Every now and then I can go for a li’l slice of RnB cheese (not too cheesy, mind you).
This week’s Tune Of The Week is by Juicy and features the talents of none other than The Weeknd. Everything about this record feels like a Timbaland record from 10 years ago, and that’s a good thing in my books. If you listen closely, I think you could agree that this may as well have been Usher and T.I on a Timbaland track.
Juicy J – One Of Those Nights featuring The Weeknd
As usual, the Weeknd is mellow and mourful about the deranged and depraved behaviour depicted in the lyrics. I get the impression he wants to find a way to stop the late nights drinking and partying. Juicy J on the other hand sounds like he can’t get enough of the crazy lifestyle. I guess this is a case of opposites attract because somehow the combination works.
One Of Those Nights is taken of the Juicy J’s album ‘Stay Trippy’ and if you ask me, if this is just one of them nights, he’ll soon be the late Juicy J
2012 was another good year for music, well for me anyway. When I look back at my LastFM history and see all of the new music I’ve been listening to, it’s definitely been more positive than negative (the Seoul brother’s Broken Condom Style being an example of the negative).
Here are ten of the tracks that I loved most during 2012. They weren’t already strictly released in 2012, but this is my 2012 top because this is the year I came to enjoy them most.
10. Watch The Throne – No Church In The Wild ft Frank Ocean
The filtered down, driving production on this new era anthem kicked ‘Watch The Throne’ in to high gear, and also showcased Frank Ocean’s effortless vocal ability. The street riot video is also a scary prospect, if not a premonition.
What’s a God to a non believer, who don’t believe in anything?
9. Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox)
2012 was the year the Dubstep bubble burst and went Pop, and I for one blame (?) Skrillex.
8. Alex Clare – Too Close
Alex Clare’s Too Close stands out as the next wave of genre bending. The Diplo produced banger fuses elements of classic soul-pop vocals, reggae tinged drumming and dub step wobble bass programming. The infusion of all these elements gave me one of this year’s most repeated tracks. Also, any music video with Samurai is worth a watch.
And it feels like I am just too close to love you
7. Bonobo – Eyes Down ft Andreya Triana
Bonobo’s “Eyes Down” is probably the track on this skewed by the most bias. That bias comes in the way of having heard Bonobo drop it live at a festival in Costa Rica. Big (big) cruising bass lines drift below Andreya Triana’s smooth jazz inspired voice.
Hands Up, but my eyes facing down
6. Frank Ocean – Thinking About You
In a year where the charts were filled with saccharine, vacuous music, Frank Ocean’s laid back love song was a true revelation, with the combination of the sparse production, exceptionally interesting timing and a supremely smooth falsetto. This is pop music at it’s finest.
Since you think I don’t love you, I just thought you were cute, that’s why I kissed you
5. Childish Gambino – Bonfire
Community’s Donald Glover goes on the rampage in the form of his alter ego Childish Gambino. His record ‘Camp’ is laced with some of the cleverest one liners I’ve heard on a rap album recently, even if they don’t have much of a shelf life they’re a helluva lot of fun.
Cos I’m a beat bitch, grrr – Invader Zim
You can kiss my ass, human centipede
Black and White Music? Now nigga that’s a mix tape!
Made the beat then murdered it, Casey Anthony
4.The Knife – Silent Shout
As a long time fan of Kraftwerk and a recent fan of Booka Shade, M.A.N.D.Y and the like, this driving, late night dance track had me hooked from the first listen. The creepy, effected vocal performance from the brother and sister combo that make up the Knife sail over synth patterns that are complex enough to keep me curious by not overly so, and a bass line that grooves along, oblivious to the rest of the elements in the track.
A cracked smile and a silent shout
3. James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream
Most people who listened to this track for the first time told me that they didn’t get it – there’s not much going on. That, to me is best part of it. Spacious, emotional and poignant. James Blake communicates his sense of hopelessness with so little effort and so much space, that I feel I’m being such in to the spaces in the music, until the unconventional anti crescendo at the tail end of the track shove me back out.
All that I know is that I’m falling, falling, falling. Might as well fall
2. The Weeknd – XO/ The Host
The drama, grit and downright bloody scary things that this album contains had it on repeat for most of this year. XO/ The Host is depraved, shallow and striking, made all the more so because I don’t know whether or not to believe that the lyrics are merely fabrications or true stories.
I got a brand new cam, we can POV
1. Alex Clare – Relax My Beloved
I am exceptionally fond of music that can be at once dense and sparse, simple yet intricate. The string, drum, and programming on this release each satisfy in their own respect. Wild, raging synthesizers atop a dead straight kick/snare line interrupted by Alex Clare’s distorted, pained vocals. My only gripe is that the song is too short, I could have gone in for a 6 or 7 minute journey, and would have loved to have more time to explore what else could be found.
Don’t turn your back on me, or shout as you walk out the door…
This week’s cool cover version comes from the fuzzy haired Abel Tesfaye, or as you probably know him The Weeknd. Today being Friday and all, it seemed appropriate.
The track being covered is Michael Jackson’s iconic bitch slap track Dirty Diana. The Weeknd launches in to it with a surprisingly accurate rending of MJs vocal – no mean feat. I love this version, which he’s entitled D.D.
It’s not perfect though, things get pitchy in spots and MJs range takes him to task at the end. But the massive (massive) beat driving it along and the sheer ambition of this track make it a worthwhile cover version.
Release Date: December 2011
Favourite Track: High For This
The Short Version
A drug induced drunken haze delicously laced with hypnotic, deacandent beats make this a great listen. It’s a nice departure from the saccharine pop music that’s been pushed out for the last few years. Most of the time you’re not sure if the lyrics are fantasy or memory, but the now knowing is what makes this decadent treat.
Release Date: August 2011
Favourite Track: Not sure I have one yet
The Short Version
After House Of Balloons, Thursday is a let down. Lyrically not as well structured or as deep, it repeats a lot of what The Weeknd had already put out in the first EP. Musically “Thursday” retains the same spartan, hypnotic feel as the first release but is simply not as enjoyable. Maybe it’s because the shock value of the first project had worn off.
The Short Version
This record will make you feel dirty. If you’ve ever been somewhere, done something or even someone you regret, this album will take you back there. The Weeknd’s voice is still the star of the show, but Illangelo’s beats come very close to stealing the show on a number of tracks. A very strong third act after Thursday’s somewhat disappointing performance. Listen with care.
Available for download here – http://the-weeknd.com/ or stream the full version of Echoes Of Silence down below.