Raphael Saadiq/Beastie Boys
Fight for Your Right to Forty (or Actually, Forty-Five)
Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin' (Columbia)
One problem with dropping a tour de force out of the blue is that it sends expectations skyrocketing. So as we should have figured, the hook density is down three years after The Way I See It as the former Ray Wiggins declines to provide another dozen perfect Holland-Dozier-Holland songs. In fact, the born bassist now seems obsessed with groove rather than song. More Prince than Ray Parker Jr., he plays with himself to beat the band, and makes these 10 tracks bump and pulse. And then you notice even the less pneumatic ones connecting as songs. Fearing hell or working two jobs or fixing to buy what he can't afford, Saadiq sounds something like natural. Only when you do the math‑-three tracks a year, hmm‑-do you remember that natural's not in it. A MINUS
Beastie Boys: Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (Capitol)
More light-hearted than their Gotham-cheering album of 2004, and if you think light-hearted means shallow‑-especially for a rapper with a tumor threatening his salivary glands at age 42, which was where MCA found himself last July‑-you've come to the wrong art form. With a push from Nas and a whoosh from Santigold and new life from their chorusing kids, the beats spritz and submarine in signature Beasties style as the rhymes claim contexts high-living and low-life. But when they need to state their business, here come two old reliables: "Like Willis Reed or Elton John/We done been in the game and our game's still on." A MINUS
Most recent version I can find of Determan's companion to Morthland ("Last update 19 December, 2002"): goo.gl/Sei8W
Cam - Thanks for the tip - I'll seek Okeh Western Swing out on CD.
Tom - Wow! I forgot about that Lyons book which me and a friend took out from the library 25 years ago and used to learn about jazz in college. What a great book, and I can't believe I never picked up a copy for my own bookshelf. I just used Wayback Machine (first time) and found the lists so thank you.
Yeah, I have followed Edelstein since then, too. Kept hoping The New Yorker would scoop him up after Kael retired, but they went with the insufferable Denby instead. (Anthony Lane is at least witty.)
New York magazine deserves a handshake for hiring him. And then a kick in the crotch for being the cynical hellhole of pop criticism for so many ages, as Bob noted. The real bad side of being a cynical publication is that your readership grows cynical, too. I would never have read another piece of pop-music writing in the rag if I hadn't gotten a heads-up.
I wouldn't say there's *that* many. "Her" is affecting in its self-absorbed teen way. "Yonkers" and "Tron Cat" almost approach mid-period Eminem's command of paradoxes. Part of my problem is that he has many other opportunities to formulate paradoxes that he doesn't take.
The hyped album of the moment I'm having trouble letting go of is The Weeknd. Playing random tracks again to refamiliarize myself after watching the gorgeous/unsettling "What You Need" video, one of the tracks I liked originally, I just got 2/3 of the way into "The Party and the Afterparty" which gets very strange tonally:
It's so much more unsettling and arresting than the Tyler because I genuinely wasn't expecting casual bl0wj0b violence to be dropped in at minute six of this supple R&B melody, whereas with Goblin I feel like I'm sitting in the principal's office waiting for his shenanigans to impress me. I usually prefer obvious jokes, but where are Tyler's obvious jokes? I hear things that I assume made *him* laugh. And I'm not that impressed by his refusal to write for an audience; rappers have been "not giving a fk" for years and most of them haven't whined about critics half as much on their first commercially-released album.
STB - P:
I'll research this more and give you an answer. I recall difficulty finding Fats Domino "The Legendary Masters Series" and George Jones "White Lightning", as these were both UK-only and out-of-print. But I eventually found these on UK internet sites.
Alex Mcpherson (who claims homophobia in rap may be at a tipping point):
Ann Powers: http://goo.gl/YRMc8
Mike Barthel for the defense: http://goo.gl/irljQ
Frannie Kelly, also for the defense: http://goo.gl/h29d5
An absolutely exhaustive and exhausting ilm thread which, amazingly, stays civil:
And for Joe Y. and anyone interested:
18 King Size Country Hits (Columbia CL-2668 / CS-9468, Re-channelled Stereo)
"Signed, Sealed, and Delivered" - Cowboy Copas
"I'll Sail My Ship Alone" - Moon Mullican
"It's Raining Here this Morning" - Grandpa Jones
"Rainbow at Midnight" - Carlisle Brothers
"Seven Lonely Days" - Bonnie Lou
"Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me" - Wayne Raney
"Death of Little Kathy Fiscus" - Jimmy Osborne
"Blues, Stay Away from Me" - Delmore Brothers
"Slow Poke" - Hankshaw Hawkins
"Tennessee Waltz" - Cowboy Copas
"Sweeter than the Flowers" - Moon Mullican
"Mountain Dew" - Grandpa Jones
"I'm the Talk of the Town" - Don Reno & Red Smiley
"Next Sunday Darling is my Birthday" - Clyde Moody
"Lonesome 7-7203" - Hankshaw Hawkins
"Death of Hank Williams" - Jack Cardwell
"How Far to Little Rock" - Stanley Brothers
"Money, Marbles, and Chalk" - Pop Eckler
I think I now own every recommended item in the back-of-the-book lists.
Which were the hardest ones to get?
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.