I’m glad that Christmas only comes around once a year. I dislike the season, a lot. I hate the forced cheer, the over-priced crap we’re forced into buying: everything about the season makes me cringe, and especially the music.
I was asked if this month’s playlist would have any good Christmas music. I responded that good Christmas music is an oxymoron. This month’s playlist is offered as an antidote to the treacle that’s normally on hi-fis this time of year.
Used to be that the words
hardcore went hand in hand with lyricism. Can’t remember when it changed, but now we have idiots like 50 and The Game claiming skills — in addition to claiming dollar bills — and the real lyricists wandering round the ring.
The Clipse released a modern hip hop masterpiece with Lord Willin’ and then…nothing. It took four years — and lots of major label politricks — but they finally released their sophomore LP Hell Hath No Fury (they kept busy by releasing a series of street tapes during the interim). Angry, bittern and raw, the album also features brooding and bleak wit on the parts of the brothers Thorton. The beats produced by The Neptunes are exercises in minimalist terror.
Amy Winehouse is going to be big — huge even — that is, of course, if she can lay off the booze. Think a foul-mouthed, drunker Norah Jones and you might get the picture. Her song Rehab actually makes alcoholism appealing.
Ghostface is god. No, really he is. It’s hard enough putting out a brilliant debut like Ironman, but to stay artistically consistent over five albums? Insane. Fishscale proves you can be pushing forty and still have the hunger. Kilos is one of the illest tunes about pushin’ weight, ever.
Okay, confession time: I dig Justin Timberlake’s newest album. Everything I’ve heard from the darn thing is pop brilliance. Put it in perspective: Timberlake’s latest is to pop music in 2006 as MJ’s Thriller was to 1982. “My Love” is this year’s “P.Y.T.” Check for Diplo’s re-rub. Pure aural cotton candy.
Hot Chip are 2006’s golden boys, they can do no wrong. I caught them when they opened for Stereolab back in March.
The Postal Service with balls is how they were described to me, and it was an apt description. Their cover of Marvin’s “Sexual Healing” takes Gaye’s final hit — and his worst vocal performance ever — and puts a new shine on it. Mild electronic beats and a distant, disembodied vocal create a sensual and otherworldly feel.
That’s it for now. Before I leave though, check out our boy the Analog Giant; he’s posted a 2006 in review podcast. It’s hot.