Lyrics Born – Later That Day…

14 09 2010

Listened: Friday August 20

Lyrics Born is one of the few opening artists I have seen at a show that resulted in an album purchase. His charisma blew me away and his music is so fun and approachable.

I love Later That Day. It puts a smile on my face and makes me shake it every time I hear it. LB has a great way with words and in true rapper style he makes you laugh at his boasts and observations, while still keeping it real with his neuroses and insecurities. The upbeat nature of the wicked bass line samples, backing vocals by Joyo Vellarde (LB’s wife), and LB’s shoutouts also makes this excellent party music.

Some of my favorites:

My life’s a combination of my past achievements
With a lotta heavy lifting, lotta deep breathing
A lotta courage, lotta doubts, a lotta mixed feelings
A lotta love, a lotta luggage, for a lotta reasons
I ain’t forgot about the pain and all the mistreatments
I ain’t forgot the little box they try to wiggle me in
I ain’t forgot about the flower deep underneath the crowded streets
Sprouting in between the cracks, scream and shout, “Baby!”
Follow like a lock in, in the Coliseum
And you can positive I think I’m in the mausoleum
You think I’ll ever hang it up, oh Money, stop dreaming
You think I’ll ever stop, oh baby, now you’re reaching
I won’t stop till I feel my lungs stop breathing
I won’t stop till I feel my heart stop beating

I also smile every time at:

(stop complaining)
I know but this kinda shit pisses me off
(stop complaining)
Man fuck that shit, I pay my taxes when I’m asked to
I’m not enthusiastic about it, but shit, I make it happen
Yeah it’s last minute, but goddamn it, they cash it
(this is fiscal harassment, they keep touching my assets!)

I’ve got to respect someone so hardworking, too. He is a tireless tourer and a workaholic in the studio. I encourage every music fan to give this album a try, even if you’re normally not into rap.

Kanye West – Late Registration

14 09 2010

Listened: Friday August 20

Every time I listen to a Kanye West album I’m surprised that I love it so much. He talks about things I don’t personally experience (dropping out of college, pot smoking, being a successful/unsuccessful black man in America), but he does it in such a way that I both shake my ass and nod my head at how spot on target his lyrics are.

The standouts for me on Late Registration are Gold Digger and Hey Mama.

Gold Digger is a crazy-catchy song that is both cynical and making fun of its cynicism. The cutting lyrics never seem bitter, just hysterically true. I also remember loving the video the first time I saw it. It turned rap videos on their heads – it’s a video full of hot women wiggling their goodies, just like every other rap video. The difference is the ultra stylized look of acknowledged fantasy situations (the girls are posing as soft focus, old-fashioned pin-up models in magazines) versus the hyper-realistic style, in-your-face, close-up booty shaking party of usual rap videos, which sell fantasy as reality.

Whenever I hear the beginning vocal sample of Hey Mama, I always feel myself get a little emotional. Hey Mama is one of the best love letters to a mom I have ever heard and the excellent production really helps hammer that home. It’s so heart-wrenching to hear a son plainly say how much he appreciates everything his mom did for him growing up and how much he loves and respects her and how much he wants her to be proud of him.

To know that she died unnecessarily after this song was released gives it a painful edge (his mother died during plastic surgery her primary doctor told her not to have because of the risks). The successful, smart, amazing woman described in this song still felt the need to get plastic surgery despite all her successes and was willing to risk her life for it? It makes me think about the pressure successful women must still feel about their appearance and how having enough money to make any wish reality can have serious repercussions, for anyone.

Carbon/Silicon – The Last Post

14 09 2010

Listened: Friday, August 20

The funny thing about Carbon/Silicon is that on The Last Post they’ve made punk that is old-fashioned (and I don’t mean that disparagingly) yet at the same time discusses modern liberal issues (the wars in the Middle East, the current world oil crisis, the widening gulf between rich and poor). The subject matter genes of The Clash are very clear here.

Despite what I said above about them being old-fashioned punk, they sound like hippies in Oil Well: “We’ll try to make a humanitarian case of dropping some love on the human race.” Really though, punks and hippies might have been mortal enemies in their day, but their methods are two different sides of the same coin.