Shabazz Palaces/Street Sweeper Social Club
Shabazz Palaces: Black Up (Sub Pop)
Play loud. I can't speak to the listening practices of the post-illbient beatmakers whose tricks Palaceer Lazaro gathers together and improves on like he's just been waiting for the go-ahead from Tricky himself. But though I wouldn't be surprised if they blasted everything at 10, I think of them as background guys best heard on de facto dinner comps like, say, Mush Filmstrip (Frame 1). Don't make that mistake on an album that improves mightily when the volume is high enough to break the beats into components so they're impossible to ignore. That way, there's no mistaking it for the aimless prog Sub Pop probably hopes gullible white youngsters lump it with. Special favorites for me are the children's-chorus loop turned mbira-and-hand-drums on "An echo from the hosts that profess infinitum," the kinetic drum'n'whatever of "yeah you," the faux-woodwind-lick/surrogate-maracas-electroclicks/African-etc.-outro of "Swerve . . . the reeping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding)." But I like them all‑-the beats, that is. The titles are for the gullible, and shouldn't give you the wrong idea about the rhymes even though the beats are why you'll play this. Loud. A MINUS
Street Sweeper Social Club: The Ghetto Blaster EP (SSSC)
For Tom Morello to swap Zack De La Rocha for the smarter, funnier, savvier, flowinger Boots Riley looked better than it sounded on the resultant album, due partly to Riley's loss of lyrical bite and partly to the musical falloff from Coup to mere Rage. But on this apparent afterthought Riley sounds as mad as ever, calling out the pres by name and declowning himself on "Scars (Hold That Pose)": "This old ripped jacket is 'cause I am an artist/I'll burn rubber on you if my car'll get started/Third month avoiding landlords is the hardest/It's only funny 'cause you don't see where the scar is." And this being an EP, there are killer covers. "Paper Planes" is subtly revised from a song about how they'll take your money to a song about how we will. A verbatim "Mama Said Knock You Out" becomes a threat. "Everythang" was a Coup song to begin with. A MINUS
Tatum: Believe me, I know; the CD's missing a ton of great music. What can you do? I made it a few years ago, I posted it here, we talked about it. To be honest, I hadn't heard "Ruffneck" when I made it; another great song. In fact, I met MC Lyte in the fall, and I'm breaking my brain trying to remember which song she said "Ruffneck" was a response to. I think it's the same song that "U.N.I.T.Y." is a response to (at least according to Lyte). Anyone know? I can't remember. Ugh!
Duke.: Are you for serials? I enjoy writing lists! Lists, lists, lists! It's fun, and you lose a few extra pounds! ;p OK, well, all of those albums have shown themselves to be great albums over time. That list is a production from my blog, from last year, and it was actually Nick who got me thinking about it again, so blame him! :p Like I said, I failed to add a few albums, moast of which were mentioned here, so I think I should thank everyone for their input now (seeing as the conversation has moved on [thanks guys!]). As all lists do, I tried to place best albums, song for song, at the top. I listened to each album a few times, and using my ears to decide which was better was often important. I made the list for fun. I'm sorry it serves no purpose for you, but it does for me!
On The Office: Of course, Steve Carell is a funny man, but given such a bad script, he doesn't have a lot to work with! While the UK version's characters (and actors) were able to use the awkwardness of the well-written humour to their advantage, the American characters/actors go over-the-top and the jokes just aren't funny! I admit that I have laughed, but I don't know how anyone sits there, every episode, and actually thinks, 'wow... this is good!'. I mean, blegh! I think a lot of American comedy does that (at least now, and I'm not being anti-America here); The US version takes a simple joke, that is meant to be well-acted, feel non-scripted and look real, and make the joke hyper-obvious and obnoxious! Yes, some of the situations are funny, but are extremely poorly executed and therefore unfunny! The jokes are meant to be believable; that was the whole idea of the show! (IMO.)
Here's the other mix I made that year: "A Chronological Survey of Jazz." In one CD! Impossible, I know, but it's a decent CD. Check it out!
1. Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five, "Hotter Than That" (1927)
2. Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, "Rockin' in Rhythm" (1931)
3. Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra, "Queer Notions" (1933)
4. Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra, "A Sailboat in the Moonlight" (1937)
5. Charlie Parker Septet, "Moose the Mooche" (1946)
6. Thelonious Monk, "Epistrophy" (1948)
7. Ella Fitzgerald, "Night and Day" (1956)
8. Sonny Rollins, "I'm an Old Cowhand" (1957)
9. John Coltrane, "Naima" (1959)
10. Ornette Coleman, "Ramblin'" (1959)
11. Charles Mingus, "Original Faubus Fables" (1960)
12. Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd, "Desafinado" (1962)
13. Miles Davis Quintet, "Footprints" (1966)
14. Keith Jarrett, "Silence" (1977)
15. Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio, "The Gig" (1995)
16. David S. Ware Quartet, "The Freedom Suite: I." (2002)
In case you don't know, Coleman Hawkins is on "Queer Notions" and Lester Young (and Count Basie? I don't remember) is on "A Sailboat in the Moonlight."
Not a gender fix obviously, but historically I'm a "The Breaks" fan. Glad you caught "The Message" though, Bradley. I was going to mention the album way back with Alex's original list, but it duplicates "Wheels of Steel" with Greatest Rap Hits, Vol. 2 so let it go.
And I totally get "Around The Way Girl" but the title cut just can't be beat. SSSC's is a respectful tribute for sure, but . . .
Or maybe I'm just so old school my joints creak. (Yes, that was an intentional pun.)
EDIT: Oh yeah, and "Rock Box". Worth being born just to hear that one. "Our DJ's better than all these bands/ . . . /All the way live."
The problem with list culture, it sometimes seems to me, is that it is usually making lists just to be making listsI don't see a problem with that, lists are fun. Besides that Joey's and Jacob's list turned me on to songs that I'd somehow overlooked. This is a group forum and lists are a big part of that, note the amount of comments compared to last thread.
Bradley -- nice list, but where da wimmin?Agreed, nice list. Funky 4+1 and Fugees count right? But ok throw "Work It" on there. Difficult task to fit it on one cd, for sure. However could I suggest "Love's Gonna Get 'Cha" and/or "New Jack Hustler"
Bradley -- nice list, but where da wimmin?
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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