audio review : Spice ( album ) … Spice Girls

audio review : Spice ( album ) ... Spice Girls

It’s a ridiculously lazy album title, but Spice is nice in a fun energetic sort of way. That’s partially because of the Girls cutesy singing voices, which are studio polished to the point of being nearly indistinguishable, but it’s mainly the songs themselves that glitter like gold rings.

These radio-ready bops pop bubble gum with well-crafted vocal melodies over sultry beats. The themes mostly have to do with superficial romance as the Girls swap bars to sing and sometimes rap directly to “you”. Yes, Spice is for boys as much as it is for girls.

my rating = 4 of 5

1996

audio review : Conversation Peace ( album ) … Stevie Wonder

audio review : Conversation Peace ( album ) ... Stevie Wonder

“The conversation is peace,” Stevie Wonder insists. He’s talking about world peace, a utopian state in which problems like poverty and war don’t exist. It’s an unrealistic fantasy. Human nature doesn’t work that way. But Stevie Wonder is a visionary, so he continues to spread benevolent messages thru music.

If you’re listening for the magic melodies of past albums, you’re in for a disappointment. These songs; meticulously produced, sometimes to the point of bloatedness; are mostly inferior. Exceptions include Robins Will Sing and Cold Chill, both of which serve as worthy additions to the Stevie Wonder song archive.

my rating = 3 of 5

1995

audio review : Everythangs Corrupt ( album ) … Ice Cube

audio review : Everythangs Corrupt ( album ) ... Ice Cube

This begins with a Donald Trump dis, which is hardly surprising. Ice Cube started his career attacking then president George Bush. The rapper, like too many people in AmeriKKKa, seems to equate rich white men with racism, foolishly unaware of the hypocrisy. When he switches focus to dollar-chasing bitches on One For The Money, he’s got a point.

I’ll give Ice Cube credit for staying true to the game. For whatever it’s worth, Everythangs Corrupt sounds like an Ice Cube album right down to the go-hard Cali beats. Some of the samples are cliché and most of the hooks are banal, but there’s no hit-hungry trend-chasing happening here. It’s just nostalgic gangsta rap music for hood heads from the 90s.

my rating = 3 of 5

2018

audio review : Angel Down ( song ) … Lady Gaga

This song is like Gypsy in that it’s not till the end that it goes from unremarkable to something special. For Gypsy it’s the final bridge and chorus section. Here it’s the following coda.

“Save that angel,” Gaga murmurs, but the music; a dreamy lullaby led by a mellotron and what sounds like a harp; is what’s enchanting. It’s a shame the whole song doesn’t sound like that.

my rating = 3 of 5

2016

audio review : Joanne ( album ) ... Lady Gaga

audio review : Caution ( album ) … Mariah Carey

audio review : Caution ( album ) ... Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey has gone full circle in the sense that this new album is, like her first few, limited to about ten songs with no reprises or interludes. That’s more or less a sign of the times but a notable mention “irregardless”, especially for listeners who can only take so much of her whispery falsetto.

8th Grade is the 8th song, appropriately enough, but it seems random to start with GTFO, the title and concept of which is suspiciously similar to Toni Braxton’s recent FOH single. The album, featuring a surprise verse by Slick Rick, is consistently decent though with no major highs nor lows.

my rating = 3 of 5

2018

audio review : Jungle Fever [ Music From The Movie ] ( album ) … Stevie Wonder

audio review : Jungle Fever [ Music From The Movie ] ( album ) ... Stevie Wonder

Songs From The Movie would be a better subtitle as Stevie Wonder not only provides the music to Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever but also the vocals. This is, in effect, a Stevie Wonder album. That it’s also presented as the official soundtrack to the movie, which it also is, undermines that fact. The singer should’ve let the director have the title track, which is the worst song anyway, and save the others for himself. A new Stevie Wonder album with no connection to a movie would make more sense, especially considering it’s been four years since his previous one.

Characters doesn’t sound this good though. From the very first song, a summer bop entitled Fun Day, Stevie Wonder parades his knack for composing wonderful vocal melodies. The not-so-obvious drawback is that the verses sometimes outshine the hooks; Queen In The Black is probably the best example; when it should be the other way around. If She Breaks Your Heart, the lead vocals of which are actually provided by Kimberly Brewer; Stevie Wonder is no homo; gets it right though. Make Sure You’re Sure, a romantic jazz ballad, is gorgeous.

my rating = 4 of 5

1991

audio review : Only Dimes ( song ) … G-Eazy + Too Short ( featuring The-Dream )

The title would be better without the word “Only”. Dimes is a perfectly suitable title for a song about the fact that you only fuck with dimes. That means The-Dream, G-Eazy and Too Short, don’t get into sexual or romantic relationships with girls who score less than a ten out of ten on the scale of beauty.

