Thursday, November 3, 2016

Loosies Of The Week, Oct. 29-3

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. Compared to last week, this one is a massive dud. All six artists last week would've deserved the number one spot today, and yet here we are, with Big Sean. 

Big Sean - No More Interviews

We're entering a strange era right now where Hip-Hop artists want to reinstitute beefs and disses. However, the sources are soft and their main form of instigation, Twitter, would've gotten themselves laughed at two decades ago. A few names caught up in the fire, Drake, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Big Sean, all have multiple connections in some way, shape, or form. I won't go into detailing each person's place here, cause frankly I don't understand any of it. Point is, the latter emcee decided to detail his role in a no-holds bar track entitled 'No More Interviews.' Think of it as Big Sean's State of the Union Address, a wrap-up, through his eyes, of what's been going on recently. In typical Big Sean fashion, his rhymes are rather poor, his beat choice too, but the song does make for good fodder.

In 'No More Interviews,' Big Sean tackles his relationship with Kid Cudi, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and more. Honestly can't tell Sean's level of smarts here, precisely whether he's self-aware the condemnations certain people spoke about him in public are no different than him doing so in song. When speaking about Kid Cudi, he even felt the beef should've been solved privately, and yet here we are. Nonetheless, he does make it clear he wants it to be about the music, so I'll give him a pass. The stranger parts of 'No More Interviews' come when he tries to hone his Detroit credentials by randomly name-dropping J Dilla, and when he seemingly calls out Kendrick Lamar, who he feel doesn't deserve the recognition he's been given, despite not giving any reasons as to why.

I know nothing about Japandroids, other than their unique album covers that I see sprouting up from time to time. Never heard a song, don't know anything about the two musicians, and their new album, Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, set to release in January, means nothing to me. So why did I check out the lead single and title track? Well, it's been a slow week. Suffice to say, this was not what I was expecting from the duo. To be honest, I don't know if this is representative of the sound featured on their previous two LP's, because if it is, I have no idea how they've gained any recognition. To me, this screams generic Pop Punk. At least, that's what it's like to an outsider. On one side is Titus Andronicus, on the other is Sum 41. Yeah, they're walking a pretty flimsy tight rope.

In efforts like these, where the song is clearly meant to be a normalized version of their vision, or, in other words, a single, you've got to have something, anything, in there to separate you from the crowd. Musically, the drums, the guitars, and especially the vocals, are dull and flat. No aspect is even attempting to step foot on unsoiled ground, as each piece is just a replication of something we've heard, at least, a decade ago. Don't see the appeal. I get the feeling this isn't a sound they often feature on their music, cause otherwise I'd have no idea how, or why, the Indie scene would associate with them. 'Near To The Wild Heart Of Life' could've been saved, as almost any song can, by unique content or lyrics. Even though lyrics are my least important part of a song, I can see them saving lackluster production and styles. However, the lyrics may arguably be the worst part. "I used to be good but now I'm bad" should tell you everything you need to know.

clipping. - Fat Fingers

Sigh. The trends continue. A movement for musicians against Donald Trump has recently started up entitled 30 Days, 30 Songs. Let it be known, I'm vehemently against Donald Trump and anyone who votes for him (if that's important to know), but even these baseless attack cash grabs are getting to me. I compare this movement to the DARE program, in that, the more they tell kids not to do drugs, the more interested kids will be in doing them. When you make terrible music attacking someone, anyone, without hiding the message, you're only making people who are on your side question who they associate with. It's obvious clipping's track 'Fat Fingers' isn't going to convert Republicans, if anything it'll add fuel to their fire as evidence of Democrat's hate towards America. 

Promoting movements like these are almost always a bad idea, and, in this case at least, it simply shows weakness and fright on behalf of those writing the songs. Certain political artists, let's take Run The Jewels, have been fully invested in the political race from the start. Their opinions come from the heart, and even if I don't agree with all of Killer Mike's beliefs, I respect his drive and initiative. These 30 artists, clipping included, are simply voicing their opinion because now, weeks before the election, they're afraid Donald Trump might actually win. While the last track I checked out, Moby's 'Little Failure,' was dreaded, it actually revealed truths. 'Fat Fingers' does that, at times, but then spends time calling Donald Trump a rapist, something that, to public knowledge, holds no fruition. Just another poorly executed attack track that shouldn't have been creative. It's a lose lose.

