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My Friend Matt Told Me To Do One Of These While We Were Drunk, So I Done Did: Music Reviews For January 2, 2017

Look, I'm sick of music, you probably want to hear me shit on pop music, I'm in the mood to eviscerate something...are we doing this or what?

0 stars: Blows
*: Bad
**: Meh
***: Decent enough
****: Pretty fuckin' good
*****: Impossible (because most of these are first impressions, and I'm too jaded to ever like anything again)

Le'z go:

Austin Mahoney "ForMe+You"
Fucking ANNOYING.  Juicy J sucks all the fun out of this thing instantly with the repetitive rap chorus.  Boy band shit with slightly higher bpm's than you may be used to, but basically the same lifeless, post-pop dystopian shit you may or may not have noticed flooding the radio because you can absolutely avoid any music you don't want to hear now.  (Side note: Pitbull is on one of these songs, and it's the most lifeless "party" song you've ever heard, but he still does the same Pitbull wants to party type verse on it, and it's kind of funny how out of place it sounds in a schadenfreud-y way.  Also, he says "skeet-skeet-skeet" but then they bleep out "fuck".  Kind of like they don't understand what "skeet" is except that it was in a popular song once, and if the rap kids like it, then it must be cool!  Run it!)

J Dilla "Jay Dee's Ma Dukes Collection" ** and 1/2
Quietest kept, J Dilla was one of the best beat makers on the planet until his untimely death in 2006.  Since then, it's been discovered that the beats he released (which numbered in the hundreds) were just the tip of the iceberg.  Seriously, the quantity (and some could say quality) of his posthumous catalog dwarfs 2Pac's.  That being said, this is literally 15 rap instrumentals, even if there's (thankfully) not an 808 within earshot.  If you need something to freestyle over, or if you really like some laid back but still boom-bappable beats, this is worth checking out.

JC Caylen "Nept0nes III: The Final Chapter" **
Literally just a mixtape curated by a YouTube personality.  I heard "Cecilia And The Satellite" on 88.9 a bunch about two years ago, but holy SHIT does it clash with the next two tracks of postmodern EDM trap that's so bad it makes me want to face palm.  Fortunately, these two tracks are painfully out of step with the rest, which is, though chill to the point of dystopic again, actually sonically interesting.  I like "Cutting Ties".  "Breathe Again" sounds like I would have liked it if not for the pipe reverb ruining an otherwise interesting beat.  "You Make Me Feel Good" sounds like a song I could bob my head and tap my toe to (though the 7 min. run time gives me pause, cuz I know it's probably not going to change at all).  "Ain't Gon Stop" and "I Was Wrong" suck, but they're not annoying like I was expecting after hearing "Platinum" and "Dum Dum".  I wanted to hate this a lot more than I did.  I'm glad it disappointed me.  (Though can we all agree that this Anderson.Paak shit needs to stop?  I can't stand that fucker.)

Chicago "Now More Than Ever: The History Of Chicago" ***
I was surprised how many of these songs sounded good.  Chicago has the (somewhat deserved) bad rap of sucking harder than the whirlpool at the end of Dead Man's Chest, but that's because Peter Cetera and his songwriting ability are an infected cum repository.  But there are quite a few hidden gems in this collection.  The sticking points are: In a world where I can't even sit through a 52 minute album anymore, why would I want to sit through 53 songs, especially considering that "If You Leave Me Now" is one of them?  I'd almost say it would be better to torrent their whole catalog, because then it's broken up into the composite albums and isn't as daunting.  Collections like this in a digital setting have less raison d'etre than ever.  But if you feel like flicking through this to find a couple songs to absorb in a sitting, I agree with the sentiment.  (Just stay away from like the last seven or eight, because that's all 80's Chicago, which is how they got their reputation of scornful wussiness.)

A Loss For Words "Crises" **
Rise Records: The Album.  Uplifting pop punk anthems trying to be about something.  If that floats your boat, go for it.  It's kind of amazing how on brand this album is.  It's the stereotype to a T.

Various Artists "Double Murda Riddim EP"
Do you want autotuned dancehall with six different performers doing their thing over the same beat (literally; six different tracks with six different sets of lyrics and everything)?  Does anybody want to hear the same song six times in a row, especially one this generic and out of date?  If you do, then THIS IS YOUR JAM!

Olly Murs "24 HRS - Acoustic"
Shitty generic EDM with cringe-worthy lyrics transposed into shitty generic WGWAG (White guy With Acoustic Guitar) music.  (Credit for acronym: Todd In The Shadows.)

