A Review in Randomness
afternoonsnoozebutton:

You had ONE job in Jurassic Park. What happened?

afternoonsnoozebutton:

You had ONE job in Jurassic Park. What happened?

Where is basketball headed?

  Finally a sports post. I thought I’d have a couple of these by now, but I guess I got into music more than I thought.

  A couple weeks ago I read an article by LZ Granderson on ESPN.com that asked if this years rookie class is the worst in a decade. It pointed out that outside of Blake Griffin, who wasn’t even in last years draft, and John Wall, there hasn’t been an impact rookie this year.

  Reading this made me wonder: if this class is the worst in a decade, what about next years?

  Looking at the college basketball landscape, not only is there not a dominate team, there also isn’t a stand out player. There isn’t a guy that you could point out and say, “That guy will be the number one pick and will be a building block for a teams turn around”, like you could with Wall, Griffin, Rose, Durant, etc. There are some guys who have potential, or the professional term “upside”.

  There’s one problem with that: the NBA isn’t really built for development of players. Each team gets 15 roster spots, and only 12 players dress. Of those players, about a max of 10 actually play with about 8 getting substantial minutes. So when is a young player that isn’t quite ready for the league supposed to get valuable playing time? Sure there’s the D-League, but that is kind of considered the start of the death of a pro career. And how much better is a struggling pro going to get when he’s playing against other struggling pros? 

  So where does the problem start and how does it get fixed? In my opinion, it starts with the rule that players can’t go straight to the pros from high school. You get kids who want to go pro right away, but have to go to college for a year. During this time, they have full intentions of leaving at the end of the year. But maybe they aren’t ready and need to spend more time in college, where their skills can be developed. But since they made up their minds to be one and done, they leave anyways and struggle in the league.

  To be honest, I don’t think there is anyway to fix this. But here’s my opinion. I think they should change the rule to make kids stay all four years of college. That at least makes it more likely that guys will be NBA ready. But the fact of the matter is a lot of kids either don’t want to be at school for four years or just aren’t academically able to stay in school for four years. This is an opportunity for the NBA to embrace the impact the game has on the rest of the world. Foreign leagues are getting better and better. So if a kid doesn’t want to stay in school for 4 years, he could be free to sign with a foreign team. I don’t think any foreign league is a threat to steal talent from the NBA, so there isn’t a worry that NBA potential will stay overseas. So a kid can hone his skills playing overseas, then come back a few years later with a better chance to succeed than before. We’ve already seen this work with Brandon Jennings. While he is definitely not an elite player, he at least is able to compete in the NBA and is likely to be around awhile.

  As I said, there likely isn’t a “right way” to fix this problem. Luckily for the NBA, it is experiencing a popularity growth. This can be attributed to the large amount of exciting young players now in the league. So the league will be in good shape for awhile. But if the talent pool coming into the league does not improve, we will see the talent level start to thin out.

Kurtis Grades The Albums: Part VI (The Bonus Tracks)

    Because of Snowpocalypse 2011, I’m staying at my parents house so I don’t get snowed in at a house with no cable, no internet, and a VERY limited food supply. But a benefit of that is internet access, so its time for what will be the final installment of this series (probably). I call this the bonus tracks because I had intended to end the series with the last post, but listened to a couple albums toward the end of the year/ early this year that I really liked. So without further ado….

  B.O.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray- B.O.B

  This was an artist I was a little skeptical about. B.O.B hit it big on the radio with “Nothin’ On You”, “Airplanes”, and “Magic”. While I for the most part enjoyed all of those songs (wasn’t a HUGE fan of “Airplanes” and “Nothin’ On You” got played out), I didn’t know if I would like an entire album like those songs. But after good reviews from friends and websites, I decided to check it out. It turns out those songs are more of the exception than the rule when it comes to this album. The rest of the album is a pretty solid hip-hop album. When he actually raps, B.O.B has a very good, very rhythmic flow.  “Bet I” is a faster song featuring T.I., and B.O.B keeps up with him. “Kids” has a slower beat, and B.O.B matches the pace without sounding like he’s just speaking. He even does a little singing on “Lovelier Than You”, and it isn’t terrible.

