"Some days I feel like I might go berserk, throw the Country A-K rack out onto the street and go to work for a Virgin Mega Store." - (John Cusak from "High Fidelity")
I have been all over the place with music lately, and although I have heard some great new stuff I keep going back to my pics from last year. What can I say, 2011 was just that good! So this is sort of a part four of my continuing 2011 series.
BAD MEETS EVIL - HELL THE SEQUEL: Back in Eminem's trailer park days he used to rap with a cat named Royce Da 5'9. Now some many years later, Eminem being the cool dude he is, has brought his old partner into the spotlight and together they made a killer album as Bad Meets Evil.This cd is so tough it has shank marks, and the blood is fresh. Eminem continues to amaze me. How can anyone rap that fast and still be decipherable? Royce Da' 5'9 does more than hold his own in his solo numbers as well as his duos with Em. He also delivers my favorite line from the CD; "She said 'I'm feelin your whole swagger and flow, can we hook up? I said ' Mmmm you just used the word swagger so NO!' " Hell The Sequel delivers in all areas - beats, hooks, lyrics, and insanity in FULL DOSES. It's a great work out companion also!
BIG K.R.I.T. - RETURN OF 4 EVA: Since I'm talking Hip Hop, gotta mention Mississippi's Big K.R.I.T. Positive rap with a message that isn't over produced, can you dig it? Sounding like a combination of Outkast, Scarface, Dr. Dre and seventies icons Marvin Gay and Curtis Mayfield, K.R.I.T. arrives at a distinct mix of old school and contemporary Southern Hip Hop. However, he makes sure to distinguish his place among contemporary gansta rap; "I didn't smoke dope, nor did I sell it. I guess the story of a country boy just aint compellin". And it's not just great rhymes and songwriting, the production value is top class. Return of 4 Eva was self produced by Big K.R.I.T. as a mixtape and posted digitally for fans to download for free. He has gone on to achieve enormous success, with Pitchfork magazine giving Return of 4 Eva their prestigious "best new music" tag for 2011.
GOTYE - MAKING MIRRORS: I had no idea when I discovered Gotye, that he was already burning up The Billboard record charts with his single Somebody That I Used to Know(Oddly enough I don't listen to the radio when looking for new music). Born in Belgium and raised in Australia, Gotye has released three independent albums. I am tempted to make a Peter Gabriel comparison because his music has that late eighties early nineties art/pop feel, and his voice is certainly a dead ringer. But I think enough comparisons have been made to Gabriel and Sting. Gotye is his own man and fills a slot that was begging to be filled. Artsy pop rock with introspective lyrics and catchy melodies. If that sounds simple, how come it is so hard to find? And as a side note, if you haven't already, spend a little time checking out his videos.
CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG - IRM: 2009's IRM has found a special place in my play list heart. This album was produced and largely written by Beck Hansen. So it's like Beck as a French female. Sound intriguing? It is indeed! And I really see why he chose Gainsbourg as his female alter ego. Her voice has the eloquent poise of a trained songstress paired with the psychedelic charisma that gave Velvet Underground's Nico her trademark sound. Gainsbourg and Beck chose the mysterious album title late in the recording process, she says the letters I R M mean something in French that reflects a dreamlike state of introspection. Beck says that he reads the letters as M R I, representing the strange state of mind one is in while getting a brain scan. Either definition fits the concept perfectly. What we get is a trippy folk/rock/pop journey through night visions and dream-like creativity.