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Archive for the ‘Quick Hits’ Category

Quick Hits: SO. HOT. RIGHT. NOW.

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After yesterday’s depressingly negative “Quick Hits” piece about Day26 (sorry, but someone had to say something about that foolishness), I bring you a truly quick “Quick Hit:”

It doesn’t happen very often. But every now and then a song comes along that single-handedly makes me wish I was still still DJing regularly. It’s not always the “best” song of the year, or even one I think most people will like. It’s not based on iTunes sales, chart peformance, or TRL countdowns.

It’s based solely on the fact that I’m dying to play this track at sickeningly high volume on a bumpin’ sound system for of a ton of drunk and/or high people that are dancing furiously together in a packed room. You’d think I would be able to remember the last time this happened, but I can’t. Anyway, enough of that already. This song is making me crazy. I can’t even wait until Friday’s Picks to post it.

So what’s the fucking song??

The song that’s absolutely slaying me right now is a remix of N.E.R.D.’s newest single, the cocaine anthem “Everyone Nose.” This is funny considering my utter disdain for the original version of this song, which I find to be relatively boring, ripped off too directly from reggaeton’s “At Chu,” and blatantly pandering to the “drugs are cool and so am I” Hollywood set. I mean, Lindsay Lohan makes a cameo in the freakin’ video!

Ugh.

But the remix…..probably a Pharrell/Kanye job, is drastically different. First of all it’s hardly even an N.E.R.D. song anymore. It has really become a CRS track, with an unbelievable beat that switches effortlessly between hip hop and techno. Haven’t heard of CRS yet? It usually stands for Child Rebel Soldier, but in this case, CRS is the self proclaimed “super-group” made up of Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and Lupe Fiasco — appearing on the T-shirt you see above swathed in BAPE gear and Kalashnikovs. And on top of that, the remix features one of hip hop’s top lyricists — not to mention top cocaine experts — Pusha T from the Clipse. And everyone kills it on their respective turns. (Yes, even Pharrell).

Okay I’ve already said too much. This track is such heat! People are gonna go crazy for it in the clubs. It’s just absolute fire, pure gas, a ridiculous banger — off the hook, off the chain, off the meat rack, as we used to say. Just to give credit where credit is due, special thanks to DJ M.O.S., one of New York’s most highly-regarded and universally admired DJs, for making this track available. I’m about to blackout now.

Without further blabbering…..GET IT:

Everyone Nose (Remix)

Just play it loud.

– Jonathan

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Quick Hits: Day26 – Day26

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So typically we use the “Quick Hits” format for newly acquired music that we like and feel like sharing with others or just generally talking about. But I need to flip the script a little bit, even if only just for today.

I’ve written extensively about artists that I like — or at least whose music I find to be new or interesting or meaningful — in almost every post thus far. I didn’t want to contribute too much to the ever-snarky “this sucks” culture of today, which seems particularly prominent when it comes to blog culture. But I gotta say something about Day26 and their debut album, the cleverly titled, Day26:

This sucks.

I mean honestly, this was supposed to be the next R&B super-group, which Diddy (whom I grew up with, like, and admire) and MTV spent years crafting — holding auditions all over the country and synthesizing the thousands of hopefuls and wannabes into the five men you see sitting before you who already look dressed for their own funeral. And yet, I found myself listening to the album and thinking, Seriously? This is it? This is the best Diddy could come up with? With all of America as his talent pool. And on top of all that, Diddy, you decide to saddle them with this absurd name, Day26 (no spaces, please). Why, man, why?

I was really looking forward to having a good, old-school, all-male R&B group that could really sing again. Well you can forget that idea. If you were waitin’, it ain’t here yet. Forget about the next New Edition, the next Jodeci, or the next Boyz II Men. Day26 is maybe the next All-4-One — maybe (come on, “I Swear” was a great song) — but they aren’t even the next 112. (Who had some really legitimate shit, by the way: “Only You,” “Cupid,” “It’s Over Now,” “Peaches & Cream,” “Dance With Me,” etc.). The passion and charisma just isn’t there with these dudes.

And the bitch of it is, Day26 has probably had more advantages in releasing their first album than any group in R&B history, accept for maybe Diddy’s other “Making the” band, female “super-group,” Danity Kane. Between the insane amount of near-constant publicity from four seasons of MTV’s Making the Band show, and album production almost exclusively by top-flight producers (Bryan-Michael Cox, Danja, and The Hitmen), it’s no wonder that Day26 debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart — anything less would have been serious under achievement considering the coattails on which they’re riding.

