cartwheels into your heart

Friday, September 30, 2005

And now more singles. It appears I'm outside the consensus this week, as Alfred Soto and I are the only ones who like the Alicia Keys song (although, amusingly, Ian Mathers also makes a Cosby Show ref in his blurb) (and don't worry, I still stand by my claim that "My Boo" was one of the worst songs of 2004) and Matt Chesnut is the only one who shares my affection for the Pharrell track (call me crazy, but I have a feeling people would've dug it more had it not been sent as a muddled-sounding 128kbps mp3 -- the version I swiped from J.M. sounded more slick and lucid. Or maybe people just hate Pharrell. That's cool, whatevs.)

I liked "Stay Fly," too, but didn't go gaga over it. We had a surfeit of writers this week, so my blurb got cut, but here's what I said: "Between the distressed strings hovering in the background, the infectious stuttering sample that pops up throughout, and the Memphis crew's uniformly energetic flow, 'Stay Fly' stands as one of the most breezily confident rap singles of recent vintage." If we did half-points, it probably would've been a 7.5 for me.

I'm still waiting for something to come out in Q4 that'll really knock me out.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Well, it looks like my blurbs for last week's singles roundup somehow didn't make it to the editor, so here you go. Enjoy.

Chris Brown ft. Juelz Santana, "Run It"

Two reasons why "Run It" stands out from most minimal rap tracks: 1) the subtle fluidity with which it moves in and out of the unexpectedly swooning bridge, and 2) the lyrical shout-outs to both the Ying-Yang Twins and, erm, the Waitresses. Yup. [6]

Pretty Ricky - "Your Body"

So I'm thinking that the chord structure of this song is to current hip-hop-inflected R&B what "I've Got Rhythm" was to bebop: a useful template. That is, the fact that it sounds like several other hits isn't a shortcoming; rather, it creates the opportunity for participatory intertextuality, as the listener can sneak in a breathy
"we belong together" or swap all the "yes-suh!"s with "shorr-day!"s. Also, the group's vocal harmonies, while vaguely irritating on "Grind with Me," actually serve them well here. [6]

My Chemical Romance - "The Ghost of You"

I'm not sure this song actually works, exactly, but I find it sort of fascinating nonetheless, from the creeping, smoky-nightclub feel of the verses (which totally fits with the eyeliner) to the way dude's cracked voice swoops into oblivion on "could I? should I?" There's a smart sense of dynamics here, too. [6]

Foo Fighters - "D.O.A."

I've been listening to Lindsay Lohan's "First" a lot lately and still marveling at its delicious swaggering riffs -- which makes me sad that an actual veteran rock band can't manage anything nearly as punchy and memorable. Maybe that's an unfair comparison, since Grohl and friends certainly aren't aiming for bubblegum, but too much of "D.O.A." just sounds half-assed. [4]

Nickelback - "Photograph"

I haven't seen the video, but let me imagine: Chad Kroeger is thumbing through a dusty old box of snapshots in the attic, and when the camera zooms in on the frame, the figures previously lost to the cobwebs of memory suddenly come to life! Later, the band stands on a cliff somewhere and emotes. As for the song itself, I don't expect a Sontag treatise, but this is full of unusually dumb couplets delivered in
Kroeger's resolute clenched-throat growl. Competent but ultimately foolish. [4]

Young Jeezy ft. Akon, "Soul Survivor"

There's a nice counterpoint here between Akon's dippy, Muppet-ish croon and Jeezy's gruff delivery, but I'm not sure there's much else to recommend it. [4]

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Is the name My Chemical Romance meant to echo My Bloody Valentine? Why did I just notice this? Also, is it fair that their eyeliner-wearing makes me unusually sympathetic toward them? The late 90s emo touches on "The Ghost of You" don't hurt, either: that moment where everything drops out except Gerard Way's suddenly fragile voice and a single-note guitar line and you hear a blanket of space and static in the background? Yes.

Cut Copy at Subterranean 9/24: Time Stands Still / Going Nowhere / That Was Just a Dream / Uu / Autobahn Music / Saturdays / Rendezvous / Future / Bright Neon Payphone

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I'm about to go catch a flight to NYC for the CMJ Music Marathon, but while you anxiously await my return, check out this week's Stylus feature on the Top 50 Basslines of All Time. It's a highly contentious list (no McCartney? no BOOTSY?!) but interesting in its own way. You'll note that I wrote the blurbs for the Sea and Cake's "Bird and Flag" (#48) and Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman" (#19).

Friday, September 02, 2005

By sheer coincidence, the book I've been reading over the past couple of weeks (I'm a slow reader) is The Moviegoer by Walker Percy, set in a sumptuous, colorful New Orleans that now barely exists.