Gotta say, really perplexed by this, but not necessarily in a bad way. Foxygen, much like Japandroids, is a name I've heard many times before, sometimes synonymous with a not-so positive narrative of their placement in the Indie scene. With 'Follow The Leader,' the first single off Hang, I can see why. Last I heard they made an ambitious double album centered around a fictional band that critics weren't too receptive towards. This, coming after their most popular and acclaimed album We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors, was to be expected. Like Japandroids, I get the sense 'Follow The Leader' isn't exactly representative of their overall sound. But unlike that aforementioned band, my basis for that belief lies on their experimentation in the first place, not the hope that people can't possibly find this worthy of acclaim.

With 'Follow The Leader,' Foxygen, and mainly lead singer Sam France, conjure up a multitude of different genres as inspiration, coming to the consensus that a smattering of them all might sound good. Seriously, this isn't cool music to be making in 2016. And because that's the case, I'll always respect the vision to do as you wish. On 'Follow The Leader,' Foxygen dares to be Glam Rock like David Bowie, recent counter-culture acts like The Polyphonic Spree and Kishi Bashi, and the Philadelphia Soul and Blues of the 70's. If you needed to take a peek into this world, just look towards the music video, which is about as awkward as you could imagine. Depends on what kinda mindset you're in, cause on one end it's irritating as hell, in another it's intoxicating in its cheesiness.

Wyclef Jean - I Swear

Possibly one of the oddest mentor-mentee relationships in recent memory. Young Thug, it's clear, does whatever the hell he wants. I mean, have we already forgotten he contributed to Jamie xx's 2015 Uk Bass album In Colour? This time though, with a revitalized interest in Reggae and Dancehall (take a guess why), Thugger has tried to stay ahead of the curb, working with an artist who's been in the scene since the very start. Despite his fading popularity, Wyclef Jean has now appeared with Young Thug twice, once on the annoyingly-titled 'Kanye West,' the latter here on 'I Swear.' Whether a sign of things to come for both musicians, Thugger in a potential style change, Wylcef in a potential full-length LP, 'I Swear' seems to be your generic Reggae track.

It's not bad, swooning melodically at times with a nice, refreshed bounce that'll be sure to turn some ears to the dance floor in the Caribbean. Even though he's a stereotypical Reggae artist, I'm glad Thugger's working with Wyclef and not following the streamlined Dancehall played out by the likes of Drake, Rihanna, and everyone on their heels. It does have an unnecessary 'bass drop' leading up to the hook that seems perfectly primed for a festival scene, but other than that the song seems true to form. Thugger gets one verse here, using his singing voice more than usual, fitting the style rather effectively, even if his overall talents aren't as good as he thinks they are. Young Thug's constant commitment to whatever he's undertaking is a large reason for his appeal.

Post Malone - Congratulations

Those who follow my RateYourMusic page, or me in general, know how much of a stickler I can be for consistency, organization, and lacking hypocrisy. Thankfully, Post Malone hasn't reached that last milestone yet, but the fact his debut mixtape, forever going to be labeled as such, is called August 26th, alluding to the fact that his debut album expected to drop on that date, is going to irrationally irk me for quite some time. We now have an official date for Stoney though; December 9th. Let's hope he doesn't let this day pass him, and us, by. His notoriety as a one-hit wonder is already growing. However, this week he came back into the scene with 'Congratulations,' presumably the lead single off Stoney, which just so happens to feature one of Hip-Hop's most active guest artists, Quavo of Migos.

If there's one thing that's for sure, it's 'Congratulations' does not have the wide-spread appeal of his preceding singles, namely 'White Iverson.' You knew when that track dropped, whether you liked it or not, that it was grade A radio material. 'Congratulations' is not, which, for him, should be worrying considering it's the first taste of Stoney. Lyrically, 'Congratulations' speaks about Malone's successes and the struggles he's endured since having his life inverted. Nothing new. And unfortunately, while Quavo has certainly had some exciting features this year, this song just doesn't allow him to work effectively. In all likelihood, it's the flows each sport that squander 'Congratulations' appeal. Although, there's not really a catchy spot here too, including the hook, which makes that success for Malone hard to see continuing.

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