Azealia Banks/Rye Rye
Azealia Banks: 1991 (Interscope)
Four tracks, 14 minutes of music, topped inevitably by "212" (and if you're not among the video's 20 million hits, succumb now). All of said tracks suit this eye-on-the-prize Harlemite's launch EP better than her many other YouTube offerings, some of which might in turn sound dandy mixed into the mixtape and official album we are assured will soon-come. One might bitch about the chopped-and-screwed monologue that brings total time to 16 minutes, only it's funnier and more pointed than the Clyde Smith skits it bites from Ghostface. So I hope this is the dancey hip-hop Nicki Minaj's haters claim to miss and know full well it's too effing dancey for 'em‑-not to mention too virtuosic, beatwise, layered, less-is-more, and much. Quick-tongued, lascivious, catchy, and delighted with itself, there hasn't been a more pleasurable record all year and probably won't be‑-not even by her. A
Rye Rye: Go! Pop! Bang! (Deluxe Edition) (N.E.E.T./Interscope)
Always defiantly thin both sonically and conceptually, M.I.A.'s best sidekick forever is an ideal conduit for a Bmore electro that doubles as the sound of ingrained urban poverty‑-a poverty complemented by a few throw-in anthems that use electronics to simulate affluence instead. Finally we've reached a tipping point resembling the riot grrrl moment of the early '90s, one in which every feisty hip-hop soprano has a you-go-illygirl edge on her notebook-toting male competitors. Selling point of the unfortunately download-only deluxe: two singsongy old M.I.A. collabs that drive the point home. B PLUS
Witnesses know how to par-tay!
Here in Pennsylvania, public funding for universities is getting cut and I for one am seeing a pattern. The governor has come up with many of the usual reasons why, which are so predictable as to hardly warrant explanation. Gut thinking has me saying that it's shortsighted, morally wrong and corrupt. On second thought, I start to thinking about how the schools keep on raising tuition way higher than inflation - one credit at the Univ. of Pittsburgh is now 900 dollars (in state). I took 3 credits this summer and with my 90% staff discount I still owed $1180, due to the tax on tuition benefits after a certain amount in a calendar year. So I get to thinking, these cuts are bad but the other pattern is that they keep raising tuition and state money is involved - if tuition keeps going up do we keep raising taxes, allocate more of the budget to the universities, or keep it flat? If you keep it flat and tuition keeps going up, people are either going to not attend, or borrow more. The problem is most people consider education not very elastic, partially because of employers degree requirements and the tradition of going to college. Family pressure, etc etc ad infinitum.
So then if you cut the funding so badly that universities will be forced to deal with it, their options are to accept fewer students, cut costs or both. It's scary to think about the system being redesigned, but without so many schools the world will eventually change to accomodate. This could be seen as progress. Top of my head, I just thought of 8 colleges/universities that I could drive to within 15 minutes.
People love to talk about the moral irresponsibility of our healthcare system, but the reason everyone needs insurance is that healthcare is essentially unaffordable on its own - a system which our government is partially to blame for (and the terribly evil and scheming AMA). So it makes me uneasy and pissed off when people talk about stuff like extra nicotine taxes or junk food taxes or basically anything else that takes money away from people and puts it into the system. Every once in a while in Pittsburgh, you hear about Carnegie Library or the Port Authority needing more tax money. The busses here are terrible and I say let the Port Authority go BANKRUPT ALREADY. As for the library, charge people who want to join 5 bucks a year, and start cutting costs and lending more electronic books. Andrew Carnegie was super rich, so why do we all have to work to support the 2500 libraries he built and plastered his name on? It's not individualism, it's seeing what's happening right in front of you.
Q: What was Homer Simpson in the armed services?
(What sort of ashhats thumb-up a dumb joke made up on the spot? Ashhats, that's who.)
(Stop, ya bastids are fcuking up my thumb-bomb demonstration!)
Some of this is responding to a nameless blowhard loudmouth who won't even take the risk that I'll crease his forehead with a tire iron.
(I mean,. I'm the consensus only thing that stinks here -- get with the pile-on.)
(What! There were more thumb-ups before! Some scum knows how to delete positive votes? Typical.)
(Not doing a thumbs-down here is doing a thumbs-down for Hairy Irene!!)
(And Emily White!!)
CHRIS DRUMM articulates the blizzard of battles upcoming. For understanding. For communicating. A silence, A silence inserted. A silence on the sly.
Q2: And if people are still quoting dead Republican Presidents, how come Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex" prophecy doesn't get equal time?
A1 and 2: Early onset selective and communal Alzheimer's. But only slightly early.
And I'm both a Boomer and permanent Beach Boys fan.
Anyway--the stories he told me about driving around L.A. with Wilson and Melcher (and Dean Martin's kid too) would make James Q. and George F. roll in the grave and sh!t their pants, respectively. Personal identity--seguro que hell yes. Bourgeois responsibility? Less so.
So Azealia’s made the most pleasurable record of the year? Great. Only problem is, the super-intelligent and super-classy (two words: glasses, bowtie) George F. Will told us two whole days ago that there’s only one thing we should be listening to right now: Beach Boys! And you want to know why? Because “Attention must be paid to baby boomer music-cued nostalgia, and no one pays it better than the Beach Boys.” And you want to know why else? Because for fifty years now the Beach Boys have embodied “a happy Southern California that beckoned to the rest of the nation.” And how does George know that? Well, he’s been reading the super-intelligent and super-classy political scientist and So-Cal native James Q. Wilson, who taught us that “Ronald Reagan represented the political culture of a region where social structure nurtured individualism” (you don’t think individualism can be nurtured alongside a massive government-fueled defense industry? Tell us about it, punk, preferably from a Soviet gulag).
Wilson further taught us that Southern Californians had “no identities except their personal identities, no obvious group affiliations to make possible any reference to them by collective nouns. I never heard the phrase ‘ethnic group’ until I was in graduate school.” Azealia, Rye Rye: are you listening? White boy’s making a point. Happy people driving around in their cars gave rise to “a very conventional and bourgeois sense of property and responsibility.” In other words, social cohesion, people! (Which reminds me: Rest In Peace, Rodney King)
George concludes with the very ominous-sounding “Boomers must be served.” But hey, why am I learning all this valuable information from George Fcuking Will? We have family down there, don’t we? Michael, Jason, Bradley: stop all this Wussy nonsense and get with the Mike Love Program. You can start at the source, preferably here (the Washington Post needs the clicks):
And if it’s not too much trouble, could someone kill me right now?
Maybe tipping point is what was really meant.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.