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Quickspins – Sept. 17, 2013

The Bloody Beetroots – HIDE (Ultra;2013)

Not many do it like Italian DJ/producer Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo alias The Bloody Beetroots. Recently, he told Life&Times that value shouldn’t be replaced by speed so despite being part of the EDM scene, Rifo prefers quality to quantity.Therefore it’s no wonder he’s been working on HIDE for four years.Influenced by different musical genres and time periods, HIDE mostly encourages listeners to dance – and sometimes headbang. The album starts off with “Spank”, which asks: “Do you wanna dance?” And there we go, the electro-punk symphony has started, a distinctive delirium signed SBCR.

Some songs such as “All The Girls (Around The World)” suggest smoother beats, which establishes a great intermission to the very dynamic album. Fans of more pop-ish EDM will appreciate “Chronicles of A Fallen Love,” whereas others will like “The Beat” for its resemblance to Daft Punk. Special mention to the blazing collaboration with Sir Paul McCartney. Seriously? History of rock meeting electro-punk? We couldn’t ask for more. The album drops on Sept 17.

Trial Track: “Spank” feat. TAI & Bart B More

Rating: 9.5/10

– Béatrice Viens Côté

 

Emilíana Torrini – Tookah (Rough Trade Records; 2013)

About the title of her fourth studio album, Tookah, the Icelandic singer-songwriter is reported as saying: “it is the core of you. The ‘you’ before life decorated you like a Christmas tree with all your baggage. It is what connects us with everyone and everything. Some call it god. I call mine Tookah.”

Torrini explores a new soundscape with Tookah. A mixture of atmospheric synthesizers and acoustic instrumentation envelop  her folky indie pop melodies to create a richly layered, evocative experience. Some comparisons can be made with Cat Power’s most recent album, Sun. However, this is the album of an artist who is constantly evolving and has now crafted a sound that is comfortably and definitively her own.

Tookah succeeds in drawing us into Torrini’s dream world, with its poetry and focus in a way that feels both effortless yet thoughtful.

Trial Track: “When Fever Breaks”

Rating: 8/10

– Paul Traunero

2Chainz- B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (Def Jam Recordings; 2013)

Put on your Versace aprons, 2Chainz is makin bread with his new album, B.O.A.T.S II:Me Time. The album, released shortly after his arrest in Oklahoma, demonstrates a wide variety of sounds. From the classic 2Chainz tongue-in-cheek lyrics over killer samples to some reflective pieces on his life thus far, Mr.Chainz is really giving us a taste of what he can do and expanding his repertoire in the studio and the kitchen.

While Kanye has offended patissiers everywhere, 2Chainz gives shoutouts to his stove, raps about baking soda and gives us a lesson in measurement all in the same album while still making tracks that flow into each other perfectly and have their own flavours, leaving listeners satiated. Maybe his next single will be featuring Martha Stewart?

Trial Track: Mainstream Ratchet

9/10

-Maddy Comi

 

Elvis Costello and The Roots-Wise Up Ghost (Blue Note; 2013)

Wise Up Ghost is an interesting collaborative experiment between the industry veteran Elvis Costello and the house band for Late NightWith Jimmy Fallon, The Roots. While far from Costello’s first partnership, Wise Up Ghost is a definite stylistic departure from his previous album, National Ransom, which might leave some Costello fans unsatisfied. However, this collaboration clearly displays a wide range of influences conglomerated into an overall funky hip-hop work with hypnotic drum patterns that manage to ingrain themselves into the listener’s ear drum.

Costello’s vocals bring an interesting foreground to this well-crafted beat that hits the mark more often than not. As some avid listeners of Costello have realized, many of the tracks on this album borrow, either lyrically or instrumentally, from his back catalogue such as “Stick Out Your Tongue”, making reference to “Pills And Soap” off of 1983’s Punch The Clock. While the mix of Elvis Costello and hip-hop might not be for everyone, those looking for a marriage of the old and new should check out Wise Up Ghost when it drops on Sept.17.

Trial Track: “Walk Us Up Town”

8/10

-Justinas Staskevicius

The Weeknd – Kiss Land (Republic Records;2013)

Emerging in 2011 as a mysterious and dark, yet refreshing new sound, Abel Tesfaye, better known to us as The Weeknd, captivatedlisteners with the release of his debut project, House of Balloons. Two mixtapes, a compilation album, and a rumoured -and untrue- beef with Drake later, The Weeknd has finally released a studio album with all new material. Kiss Land has The Weeknd addressing his newfound success, along with the female fans and drugs that accompany such a lifestyle. He describes Kiss Land as a symbol of tour life, but also describes it as a “terrifying place”, and as a place he’s never been before.

