cartwheels into your heart

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

As usual, I've got singles reviews in the usual spot and overflow below. Mostly pleased with these considering I wrote most of them at around two in the morning, still wired from the Moroccan tea I had earlier in the day.

Rammstein - Mann Gegen Mann
There's something inherently cartoonish about a goth-industrial band like Rammstein, and even more so with all that guttural German. Still, this is surprisingly effective, with a darting bass part serving as a menacing undercurrent and a theremin-like synth whoosh as a treat near the end.

Rihanna - S.O.S.
I wouldn't have expected the follow-up single to Rihanna's seductive bubble-dancehall hit "Pon de Replay" to be a more straight-up (read: American-sounding) R&B song based around a "Tainted Love" sample, of all things. But to the 18-year-old's credit, she's able to breathe new life into the '80s club night staple by treating it as just another mold for her proficient and unmistakably alluring voice. She navigates those darkly buoyant synth lines with style.

Rogue Traders - Watching You
For a song that brazenly swipes one of new wave's most famous stutter-stop riffs, this song feels oddly unfocused. Maybe it's because hearing "My Sharona" in the context of a nervy female lead vocal also calls to mind Elastica's "Three Girl Rhumba" rip, or maybe it's because that laser-synth break demands more of an overall presence. I can't argue that it's not fun in its own way, though.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Hands up if you like indie rock.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The more things change...

Ten years ago, I drove to work listening to Sound Opinions, the "rock'n'roll talk show" hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Bill Wyman, that I had taped from the radio onto a cassette and then played on a mini tape recorder that I propped up on the passenger seat.

This morning, I drove to work listening to Sound Opinions, hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, that I had automatically downloaded via podcast and then played on an iPod that I connected to my car's tape deck through an adapter.


Here's some new singles reviews. All my hip-hop blurbs got cut, haha -- which is fine, actually, since they weren't my best, but if you're curious:

T.I. - What You Know
One of the first truly classic rap singles of 2006. It's sort of hard to go wrong when your song is dressed up with regal orchestration pilfered from an R&B dusty (cf. last year's "Stay Fly"), but T.I. is also on the top of his game here, sounding playful and confident as he cycles though endless internal rhymes.

Juvenile - Rodeo
"Rodeo" finds Juvenile employing the same clean jazz-guitar sound he used on "Slow Motion" (his biggest chart hit), but his simple, easygoing flow inches this one even further toward watery smoothness. It has a pleasant, non-intrusive bounce, but at times I wish it called more attention to itself.

B.G. f/Mannie Fresh - Move Around
All I really have to say about the actual song is that the refrain "I was raised on bread and baloney" is pretty funny shouted like that. Otherwise, though, "Move Around" is most interesting as a post-Katrina document: through their neighborhood pride, B.G. and crew dramatize the resilience of New Orleans, even if the mentions of the city's damage are few and the song's title doesn't (as I hoped it might!) refer to the relocation effort.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I have a couple things in Stylus this week: the first is just a Turntable post about the Oscars, but the second is a personal essay I've had brewing for a while about taste and listening communities. Check 'em out.