At least that’s the concept. The music is pretty too. But the chorus, performed by The-Dream, should be replaced by the one he sings just once at the end. That and a do-over of Too Short’s verse, which is flawed by an awkward edit after the twelfth bar, is all it would take to make this a good song.

my rating = 3 of 5

2018

audio review : The Pimp Tape ( album ) ... Too Short

audio review : The Pimp Tape ( album ) … Too Short

audio review : The Pimp Tape ( album ) ... Too Short

Too Short’s Sex Tape, released just a few months ago, was a pleasant surprise. It’s his first good album in a long time. The Pimp Tape, the title of which has been promoted for about the last two years; the rapper says he’s been in the game for only thirty, so who knows how old these songs are; is a step back down to mediocrity.

Trophies is included on both albums; it should be limited to this one since it’s not about Sex; and it’s one of the best songs. Most of the others sound like mixtape filler due to lackadaisical beats and hooks. I like the theme though. Glorifying the pimping of “bitches” is a much-needed slap in the face of modern feminism.

my rating = 3 of 5

2018

audio review : A Breukelen Story ( album ) … Masta Ace + Marco Polo

audio review : A Breukelen Story ( album ) ... Masta Ace + Marco Polo

I’d say this isn’t a Marco Polo album any more than The Falling Season is a Kic Beats album; Ace senselessly credits one and not the other; but Polo isn’t just the sole beatmaker here. He’s also the main character. This Story is, in other words, about Marco Polo in the same way The Falling Season is about Masta Ace. But Polo doesn’t rap, so Ace shouts him out every once in a while.

If that seems silly and confusing, it is. Masta Ace has long been fixated on odd concept albums pervaded with narrative skits that have little to no replay value. A Breukelen Story is no exception. The best parts are the beats and rhymes; Ace and Polo are skilled in their fields; but not necessarily the songs themselves. Kings and God Bodies are good, but most falter at the breaks.

my rating = 3 of 5

2018

video review : 9-11

video review : 9-11

This is the story of five people stuck on an elevator in The North Tower of New York City’s World Trade Center. It’s a mundane concept made captivating because it happens to occur on “9-11”, but the execution is somewhat of a letdown.

Famous people playing strangers is par for the course. Charlie Sheen leads as a billionaire going thru divorce. What isn’t so forgivable is the script, which, despite some poignancy, never really stops feeling like a Hollywood movie.

my rating = 3 of 5

2017

video review : Nancy

video review : Nancy

Nancy is a woman who, after watching a news report about a Girl Still Missing After 30 Years, makes contact with the parents to say she might be their long-lost daughter. The mother invites her into their home, even going as far as to refer to the daughter as “you”, as they await the results of a DNA test.

That last bit is the one thing this tedious tale has going for it. The wait brings with it a certain level of anticipation. Is she their kidnapped daughter or not? That’s the big question. Once the answer is revealed, a little too early and anticlimactically, the story has nothing interesting to do with its protagonist.

my rating = 2 of 5

2018

video review : Halloween

video review : Halloween

This is just what the world needed; another Halloween backtrack. I say that sarcastically, of course, as it’s gotten absurd how many times previous narratives are flatly ignored in favor of new ones. They’re all based around a town in Illinois called Haddonfield and this one, the third simply titled Halloween, plays not as a remake but a direct sequel to the 1978 original. It continues the tradition of being set in real time though, so it’s forty years later.

That means Michael Myers is old. The gray hair on his balding head is shown within the first few minutes, which not only makes him less scary but stretches the believability of a plot that has him overpowering younger men and women without throwing out his back. If he’s inhuman, as the bullets he endures suggests, why does he age and breathe like one? There I go trying to apply logic to a cohort of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger.

Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode; she returns every twenty years; but it’s all in vain. This sequel is basically H20 2.0 as it builds to a final showdown between the gun-toting Laurie and her knife-wielding nemesis. It’s Grandpa versus Grandma, except Grandma has the help of her daughter and granddaughter. Rob Zombie’s Halloween remains the best and only good movie in a series that should’ve ended long before even that movie was made.

my rating = 2 of 5

2018

video review : Halloween