You-Know-What Like It or Not
Buck 65: 20 Odd Years (WEA)
Beholden to nobody's scene or purist myths, the Halifax-spawned, Toronto-based, Paris-savvy cult rapper makes beats his way‑-drum tracks of course, this is hip-hop like it or not, but with whatever on top, which here comes down to mostly female collaborators whose sonics subsume their considerable verbal input. Plus on two standouts 65 goes it alone: the opening "Superstars Don't Love," which leads with a fearless three-syllable Jay-Z impression, and "Zombie Delight," putrefaction taffy finished off with the glorious couplet: "There's very little information and no answers./One weird thing is that they're excellent dancers!" He also covers the seminal Canadian rapper L. Cohen and finds a use for compatriot Gord Downie. Um, of the Tragically Hip? A MINUS
M.I.A.: Vicki Leekx Mixtape (vickileekx.com download)
The fact that this was overrated as part of the same extra-musical chain reaction that caused Maya to be underrated doesn't mean it was merely well-timed and, as they say, well-played. It takes a while to congeal, but for fans there's spice aplenty in the skinny beats-for-their-own-sake that dominate a first half whose most memorable line is "try to outschool us so we jump on our scooters" (on "WWW/Meds/Feds" seven minutes in, and FWIW the Wikipedia times are 40 seconds off on my version). And after "Vicki Intermission" come three consecutive songs that'll make you madder than you were already that the artiste thought it provocative, as they say, to leave the album untracked: the well-hooked "Gen -N-E-Y" followed by "Bad Girls" and "Marsha/Britney." Theme statement: "You can have my money but you can't have me." Whether she's singing it for her penniless sisters or her affluent self is impossible to tell. That's why they call her provocative. Also, um, controversial. B PLUS
Maybe there are a lot of uncivil lurkers who dislike long posts?
Also, thumb-bombing requires less than zero effort and can be used as a way to express very mild annoyance, which in this context seems a lot more likely than vociferous hatred.
(I'm not one of the thumb-bombers, by the way)
Do allow me a moment of irrelevant personal expression now that the thread is over.
It looks like someone on this board "has it in for me", as they say. About the 5th time I've gone back over everything with wistful nostalgia (so much of the writing here demands revisiting) and noticed thumbs-downs conspicuously on my comments and that's it. Certainly not something to lose sleep over (and this is no exception; took an Advil PM and went to bed at 9), and in reality it's rather amusing in its harmless pettiness. But the reason I put stock in the thumbing mechanism, besides MSN's silly comment-classification function (controversial!! Ooh!), is because non-silly people are deigning to use it. As it stands, it transmogrifies what oughta be adult feelings within a collective as civil and deep as this one into a childish sniping game. And yet we remain civil, deep adults, so the fact that it's a conscious choice to click that f&ck-this-comment button can't help but bug me, because some civil, deep adult out there is deciding that they'd like to childishly snipe at someone.
I don't suspect there's any reverse-honor in it, either, like when Christgau's flamers utterly embarrass themselves, because I'm not Christgau; my reasoning has its flaws and my approach it inartfulnesses. I really do suspect somebody out there has a well-reasoned objection to me, and is choosing to take their feelings out in the least productive and mature way possible. Forgive me for wanting to know about it, but it cannot be 100% insane, unless there are a handful of silent madmen out there forming their own opinions as they read religiously. But if I put somebody off, I'd at least like the opportunity to find some means of honestly rectify it. You can call it tragic insecurity, and I can call it having a bigger heart than most strangers on the street. And of course a response like this could be easily accused of merely fanning who-gives-a-sh!t flames. But that's OK, because there's integrity here where there isn't on someone else's side.
When I say I'm not losing sleep over it I mean it, so from this point on I'll leave it alone. But I really would like to insist that if anybody out there is finding themselves becoming so irrationally irritated at the mere presence of a comment of mine that they're compelled to click on that thumb-bomb button on every one of my comments, talk it out with me instead. Take me to task for whatever it is I'm doing or have done that bothers you so much. Find me on Facebook, friend me, send me a message. Something that illustrates hope for the future of communication in this age where that's what we have every means of doing best. Because it's sort of a sh!tty thing to do to a fella for whom this forum has done its fair share of morale boosting. And I'm not ashamed to say any of that, coz it's true.
Now -- please, no need to respond with anything at all about how I shouldn't let it bug me, how it's ridiculous to get hung up on the thumb thing, or anything else at all. The discussion is less valuable to all when it deviates from music. But I know that all of us show up here so regularly because it also happens to be a party we enjoy attending more than perhaps most of those we make it to, though as some of us are in college I'm sure it's sometimes neck-and-neck. I'll get over it, probably within seconds of hitting "post". But though the bigger person might walk away, my philosophy is the biggest people are the ones that actually stick around and try to genuinely satisfy the as$holes. I give credit to the notion that nobody is an as$hole for no reason, even the ones that are certifiably crazy (like me for instance). And that's pretty f&ckin' nice of me.
End of rant! I love you all like talented stepchildren. And for the record, it would be pretty funny if this comment is suddenly bombarded with thumbs-downs. So I'll consider that an admirably witty compliment, should it come to pass. Hell, I'll be the first. Peace, &c.
That's a good rule.
I'm going to go work on Joy Formidable, Decemberists, and the Rough Guide to African Guitar Legends, with a little of Bolano's The Skating Rink when I'm not taking notes. I'm an insomniac, too.
Now I will post and make another pass at putting myself to sleep with Etta James's autobiography. Night night, I hope.
You know Bob, I thought your ****s were sh*ts...it took me a second to suss that one out.
Rosen is quite good -- I enjoyed, for example, his contributions to the Music Club from a while back. I certainly trust his byline more than Fricke's (who I don't care for) or even Will Hermes' (who I do like, though so far I don't care for that Joy Formidable record).
I have no real prejudice against Britney Spears -- actually liked at least half of the last two records. Haven't heard the new one yet, but I will before I go to sleep. Still, "rave reviews" and "Britney Spears"...these are not exactly phrases you expect to see in the same sentence. I would love to be proven wrong. Surprises are nice, for sure. I remember Erotica was a record that rearranged my world in more ways than one.
Buck 65: 20 Odd Years. Forthcoming Loudon comp on Shout! Factory: 40 Odd Years. A coincidence?
I had a meaningless fling with four stars once.
Oh, seriously. I should really get back to writing. I am so lazy...
I suppose Joey, I forgot my own oft-said rule: Rolling Stone doesn't count.
Thanks for filling in the context, but I was only kidding a bit. You know, I'm a lonely island of good music taste in my family ("Or so he thinks") so I can only be jealous. Maybe if I end up liking the new Britney record it will give my wife and me one more record that we can listen to together. Sorry if my joke came off uptight...I mean, I'm totally uptight, but that's what all those years of therapy were for.
Perhaps I should cut off the irony while I'm ahead of myself.
Sharps -- you play Kanye West in front of your school-aged daughter? Man, I had to suffer through Crosby, Stills, and Nash. MBDTF is still my favorite non-reissue record of 2010 (with the Roots a few notches behind).
Toward my right, I see Britney's new record is getting rave reviews. Not that I don't think that prospect is feasible...but from whom?
Jon Bon Jovi: Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.
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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