video review : Gino Jennings and Mr Vegas debating about Christian women wearing makeup and other fashion accessories

video review : Gino Jennings and Mr Vegas debating about Christian women wearing makeup and other fashion accessories

This Kingston YMCA debate about whether or not The Bible permits women to wear makeup and other fashion accessories doesn’t really get interesting until it drops the formalities. That happens after Mr Vegas does a speech condemning Gino Jennings for referring to said women as “whores”, which he considers sexist. Jennings says he’s been misrepresented but makes it clear that, as far as he’s concerned, The Bible does, in fact, forbid women “walking around looking like Jezebel”.

The underlining premise, that “God” is real and what The Bible says is true in the first place, makes for a ridiculous argument either way, but Jennings comes across as the obvious winner. That’s partly because it’s his church they’re debating in. He’s also more charismatic. Vegas repeats himself annoyingly. The idiot reading for Jennings does the same. “Disputing daily,” he chants with a brain of mush. The debate ends with Vegas being ushered (thrown) out to a round of applause.

my rating : 4 of 5

2018

audio review : Hand In My Pocket ( song ) … Alanis Morissette

This song’s only flaw, aside from the One missing from the title, is the fact that there’s no piano after Alanis mentions playing the piano. A bar or two in the empty space that follows would help inch the ballad that much closer to perfection.

It’s an ego trip of sorts that begins with the singer fingering her Pocket for cash that isn’t there and ends with the hailing of a “texi kab!”. Her psycho-chick voice inflections are part of the song’s overall charm, along with a beautiful refrain.

my rating : 5 of 5

1995

audio review : Black Woman ( song ) … Jungle Brothers

This is a homage to black women. The Brothers seem to think that particular group of people should be not only admired but worshipped. “You started out just a little girl, given the power to change the world,” one verse goes, “And though some of your ways to man are odd, you are the proof that there is a God.”

Such claims are absurd, of course. Some black women deserve praise. Others deserve a punch in the face. In either case, I don’t see what race or, for that matter, gender have to do with it. This is a nice song though, mainly because of the tribal beat, which is led by a Commodores Assembly Line sample.

my rating : 4 of 5

1989

audio review : Done By The Forces Of Nature ( album ) ... Jungle Brothers

audio review : Bruce Wayne [ Gothom City 1987 ] ( album ) … Esham

audio review : Bruce Wayne [ Gothom City 1987 ] ( album ) ... Esham

I don’t know what the 1987 bit is about; he says that’s when he “came up”; but Gothom City is Detroit, which makes Esham Bruce Wayne. Batman is, of course, a member of The Justice League and the rapper embraces a life of crime. Perhaps the moniker has to do with the fact that they’re both millionaires with a thing for sexy women.

“We can fuck like animals, bitch, I’m not soft,” he tells one before vowing to “take the dick out the pussy and jack the fuck off… all over your body.” How’s that for romance? When he’s not chasing females, or fading “that little pussy like Telly Savalas”, he’s riding down 7 Mile Road in his Volvo 850 with a heavy stash of cash, drugs and guns.

There are almost enough good songs here to make a short album; You Betta Ask Somebody, a fun summer anthem based on Rock With You by Michael Jackson, is easily the best of the bunch; but Esham revels in excess, so he gives us another album with too many songs on it. There are some demos near the end he didn’t even bother to title.

my rating : 3 of 5

1997

audio review : Such Pretty Forks In The Road ( album ) … Alanis Morissette

audio review : Such Pretty Forks In The Road ( album ) ... Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette has long lost the quirky charm she exuded when she first transitioned from just another Canadian singer to a Jagged Little Pill rammed down the throat of the pop music world. That album, one of the biggest-selling ever, was 25 years ago. She’s had plenty of time to mature; she started as a teenager; now she’s in her mid-40s; and these new songs reflect as much.

“Take me back in time,” she demands on Sandbox Love before engaging in post-traumatic sex that’s “awkward as fuck”. It’s lyrically and sonically about as close to the artistic edge as she gets here. Most of the other songs stay near the middle of The Road. The album ultimately comes across as sad and desolate even when she’s Smiling; a “crash” survivor that’s too damaged to feel Pretty.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

audio review : The Curb Commentator [ Channel 2 ] ( EP ) … E-40

audio review : The Curb Commentator [ Channel 2 ] ( EP ) ... E-40

It’s disappointing to hear E-40 jump on the BLM bandwagon. “Racism is heavy; it still exists,” he complains, but he only focuses on white people, ironically enough, when black people are just as racist. Racism isn’t exclusive to certain races. Neither is violence, but he ignores “black on black crime” to cover “police brutality”, which, in the mind of a black racist, automatically means the white cop is racist when the victim is black. That said, Channel 2 is what Donald Trump would call fake news.

