Common-Be (2005)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 86%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 83%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Be (Intro)
  2. The Corner (Feat. Kanye West & The Last Poets)
  3. Go! (Feat. Kanye West & John Mayer)
  4. Faithful (Feat. Bilal & John Legend)
  5. Testify
  6. Love Is… (Feat. Luna E)
  7. Chi-City (Feat. Kanye West)
  8. The Food (Live) (Feat. Kanye West)
  9. Real People
  10. They Say (Feat. Kanye West & John Legend)
  11. It’s Your World (Feat. Bilal)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

A jazz fan that wants to get into hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s original and now kind of iconic, I’m a big fan.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

For sure!

Final Thoughts:

Common is no stranger to mainstream hip-hop heads, mostly because Kanye and him collaborate quite often. His albums are usually pretty solid choices, if not a little too predictable, but Be is a definite stand out in his discography. From the opening track the listener is reminded that Hip-Hop is only a bastard child of Jazz, and Common reminds us that the two genres can and should be meshed together. The album is consistently political, positive, and chill. Common is on top of his game, he has something to prove on this album, his voice must be considered whenever hip-hop is being discussed. Common stands out as a solo act, it’s awesome to see him take the reins on Be, I feel like this album was in very good hands, and I’m stoked to look into the rest of his discography to see what else he does with hip-hop.

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Coachwhips-Bangers Vs. Fuckers (2004)

My Rating: 91% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 91%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. You Gonna Get It
  2. Extinguish Me
  3. I Knew Her, She Knew Me
  4. Purse Peeking
  5. Dancefloor, Bathroom
  6. I Drank What?
  7. Evil Son
  8. Thee Alarm
  9. Recline, Recline
  10. Harlow’s Muscle of Love
  11. Goodnite Goodbuy

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Angry and need something to rock out to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Lol wut?

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I already do, it’s awesome!

Final Thoughts:

Coachwhips were a logical progression for me, being as I’m such a John Dwyer fan it was only time until I listened to this album. It’s not incredibly different than his other stuff, but it’s different enough that it’s worth checking out. Really fast paced, really muffled vocals, really loud. It’s a lot of fun if you need to wake up, rock out, or get rid of some of that pesky teenage angst, looking at you Holden Caulfield.

Cage The Elephant-Tell Me I’m Pretty (2015)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 73%

Average Rating: 81%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Cry Baby
  2. Mess Around
  3. Sweetie Little Jean
  4. Too Late to Say Goodbye
  5. Cold Cold Cold
  6. Trouble
  7. How Are You True
  8. That’s Right
  9. Punchin’ Bag
  10. Portuguese Knife Fight

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a classic rock album mixed with a little bit of pop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I absolutely friggin’ love this album cover, I couldn’t stop looking at it when I first found it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hellz yeah.

Final Thoughts:

I’ve been with Cage The Elephant since the very beginning and it’s been one heck of a ride. I really loved their self titled album then I kinda lost interest in them for their follow up, which was really a noise rock album. But now they’ve become more radio friendly and I surprisingly like the outcome. It’s not original Cage, but it’s still really great music.

Common-Black America Again (2016)

My Rating: 67% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: 79%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 88%

Average Rating: 78%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Joy And Peace
  2. Home
  3. Word From Moe Luv Interlude
  4. Black America Again
  5. Love Star
  6. On A Whim Interlude
  7. Red Wine
  8. Pyramids
  9. A Moment In The Sun Interlude
  10. Unfamiliar
  11. A Bigger Picture Called Free
  12. The Day Women Took Over
  13. Rain
  14. Little Chicago Boy
  15. Letter To The Free

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Mad at the way things are going and want a positive voice to share your frustrations.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really great, really original.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

Black America Again is an obviously politically charged album with a lot to offer to those of us fed up with the system, but it’s not as epic as one would hope. There are a few really great tracks to sink (Red Wine and Letter To The Free being standouts for me). But as far as albums that will have any lasting impression I don’t think this will be one of them. The album is filled with a lot of dead space which makes it difficult to find its theme, especially when you really want some biting lyrics from Common. He performs admirably and passionately as is to expected from him, but it’s more of the same, not an album that necessarily stands out as either his crown jewel or a major misstep, it’s just another addition to his discography that I’m happy to have, but not writing home about.

