Songs Of The Week: Eminem Needs A Dr. Dre, Kanye H.A.M.s It up With Jay-Z
I’m going through my annual Super Bowl hangover, now realizing the fact that I don’t know when I can be excited about football again due to the impending labor strike that’s going to come March 4th. Such a shame. Well one song you won’t be seeing in this episode of Al Jones’ Songs of the Week is Christina Aguilera’s version of the “Star Spangled Banner.” How do you mess that one up in front of 100 thousand people and 111 million television viewers? Yikes. I knew her career is going down the tubes, but damn Christina. Write the words on your hands or something. With all that said, here is my latest edition of Songs of the Week.
MONDAY: “Kaputt” by Destroyer
Destroyer is an interesting hybrid of many different musical forums. They remind of David Bowie meeting MGMT on extra caffeine and a pack of pixie-sticks. Their music is unpredictable, eclectic, and multi-faceted. On a Destroyer song you are bound to hear everything from horns, to keyboards and synthesizers, guitars, Although termed ”indie pop,” Destroyer crosses a wide range of sounds on 2010’s “Kaputt,” which make it hard for the listener to really peg what kind of genre these guys are even in. But maybe that is the point. What they are doing instead is making good music. Destroyer is really the brain child of Dan Bejar, whose musical spectrum is all over the place on their latest full length album. “Kaput” is a catchy tune. It sounds to me like something that came out of 1985 and that’s why I like it so much. The horn riff is classic and goes well with the over dubbed, multi layered voices that bless the track. I can picture this song played at some dim-lit lounge on the lower east side. Bejar is definitely out there, but usually the best musicians are. Destroyer is worth the listen.
TUESDAY: “H.A.M.” by Kanye West feat. Jay-Z (@kanyewest) (@JayZ)
When I first heard about “Watch the Throne,” the upcoming full length collaboration between Kanye and Jay-Z, I felt like I was 8 years old again at Christmas time. I was super duper excited. I mean Jay ripped verses on “Monster” and “So Appalled” two standout tracks from Kanye’s “MBDTF” and combine that with the storied history of these two rap giants going Ye’s signed deal to Rocafella, to the way back to the Blueprint, to Ye and Jay’s critical and commercial success, the average rap fan can’t be more excited about the possibilities for greatness w this project. So I am a little shocked that “H.A.M.” which stands for Hard as a Motherf*cker, would be the first single to drop. Is it a great song? No. Is it a good song? Yes. The scope of the song is epic. Huge opera laced female vocals, accompanied by synthesizing riffs over a hard Lex Luger beat has Kanye goin in hard with venom as he spits his bars, “Historically, I’m kicking b#tches out like Pam n#gga, Goin HAM n#gga, me and Jigga, And a n#gga still young, wanna have no kids, But I’ve been practicing with some actresses as bad as sh*t.” Jay is no slouch either, returning the favor with another strong verse. “I play chicken with a Mac truck, Ya’ll motha f#ckers woulda been moved, I swam waters with the great whites, Ya’ll mothaf#ckers would been chewed, I hustle with vultures late night, Ya’ll mothf#ckers woulda been food, F#ck wrong with these dudes, try to walk around in these shoes.” Let’s just hope “Watch the Throne” is a lot better than Jay’s last collabo effort, “Best of Both Worlds.” If he continues to go “H.A.M.” then it will be.
WEDNESDAY: “I Need a Doctor” by Dr. Dre feat. Eminem and Skylar Grey (@drdre) (@eminem) (@skylargrey)
Ladies and Gentleman, Dre is back. I didn’t know what to believe when I first heard “Kush,” Dre’s first single in it seems like decades. But it was the first sign that “Detox” might actually see the light of day…and this spring eve. “I Need A Doctor” confirms that “Detox” is coming, and as long as Dre continues to drop tracks via iTunes, this guy is happy. The beat is haunting and a firey Eminem (wait when is he not) rips through the first two verses with precision. For some reason I think this song could have been an Eminem track that got taken off the “Recovery” album to be put on Dre’s, because Em dominates the song. But the real person who steals this track is Skylar Grey. I love this girl. Her voice is so raw. This is the third time I have heard her, and she has stolen all of her appearances thus far. (Diddy’s “Coming Home” Lupe Fiasco’s “Words that I Never Said.”
THURSDAY: “Animal” by Neon Trees (@neontrees)
This is a song that had to grow on me. But eventually it did and now I love it. It has been out for quite some time and has given the band a lot of notoriety. They have performed on all of the late night shows from Jimmy Kimmel, to Jay Leno, and George Lopez. “Animal” is the lead single off their debut album, “Bad Habits.” Neon Trees continues to tour in support of their debut effort and has had a successful intro the indie rock scene. The chorus of “Animal” is one that will stay in your head for days. When singer Tyler Glenn croons out “Oh Oh, I want some more, Oh Oh, What are you waiting for, take a bite of my heart tonight, Oh Oh, what are you waiting for, what are you waiting for, Say good bye to my heart tonight,” I can picture teenage girls screeching in agony as they relate to an intense relationship or the love affair over they have with young indie heartthrob. Regardless, pop music is supposed to be fun like this. If Neon Trees can keep this formula going, they should be in line for a prosperous career.
FRIDAY: “Sweet Child O’Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. (@gunsnroses)
This selection was a shout out to my boy Andrew Caraballo, who is a huge GNR fan and wanted to pick a SOTD for his birthday. I obliged to his request and there is no denying the importance and legacy of this GNR classic. From the opening guitar riff, we are brought in to the hard core sound of late 90’s “Appetite for Destruction” Guns N Roses. The album “Appetite for Destruction” has had a profound impact on American rock music. It spoke the voice of the pre-grunge generation. It was the calling of those who wanted to rock but didn’t necessarily want to tease their hair and bombard you with glam. There was something gritty about these boys. And they were definitely bad boys, not the ones you brought home to mom and dad. But the way GNR sounded was almost ahead of its time in the era of loud guitars. “Sweet Child O’Mine” wasn’t necessarily their attempt at a love song, but the strong sense of song writing that Axl Rose and Slash had is extremely evident in this track. The song has a great groove, a sweet melody, and still packs the punch of an aggressive rock song. What’s interesting to know is this song is GNR’s only number one single. It is listed as one of Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, coming in at 196. Where does Guns N’ Roses go from here? Who knows? With constant feuding between Axl and Slash, nobody knows if the original lineup will ever see the light of day again, but be prepared to hear this song in jukeboxes for the rest of your life. Happy Birthday, Andy!
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