Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx/Gorillaz
Tinkering With the Funky Homosapien
Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx: We're New Here (XL)
The Richard Russell-produced original of the revolutionary-poet-turned-brokedown-crack-addict's first studio album in 16 years strove respectfully to put a good face on‑-who exactly? The "survivor"? The "outsider"? The "revolutionary"? The hip-hop godfather? The colorful old black guy? Granting that the moving force was Russell, my Honorable Mention stands: "The premise isn't `I'm new here,' it's `I'm not dead,' and he strains mightily to get 28 spare minutes out of it." A year later Scott-Heron was in fact dead, and a year after that came this radical remix, which to my mind respects Scott-Heron more truthfully by chopping him to bits. This Scott-Heron is a drug fiend of considerable perversity and tremendous intelligence who's gonna be dead soon. Jamie xx hears in his last testament an irreversible disintegration that he translates into heavily sampled minimalist electro marked indelibly by Scott-Heron's weariness, arrogance, and wit. In part it's just a young man's bad dream about mortality, and of interest as such. But the snatches of Scott-Heron's voice, cracked for sure but deeper than night nonetheless, delivers it from callow generalization and foregone conclusion. A MINUS
Gorillaz: The Singles Collection 2001-2011 (Virgin)
Their synthbeat-meets-comix concept got over as pop because it found a mildly playful and pleasurable way to enact well-meaning self-effacement, which was how Damon Albarn disarmed the world well before designing a virtual band for the era of electronic interpersonal multi-tasking between unknowable avatars. As far as he's concerned, that isn't humanity sitting up "On Melancholy Hill"‑-it's a manatee, who got there by means only a cartoonist could grasp. Note, however, that he invokes real-life humanity in an all too traditional way: via such living persons of African descent as Bobby Womack, Neneh Cherry, De La Soul, and the affably virtuosic Del the Funky Homosapien. A MINUS
Nicky: I hear you. The candidates among whom we may "choose" this year are remarkably alike in their desire to preserve the status quo. (For those of you who don't know, Obama's brand new chief of staff, Jacob Lew, was a former Citigroup higher-up who made millions off the housing crisis.)
I was a Ron Paul fanatic during the last election cycle. My, how I've grown since then! Even so, I believe I will (with many more reservations than I once harbored) probably vote for him again. I do not share his relatively radical views on returning to the gold standard, deregulating the market, and disassembling the federal government. The list goes on. However, no other candidate (aside from Gary Johnson, who of course has even less a chance of winning than Paul does) has shown any willingness to reform foreign policy or the drug war, both of which inflict death and misery upon untold numbers of human beings.
For me, it boils down to the lesser-of-the-evils argument. Paul's failings are serious and multiple. But they strike me as a (slightly) less awful compromise than what we'd get from rest of the warmongering, power-hungry corporate stooges flashing their pearly whites at us from the stage. Including Obama.
That said, I have not given up considering withholding my vote entirely. Not voting is a kind of vote in itself, a vote for a different way of doing things. Occupy the elections! I'll be at the polls with a big sign when the Connecticut primaries roll around.
And... thumb-bombs away!
Can't recall the last time our host reviewed an album in this venue
that I was more than vaguely interested in. Give me a second to duck-here come the bad thumbs.
EDIT: Pending a re-reading of the essay and/or a mind-reading of Xgau.
Basically what I want is for Xgau to review the albums I want him to-and then I can
buy them or not buy them. I ask you is that asking so much? I ask you.
- F*cked Up: David Comes to Life *** (‘Running on Nothing’ & ‘A Slanted Tone’)
- PJ Harvey: Let England Shake B+
- Adele: 21 B+
- Lil Wayne: Tha Carter IV B+
- DJ Shadow: The Less You Know, the Better *** (‘Border Crossing’ & ‘I Gotta Rokk’)
- The Rapture: In the Grace of Your Love B+
- Moby: Destroyed *** (‘Be the One’ & ‘Lie Down in Darkness’)
- Lil Wayne: Sorry 4 the Wait *** (‘Hands Up (My Last) [Freestyle]’ & ‘Sorry 4 the Wait’)
- The Vaccines: What Did You Expect from The Vaccines? *** (‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra, Ra, Ra)’ & ‘Nørgaard’)
- The Kills: Blood Pressures *** (‘Future Starts Slow’ & ‘DNA’)
- The Strokes: Angles *** (‘Machu Picchu’ & ‘Gratisfaction’)
- Cults *** (‘Most Wanted’ & ‘Rave On’)
- St. Vincent: Strange Mercy *** (‘Strange Mercy’ & ‘Neutered Fruit’)
- Ghostface Killah: Apollo Kids *** (‘How You Like Me, Baby?’ & ‘Street Bullies’)
- Bad Meets Evil: Hell: The Sequel *** (‘Fast Lane’ & ‘Lighters’)
- Metronomy: The English Riviera *** (Not sure which tracks yet.)
- Wretch 32: Black and White *** (‘Traktor’ & ‘Breathe (Sha La, La)’)
- New York Dolls: Dancing Backwards in High Heels ** (‘I’m So Fabulous’ & ‘Kids Like You’)
- The Drums: Portamento * (Not sure which tracks yet.)
