Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Stuff We’re Loving: The Top 10 Best Albums of 2008

November 30, 2008

Stuff We’re Loving: The Top 10 Best Albums of 2008

Ah, 2008, the year in which Obama was elected, the Giants won the Super Bowl against incredible odds, the Phillies won the world series (but no one cared), and when about 90% of us realized our majors aren’t going to make us any money in this economy and considered Pharmacy or Law school. But 2008 was also a vintage year in music, which is why I’ve compiled a list of the ten best songs and albums of the year. The list of songs is coming later, but for now, here are the Flashlight’s choices for the best albums of A.D. 2008. Feel free to agree or disagree, but, to paraphrase Mr. Adam Sandler in “The Wedding Singer”, I’ve got access to a blog and you don’t, so you will listen to everything I have to say. Enjoy:

10) Guns N’ Roses- Chinese Democracy

Chinese Democracy

I know, its not as good as we’d hoped. But it’s gonna be on everybody else’s top ten list, so I might as well put it on mine. You know the economy is in bad shape when Axl Rose doesn’t want to sink anymore money into this $14 million ego-trip of an album. Sure, everybody is gonna whine about how Slash is gone and no one can play guitar like him, but if there’s anything that listening to a Velvet Revolver album teaches us, it’s that Slash may have been the talent in the band, but Axl was the visionary. Nonetheless, Slash could sure put together a guitar riff, and without him, Chinese Democracy makes Guns n’ Roses sound like an Avenged Sevenfold cover band. But it’s an Avenged Sevenfold cover band with two decades of hype behind it. What’s better then that?

9) The Teenagers- Reality Check

Reality Check

No, it’s not Serge Gainsbourg, but this band of Parisian misfits do share his one-track mind. The lead single “Homecoming” was nicknamed by DJ’s “the Clap Track”, as it was so sordid, it was believed to have sparked a rise in STD rates in London nightclubs. Most of the album is spoken word, and includes a stalker’s love note to Scarlett Johansson and a song called “F**k Nicole”. 39 minutes of dirty, sexy French goodness.

8 ) MGMT- Oracular Spectacular

Oracular Spectacular

Armed with keyboard riffs that are catchier than smallpox, MGMT have astounded pretty much every major festival attendee this summer. Thanks to events like Glastonbury and Coachella, the anthemic “Time To Pretend” and the gorgeous “Kids” were two of the years biggest indie songs, and the rest of their debut album is just as good. Best thing to come out of Brooklyn since the Warriors, Spike Lee and integrated major-league baseball.

7) Lupe Fiasco- The Cool

The Cool

This one might have come out in 2007, but it was December, and I was to busy basking in the Dominican sun to pay attention to its release, but come January I was convinced that Lupe was the re-incarnation of Rakim (I know he’s not dead, but hey, it’s fun to start rumors). His debut Food and Liquor had some amazing singles, but ran a little on the long side and didn’t really have as much substance, but this follow-up, a concept album involving characters with names such as The Cool, The Game and The Streets, still astounds me with it’s storyline and the dexterity of Señor Fiasco’s rhymes, even a year later.

6) Coldplay- Viva La Vida of Death and All His Friends

Viva La Vida

I must admit, I was not a Coldplay fan until I heard a few key tracks from this album, then I heard Yellow then I heard the rest of Rush of Blood to the Head and Parachutes, so I must say, they are quite good. I still stand by my claims that X & Y was still a bunch of third-rate wannabe U2 crap, however.



Stuff We’re Loving: Joy Denalane

September 24, 2008

I always find myself more inspired by artists from overseas who create soul music, than our own home grown songstresses and griots. Why? Simply, because its a testament to the universality of soul-music; someone a world away can reach back into the rich history of the artform, add in their own elements and serve us up an enjoyable and refreshing soul cocktail to enjoy.

Joy Denalane is a German-born R&B singer from Schoenberg, Berlin. Of German and South African roots, she’s combined African folk and contemporary R&B and hip-hop in her career to create her own unique sound. However, I didn’t catch wind of her until recently when her video “Change” featuring another favorite of mine, Lupe Fiasco was brought to my attention via Youtube.

You hip-hop fans out there will recognize the beat from Young Jeezy’s “Go Crazy”,

FYI: both tracks are sample from an old Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions song called “Man Oh Man”.

It isn’t as bass-heavy as the aformentioned Jeezy track, and features a live horn section. Denalane’s beautiful voice isn’t overwhelmed at all, by the instruments and her voice sails over the track. “Change” is what we call “conscious” music because it’s a song that’s talking about important issues like war and poverty. It’s from Denalane’s first English-language album called “Born & Raised.”


What I’m Loving This Week: Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams

September 16, 2008

Beyonce isn’t the only one in the family with talent. Her little sis, Solange’s new album “Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams” has a funky ’60s and ’70s R&B inspired/electronic/alternative fusion sound and she has plenty of clever and creative lyrics to back it up.

Solange’s mish-mash of sounds has been some of the most unique and refreshing music I’ve heard in a long time. Don’t expect any remnants of her sister here; this music is pure Solange, as most of the lyrics are self-penned and the direction of the album is indeed far out. She experiments with Motown inspired tracks and veers all the way out into trippy, electronic-sounding tunes.

The lead single off the album is called “I Decided” and it’s a nod to the sound created by girl groups of the past with its catchy lyrics and popping tambourine-hand-clapping tempo.

Watch Solange time-travel through musical eras in the clip for the single:

The second single “Sandcastle Disco” is a sophisticated retro-pop tune. Again, she’s inspired by colorful images of popular images for the video.

The entire LP is up for a listen on her myspace page.

It’s indeed worth the listen. Stand-out tracks: “T.O.N.Y” co-written by Cee-Lo (of Gnarls Barkley and Goodie Mobb fame) and the psychadelic trip-hop track “This Bird.”

Enjoy the listen…

-Lynecia Burgess