Carlo Aaron

Seven Hours

In reviews, Uncategorized on February 17, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      When I have to drive from my home in South Florida to my place at school in Tallahassee it takes me about seven hours.  This can get tedious, but I enjoy the time to be able to sit and think, uninterrupted for a few hours, and I usually download a few albums for the drive.  On the most recent trip I took I downloaded Big Sean’s Finally Famous, The Cool Kids When Fish Ride Bicycles, St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy, The Weeknd’s Echoes of Silence, Patrick Wolf’s Lupercalia and tUnE-yArDs’ w h o k i l l.

 

            Finally Famous is surprisingly good.  I wasn’t expecting much; I haven’t listened to that much Big Sean and it was the Nicki Minaj “Dance (A$$) Remix” that got me interested in hearing the album.  The tracks on the album are catchy and the musicality of the songs is great.  I wish Big Sean would’ve pushed more on flow and lyrics, because I’d really fallen in love with his enunciation on his “All of the Lights Remix” with Lil Wayne and Drake, and his Supa Dupa Flow.

Standout Tracks: I Do It, High ft. Chiddy Bang and Wiz Khalifa, Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay ft. Kanye West and Roscoe Dash.

Rating: 4/5

 

            I was less than impressed with The Cool Kids’ When Fish Ride Bicycles.  I was really crazy about their work when they were first getting big, and I guess I was expecting something more in that vein.  Instead of the throwback flows that made them so distinct in the past they sounded kind of bland.  That being said, they’re still great and after listening to it a few times without the expectations I’d set myself up for I could appreciate a few more of the tracks, especially the instrumentation on “Penny Hardaway” and “Roll Call” (the Asher Roth verse on the latter tack overshadows the Kids though).  “Bundle Up” is terrible though.

Standout Tracks: “Roll Call” ft. Asher Roth, Chip tha Ripper, and Boldy James, “Rush Hour Traffic,” “Penny Hardaway” ft. Ghostface Killah

Rating: 3/5

 

            St. Vincent is a fucking weirdo and I love it.  In addition, she’s a great instrumentalist and creates music with layers for days and amazing timing, texture and grandiosity and she doesn’t disappoint on Strange Mercy.  Every track on this album is genius.  The thing about St. Vincent is that there’s never any instant payoff, what I mean by that is that you can’t just turn on one of her songs and love it, you have to sit there and listen and then when you get an amazing guitar riff like on “Cruel” or “Chloe in the Afternoon.”  The only song that comes close to an instant payoff is “Northern Lights.”  The best album I listened to on the car ride.

Standout Tracks: All of them.  But I’ve got a total boner for “Cruel,” “Northern Lights,” and “Hysterical Strength.”

Rating: 5/5

 

I’m not a big fan of the Weeknd (or R&B in general) but after hearing the great work on Drake’s Take Care, especially on “Crew Love”, I figured I’d give his latest work, Echoes of Silence, a shot.  I was unfazed.  I think there’s a lot of good instrumentation on the album, but it all seems to fall flat.  The “Dirty Diana” cover works well and the song “Initiation” was worth listening to more than once but I’m pretty bored by the rest of it.

Standout Tracks: “Dirty Diana,” “Initiaton.”

Rating: 2.5/5

 Patrick Wolf Lupercalia Album Cover

            I never know what to expect with Patrick Wolf, because he’s such a versatile artist often dipping in and out of great acoustic songs or electronic bits or Pop melodies; he’s all over the place and I love it.  However, I heard “The City” when the music video came out and I was not a fan, so I wasn’t sure I how I was going to feel about Lupercalia.  When I downloaded the album and heard the track in context of the rest of the album I understood it, and really came to appreciate it.  The album is more acoustically driven, although there is some great synth work on it, and each song is really fantastic.  A beautiful piece of work and probably Wolf at his greatest.

Standout Tracks: “William,” “The Falcons,” “House,” “Time of My Life.”

Rating: 4.5/5

 

            I’d never heard of tUnE-yArDs before downloading the album w h o k i l l, which I found on some list from either Pitchfork or Stereogum and I figured ‘why not?’ so I gave it a listen and I was more than thrilled when I decided to play it on the drive to school.  There album has an amazing mix of drums, saxophones (an instrument I loathe) and layered vocals (I was astonished to find out the lead singer is a female).  That being said the vocals really work best when Garbus lets herself get really loose and loud; when she tries to be more tender the songs tend to lack the energy they need.  The time changes in a lot of the songs are genius as well, definitely worth a listen.  I heard they were up for a Woody award this year and I hope they definitely deserve one.

Standout Tracks: “Gangsta,” “Bizness,” “My Country.”

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