Run The Jewels 3 *** (for now I guess)
I don't know why, but I can't get into this album.  Part of me knows this is good, but I can NOT feel it.  Nothing about it tells me "don't listen to this; it's bullshit" or "this isn't a worthy follow up" or anything of that nature.  I just...I don't know.  I like it the barest, slimmest margin more listening to these samples since I listened to this when it dropped, but even leading up to the album, I didn't like any of the singles either.  Though I can say the beat for "Legend Has It" (which I thought was the worst of the three promo singles) has grown on me and I don't think it's bad anymore, it's going to take like 10 to 20 listens to this album before I think it's something I want to listen to.  And given that I haven't listened to any album from the past two years that many times yet, I don't like RTJ3's odds.  (Nothing personal, but there's something wrong with me lately.  I'm either changing into something I don't understand or fading away altogether.)

Yo Gotti "White Friday"
Well, regardless of any era of my life, I would never have liked this.  This "81" shit sounds played out like it's from '06.  Words like "hustle" "money" and etc. lazily enunciated over 808's have raised my hackles since the middle of the previous decade.  But oddly enough, I kind of felt a little something for "Power Of Money".  Even though it's literally about get money, cash, hoes in that order, Gotti actually sounds enervated by his own speech.  He sounds downright depressed to still be rapping about this shit, and kind of trapped by still having to be in the trap this far into his career.  That doesn't stop him from making the rest of the album about the same shit in far less interesting ways, but I could at least glean a genuine bit of emotion about...something from what otherwise feels like a giant front for "I sound like I'm doing something and I'm sort of a hip hop namebrand, so gimme money".

Nine Inch Nails "Not The Actual Events" * and 1/3

In an EP full of "Meh", why on Earth did Reznor put out "Burning Bright (Field Of Fire)" as the single?  It's one of the most boring Nine Inch Nails songs I've ever heard.

Norah Jones "Day Breaks" ** and 7/8

She's experimented with other shit, but this feels like Jones getting back to what brought her to the dance, if not from a different angle.  "Burn" is definitely more dark in its seductive qualities than anything on "Come Away With Me".  "Tragedy" adds the bonus of being sonically interesting and even a little bit soulful.  And I say these things as someone who liked her first few albums.  She has help from John Patitucci, Wayne Shorter, Lonnie Smith and Brian Blade on a few tracks, so definitely a pedigree has been reached.  It's well produced, so credit to Ms. Jones for that.  All in all, I wanted to like this record more than I did, but after track 4, the title track is the only one that doesn't drag.

Sing (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Deluxe) *
There's a track on here that starts with Shoobie Taylor (I'm not shitting you) and smash cuts into the intro to "Anaconda" by Nicki Minaj.

....fucking WHAT!?!?!

T.I. "Us Or Else: Letters To The System" ** and 7/8
The most on point I've ever heard T.I. be.  I had NO idea he had this in him.  I've NEVER liked T.I. But from jump "I Believe" makes you sit up and take notice.  Musically, this album isn't my bag (except the beat for "Warzone"; that shit's boss), but the message is important enough that it overcomes any of that.  (Man it's hard not to write the T word; you have to do all sorts of acrobatics, but fuck that guy; I ain't putting that word in my shit if I can help it. "Overcomes".  Pfff.  There's just no good synonym for tr-mp).  Anyway, not every song on this is gold, but there are enough notable lyrics that cut to the quick and fair to decent beats to keep you interested.

Shawn Mendez "Live At Madison Square Garden" [Negative One Star]
NO.  Just...NO.

Berner "Packs"
More generic hustla things, but with R&B beats.  Points for switching it up a little on "In The Mix", but since that's the only song without 808's on it, it's not gonna get you even half a star.

twenty one pilots "TOP x MM" ** and 1/2
This is a five song EP where Mutemath redoes five Twenty One Pilots songs.  I'm on board with this, because I love Mutemath and I'm not annoyed by Twenty One Pilots.  Mutemath definitely improves upon "Heathens".  It's always perplexed me why Mutemath aren't bigger, but hopefully this gets them into ears that wouldn't have otherwise heard them.  And it's not like they're that dissimilar from Twenty One Pilots sonically if you squint really hard, so this pairing definitely works.  (Though this is the first time I figured out that T1P does "Ride".  Not super happy about that revelation, though I can vent spleen at a named foe instead of that one "Whoa-o-whoa-o-whoa" song. (That ONE "whoa-o-whoa-o-whoa" song?  There's gotta be thousands!)  (Also, I abbreviated to T1P because TOP is Tower Of Power; always will be; fuck anybody who says different; funk the dumb stuff.))

