Today’s entry is Future Shock by Herbie Hancock (1983.)
We all know the old skool B-Boy staple that is Rockit. I also remember enjoying the synth groove of Autodrive. The rest of this album sounds lie the soundtrack to any “urban” movie of the early 80’s.
Picture wildly dressed teenagers with multi-colored hair walking down a street or one of those nightclubs heavily laden with neon for some reason…and you have Future Shock.
This album is definitely of its time. But I kind of miss that time, so it’ll do.
Today’s entry is Expensive Shit by Fela Kuti.
Like the album, this’ll be short and sweet.
The album comes from an incident where Fela was being accosted by police. To avoid further trouble, he swallowed a whole joint. The police held him in custody until he passed the joint and they could search for the evidence…hence the title Expensive Shit.
The journey takes place across only two tracks: Expensive Shit and Water No Get Enemy. Like the rest of his work, it is tight, bouncy and fun…and all the while they are thumbing their noses at the man. So, you know…art!
Today’s entry is Electric Café by En Vogue (2018.)
That’s right! En Vogue is back with a new album! Cindy, Terry and Rhona are in the house with the impeccable harmonies we’ve always associated with En Vogue.
What I enjoy about their newer work is the fact that the harmonies no longer need to be the gimmick they were back in the 90’s. Now they’re used as another layer in the musical composition. Like in the opening track Blue Skies where notes are digitally manipulated and rising in and out of the mix.
Overall this album is very well produced. Lyrically, many of the songs are a bit too sweet for the edginess of the music beneath. Not that the sweetness is necessarily a bad thing. The ladies of En Vogue have always been in their positive outlook/strength from within bag. I’m just saying maybe that doesn’t work against a dubstep track.
But there are definitely great moments on Electric Café.
Déjà Vu is that jazzy, vocally tight sound we know. It works so well here.
Have A Seat has that edge that was missing previously in the album. The theme of the song is essentially, “you had this, you lost this, you want this back and I don’t care.” Couple that with a Snoop Dogg verse and you’ve got a head-nodder!
I’m Good is the perfect song about self love and acceptance. Feeling myself and flirting with my reflection…I’m good. That’s what I’m talking about!
En Vogue has been through a lot of changes over the years. The one constant? It always works well!
Yesterday, I decided to unofficially start listening to an album a day. I’m two in.
My first entry is The Other by King Tuff (2018.)
Garage rock. With the exception of the tracks Psycho StarBirds Of Paradise and Ultraviolet, which have a more fully-fleshed sound (that bass, though!), the album sounds a bit too over produced for the ethereal nature of the lead vocals and lyrical material.
Second entry is George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic Live at Montreux (2004.)
It sounds just like you think it would. Crazy funk. Badass hip hop breakdowns. A French audience eating that shit allll up! Every track is a banger.
Let’s see if I can keep this going and what tomorrow will bring!
Today’s entry: Kiss The Sun by Con Brio (2015.)
Splashy, yet tight horns with a rhythm section that will make you break your neck!
Lead singer Ziek McCarter drives the whole ship with a voice that gives the growl of Terence Trent D’arby, the cheekiness of early Jamiroquai and the pining of an Adam Levine.
The title track, Kiss The Sun feels like the anchor of the EP and the other songs an expansion on the theme of love, happiness and the search for the same.
Today’s entry: Primal Heart by Kimbra (2018)
This is a departure for Kimbra. In fact, when I heard the first single Top Of The World, I believe my response was “dafuqizdis?!”
I did get over myself. Mostly because this album is her most musically interesting to date.
Instead of the sultry r&b vocals that we got used to, this entry is awash in electronic ambience and immersive sound effects thanks to producers such as Skrillex and St. Vincent’s John Congleton.
Her voice is obviously the main element of the album, but it is just that…one of the elements that make up the while soundscape.
The braggadocious Top Of The World
The Robyn-esque dance track Lightyears
The mournful Version Of Me
This album was a good way to start my day!
If you liked the old Kimbra, sorry ‘bout it. But this new direction is worth sticking around to see.
Today’s entry: KOD by J. Cole (2018)
I was ready to write this album off as just more heavily produced nihilism under the umbrella of hip hop.
But halfway through (literally…track 6 on Motiv8) J. Cole starts actually talking about real stuff:
What gets you up in the morning when you’ve done everything?
What do you do when self-medication is glorified but not self-care?
How does one avoid falling into the trap of addiction? (track 10 FRIENDS)
How does one navigate being young, black, rich and a target? (track 8 BRACKETS)
Another standout comes from the final track 1985 (Intro to The Fall-Off) which serves as a gentle warning to his peers about being responsible with the rewards of your current success. Money is fleeting and will only feel more so when one is scrambling for relevance later on.
I was definitely pleased to hear an actual worldview breaking through the trap beats. It feels all too rare these days.