  Favorite Track- “Fame”

  This is a very cool track that samples George Gershwin’s “Summertime” (I’d like to say I didn’t have to look that up, but that be a lie). It’s another track that has a very rhythmic flow to it that you can just nod your head to. 

  Grade- B

  An eclectic album that has a couple different feels to it. Enjoyable overall, but it doesn’t have a track that really stands out to make it great. B.O.B is a very talented artist, however, and hopefully this album is a taste of good things to come from him.

  Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty- Big Boi

  A solo effort from one half of Outkast, Big Boi shows why he’s considered one of the best rappers in the game with this album. This was another album I wasn’t sure about getting into. But after seeing it listed as one of the top albums of the year on several sites, and finding out “Shutterbug” (a song used in Girl Talk’s All Day and on NBA 2K11) was on this album, I decided to check it out. And I’m glad I did. I really liked this album from the first listen and it only got better after that. Not as pop radio friendly as B.O.B’s album, but similar in that it has several different feels to it. No matter what style, Big Boi kills every track. One thing you notice about his raps is that everything flows and makes sense. Metaphors don’t come out of no where like other rappers tend to do. “General Patton” is that hard, dirty south, rap you expect from Big Boi. “Hustle Blood”, featuring Jamie Foxx, is a baby makin song if I’ve ever heard one. The following track, “Be Still”, is a dramatic change; much lighter and happier.

  Favorite Track(s)- “Shine Blockas” and “Shine Blockas (Remix)”

  As of this post, this is my favorite song of the moment. A really fun song to listen to, dance to, whatever. The original version features Gucci Mane, and the remix adds Bun B (one of my favorites) and Project Pat. The song samples “I Miss You” by Harold Melvin and Blue Notes (again, had to look it up), and listening to that and “Shine Blockas”, the difference is pretty incredible.

  Grade- A-

  Probably not an album for everyone. But if you’re a fan of hip-hop, this is a must. Every track is high quality, which differs from a lot of hip-hop albums where a few track could be done without. I’d say it’s especially surprising from an established rapper like Big Boi, who could probably get away with “taking a few tracks off”.

  Brothers- The Black Keys

  There’s no way I could finish this series without talking about this album. Like the other two, I’d seen this album on all kinds of top albums of 2010 lists, and nearly all of them had it near the top. So one day I decided to download the album and was immediately blown away. It’s a very unique album that just got better and better the more I listened to it. Like The Crash Kings, they are a refreshing change from what gets played on the radio. They create a gritty, electronic blues sound that is hard not to like. The album starts off great with “Everlasting Light” and “Next Girl”, followed by their two singles, “Tighten Up” and “Howlin’ For You”.

  Favorite Track- Never Gonna Give You Up

  I absolutely LOVE this song. It is one of my tops for the year and really stands out on the album. When you’re listening to this album, it’s track after track of that electronic blues sound. But then this song comes on, and it has a very old school soul feel to it. Like something The Temptations would sing. But its still maintains the unique sound the Black Keys establish throughout the album. 

  Grade- A

  I really can’t say enough about this album. It quickly put itself into one of my favorite albums of 2010, and made The Black Keys one of my favorite groups. The album loses a little steam in the middle, but that’s mostly attributed to the great start. If you’re looking for a fresh, unique group to get into, I highly recommend you check out this album

Kurtis Grades The Albums: Part V

 Today’s blog post features two artists I feel you should be listening to. Neither are all that mainstream, but both are extremely enjoyable.

   All Day- Girl Talk

  This is an artist I was introduced to back in college and became an immediate fan of. Girl Talk is one of the most unique acts in music. Girl Talk is the stage name of Greg Gillis, and his songs are made for the music lover. His albums are one continuous mash-up, broken into tracks. Each track flows into the next. Gillis samples from all genres of music and some how makes it work perfectly. Gillis is a different kind of musical genius. While he does not create any of the samples he uses, it a highly developed musical appreciation to be able to take completely different genres of music and meld them together to produce a functional track. (Like when he put the lyrics of Lil’ Mama’s “Lip Gloss” over the guitar riff of Metallica’s “One” in his last album Feed The Animals.) Gillis’ mixes are generally heavily influenced by the latest pop, hip-hop, and rap songs. He then mixes in older classic rock and alternative songs to provide a background melody. I think a fun trivia activity would to give each team a Girl Talk album and see how many samples they could name.

