Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top Ten Songs On Elbo.Ws Reviewed In 50 Words or Less: 11/01/08--11/15/08 (the Holy Fuck, this is Egregiously Late edition)



Oh, sweet baby hay-zeus, this is so, so late. I bow my head in shame. Naturally, the tracks here don't necessarily reflect what is currently on Elbo.ws.


1. Jay-Z - "History"

Download: Jay-Z - "History"

An intentionally leaked track from J-ova's upcoming The Blueprint 3, the Kanye West-produced song combines "Ye's recent forays into vocoder-town with his more 80s-inspired hook-ing. The result is a song that aims for gravitas, but falls short and becomes drab. Pails in comparison to Brother Ali's Obama jam.

Grade: C

2. Sam Cooke - "A Change is Gonna Come"

Download: Sam Cooke - "A Change is Gonna Come"

Like "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime", this soul classic now sums up an entire era in a single line: "It's been a long time comin'/but I know/a change is gonna come". If only we could elect a black president every year, just so we could trot out this song.

Grade: A

3. The Rock Steady Crew - Hey You (Justin Faust Remix) (Buffetlibre Dj's Rewind 2)

Download: The Rock Steady Crew - "Hey You (Justin Faust Remix) (Buffetlibre Dj's Rewind 2)"

Playful melodies and an exuberant atmosphere make for enjoyable, though hardly remarkable, listening experience, as the Buffetlibre (free buffet?) Djs created a sonic portmanteau between new millennial dance music and 80s pop. Gets just a little bit repetitive.

Grade: B-


4. The Killers - "Spaceman"

Download: The Killers - "Spaceman"

On a single from their latest release, the Las Vegas new-wave quartet pull back on the blatant Springsteen co-opting, but not so much that they've completely gone to the synth glam-and-glitz of their debut. Truth be told, some of that Vegas glitter would have resulted in a guilty pleasure. As it is, "Spaceman" is merely tolerable.

Grade: C

5. Robin Gibb - "Juliet (CatComplex remix)"

Download: Robin Gibb - "Juliet (CatComplex remix)"

Broken record section aside, this track seems more like a complete song--there's an attempt at dynamics--than the other Buffetlibre selections on this list. Still, this is different from every other dance remix how?

Grade: C+

6. Alaska in Winter - "Berlin"

Download: Alaska In Winter - "Berlin"

"Berlin" starts out with a calm cool of an organ line, which allows for open-ended exploration before patiently pursuing the policy of truth and finding a proper dance-pop chorus. This is how you layer and build musically, kids. Take note.

Grade: B+

7. School of Seven Bells - "Connjur"

Download: School of Seven Bells - "Connjur"

Though its considerable sonic charms wear off over time, this bit of Depeche Mode-esque synth-pop still has enough ethereal, shoegaze merit so that its pleasures may last a long time.

Grade: B

8. Canadians - "Neverending Story" (Giorgio Moroder cover)

Download: Canadians - "Neverending Story"

My adult self says, "not bad", and my childhood self, the one who grew up watching the adventures of Falkor, says "fuck yes!" I'll split the difference.

Grade: B

9. AC Newman - "There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve"

Download: AC Newman - "There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve"

The New Pornographer's leaders fascination with the Beach Boys yields more rewarding forays into melancholy, with a melody and arrangement that I'm sure Newman cribbed from a country's national anthem. "Twelve" is too short to be truly poignant, but Newman now has another winner on his hands.

Grade: B+

10. Brother Ali - "Mr. President, You're The Man"

Download: Brother Ali - "Mr. President, You're The Man"

Now, this is how you make an Obama celebration song. It's rushed, to be sure, but Ali expertly captures the feeling and mood of an entire generation, while rebutting the culture wars with on stinging line after another. Goddamn, Uncle Sam. Brother Ali did it.

Grade: A

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