We are inching closer to our end of the year lists. It’s really just a month or so away until we release the definitive account of the year in music, including albums, songs, and new artists. With that in mind, I want to recognize more artists who have made a mark on 2012. I hope everyone enjoys these five songs we put out most Fridays, but more than anything I like to use these lists just as much for myself. It is convenient to have a record of what music we were enjoying at particular moments during the year. I can look back to a LxListening post from early in the year and refresh my memory as to why I liked a certain track or was digging a certain artist. It’s kind of like Todd’s sex journal, only instead of trying to refresh his memory to figure out who gave him the clap, I identify certain moods or trends in my musical tastes. After that tasteless jab, I have no choice but to press on and give you five more tracks to brighten your Friday.
Saigon – “Rap vs. Real”
Ever since his half-season arc on HBO’s Entourage, Saigon has avoided mainstream avenues. He truly believes there is an important message to be told through his music, and after his last couple albums, I tend to agree with him. On “Rap vs. Real” Saigon explains the difference between rap lyrics and what happens in real life. Just a small sampling: “You in the club and your always strapped (that’s rap)/ Ask Shyne how that ten years feel (that’s real)”. Keep preaching Sai.
Kylie Minogue – “All the Lovers”
Not embarrassingly, I’ve found myself listening to Kylie Minogue’s resplendent The Abbey Road Sessions quite a bit lately. She is an A-list pop star that America just kind of missed the boat on. Her exposure in the states makes people think she was some sort of one-hit-wonder, a la Natalie Imbruglia (all babe over talent). Minogue’s entire catalog is solid, and it starts with “All the Lovers”, a pop song for the ages. Note that The Abbey Road Sessions is a compilation of past work with Minogue backed by the London Symphony.
Meek Mill – “Dreams & Nightmares”
Meek Mill’s title track off his new album, Dreams & Nightmares, is the big box rap release we’ve been waiting for. Big label (Maybach Music), big guests (Nas, Rick Ross, Drake), and big beats contribute to the Ambition (Wale) of 2012. Neither Wale nor Meek Mill came out of nowhere, but I didn’t expect this kind of excellence in this medium out of either one of them. The title track starts off with Meek deliberately rapping over a nice piano piece. About half way through, the track explodes into aggressive bass with a surprisingly vitriolic Meek destroying the beat, expletives abounding. Enjoy.
First Aid Kit – “The Lion’s Roar”
I like First Aid Kit, and when I hear “The Lion’s Roar” on an episode of Misfits (great show for anyone looking for something different), I was perplexed to not know the song. I looked up who sang it and was further perplexed to realize I hadn’t heard their 2012 album of the same name. The album is pretty good, the song is exceptional. There is a genuineness found in these European folksters not present in many of these types of acts trying to cross the pond, perfectly exemplified on “The Lion’s Roar”.
Kendrick Lamar – “Backstreet Freestyle”
Not too long ago, on a slow Friday night, my roommate and myself kicked back a few and listened to Kendrick Lamar for about two hours before going to see a band called Frontier Ruckus (a kind of folksy regional act). The show was good, but listening to Good Kid M.A.A.D City… along with several tracks Kendrick has guested on while lauding his talent was the more enjoyable part of the evening. The “beast mode” version of Kendrick featured on “Backstreet Freestyle” displays his versatility from smooth lyricist to attack dog MC. This is the only time I am going to say I could see a Kanye-like career out of someone without feeling hyperbolic.