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Amph What Album Did You Just Hear?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Agreed on everything you said. I wouldn't say that it's a "great" album, while I would give that adjective to more than just a couple of their others, but that guitar sound, as you say, is just really great and I definitely feel like it's an overlooked entry in their discography and, even if it doesn't add up to a great album, it really should be talked about. Seems like the only time I ever hear anybody bring it up is when they're talking about "worst albums by great bands" or some topic like that and it really deserves better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  2. DebonaireNerd

    DebonaireNerd Jedi Master star 5

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    Nov 9, 2012
    I'm saddened the band never really cared for Bang and Blame as it never appeared on a hits compilation nor did they ever seem to play it live once the tour for that album was over. Same with Let Me In. There's some really dynamic stuff on that record.
     
  3. Jedi Daniel

    Jedi Daniel Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Apr 7, 2000
    The Lost World Jurassic Park OST by John Williams. Vastly different from the first OST but it has its own voice, just like the movie. Classic Williams :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  4. Jedi Daniel

    Jedi Daniel Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Apr 7, 2000
    The Bourne Identity by John Powell. Very good OST. Catching up on anything Powell at the moment to prepare myself for Solo :)
     
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  5. Jedi Daniel

    Jedi Daniel Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    The Bourne Supremacy by John Powell - Just as good, if not better in parts than the original
     
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  6. Master_Rebado

    Master_Rebado Chosen One star 6

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    May 31, 2004
    Hail to the King - Avenged SevenFold.
     
  7. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Trying to get a few last minute reviews up before the Grammies!

    [​IMG]

    “Awaken, My Love!”
    (2016) – Childish Gambino

    I wake up feeling like you won’t play right
    I used to know, but now that **** don’t feel right.


    With Awaken, My Love, Donald Glover’s musical alter ego has gone in some interesting and compelling new directions. This album, essentially, is taken up with the music of the seventies, from the fuzzy psychedelia to the stone cold funk, Glover neatly ticks all the boxes. Or perhaps I should say that he sloppily ticks the boxes and this statement basically encapsulates the strengths and the flaws of the album. First of all, the album does have the feel of a somewhat academic experiment; Glover hits all of the genre mainstays so purposely that there’s something a bit mechanical about it, a little too studied. However, there is a raucous quality to some of the songs here, a blurry sloppiness that’s pure Glover. It gives some of the songs a rawness that overcomes the soullessness that sinks a lot of the others. Love it or hate it, Glover is trying new things and this is an album worth admiration more than it’s worth love. The album certainly works very well at some points; the menacing Boogieman, the hypnotic Redbone, the deeply emotional one-two punch of Baby Boy & Stand Tall. On other songs, things fall apart in disappointing ways. The album opens with an annoying burst of formless sound being sold as a song, the groove and sentiment of Have Some Love are both completely soulless and the vocal decisions being made on California & Zombies will have you scratching your head. Glover certainly has talent and it’s undeniable that he’s stretching in new directions. He’s crafted an album that is challenging & complex; in a musical landscape dominated by formulas, “challenging & complex” is often mistaken for greatness. But it would be a mistake to call Awaken, My Love a great album; for all its ambitions, it’s unsatisfying too much of the time. But maybe this road will eventually yield rewards for Glover; or, more likely, he’ll leave this road to stretch in some new way with his next record. For now, we have Awaken, My Love, an album worth hearing, an album worth a certain amount of respect. From Glover, we often expect more; but we’ll make do. 3 stars.

    tl;dr – messy, complex album is often disappointing, soulless and mediocre, but it serves as an interesting stretch for Glover and it’s worth being disappointed over. 3 stars.
     
  8. Jedi Daniel

    Jedi Daniel Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Apr 7, 2000
    Black Hawk Down OST by Hans Zimmer. I just love the track Barra Barra.
     
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  9. DebonaireNerd

    DebonaireNerd Jedi Master star 5

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    Nov 9, 2012
  10. Talos of Atmora

    Talos of Atmora Jedi Master star 4

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    [​IMG]

    R.I.P. Edward Allan Clarke
     
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  11. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    One of his best, most underrated scores.
     
