Songs for Peace: LxListening

songs-for-peace

Frankly, 2016 has been an awful year. It has felt like every news cycle brings a new tragedy: black lives being taken from police brutality in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, police being shot in Dallas, and ISIS attacks in Baghdad, Istanbul, Orlando, Brussels, and San Bernadino. Fear, hatred, and anger is the language of the day and in the U.S. Election and Brexit.  Voices of ignorance and arrogance drown out those of love, courage, and unity.

While there is still certainly plenty of reason for protest and fighting for justice, sometimes we all just deeply long for peace and for all the madness to end. Music can bring a sense of healing and peace of mind like nothing else.

These for the most part aren’t anti-war or protest songs (we’ve been there before), but these are songs pointing to a brighter future, plain and simple. So for myself and anyone who needs a little bit of hope, here are my favorite songs for peace.

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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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Lauryn Hill Song Review: “Black Rage”

Lauryn Hill

“Black Rage”

Lauryn Hill

 

Lauryn Hill has been largely irrelevant for quite some time.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Lauryn Hill fan.  Obviously, Hill was great with the Fugees, and then her one solo album was universally loved.  But, can you even call what she has a career at this point?  Since The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill she has only released an unplugged album, a handful of singles, and toured very sporadically (tours which ironically price out the communities she claims to support).

But in music, talent rarely just up and disappears.  Whether an artist is being derailed by drugs, prison, self-imposed hiatus, etc., there always seems to be a little left in the tank which us fans pile hope upon hope will present itself.  “Black Rage” is one such case to make us believe.
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Lauryn Hill Song Review: “Consumerism”

Lauryn Hill

“Consumerism”

consumerism

I’m pumped Lauryn Hill is out of prison.  I’m pumped Lauryn Hill is making new music and has a new album planned.  And I’m most of all pumped Lauryn Hill may once again be relevant in popular music.  On to the substance.
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LxL Fest: 3 Days, 33 Acts, 1 Stage

lxl fest, little by listen festival, music festival, lineup
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Top Ten Thursday: Brilliant Babes of Song (Our Favorite Female Singer-Songwriters)

Female Musician

There is nothing that turns me on more than a hot female musician, and in turn, there is nothing better than writing an entire article dedicated to these women of music. This list is partially in honor to the brilliant new efforts put forth by Fiona Apple, as well as inspiration from recently seeing acts such as Feist and St. Vincent, and topped off by the new Cat Power track that served as an announcement for her forthcoming album that will be released later in the year. This was one of our toughest lists we have compiled yet, and we all felt very strongly about the artists chosen. Unfortunately acts like St. Vincent, and Karen O were not able to be taken into consideration due to the fact that a majority of there compositions are collaborative efforts. Nonetheless, we feel very strongly that the ladies listed below are worthy of the praise they have received, and in some cases, worthy of more.
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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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