While Abel’s lyrics and subject material do offer an insight into his new world, the mundane, isolated lyrics and beats can easily go over the listener’s head after a while, causing the listener to yearn for The Weeknd’s superior singles. All in all, The Weeknd’s Kiss Land is a good, not great, studio debut for The Weeknd. It’s an album his hardcore fans can surely appreciate, if they blast it on really good speakers. Those who aren’t familiar with The Weeknd’s style needn’t use this album as a starting point.

Trial Track: “Belong To The World”

Rating: 7/10

Julian McKenzie

Categories
Music

Top 10: Best Kanye West Songs

1. Through The Wire – College Dropout

Ignore the fact that Kanye West sounds a little weird on the beat – the man wouldn’t let reconstructive jaw surgery bring him down. Kanye’s persistence and desire to rise to the top shines throughout the track. He recounts life before and after sustaining injuries in a car accident in 2002 with a jaw that was wired shut. He doesn’t cower, but instead rises to the occasion and looks more like a boxer claiming victory in a heavyweight fight.

 

2. Jesus Walks – College Dropout

Kanye burst through with a song that placed Christianity at its focal point and was one of his first songs to break into the public sphere. It wasn’t just a good song, it allowed listeners to ponder how Kanye was able to make such a successful song using Jesus Christ and religion as the subject matter.

 

3. Diamonds From Sierra Leone/Diamonds From Sierra Leone [Remix ft. Jay Z] – Late Registration

The imagery depicted from the opening line of the original song makes it arguably one of Kanye’s greatest. West takes the original and transforms it into a track that is equally as good. In the remix, Kanye goes political, addressing the conflict diamonds being mined in countries such as Sierra Leone.

 

4. Touch The Sky (ft. Lupe Fiasco) – Late Registration

Kanye’s bravado, and taste for expensive brands, is on full display in “Touch The Sky.” Swag level, awesome level, his ego, whatever level you would want to judge Kanye on, is looking to go over 9000. The song features a show-stopping verse from a young Lupe Fiasco and a slowed down Curtis Mayfield sample.

 

5. Can’t Tell Me Nothing – Graduation

Whether it’s through its visuals or its lyrics, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” was strikingly more brash and displayed more bravado from Kanye than on any of his previous material. The chorus itself, perhaps foreshadowing the paparazzi and haters, was a precursor to a more audacious Kanye West, setting the tone for the most boastful album in his catalogue, Graduation.

 

6. Stronger – Graduation

Graduation featured synths and electronic influences, which explains the outstanding meshing of Kanye West lyrics and Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” The booming drums from super producer Timbaland complete the electronic/hip-hop masterpiece.

 

7. Welcome to Heartbreak (ft. Kid Cudi) – 808’s & Heartbreak

808’s & Heartbreak delivered West at his most vulnerable, and his most imperfect. Despite the tracks dripping with Auto-Tune, the album is the first indication that there are in fact chinks in Kanye’s armour. Depression sets in on the track, as Kanye sounds empty and hollow while everyone else seems happier and on the verge of promising futures in contrast to Kanye’s grim reality, after the loss of his mother the previous year.

 

8. Gorgeous (ft. Kid Cudi & Raekwon) – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye goes after haters, among them the writers of South Park, critiques the issue of race in America, and of course, a boastful Kanye re-emerges from the rubble, caused by an avalanche of hate after the MTV VMA’s incident with Taylor Swift. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was his comeback from licking his wounds on 808’s & Heartbreak, and “Gorgeous” is the indicator that Kanye is ready to reclaim his extravagant and expensive throne.

 

9. Runaway (ft. Pusha T) – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The beautiful thing about Kanye’s fifth studio album is that it emphasizes his braggadocio behavior, but also features his vulnerability, with remnants from 808’s & Heartbreak. Add that to rousing instrumentals, it’s a glossy, fancy piece of work that can be added to any museum. “Runaway”, which was the centerpiece of Kanye West’s short film of the same name, features piano and Kanye willing to admit that he is in fact, a jerk but in the classiest of ways.

 

10. New Slaves (ft. Frank Ocean) – Yeezus

Kanye’s sixth studio release Yeezus may go down as his most polarized album. On the one hand, you must applaud Kanye for daring to use dancehall and electronic sounds paired with lyrics that all but claim he’s the second coming of Christ. On the other, some of Kanye’s ideas are displaced and just don’t fit within the album. “New Slaves” is among the better songs off the album, and while the verses might not be the greatest, there’s no denying the shock value of the lyrics and Frank Ocean’s vocals at the end.

 

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