Tuesday, January 18, 2005

That new Game single is amazing, gorgeous, swirling clappy ticktock music-box production, Game riding perfectly just off the beat, 50 just beautiful pushing the track with singsong playground taunting you about "that Es-co-lade". It's just totally magnetic. Like, I own the album and I still go "YES!" and turn it up when it comes on the radio. It gets me. The whole album is really good but not great and sonically consistent in the way that every single G-Unit solo album is really good but not great and sonically consistent. These albums, they take regional hip-hop out of the region, even like DJ Paul and Juicy J don't sound like themselves, they sound like generic worldwide cinematic triumphant hazy boom. Game talks about the West Coast constantly, but he doesn't sound West Coast at all; he sounds like someone took every rapper that went gold but not platinum in the past ten years and put them all in a blender, put together the ultimate generic rapper from all the pieces. The beats don't sound West Coast either except that a few of the producers who aren't Dr. Dre bite The Chronic 2001 hard, "Still DRE" pianos and everything. Game talks the gansta talk, the sensitive-thug lovesong talk, the this-is-how-I-got-signed talk, the I-almost-got-killed talk, the pitiful misogynist talk ("I look down on hoes", whatever dude). Sean is right that he's totally, sort of awkwardly obsessed with hip-hop history, with classic rappers and especially Eazy (one of the best lines: "Who walked through the White House without a business suit / Compton hat, jheri curl dripping on Ronald Reagan's shoes"), like maybe he should just sit back and relax and enjoy being a rapper. I love the last song, the story-of-his-son's-birth one. Finally emotion creeps in, finally he sounds happy and sad and totally committed. I love stuff like that. I don't know when exactly hip-hop power ballads started hitting me right where it hurts, but it happened. Watch for the Pitchfork review!

The Dungen album is OK and all, but it's like: we already have Comets on Fire. Why do we have to outsource their job to some Swedish band? It's the exact same thing.

I've read every single one of the Da Capo Best Music Writing books, and the new one is just like the old ones, with all the good parts and all the problems of the old ones. For the first time, there's a few people here who I consider to be peers or at least close elders, people I've shared e-mails or page space with: Hopper (killing it), Matos (not his best work), Bowers (a beautifully written but sort of annoying piece). But then there are a million stories about forgotten singers or forgotten blues singers or Johnny Cash, and I just don't care (I love Johnny Cash, but I just don't care. It's been done.), a million stories about music that isn't being made right now or maybe shouldn't be made right now. And yeah, I'm really happy about Elizabeth Mendez-Barry's Jay-Z thing and Corey Takahashi's globally influenced hip-hop production thing and Jeff Sharlet's Clear Channel thing, but for every one of those there's like Adam Mansbach's painfully clueless hip-hop intellectuals thing or a completely superfluous history thing on Stevie Wonder. The funniest thing is "guest editor" Mickey Hart's introduction, all like "Whoa, dude, music is like sex and drugs to me and music is just like love man, music"; I'd be shocked if he actually had anything to do with the selection of these pieces, but at least it means there's no Grateful Dead pieces.