't be more wrong! Now, I'll admit that I casually listen to the radio on my drive home - and 90% of the time, I couldn't be more annoyed. I get to hear Bad Romance on the hiphop station, the pop station and the station that plays everything. I understand that artists get paid money for radio play - but at what cost to the listener? I hate Lada Gaga for no reason other than hearing her stuff every time I'm behind the wheel, and the anger that washes over me when I think about the fact I could just pop my iPod in and select something far superior.

Well, good news fans...we have the power! Stop listening to the radio. If you don't want to pay, go to Pandora and listen to music similar to your favorite artists for free. Open a Myspace account and listen to free albums there. Many options exist that people don't tap into. If you hear Pork and Beans on a station and you like it, do yourself a favor and listen to the other songs! Usually the ones played on the radio only merit the popular value and usually are not those that are best received by the whole audience. I think you'll find you really fall in love with music and certain artists when you listen they way they created it. Not just a cherry picking of nonsense that may or may not be your style. Pay the 9.99 sometimes, I guarantee you'll thank me later.

The Good, The Bad & The Queen - Self Titled

As you'll find out soon, I'm a big time fan of the Gorillaz. In case you hadn't heard, they're releasing a new album in March. I'll review some old stuff and the new one when that date arrives. So in the meantime, here as a review affiliated with them. This is David Albarn's 'side project' and I think the record turned out nice. While it's not to be mentioned in the same breath with something like Gorillaz self titled, it's got some nice hidden gems in there. Check it out sometime when you just want to groove to that type of british pop music that focuses heavily on instrumentals with nice beats. This will certainly get your toe tapping and maybe invite you into another world of music you've never found!

1. History Song
2. 80's Life
3. Northern Whale
4. Kingdom of Doom
5. Herculean
6. Behind the Sun
7. Bunting Song, The
8. Nature Springs
9. Soldier's Tale, A
10. Three Changes
11. Green Fields
12. The Good, The Bad & The Queen

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Herculean
2. Kingdom of Doom
3. History Song

3.75 out of 5 stars

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stone Temple Pilots - Core

STP just announced they're putting on a show at The Rave on Friday, March 26th. This made me realize I should review an old album! Well, in my opinion this record is #1. While my favorite STP song of all time is probably Interstate Love Song, this album sticks out in my head more than Purple. Being that this was released all the way back in 1992, it still stands as one of the better alt rock albums of the '90s. Weiland has a great voice, and the sound was so original at that time. I can't wait for the concert to relive some of these great memories at the show. I don't think I'll ever forget first hearing Plush and seeing that video. Black Hole Sun and Plush seem to be my most vivid MTV memories from that decade. Put this on one more time and recreate the magic.

1. Dead and Bloated
2. Sex Type Thing
3. Wicked Garden
4. No Memory
5. Sin
6. Naked Sunday
7. Creep
8. Piece of Pie
9. Plush
10. Wet My Bed
11. Crackerman
12. Where the River Goes

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Plush
2. Dead and Bloated
3. Crackerman

4.75 out of 5 stars

Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3

So, I'll admit - I was pretty skeptical about this. Jay keeps saying he's done then he comes back with mediocre records. Kingdom Come and The American Gangster Soundtrack did not live up to his standards. This was sure to be another let down right? WRONG! Start to finish, this goes right up there with the Black Album and Vol. 2. It might not be as great as those, but it's solid start to finish. I immediately had to listen to it again after the first go round just to make sure it was as solid as I thought. It is. Check it out, even if you're not a hip hop fan. You'll like it. My only downside was no Lil Wayne on the record, after Mr. Carter from Tha Carter III, I expected big things. You have to love anytime Pharrell and Jay get together, and Kanye and Jay-Z are always a solid combo.

1. What We Talkin' About - (featuring Like Steele)
2. Thank You - (featuring Jeff Bhasker)
3. D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)
4. Run This Town - (featuring Kanye West/Rihanna)
5. Empire State of Mind - (featuring Alicia Keys)
6. Real as It Gets - (featuring Young Jeezy)
7. On to the Next One - (featuring Swizz Beatz)
8. Off That - (featuring Drake)
9. Star Is Born, A - (featuring J. Cole/Jeff Bhasker)
10. Venus vs. Mars
11. Already Home - (featuring Kid Cudi/Jeff Bhasker)
12. Hate - (featuring Kanye West/Jeff Bhasker)
13. Reminder - (featuring K. Briscoe)
14. So Ambitious - (featuring Pharrell Williams)
15. Young Forever - (featuring Mr. Hudson/Jeff Bhasker)

Listen To Sample Tracks

Top 3 Tracks:
1. DOA - Death of Auto Tune
2. Young Forever
3. On To The Next One

Final Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars

Kanye West - 808's and Heartbreak

Such a break from his usual work. As much as I liked the Graduation album, I think this is ever so slightly better. Haunting beats with solid lyrics makes this a 'Must Listen'. A lot of people think this is one of his worst records, but if you really give it a chance, I think you'll love it. It's pretty clear Kanye was going through a very tough time in his life, and the music reflects that. If you're just a pop music fan, this might not be for you - but if you're a real hip hop enthusiast, sit back and enjoy.

1. Say You Will
2. Welcome To Heartbreak
3. Heartless
4. Amazing
5. Love Lockdown
6. Paranoid
7. RoboCop
8. Street Lights
9. Bad News
10. See You In My Nightmares
11. Coldest Winter

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. See You In My Nightmare
2. Amazin
3. Say You Will

Overall Rating:
4.5 out of 5 Stars

Your Source for Music Information and Reviews!

Hey Everyone!

Some of you followed the Music Exchange group on Facebook - well now this will be easier to follow on 'The B Side' blog!

Similar concept though, I'll post album reviews, song recommendations and even some other random discussions. I encourage everyone to comment and post back - and hopefully this will be a great place to learn about new tunes!