Reviews

Reviews

‘No One Here Gets Out Alive’ Jim Morrison Biography

The Doors have reached mythical status and with every passing decade they gain an insurgence of new young fans. Idolizing the front man Jim Morrison is something every new generation of rock and art fans do at some point. Jim Morrison seems to be the one rock legend that truly embodied what it meant to be a Rock and Roll star: Drugs, Sex and Rock and Roll, but what really holds fans attention besides his outlandish behavior and untimely death is the duality of Mr. Morrison. Yes he was a rebel who rejected all authority but his rejection was steeped in intellect, theory and contemplation not a childish automatic reaction to control but a mature analysis of existential existence.

The 1991 Oliver Stone film many have seen will throw this half of the dichotomous division out the window and paint Morrison solely as an insane madman. Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman’s book will paint the picture of a more sane madman. Though there are large amounts of hero worship (Sugerman worked for The Doors as a teen) prevalent in the book, both authors in the aferword admit after doing extensive research and numerous interviews they both came back liking Jim Morrison a little less. The mythical image is stripped away and a true nuanced idiosyncratic artist is left standing, flawed as any man. His genius (a poet film student turned rock-theater rock star) is almost overshadowed by his strange behavior and self harming habits.

This book is a best seller for a reason and is a must read for any rock fan let alone Doors fan. Any artist that is up and coming no matter what genre or avenue of art they are in can take away a lot from this book, from how to construct the proper image, manipulate the press, conjure up controversy and control (and lose control) of an audience.

Travis Scott ‘Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight’ Review

“Dropped the ‘Rodeo’ I dodged the bull like ole” Scott raps on one of the early standout tracks on ‘Mcknight’, a fitting line as now he is getting adjusted to stardom after years of hard work, dedication and ‘bull’. ‘Rodeo’, Travis’ 2015 debut album, plays as an autobiographical journey from rags to riches heavily influenced by the pressures and plight of any enduring up and coming independent artist. Most artists debut albums play as a catharsis of their complete life journey up until that point, and then the sophomore release displays only the emotions and trials in the time between. ‘Rodeo’ was a young Scott trying to make it in the world, a picture of his fears, goals, failures and triumphs up until actually fulfilling his dreams. ‘Birds’ finds itself in a strange place, the angst and frustration that lead to Travis’ socially awkward but sonically and artistically phenomenal product has subsided due to his success.

Scott’s pop sensibilities however remain sharp as ever, the diversity in sonic pallets has constricted but he pinpoints on the natural catchiness previously displayed on his debut and zeros in on the dark ominous anti-song-sound that has become his staple. Melodies are made mostly by repetition of ambient sounds and distorted basslines with bent 808 kicks, all with Scott’s keen, and evolved, sense of song structure and choruses. ‘SDP interlude’ is a prime example, here he sheds all other song elements simply for a hypnotic hook which hovers over a minimal synth bassline and a looped vocal sample. Ironically Scott admits to not doing any hard drugs and rarely drinking or even smoking, he regardless is able to tap into the current ethos and nail the vibe and mind state of the masses, one of the only traits that carried over into ‘Mcknight’ from ‘Rodeo’.

‘Birds’ boast a strong line up of guest stars, still eclectic Scott gives us an Andre 3000 feature along side the likes of Hip Hop newcomers Bryson Tiller and 21 Savage a range most artists could not successfully pull off. ‘Goosebumps’ features a song structure that’s only strange once read on paper, choruses and verses blend together to create an intoxicating track that’s only amplified once heavy weight Kendrick Lamar appears. ‘Pick Up The Phone’ and ‘Way Back’ also feature Scott’s signature expanded sound with extra instrumentation added and minimalist solos subtlety take the listener to new heights during both songs outros. Rightfully so none of the tracks list the featured artists (except ‘Phone’ with Young Thug) as Travis explains that he looks at each guest verse as a sample rather than a feature, just another element he adds to his music like the live instrumentation hes known for on the production side. In comparison to ‘Rodeo’ ‘McKnight’ lacks wide content and a diverse sonic landscape but it makes up for these changes with a more focused sound and a more honed game plan: Get The Vibe Right, and as Scott says “they can’t kill the vibe it’s immortal”

 

Rating: 6.7/10

De La Soul ‘and the Anonymous Nobody…’ Album Review

Hip Hop as a genre is relatively young compared to it’s musical relatives. As a genre gets on its feet the founding fathers and original innovators usually get left behind in obscurity as commercialism, mainstream and social acceptance latch on. This leads to De La Soul, born in the right time this Long Island trio released it’s groundbreaking debut at a time still reminiscent of the unadulterated glory years and also the nascent ascension of a culture into a full-on mainstream product. They dodged being too early and, to their artistically creative culturally true core, missed being too late. This allowed their debut ‘3 Feet High And Rising’ to be as critically acclaimed and respected as it was commercially successful, breaking boundaries in a very dominant boisterous alpha-male environment ‘3 Feet’ cracked open a door for outsiders as being the antithesis to the norm.

Fast forwarded about 30 years and these ‘Anonymous Nobodies’ are still the antithesis to the norm. De La Soul have showcased a new aspect of their multifaceted talent with every release, they have gone from psychedelic, sporadic, resurrected, mature, frustrated, fun, contemplative, dedicated and all the way back to psychedelic. In many ways ‘Nobody’ sounds like ‘3 Feet High & Rising’ has been living a life of it’s own unknown to the listener and has finally come back to the public eye as a grown man years later. Again cracking the door open for outsiders ‘Nobody’ dabbles in Synth Pop, Alternative, Punk, Rock & Roll, B-Boy Hip Hop, and even Orchestral Spoken Word. Evolved beyond a time when sampling Hall & Oats was as unheard of as it was groundbreaking, De La have now literally incorporated the actual current living diverse elements into their brand of Hip Hop. Alternative Synth Pop band Little Dragon appear as the living breathing descendants of a vinyl Hall & Oats sample allowing fans of other genres to dive into this refreshing LP.

The legendary Long Island trio also pull from their own catalog and bag of tricks as well, Atlanta Trap star 2Chainz appears on ‘Whoodeeni” to trade bars with Pos and Dave, a match up as head-scratching as Redman teaming up with the ‘Hippies Of Hip Hop’ almost 20 years earlier- the result is just as amazing! The Spitkicker.com robot-voice also reappears on a track, Estelle and Pete Rock also add their talents to a track that could easily be a ‘Stakes Is High’ hidden track reupholstered for current day. Due to all their sampling woes the constraint of legalities forced De La to think outside the box (something they have years of experience at) and figure out a way to sample and not have to get caught in another lawsuit -the result they sample themselves! Bringing in a band and having them jam for hours on hours they later go in and flip their own jam sessions with producer Super Dave West. Most De La albums require some sort of indulgence and  conscious aware thought while listening and ‘Nobody’ not only holds up it flies far beyond its predecessor ‘The Grind Date’ as a complete unique piece of art that forces the listener to play catch up while enjoying the complete flowing artistic soundscape that it is. A genius victory lap for one of the genres most slept on legends.

 

Rating 9.2/10

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