Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jingle Jangle

I'll probably be low key until after the holidays so Merry Christmas folks!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Liberal Decalogue

By Bertrand Russell:

"Perhaps the essence of the Liberal outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it. The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:"

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness."

Boogie Down Productions: "You Must Learn"
KRS One: "Higher Level"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Best Albums 2007

GOLD. Radiohead: In Rainbows - "15 Steps", "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi", "All I Need", "House Of Cards", ("4 Minute Warning" and "Up On The Ladder" from CD 2 are excellent as well)... All worthy of top twenty song status for this year but "Reckoner" is amazing and stands out as my favorite track on the album. In Rainbows is a moody record. I mean, it's got a winter quality to it. It's very bass and drum driven and it seems that they decided to simplify their sound for this album. The only time the electric guitar is prominent is on "Bodysnatchers". The rest of the album is less assertive. I think it plays to their strength.

SILVER. Common: Finding Forever - I've come to expect great albums from Common. He simply knows how to put a well rounded album together and get the most from his producers. Kanye's best work seems to go Com's way. "Start The Show" was a huge surprise in that I knew Kanye could put together some diverse sounds but this track blows me away. I think Com could do better on the lyrical side of things, but this Kanye production just bangs. The only track on Finding Forever that I have a problem with is "I Want You", a Will.I.Am production no less. Should've titled that one "Skip"... Otherwise, it's the best Hip-Hop record of 2007.

BRONZE. Various: Electric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation Compilation - It's 40 songs deep and they're all quality soul cuts. Most of the artists I've never heard of. There are a lot of soul comps floating around out there but this is the most solid I've heard. "Yesterday's Mistakes" by Jimmy Jones and "To Love Somebody" by The Kaldirons are just two of the more esquisite soul tracks from this compilation. The fact that this comp has 40 tracks with each song as good as the next is an accomplishment to say the least. Solid from beginning to end.

The Lucky 7:

4. Feist: The Reminder

5. Band Of Horses: Cease To Begin

6. Kanye West: Graduation

7. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

8. Alicia Keys: As I Am

9. J. Sands/J-Dilla: Mrs. Sands The LP

10. LCD Soundsystem: Sounds Of Silver

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Good Revolutions 2007

1. "All My Friends" - LCD Soundsystem
2. "Start The Show" - Common
3. "Reckoner" - Radiohead
4. "Keep The Car Running" - Arcade Fire
5. "No Ones Gonna Love You" - Band Of Horses
6. "Teenage Love Affair" - Alicia Keys
7. "Pedigree" - Brother Ali
8. "All I Know" - DJ Jazzy Jeff feat. CL Smooth
9. "Flashing Lights" - Kanye West
10. "Someone Great" - LCD Soundsystem
11. "The Limit To Your Love" - Feist
12. "Success" - Jay-Z feat. Nas
13. "Going To Acapulco" - Jim James & Calexico
14. "Sailing Away" - Anthony Hamilton
15. "In The Mood" - Talib Kweli feat. Kanye West
16. "Gilla House Check" - Redman
17. "I'm Not Gonna Teach You..." - Black Kids
18. "Paper Planes" - M.I.A
19. "Rec-Room Therapy" - Ghosface feat. Raekwon & U-God
20. "Now That I'm Free" - Outlines feat. RZA

You know you're getting old when your favorite song of the year is a song about growing older.

I've narrowed down the song list to 20 because I found that ranking them past that is an exercise in futility.

Ghostface's "Rec-Room Therapy", from his bulky Big Doe Rehab album, would have been higher on the list had it not been for U-God's inept verse at the end. Rae and Ghost united would've sufficed.

I purposely left off a couple more Radiohead songs from In Rainbows for obvious reasons. If it's not obvious to you, you'll see why in my next post.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Slept

Spin just did a review of Arrested Development's Since The Last Time. I don't know much about the album since I haven't really kept up with where the group has been. Speech did a solo project some years ago to lukewarm reviews and didn't firm up much of a career on his own. Since The Last Time kind of flew under the radar and, from everything I've read up to this post, it was released last year. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical that it'd be even worth giving attention but after a couple of listens it's actually pretty good. They didn't pull a Black Eyed Peas and morph into some ridiculous eye and ear sore of a pop group. The group kept the formula simple and preserved the qualities that made their debut so enjoyable in 92' - tastefully soulful and with subtlely funky undercurrents.

This is the title track from the album and my favorite of the bunch. It's got a fantastic, celebratory feel to it with great lyrics from Speech. I slept in 2006.

Arrested Development - "Since The Last Time"

Monday, December 17, 2007

"...notes upon notes of my catchiest quotes..."

As you know, with the year's end comes with it lists upon lists upon lists. Do I have my obligatory "Best of 2007" lists? Absolutely. But I love reading other's thoughts on the past year's great moments in music, movies, news...

My favorite list thus far comes from Junichi over at Poplicks. His "Best Quotes Of 2007" is hysterical! Here is a snippet of some of my favorites from his exhaustive list:

"Did you see Britney Spears at the Video Music Awards? I don't want to say that that performance was a disaster, but after the show, I saw Rudy Giuliani having his picture taken standing on her."-Bill Maher

"Go, Raiders."- Robert Comer's last words before being executed in Arizona

"Yeah, well maybe next time, you will estimate me."- Michael, to Jan, who said she underestimated him, on The Office

"People use music as a utensil to better themselves."- Jessica Simpson

Read his complete list here.

Oh yeah, and he just posted his "Best Songs Of 2007". All 100 of them.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Audio Visuals

Beirut - "Elephant Gun"

Menomena - "Evil Bee"

Lupe Fiasco - "Superstar"

Dave Chappelle in London

Monday, December 10, 2007

"The Hardest"

AZ's next full length The Undeniable is set to drop February 19.

In the meantime, "The Hardest" featuring Styles P, produced by the Large Professor, is the heat for your cold winter. It's unclear as to who's track it actually is as it's also on Styles' new album Super Gangster. I don't blame them for keeping the track for their own respective albums. The Large Pro hasn't produced anything memorable in a long time but this track is superb and he's even got a cameo in this exclusive OnSmash presentation.

AZ feat. Styles P/Styles P feat. AZ - "The Hardest"