Ab-Soul: Control System (Top Dawg download)
"I've got 700 dollars from my last show/And I would spend it all on you," the most suburban of L.A.'s four-man Black Hippy posse/"supergroup" sings haltingly on the tellingly entitled "Empathy," and although initially I was impressed that he knew the word "chattel," in the end that 700 bucks was the clincher‑-that he can occasionally make some halfway decent money off his art, and that he's ready to blow it on love rather than blow or a blow job. Not that he's above imagining blow jobs like any other healthy young rapper‑-cf. "SOPA," which insofar as it's about the Online Piracy Act has a special place in its trickerating heart for porn sites. He's just a gifted kid who likes his weed and his words, which he twists with palpable delight around sparse synth beats musical enough to layer on some delight of their own. And then there's the closing trifecta: his beautiful ideals, his tragic life, and a scabrous Black Hippy remix for the fun of it. A MINUS
Kendrick Lamar: Section.80 (Top Dawg download)
The Dr. Dre-anointed Lamar isn't a guy who writes a lot of indelible songs yet, especially if you try to find them toward the top of his much-praised second album. Thus he's liable to leave the curious wondering what the fuss is about. But as I re-relistened I noticed myself perking up with every hook. Not that every track has or wants one, but that, for instance, the sung intros to the cosmetics debate "No Make-Up (Her Vice)," track four, and then the crack generation shout-out "Ronald Reagan Era," track seven, come as well-timed structural respites from his thoughtfully private to defensively street raps, which have their musicality too. And then, just when you're thinking not bad at all, come some songs. B PLUS
Shady-" Wilfred"-not so much-"Louie"-certainly has its moments.
Of course Mitt Romney has no moments
Anyone catch Eastwood introducing Romney?-you had to see it to believe it.
Surreal and sad. The only empty place on that stage was the space between
Clint's ears. Hope he has health coverage. Makes me wonder what it takes to direct a movie these days.
This guy directed "Mystic River"!?
I once had a lot to say about these issues, but a bibliography from my grad school days strikes me as unlikely to be of interest (to you or to me).
And here's as much as (and probably way more than) you need to know about Mr. Stress:
According to Google Mr. Stress is a Cleveland blues musician. "Trapped in a world he never made!" is Howards' tagline - it appeared at the top of the cover of each issue.
The "Precious" mention reminds me --
who the hell is "Mister Strausbow Straid" in the Howard the Duck line?
Yes, you're spot on too....it's all coded and loaded to make dehumanize and assimilate us into the corporate matrix. Or it could be a bunch of bored consultants just yanking us for huge fees or it could all mean nothing. So it goes.
Veruca Salt - Spiderman '79
Jorge Ben - Cassius Marcelo Clay (mentions Batman, Captain America and Superman, and says Cassius tops 'em all)
Can's Monster Movie album had a picture on the cover of a giant that is the outline of Galactus...Silver Surfer's boss.
Edit: Oh, and Voivod does a cover of the 60s Batman theme song.
Not as fast as Allen, but as I was pulling out my Christgau trilogy noticed again the dedication to the 70's: "To Carola - Never Again".
Katrina & the Waves - Spider-Man
Ramones - Spider-Man cartoon theme
Brinsley Schwarz - Range War
On that last one, I'm a little surprised there aren't at least a couple more songs that mention the Silver Surfer - he was a little bit of cult figure for a short time.
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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