Great Big Sea-Play (1997)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100% (A++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Ordinary Day
  2. When I’m Up (I Can’t Get Down)
  3. The Night Pat Murphy Died
  4. How Did We Get From Saying I Love You…
  5. Donkey Riding
  6. Haven’t Seen You In A Long Time
  7. End Of The World
  8. General Taylor
  9. Seagulls
  10. Recruiting Sargent
  11. Greenspond
  12. Jakey’s Gin
  13. Something I Should Know
  14. Jolly Roving Tar
  15. Rigadoon

Label:

Warner Music Canada

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Missing the Canadian East Coast.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s strange, I don’t really know what to think.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

Great Big Sea was one of those bands that was always played in my household. They were a band that I think all of the family could enjoy to some extent. No other album stands out as much as Play to me. I remember seeing the album artwork and trying to wrap my head around the concept of music making, it was so foreign to me at that age. Play is a Canadian staple, no one in this country should have made it through the 90’s without hearing a couple of these tracks. Great Big Sea is a feel good band for me, little makes me think of my country more than these guys.

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Oliver The Penguin-Button Pusher (2009)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100% (A++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Girls & Boys
  2. Scissors & Glue
  3. Paper Airplane
  4. Pictures By the Seashore
  5. Pressing the Function Key
  6. Do I Leave My Heart Here
  7. Mad Scientist
  8. From Long Sleep
  9. Second Chances
  10. Something Like Love

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Walking home from a great first date.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty chill.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

What an underrated band Oliver The Penguin is, I love every one of their tracks on Button Pusher, and that’s not just being generous, I legitimately love this album. It’s kind of like a band formed around the song Nothing Better the song on The Postal Service’s Give Up. Oliver The Penguin is a more mature Owl City, with both female and male vocals, their songs are usually pretty flowery, mostly about relationships, but there is a certain level of maturity and creativity behind their music. I love this band and wish I could find more of their stuff, but for the time being I guess I’ll just have to stick to Button Pusher.

Beck-Colors (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 63%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 72%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Colors
  2. Seventh Heaven
  3. I’m So Free
  4. Dear Life
  5. No Distraction
  6. Dreams (Colors Mix)
  7. Wow
  8. Up All Night
  9. Square One
  10. Fix Me
  11. Dreams

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Starting off on a fun road trip.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s okay, kinda reminiscent of Sea Change.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

Beck continues to be impressive with Colors, honestly, will this dude ever fall off? It’s kind of frustrating really, like dude give some other people the spotlight, stop being such an attention seeker. Colors is enjoyable throughout, there’s weaker tracks than others for sure, but none are bad by any stretch. Beck is one of the few artists I know who can leave the studio for a long time and come back and continue making relevant music. Beck never feels like he’s following someone’s idea of popular music, he makes music and others follow him.

Redcloud-Hawthorne’s Most Wanted (2007)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100% (A++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Deep Thoughts
  2. Welcome All
  3. Guns & Roses (feat. Jayo Felony, Eek-A-Mouse, & Tonex)
  4. Boulevard Knights
  5. 405 (feat. Lord Zen & Dannu of Visionaries)
  6. Tapatio (feat. Pigeon John)
  7. Hawthorne’s Most Wanted (feat. Kurupt of Tha Dogg Pound)
  8. The Boombox Saints
  9. Krylon Teardrops
  10. The Time Has Come
  11. Battle Of Little Bighorn (feat. Def Shepard)
  12. My People
  13. Songs They Sang
  14. Death Of A Salesman (feat. Pigeon John)
  15. South Central Farms

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a really funky hip hop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s what got me to buy it, super cool.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly.

Final Thoughts:

There are few albums that I can remember the first time that I listened to, but Hawthorne’s Most Wanted was so jaw droppingly original that I remember first hearing DJ Wise’s crazy intro and getting excited for the rest of the album. Redcloud has made one of the funkiest hip hop albums I’ve ever heard, there are no weak tracks on this project, all the pieces fit together so well. But it’s not just the awesome sampling that makes Hawthorne’s Most Wanted classic, Redcloud’s vocals and lyrics are original, funny, and honest. One of my favourite lines (from Songs They Sang) is: “God’s a blanket I’m Linus, it’s 10 degrees below minus.” Clever writing, awesome DJing, Hawthorne’s Most Wanted is one of my favourite hip hop albums of all time.