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  12. Jedi Daniel

    Jedi Daniel Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Apr 7, 2000
    Batman Begins OST by Hans Zimmer - Every track is nothing short of brilliant. The atmosphere that's conveyed just feels like living/breathy Gotham. Definitely my favourite of the Dark Knight trilogy OST's.
     
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  13. DebonaireNerd

    DebonaireNerd Jedi Master star 5

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    Nov 9, 2012
    Heroes is worth the price of admission alone

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  14. Talos of Atmora

    Talos of Atmora Jedi Master star 4

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    [​IMG]

    One of the best progressive rock albums ever made.
     
  15. DebonaireNerd

    DebonaireNerd Jedi Master star 5

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    [​IMG]
     
  16. Blue Destiny

    Blue Destiny Jedi Knight star 3

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  17. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    [​IMG]

    Reasonable Doubt (1996) – Jay-Z

    This is the number one rule for your set
    In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets
    On the rise to the top, many drop; don’t forget
    In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets


    With Jay-Z’s 4:44 blowing up in a big way, I thought it might be time to hit up some of his old stuff. Decided to start where he started with this monster of a debut. Jay-Z enters on Can’t Knock the Hustle and he’s already fully committed and fully self-assured. He isn’t faking the swagger until he gets success; he’s got the swagger of a star already and he’s waiting on the listener to catch up to him, not the other way around. This is a genuine, full-stop masterpiece, really. How many tracks on this album anyway? Sixteen if you get the one with the two bonus tracks; of those, I’d say two tracks are less than stellar: Cashmere Thoughts & Bring It On. The other tracks are all downright brilliant, making this album unbelievably consistent for a debut. There’s a breadth of emotions explored here; Jay’s reputation is built around his self-aggrandizing lyrics, but there’s a lot more depth here than most of his critics are aware of. Dead Presidents II and Regrets are surprisingly mournful. On the other hand, D’Evils is a lyrical masterpiece that allows Jay to create a tone of absolute menace and looming violence while feeling conflicted about the violence he dishes out at the same time; it’s layers like this that make Jay one of the better hip-hop lyricists in my opinion. Friend or Foe is a tight two minute diss track that knocks the posers back a step. Ain’t No ***** has an unstoppable groove that seems like it could go for years without missing a beat and Foxy Brown gets a really great verse on that track. Jay is, for all his arrogance, very generous to his guests actually. Another stand out is Coming of Age, a track with Memphis Bleek, that examines something hip-hop rarely touches on – deep male friendships. Hip-hop talks a lot about having a posse and brothers, but rarely does it do something as deep as this song which dramatizes the first meeting of a pair of rappers, one more established and the other still on his way up; maybe this is Jay and Bleek riffing on their own experience or maybe not. Either way, it’s about the way two relationships, that of mentor-protegee and friend-friend, form almost instantly between two kindred spirits. All this and I’ve hardly talked about the music; it too is brilliant – the beats are strong and the instrumental sounds used in those beats are memorable and, often, quite clever and surprising. Jay-Z makes his arrival with all the brilliance already in place. At the time, maybe people wondered if Jay-Z would be a star. Reasonable Doubt leaves no doubt at all. 4 stars.

    tl;dr – astounding debut features great lyrics, great music and a star-making turn from Jay-Z; a brilliant album that stands among the very best. 4 stars.
     
  18. DebonaireNerd

    DebonaireNerd Jedi Master star 5

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  19. DebonaireNerd

    DebonaireNerd Jedi Master star 5

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    Nov 9, 2012
  20. DebonaireNerd

    DebonaireNerd Jedi Master star 5

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    Nov 9, 2012
  21. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    [​IMG]

    Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life (1998) – Jay-Z

    It’s a dice game and sometimes you crap
    Who would’ve thought you’d get popped one time & rat?
    Now, you know that’s bad when your sister is mad
    And your son gotta grow up like, “This is my dad?”
    The labeling of a snitch is a lifetime scar
    You’ll always be in jail, *****, just minus the bars.


