Tag Archives: album

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West

Let me start off by saying that I am not a fan of Kanye West as a person. Though I have never met him, he presents himself as an arrogant, selfish, egotistical jerk (insert additional profanities here: i.e. douche, jackass, etc.). It’s much the same with one of my all-time favorite artists, John Mayer. Is John Mayer an unbelievably gifted guitarist (perhaps the greatest of our generation) and singer? Definitely. Did he make a comment about his dick having racist tendencies (likening it to a KKK member)? Unfortunately, he did..

While it can be hard to separate the artist from the person, talent is talent. John Mayer is a guitar god and Kanye West is a hip-hop hero, and I consider them both geniuses in their respective genres. Kanye West is without exception my favorite rapper of the current day and age, and this is why:

  1. He is honest, intelligent, and a lyrical mastermind.
  2. He is a very talented producer, shown in the quality of his albums.
  3. He has played a huge role in redefining the hip-hop genre, as becomes clear after listening to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

I have loved each of Kanye’s hip-hop releases (808’s and Heartbreak, in my opinion, was more R&B or Pop). College Dropout was an honest, brilliant record. Late Registration and Graduation started exploring more refined production with the expanded influence of various genres (featured artists such as Adam Levine, Chris Martin, and John Mayer). My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the culmination of Kanye West’s creative power.

The very first time I heard this record through, I was absolutely blown away. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is made up of huge beats, huge names, and huge quality. Tracks are beautifully composed, and a multitude of instruments add substance to some very memorable tracks. From the strings and horns in ‘All of the Lights’ to the piano in ‘Blame Game,’ Kanye shows an affinity for various genres of music. I absolutely love that Kanye brought in artists like Kid Cudi, John Legend, Rick Ross, Big Sean (slays on bonus track ‘See Me Now’–see below), and Bon Iver.

My only criticism: I can’t say this album features Kanye at his absolute best lyrically (don’t get me wrong, he is still really good). One thing is for sure… The product as a whole is remarkable!

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Gorilla Manor by Local Natives

“And the award for creepiest mustache in a band goes to… The lead singer of Local Natives!”

Okay, that was uncalled for… My apologies. The truth is, Taylor Rice and Local Natives are an unbelievably talented group of musicians that composed a stellar debut album in Gorilla Manor. The band itself has drawn a number of comparisons and when I listen I do hear many similarities to bands like Vampire Weekend and Band of Horses. But is this necessarily a bad thing? Not at all. I love these types of bands that have command of a unique sound in the world of indie music.

Gorilla Manor is strong from start to finish. The tracks have a great deal of depth, with strong, meaningful lyrics and really impressive instrumentation. The result is songs like ‘Wide Eyes,’ which has spiritual/religious undertones combined with a rhythmic percussive beat, beautiful harmonies, and magnificent instrumental solos.  ‘Airplanes’ is an emotionally driven tune focused on the loss of a loved one. Each and every track brings something special to the table, making for an enjoyable listening experience. Some of my favorites include the aforementioned tracks, ‘Shape Shifter,’ ‘Sun Hands,’ and ‘Who Knows Who Cares.’

The song from the video below is not from the album (it’s a Simon and Garfunkel cover), but it’s just so badass that I couldn’t resist sharing. I have NEVER seen anyone play the tree so vehemently!

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Take This to Your Grave by Fall Out Boy

For a long time, music has played a huge role in my life. Not that I possess the knowledge or know-how to dive into the specifics or technical aspects of the songs that I hear. I do, however, feel that I have a pretty good ear and can readily identify music of value or substance. I can clearly recall the first time I heard ‘Chicago Is So Two Years Ago’ by Fall Out Boy. I was playing with some friends at a local tennis court when I started listening to one of their mp3 players. Everything about the song immediately hit me: the melody, the strong punk rock instrumentation, and the vivid lyrics. I went home, researched the band, and ended up finding an album that I still consider to be my favorite of all time.

Have I found more talented artists or better constructed albums since? Without a doubt, I have. Be that as it may, this does not seem to change the fact that Take This to Your Grave can still stir something within me that very few (if any) albums can. Perhaps it will forever be associated with nostalgic days of happiness, when I was able to enjoy life as a teenager with little responsibility and an unbound passion for discovering new musical artists. Whatever the reason, this album will always hold a special place in my heart.

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