Thursday, September 24, 2015

11 Same Day Classics

There's a certain type of fascination with knowing that two, entirely separate albums, crafted from different minds, released on the same day, will have a lasting impact on music as a whole. The unawareness of the vengeance these albums would have and the thoughts that life was inherently different before their existence led me to create this list. I've had this list created for a while now, never finding a good time to put it out. This coming Friday, September 25th, the music industry will see a surge in high-quality releases. SynthPop act Chvrches, Hip-Hop/Indie crossover Big Boi x Phantogram, Rock artist Kurt Vile, underground lyricist Milo, Indie darling Youth Lagoon, and Emo Rock outfit The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die all will release albums. This, culminating in a months-long parade of albums dropping left and right. None, presumably, will become a classic, but still, the overabundance of music allowed me to revisit this post. Here are 11 of the best examples of two separate entities releasing onto the world on the exact same day in history

September 24th, 1991 
A Tribe Called Quest                                                 Nirvana
The Low End Theory                                                                                          Nevermind

Two distinctive genres, two explorations into uncharted territory with said genre. The former, ATCQ's second album, continued on the successes of the 'peace' movement in Hip-Hop they helped lead along with De La Soul. Nirvana can be largely responsible for grunge's mainstream acceptance and dominance of the 90's with the lead single Smells Like Teen Spirit that took the world by storm. Both highly influential albums for the coming decade, one created a division in Hip-Hop, the other allowed an entire album to flourish in the limelight.

November 9th, 1993
A Tribe Called Quest                                     Wu-Tang Clan
Midnight Marauders                                                                   Enter The 36 Chambers

A Tribe Called Quest really doesn't like taking things easy. Either that or they've had terrible release luck. These previous two have been bad enough, however their 5th & final LP, The Love Movement, released on the same day as another pair of albums down our list. Today however they went up against the earth-shattering debut of the Wu-Tang Clan. Grimy meets vibrant, dark meets light. Both are highly-acclaimed works in music in different respects; one carried the Tribe's legacy, while the other largely initialized the career's of every member in their group, the group dynamic working itself being a feat to honor. 

October 18th, 1994 
Digable Planets                                                           Scarface
Blowout Comb                                                                                                         The Diary

One album was the third in a long stretch of top-notch releases from esteemed member of the Geto Boys, Scarface, while the other one was a subtly brilliant album by Digable Planets, their second LP, carrying on De La Soul's & ATCQ's mentality of chilled-out, relaxing Hip-Hop, only to relieve it all, ending their career at the closure of Blowout Comb. One of only a handful of albums to be honored with perfect ratings from both XXL & The Source, The Dairy was a one of the most acclaimed releases upon its reveal critically and commercially, while Blowout Comb succeeded in quality, but failed in attaining mainstream and was largely considered a failure. The former was certified platinum just two months after its arrival, the latter still has yet to reach that mark. 

July 2nd, 1996 
De La Soul                                                                              Nas
Stakes Is High                                                                                                It Was Written

It wasn't until compiling this list how much I realized the battle between the peace and gangsta movement's were very much real and prominent in Hip-Hop releases. ATCQ vs. Wu-Tang, Digable Planets vs. Scarface, and now De La Soul and their 4th LP Stakes Is High, versus Nas' Illmatic follow-up, It Was Written. The Queensbridge rapper turned towards the mainstream and mafioso-styled sounds to reach a broader audience, while the Long Island group dug more underground. They however opened the world up to Mos Def on 'Big Brother Beat.' Regardless of each album's lasting appeal, It Was Written gave us 'If I Ruled The World' featuring Lauryn Hill, while Stakes Is High awarded us with 'Sunshine,' two songs that have gone down in Hip-Hop lore. 

September 29th, 1998
Outkast                                                                                Jay-Z
Aquemini                                                                                           Vol.2 Hard Knock Life

One of Hip-Hop's most heralded albums against one of its most popular. Aquemini, Outkast's third LP, stunned many for its forward-thinking futuristic sounds and ambitious layout. Multiple tracks exceed six minutes, skits sneak their way into the dark subject matter, all while providing us with some of the most legendary songs ever put to record. Jay-Z did much the same with Hard Knock Life, still his highest selling album to date. It won best rap album in 1999 and topped the Billboard charts selling 350,000 in its first week. The dominance of these two records could have very well placed the final nail in the coffin of ATCQ as their 5th album released today as well, a poor choice to say the least. 

