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by Corey Beasley

5 Dec 2011


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Drake

Review [5.May.2016]
Review [7.Oct.2015]

77. Drake
“Marvin’s Room”


If you think Drake spends too much time moping, “Marvin’s Room” may not be the track for you… or, maybe it will. Yes, it details Drake’s late night, drunk-texting loneliness, but it does so over one of the most indelible sonic atmospheres of the year, all downcast synths and from-the-next-room bass hits. Drake’s performance here manages to sum up his entire ethos in a single track, lamenting his ironic inability to make a real, human connection while surrounding by fawning admirers. If you don’t buy his complaints by themselves, the music will sell you the whole package. At once lush and minimal, “Marvin’s Room” sees producer Noah “40” Shebib turn in the best production job of the year.

by Steve Leftridge

5 Dec 2011


78. The Belle Brigade
“Losers”


The lead single from the Belle Brigade’s thoroughly engaging eponymous debut begins with a mellow acoustic guitar cuff but builds into a slamming tension-and-release anthem that serves as a refreshing denunciation of conformity and competition, threaded to this bro-sis duo’s tribute to ‘70 California pop. With their Everlys-meet-the-the-Chipmunks family harmonies, the Brigade updates There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, but instead of rejecting all the crap they learned in high school, Barbara and Ethan Gruska catalogue all the shit they don’t care about anymore, like being smooth with women, going out on Fridays, being the life of parties, being harder, being daddy’s favorite, etc. What the Belle Brigade achieve most, though, is a sort of irony. In disregarding winning, they’ve made a single that crushed the competition.

by Nathan Wisnicki

5 Dec 2011


79. David Guetta (feat. Taio Cruz and Ludacris)
“Little Bad Girl”


Though 2011 was a time of strife and division, we’ve got no plans to abandon the communal perversity of the brittle club banger. Guetta, 44, is something of an elder by his culture’s standards—hence, he’s witnessed many progressions (stagnations) in electro-dance music, though “Little Bad Girl” is founded on a Ke$ha-level riff. But the catch is Ludacris, whose entire verse—the best thing he’s done in years—is some kind of ridiculous genius. (His “dollars” line is followed by “ching-ching-ching-ching-ching-ching”... oh right, dollars!) We aren’t getting rid of dumb craziness anytime soon. Why not enjoy the dumbest and craziest?

by Chris Conaton

5 Dec 2011


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Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

80. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
“Alabama Pines”


Jason Isbell’s career since leaving the Drive-By Truckers has sometimes seemed like the work of a man who hasn’t quite reached his full potential. But this simple country song highlights his best qualities as a songwriter. Essentially it’s a love letter to Alabama, namechecking many of the state’s small towns. But Isbell adds depth to his narrator, sketching out his background as a brokenhearted man in just a handful of lines scattered among the Alabama references. The song’s melody emphasizes Isbell’s rich voice, particularly in the soulful, conversational verses. Meanwhile, small musical touches like the catchy, easygoing lead guitar riff and Amanda Pearl Shires subtle fiddle work give the song the extra character that helps elevate it to one of the year’s best.

by Jane Jansen Seymour

2 Dec 2011


Future Islands

Here’s a new music playlist to indulge in before the onslaught of holiday music starts dancing in our heads.  Strong releases by Atlas Sound and The War on Drugs provide the backbone while newcomers Future Islands and The Drums serve as bookends.  See notes below and enjoy!

1. “Stay Gold” – The Big Pink
English electro-pop duo The Big Pink has just released this single from their second album due in January, Future This.  The synth-heavy sound lends itself to the dance floor, while the straightforward lyrics create an instant sing along.

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Cage the Elephant Ignite Central Park with Kickoff for Summerstage Season

// Notes from the Road

"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.

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