   Favorite Track- N/A

  It’s nearly impossible to pick out a favorite track, since each one flows into the next, so I will describe some of my favorite mash ups (as best I can. Saying what songs are used doesn’t do the mixes justice. For a visual breakdown of each track, go to http://www.fastcompany.com/1707948/girl-talk-all-day-infographic#self)

   Opening mix (Track name- “Oh No”): “War Pigs”- Black Sabbath, “Move”- Ludacris, “Empire State of Mind” -Jay-z into “Teach Me How To Dougie”- Cali Swag District, “Jane Says”- Jane’s Addiction

   On “Let It Out”- “Pop Champagne”- Jim Jones into “Pretty Girls”- Wale, “Loser”- Beck with “Drop It Like It’s Hot”- Snoop Dogg behind the whole thing.

   On “That’s Right”- “Lean Back”- Fat Joe, “In The Meantime”- Spacehog

   On “This Is The Remix”- “Nothin’ On You” -B.O.B, “Tear It Off”- Method Man with “Possum Kingdom”- Toadies underneath into “Get Low”- Lil’ Jon, “Cecilia”- Simon and Garfunkel (seriously!? Lil’ Jon and Simon and Garfunkel?!?) into “Need You Tonight”- INXS, “Young’n”- Fabolous into (and onto the next track, “On and On”) “Sunshine of Your Love”- Cream, “Nasty Girl”- Notorious B.I.G.

   On “Down For The Count”- “20th Century Boy”, “Bounce”- MSTRKRFT into “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”- Kylie Minogue, “Bust A Move”- Young MC

   On “Triple Double”- A quick taste of “Whip My Hair”- Willow Smith, into “Black and Yellow”- Wiz Khalifa, “Paint it Black”- Rolling Stone

  Grade- A

  As I said, this is perfect for a music lover (as long as you can get past the techno/ club music influence). One of the best parts of this, or any, Girl Talk album is that you can listen to it over and over and hear something new anytime you listen to it. It also makes music in general more fun. You may hear a song you haven’t heard before, or a new part of a song you have heard, and say “Oh, THAT’S where Girl Talk got that from”. If you like this album, I highly recommend getting his last two, Feed The Animals and Night Ripper.

   Crash Kings- Crash Kings

(another album that was release in 2009, but I feel you need to hear about them)

  The Crash Kings were a rare find for me. Because of the absolute shit that is on many radio stations, I very rarely listen to the radio anymore. However, we do listen to the radio at work and one of the stations we listen to is like a college station, but not quite as underground. So you will hear quality bands like Mumford and Sons, Black Keys, and Fistful of Mercy. It was on this station I first heard The Crash Kings “Mountain Man”. I really liked their sound and decided to download the album. I would describe their sound as similar to Gavin DeGraw, but a little harder. It’s mostly piano based, like DeGraw, but not quite as poppy. 

   Favorite Track- “It’s Only Wednesday”

  This is a great track. Very catchy, very upbeat without being overly poppy and similar to the rest of the cookie cutter songs on the radio.

   Grade- A+

   Again, I know what you’re saying. “Kanye and Kid Cudi get lower grades than this?!?” And, again, I’m grading at face value. And when it comes to a debut album, this one is pretty much perfect. Every track is high quality and extremely listenable. They establish a unique sound with this album. It’s a shame shit like Kesha, Katy Perry, and Justin Beiber gets rammed down our throats, because bands like this don’t get the exposure needed to thrive. So if you’ve liked other artists in this series, check out the Crash Kings. I don’t think you’ll regret it.       

 

Kurtis Grades The Albums: Part IV

  This post features what were my two most anticipated albums of the year. Both were hip-hop albums. One from a main stay, one from a relative newcomer.