Conceptual disagreements aside, this second Curb Commentator EP is about as decent as the first one if not a little better. The aforementioned race anthems, Black Is Beautiful And The Funk Is Still Pending, are on-point musically. The latter has a weak hook, but the rapper makes up for it by talking during the breaks, which he should do more often. The best song is Born In It, featuring Chippas and Milla, which does have a good chorus. It’s about growing-up in the inner city.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn : Naturals [ Simply Salted ]

Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn : Naturals [ Simply Salted ]

The concept of Naturals popcorn, or popping corn as Orville Redenbacher prefers to say it, is that it’s made with “real” ingredients. This Simply Salted variety is just that; salted popcorn with palm oil and vitamin E for freshness.

What’s a bit surprising is how little butter and other usual additives are missed. While not quite “delicious” as claimed in the promo, this Gourmet Popping Corn does provide “whole-grain goodness” when it comes to taste.

my rating : 4 of 5

audio review : Folklore ( album ) … Taylor Swift

audio review : Folklore ( album ) ... Taylor Swift

If there’s a sense of Folklore surrounding Taylor Swift, it’s high school alumnae gushing to their acne-ridden successors over her “like amazing” musical talent. I’m much less impressed. She has some good songs, including False God from her previous album, but they’re far and few between. Her music is mostly middling and this album is no exception.

With Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff at the helm, it’s a solemn; in one case Illicit; affair. This isn’t pop music in the loud electro-synth sense. Taylor Swift tips a hat to her country and western roots on the opp-gender love ballad Betty, but these are mostly “like folk songs”, which makes for easy listening. It’s also thoroughly unremarkable and a little bland.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

audio review : Outrageous ( song ) … Paul Simon

The best parts of this quasi-rhapsody come near the end when the chorus question is finally answered. “Who’s gonna love you when your looks are gone,” it goes, “God will like he waters the flowers on your window sill.”

Paul Simon also compares using that same rain water to wash your face a “blessing”, which I guess makes this a fitting choice for the Christian rock genre. It sounds more like a gritty Bob Dylan song during the verses though.

my rating : 3 of 5

2006

audio review : Surprise ( album ) ... Paul Simon

audio review : Surprise ( album ) … Paul Simon

audio review : Surprise ( album ) ... Paul Simon

The real surprise is that after waiting six years for a new Paul Simon album, it arrives with only two good songs on it. The rest is decidedly decent like about half of the songs from his previous One. Perhaps it’s not such a surprise after all.

It seems that Paul Simon, one of my all-time favorite song artists, is simply losing his knack, which he’s had since at least the age of thirteen when he composed The Girl For Me; a romantic doo-wop ballad that easily topples anything here.

The focus now seems to be poetic words to rhythm. He’s as lyrically brilliant as ever, choosing his words carefully like that of a poet who expects to be quoted long after he’s dead, but catchy vocal melodies seem to be a thing of the past.

The “sonic landscape” of Brian Eno, which can go from easy rock to trippy jungle to cool space noise at a moment’s notice, is modern and fresh, but without interesting songs to wrap itself around, it just feels like boring background music.

The two good songs are Another Galaxy, about a girl who ditches her fiancé on their wedding day, and There Was An Ocean, which is best during its second verse where harmonious vocals and quirky bass jerks help bring it up from mediocrity.

my rating : 3 of 5

2006

Slim Jim : Mild

Slim Jim : Mild

Slim Jim is one of the best brands of beef jerky partly because of its signature skinniness, which enhances the taste. It’s delicious for sure, at least when you first bite into it; this Mild variety being my flavor of choice. The one major flaw is the way the skin has the tendency to clump after several chews.

my rating : 4 of 5

audio review : Lianne La Havas ( album ) … Lianne La Havas

audio review : Lianne La Havas ( album ) ... Lianne La Havas

Bittersweet, one of the best songs on this album, would’ve made the most fitting title for it, but any of these song titles would’ve been better than Lianne La Havas. That it’s confusing as to whether I’m referring to the artist or the album is a testament to why self-titled projects are almost always an awful idea, especially when it’s not even a debut.

This is her third full-length set and she’s still singing mostly about “love” to 1970s-style soul grooves. Those funky/lush soundscapes remain the best thing about her music. The singing; not her voice, which is husky yet soothing, but her melodies; is usually trailing behind. Read My Mind is a joy to listen to though, along with Paper Thin and Green Papaya.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020