Music

The Grouch: Three Eyes Off the Time

The Grouch, an otherwise talented MC and sometimes-producer, churns out one of his career's most boring and uninspired albums.


The Grouch

Three Eyes Off the Time

Label: Legendary Music
US Release Date: 2009-12-08
UK Release Date: Import
Amazon
iTunes

Branching out -- or even trying something a little different -- as an artist is not an easy task. Typically, this move is met with immediate hostility from fans and haters alike. The term "sell out" will likely get thrown around quite often. And the critics will have a field day. Unfortunately, this is too often the norm. But, to be fair, when it does occur, the fault usually rests on the shoulders of the artist. In this case, the artist to blame is the Grouch, a supremely talented MC who phones in an album filled with uninspired hyphy production from DJ Fresh. While it would be a stretch to say the Grouch hasn't spit over the handclap-ridden West Coast production before, he's never done it quite like this. And he's also never sounded so damn bored.

Three Eyes Off the Time kicks off with an introduction from the Grouch, who wants to let the world know just how amazing his life is with his wife and daughter. And he continues with this vibe on the second track, "Daddy’s Home", a flute- and harp-driven headnodder that actually features vocals from his daughter and wife. These types of proclamations are nothing knew from this Living Legend, who celebrates life as often as he criticizes society’s ills. But unlike Brother Ali, who was upbeat on parts of his latest opus Us, the Grouch is merely recycling thoughts we have heard from him before. "Whatever I Say", for one, is basically the regurgitated version of "Daddy’s Home". The same even goes for an otherwise endearing and catchy joint in "Allieverwantedwas".

While his skills in the booth are undeniable, that doesn’t mean the Grouch gets a pass on here. He sleepwalks through the haunting "I Love This Game", which features one of DJ Fresh’s better beats. But instead of matching the production, the Grouch simply rehashes line after line. And it all sounds a lot like an aging comedian whose jokes have now become littered with parenting quips and witty remarks about his family life. It’s true that you cannot expect an MC to stick to his or her script, so to speak. When it sounds like you recorded most of your bars while sleeping on the couch, though, maybe you should have kept this one in the vault.

What is most frustrating about Three Eyes Off the Time is the fact the Grouch’s collaboration with Eligh, Say G&E!, was one of 2009’s best. Perhaps the Grouch needed his fellow Living Legend around to give him a boost. Or maybe he’s just not that strong of a solo artist anymore, which seems likely after 15 years in the game. And that's not much of a stretch considering his consistent output and the fact that a lot of artists struggle when it comes to going solo. Sure, he dropped several fine solo efforts in the '90s. But if you heard his last album, 2008's Show You the World, you knew the Grouch hasn't truly delivered aside from his verses on the aforementioned Say G&E! and a few guest spots. Hopefully he can recover in 2010, especially after his tour with Mistah F.A.B. and Fashawn, who appear on this record’s last and best track.

3

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.


20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta


Keep reading... Show less
Film

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

Keep reading... Show less

The Force, which details the Oakland Police Department's recent reform efforts, is best viewed as a complimentary work to prior Black Lives Matter documentaries, such 2017's Whose Streets? and The Blood Is at the Doorstep.

Peter Nicks' documentary The Force examines the Oakland Police Department's recent reform efforts to curb its history of excessive police force and systemic civil rights violations, which have warranted federal government oversight of the Department since 2003. Although it has its imperfections, The Force stands out for its uniquely equitable treatment of law enforcement as a complex organism necessitating difficult incremental changes.

Keep reading... Show less
6

Mary Poppins, Mrs. Gamp, Egyptian deities, a Japanese umbrella spirit, and a supporting cast of hundreds of brollies fill Marion Rankine's lively history.

"What can go up a chimney down but can't go down a chimney up?" Marion Rankine begins her wide-ranging survey of the umbrella and its significance with this riddle. It nicely establishes her theme: just as umbrellas undergo, in the everyday use of them, a transformation, so too looking at this familiar, even forgettable object from multiple perspectives transforms our view of it.

Keep reading... Show less
7
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image