February 23rd, 1999
Eminem                                                                      The Roots
The Slim Shady LP                                                                                  Things Fall Apart

The album that put Eminem on the top with his immensely quick rise to stardom, thanks in large part to his opening single 'My Name Is' which melded unorthodox styles with highly violent, controversial topics. The Roots were a well-established collective prior to Things Fall Apart but the album, their 4th, catapulted them to household names, selling over 500,000 copies. Their song 'You Got Me' earned Best Performance by a Group at the 2000 Grammy's, while Eminem's 'My Name Is' was awarded with the Best Rap Solo Performance. Both spectacular albums that allowed two distinct Hip-Hop acts to flourish in the coming decade. 

May 23rd, 2000
Deltron 3030                                                              Eminem
Deltron 3030                                                                            The Marshall Mathers LP

Following Eminem's breakthrough, his much-hyped return would take the form in the Marshall Mathers LP, another highly-praised album, both critically and commercially. However bubbling under the surface this time around was the formation and release of Deltron 3030, the stunning underground rap opera curated from the mind of Del The Funkee Homosapian, set in the dystopian year 3030. The latter has had long-lasting appeal to the backpacking scene of the early 2000's, while the former drew upon Em's previous successes, advancing in lyrical content with his newly achieved fame. 

October 31st, 2000
Binary Star                                                                    Outkast
Masters Of The Universe                                                                                    Stankonia

Speaking of underground classics and mainstream crossovers, Binary Star's under-discussed 2nd, and last LP, wouldn't reach its intended audience with its greatness until much later, while Stankonia, Outkast's explosion onto the mainstream, was instantly impactful. Both however had similarities in their futuristic sounds and content, especially with 'Kast's electro-funk crossover which still finds its way into Hip-Hop today. 'Reality Check' still stands as one of underground's most acclaimed songs, while 'Ms.Jackson' won the 2002 Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Group. 

March 23rd, 2004
Madvillain                                                    Joanna Newsom
Madvillainy                                                                                             Milk-Eyed Mender

Easily the most eccentric pairing on this list. The masterpiece and culmination of Hip-Hop's underground revival released on the same day Joanna Newsom sprung up in many's minds as the baby-voiced harpist telling tales reminiscent of Shakespeare. One marked the beginning of one of the most celebrated artists of the later 2000's, the other a climax to DOOM's incredible push over the early half, that you can read about here. Neither achieved commercial success, and understandably so, but both are now revered as being classics in their respective genres.

May 24th, 2005
Common                                                                        Gorillaz
Be                                                                                                                         Demon Days

Following their much-hyped, only to be let down amongst the populace debut, Gorillaz returned four years later with a more focused, deeper album that narrowed out the previous weaknesses, exchanging them for a more Hip-Hop-oriented piece. Be was Common's comeback album after the disastrous Electric Circus, produced almost entirely by Kanye West, it succeeded immensely in providing a striking example of soul-inspired music to compliment earthly rapping. Demon Days also opened up many to MF DOOM on the stellar 'November Has Come,' while paralleling its pleasing deep cuts with hit records such as 'Feel Good Inc.' and 'Dare.'
    March 20th, 2007
    Panda Bear                                                                            El-P
    Person Pitch                                                                             I'll Sleep When You're Dead

    The long-awaited return of El-P and the risky departure for Animal Collective centerpiece, both obtaining universal acclaim. I'll Sleep When You're Dead witnessed the evolution of El-P as a producer, with more condensed yet highly ambitious beats, including the opener and closer that both nearly reached 7 minutes. Person Pitch wowed listeners with only 7 tracks, two of which exceeded 12 minutes, including the stunner 'Bros,' that reached the top of many year-end Best Track lists. Both artists' use of sampling shows how diverse the art-form itself really is. 

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