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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Grieves-Together/Apart (2011)

My Rating: 94% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 52%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 70%

Average Rating: 72% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Light Speed
  2. Bloody Poetry
  3. Falling From You
  4. On The Rocks
  5. Sunny Side of Hell
  6. Tragic
  7. Boogie Man
  8. Pressure Cracks
  9. No Matter What
  10. Vice Grip
  11. Heartbreak Hotel
  12. Speak Easy
  13. Prize Fighter
  14. Wild Thing
  15. Growing Pains
  16. Against the Bottom

Label:

Rhymesayers Entertainment

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You:

Just went through a bad breakup.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I love love love this album cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly yes.

Final Thoughts:

Grieves’ Together/Apart was the first album he released with Rhymesayers and it’s near perfect. Fans of Slug from Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Blueprint should feel at home with this painfully vulnerable album. Grieves holds nothing back, ex-girlfriends, addictions, mental illness among other topics are on full display here. We’ve gotten to a place where mainstream rap (Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Drake etc.) can all talk mental illness, addiction, and insecurity on their albums and not lose credibility, Grieves is an excellent example of how far hip hop has progressed, and how much further we’re actually open to take it.

Gift Of Gab-4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up (2004)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 59%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 76% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Ride Of Your Life
  2. Rat Race
  3. Way Of The Light
  4. Stardust
  5. Flashback
  6. Up
  7. The Writz
  8. To Know You
  9. Real MC’s
  10. Hold On
  11. In A Minute Doe
  12. Evolution
  13. Moonshine
  14. Ride On
  15. Just Because

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting some positive hip hop that’ll blow your mind.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a super original awesome cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly yes.

Final Thoughts:

Gift of Gab is one half of Blackalicious, but more than that, he is one of the most talented emcees that I’ve been able to see live. His flow is insane, his freestyle ability is ridiculous, and his albums are solid. 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up is one of the albums that really shaped my taste in hip hop, I’ve been listening to this one since high school (around the time it was released) and still love it when it comes on my shuffle. Gab has a diverse track-list on 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, from the catchy Rat Race, to the feel good Way of the Light to the nostalgic Flashback, there’s something here for all the hip hop heads. Gab will never get the dues I want him to, but I can still play his tracks loud on my headphones and respect the hard work that went into it.

Generationals-Actor-Caster (2011)

My Rating: 91% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 66%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Ten-Twenty-Ten
  2. I Promise
  3. Yours Forever
  4. You Say It Too
  5. Goose & Gander
  6. Dirty Mister Dirty
  7. Black And White
  8. Tell Me Now
  9. Greenleaf
  10. Please Be It
  11. U Say It 2

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling down and need something to pick you up.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty simplistic, it’s not bad but not my favourite.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah!

Final Thoughts:

Look, I’ll square with you, Generationals are not making music that is incredible, it’s not all too original or musically impressive, but damn it if it’s not catchy as all hell. Actor-Caster is such a great album to listen to while going for a walk on a hot sunny day, there’s little else I can picture while listening to the glittery tunes and I guess that’s why I love it so much, it’s simple and happy, and every once in awhile it’s nice to put on something that makes you happy without making you concentrate too much on the actual music itself. I’ve seen these guys live and it wasn’t great, honestly, but man, between headphones these guys are a lot of fun. Generationals aren’t shaking things up or making you stretch much musically, it’s a fun candy coated album for those days you just need something happy on.

The Grates-Gravity Won’t Get You High (2006)

My Rating: 43% (D-)

Pitchfork Rating: 59%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 51%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. I Won`t Survive
  2. Lies Are Much More Fun
  3. 19 20 20
  4. Rock Boys
  5. Howl
  6. Trampoline
  7. Science Is Golden
  8. Feels Like Pain
  9. Nothing Sir
  10. Inside Outside
  11. Sukkafish
  12. Seek Me
  13. Little People
  14. I Am Siam

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling nostalgic for elementary school.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I mean, yeah, it’s not great.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Ha ha…no.

Final Thoughts:

I don’t know what I was expecting with an album cover like this one, it pretty much sets the tone for the album: juvenile. It’s filled with “girl power” that is not as cool as you’d hope, trust me you want girl power go to EMA, Nico, St. Vincent, Kim Gordon and leave this album be. It grated on me (not clever but I couldn’t resist) because of it’s immaturity, it’s fake high energy, and it’s repetitiveness. There were songs that were truly eye rolling on Gravity Won’t Get You High, and I don’t really know who this album is for. It’s like Weezer’s Red Album but for girls, I guess. I’m glad that this band evolved, I really do like a few of their tracks, but ho boy Gravity Won’t Get You High, but it sure will pinch a few nerves.

