Vampire Weekend (Musical group). (2010). Contra. London, England: XL Recordings.
So, I was at Sappyfest last weekend and seriously, this was the music I most enjoyed from a four day excursion. The fact that a CD beat out live music is a powerfully indication as to the groups talents (or a an indication that Sappyfest organizers need to scrounge a little harder to find better artists… Although, everyone else seemed to like the tunes so maybe I was just at the wrong festival. Moving forward).
This album is a nice mix between the electro-Indie pop beats I’ve been becoming more and more fond of (artists such as Muse, The Knife, Austra, and I’m sure a million more) and realistic yet artful lyrics. I doubt if many teens will fully appreciate the goose-bump producing defeatism that trembles beneath the lyrics of “Giving Up the Gun” a sentimental reflection on watching someone else give up on their dreams while refusing to give up on their own. I was really reminded of Pink Floyd’s “Time” in that both songs “rage against the dying of the light” so to speak.
This leads me to the second point I would like to mention about this band, something that markedly separates them from Pink Floyd and many current like-sounding bands: Vampire Weekend produce HAPPY, POSITIVE music. Seriously! I am a grump and I gravitate towards depressive, soul-tattering tunes… but VW is a welcome departure from this trend!
Playful energy that underlies almost every track. This is a muthatruckin’ FUN album to listen to. Apparently their first,album, self-titled, is also the shit (according to allmusic.com).
The proof’s in the pudding so as always I encourage you to judge for yourself and form your own opinions about this music:
Brown, C….and about 20 other people. (2011). F.A.M.E. S.I.: Jive.
Officially, I am against violence. Unofficially, People Magazine needs to have it’s reviewers smacked upside their heads like Chris Brown did to Rhianna. They are quoted as saying that this album of Chris’ was exactly what Micheal Jackson would have made if he were 21 in 2011. It is not. Yes, the tunes are catchy, but Micheal Jackson could write lyrics (ie. full, grammatically correct sentences). Chris can only talk about how wealthy and handsome he is. Chris is just some punk who, at best, gets to approve the beats that other people make for him… also if you’re a “singer” ditch the autotune Chris as well as your talk box effects might have been fresh in 1998 when Cher released her hit song Believe… but now they are getting’ plaaayed OUT!
Pop music has always gotten a bit of ridicule, but remember the days when Ella Fiztgerald and Frank Sinatra were considered “Pop Music”!?! Those people had talent, while Chris Brown has only good looks, great agents and creative producers. After all he is barely credited with making half the album (I suspect that’s the part of the album that sucks). Don’t believe me? Well, check out the track credits at Allmusic.com. The songs “Look at me now” and “She ain’t you” are perfect examples of the cool beats and terrible lyrics/vocals that pervade this album. In fact “She ain’t you” samples the beat from Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature“…maybe that’s what the tools from People magazine caught on to.
Good hip-hop lyricists are people like KRS-One or Talib Kwali. People who can bust a sick, original beat are people like Juan Atkins of Cybotron or Grand Master Flash. If you want the whole packadge there are tons of folks who have risen to stardom for true talent, as a starter I suggest you witness the fitness of Roots Manuva, legend extraordinaire (then check out how he remixed that same song a few years later…SIIIIIIICKNESSS!) Keep in mind that most of these cats were blowing up around the time I was born (1983)!
What do we have now? We have an immature Chris Brown riding the wave of other people’s hard work, unable to control his temper because he’s being coddled by an industry that will forgive his flaws/crimes until the paper stops flowing. I’m not saying that Chris shouldn’t be given a chance to redeem his disgraceful actions, I’m saying he isn’t reforming because that he’s not being encouraged too.
I wish modern pop stars were more interested in making music than headlines.