Sunday, June 25, 2017

Loosies Of The Week, June. 19-25

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. Likely the slowest week of the year finds some interesting Hip-Hop circle around a legendary Alternative Rock band. 

Wifisfuneral - Pop

The older I get the further I push away from what the youth deems hip. At this point it seems like an inevitable process for everybody. I'm fairly young still, yet fidget spinners, certain language, and rising Soundcloud rappers prove just how removed I am from society's teenage influence. From Ugly God to Xxxtentaction, Wifisfuneral to Ski Mask The Slump God, these are just some of the ridiculous names I've heard pass through the who's who grinder. Apart from Ugly God's 'Water,' I haven't heard a song by any of these guys, so when Wifisfuneral's 'Pop' came along on an unusually slow week I decided to check it out. Believe it or not, the ad-lib heavy banger isn't bad. Those ad-libs, as is almost always the case with modern Trap, is the worst aspect of 'Pop.' Thankfully, Wifisfuneral can rap, even if the lyrical content is subpar. His style, equip with high energy and aggression, parallels that of some underground Trap-influenced artists like Denzel Curry, Lil Ugly Mane, and Wifi. However, the beat's nothing to ride home about, even with some clever sample chopping to come up with the name. 'Pop' may be competent, but with the excessive nature of his counterparts, true rapping ability may be overlooked.

Radiohead - Man Of War / Lift

Radiohead's celebration of Ok Computer released this past week, and included in that package were two more unreleased cuts from that era. Obviously, this is big news considering Ok Computer's highly regarded as one of the most important albums of the modern era. However, whereas the lead single for this collection, 'I Promise,' was a great song that wouldn't have fit in the context of the album, 'Man Of War' and 'Lift' are decent songs that would've fit swimmingly on Ok Computer. Their tone matches that of Ok Computer's agitated despondence more than the marching band centrism of 'I Promise.' 'Man Of War' scales higher, with some really crunchy guitars and Yorke's impassioned cries for help that all comes together to sound not too unlike a David Bowie cut, but 'Lift' feels relevant as well. 'Lift's' less impressive though, as I could've easily seen this becoming nothing more than filler fodder for Ok Computer's back half. What it does have going for it is some predictability for Radiohead's future, as the song would've fit nicely on In Rainbows, or even, in some sense, A Moon Shaped Pool.

Clams Casino - Wavey

Back before Clams Casino disappointed many with 2016's 32 Levels, an album that focused on a plethora of genres and features, he achieved his fame through broken Cloud Rap beats that gave off an immense aura unlike anything out in the modern era. A$AP Rocky and others quickly caught on, rising his stock in the process. Yet, Casino hasn't progressed further since, either replicating past efforts or retracing steps of more popular producers. On 'Wavey,' the lead single to Instrumentals 4, an ongoing beat tape collection of his, Casino finds a home in his past. For longtime fans of his, 'Wavey' will present nothing new. There's a voice frayed amongst the brush of dense drums, ill-fitted horns, and Field Recordings of unknown origin. It all gives way to Casino's idiosyncratic vibe, one that is immediately noticeable from a distance. 'Wavey's' undoubtedly a pleasant listen, but it rarely impresses, unlike his acclaimed material like the infamous 'I'm God.' The sound isn't as large or tempting, choosing to live in the recesses rather than becoming the focal point. However, for studying purposes, something Casino always excels in, 'Wavey's' a great contribution to the playlist.

Drake - Signs

Has Drake finally reached the conclusion of what he's able to accomplish musically? Apart from 'Fake Love,' which was released before More Life dropped, no single since 'One Dance' has driven up Drake's stake in the mainstream. His forte into Dancehall-inspired Hip-Hop and R&B was a sound decision when 'Hotline Bling' came around, something that stretched throughout Views' hits, but now that the shtick has worn dry, fans have caught on, and the meme shifts towards making fun of the style, there's little wiggle room for Drake if he doesn't shift scenes again. On 'Signs,' a track I can assume is nothing more than a loosie to maintain a steady Spotify income, Drake impersonates Drake by creating the most Drake-like song imaginable. The utter blandness of every aspect of this song is honestly astounding, and easily the most impressive thing about it. It reminds me of that robot who created 'Daddy's Car,' the Beatles inspired song. On 'Signs,' Drake feels like a robot performing his rudimentary functions. The boxes are checked off, from sensual crooning to Dancehall tempos, relational woes to peppered percussion. Absolutely nothing about 'Signs' is original. In fact, it might be the most unimaginative song I've heard all year.

Wu-Tang Clan - Don't Stop

Who would've thought the most featured album of my loosies segment this year would feature five twenty-something tech geeks on the cover. Well, that's the case when the soundtrack for Silicon Valley features such names like Nas, Danny Brown, Onyx, Hudson Mohawke, and Wu-Tang Clan. Today we'll focus on that last one. While New York City's most infamous Rap outfit has had a rocky past decade, 'Don't Stop,' a one-off song for the show, finds that they're still capable of success given the right platform. An entire album's worth of diluted material from 40-year old men like A Better Tomorrow? Rarely will that result in success. But a one-off reunion of sorts, finding a rather unique beat from RZA that borrows from the MF DOOM world of cartoon-heavy sampling, results in an effort that's enjoyable both in the present and ripe with nostalgia of the past. Not a single verse, coming from Raekwon, Method Man, and Inspectah Deck, is lazily handled, with solid wordplay and tenacious flows. The weakest aspect is likely Masta Killa's chorus, but that can be attributed to a necessity for Silicon Valley itself, a need to have a rallying card for the bumbling group of techies.

dvsn - Don't Choose

They're still technically mysterious, but after releasing the largely great Sept. 5th last year, the buzz around dvsn's background has dwindled. Two things have been the cause of this; the music takes precedent, and the music itself doesn't relate itself all that well to a cloaked artist. Typically hidden figures make strange music, causing the fervor over their being to stir. But with dvsn, their straightforward, but highly intoxicating brand of Alternative R&B rides the middle waves of the OVO crew's output. Much like 'Think About Me,' another loosie released a few weeks back, 'Don't Choose' follows this same line of thinking. A singer, representing all those lost in understanding relationships, begs and pleads for answers. 'Don't Choose' switches up their formula by including a prominent vocal sample that extends itself into the extended outro. This is different for dvsn, a duo that only went so far as to including gospel choirs for proper crescendos. This approach may reinvigorate their next project, one that I was mildly worried about following the nondescript 'Think About Me.' 

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