CunninLynguists-Rose Azura Njano (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100% (A++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Red, White & Blues (feat. Jason Coffey)
  2. Riot!
  3. Red Bird
  4. Violet (The Upper Room)
  5. Gone (feat. Trizz)
  6. Any Way The Wind Blows
  7. Mr. Morganfield & Ms. Waters (A-Side)
  8. Jimi & Andre (B-Side)
  9. Hustlers
  10. Oh Honey (feat. Farah Elle)
  11. No Universe Without Harmony
  12. Earth To Venus (Tiny Orange Star)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing some sleepy hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Love the album cover, super original and rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

This release by CunninLynguists really caught me off guard, honestly, I haven’t thought much of their stuff in the past. I’ve had their album Dirty Aces and thought it was alright but nothing special. Then I saw this new release on iTunes and liked the cover enough to add it to my library and give them a second chance, I never dreamed it would be this good. Seriously Rose Azura Njano strikes all the right chords for me, jazzy beats, sleepy flows, political unrest, etc. It’s all put together beautiful making it to be one of the best hip hop releases in recent years. Who would’ve thought it would’ve come from CunninLynguists? Quite the surprise, makes me wonder if I was wrong about their past work.

Pigeon John-Pigeon John Is Dating Your Sister (2003)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Highschool Reunion
  2. Life Goes On
  3. Identity Crisis
  4. Deception
  5. Emily
  6. Fox Hills Mallmacks
  7. Originalz
  8. Crazy
  9. Hello Everybody
  10. Orange County
  11. Sam the Goat
  12. 2 Step
  13. What Is Love?
  14. The Art of Falling Off
  15. Alone…

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a goofy hip hop album that still can be sad at times.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Hilarious, I love it!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah don’t know if it exists but if it does I want it.

Final Thoughts:

Before I discovered the whole genre of joke rap (Heath McNease and Lil Dicky come to mind), Before I discovered the Good Life Cafe (Jurassic 5, Abstract Rude, Freestyle Fellowship), I found Pigeon John. I heard his song Hello Everybody on a Hip Hope compilation and really loved it. I ordered this album and listened to it repeatedly on my CD walkman walking down my High School’s hallways feeling like the pimpiest nerd in the whole town. Pigeon John Is Dating Your Sister is extremely fun (Highschool Reunion), catchy (Hello Everybody), easily accessible (Identity Crises), and heartbreaking (Emily), it’s a really diverse well rounded album that every hip hop head should indulge in.

San Cisco-Gracetown (2015)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Run
  2. Too Much Time Together
  3. Magic
  4. Snow
  5. Wash It All Away
  6. Bitter Winter
  7. Jealousy
  8. Super Slow
  9. Mistakes
  10. About You
  11. Skool
  12. Just For A Minute

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing some happy music.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I actually love these guys’ covers, they always look super artsy and cool.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes.

Final Thoughts:

When it comes to bouncy stupid pop music, San Cisco is my go to. They’re the embodiment of the rule “keep it simple stupid”. Their albums are exactly what I want pop to be: fun, happy, catchy, not too repetitive, not too experimental. They aim for their mark and they hit it on Gracetown. The album is a great example of what pop should be, a genre you can put on in a mall or restaurant without offending anyone. Is Gracetown going to go down in history as an influential album? Absolutely not. But there’s something to be said about making an album that aims for a genre and gets it 100% correct, no need to get fancy with the spices, this is pure pop.

John Reuben-Word Of Mouth (2007)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Sing It Like You Mean It
  2. Trying Too Hard
  3. Make Money Money
  4. Focus
  5. Word Of Mouth
  6. Miserable Exaggeration
  7. Universal
  8. Curiosity
  9. Cool The Underdog
  10. Good Evening

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for easy listening Hip Hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Love it, it’s original, I especially like the font.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah but I don’t think I’ll ever find it.

Final Thoughts:

John Reuben has been tragically underappreciated, his albums have always been really diverse and entertaining. Word Of Mouth, a ten track carnival, is a great example of the artists abilities to mash multiple genres and themes into one coherent listen. He can go from party/funny tracks like Trying Too Hard, to thought provoking tracks like Cool The Underdog. The famous line at the ending of the album where he chants “Bob Dylan’s Microphone” repeatedly is also a really quirky little story (that you should totally look up) and adds to the overall mystery of this mystifyingly impressive and aloof emcee.

Blind Pilot-We Are The Tide (2011)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Half Moon
  2. Always
  3. Keep You Right
  4. We Are The Tide
  5. The Colored Night
  6. I Know
  7. White Apple
  8. Just One
  9. Get It Out
  10. New York

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing to feel happy instantly.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really beautiful.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Ugh yeeeeeeeeessss.

Final Thoughts:

Blind Pilot is really close to my heart, there music is so happy and fun to me. We Are The Tide is a great place to start to hear what they’re all about. Their music can be perfect at the beach, winding down, or driving on the highway. There is something about their music that I find really human and healing. It’s very easy to introduce people to and it’s really feel good. Every damn song on this album is a hit to me. So picking a favourite song is never really accurate, just my favourite at the time of listening to it. Put them in your library and become a mega fan like me.

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