    My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy- Kanye West

  Kanye West provides a window back to college for me. My freshmen year you could often find me, @apotter19, and @derekharshner hanging out in my dorm room, playing video games and listening to College Dropout (kind of ironic now that I think about it). And when I think of that album and his follow up, Late Registration, I think of albums that had hit after hit on it. They were albums that were easy to listen to start to finish. Then, Kanye started to experiment with his next two albums, Graduation and especially 808’s and Heartbreaks. While both were quality albums, they just didn’t have that listen-ability the first two had. So I was very anxious to hear this album. And, thanks to Twitter, fans were able to hear what Kanye was working on. In the weeks leading up to the albums release, he came up with “Good Friday”, were he posted links to his new songs. Listening to the new songs, it seemed this album was going to be more like Kanye’s first two, which pleased me greatly. Once I heard the album, it seemed to a mix of all four albums. Not quite as “artistic” as 808’s but still with that influence. This is evident in a few of my favorite tracks. “Runaway” and “Lost in The World” both use auto-tune. “Blame Game” is almost entirely piano based. But other tracks go back to Kanye’s old ways. “Power” is the “2010 Kurtis Klay Hype Song of The Year”. “All of The Lights” is like a hip-hop epic. It’s big and driving, and features just about everyone in hip-hop right now.

   Favorite Track-  “Monster”

  Another track that is more like his old stuff. With Rick Ross, Kanye, Jay-Z, and Nikki Minaj all with verses, this track reminds me of the old school slam dunk contests. No props or gimmicks, just “can you top this?”. Each verse seems to go harder than the last. I would even say that Nikki wins that battle.

  Grade- A-

  Now I know what you’re saying: “This was Kanye’s best albums and one of the best of the year! Just an A-?!?” And if this album had an actual report card, it would say “Fails to live up to potential”. In my opinion, some of the potential best tracks introduced during “Good Friday” were left off this albums. I would have loved to see “See Me Now”, “Good Friday”, and “Christian Dior Denim Flow” put on this album.

    Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

  Kid Cudi has quickly become one of my favorite artists, and I’m not really sure how it happened. I think after hearing “Day N Nite” and “Make Her Say”, I decided to download the album and was hooked from there. I downloaded the A Kid Named Cudi mixtape (highly recommended if you haven’t heard it) and eagerly awaited the follow up to Man On The Moon: The End Of Day. And when it finally got here, I of course got it on the day it was released. At first listen, I was pretty disappointed. But as I continued to listen, it got better and better. EXTENDED SPORTS ANALOGY ALERT! How I look at this album is like two brothers that played high school basketball. The older brother was a tall post player and dominated inside. A few years later his younger brother comes along. He’s still tall, but not quite as tall. So the coach figures he must be as good inside as his brother. But the younger brother struggles in the post. The coach writes him off as a disappointment. But as time passes the coach notices the younger brother is a really good passer and has excellent court vision. So he tries him out at point guard, where he thrives. Make sense? Allow me to explain. Man On The Moon: The End of Day is an incredible album. It is very listenable from start to finish. It is probably one of my favorite albums of all time. So when you listen to Man On The Moon II, you’re listening looking for tracks like “Pursuit Of Happiness” or “CuDi Zone”. And it just never comes (besides “Erase Me”). That can leave you a little disappointed. So the next couple times you listen to it, you can appreciate it for what it is. So in short, the two albums are different, but equally good in my mind. This album is much darker.

    Favorite Track- ???

    I really can’t pick a favorite track. It’s an very balanced album. No track is better than the next. But some notables: “Scott Mescudi vs. the World”, “Erase Me”, “All Along”, “Ghost”, and “Trapped in My Mind”

    Grade- A

  Again, just a very balanced album you can listen to from start to finish. While darker than the last, it is equally enjoyable. The back cover of the album says this is the second installment of a trilogy. So I have another Kid Cudi album to look forward to.

 

 

 
 

Kurtis Grades The Albums: Part III

  Happy New Year everyone. I was hoping to get as many reviews in before the new year, but then my laptop got a virus. So that was neat. But we press onward….

