Saturday, December 17, 2011

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Like Smoke (ft Nas)


Songs of the Day

Will You Still Love Me:  Maybe it's all the Christmas currently circulating the air, but this song sounds straight Christmas.  From the "Drummer Boy"-like drums, to the staccato horn's Christmas.  And unfortunately, I don't say that with much joy - it's kinda hokey.  This is a cover of The Shirelles classic, and though Amy's voice does it justice, the arrangement just isn't doing anything for me.  She also sounds a little worn, which is unfortunate, but expected.  Eh.

Like Smoke (ft Nas):  My immediate reaction to this track is that the groove is nowhere near loud enough - I think it'd sound better if the balances were a little better on this one.  This is one of Amy's better sounding tracks, vocally, which is nice to hear since the last couple were a little lackluster.  Nice to hear Nas on this track, he's definitely a good feature.  Probably the best song thus far.

Valerie:  This is a decent cover of her tune with Mark Ronson, but it's so similar that it seems unnecessary. The groove is more mellow than the original, but aside from that, there's not a significant difference for me to feel any different emotion than the original.  Amy's voice is pretty good on this one, but knowing the strength on the original, it's hard to not notice the toll drugs have had on her voice.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Day Will Come

Between the Cheats

Tears Dry

Songs of the Day

Our Day Will Come:  Hello there, Amy.  This is very much reminiscent of Back to Black - it's got a nice reggae-like feel to the groove, with soft, but solid horn hits.  The background vocals, though simple, give the groove a nice little umph to it.  Amy sounds pretty good, not like her prime, but her voice is nonetheless captivating, and a pleasure to listen to.  Short, sweet, and to the point, this is a pretty decent opening number.

Between the Cheats:  I'm diggin the word play in the title.  You would usually think "between the sheets," but nope, he's between the sheets with somebody else!  Womp, womp.  Anyway, I feel like this song belongs in a scene in Dirty Dancing, or something to that effect.  Very 50/60s doo-wop (shout out to the piano player holdin down those eighth not triplets for the entire song - I know you're hands are tired, my friend).  To be honest, Amy's voice sounds a little worn on this one, which is unfortunate, but understandable considering her circumstances.  Solid, but nothing to write home about.

Tears Dry:  For fans of Back to Black, they will immediately recognize this tune.  This is a little more of a laid back version, which I like.  I don't know if I like it more than the original, but it is nice to hear a different take on it.  I don't think the background vocals are necessary, they don't add anything to the tune.  I'm also not the biggest fan of the sound on the guitar - it's too rigid against the rest of the groove.  Seeing that the original was recorded during a healthier part of Amy's life, the effects of excessive drugs and alcohol is much more prevalent in this version.  It's especially noticeable when she has to switch registers in the line "And in your way in this blue shade" - she couldn't get that line with the same gusto she had before.  Nice to hear a new version, but I'm gonna stick with the original.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Album Factoids

Lioness: Hidden Treasures

Released: December 6th, 2011
Genre: Soul
Label: Island
Producers: Paul O'Duffy, Mark Ronson, Phil Ramone, Salaam Remi

Week 63: Amy Winehouse

So, I had originally planned on doing this album last week when it came out, but then I heard Undun and I had to put Amy on the backburner.  Back to Black is an amazing album, and definitely an album I look back to quite often, so I'm excited to have her back in the forefront of my rotation.  So sad that such an amazing voice had to be lost so soon.

This Weeks Album...


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Final Grade: A/A-

This album is beautiful.  The Roots really knocked it out of the park on this one.  I've been listening to the album all week, and it is great every time.  Something I think makes the album really successful is the timing of the songs.  There are a couple tracks on here, where if they were to have gone on another 30-60 seconds, they would have gotten repetitive, but thanks to the relatively short length of them all I'm left wanting more, not less.  In fact, some criticism I have is that it's too short - ¡necesito más!  It's crazy how
?uest is so constantly in the pocket that he, at times, sounds like a drum machine.  He is a beast of beasts.  Love the orchestral suite at the end.  I didn't like some vocals, but that's just me being a picky vocalist.  Really great stuff, definitely check it out.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tip the Scale (ft Dice Raw)

The Redford Suite

I figured that these should all be put together so you can hear them connected, in context.

Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou)

Songs of the Day

Tip the Scale (ft Dice Raw):  Love this beat!  It's simple, and subtle, but still has power to it.  Every instrument is vital to the groove, which I find really cool.  The addition of the strings in the chorus and 2nd verse are pretty key to the groove moving forward, and they do the job perfectly.  It's just so laid back, and chill, but it still makes you take note of what's going on.  The groove works perfect with the sad lyrical context, and it's always great to hear music and lyric matching up that way.  My favorite line comes courtesy of Dice Raw, "lotta niggas go to prison/how many come out Malcolm X" - catches me every time.  Love the descending keys line towards the end.  Killin track.

Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou):  The final four tracks on the album are known as "The Redford Suite" in four movements.  Man, you never see that this day in age, especially on a hip hop album - mad props.  This is actually a Sufjan Stevens track, and man do I dig it.  It's just a repeating keys line and distant vocals, but the way it layers and flows is so beautiful.  It reminds of the latest Radiohead album, King of Limbs, which is fantastic, so I'm definitely down with this.  Very short, but very sweet, and a great transition into the end of the album.  Beautiful.

Possibility (2nd Movement):  So we're getting into some orchestration now, and I really dig it.  Daniel Felsenfeld arranged the strings, and he did a really beautiful job.  A great transition from the last tune, and into the next.  Very short, but very sweet.

Will To Power (3rd Movement):  This is the freak-out-and-play-everything-you-possibly-can movement.  Keys and drums just freakin out, which is actually a cool switch from the previous two.  I'm glad it's not very long, because it probably would have gotten old and somewhat irritating, but it doesn't, and I dig it.

Finality (4th Movement):  This is essentially the same as the 2nd movement, with the addition of a held out, whacky keys chord at the end, which really brings the 2nd and 3rd movement together.  Very smart, Ahmir, very smart.  You can hear the musicians breathing throughout all of these tracks, and I find it very beautiful.  The breath becomes a part of the tune.  Very sweet, and a great way to end the album.