Top Ten Thursday: Songs for Freedom

Best Songs about Freedom and Independence of all time for Fourth of July

So with yesterday being the Fourth of July, you may be a little America’d out –  or maybe you are the type of person that never gets sick of the old red, white, and blue.  Either way, we opted for a list that isn’t straight up American patriotic songs (that list will come another time), but still captures the American spirit.  We opted to do the best songs about freedom and independence, which is what is really at the core of the Fourth of July – going way beyond any mushy nationalism. We figured this works for everyone, including our international readers as well. Plus, Todd hates America, so staying away from a straight up American list was in the blog’s best interest to keep him from quitting. So here are the ten songs we thought best instill the spirit and message of freedom.
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Top Ten Thursday: The Sophomore Slump

The sophomore album.  There is almost always exponentially more anticipation and expectations for a band or artist’s second album.  We at LxL thought that those expectations would lead to a lot of massively disappointing second efforts.  Interestingly enough, after a lot of research, we were pleased to discover that the sophomore album failure rate is really not all that high.  Despite this welcome discovery, there were still enough clunkers to make a list of the most disappointing follow-up albums.  Note that this list does not contain the worst all-time sophomore albums, but instead the albums that did not live up to the expectations brought on by a great or promising debut.  As always, fill in the blanks with any albums we may have left off the list, or call us out for albums you think should not have been included.  Enjoy!

10. Raekwon – Immobilarity

raekwon, album, cover, art

So your two best friends are RZA and Ghostface Killah, and you’ve just released your debut smash, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.  What should you do next?  I’ll tell you what you don’t do.  You don’t bypass one of the greatest hip-hop producers since the genre’s genesis (RZA).  You also don’t fail to utilize a rapper that fits snugly between Biggy and Jay-Z in the holy triumvirate of New York rappers (Ghostface).  Fail.

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Top Ten Thursday: The Hologrammy’s

tupac, hologram, coachella, digital

All it took was the one and only Coachella music festival to bring Tupac back from the dead…at least in Obi-Wan Kenobi hologram form.  A hundred grand plus and the unequaled genius of Dr. Dre was what proved necessary to display Tupac’s hologram performing “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Gangstaz” with Snoop Dogg (for those with a more technical interest in the technology used, see this article).  The shocker is that, from the youtube videos and first-hand reports, the hologram actually looked pretty good.  This may not prompt the esteemed writers of LxL to rush out and buy tickets for the inevitable tour of Tupac reborn (who am I kidding, I’m in), but it did get the ball rolling on which deceased musicians we would like to see show up at a music festival near us.  Our preference would be that these legends show up in hologram form, as opposed to zombified (aka Bob Dylan’s most recent tours), because zombies give us the willies.  Enjoy, and let us know who you would like to see brought to computer-generated life.

10. Notorious B.I.G./Ol’ Dirty Bastard

biggy, notorious, crown, king, close-up

Alright, so maybe the connection between Notorious and ODB are tenuous at best (Jay-Z sampled ODB’s “Brooklyn Zoo” for his track “Brooklyn’s Finest”, which contains a verse by Notorious).  But with the power of post-humus production, we would like to see a Watch The Throne-esque collaboration featuring Big Poppa and Big Baby Jesus in a feast for the ears.  Yes, ODB went by Big Baby Jesus for a period of time during his late-career nosedive. 

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WZRD Review: Pronounced [wiz-erd]

WZRD (Kid Cudi & Dot da Genius)

WZRD

wzrd, album, cover, art

Kid Cudi has been systematically trifling away any amount of goodwill that I may have originally had for him (meaning I am not a member of this fanpage).  First, Cudi followed up his take-the-world-by-storm debut with a lackluster, albeit not terrible, sophomore album.  Then, maybe through no fault of his own, Cudi’s character on HBO’s How to Make it in America became simply intolerable in the second season.  I mean, come on, who wants to watch a respectable hip-hop artist portray a pot dealer for Manhattan’s elite who delivers said weed under the guise of a dog walker.  He also transitioned from a smooth operator to a whimpering puddle of emotion who decides to date one of his best friend’s exes, which is pretty incestuous and sad.  And now, Cudi has brought us WZRD to complete his transition to a Drake-like cautionary figure of the wussification of hip-hop.
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Top Ten Thursday: Worst Grammy Offenses – or How We Learned to Loathe the Grammys and Love Music Again

Grammys are worthless

It’s no secret, or even a matter of opinion at this point. It’s just a cold hard fact. The Grammys suck. Everyone knows and understands this, yet somehow, they still exist. Not only do they exist, but they exist on a larger than life scale. Yet not once have I ever heard someone in real life or media claim that the Grammys have ever held any sort of relevance in the music world … Ok, I take that back … I DO remember hearing hipsters last year claiming that Arcade Fire was “breaking barriers” and “proving something for indie musicians” when they won that worthless hunk of fake gold for whatever bull-spit category they won it for. In contrast, I also remember hearing Nickelback fans rant and start a blogspot called “Who the F*$k is Arcade Fire”. I think it’s fair to say that neither of these stereotypes should represent music anyways. Anyone who cares about music realizes that Grammys hold as much value as my MC Hammers savings account. It’s quite literally a song and dance put on by the record companies to maximize profit in an industry that isn’t very good at making profits anymore. So they do what they can, and exploit what songs made money in television commercials that year, and pray that people still think their input is worth anything.
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