    With his third album, Jay really starts to go in some strange and interesting new directions. The use of samples and beats here is really interesting and reveals that, even this early in his career, Jay was already chafing at restriction. Nowhere is it more obvious than in Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem), the title track of this album, which utilizes a sample from the musical Annie. It’s a choice both radically outside the box and, once you hear it, absolutely perfect. Setting aside the happiness I feel when I picture gangbangers riding around with the sounds of Annie blasting out of their speakers, there’s more going on here. Jay is seeing past the exterior to find the attitude that he values wherever it is. Most rappers wouldn’t ever think of finding empathy between themselves and their audiences and the little white girls doing a production number in a musical, but Jay gets the attitude; he says in the liner notes that he loves the song because the girls aren’t crying about their situation, they’re just stating the facts straight up. It’s not a sad song, in other words, in its tone; in the bad situation, the girls of Annie have their heads up and they’re aware of their situation, but also just getting on with things as best they can. It’s this ability to dig under the surface that really elevates Jay in his field in my opinion. The album isn’t very consistent though. Sometimes the experimentation works as on the minimal Ride or Die; other times, it really doesn’t as on the annoying Foxy Brown reteam Paper Chase. The experimental musical stretching doesn’t really make up for the fact that more than a couple of these songs are mediocre. One song, Reservoir Dogs, is downright terrible with some of the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard. The songs that work here are quite good. Besides the title track, there’s the grim A Week Ago, a story of betrayal and violence; If I Should Die is a moving statement of purpose and peace with death; and Coming of Age (Da Sequel) reteams Jay & Bleek as we catch up with the characters from Reasonable Doubt on down the line after tension has grown between them. In keeping with the interesting twist Jay puts on his songs, Da Sequel doesn’t end in a hail of gunfire or betrayal as other rappers might have it; the tension and anger between the two is resolved in a moment of understanding and honesty. Who would have expected? This album isn’t the masterpiece a lot of Jay’s albums are, but it’s a clear transitional album. When it’s good, it’s very good. As a signal that Jay’s music would be more complex and off-beat going forward, it’s perfect; obviously, it took a little time for his songcraft to catch up with his intriguing experiments. 3 stars.

    tl;dr – Jay’s music moves in experimental, outside the box directions; some experiments fail & some lyrics are disappointing, but, while transitional & inconsistent, it’s got a few good tracks. 3 stars.
     
  22. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    [​IMG]

    The Blueprint (2001) – Jay-Z

    Cops want to knock me
    D.A. want to box me
    In, but somehow I beat
    Them charges like Rocky
    Not guilty
    He who does not feel me
    Is not real to me
    Therefore he doesn’t exist
    So poof
    Vamoose
    Son of a bitch


    It’s not surprising that as late as 2009, eight years after this album dropped, Jay was still returning to The Blueprint to attempt to recapture that magic by releasing his third Blueprint album. This album really is that masterful and foundational. It’s a triumph in basically every way and it feels the most of any of Jay’s albums to that point, like a truly cohesive whole. Jay was always very generous with guest rappers and guest verses, but this album is as fully from Jay’s perspective as anything he’s ever done. There’s one guest verse by Eminem on the rampaging Renegade and Eminem is on top of his game on it, but the absence of any other voices on the record is significant I think. It signals that The Blueprint is one of Jay’s most personal albums, taken up with his past, present and future at the expense of just about any other kind of statement. But that foundational philosophy for an album is one thing. Anybody could come up with that premise, but then end up dragging in guests later to help fill things up; Jay didn’t have to do that because this album is absolutely bursting with words and ideas. The Blueprint is Jay at the top of his game in terms of the sheer volume of things he has to say; this album feels like he’s poured out his heart and soul and, once he’s started, he’s been surprised himself at just how much he ended up having to say. If the legend that this album was written in just two days and recorded in just two weeks is true, that makes sense to me. Everything about this album sounds like Jay intended to start and then simply couldn’t stop, so intense was the burst of creativity.

