Saturday, January 9, 2010

I've got a trumpet, I know where to dump it

Song of the Week: 'Freeway in Mind' by Kurt Vile

Way behind the curve on this as usual, but I've been playing this song so much lately that I had to give it a shout-out. Kurt Vile has written a great melody, and dresses it up nicely by mixing 'Like A Rolling Stone' era Dylan with modern day lo-fi sound collaging to lend this song a genuinely timeless feel. On paper the lyrics are free-associative stoner babble, but Vile's vocal performance really takes this song to the next level. This guy is from Philly, so I have a hard time believing his thick drawl is authentic, but he inhabits it beautifully. It sounds like he must have spent several years as a hobo living in boxcars to create something as seemingly 'real' as this track. The callused tossed-off lines like 'walk down my line, better be sure you'll be dead', and 'it ain't gonna do me in, they just go to heaven', reinforce this notion. Vile's carefree delivery sells it all beautifully. A gorgeous pop song.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Is Juelz Santana the worst rapper of all time?

Favorite albums of 2009 coming soon, I swear! In the meantime, I was on the stationary bike today, and to pass the time I was listening to a Lil' Wayne mix my brother Rob put together for me for Christmas a year ago. One of the tracks is a Lil' Wayne/ Juelz Santana remix of 'Black Republican', from a supposedly upcoming mixtape collaboration to be called 'I Can't Feel My Face'. The gimmick of the mixtape, outside of it's ridiculous/incredible title, is that it's a 'norther' rapper (Juelz) and southern rapper (Wayne) working together, in spite of the animosity shared by rappers from these 2 regions. Traditionally, NYC mcs dis southern mcs for for having no rapping skills and being lyrically inept, while the southerners dis the NYC'ers for being boring and having lost all commercial viability. While these stereotypes generally hold, at least Wayne's body of work has consistently exploded the notion that all southern rappers suck. Likewise, on the 'Black Republican' remix, Juelz proves that a New York rapper can be just as bad, or worse than his southern peers. Just check out the following Juelz Santana quotes, all taken from 1 verse of the track in question. I'm not making these up:

I protect my land like a farmer

Y'all washed up like money that's laundered

Rock star, flyer than an ostrich

Chicks, I get'em high, higher than turbulences

(maybe my favorite):

You dudes gotta stare in a mirror backwards cuz you can't face yourselves!

These analogies would make sense if a) Juelz owned land that he needed to protect, b) farmers were associated with militancy, c) money laundering actually entailed washing money, d) ostriches were accomplished flyers, and e) 'turbulences' was an actual word. Unfortunately, none of the above is true. I'd like to give Juelz props for the last line as representing the old, lovable dip-set wackiness, except that I get the sense he actually thinks he's saying something clever. With verses this entertaining, I can't wait for 'I Can't Feel My Face' to drop!