    The Lady Killer- Cee-Lo Green

  I will admit, this was a bit of an impulse buy for me. I haven’t really listened to Cee-Lo at all, except for a little Gnarls Barkely. But after endorsements from @kinnermode and @dumesday, combined with my pick for song of the year “F**k You”, I gave it a shot. Based on this album, @kinnermode has been smart for riding this bandwagon for years. I’ve really enjoyed this album. It took a couple listens to fully appreciate it, but it is very good. It has a very old school feel, kind of Jackson 5-ish at some points. Nearly all of the tracks are great but a few stand out to me. I really like “Love Gun” and its James Bond theme feel. “No One’s Gonna Love You” is a great end to the album. And then of course, there’s “F**k You”. One of the joys of Twitter is that it keeps you up to date on what’s new. When this song hit the internet, it seemed everyone was tweeting about it. Rightfully so, in my mind. It may be my favorite song since “Hey Ya!”. Really, the two songs are very similar in that they have an appeal to a large audience. Their hip-hop lyrics and back beat appeals to a younger crowd while their old school harmonies and instrument use appeals to older listeners. Once edited and made radio friendly, “F**k You” took the mainstream by storm. It was a quick entry into my Hall of Fame, comprised of songs I could listen to again and again and never get sick of.

   Favorite track not named “F**k You”- “Bright Lights, Bigger City”.

  This song starts the album off right. It has a big, open feel implied by its name. The songs about having a good time on the weekend and listening to it makes you feel like what ever you’re doing that night is going to be amazing.

   Grade- B+

   A very enjoyable album if you’re looking for a change of pace. It may not get a hold of you right away, but after a few listens you start to get a feel for the album. This was my first Cee-Lo album and if others are as good as this, I could see myself getting more.

      Nothing- N.E.R.D

  This is another artist I’ve been listening to for awhile. Their last album, Seeing Sounds, was one of my favorite albums of 2008. So I was very excited when I heard N.E.R.D was putting out a new album. I went out and bought it the day it was released. To be honest, I was pretty disappointed by it. I mean, since it’s an N.E.R.D album, you expect it to be a little odd. But this one seems a little too odd for my taste, especially the middle of the album. Despite that, there are still some good tracks. “Hot-n-Fun” is the first single from the album. It is what you expect from the group, an upbeat dance track comparable to “She Wants To Move” from their Fly or Die album. “Party People” ,featuring T.I., is the opening track and lives up to its name. It puts you in the mood to party. “Sacred Temple” has a funk inspired bass line that makes the song very catchy. The album also features “Hypnotize U”, a track that was produced by Daft Punk. The song is not bad, but its not great either.

    Favorite Track- “Victory”

 Not sure how to describe this track. Its another open sounding one. Just inspiring. Makes you want to get out and achieve something.

   Grade- B-

  I do like some of the tracks, but overall this album doesn’t do that much for me. Not the N.E.R.D album I would recommend if you’re looking to get into them.

Kurtis Grades The Albums: Part II

  Now the continuation of the multi-part series.

  Because of the rush of new albums near the end of the year from some artists I have just started getting into, I forgot about 2 albums released by artists I have been listening to for awhile.

     To The Sea- Jack Johnson

  I have been listening to Jack since like my junior year of high school when Brushfire Fairytales came out. His laid back, relaxed musical style fit my personality and musical tastes perfectly. All of his albums are perfect for studying, de-stressing, or just hanging out. This album is no different. When you get a Jack Johnson album, you aren’t necessarily going to get a powerful group of songs that speak to you. You are sure to get an all around enjoyable album. To The Sea has many quality tracks on it. It starts off very strong with what I feel are four of the best songs from the album; “You and Your Heart”, “To The Sea”, “No Good With Faces”, and “At or With Me”. Each one is fairly up beat and catchy, with the exception of “No Good…”, which is a nice, smooth, change of pace from the first two. One song that stands out is “Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology”, which has a bluesy feel unique to a Jack Johnson album.

   Favorite Track- “Only the Ocean”

  Maybe the most relaxing song on the album. The music and the words put you at ease. You can just sit back and picture sitting on a beach, watching waves come in as the sun sets.

   Grade- B-

  Again, an excellent album for just hanging out and relaxing. But overall, nothing really jumps out to make this album special.

  Battle Studies- John Mayer

  (Note: This album was actually released in 2009. Get over it.)