    But if the vocals and lyrics are entirely Jay’s, the music and production is by a host of stars and soon to be stars like Kanye West, Timbaland & Bink and it really shows. The beats and samples here are very soul based and they give Jay some of the best musical beds he’s ever had. Everything works together to create a true masterpiece. Some of the stuff here really just stands up with the best things Jay’s ever done or, frankly, that have ever come out of the hip-hop genre. Takeover is one of the greatest diss tracks ever recorded, for instance, a ferocious song in which there’s a new potential mike-drop every two lines or so. Izzo (H.O.V.A.) & Hola Hovito are both masterpieces of posturing cool with hooks to die for. Song Cry is a surprisingly interior exploration of manipulation, the kind of song few rappers, or few artists in any other genres really, would ever come up with. Even the bonus tracks, which push the album up over sixty minutes, are strikingly good. I’m kind of notorious for trotting out the “tighten this album to forty-five minutes and you’ve got a masterpiece” cliché when albums top the sixty minute mark, but this is an exception; the flow of the album as a whole is so good that you kind of wish it would just keep going when it ends. Perhaps that’s another motivation behind the creation of two more Blueprint albums over the next few years. The meanings behind the title are myriad, but there’s one that even Jay may not have intended: aspiring hip-hop artists who want to achieve greatness should take some time to peruse the pattern laid out here. 4 stars.

    tl;dr – one of Jay’s most personal albums, The Blueprint is a burst of pure creative energy, featuring amazing production & astonishingly great lyrics; one of the masterpieces of hip-hop. 4 stars.
     
  23. EHT

    EHT Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 13, 2007
    [​IMG]

    This isn't AC/DC's best album, but it's definitely up there. It mostly lacks consistency, but it more than makes up for it with the energy of its performances. And the guitar tone is just crazy. These amps are so loud and raw, and you feel like you're in the room with them.
     
  24. DebonaireNerd

    DebonaireNerd Jedi Master star 5

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    Nov 9, 2012
    [​IMG]

    The ***k is thus band doing?

    This album either plays like background music or just doesn't register as a U2 album.

    There is nothing memorable off this apart from Summer of Love.
     
  25. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    4:44 (2017) – Jay-Z

    If my children knew
    I don’t even know what I would do
    If they ain’t look at me the same
    I would probably die with all the shame
    “You did what with who?”
    What good is a menage a trois when you have a soulmate?
    “You risked that for Blue?”


    If Beyonce’s Lemonade lived up to its name with its tart, sharp bitterness, then 4:44 lives up to its name as well; it’s an album from the dark hours of the early morning when you’re alone and reflective. Jay wrestles with his demons, flaws & failures in a wonderfully vulnerable way. The album deals explicitly with his infidelity and the shame he feels at his failures as a husband and a father. This really is a family affair; the album features wife Beyonce, daughter Blue & mother Gloria and also features a track addressed to his father, Adnis. There’s little of the posturing we’re used to from Jay. Still, this album comes very close to masterpiece status. The Story of O.J. is an incisive, brilliantly written treatise on the way life can turn around in a heartbeat; 4:44 is the centerpiece of the album, a nearly five minute rant that’s the most explicit, in terms of the things Jay-Z is talking about on this record, of all the tracks here. Other tracks are really great as well. Family Feud has a hook to die for; Bam stands up with some rare swagger. Marcy Me is an evocative, nostalgic piece and Moonlight is lyrically right on point. There’s really wonderful writing here and the use of samples is good as well, particularly on 4:44, which is haunted by the sampled vocals. But the album falls a bit short of genuine greatness. Its official release on CD featured three tracks not on the original streaming release and they’re all pretty terrible; some of the other tracks are middling, though of the ten tracks that make up the album proper, there’s nothing really bad. Still, it’s amazing that Jay has found new things to say here, this far into his career; he’s always pulled off the bizarre feat of focusing a lot of his music on how incredibly wealthy he is while also, somehow, keeping his connection to his audience. I suppose this album gets at why; it digs down under the wealth to get at the real human emotions beneath. This album isn’t the masterpiece I wish it was; it’s just not consistent enough. But it’s a genuine work of art and more than worthy of attention and praise. There are things here as good as anything Jay’s ever done. If there are also failures here, well, what’s the point of the album anyway? 3 ½ stars.

    tl;dr – flawed, but deeply personal, this album is another true work of art from one of rap’s legends; incisive, raw, vulnerable and thoughtful, 4:44 is as mature a work as Jay’s ever produced. 3 ½ stars.
     
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