Rap versus real
Saigon: The Greatest Story Never Told: Chapter Two: Bread and Circuses (Suburban Noize)
Although the beats have fallen off a little‑-Just Blaze moves up to executive producer on most tracks‑-the prompt follow-up to Brian Carenard's long-delayed debut is slightly less militant and, as a direct result, stronger. The best song on an album distinguished by two major conscious anthems‑-the well-hooked tribute to the martyrs "Blown Away," and "Rap vs Real," a sharp-tongued rebuke to hip hop authenticity myths that backhands Puffy on its way to gonorrhea and the IRS‑-nails a theme few of his fans are savvy enough to grok and no rock icon of my acquaintance has gotten near: "Relafriendship," about his long-term bond to a woman he'd better not go to bed with because that'll screw up what they've got. But almost nothing here dips to ordinary. And beats or not, one reason is that the rapper's rough clarity is musical bedrock. A MINUS
Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d city (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope)
The rap-versus-real dichotomy Saigon moralizes anthemically Lamar enacts softspokenly in this so-called "short film." (Concept album? In 2012? Nah.) The accuracy of its intimate autobiographical details is irrelevant‑-what matters is that this album helps you feel the internal struggles of a good kid who may not be good enough as he risks derailing his life by succumbing to the kneejerk loyalty, petty criminality, and gang warfare of the hood he calls home. Nobody is heroic here, including Lamar‑-from Christian strivers to default sociopaths, all the players are confused, weary, bored, ill-informed, with disconcertingly naturalistic, almost verité skits dramatizing their limitations. The commitment to drama has musical drawbacks‑-there are no dancefloor bangers here, and not many fully distinct songs, although more hooks than you'll first believe. But the atmospheric beats Dr. Dre and his hirelings lay under the raps and choruses establish musical continuity, shoring up a nervous flow that's just what Lamar's rhymes need. A MINUS
Kurt/JY48NY, thanks for the NY and CH report from the field. I have tickets for a Melbourne Winery show in March, so hoping they still have the wind in their sails by the time they blow in here (bad song ref. will stop here).
What is the general consensus of Psychedelic Pill?. I havn't stumped up the cash for this one yet. Did I miss the Dean's review?. Generally the longer he takes, the lower the grade.
Milo, you ignorant slut! Gaming - now 40 years old - is an art form not a mere "phenomenon." Pitchfork was wise to get on board with its Soundplay site and there's some guy out there named "Dibbell" - a shortened form of "Dibbellonski?" - who is helping to lead the charge:
"You can't deny video games increasingly do what art does. Video games shape identities now, they have ideas that carry weight in the world. There's a culture there, and games with larger meanings. In many ways they are a tighter fit with contemporary culture than more traditional arts. In fact, why even hold up novels or films as what games should aspire to when, if we think of art as central to the way we live, the interactive nature of games is more relevant? Why aren't other arts more like games?"
Ehhh -- if that's all it's gonna amount to, it's pretty small spuds. I consider that as much an outgrowth of the gaming phenomenon. Virtual reality was supposed to change things as much as computers themselves in some accounts. Using it to design rooms and such is just not a big enough whoop. Training troops to use war machinery and for combat practice, sure -- but virtual reality was supposed to be way more than an updated flight simulator.
I get that aspect of the Dead piece, but I have the same problem with it as I do (large) pieces about Ellington and Basie and Goodman that don't convey how they were popular performers, or that Parker and Gillespie were once underground figures or, in general, that tend to reduce artists to collections. I just don't take away too much from such portraits.
" the article's main focus is the continued influence of her riot grrrl phase."
Sure, but also that she's a Very Important Performer and it seems ... weird ... to suggest she dropped off the face of the stage and studio with the end of Bikini Kill. (It's hard to avoid thinking Frere-Jones considers the later work such an epic fail he doesn't want to bring it up at all.) C'mon -- even one sentence? Anything?
"Howcum Sasha Frere-Jones's Kathleen Hanna article doesn't even mention Le Tigre? I mean, not even once?"
Only the author (or his editor) can say for sure, but the article's main focus is the continued influence of her riot grrrl phase.
Howcum virtual reality, touted for decades now, has never taken off as a phenomenon, whereas social networking, which happened with zero fanfare, has become a major social wave?
How important is it that the Grateful Dead stay so, um, dead in Nick Paumgarten's piece? How important in an archival look is it to convey a sense of the performer as a living entity?
Howcum Sasha Frere-Jones's Kathleen Hanna article doesn't even mention Le Tigre? I mean, not even once?
On the DU comps, it's hard to give a straight answer. If you are looking to have only one DU album in your collection, I'd go with No Nose Job, as it has "Return of the Crazy One" and "Doo Woo You". But it's also weakened by lame remixes for "Packet Man" and "No Nose Job". If you just want a handy comp to supplement a DU catalog that already includes The Body-Hat Syndrome, then the 2003 works best.
OK, seems to be working now. Thanks Robert. Maybe it was my PC? Anyway, here's the post I was trying to put up...
I'm always on the lookout for CD reissue/equivalents of Xgau-recommended vinyl obscurities/deletions and I found two last night:
Bukka White's Parchman Farm (Columbia 1970) recommended in the Newsday "Blues Binge" piece as a "great album" was reissued in full under new name The Complete Bukka White (Columbia/Legacy CD 1993).
Dizzy Gillespie's In the Beginning (Prestige double) was recommended in a 1975 CG as an "essential jazz album" and it was reissued as Shaw 'Nuff CD in 1993. I believe the label is Collectables or Musicraft. 20 tracks, 6 featuring Bird.
Edit: Not at the moment.
Here is your scum! To save your souls, sample Glenn Miller. Would I lie?
GOOGLE guardian petridis rolling stones
Things I discovered during Thanksgiving weekend:
1. Those two albums of obscure French electronica (yep, those ones) sound dandy going across the mountain to grandma's house.
2. The new Rihanna album is a bit of a letdown after Talk That Talk, although I still maintain she has one hell of a best-of ahead of her.
3. Two good pop music articles in the current New Yorker: Nick Paumgarten on the Grateful Dead and Sasha Frere-Jones on Kathleen Hanna/Bikini Kill.
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.
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