Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stomp (Ft Greg Porn)

Lighthouse (ft Dice Raw)

I Remember

Songs of the Day

Stomp (ft Greg Porn):  This is the most rock-oriented song on the album, which works appropriately with the title.  The groove is super simple, relying mainly on drums, bass, guitar, and keys, but the weight they all bring really works with the tune.  A fairly short tune at 2:23, but I think that was smart on their part.  Much longer, and the beat would have become a little monotonous.  Another smooth, connected transition. Dig it.

Lighthouse (ft Dice Raw):  I dig the build to this tune.  Starts out with the single synth/Dice Ray, and gradually builds into the rest of the groove.  Really works.  I dig that the drums have a nice distance to them, while still being so present - bravo ?uest.  All of the parts contribute equally to the coolness of this vibe.  I like the hook is short and sweet.  Good verses by bother Black Thought and Dice Raw.  Word.

I Remember:  This is one of my favorites.  Very sweet.  I don't even know what words I want to use to describe the beat.  It'  Y'all can figure out the proper adjectives.  I dig the female vocalist on this - a nice simple addition that really works for the groove.  Dig the classical strings/vocal transition back into the groove - it's a hot drop, especially since there is a whole other verse.  So, so solid.

Friday, December 9, 2011

One Time (ft Phonte & Dice Raw)

listen to "One Time"

Kool On (ft Greg Porn & Truck North)

The OtherSide (ft Bilal & Greg Porn)

Songs of the Day

One Time (ft Phonte & Dice Raw):  So, I've listened through this album a couple times, and I think this is probably the song I like the least, but that doesn't really mean much in the big picture.  And really, the only thing I don't like about it is the chorus - I'm not the biggest fan of the vocals, and the beat becomes a little too loud/cluttered, but just a little bit.  Now that isn't much at all.  I like the weight to the keys in the verses, they really hold everything down.  Phonte is one half of Foreign Exchange, whose album Authenticity, I reviewed a couple weeks back - nice to hear his voice again.  Smooth transition.  I can dig it.

Kool On (ft Greg Porn & Truck North):  This track is hella catchy.  I give much thanks to the guitar lick for that - super cool.  ?uestlove is holdin down that back beat like no other, but that is the man's specialty, so there is really no surprise there.  Sometimes Black Thought's rough tone kind of bugs me, but it works really well with this groove.  Love his like "minute before the storm is what I'm calm like" - dig it.  The vocal layering in the chorus is really cool - it makes for a nice, full sound.  Chopped ending is awesome.  So solid.

The OtherSide (ft Bilal & Greg Porn):  This is one of my favorite tracks on the album.  The lightness of the piano part is a great contrast to the heaviness of the drums.  Love the tone of the bass drum on this one.  The organ addition in the chorus is perfect, even though it's just held out chords.  Bilal's unique tone is perfect for this tune - great choice of vocalist.  That's the second person featured on this album that I've reviewed!  Something about Greg Porn's tone kind of bothers me - it's got a nasally tone to it that isn't my favorite, but that's me being super critical, because it really doesn't bother me that much.  Slowed down ending is super, super cool.  Yes, yes, yes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Make My (ft Big K.R.I.T & Dice Raw)

Songs of the Day

Dun:  This is a pretty cool intro.  A gradual fade in of different sounds, including what sounds like something searching for signal, and different keyboard tones, eventually ending in a scream.  It's a very nice fade in, great pace.  I dig it.

Sleep:  Great transition right into this.  Really dig the beat on this one - it's got this eerie, distance to it that I find cool.  You can hear each individual sound going on, which I think is key to why it sounds so cool.  Nothing blends into one another, and the isolation really works for the the tune.  Great verse by Black Thought.  I almost think this track is too short, but there's a sweetness in diminutive length.  There's no credit for the vocalist, but it sounds a lot like Bilal, and since he's on this album elsewhere, that is my guess.***  Dig it.

Make My (ft Big K.R.I.T. & Dice Raw):  So far, this is my favorite beat.  It starts out where simple on keys that have a nice effect on them - it reminds me of a lullaby -  into a water droplets (so cool) and then the beat drops.  It's very simple and very sweet.  The mood has a lightness feel to it that I really like and makes me want to listen to more.  Strings!  They sound oh so lovely, and very subtle.  That's the word for this groove, "subtle," and they really make it work.  I wish I knew which verses belonged to which rappers - I'm gonna need to research that, because they need their proper dues.  I dig the vocals on the chorus as well.  B section!!  Love the soul groove it turns into, and with such a smooth transition.  This track is definition solid.

***The vocalist on this track Aaron Livingston (singer on "Guns Are Drawn" from their 7th album, The Tipping Point)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Album Factoids


Released: December 6, 2011 (oh hey, today!)
Genre: Hip Hop
Label: Def Jam
Producers: Richard Nichols, Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, James Poyser, Khari Mateen, Sean C & LV, Rick Friedrich, Ray Angry

Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson - drums, Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter - vocals, Kirk "Captain Kirk" Douglas - guitar, Kamal Gray - keys, James Poyser - keys, Frank "Knuckles" Walker - percussion, Damon "Tuba Gooding Jr" Bryson - sousaphone, Mark Kelley - bass

Week 62: The Roots

So, I was actually planning on doing the Amy Winehouse album that was released today, but I listened to them both and decided to do this one instead.  This is technically the second Roots album I've reviewed, the first being the second week with Wake Up!, but that featured John Legend, so I don't really count it.  This album has been getting amazing reviews, so I'm excited to hear all the buzz.  These guys are incredible and deserve the support, so I'm gonna pay my respects.  

This Weeks Album...

oh yeah.

Final Grade: A

If I gave this album any less of a grade, it would be against the music God's.  It would be religiously irresponsible to grade this album anything other than "A," so that's what it's getting - a big, fat "A."  Miles is a genius, but that is no surprise.  Killin band with Coltrane on tenor sax, Bill Evans on Piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Jimmy Cobb on drums, and Julian Adderley on alto sax - all legends.  The only problem I had listening to this album had nothing to do with the album itself, but the fact that I knew every one of these songs (just not all by name), so nothing was fresh.  Doesn't change the fact that I had a great time listening to it!

Monday, December 5, 2011

All Blues

Flamenco Sketches

Flamenco Sketches (Alternate Take)

Songs of the Day

All Blues:  Ah, what a classic.  This song has such an elegance to it - everything is so smooth and blends so well together.  We did this song for a project in a class when I went to the Berklee 5 week program in '09, so now, unfortunately, when I hear the bass line, all I hear is "do, sol, la, sol, te, sol, la, sol, do..." which is annoying.  That really has no effect on my feelings towards the song though.  I love how subdued everything is - I like it nice and low like that.  Another very sweet, but simple melody (Miles sure is good at those).  Definitely a great track to wind down with.

Flamenco Sketches:  I feel like I should be taking a bubble bath with candles all around listening to this song.  Yes, that would most certainly be the appropriate setting.  I love Coltrane's part on this track, it's quite lovely.  I love the flow everything has to it as well - the chord progressions, though simple, really carry you through the track.  Beautiful piano part, Mr. Evans, simply beautiful.  This is a long tune, so I won't go into every detail.  Listen.

Flamenco Sketches (alternate take):  As said in the title, this is an alternate take of of the previous tune.  New approaches to solos, melody, and what not.  A very good track, and interesting to listen to the slight changes made throughout.