Kanye West - Yeezus
Much as 808s & Heartbreak was a reaction to personal drama that led to a cold, mechanical album unlike anything he had previously produced, Yeezus seems to be a response to everything Kanye West has previously recorded — and to hip-hop, and popular music, in general. In short, it sounds like nothing else around, a fusion of harsh industrial production and some of West’s most aggressive lyrics to date. We had already heard the controversy-baiting “Black Skinhead,” its Nine Inch Nails-style beat giving a tribal flow to an otherwise entirely antagonistic first single. The rest of Yeezus follows suit; West as his collaborators keep you guessing what’ll happen next throughout. Listening to opener “On Sight” feels like staring into a glaring light, its synths overdriven to a digital roar, as West claims he doesn’t give a fuck, before West and producers Daft Punk drop an R&B sample that sounds like it was recorded from another room. “New Slaves” takes bling-obsessed hip-hop to task, along with private prisons and implied white privilge, ending with a gorgeous, lo-fi outro sung by Frank Ocean — it’s way too much for one song to handle, yet it’s thrilling to hear the song teeter back and forth. Ven the tracks here that don’t sound particularly interesting at their outset, like the slow-to-start “Hold My Liquor,” eventually do something that make your head spin — in the case of this song, it’s the way those sirens and West’s cadence bounce off the bubbling, ethereal synthesizers beneath. The greatest faults in Yeezus lie in West’s lyrics — heightened braggadocio and claims of manhood are nothing new to hip-hop, which is exactly the problem with some of the more repetitive lyrics about his sexual conquests, compared with their riveting delivery and the production surrounding them; furthermore, “Blood on the Leaves” questionably cops anti-racism classic “Strange Fruit” for a track that doesn’t amount to much lyrically. Yet even beyond these issues, Yeezus is so thoroughly exciting that complaints largely fall by the wayside — in fact, West’s free-for-all attitude to making music here is what fuels that burning feeling in the pit of your stomach when Yeezus is on. Even as the spectacular My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy stretched the limits of modern hip-hop, Yeezus doesn’t sound tethered to any particular time or genre, nor does it sound particularly concerned with radio airplay — even the Rick Rubin-produced “I Am a God,” one of the closest tracks here to straight-up hip-hop, seethes frustration and anger, dissolving into a series of screams and Twin Peaks-style synth strings, with nary a catchy sample or synth riff to rope in the average listener. For someone who receives (and invites) endless flack for things that have little to do with his actual music, Kanye West continues to be the most provocative and exciting artist in modern pop music with the imperfect yet undeniably brilliant Yeezus.
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Born on this day: June 17, 1943 - Singer, songwriter, producer and musician Barry Manilow (born Barry Alan Pincus in Brooklyn, NY). Happy 70th Birthday, Barry!
On this day in music history: June 17, 1978 - "Shadow Dancing" by Andy Gibb hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. Written by Barry, Robin, Maurice, and Andy Gibb, it is the third consecutive chart topper for the singer and songwriter from The Isle of Man, UK. While his debut single "I Just Want To Be Your Everything" and the accompanying album Flowing Rivers are steadily climbing the charts in the US and abroad, singer Andy Gibb, with the assistance of his older brothers The Bee Gees will begin work on his second album. All four brothers will collaborate on the Shadow Dancing album while The Bee Gees are filming Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in L.A. in mid-1977. Recording will begin at Wally Heider Studios in Los Angeles with overdubs and final mixing completed at Criteria Studios in Miami. Released as a single in April of 1978, it will quickly become a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #69 on April 15, 1978, it will rise to the top of the chart nine weeks later. Gibb, at only twenty years old, will become the first solo artist in history to have his first three singles reach #1 in the US, achieving this feat in just 11 months. "Shadow Dancing" is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA, selling over 2.5 million copies in the US alone, and will be ranked at the top single of 1978 by Billboard Magazine.
Amoeba Music is very proud to announce the Converse Represent free concert series in San Francisco. The five-day concert series celebrates musical diversity and will feature a mix of established and up-and-coming artists.
The series kicks-off June 23rd with over 20 artists performing throughout the week, including performances by Hot Chip, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Quicksand, Mastodon, Suicidal Tendencies, Rocket From The Crypt, Blackalicious, DIIV, Deltron 3030, Metz, and many more. The five day series will lead up to the grand opening of the Converse San Francisco retail store on June 28th!
HOW TO GET TICKETS:
Music fans can register today for a chance to win tickets to attend one of the five Converse Represent shows. Submissions to win tickets closes June 18th at noon (PST) and winning ticket holders will be notified by email. To register for a chance to win tickets visit conversemusic.tumblr.com/represent!
Before nearby Broadway arose as Los Angeles's premier theater district (around the 1920s), most of the nickelodeons and theaters were along Main Street -- two blocks east. In the 1930s and '40s, Downtown declined when Jews -- shunned from the downtown protestant establishment, moved their residences, businesses and investments to Hollywood, Midtown, and the Westside.
In the 1950s, the mainstream view was that Downtown was dead. The reality was rather different. Bunker Hill continued to bustle with life. Thousands of the city's poor continued to sleep on the streets and in residential hotels around Skid Row and the Historic Core. Latinos turned Broadway into a busy shopping street and foreign cinema scene. Gays and other "subversives" found a degree of refuge in "seedy" city center.