Thursday, May 19, 2016

Loosies Of The Week, May 13-19

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. The stars came out this week, from Hip-Hop to Indie to old Rock legends.

The Stone Roses - All For One

Man, people hate these guys huh? Why, I do not know, as I do not know anything about The Stone Roses. It's funny how much a quick check at their discography tells you though. A breakout debut in the late 80's that a majority adore, a minority hates, and a follow-up five years later, aka at least two years too late, that failed to live up to expectations, largely, as I can assume, due to the building pressures to release it. Then nothing. 

Until now, with a random single 'All For One.' Having heard nothing of their music, but acknowledging their debut is on my radar, I figured I'd check it out. And while it's certainly not that impressive, it isn't half bad, a fun Jangle Pop track that takes you straight back to those days where reckless Brits were taking over. Was this recorded recently? Those guitars are so The Rolling Stones-esque. Actually everything is. I could be being ignorant, likely am, as I don't even know what The Stone Roses sound like but that's the feeling I get. Being that it sounds dated when it was recorded is irrelevant. If it was long ago, 2016 doesn't care. If it was recent, man have they not changed at all. Its been two decades, you really have the exact same interests in music? Sounds crazy. Either way, okay song with poor lyrics and decent production.

Schoolboy Q - That Way

Gotta say, pretty standard. Odd considering the man himself Kanye West is on here, a musician who typically does not partake in such simple songs with rudimentary Trap beats. He does work with those artists (see: Young Thug, 2 Chainz, Post Malone, etc.) but it's always either his own work that's peculiar in some way, or their work which in turn becomes unique because Ye was a part of its creation. 'That Part,' the second single from ScHoolboy Q's as of yet unnamed album, features none of that and wrongly treats Kanye like any other feature artist you get to throw bars onto your song. Hell, even Ye knew that by making another over-the-top verse that's bad, but funny, to try and spice up the other parts lacking here.

'That Part' does pick up towards the end, with a thunderous percussion ensemble that continues onwards as Kanye just goes wild for no apparent reason. It would make more sense as a throwaway, maybe it is, but as a piece of an album I can't perceive it as anything more than basic filler. The repeated use of the title bears resemblance to Kanye's 'All Day' as well, a song that was, as we all know since it never appeared on Life Of Pablo, a throwaway. So while 'Groovy Tony' set the stage for Schoolboy's new album rather well, as it fit his style nicely, 'That Part' seems like a trend-follower, with a decent Trap beat and the hottest, and worst, feature artist of the past few years tacked on.

Chvrches - Warning Call

Chvrches making the theme song for the new Mirror's Edge game couldn't have been a better match. So much so that if you had first listened to this without that knowledge intact, of which I'm sure some people did, you'd easily confuse it as just another Chvrches single. Take that as a good or bad thing, but the symmetry between Chvrches SynthPop and Mirror's Edge's sleek, modern gameplay and style find a unison that was obvious from the getgo. 'Warning Call' could've easily fit on Every Open Eye, an album I thought was okay but less impressive than their debut The Bones of What You Believe.

Lauren Mayberry though curated her lyrics to the game, benefitting it in that regard. Not sure if some of her lyrics have to do with the story, who knows, but there's references to running, jumping, falling, etc, that fits the mold of Mirror's Edge to a tee. 'Warning Call' itself, especially the breakdown two-thirds of the way in, is ultra-Synth, with Iain Cook and Martin Doherty going to the stratosphere with their synths, breaking walls, bearing similarities to other 8-bit gaming soundtracks that work entirely around synthetic sounds. It's a solid track that works as a good theme song, but honestly put any Chvrches track there and it would likely accomplish the same feat.

BadBadNotGood - Time Moves Slow

I've always looked at BADBADNOTGOOD as Jazz rebels, as I'm sure they do the same. Three (now four with a new saxophonist) white kids hailing out of Toronto doesn't exactly scream Jazz, and their clear influences, crystallized when they interpolated Kanye West, Wu-Tang Clan, and Earl Sweatshirt, amongst others on their earlier albums, solidified them as Jazz outsiders. Their latest single only continues that, teaming up with the nerdy Samuel T. Herring, aka the cinematic leader of Future Islands and rap alter ego Hemlock Ernst. 'Time Moves Slow,' for all that it seems they want to distance themselves, sounds most like Kamasi Washington and Terrace Martin's most recent projects when they themselves allow singers to glide over scurrying Jazz.

There's more structure and order to be found here though, as Herring soothes with a syrupy voice that pains to witness the absence of loved ones. It's as if they loved the styles found on the newest Jazz records but couldn't help include artists who aren't typically prone to the genre, choosing instead to harbor Indie Pop specialists, continuing their rebellion. At its heart though 'Time Moves Slow' is heart-broken, with weary percussion and Herring's parched vocals grappling for sincerity when those closest to you leave.

Chance The Rapper - Grown Ass Kid

So as everyone most likely knows by now, Coloring Book just dropped, and it's pretty good, albeit with some flaws. Needless to say, it's an enjoyable album, and one that would've strongly benefitted from 'Grown Ass Kid,' an apparent impromptu leak that Chance the Rapper did not want released. Why, I do not know, cause the track as a whole is pretty awesome. Has me wondering what else Chance has stashed away, if a wonderful throwback Juke beat featuring another Chicago come-up Mick Jenkins and associate Alex Wiley isn't enough to get on the mixtape.

Jenkins kills it, as expected, sounding a bit like Jay Electronica with internal rhyme schemes and complex lyrics. Arima Ederra graces the hook with childlike ambivalence, and Alex Wiley surprisingly caps off the track with some nice passion and a slew of trumpets join him for a swelling send-off. I suppose 'Grown Ass Kid' doesn't necessarily fit Coloring Book, it does kinda seem like a throwaway (not based on quality, but content), but regardless the track is polished and fermented, to a point that eclipses some tracks found on the mixtape. For whatever reason it isn't there, and that's okay, because it's just an extra song we get from Chance that dives into material he can't control, despite his best wishes to.

SZA - twoAM

SZA, the lone singer, lone female, in the TDE collective has constantly put out quality material without much recognition. She's in a unique spot by simply being a part of the group, stuck as the de facto feature singer who's used whenever necessary, but rarely gets noticed on her own. And to be honest, it makes sense, as her originality is hardly prevalent, apart from her voice which wriggles in between singing and rapping, much like what Beyoncé's been doing lately. 'twoAm' is more of that, another solid track that fails to wow.

On 'twoAM,' SZA struggles coming to terms with a man's absence, constantly wishing to hangout with him as his silence grows more and more foreboding. We've all been there, lying in bed two in the morning, just hoping that special someone will contact you. Worse yet comes the moments where your fingers lie on the buttons, eager but scared to text him to see if he's up. Late night booty calls with unrequited emotional attachments. Sonically speaking 'twoAM' isn't anything special, another lush, atmospheric R&B foundation that's been heard many times before. However, there's a hidden snippet of sorts towards the end that's much better, even though it only last a handful of seconds.

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