  John Mayer is another artist I’ve been listening to since high school. Not to sound like a hipster, but I like to think I was on the John Mayer bandwagon before he became huge. This is another good album from him. His albums have gotten much better after Heavier Things, which I think was his “poppy, make the label happy and sell records” album. The two albums following that, this one and Continuum, seem to be a little more blusey, which is the type of music he prefers to make. This album had some big shoes to fill following up Continuum, which is his best album in my opinion. While this one doesn’t quite get to that level, it comes close. This album seems to have a real message to it, which differes from previous albums. Nearly all of the tracks deal with relationships and most people could find one or two tracks to identify with. There are several enjoyable tracks, including the singles “Heartbreak Warfare, “Half of My Heart” (I overlook the fact this song features Taylor Swift), and “Who Says”. “Perfectly Lonely” and “Friends, Lovers, or Nothing” are also very good. One track I was a little disappointed in was his cover of Eric Clapton and Cream’s “Crossroads”. While I understand a cover gives the artist the opportunity to put their own touch on a song, Mayer’s style is very close to Clapton’s. I just don’t feel Mayer’s version did justice to the Clapton version, which is incredible. This is also after Mayer did an amazing job on his last cover, Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold as Love”. If you’re going to cover Jimi Hendrix, you better nail it and Mayer did just that. All of this is what disappoints me about “Crossroads”. But it’s up for a Grammy, so what do I know I guess.

   Favorite Song- “Who Says”

  A very laid back song. Musically, it reminds me of one of my favorite John Mayer songs, “Stop This Train”. Very simple, mostly featuring just a guitar, string bass, piano and brushes on a snare. Gives you the feeling of coming home from a long day at work or a long trip and just sitting to clear your head.

   Grade- B

  Many quality songs, but nothing that REALLY jumps out to take it to the next level. Another very good album in what I’m hoping is a long line for Mayer.


 

Kurtis grades the albums: a multi part post

 (Shhhhh, I’m at work)

  So one of the main reasons I started this blog was to give reviews/grades to some of the albums I’ve listened to this year. I thought this year was great in terms of music (at least when it comes to the artists I listen to). A lot of people dropped new albums, including an influx of new music in the closing months of the year. So I had this idea to grade several of these albums and blog format is much easier than in 140 characters. So in my next few posts, I plan on giving my insight on some of the albums I’ve spent this year listening to. I will review the album, name my favorite track, and give an overall grade.

  Two things to keep in mind during these posts: 1. I’m going to grade these albums at face value. In other words, just because I give one album a B and another an A, doesn’t necessarily mean I think that artist is better than the other, or that album is better than the other. And 2. this is strictly opinion. Obviously I don’t get paid for this, so really what I say doesn’t mean anything.

  So without further ado, our first contestant is…….

     HOW I GOT OVER- THE ROOTS

  This was probably the first album I was really excited for this year. Following @questlove on Twitter probably aided to that. He talked it up a lot, saying they put more work into this album than others. I will admit that I’m not real familiar with their past stuff (other than this album, I only own The Tipping Point), but I do like when artist seem genuinely enthusiastic about their music. Also, I really like when hip-hop artists/ groups use real instruments to provide the beats and music for their songs, which is what the Roots are all about. But overall, I just wasn’t really into it. It’s almost like the Pac-10 in football: top heavy. The good tracks are really good, but after that they are just so-so. The album starts off really well. “Walk Alone” is one of my favorite and “Dear God 2.0” has a very relateable message. The title track, “How I Got Over”, is also very good. My initial reaction to the album was “frustrating”. I say that because two of the tracks I really got into (“A Piece of Light” and “Tunnel Vision”) are less than 2 minutes long and end before they can become really enjoyable.

  Favorite Track- “Doin’ It Again”

  It’s really not even close. In my opinion, this track is by far the best on the album. It essentially remixes John Legend’s “Again” from his Once Again album (a little foreshadowing). The mix between the original track and the band’s additions is perfect. It’s a track I listened to over and over again when I first got the album (and still do, really).

  Grade- B-.

  As I said, its good, just not great. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. But to be honest, until I re-listened to it a couple of times for this post, I hadn’t listened to the full album since I got it.