The Civil Wars-Barton Hollow (2011)

Record Review Requested By: Trevor Loken

My Rating: 89% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 71%

Average Rating: 80%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. 20 Years
  2. I’ve Got This Friend
  3. C’est la mort
  4. To Whom It May Concern
  5. Poison & Wine
  6. My Father’s Father
  7. Barton Hollow
  8. The Violet Hour
  9. Girl With the Red Balloon
  10. Falling
  11. Forget Me Not
  12. Birds of a Feather
  13. I Want You Back
  14. Dance Me to the End of Love

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a male female duo to make your heart melt.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I don’t know if I totally know what’s going on on it but I think it looks pretty elegant and fits their style.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah it’s be lovely on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

The Civil Wars were yet another mental block group for me, people really loved them, but I kind of just wanted to find my own thing. They’re one of the few popular duo’s that really work well together and make music for people from varying music tastes. It’s one of those sounds that most of us can agree on. The tracks are really mellow and catchy on Barton Hollow, I’ve been listening to I’ve Got This Friend for years and their version of I Want You Back is extremely sad and beautiful. A popular group that lives up to their reputation, at least on this album they most certainly do.

Catfish And The Bottlemen-The Balcony (2014)

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 52%

Average Rating: 62.5%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Homesick
  2. Kathleen
  3. Cocoon
  4. Fallout
  5. Pacifier
  6. Hourglass
  7. Business
  8. 26
  9. Rango
  10. Sidewinder
  11. Tyrants

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Want to turn your brain off to some soft rock.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s great, very simplistic, love minimalist album covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

Catfish And The Bottlemen didn’t necessarily stand out to me, but it wasn’t grating either. It’s really the opening track of this album is fantastic, and it just kind of plateaus from there. They remind me a lot of Seabird  but with more angst. I’d say if they diversified a little bit and focused on their songwriting they could produce a solid album.

clipping-CLPPNG (2014)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 56%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 74.5%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro
  2. Body and Blood
  3. Work Work
  4. Summertime
  5. Taking Off
  6. Tonight
  7. Dream
  8. Get Up
  9. Or Die
  10. Inside Out
  11. Story 2
  12. Dominoes
  13. Ends
  14. Williams Mix

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to try something a little more experimental.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I’ll borrow a line from a friend: “I will say this: very hot album cover art.” -Jacob Schellenberg

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah experimental stuff is almost always a yes for me on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Experimental Hip-Hop makes me squirm a little, it’s a dangerous game to mess with Hip-Hop too much, it can backfire really easily. But clipping seems to do it effortlessly, I mean holy crap I’ve never heard anything like this in my life. The electronic bed of weird sounds over the lead actor of Hamilton’s fast rapping is astonishing. This is one of the first times I’ve also liked a completely instrumental experimental electronic track (William’s Song), it may open the doors to some of the genre for me.

Car Seat Headrest-Teens Of Denial (2016)

My Rating: 79% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: 85%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 86%

Average Rating: 82.5%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Fill In The Blank
  2. Vincent
  3. Destroyed By Hippie Powers
  4. (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)
  5. Just What I Needed/Not Just What I Needed
  6. Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales
  7. 1937 State Park
  8. Unforgiving Girl (She’s Not An)
  9. Cosmic Hero
  10. The Ballad of the Costa Concordia
  11. Connect the Dots (The Saga of Frank Sinatra)
  12. Joe Goes to School

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for an angrier version of Death Cab.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s great, it fits the album well, and is kind of funny at the same time.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Kind of, but I’d probably not because it’ll be pricey I’m sure.

Final Thoughts:

Car Seat Headrest is one of those bands that is being blown out of proportion. A lot of artists I love talk about how great this album is, but in the end it doesn’t do a whole lot for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty good album, but worth the hype? No. I could be missing something, but it’s a good album, not a great or genre defining one.

Conor Oberst-Salutations (2017)

My Rating: 85% B++

Pitchfork Rating: 66%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 81%

Average Rating: 75.5%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Too Late to Fixate
  2. Gossamer Thin
  3. Overdue
  4. Afterthought
  5. Next of Kin
  6. Napalm
  7. Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)
  8. Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out
  9. Barbary Coast (Later)
  10. Tachycardia
  11. Empty Hotel By The Sea
  12. Anytime Soon
  13. Counting Sheep
  14. Rain Follows the Plow
  15. You All Loved Him Once
  16. A Little Uncanny
  17. Salutations

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready for a more uplifting version of Mr. Oberst

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s awesome, love the colours and the photo really fits his style.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hellllllllllllll ya.

Final Thoughts:

Conor Oberst is always a good time (if by good, you mean typically really depressing). I love his weird voice and loving the harmonica on this album, it’s a great selection of tracks, I’m sure any Oberst fans will be pleased, and any newcomers will be curious to hear more.

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