Friday, February 18, 2011

Write Here, There, And Everywhere

Wow, I haven't posted here in a bit. Well, let's do some catch up.

I have added another site to the places I write for. It's called Blinded by Sound and it's an awesome music site run by Josh Hathaway. You can find a link to my profile in the sidebar.

Well, here's everything I've been up to online since my last post:


Reviewed Cee-Lo Green's latest album called The Lady Killer

Listed my Favorite Albums of 2010

Checked out a collection of Tweety & Sylvester cartoons on DVD

Reviewed RJD2's first album under his new alter ego The Insane Warrior called We Are The Doorways (a song is embedded below)

Reviewed the latest (and potentially final) Go! Team album called Rolling Blackouts

Blinded by Sound

My inaugural review for this site takes a listen to Daft Punk's score to Tron Legacy

My goal for 2011 is to create more content versus 2010. With three sites to contribute to (Blogcritics, Blinded by Sound, and ThaHipHop), I just might achieve it.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Two New Music Reviews

I have finished two new music reviews for Blogcritics since I last posted. First, I reviewed Good Things, the new album by Aloe Blacc. Here's an excerpt:

The album calls to mind the soul music of the 1960s and 1970s but at the same time, feels current. Those frustrated by current R & B music can find solace here as this album is full of great songwriting and memorable vocals.

My other review is of Royksopp's latest instrumental album Senior. Here is an excerpt:

Where their last album was club-friendly, this one is more mellow and more freeform in nature. The result is an excellent work that is at times beautiful, haunting, and sad.

Hopefully, you'll enjoy both reviews.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Review: The Middle - Season One

My latest review of the first season of The Middle is up on Blogcritics. Here's an excerpt:

If you did write this show off last season, then you missed a great comedy that deserves more acclaim. Now, you have a chance to catch up with this hilarious show with the release of the season one DVD set.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Coming Up Next...

The next things on my writing agenda are reviews of the first season of The Middle and Royksopp's new album Senior. These two things will definitely happen because they are assigned to me. Everything else I mention below is not guaranteed.

I want to cover as many of the new show premieres as possible. My DVR will be my friend in this endeavor although Monday September 20 will be a bitch as no less than five new shows premiere across the broadcast networks on this day.

If I think about enough movies, I may do a list of great flops of the last few years. My love of Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Speed Racer made me consider this.

I don't know if I'll get any great ideas in my head for posts but I am considering doing creative writing again. Every time I walked in Borders to kill time while waiting for my sister to pick me up, it inspired me. Once I got home, though, the inspiration disappeared.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Here's What You've Missed

It's been a while since I've posted here. I haven't quite had the urge to do so but that doesn't mean I haven't done at least a little writing. So, here's the stuff I've done since the last post...

The first review is that of the re-issue of Passion Pit's debut album Manners. It was on my fave albums of 2009 list and the new version adds two bonus tracks. Here's an excerpt from the review which was first published on Blogcritics back in May:

The biggest test of an album is how it holds up over time. My opinions of some albums have changed over time and not necessarily for the better. Fortunately, Manners remains excellent nearly a year after its initial release. The three bonus tracks may not be enough for fans to double-dip but this release is perfect for anyone just discovering the group.

Next up, is a review of Janelle Monae's debut full-length The ArchAndroid. It's a likely shoo-in for one of my favorite albums of 2010. Here's an excerpt from the article which was first published on Blogcritics in June:

Monae tackles a wide variety of styles on this release from R & B/soul to rock, pop, and electronic. While it could have been a disjointed mishmash of an album, instead it's wonderful from start to finish. The ArchAndroid is endlessly creative and marks the official arrival of a unique voice in music.

Then, for a change, a DVD review. This one is of the Tom & Jerry: Deluxe Anniversary Collection. The H-B cartoons are great. Everything else is a little questionable. Here's an excerpt from that review also first published on Blogcritics in June:

To mark the occasion, Warner Bros. has released a new Deluxe Anniversary Collection DVD featuring 30 cartoons that span nearly every aspect of the Tom & Jerry legacy. Animation enthusiasts and collectors who have picked up the Spotlight Collection releases will probably be a bit disappointed. However, if you're a fan who just wants some cat-and-mouse antics at a reasonable price, this set is for you.

Finally, here's my most recent review. It's of The Chemical Brothers newest release Further. Further is not only a departure for the electronic's their best album in years. Here's an excerpt from that review which was first published on Blogcritics just a couple of days ago:

In a bold move, their new album contains just eight songs and no featured guest stars. Relying only on themselves (and a sparingly used female vocalist), the duo has crafted one of their best albums in years and an experience best enjoyed as a whole.

Well, that gets you up to date on my writing activities. I want to get back to blogging in the near future. I won't make any promises because when it comes to this blog, I usually don't keep them. Instead, I'll ask you to keep watching this space.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

CD Review: More Malice by Snoop Dogg

In December 2009, Snoop Dogg released the full-length album Malice N Wonderland. It was a solid effort from the rapper spawning hits such as "I Wanna Rock," and "Gangsta Luv" featuring The Dream. Just a few months after releasing this album, Snoop returns with the new EP More Malice. Containing mostly new material, More Malice is more of a mixed bag than its predecessor.

