Classic Album of the Month
CLASSIC ALBUM OF THE MONTH: JULY
Mac Miller - faces (2014)
Gotta start this off right, so there's really only one answer. FACES. God. Damn. This is literally my favorite album ever, and anyone that tries to disagree can literally eat a dick. Like I cannot emphasize how important this project is, and how much I love to talk about it. So instead of attempting it, I'll get straight into the essential shits. Let's go.
Alright, let's take it back to 2014. Mac Miller is following up another classic "WMWTSO", and long story short, Mac's not doing to well. He finally just reached the commercial & critical success he's been chasing for so long, and yet he find himself pretty strung-out on all that hard-grimy-shit, amongst many other problems. With no clear end in sight, he realizes that means there's only one end in sight. So, foreseeing his impending self-destruction, Mac does the what many would consider to be the worst option, and decides to embrace rock bottom. Believe it or not, the shit paid off.
Fuck rules, fuck money, fuck touring, fuck all that. Dude said, "Fuck it, if this is going to be my last shit, it's gonna be my best shit." And he fucking delivered. As miserable & excruciating as it is to listen to his suffering, my god is it beautiful. I can go on for days about just the technical sides of this album, not even including all the contextual information that makes this thing have the gravity of a thousand black holes. To say it is his magnum opus would be doing it a disservice. This is everyone's magnum opus. It's a masterpiece. It tops ALL albums. ALL music. EVER. Fuck you. Faces is the best. And that's all I got to say for now. I wish I had more time talk about how much I love this project, but there's literally not enough time in the world.
Rest easy Mac.
Standout Tracks: Yeah right, there's no way I can pick just one.
Links: Due to the sampling, it's a mixtape. Here's a YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSjweOajVjU&t=639s
CLASSIC ALBUM OF THE MONTH: AUGUST
THE FLAMING LIPS - Y.B.T.P.R. (2002)
OKAY. HERE WE GO.
The Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" is debatably one of the greatest albums ever made... it just took me a while to find it.
I don't know exactly "how", but I know "when". Last fall, while I was probably lost in space on some YouTube tangent in my frequent lobotomized state of sample hunting, I stumbled upon one of the tracks from this album and immediately fell in love.
Normally when this happens, I'll check out the rest of the album to see if there's anything else worth keeping. Most the time it'll be a bunch of clunkers, or another dozen songs that blend together in an attempt to try and copy the lead single's sound. Anyways, I threw the first track on, and I haven't really looked back since. This album has found its way into my lineup AT LEAST once a week since I've found it. And I'm still not tired of it.
Despite what you hear on the streets, "Y.B.T.P.R." is a loose a conceptual album. Legend has it, the album is about one of their Japanese fans who traveled across the world to finally catch a show, only to die shorty after from a mysterious heart disease.
Suddenly, the metaphors of "Yoshimi", "Battling" & "Pink Robots" become way clearer. Even though they never directly tie the story up, by naturally tackling the subjects of life, death, misery, karate, and robots, they find their own way to end the story.
And spoiler alert, even in death, you realize the story can never truly end.
Standout tracks: Flight Test, One More Robot, All We Have Is Now
P.S. Picking 3 favorites from this album caused me physical pain.
NEW-ISH ALBUM OF THE MONTH: SEPTEMBER
MUDHONEY - "SUPERfuzz bigmuff (1988)
This has been on repeat for the past 2 months. Late 80's Seattle scene music, the early foundation of grunge, and just fucking rough around the edges, I love this tape. "Touch Me, I'm Sick" is as relevant as its ever been, and the music has survived the test of time. Might have go get me a EH Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal tomorrow, just out of respect.
Standout Tracks: Touch Me, Mudride, Chain That Door
CLASSIC ALBUM OF THE MONTH: OCTOBER
J DILLA - "DONUTS" (2006)
In the spirit of Colt dropping an instrumental tape, its time we take it back to our hip-hop roots. The king of producers, J muthafuckin' DILLA. I don't know man, I could spend at least four or five paragraphs explaining what this man means to music, and how much he influenced me personally, but I'd rather you spend that time actually jamming his shit.
RIP to the legend. Rest easy JD
Lightworks, Hi. , Workinonit
CLASSIC ALBUM OF THE MONTH: NOVEMBER/DECEMBER
earl sweatshirt - "i don't like shit, i don't go outside" (2015)
This project changed the way I viewed music. To say it is one of the greatest albums ever made, hip-hop or otherwise, is still probably a bit of an understatement. I can distinctly remember the exact day that this album came out of nowhere, and ripped the air right out my chest... and I still can't breathe.
Honestly, I've been tip-toeing around writing about this album, mostly because I'm not even sure I can articulate my feelings towards this piece. I hope that its influence on me, reverberates through almost all of my music, and because I feel that it's so intertwined with myself, it makes it very difficult to be objective and discuss why I love it so much, without going off the rails. So, I'll try.
First and foremost, this album is centered around a couple of very important new developments in Earl's artistry, mostly production & maturity. For those uninformed, Earl is undoubtedly one of hip-hop's greatest lyricist & he's held that spot since the fucking jump at 16 years old. After his first self-titled EP, anyone that has at least half of a brain on their shoulders, recognized that skill. But because there is such an immediate, already fulfilled potential, there's a very narrow window to grow. And with all that pressure bubbling, there was only one way for it all to end. To most, he flopped. But if you were paying close enough attention, there was writing on the walls.
"IDLSIDGO" is essentially Earl's first full-production debut. Although, it is true that he had started peppering-in some of his own beats in his previous album "Doris", you can hear that he lacked the skill or confidence to committing to that side of the music. So even though he was at his peak in lyricism, popularity & controversy while making "Doris", because he doesn't have complete grip on the musical direction of the album, there's little flashes that hint at an greater impending storm. "I Don't Like Shit" is that sample-heavy, minimalistic, bitter storm.
Nihilistic, dark, gloomy, dense, sullen, and most importantly introspective. Earl limits all that outside noise, and retreats into his own world. By stripping down & reestablishing his own personal sonic dreadfulness from scratch, it leads to a beautiful, thoughtful, and inner-reflective sound, that he continues to craft to this day. More acoustically full than his contemporary music, IDLSIDGO walks closer to the tradition than experiments, layered with musty-ass drums, a few familiar features, and more recognizable song structures, he still found room to push in a new way that fulfills and fires off every creative neuron in your brain.
Maybe only second to "Faces", this is probably the most important album to me. Its style, tone, narratives, and gravity is something so many people chase, but never achieve.
Standout Tracks: DNA, Grief, Faucet