   Wake Up!- John Legend and The Roots

  See what I did there when I talked about foreshadowing? I was very excited for this album as well. Again, this probably is attributed to following @questlove and @johnlegend on Twitter. But also because John is one of my favorite artists. I bought this album the day it came out and one thing really jumped out at me from the first listen. The whole album has a very intimate, “live” feel to it. Like I could see John and The Roots going to Marley’s (for you Springfield people) or Blue Note/ Music Cafe (for you familiar with CoMo) and just playing this album. That’d be awesome by the way. I like to think this album was recorded when The Roots and John Legend met up at a studio apartment and just started playing songs. Anyways, this is a very good album. A lot of quality tracks on it. The opening track, “Hard Times”, is produced by Curtis Mayfield, which never hurts to open up an album. It also has a very good cover of Bill Withers’ “I Can’t Write Left Handed”. It takes a little while to get into, but picks up toward the end. Overall the album is very bluesy/ jazzy, which is to be expected. It also has a little reggae thrown in the with “Humanity”.

   Favorite Track- Compared To What

  Of all the songs, this has the most intimate feel to it. It starts off with just a drum beat and a bass line and builds in to the rest of the song. It makes it seem like it was just a jam session and they came up with this song.

  Grade- B+

  A very, very good album. Not many tracks I would skip over if I listened to the album start to finish. The only negative I would say is that it doesn’t have that big, powerful song that Legend has featured on previous albums. “Ordinary People” from Get Lifted and “Coming Home” from Once Again are examples of this. “Shine” is as close as it gets on this album, but just doesn’t quite reach the level of previous songs. I would definitely recommend this album to anyone, but especially a blues/ jazz lover.

    That’s all for this post. More to come in the next one.


 

First Post and Grammy Nominations

  I’m gonna give this blog thing a try. This is technically is my second foray into the blogging world, I did have a Xanga site. I hope to update often, but that may be difficult considering I don’t have internet access at my house. That’ll happen when you live out in the country and your only internet provider is HughesNet. So basically my only opportunities to update will be on my days off of work when I go to my parents house to use their internet. I’m not sure there will be a definite direction for this blog. I imagine I will mostly touch on my 3 areas of expertise: sports, music, and randomness. Quick plug here: Even though I’m sure most of the people reading this already know, but my Twitter name is @RunMizzou11. Feel free to follow.

  The Grammy Nominations came out yesterday, so I figure that to be a great place to start for my first post. I have no idea what to think about the Grammys anymore. A couple years ago I remember thinking that they were out of touch with what should be nominated. But I’m sure that thinking had a lot to do with me being younger and not experiencing the variety of music I have now. But now, yikes. My friend Kim said it best: “When did the Grammys become the Billboard Awards?”

  You don’t have to look any further than the headline category, Album of the Year, to see what she means. Two names jump out: Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. (A third, Lady Antebellum, jumps out at me. But that may be another post for another time) Album sales definitely doesn’t translate to album quality. I’m sorry but the 14-16 year old girls who drive the album sales of these awful artist up don’t have the greatest taste in music. There’s no way either of these albums are better than some I’ve heard (Again, another post for another time). The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga is only 8 tracks, and was pretty much piggy backed onto her last album, The Fame. That says to me that there were too many tracks for the first album and just threw the second together. And I would think that anyone who has heard Katy Perry’s songs on the radio would agree that she’s not Grammy worthy.

  It’s not all bad though. I did like Eminem getting the an Album of the Year nod. I’d say he’s my favorite in that category, but I’ve seen a lot of people saying the Arcade Fire album is good. Song of the Year has 3 quality songs in it: Fuck You, Beg Steal or Borrow, and Love The Way You Lie. Muse, one of my favorite bands, is up for most of the rock categories. Vampire Weekend’s Contra is up for Alternative Album of Year, I really liked that album. John Mayer is up for a couple awards. Also really like to see John Legend and the Roots get nominations. Both put out quality albums. In my opinion, the two’s collaboration album, Wake Up! should be up for Album of the Year.

   In the end, it’s likely I won’t even watch the award show. But a bright spot is that Kesha isn’t up for any awards. The sooner we get rid of her annoying ass, the better.