The Marshall Mathers LP2
Since I am the first one weighing in on Eminem’s MMLP2 I’m going to have to do some preemptive work to dispel the strong feelings against the album I’m sure Wes (and to a lesser extent Todd) are going to have against it. Wes doesn’t like Eminem for who he is. Eminem is unapologetically crass, emotionally raw to a terrifying degree, and cares much more about getting as many thoughts onto a record in word form than flashy production techniques. MMLP2 sticks to these tenets, and much like his previous record, Recovery, this all comes across with varying levels of success.
Continue reading “Eminem Review Royale: The Marshall Mathers LP2”
The Arcade Fire
The Arcade Fire are a band that have universally been lauded by critics and hipsters alike, but the Montreal arena rock band have left the other two LxL contributors a bit cold, and while I myself would call myself a fan, I don’t bow at the knee of Win Butler and company like many music fans. I had particular intrigue with their latest album, Reflektor, though considering it being produced by LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy in his first big project after LCD Soundsystem broke up. Reflektor contains some of the magnetic dance hooks that Murphy once brought to LCD Soundsystem, mixed in with big, guitar-driven Arcade Fire sound to make a good album that just falls a bit short of anything special, leaving me a bit cold yet again.
Continue reading “Arcade Fire Review Royale: Reflektor”
Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
For many years, Big Boi was the slightly lesser half of one of my favorite hip hop acts, Outkast. It’s not that he wasn’t a crucial part of every Outkast album; he just seemed to be a little more one-sided than Andre 3000. Big Boi focused more on dominating the rap game with a strikingly smooth and original flow, all while incorporating his tack-sharp wit. Andre, on the other hand, covered a lot of the musical bases and focused more on fusing genres by incorporating elements of jazz, funk, and blues into the hip hop world. This contrast was exemplified on their 2003 double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, in which each album belonged to a different member; Speakerboxxx was Big Boi’s project and Andre’s was The Love Below. Although Speakerboxxx was very enjoyable, Andre’s efforts on The Love Below cast a shadow over Big Boi’s work, essentially leaving Speakerboxx in the dark.
After Andre’s 6 year absence, Big Boi has stepped up his game, continuing on with what he does best but also taking over Andre’s role of fusing additional elements of music into his own brand of hip hop. Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is Big Boi’s third solo album (if you inlcude Speakerboxxx, which you should) and further proves to show us that he can very well hold his own, and not just in the rap game. Big Boi manages to branch out musically, blending multiple genres together in a new way.
Continue reading “Big Boi Review Royale: Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors”
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
I can’t say that I’ve been completely “in” on Coldplay since the release of X & Y, and it is hard for me to put a finger on exactly why I stopped listening to them. I didn’t really enjoy X & Y all that much, but one mediocre album rarely dissuades me from completely removing a band from my musical consciousness. Never was there a moment where I said to myself “Screw Coldplay”, “They’re sellouts”, or “Chris Martin should strap himself to a bomb, go on stage with U2, and flip the switch”. I think what happened was, even without paying particularly close attention to Coldplay post-X & Y, I knew that they had begun fully transitioning into “arena-rock band” mode, while focusing less on the sparse piano and simple guitar ballads that won my affection to begin with.
Continue reading “Coldplay Review Royale: Mylo Xyloto”