Despite the hot initial album sales, the group’s first single, “Got Me Going,” hasn’t exactly been a smashing success, peaking at number seventy-nine on Billboard’s Hot 100, and number thirty on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart. This could be due to the fact that, like the group itself, the song is just pretty damn lame. It seems entirely possible that what Day26 is truly suffering from is over-design, over-production, over-coaching, and over-exposure. In other words, the build up was so extreme, there was simply no way the ends could justify the means.

If you opt to check out any Day26 tracks, I’d go with “I’m The Reason,” a percussion-driven joint reminiscent of Destiny’s Child’s “Lose My Breath,” or “Since You’ve Been Gone,” an unsatisfying attempt at the standard “Oh baby I miss you so much but now I’ve changed” R&B ballad.

But I don’t particularly recommend it.

– Jonathan

Day26 Official MySpace

Quick Hits: TQ – Paradise

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So tomorrow, April 29th, marks the long-awaited (by some) return of crooner TQ to the R&B game, as he releases his 4th official album, Paradise (EMI 2008). To remind those who may have forgotten — or to inform those who weren’t paying attention — it was 1999 when TQ burst onto the R&B scene with his first single, “Westside,” a soulful homage to the West Coast hip hop scene and its most representative rappers, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright and Tupac Shakur.

TQ was a rather unique commodity when he first arrived in ’99, one of the few proprietors of what might best be described as “Thug R&B,” paving the way for artists like Jaheim. His lyrics told street-worthy stories and used street-worthy language to do so. In fact, it was likely the hip hip vernacular TQ employed on “Westside” that kept the street anthem from climbing the U.S. charts. In other words, TQ was quite the departure from the then-popular R&B of K-Ci & JoJo, Usher, and Next, who hit big with “All My Life,” “You Make Me Wanna,” and “Too Close,” (aka the bane of high school principals everywhere) respectively.

After a few early spins of Paradise, it’s clear that TQ hasn’t abandoned his signature Thug R&B style, which is good to hear, as the album opens with the title track, “Paradise”: I grew up in the middle of a war zone, in a place where all reasoning was long gone / California dreamin’ was nightmares, and it shook a nigga straight to the bone. The second track, “Soulja,” follows the same road: This is the story, of a soldier / Cuz it takes one, just to know one / And it’s no fun, gotta fight on, like the Trojans / Come on holler if you hear me tonight. And of course, there are thug ballads too, including “Ebony Eyes” and “Ain’t The Same,” both of which are astonishingly honest and frank for a “thug.”

But two of the best, and most intriguing, tracks on Paradise are TQ’s renditions — or perhaps “appropriations” is the better word — of “Proud Mary,” which was written in 1969 by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and “A Little Bit of Love” by New Edition circa 1986. Of course TQ puts his thug spin on both tracks, and somehow, both songs just…work, which is really quite a feat considering neither CCR’s nor New Editions’ styles were anything like TQ’s.

It will be interesting to see how Paradise is received by an R&B marketplace now dominated by the soft-core likes of Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Mario, T-Pain, and, well…..Justin Timberlake. Yikes. Personally, I’m glad to get back to some good old-fashioned, grown-man R&B about man stuff, and away from the scrawny, eighteen-year -old, manufactured pop sensations who can’t be bothered to write their own material.

But will anyone else be?

TQ’s Official MySpace

– Jonathan

Quick Hits: Maps & Atlases- Tree, Swallows, Houses

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So one of my new assignment at work is to go through band pages on myspace (long story). This sounds great, but really there is more crap music in this world than you probably realize. After going through hundreds of pages though, I did come across a few winners. One of the bands I stumbled across was the Chicago Math-Rock based band Maps and Atlases. I noticed they were on the same label as Tera Melos-Sargent House, so figured to check them out. After hearing only three songs from the album Trees, Swallows, Houses that I [yes illegally] downloaded- I ordered the vinyl online. That good. In fact this youtube video sold me.<- That is insane- the acoustic harmonics, the whole tuning at the end. That just makes me wish I actually had some skillz with that six string in my room. These guys are insanely talented, and the singer has a really interesting voice. To me I hear Paul Simon with a frog in his throat. Anyhow, If you enjoy some fun math rock this is for you. If you’ve never heard it, this could be a great introduction. [Math rock is typically full of very challenging technical parts, along with frequent changing time signatures.] I’m really having trouble listening to anything else. Before you know it, you’ll be singing along and clapping your hands at crazy times.

For a good starter-check out “Every Place is a House”

Or their myspace for songs www.myspace.com/mapsandatlases

-m

Written by RocksRocksRocks

April 20, 2008 at 8:05 pm