10 Songs on repeat:
1. The Daily Heavy by Oh Sees (2019)- You know a song is going to be good when the beat is laid down by a squeaky toy, building into a heady and infectious psychedelic rock number.
2. Cumberland Gap by David Rawlings (2017)- Heard at the beginning of the new Guy Ritchie film The Gentlemen, this track is an excellent introduction into the world of American folk-rock.
3. Braindrops by Tropical F*** Storm (2019)- This song sounds like the band’s name: in your face, snarling and grimy complete with some of the best guitar work I have heard in a while.
4. Swerve… the Reeping of All That is Worthwhile (Noir Not Withstanding) by Shabazz Palaces (2011)- This mouthful of a song is a gorgeously produced and multifaceted abstract hip-hop found on Shabazz Palaces underground classic Black Up.
5. Overtime by U.S. Girls (2020)- A soulful and political charged number of the Meg Romy led project’s forthcoming album, building upon the art-pop of her 2018 album In a Poem Unlimited.
6. Run Away with Me by Carly Rae Jepsen (2015)- If you can somehow resist the sax at the beginning of this song, I am much concerned for your general wellbeing.
7. Tearz by Wu-Tang Clan (1993)- A mature classic from the legendary New York rap group’s debut album.
8. Take Me to the River by Talking Heads (1978)- A funky, guitar-driven cover by alternative elders Talking Heads.
9. Everybody Wants to Be Famous by Superorganism (2018)- A catchy, fun and satirical track complete with a catchy hook and bombastic production from the international, 8-piece psych, pop group.
10. Blue World by Mac Miller (2020)- A much more electronically driven number than the late rapper’s last single, found on his recently released posthumous album Circles.
You can find the link to this week’s selections here- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5fmzhyPfbifWTRbyO0v8Yt?si=B3mLc0CtQiSTcJMORBLplw.
Quick Album Reviews:
R.Y.C by Mura Masa- 6.4/10:
Mura Masa’s vision for RYC is very clear and focused, the typically electronic producer lending an interesting and endearing perspective on emo/indie music. This album really did have the potential to be great, shame there is some pretty awkward song-writing, Mura Masa obviously trying to convey emotion, however, doing so in an often-uncomfortable manner. A good album that had the potential to be so much better.
Best track: Deal Wiv It
Songs to be Murdered By by Eminem- 0.5/10:
Of all the vomit-inducing lines on this album, one really stands out. On the track Stepdad, where Shady dreams of brutally murdering an abusive legal guardian, he drops the line “I’m talking euthanasia, kids in Taiwan”. This particular moment stands out to me because I think it really captures what makes this album so awful: this line is stupid, out of context, cringe and downright tone-deaf. With Music to be Murdered By, Eminem solidifies his position as one of hip-hop’s great failures. After an almost impressively terrible run of albums in the 2010s, Shady drops what is easily the worst of his entire career. You see, music to be Murdered By is an appropriate name. However, the ‘murder’ in the title isn’t derived from the lyrical genius Em thinks he is employing. No, instead he murders the listener through incredibly awful rapping, messy and poorly conceived production and a directionless ‘theme’ that is supposedly present on this record.
It is my honest opinion that Eminem cannot be considered a rap GOAT, and this record is proof of that fact. Utter delusional garbage that has no real place in this world and another entry into the ever-growing and increasingly dismal discography of Slim Shady. They say one should quit while they are ahead, Though I feel that is too late for Eminem. Why? Because if he took this advice, he would’ve stopped recording music in 2003.
Circles by Mac Miller- 8.7/10:
One of the profoundly haunting aspects of Circles is the ever-present idea of death littered throughout Miller’s final album. If Mac was alive today, a record such as circles would be hailed as brave and confessional, the rapper-singer-songwriter opening up about his personal demons. However, Circles is instead crushing and tragic, a reminder of a star who was only entering his prime. Miller’s unique voice beautifully floats over delicate yet sophisticated production. Personally, I have never been a massive fan of Miller’s, however, with Circles, I feel like I can truly appreciate the legacy left behind by one of raps emerging voices.
Best track: Good News
Feature Article- The Hypocrisy of Hedonism. The Double Standard Surrounding Hip-hop:
In 2015, Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera criticised rapper Kendrick Lamar’s performance of Alright at the BET Awards. He drew grievances at the track’s supposed promotion of violence against police and the fact the song was performed atop a vandalised cruiser.
Typing into Google “Misogyny in Hip Hop” will yield you a link that takes you to a Wikipedia dedicated to the subject. The page documents the history of misogyny in the genre highlights some studies that indicate some of the negative impacts of such features and generally paints a dismal picture of the culture. And, it is wrong to deny that this is an issue in the genre. Artists like 50 Cent and Nicki Minaj have made careers out of the over-sexualisation of women. However, if one types into Google “Misogyny in Rock music”, you will find no such page dedicated to the subject.
Which is justified, of course? Hip-hop is a genre that glorifies such hedonism and lives off the extreme and rock is a far more universal expression, designed for all and enjoyed by all. Same applies to Pop music, right? Wrong.
It is my personal opinion that hip-hop is unfairly targeted by the wider society. Yes, the genre is filled with hedonism; however, it is not something unique to hip-hop. Let me draw your attention to a situation that I have seen play out in my home country of Australia.
The Chats are a punk rock trio based out of Queensland. Often labelled as cheeky and humorous, the band ‘glorifies’ unemployment, drug-taking and gambling, as well as other things and, have enjoyed mostly positive press coverage, even earning a spot on 7 News. Now let’s look at OneFour, a Western Sydney based hip-hop group. Often choosing to centre their songs around the gang violence they personally experienced in their area, the group have experienced nothing but criticism since going viral, even being ban from performing live by NSW Police.
Though personally I much prefer The Chats, I cannot help but recognise a strange double standard taking place. If a rap group that presents street violence and the “gangsta” lifestyle in a dark, grimy manner can be considered harmful, then surely a rock group that makes light of sex and drugs, presenting them in a quirky light, be labelled as dangerous too? Funnily enough… no. It is OneFour who have received a ban, not The Chats.
And this kind of practice extends well beyond this one anecdote. In the late 1980s LA rap collective NWA had their track F*** the Police ban on radio as it was considered obscene and offensive. At the same time, Guns’ n’ Roses Appetite for Destruction, an album focused on ideas such as casual sex and hard drugs, enjoyed extensive radio play across the world. Where the rebellious spirit of rock ‘n’ roll is glorified and celebrated as a way of “sticking it to the man”, the very same ideals in hip-hop are deemed dangerous, reprehensible and anti-establishment.
Where this issue comes from, who knows? Is it because of hip-hop being a highly afro-centric culture, or is it because the genre is only now starting to dominate? What I do know however is that if hip-hop is going to be lampooned on Fox News due to it being “dangerous”, then so too should all other forms of music.
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