Download. Listen. Discard.
Dan Brombach | Friday, October 26, 2012
To say Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s new album “The Heist” was a breath of fresh air in today’s rap music scene would be somewhat of an understatement. I think more fitting praise would be given to the duo’s lyrical and production wizardry combined with their ability to convey a gripping and relevant message through their music. It is this skill that is setting a new standard for the entire industry. The bar has been set high – a bar rappers like Rick Ross can’t reach and one crooners like Drake can only whine about.
What makes “The Heist” such a fantastic and unique album is its variation between feel-good party tracks and gritty, serious songs that truly inspire reflection. Funny songs like “Thrift Shop,” in which Macklemore boasts about how his thrift shop purchases, such as old gator shoes and a used “fur fox skin,” make him the best-dressed person at the club, are juxtaposed with songs like “Same Love,” a heartfelt endorsement of gay marriage, and “Wings,” a critique of rampant consumerism and its consequences.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are irreverent yet sincere, vulgar yet also refined, jokers who also inspire. You may not enjoy a particular song off their album, or may disagree with the message it conveys, but the fact remains it came from a place of genuine talent and conviction. I hope the duo continues to make music for years to come, and that you support them by downloading “The Heist.”
I’m not afraid to admit I’m a huge fan of Ellie Goulding. Not only do I enjoy her music, and think she has a beautiful and distinctive voice, but I also have a slight to modest to moderate crush on her. Okay, fine, I have a pretty big crush on her, so sue me.
Despite this confession, I was nonetheless slightly disappointed by her latest album “Halcyon.” The album certainly has its gems, including “Anything Could Happen,” a catchy, techno-inspired song you may recognize from recent headphone commercials. I also enjoy “Figure 8,” a track continuing Goulding’s long-standing love affair with dubstep. (If you haven’t heard the remix of “Lights,” look it up, or hang your head and go back to the comfortable rock you likely live under.)
The issue of dubstep brings me to my main critique of the album: Goulding at times sacrifices lyrical depth and creativity by leaning too heavily on slick production. Some tracks are unmemorable and simply not worth more than a single listen. My favorite song, “My Blood,” is the only song I believe showcases Goulding’s vocal range and ability without overdoing it on the production end of things.
Long story short, I think “Halcyon” didn’t truly express the talent and charm that drew me to Ellie Goulding’s music in the first place. However, the album is still definitely worth a listen.
Upon first listening to the steaming pile of musical garbage that is Gucci Mane’s new album “Trap God,” I can honestly say a small part of me died. If Kevin Federline’s ill-fated rap album “Playing With Fire” was a punch right to rap music’s jaw, Gucci Mane’s latest travesty took off the gloves and knocked it to the mat.
All the songs on “Trap God” feature the stale, bass-heavy beat used by seemingly every wannabe, no-talent cookie-cutter rapper. Lyrical creativity or any sort of authentic style is completely absent.
Gucci Mane is content to spend his time rapping about cars, guns and diamonds, occasionally showing flashes of musical genius such as rhyming “up” with “up” four times in a row.
Not confident he could ruin rap music by himself, Gucci Mane assembled a cast of featured artists on the album that could be fairly called the musical equivalent of the 2006 defeated Detroit Lions. I don’t know who rapper Little Scooter is, but I strongly urge him to never pick up a microphone again.
In conclusion, “Trap God” is the “Norbit” of rap music. If you think I’m being too harsh, I would encourage you to give the album a listen. Actually, no. I wouldn’t wish that fate on any person. Even Gucci Mane.