As September approaches, we all need some good tunes to jam to, right? I have prescribed ten that tickled my fancy (or came pretty darn close to doing so) in August 2013. Sure, Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Lady Gaga’s “Applause” made a fair share of noise, but others rule the roost on my list. Enjoy!
Tedeschi Trucks Band, “Made Up Mind”
(from Made Up Mind)
Want to hear some serious soulful pipes? Check out the blues-soul-rock outfit Tedeschi Trucks Band deliver the goods on the fiery title track from their sophomore effort, released on August 20 (Sony Masterworks). Vocalist/guitarist Susan Tedeschi has some authentic grit going on, assisted by husband/guitarist Derek Trucks and the rest of the 11-piece band. Throwback yet incredibly fresh, “Made Up Mind” is sheer awesomeness.
Earl Sweatshirt featuring Vince Staples, “Burgundy”
After Tyler, The Creator captivated us with his unapologetic brashness earlier in 2013, Earl Sweatshirt has his own moment with official debut effort Doris. Consistent throughout, “Burgundy” is among the top echelon of that album, produced by The Neptunes. Hookless, real, odd, and alluring, “Burgundy” might be better entitled ‘golden’ given it’s greatness. Throughout, Sweatshirt is honest about life (“Grandma’s passing / but I’m too busy tryna get this f**kin’ album cracking to see her / so I apologize in advance if anything should happen…”) and definitely confident (“I don’t f**k with too much of y’all’s sh*t…”, “I’m a start-sh*t type n***a”, or “I’mma be that n***a, believe that n***a”). As Randy Jackson would say, “we’ve got a hot one!”
The Civil Wars, “The One That Got Away”
(from The Civil Wars)
“The One That Got Away” opens The Civil Wars’ sophomore effort The Civil Wars brilliantly, with light production work (with more oomph about the refrain) and an overall darkness about it. “Oh if I could go back in time / when you only held me in my mind / just longing gone without a trace / oh I wish I’d never even seen your face / I wish you were the one / wish you were the one that got away”. Overall, pretty awesome stuff man.
TGT, “I Need”
(from Three Kings)
An album by any one of Tank, Ginuwine, or Tyrese would’ve been sufficient, but to be blessed with one from the combined talents of all three? WOW… women everywhere are swooning over all that sensualness. And they should be, particularly on the slickly produced slow jam “I Need”, among the best cuts on the adult contemporary R&B effort. “Now I know, it ain’t ever worth your heart / and it ain’t ever worth your tears / and it ain’t even worth those scars that might not heal / I need, I need, I need you…” Good stuff folks, good stuff.
A$AP Ferg featuring Waka Flocka Flame,
(from Trap Lord)
I’m no advocate of violence or the beloved ‘murk-ing’ that hip-hop seems to be in love with, but the dark, brutally honest “Murda Something” is an instant hit from a A$AP Mob member A$AP Ferg. Even more surprising is that guesting MC Waka Flocka Flame accentuates Ferg’s track… who woulda thought? “N***as say I’m real, b*****s say I’m hot / disrespect the Mob or Squad, then you get shot / we don’t dial 9-1-1, we don’t f**k with cops / 1-8-7 to the f**kin’ ops…” Yeah, don’t mess with Ferg or Flocka!
John Mayer, “Wildfire”
(from Paradise Valley)
Maybe John Mayer doesn’t possess the same excitable oomph he once did, but Paradise Valley is still a solid, overall enjoyable album. “Wildfire”, the triumphant second single and album opener, is arguable the effort’s best cut. “You look fine, fine, fine / put your feet up next to mine / we can watch that borderline get higher and higher / say, say, say / ain’t it been some kind of day / you and me been catching on like wildfire,” he sings in enthused fashion on the chorus. And if Mayer’s beautifully if limited range vocals weren’t enough to win you over, what about his mad guitar skills?
Big Sean featuring Nas & Kid Cudi, “First Chain”
(from Hall of Fame)
To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by the consistency of Big Sean’s sophomore effort, Hall of Fame. Normally, I wouldn’t be on board with a track that brags about money, but something about the come-up vibe of “First Chain” is quite appeal. Maybe it’s NO ID’s brilliant production work, or perhaps it’s the guest contributions from the intelligent Nas or the druggy-out of tune hums from the eccentric Kid Cudi. Whatever it is, Sean delivers a memorable number with “First Chain”, even if he’s just “… be stuntin’, stuntin’ like I got my first chain.”
Luke Bryan, “Beer in the Headlights”
(from Crash My Party)
I wasn’t a big fan of my boy Luke Bryan’s latest effort, but I give mad props for the numbers it has sold as of yet. Even amongst the mediocrity, Bryan managed to please me on the silly “Beer in the Headlights”, even if it wasn’t the most intellectual song I’ve heard. I mean the title is so corny it’s almost good… almost.
K. Michelle, “Can’t Raise A Man”
(from Rebellious Soul)
What’s cray cray about my girl K. Michelle is that she actually can sing – if you can get past her ‘issues’. “Can’t Raise A Man” is one of numerous bright spots from her debut effort Rebellious Soul (just avoid the ghetto, shameful “Pay My Bills”). Michelle wisely sings: “You can’t raise a man he’s already grown what you gonna do / you wonder why he acts like a boy if he wasn’t raised right before you…” She’s got a point guys…
Big Sean featuring Kendrick Lamar
& Jay Electronica, “Control”
- Review: A$AP Ferg, ‘Trap Lord’ (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Chart Moves, August 21, 2013: Luke Crashes Onto the Albums Chart (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Chart Moves August 28, 2013: Luke Still Rules as Mayer Underperforms (brentmusicreviews.com)
- PLAYLIST: August 2013 (okwest.wordpress.com)