LxL’s Top Ten Christmas Songs

a-charlie-brown-christmas1

At 12:00 AM on Black Friday and not a second later, radio stations all across the country began blasting Christmas music, oh so ready to put the Thanksgiving holiday behind them and go headstrong into Christmas season. While we at LxL love the Christmas holiday, our relationship with Christmas music is a little more conflicted. I, for one, love Christmas music in doses but less doses of “Grandpa Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and “Chipmunk’s Christmas” and more pure Christmas carol classics. Austin, on the other hand, is a regular crotchety Scrooge, as he even balked at the idea of doing a Christmas list period. Luckily for you who love Christmas music, two-thirds is majority, and Todd and I won the day.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2012.
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The 10 Best Albums by Artists Going Solo

Albums by Artists going Solo

Editor’s Note: This list was originally released in 2012. With the release of new David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), and Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend) records, we thought we would revisit one of our favorite lists: our 10 favorite albums by artists that go solo.

In honor of one of our absolute favorites, Jack White, announcing the release of his first solo album Blunderbuss, we thought it might be fun to do a list of the finest solo records from people who reigned from well-known groups/bands. We decided on a couple guidelines for this category: the artist could not have had a solo career before the band (i.e. Panda Bear of Animal Collective), and it had to be a recognizable band (and not just some college garage band). We also decided it had to be a true solo project and not just a side project (i.e. McCartney in Wings, Jack White in fifty other bands not named the White Stripes).

10. Q-Tip-Amplified

Q-Tip Amplified album cover art

Jazz rap trio A Tribe Called Quest was unmistakably one-of-a-kind in the early 90s, and Q-Tip no doubt led that charge. His debut solo album, Amplified is fast, calm, and nearly flawless, if it wasn’t for that horrendous Korn guestspot on “End of Times” (it was the late 90s after all).
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Who Is Harry Nilsson? Review

Who Is Harry Nilsson? (And Why Is Everyone Talking About Him)

Who Is Harry Nilsson? Review

Who Is Harry Nilsson? (And Why Is Everyone Talking About Him) has to be one of the best titles for a documentary I can think of, speaking on the fact that nobody knows who he is and the title playing on his biggest hit, Midnight Cowboy’s title sequence track “Everybody’s Talkin”. The documentary covers the life and trials of Harry Nilsson, one of the greatest American singer/songwriters of all time and famously Lennon’s favorite musician, who we have highlighted on two top ten lists. The Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter had a tragic and tragically underappreciated career, so it’s great to see a documentary completely devoted to gushing about Harry Nilsson. While I love that this exists, it’s a pretty bland documentary that plays more like a Behind the Music than something that deserves to be a free standing documentary.
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Top Ten Thursday: Best Solo Careers

Han Solo, solo career

After dropping our Review Royale of the new Justin Timberlake album this week, we thought it would be a good idea to tackle artists that have gone solo for our list this week.  We already broke down the best albums released by an artist after going solo in honor of Jack White releasing his first solo record.  So we thought, “Why not just look at solo artists career as a whole, after leaving their band/group.”  Easy enough to find plenty to pick from, but exceedingly difficult to pick just ten for this particular list.  We had to axe a couple that simply didn’t have enough solo material to justify putting them above more established solo musicians (Dan Auerbach and Jack White).  We just can’t be sure which direction people with just one solo album will go.  Back to the band or keep going on their own.  Either way, there were some very tough cuts, but we think we came away with a list worthy of your attention.  Enjoy, and let us know who we missed, left off, or shouldn’t have included at all.

10. Justin Timberlake

jt

Following the “hiatus” of ‘N Sync in 2002, JT quickly released his solo debut Justified.  I know of at least a few sophomores and juniors in high school who couldn’t resist the former boy-bander’s cool pop sound.  Little did we all know, Justified would serve as merely a bridge to even more progressive and layered pop sounds.  FutureSex/LoveSounds and The 20/20 Experience have done more than show off JT’s love of the backslash, affirming Timberlake as pop icon.
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LxL’s Top Ten Christmas Songs

The Best Christmas Songs of All Time

At 12:00 AM on Black Friday and not a second later, radio stations all across the country began blasting Christmas music, oh so ready to put the Thanksgiving holiday behind them and go headstrong into Christmas season. While we at LxL love the Christmas holiday, our relationship with Christmas music is a little more conflicted. I, for one, love Christmas music in doses but less doses of “Grandpa Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and “Chipmunk’s Christmas” and more pure Christmas carol classics. Austin, on the other hand, is a regular crotchety Scrooge, as he even balked at the idea of doing a Christmas list period. Luckily for you who love Christmas music, two-thirds is majority, and Todd and I won the day.
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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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LxListening: 8 Days a Week

The Beatles playlist

So partially because I’ve been on a huge Beatles kick after seeing Beatles LOVE in February, partially because the spring is the best time of year for the Beatles, and partially because I want to drive Austin crazy with Beatlemania (and steal from his Wu Tang only list idea), I’ve decided to do an all Beatles playlist. And no I’m not talking about “Help”, “Hey Jude”, and “All You Need Is Love”, but some deeper (but equally great) cuts, some other noteworthy hits, and, yes, even some solo Beatles work.

Before I get going, you may find it trite, but I feel it’s mandatory to state that the Beatles are the greatest (and most important) band of all time, and if you don’t agree, you don’t have a clue. What those four lads from Liverpool did in seven years for music (13 monumental albums) is more than anyone has done in their musical lifetimes. With that out of the way, without further ado, Ladies and Gentleman, the Beatles!
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