Mar. 10th, 2016

csberry: (pumaman)

Damn, it was tough getting a copy of this to review. Dr Dre did a remix in 2000s and that is all over the place, but the original version of The Chronic isn't on Spotify or YouTube.

The Chronic was one of the few gangsta rap albums of the 90's that had songs I liked. Otherwise, I was annoyed with how gangsta rap overran hip hop and shoved acts like De La Soul and Digable Planets off the scene. One of what I enjoy about many of these tracks is the laid back delivery by Dre and Snoop. My brother had this CD and played it a ton over the summer of '93. Of the rap CDs he had, this was the one I kept asking for him to put into the player.

Hearing it in the entirety today, what jumped out to me were the shrill sampled keyboards and how similar this felt to when I listened to Kool Moe Dee and other Old School rappers who used the new genre to boast all about themselves. The Chronic is a mix of that Old School braggadocio with the "rap as news" approach of Public Enemy and such. The samples poke and prod at the listener - whether we are talking about instruments or movie/TV/other clips - keeping you a bit jittery and definitely not at ease. The album is really tight with many tracks either running into the next or there not being any space between songs. This is a constant barage to the listener; no rest.

At the same time, there is a casual and laid-back aspect to much of the rapping. Dre and Snoop show their appreciation of movie baddies who could scare you with a detached air. While there are guests popping up here and there being loud and violent, IMO a big strength of this album is the too-cool-to-care rapping style which does occupy much of The Chronic.

Upon repeat listens, I found myself really enjoying the first chunk of the album and then lost interest for the most part as the album progressed.

Songs I Knew I Liked: "Fuck Wit Dre Day", "Let Me Ride", "Nuthin' But A "G" Thing", and "Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat"

Songs I Now Like: "The Day the Niggaz Took Over"

Songs I Don't Want to Hear Again: "The $20 Sack Pyramid", "Lyrical Gangbang", "The Doctor's Office"
csberry: (pumaman)

I've had respect for The Replacements since college, but I've never been all that hooked on their songs. That has changed some after listening to Tim. When I listened to Let It Be, I heard a ragged band which just seemed to be having fun. That group of rowdy guys are still on this album, but there is more diversity in song styles on here. My first impression after my first listen was that the bar cover band got drunk after their set and started making up shit...and that shit ended up actually being really listenable and enjoyable. There are folk songs, ballads, rockabilly-like stompers, and what could be said are 80's college rock templates copied many times over. While they covered KISS's “Black Diamond” elsewhere, “Dose of Thunder” could have easily have been by most any other hard rock band.

Part of the charm also is on the somewhat low-fi production. It doesn't sound like Paul was isolated in a booth when he sang the songs. And, if he was, they mixed his vocals into of the instruments instead of on top. It is like the best live club recording ever, but lackluster by studio standards.

Songs I Knew I Liked: I thought I knew “Left of the Dial” but it didn't sound familiar once I heard it.

Songs I Now Like: “Hold My Life”, “Kiss Me On the Bus”, “Swingin Party”, “Bastards of Young”, “Left of the Dial” and...well, “Lay It Down” kinda grew on me with its honky tonk sloppiness.

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)

Ugh, a greatest hits album. I guess I can only protest so much because this is the only Elton John CD I own. However, I've already stated that I'm no longer going to review greatest hits albums and won't change that stance for this.

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Cory Berry

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