- Radiohead: The King of Limbs * (‘Morning Mr. Magpie’ & ‘Little by Little’)
- EMA: Past Life Martyred Saints * (‘Coda’ & ‘Breakfast’)
- The Weeknd: Thursday * (‘Lonely Star’ & ‘The Birds Part 1’)
- The Weeknd: House of Balloons * (‘The Morning’ & ‘The Party & the After Party’)
Iceage: New Brigade (B−)
Bon Iver (C+)
Red Hot Chili Peppers: I'm with You (B−)
Destroyer: Kaputt (C+)
Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Dud)
The-Dream: 1977 (Dud, although, could be a *)
M83: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (Dud)
Tyler the Creator: Goblin (Dud)
Death Grips: Ex-Military (Dud)
The top 5 I am pretty sure about, and they are, by far, some of the best records I have heard in ages. There are, obviously, a lot of records that I still need to listen to—mostly, including: Hell on Heels, Four the Record, Todd Snider Live—The Storyteller and Western Teleport.
Albums Best-of List, 2011:
1. tUnE-yArDs: w h o k i l l (13)
2. Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What? (12)
3. Jens Lekman: An Argument with Myself (12)
4. Frank Ocean: Nostalgia, ULTRA (11)
5. Wussy: Funeral Dress II (10)
6. Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Tell My Sister (10)
7. Wussy: Strawberry (10)
8. Jay-Z/Kanye West: Watch the Throne (8)
9. Carolina Chocolate Drops/Luminescent Orchestrii (7)
10. Blaqstarr: The Divine EP (7)
11. Wild Flag
12. Das Racist: Relax
13. Lady Gaga: Born This Way
14. Low Cut Connie: Get Out the Lotion
15. Saigon: The Greatest Story Never Told
16. Brad Paisley: This Is Country Music
17. Fountains of Wayne: Sky Full of Holes
18. Buck 65: 20 Odd Years
19. Pietra Montecorvino: Napoli Mediterranea
20. Drive-By Truckers: Go-Go Boots
21. TV on the Radio: Nine Types of Light
22. Those Darlins: Screws Get Loose
23. The Baseball Project: Volume 2: High and Inside
24. Terakaft: Aratan N Azawad
25. The Lonely Island: Turtleneck & Chain
26. Poly Styrene: Generation Indigo
27. Jeffrey Lewis: A Turn in the Dream-Songs
28. Generation Bass Presents: Transnational Dubstep
29. Serengeti: Family & Friends
30. Rave On, Buddy Holly
31. Tinariwen: Tassili
32. SebastiAn: Total
33. Jill Scott: The Light of the Sun (IE: Shame, I'm a Racist)
34. Eric Church: Chief
35. Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin'
36. Dave Alvin: Eleven, Eleven
37. Neil Young International Harvesters: A Treasure
38. Mates of State: Mountaintops
39. Rainbow Arabia: Boys & Diamonds
40. Let's Wrestle: Nursing Home
41. Middle Brother
42. Fruit Bats: Tripper
43. Girls: Father, Son, Holy Ghost
44. Beastie Boys: Hot Sauce Committee, Part 2
45. Shabazz Palaces: Black Up
46. Battles: Gloss Drop
48. Gang of Four: Content
1. tUnE-yArDs: w h o k i l l
2. Jens Lekman: An Argument with Myself
3. Frank Ocean: Nostalgia, ULTRA
4. Wussy: Funeral Dress II
5. Wussy: Strawberry
6. Jay-Z/Kanye West: Watch the Throne
7. Wild Flag
8. Das Racist: Relax
9. Saigon: The Greatest Story Never Told
10. Low Cut Connie: Get Out the Lotion
11. Those Darlins: Screws Get Loose
12. Jeffrey Lewis: A Turn in the Dream-Songs
Personal Favourite/Most Addicted to Songs (in Alphabetical Order and not including the entirety of Funeral Dress II):
'6 Foot, 7 Foot'
'An Argument with Myself'
'Be Your Bro.'
'"Big Thighs" NJ'
'Bizness' (Almost any song from w h o k i l l, really.)
'Born This Way'
'Fly, Fly, Fly'
'Full of Joy'
'Getting Ready for Christmas Day'
'Grand Champion Steer'
'Hit 'em Up Style'
'I Just Had Sex'
'If I Keep On Loving You'
'It Takes Time, to Be a Man'
'Rainbow in the Dark'
'Some Other Time'
'Songs for Women'
'Superstars Don't Love'
'Threw It on the Ground'
'Waiting for Kirsten'
'Used to Be a Cop'
What are you all doing right now besides quibbling about lists?
Got the munchies because, you know. Now I'm gonna watch the Metal Show , because , you know.
Who wants to say a recording released in your birth year that you like*?
The Velvet Underground- The Velvet Underground & Nico
seems there was lot of Shopping center visiting in Dallas town lately?
same thing backwards, I tend to rate anything lower than B+ badly. There are rare contradictions. I hear something good in The-Dream, but, on the surface, it seems shallow, crass and bad, but that might be what makes it good. I'll give it more time. I still think David Comes to Life is the best HM this year, but, after listening to it over and over, I realised the tracks, individually, don't stand up; as a whole, the album is good, IMO.
I wonder, if the male singer's resemblance to Ricky Martin is intentional.
Yeah, I thought that, too!
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.