Zack Williams "Chain Breaker"
The chain rattle sample that's super high pitched and barely there (kind of like someone rattling the chain on a necklace rather than shackles) really gets under my skin.  It's subliminal squickiness that serves to undercut the message Williams is trying to get across, which is that Jesus is salvation.  To be fair, the only people listening to this album already believe that, but even they might not like to hear subliminal squick.  Juss sayin'.

Various Artists "La La Land Soundtrack"
Speaking of squickiness, have I ever mentioned I hate musicals?  Like, I don't care how well put together they are, I can't listen to them because of how corny the lyrics are?  Yeah.  This is no exception.

Justine Sky "8 Ounces"
The lyrics are laughably bad on this one.  "Love Song" sets the tone in that department.  The description for the album says "sizzling, danceable R&B".  Listen to "Still".  Nothing about that "Sizzles" or is remotely danceable.  It's minimalist, though with kind of cool chords, they're over a beat which is barely there and cuts out half of the time.  Also, whoever writes these lyrics must think it's still cool to rhyme "blue" with "shoe".  That's the level of intellect we're dealing with here.  To be honest, I'd actually be into some of these songs if the lyrics weren't SO fucking bad.  The beat to "Girlfriend" is actually pretty nice, but holy FUCK is the line about Michelle Obama pointless.  Also, no Earthly idea why this is called "8 Ounces". 

Roy Woods "Nocturnal"
Wait, didn't I just listen to this album?  The beats sound like a slightly trappier version of the beats on "8 Ounces".  It's really similar.  Also, the lyrics seem inane but not quite to Justine Sky levels.  Also, they have a song where he tries to sound like The Weeknd (okay, they're all like that) but he tries to work the Red Hot Chili Peppers and "Californication" into a metaphor, but there's no fucking context for any of it, so it sounds hella forced.

Harry Gregson-Williams "Live By Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)"
A motion picture score to a movie I've never heard of.  Not much of note, but it does have a release date of December 7, 2004 and a copyright date of 2016.  Either way, I have no idea why this is in the hot new releases section of iTunes.

Julian Jordan "It's Julian Jordan"
Except, you know, when it's not Julian Jordan, like on nine of the seventeen tracks on this thing.  It's nondescript EDM, whaddaya want?  The best I can do is make a snarky comment like this and move on.

Various Artists "Vocal Trance Anthems Vol. 2"
Speaking of which...

The Chainsmokers feat. Xyl0 "Setting Fires: The Remixes"
The trifecta!  (At least version 3 switches the beat up and goes a little dubsteppy.  Best I can say for it.)

Various Artists "#Wearmada"
Is this just the dumping ground where iTunes throws all the EDM releases in a given week?  I even skipped another remix EP between this and The Chainsmokers.  I have literally no opinion besides "I'll never care enough to want to listen to this" about any of it.

Trina "Dynasty 6"
Trina had quite a bit of buzz in 2001, with a verse on "Take It To The House", Destiny's Child's "Survivor" and her album "Da Baddest Bitch" all hitting that year.  That was sixteen years ago.  Now she sounds like any female rapper.  Could not pick her out of a line up.

Britney Spears "Slumber Party (feat. Tinashe) [Remixes]"
More churned out EDM, but bear with me a moment.  The first track on here reminds me of "Bitch I'm Madonna", which was the latest song that reminded you Madonna stopped being cool in 2002.  Brittney should take this as an omen and quit while she's ahead.

Olly Murs "Years And Years"
Didn't I already cover this guy?  AND it's another remix EP?  This review and possibly music itself is starting to eat its own tail.

Various Artists "Club de Quervos Soundtrack" **
After the slew of non-descript awful I just trudged through, this meh, yet not the worst album is a decent palette cleanser.

Gucci Mane "The Return Of East Atlanta Santa"
Oh for fuck's sake.

And one I know I'm going to catch flack for:

Various Artists "Moana (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)"
What's worse than a musical?  A musical that's also a kid's movie.  I'm done.

So that's it.  It took me two hours to write this, and I'm not proofreading it.  2,500 plus scorching hot words poking fun at some over-ripe bullshit and a few worthy efforts.  This went a lot better than the last time I tried to do it in August.  I barely made it through seven albums.  Have a Happy New Year and all that vagazzled nonsense.  Sparkle those crotches, yo.

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