Saturday, April 5, 2014

Digital Witness

I Prefer Your Love


Bring Me Your Loves

Songs of the Day

And we continue with four more tracks of St Vincent: "Digital Witness," "I Prefer Your Love," "Regret," and "Bring Me Your Loves."
"Digital Witness" was the first single off of this album, and is the only track I'd heard prior to listening to the album (she performed it on an episode of "The Colbert Report").  It's got a groove to it that I dig, which is helped by the somewhat-digitized horns going on (you all know how much of a sucker I am for horns).  She's still bringing her somewhat "out" flare vocally, working with the style of the album.  I'm not really a fan of the groove in the chorus - it's a little too pop-y and major sounding, but that's probably why it was chosen to be the single.  The whole thing kind of comes and goes and doesn't leave a huge impression, which kind of sucks because the previous songs have all been pretty cool.  It's not a bad song, just not as good as some of the others.
This lady sure does do a good job at switching grooves throughout the tracks.  "I Prefer Your Love" is a slower track (I don't want to call it a ballad, because it doesn't feel like what I would consider a ballad, but you get the point) that brings a little more of an intimacy to the album.  The track is pretty bare, with a groove that kind of reminds me Sinead O'Connors version (aka the famous one) of "Nothing Compares to You," which I'm into.  Dig the hook - "I prefer your love to Jesus," so you know she's real.  Sweet song.
"Regret" brings us back into the alt-rock feel that I've come to really dig throughout the album.  It's got a steady groove, which I'm into.  Yet again, St Vincent's voice doesn't seem to be the focal point, but her aesthetic works for the song, so it's as if the groove and her vocals are one in the same.  I really like how the feel changes throughout the track - it's rock-y, then a little more soulful, you get some stank faces in there, bring in some more electronic elements - it's cool shit.  I'm down.
I was a little surprised to hear two tracks with "love" in their titles in such close proximity on the album (and kind of on the same album at all), but "Bring Me Your Loves" is completely different than its predecessor.  "Bring me your loves, all of your loves, your loves, I wanna love them too ya know" is a pretty funky hook, I can get down with that.  I must say, while this track is keeping with the sonic theme of the album, it might be a little too out for me.  And not "out" as in weird, but it just doesn't seem as solid of an "out" tune as the rest of the track (if that makes sense).  It's not annoying or anything, I'm just not as into it.  The hook is still fun though. 

Friday, April 4, 2014


Birth in Reverse

Prince Johnny

Huey Newton

Songs of the Day

Since I'm starting this album a couple days late, I'm gonna review the first four songs to cover a little ground: "Rattlesnake," "Birth in Reverse," "Prince Johnny," and "Huey Newton."
"Rattlesnake" is a pretty cool song to open the album up with.  I dig that it starts with just her and synth - gives you a focal point early on.  The textures that go on between synths, guitar, and vocals (with effect) are all pretty dope and fit well together, which I like that.  It's electronic, while still having an authentic feel to it.  I remember her performance having electronic elements to it, but I don't remember if it was this much (like I said, I haven't listened to any of her previous albums).  Regardless, it sounds really cool.  Reminds me of Tune Yards a little bit.  Cool shtuff.
I like the way that "Birth in Reverse" starts out with a similar feel to the previous tune, but then immediately picks up the pace to differentiate itself.  Again, this song has a bunch of effects on all the instruments (her voice included), but it's not overly done, and it keeps a kind of theme going on.  This is one song where I don't mind that four-on-the-floor is happening the whole time - it's appropriate for the track.  The only reason I wish St Vincent didn't have a vocal effect is so that I could hear her true voice better.  It still sounds good, I would just love to hear it.  End break down is super dope.  I dig, I dig.
How is it that somehow St Vincent has managed to make the human voice program on the synth sound good on "Prince Johnny"?  I am impressed, and I like it.  I also like that this song brings it down a little bit, while keeping a strong feel.  Bass/guitar line in the chorus adds a nice little umph to the track.  I don't really get the track lyrically (Prince Johnny, who?), I also can't understand everything she's saying, but she makes it sound cool, so I'm down.  Definitely dig that it goes out on the bass/guitar lick.  Coolness all around.
St Vincent's voice sans-effect shows herself on "Huey Newton!"  She's got a quiet voice, but it's got a swagger to it that I like.  She's in the front of this track, which is good.  The groove is relatively bare, so it gives her a nice canvas to paint (vocally).  She sounds lovely when she gets into the high part in the chorus.  The whole song has this "pretty" feel to it...up til the B section throws down some edge.  It's back to the effect-style, but it grooves, and I get down with it.  I like that this B section surprised me, and in a good way.  Not enough surprises in music these days, if you ask me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Album Factoids

St Vincent

Released: Feb 24, 2014
Genre: Indie-Rock
Label: Loma Vista/Republic
Producer: John Congleton

Week 93: St Vincent

I can never think of what albums to review, so I hit up my girl Noël today and asked for her opinion.  She suggested I do St Vincent's newest record, St Vincent.  Considering it's her fifth record, I would say I'm pretty behind.  Though I've known about St Vincent for some time - I saw her perform at Roots Picnic in Philly a couple years back (a performance I remember enjoying), and she happens to be a Berklee alum as well - I never sat down and checked her stuff out.  I've read a bunch of good reviews about the album as well, so I'm looking forward to taking a listen.

This Week's Album...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

FInal Grade: B+

This was a solid debut album from ScHoolboy Q!  I had gone into the album thinking it was going to be lyrically more along the lines of Kendrick, like I was going to be blown away by the storytelling, but I wasn't.  Q seems to emulate more of the mainstream sound, but thankfully he (unlike many others) actually has the skills.  It's a little more party-oriented, but the beats and the rhymes are good, so I can't hate on it.  "Collard Greens" and "Blind Threats" are probably my favorite tracks, but I can see that changing, and I like when an album has tracks that make you change your mind every once in awhile.  Definitely some bangers on here, I'm sure I'll be keeping this record in the arsenal.

Hell of a Night

Break the Bank

Man of the Year

Songs of the Day

Final three up for review this evening: "Hell of a Night," "Break the Bank," and "Man of the Year."
I feel like I've heard "Hell of a Night" before, probably just randomly on xm or something, or it might just sound like an obvious single.  The beat is pretty dope, definitely gets you pumped/moving.  I like the juxtaposition of how soft the "ooo"s are with the harshness of Q's tone, it's part of the reason why the song works.  It's a track about partying hard (as most hip hop these days), but it's not overbearing/completely dumb sounding, so I can get down with it.  Nothing lyrically that really jumped out at me, but I don't think that was really the purpose for this track.  Cool tune.
"Break the Bank" for sure has all of the imagery going for it.  The title, the beat, and the Q's tone & lyrics all equally represent the overall picture going on, which I dig.  You gotta hustle to make money, and it's not always acquired legally, and Q definitely gives you the sense that he knows what that's about.  "Whatchu talkin bout if it ain't bout the money?" - forreal tho.
I have most certainly heard "Man of the Year" before, and I ain't mad about hearing it again.  This is definitely a solid single to end the album with (you can almost guarantee any song that tells you to "bounce" is going to be a jam).  And I'm sure you get plenty dudes in the club asking ladies to "shake it for the man of the year" *rolls eyes* and I'm sure many "ladies" will oblige.  Regardless, there's much worse out now, and this song is at least catchy and doesn't have really dumb lyrics, so it will do.  Dig the string part at the end.  Abrupt ending is a little sudden, but it's not completely uncomfortable.  Dope track.