Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Kanye WestMy Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
The most anticipated album of the year delivers in big ways. Kanye West has given the world his musical masterpiece and hip-hop a new direction to go in. Kanye who has been teasing fans with his “GOOD Friday’s” give-away songs for a few months, not to mention all of his ego hype via Twitter and what he has released, lives up to all expectations. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a beautiful and lush piece of music that transcends genres and style. It is an intimate portrait of a conflicted artist trying to prove his worth to the world. While he has already done so in four other albums of solo material,all of the things Kanye has done off the mic have made him a publicist’s worst nightmare. Dark Twisted Fantasy exposes his duality as Kanye the rapper and West the person and his way to cope with both. Can he be a good person or a better one while being one of the greatest rappers of all time in a genre that is all about what you got and not who you are? This maybe verbal therapy for the rapper, but he is getting to where he needs to be as a person. In the meantime, what he has proven is that he cannot make a band record. Even when critics and fans gave him grief over 808’s and Heartbreak – everyone wanted to emulate that sound and style. So while they knocked him, they all wanted to be him. If others copy his style now, hip-hop will become the most exciting and creative it has ever been.

Cee LoThe Ladykiller
The voice of Goodie Mob and Gnarles Barkley fires back on his sophomore solo disc and stands apart from everything that he has ever done. With the success of the single “Fuck You,” Cee Lo Green has released a record that can not only back up a single but also push him above the pack. It is a collection of soul and jazz and infused with his own creative style that we have gone to love through the years. The Ladykiller is a must listen and an album that you will be playing over and over again.

RobynBody Talk aka Body Talk pt 3
The Queen of pop music gives us her final installment to her beloved Body Talk series. Though the biggest disappointment of this Body Talk is that 10 of the 15 songs appear on parts 1 & 2. However coupled with the five new tracks, it plays off as the greatest pop record of the last 10 years – fact! The Swedish sensation is taking the world by storm from her music, live shows and not give a fuck attitude. Body Talk is a record that will have you moving and shaking for hours and will wear the repeat button down on whatever device you use to listen to your music. With contributions from Snoop Dogg, Diplo, Royksapp and others, Body Talk moves and shakes out of orbit. Robyn, my hat is off to you – our new Queen of pop.

Hank and Cupcakes
WOW! Never has an EP been this exciting! Hank and Cupcakes are an Israeli duo that have found themselves in Brooklyn and are becoming one of the cities most talked about new bands. Fresh and furious, the duo’s sound is a combination of jazz, funk, rock and punk, even giving Joy Division a cover of "She's Lost Control" that would have made Ian Curtis smile. Move over Gogol Bordello and Matt and Kim a new energy has hit the borough. With just one EP they have managed to get their word out, once their full length arrives, it will be more than just New York talking about them – it will be the whole world.

Wolf and Cub - Science and Sorcery
One of Australia’s most talked about band’s finally arrives in North America and the wait was worth it. Wolf and Cub are an infectious noise rock band that bends sounds and styles just using conventional instruments. A talented act that we will be hearing more of down the line.

Tahiti 80Solitary Bizness
So we all know Phoenix, but did you know Phoenix were influenced by these Parisians and have adopted their sound. Tahiti 80 have been cranking out neo New Wave for years in fact, as far back as the early 90’s. On their latest EP they are going to get right into your heart and heads and make you wait as they work on their latest full length. Give Solitary Bizness a listen and I promise you will be in love like a sunset….

Norah Jones - ..Featuring
The jazz songstress has released her first compilation and it is a smart one, then again, we would not expect anything less from Norah. …Featuring is a record that features her favorite and best duets with everyone from Foo Fighters, Ryan Adams, Belle and Sebastian, Q-Tip, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Herbie Hancock and many others. A soothing and fresh disc that brings out the best of Jones with her best friends.

Kid CudiMan on the Moon II – Legend of Mr. Ranger ***
Kid Cudi is not your average rapper, so if you are looking for a rap album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager is probably not for you. The album, which features some tracks on which there is no rapping, is darkto say the least - centered around drug use, depression, and thoughts of suicide. Even on tracks like "Mojo So Dope," Cudi’s attempts at bravado are overshadowed by mentions of “drownin (his) sorrows with some O.E.” While this is no conventional album, those who listen with an open mind will find a unique sound coupled with a brutally honest look inside Scott Mescudi’s tortured soul.

Everyone Everywhere
Straight Up Rock and Roll from Philly that brings a warm hug to your ears as we approach the next cold winter. Fans of the Hold Steady will dig this band for their no-frills straight up bar band approach to their music.

Franz NicolayLuck and Courage
The latest solo release from indie and punks favorite piano and accordion player. Nicolay shines on Luck and Courage more than any other record he has ever released. He pours his soul into whatever he does (just ask anyone that has ever seen him on stage), yet Luck and Courage is his most introspective release yet. The man can do it all and with a bit of luck and courage he proves we can do it all as well. An inspiring listen to anyone walking in the great unknown.

Loved Crushed Velvet
An EP from a band that are set for pretty big things, Loved Crushed Velvet are band that captures the essence of a dirty city and turn it into a clean cut rock song. In a small EP of tracks they prove they are worth keeping an eye on.

Matt and Kim Sidewalks
Brooklyn’s favorite duo have taken America by storm with their amazing and energetic live shows. Sidewalks is a continuation of the fun party music these two lovers make. Though, the unfortunate thing about Sidewalks is that like most Matt and Kim records is that it does not capture the energy and raucous of their live gigs – yet, it is still a fun listen.

Pharell and Chad Hugo return with another disc of the ultimate party songs. Combining space age funk, hip-hop, electro and rock NERD have nothing to prove on album number four. However, that does not mean that will not call on some heavy hitting friends like Daft Punk and Santigold to lend a hand.

Nicki Minaj Pink Friday
The latest princess of hip-hop shows she is a spitfire on her debut. Though there is something missing from her first release and it could be substance. The rhymes are fun and are delivered very hard and she proves she has more balls in a male dominated genre than most emcees, however the pink hair gimmick and bizarre faces are distracting from what she is trying to do – which is make it sound like it comes natural to her. Pink Friday comes off forced and unfocused. Though she maybe one of Kanye and Jay-Z’s protégée’s she still has something’s to learn.

***Matthew Warford is a contributing writer to With This I Think I'm Officially A Yuppie