More Malice contains eight tracks with five of them being brand-new. Three tracks are repeats from Malice N Wonderland. Two of them are remixes of songs that feature added guest stars ("Gangsta Luv" appears in its original version) . Fresh off The Blueprint 3, Jay-Z makes an appearance on "I Wanna Rock (The Kings G-Mix)." He pays tribute to "It Takes Two" in his verse, which is appropriate since "I Wanna Rock" samples the hip-hop classic.

Bun B joins Soulja Boy Tell 'Em on the G-Mix of "Pronto," one of the worst songs on Malice N Wonderland. Bun B does elevate the proceedings a bit but this track remains pretty bad. The main problem with this song is the terrible chorus by Soulja Boy Tell 'Em. Some voices still sound okay with Auto Tune but Soulja Boy's does not. Any momentum the verses have is killed every time the chorus is played again.

Kid Cudi joins Snoop Dogg on "That Tree," the best of the brand-new tracks. The unlikely duo work well together on this surprisingly fun song fueled by wonderful production by Diplo. "You're Gonna Luv Me" has Snoop showing a bit of his softer side. “So Gangsta” is notable mainly for its appearance by Butch Cassidy who tries mightily to fill Nate Dogg's shoes.

Things take a harder turn on "Protocol" and "House Shoes." Both tracks feature Snoop by himself rapping with no hook for at least three minutes. "Protocol" is more interesting lyrically with a dismissal of rappers who use Auto-Tune ("We hit licks and gang bang / You on some T-Pain shit") and a comment on the lack of recognition for West Coast artists ("How the fuck ya'll gonna keep havin' all these award shows on the West Coast but ain't no mother fuckers from the West Coast winning no awards?"). "House Shoes" has a more interesting sound with some Arabian-style strings mixed with some sparse drums.

While it's nice that More Malice isn't a re-release of Malice N Wonderland, there isn't enough here to warrant a purchase. The G-Mixes are kind of unnecessary especially when one of them is of a bad song. The new songs are the highlights of the release but most of them (apart from "That Tree") don't make much of a real impact. More Malice might be an okay purchase if you get the CD/DVD version or if you want just the singles from Malice N Wonderland. Otherwise, Snoop fans should just buy a download of "That Tree" and wait for his next full-length album.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Music Review: The Colossus by RJD2

Three years after taking a detour into pop/rock with The Third Hand, artist/producer RJD2 returns with his new album The Colossus. The first album released through RJD2's own record label, The Colossus is his first major album to feature hip-hop in six years. While it isn't without some missteps, this album is a welcome return to form.

The album kicks off in grand fashion with the excellent instrumental “Let There Be Horns.” The song, with its forceful horns and strings, is a bit of a proclamation of RJD2's return. The track even ends with a chorus of cheers and applause in the background.

The other instrumental tracks fare pretty well too. Live flute courtesy of Heather Fortune give “Tin Flower” a mellow feel that gets utterly destroyed by the end of the song. “Small Plans” is a sort of controlled chaos as vocal samples, electronics, and other instruments shift around each other. Vocal samples are also put to good use on “The Stranger,” the creepy cousin of “The Horror.”

While The Colossus has RJD2 returning to hip-hop, it is not without some pop elements. Fortunately, he seems to have learned from his previous album and handed off most of the vocal work. Kenna is a welcome presence on “Games You Can Win.” Their styles work well together and hopefully, this is not the last time they collaborate.

Phonte Coleman of Little Brother and The Foreign Exchange shows off his singing chops on “The Shining Path.” The song has a nice, old-school R & B feel to it complete with some nice harmonies. There is also one vocal hip-hop track, “A Son's Cycle” featuring The Catalyst, Illogic, and NP. The lyrics aren't much to write home about but the production is amazing. The beat doesn't stay the same and changes to fit each MC.

The Colossus falters mainly whenever RJD2 decides to provide vocals. “Gypsy Caravan” is a failed attempt at 1960's-style rock. It's out-of-place to the point that it is almost unintentionally funny. On the other hand, “The Glow” is polarizing. It's a song you kind of like and hate at the same time. There are elements here that could make a great song but they're spoiled by silly lyrics. The main refrain of “Got the glow! / Got the glow!” is a little annoying but manages to stay in your head. What “The Glow” seems to be going for is better achieved in the album's closer “Walk With Me.” That track, with its bouncy, old-school beat is genuinely fun from start to finish.

If there's one theme that runs throughout The Colossus, it is acknowledging your past and looking towards the future. The album is balanced between the hip-hop fans have come to expect and the pop leanings of his more recent work. It contains a sequel to “Salud,” an interlude from Deadringer as well as subtle reference to that album's “Introduction.” It is a solid album from one of the more interesting and innovative artists out there, hip-hop or otherwise. There's no telling if RJD2's next work will be more pop-oriented, more hip-hop oriented, or something else entirely. However, as long as he focuses on making good music, we will be anticipating what's next.