Ghostface Killah & Trife Da God-Put It On The Line (2005)

My Rating: 78% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 78%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Cocaine Trafficking
  2. Put It On The Line
  3. Struggle
  4. Hustle Hard
  5. Assassination Day
  6. Gangsta Shit (feat. Tommy Whispers)
  7. Fire
  8. Project Soap Operas (feat. Krymelife & Tommy Whispers)
  9. War
  10. Out The Way (feat. Shawn Wigs)
  11. Daytona 500
  12. Milk’em
  13. Late Night Arrival (feat. Shawn Wigs)
  14. Man Up (feat. Sun God)
  15. Game Time
  16. The Watch (feat. Raekwon)
  17. Ghost & Giancana (feat. Kool G Rap)
  18. The Sun (feat. Raekwon & Slick Rick)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

A Wu-Tang fiend digging through all the emcees work.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty simplistic, looks like a mixtape more than an album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

If it was real cheap sure, but probably not.

Final Thoughts:

Put It On The Line did two things for me: 1. Reassured me that even the most obscure Wu-Tang projects can contain gold. 2. Inspired me to listen to more Ghostface Killah. Trife Da God is by no means a bad emcee, he simply can’t be if he’s part of the Wu-Tang Clan, but he is constantly out-shined by Ghostface on Put It On The Line. Perhaps it’s my personal bias that makes me automatically gravitate towards anything Ghostface touches, but it’s a rare day that I hear someone say that Trife is their favourite Wu Tanger. It’s classic old school grimy hip-hop, sounding like martial art masters facing off with a ghetto backdrop, it’s not the best Wu-Tang project, but it’s far from the worst.

Grouplove-Big Mess (2016)

My Rating: 59% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 64%

Average Rating: 61%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Welcome To Your Life
  2. Do You Love Someone
  3. Standing in The Sun
  4. Enlighten Me
  5. Good Morning
  6. Spinning
  7. Cannonball
  8. Traumatized
  9. Heart of Mine
  10. Don’t Stop Making It Happen
  11. Hollywood

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for happy sounding pop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty cool, love the amount of colour

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the slightest.

Final Thoughts:

If there was ever a front heavy album it would be Grouplove’s Big Mess. It’s just so easy to take shots at this album, but I’ll refrain because I like these guys. The A-Side is pretty catchy, but it falls apart half way through, the voice gets grating, the lyrics get juvenile, the music becomes so repetitive it just makes me feel like I’m stuck in a mall. Grouplove has made some solid tunes, but they can’t really make a solid album, I feel like if they just spent more time putting together a concept album we could really have something to write home about, but for now we can snag the catchy pop tracks and leave the annoying mall music behind.

The Game-1992 (2016)

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 73%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Savage Lifestyle
  2. True Colors / It’s On
  3. Bompton
  4. Fuck Orange Juice
  5. The Juice
  6. Young Niggas
  7. The Soundtrack
  8. I Grew Up On Wu-Tang
  9. However Do You Want It
  10. Baby You
  11. What Your Life Like
  12. 92 Bars
  13. All Eyez (feat. Jeremih)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

At the beach and want some old school hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty ugly, but reminds me of the artwork on Doggystyle.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nah, not this one.

Final Thoughts:

The Game seems to be highly underrated, I’ve been listening to his stuff since High School and am continually shocked how little attention he seems to get. He can sound so different from album to album, some being really jazzy, others being old school, and others being straight gangster. 1992 is a great reminder that The Game is still around, it’s not really an overly impressive album, but it’s a good prelude to something better. It feels very much like KRS-One’s The Mixtape, which was released to hold fans over until his next full length album came out. It’s a great mix of tracks showing stylistic diversity, while not being overly well thought out or produced. It’s fun (especially on a summer day) but it’s not gonna be an album that sticks with me.

The Growlers-Chinese Fountain (2014)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 70%

Average Rating: 85%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Big Toe
  2. Black Memories
  3. Chinese Fountain
  4. Dull Boy
  5. Good Advice
  6. Going Gets Tuff
  7. Magnificent Sadness
  8. Love Test
  9. Not the Man
  10. Rare Hearts
  11. Purgatory Drive

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a mish mash of genres with an over all good feeling, especially hot for summer.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Meh. Doesn’t do a lot for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh hell ya!

Final Thoughts:

The Growler’s have toured with bands that I’m a big fan of, such as acts like Mac DeMarco, Thee Oh Sees, and FIDLAR to name a few, and it was only time for me to check em out. I was blown away with how consistent this album was. This is a great example of a short and sweet album, they don’t drag it out to the point where I get tired, they leave me wanting more instead. It’s a surfy sounding album, with a lot for people to like. Country, Psychadellic, Pop, and Rock fans will feel right at home here.

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