The new love of my rap life (you know, my Thug Life) has had quite a life himself. He grew up in a town they lovingly call "The Lake of Blood" during the Solami civil war, but he's no gangsta. "All Somalis know that gangsterism isn't to brag about. The kids that I was growing up with [in Rexdale] would wear baggy [track] suit pants, and a little jacket from Zellers or something, and they'd walk into school, and all the cool kids would be like, 'Ah, man, look at these Somalis. Yo, you're a punk!' And the other kid won't say nothing, but that kid, probably, has killed fifteen people."
He ended up in Canada and speaking no English, taught himself to rap phonetically. He is an tricky word smith and his subject matter is deep and beautiful, and sometimes his music just makes you "want to swing from the trees like monkeys." He has a new album dropping this month, and I am trying to be patient. Most of his music from his last album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher, is up on his website, and I've posted the song that hits me with an emotional punch every time I hear it, and am unable to keep still.
Already reviewed by me earlier, this album is personal and rich. It is Jenny Lewis finding her voice, and a beautiful voice it is.
9. The Knux - Remind Me In 3 Days...
These guys are bringing hip-hop back to where I like it most. Unbeatable old-skool beats, guitar riffs, and a goofy flow that would make the Beastie Boys proud. I heard a music critic say "these guys aren't cool, and they know they aren't and that's what makes the great." Well, that's all well and good, but I happen to think they're pretty cool. "Bang! Bang!" is the best song, but watch out for some crazy dirty lyrics through the later half of the album.
8. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
This was a new band to me this year, and they really impressed me. "Grounds for Divorce" is probably one of, if not my hands down favorite song of the year. This band captured all the guts and gusto of a Zeppelin tune in that song on the same album that brings joyous chorus of redemption on songs like "One Day Like This."
7. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
In many ways this was a year of the vampire. Twilight held tweens in it's campy seductive spell, and Vampire Weekend held hipsters and non alike in their afro-beat pop music spell. This album could be classified as the feel-good album of the year with it's upbeat and catchy tunes. A must for anyone who loves Paul Simon or Peter Gabriel.
6. TV On The Radio - Dear Science
These guys are always pushing the bounds of music and sound. Their debut album last year was fantastic but in some ways lacked a melodic listenability. This year's Dear Science upped the anti and brought out a true rock sensibility in the Brooklyn band. This album captures the feeling of hope and newness that year has borough, and is certainly one of the best albums this year.
5. Adele - 19
At 19 years old, this girl
has out shown all her neo-soul counterparts to make one of the best albums of the year. It spawned the hit "Chasing Pavement," and most of the songs on the album share in the same story of a feeling of sweet loss. This album grew on me and worked its way more and more into my rotation towards the end of the year, causing me to now attempt to sing like her constantly, but alas to no avail. This chick has chops.
4. Kings of Leon - Only by the Night
This is a huge break through album for this
band. Having only been known before by the song "Molly's Chamber," King of Leon created a full album of great, sexy, memorable songs. Their lyrics have matured greatly, even if one of their songs is unapologetically called "Sex on Fire." How can you not love that?
3. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Not since the Beatles, Crosby Stills & Nash, and Simon & Garfunkel has harmony meant so much to a band. These songs sound timeless, and yet like they've been buried in time and unearthed especially for you. This album added an ethereal layer to my already magical summer.
2. Black Keys - Attack & Release
Just now when I looked at the album cover again, the songs started going through my head. "Lies" has been one of my most played songs since this album came out, and the entire album heavy with songs that are just as wonderfully bluesy, murky, and oozing with sticky sweet sex, or pounding hard with pure unadulterated rock'n'roll.
1. Santogold - Santogold
I don't really know why this ended up being my favorite album this year other than it's the one I seemed to obsess over the most. I had to find out everything about Santi White, the woman behind the one woman band. These songs made me feel like a kid again, just soaking in the pure joy of a fantastically written pop song with a soul behind the lyrics, and unmistakable magic in the music.
I loved Adele's album 19 that came out this year. It is a contender for my albums of the year list. She is my favorite of all the neo-soul singers of late. Duffy be damned! I just stumbled upon Mick Boogie's remix of the whole 19 album reimagined for the year 1988! Crazy hip-hop beat and mixing abound! You can download the entire album for free! I am going to get to enjoy the album all over again! I love it when people so this stuff, the internet is so bad ass. Right now I am diggin on "First Love." So good!
(Full disclosure here, both my boyfriend and I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Kristin Chenoweth because of her unbelievably divine turn as Olive Snook on the show Pushing Daisies. Seriously, we are weekly made weakly by her insane cuteness.)
Are you looking to have a relaxing, warm, hauntingly nostalgic holiday season? If so, Kristin Chenoweth, of Broadway and currently Pushing Daisies fame, is probably who you want to be spending Christmas with. She has an earnest spunk and undeniable cuteness and likability that comes through unmistakably, even in audio recording.
Her voice has the clarity and tone of a seasoned musical theatre actress, but her charm somehow allows her to pull off even lighter fluffier songs without crossing the line into cheese. Songs like "Christmas Island," with its hula-like vibe might have been disastrous in less adorable hands.
She shines the most however on the more classic carol songs. Her silky rendition of "I'll be home for Christmas" is as warm and soft as a pair of fuzzy slippers, and "Do you hear what I hear?" rings with all the clear purity of bells on Christmas morning.
This woman can do it all, act, sing, dance, and make me feel a little bit more like a kid again, entranced by the sounds of holiday magic.
Ok while I am weighing the pros and cons of squishing all my blogs together into one gooey blob of blogginess, I thought I would state as point of fact that I am going to make a "Nina's Best Albums of 2008" list this year, and I want to make it a yearly thing.
This year I am tried to immerse myself in as much new music as possible, and I really want to shed light on some of the lessor known really great bands out there. The criteria for my list is going to be part objective and part brutally subjective. I will take into account popularity, overall appeal, originality, and production value to a point, but really it's going to come down to whether or not an album rocked my world or not. Or popped my world, or rapped it, I try not to discriminate. Good is good.
So I have a lot of work to do, and maybe I will end up with one master list, maybe I'll end up making sub categories or some overly nerdy thing like that, but I will enjoy in greatly either way.
Hi, I'm Nina. It took me 29 years to speak to another Nina, so I know we are a rare breed, often confused with the Neenas of the world. I enjoy flitting around from subject to subject like a tiny hopped-up bee. Enjoy my daily rantings!