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.

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DOOM (MF Doom)-Born Like This (2009)

My Rating: 76% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 77%

Average Rating: 78%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Supervillain Intro
  2. Gazzillion Ear
  3. Ballskin
  4. Yessir (featuring Raekwon)
  5. Absolutely
  6. Rap Ambush
  7. Lightworks
  8. Batty Boyz
  9. Angelz (featuring Tony Starks)
  10. Cellz
  11. Still Dope (featuring Empress Starhh Tha Femcee)
  12. Microwave Mayo
  13. More Rhymin’
  14. That’s That
  15. Supervillainz (featuring Kurious, Mobonix & Slug)
  16. Bumpy’s Message (featuring Bumpy Knuckles)
  17. Thank Ya

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing to get some anger out/concentrate on a new project.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super odd, fits Doom’s style.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

Doom is at his angriest on Born Like This, there’s something that has changed him when he released this album. A depressing epiphany of some sort proceeded this album, and we can thank it for the dirty, dark, and much more focused rhyme style of Doom. I do miss the jokey rhymes that Doom was known for saying, but I can’t help but enjoy this more angry version of the villain. As always Doom shoots his albums in the foot by using so so many interludes, it’s really the only reason his albums get such a low rating, we don’t need interludes anymore, I don’t understand the draw to them in the rap genre, if you must, tack em to a beginning or ending of song, don’t make it a separate track and make us think we’re getting more than we actually are. Born Like This is Doom’s darkest offering, visit if you dare.

Thee Oh Sees-The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In (2008)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 72%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Block Of Ice
  2. Visit Colonel
  3. Grease 2
  4. Ghost in the Trees
  5. Two Drummers Disappear
  6. Graveyard Drug Party
  7. The Master’s Bedroom is Worth Spending a Night in
  8. Grease
  9. Adult Acid
  10. The Coconut
  11. Maria Stacks
  12. Poison Finger
  13. You Will See This Dog Before You Die
  14. Quadrospazzed
  15. Koka Kola Jingle

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to rock out/dance.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It creeps me out, I love it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Own it on vinyl, haven’t spun it yet, though.

Final Thoughts:

This is one of those albums that I didn’t know how familiar I was with it until I sat down and listened to the whole thing. Damn every second song is one that made me have an “oh yeah, this song is friggin’ rad” moment. Thee Oh Sees will always be one of those landmark bands for me, a band that points to a specific time in my life as well as a gateway drug to some of my other favourite bands currently. The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In is the bridge between the old Oh Sees and the current Oh Sees, it helps explain the evolution of the band. It’s a great record for newbies to start with, as well as just a really solid album in general. Easy to dance to; easier to dance to with a cheap beer in hand.

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.

Brett Dennen-Loverboy (2011)

My Rating: 92% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 92%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Surprise, Surprise
  2. Dancing at a Funeral
  3. Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog)
  4. Frozen in Slow Motion
  5. Sydney (I’ll Come Running)
  6. Make You Fall In Love with me
  7. Only Rain
  8. Can’t Stop Thinking
  9. Must Be Losing My Mind
  10. Song For Leaving
  11. Queen of the Westside
  12. Little Cosmic Girl
  13. Walk Away, Watch Me Burn

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling blue, Brett Dennen has a natural way of lifting your spirits.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really really simple, and I like it that way, singer/songwriters usually have great album covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah, I’ve never seen it for sale though.

Final Thoughts:

Brett Dennen is my homeboy, he hasn’t always been (I’ve been a fan since this album released) but I’ve repeatedly found comfort in his tunes. Loverboy was the album that showed me his diversity as well as helping me through some lonely times when I was still trying to find my way in the world, it has a lot of sentimental value to me. He’s an excellent songwriter and a very warm soul, I got to see him live and I remember how soul soothing it was, just a man, his guitar, and a cup of tea (he was actually sipping tea during his performance). If you haven’t checked him out yet start with Loverboy, you won’t be disappointed.

Tyler, The Creator-Cherry Bomb (2015)

My Rating: 42% (D-)

Pitchfork Rating: 67%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 69%

Average Rating: 62%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. DEATHCAMP
  2. BUFFALO
  3. PILOT
  4. RUN
  5. FIND YOUR WINGS
  6. CHERRY BOMB
  7. BLOW MY LOAD
  8. 2SEATER
  9. THE BROWN STAINS OF DARKEESE LATIFAH PART 6-12 (REMIX)
  10. FUCKING YOUNG / PERFECT
  11. SMUCKERS
  12. KEEP DA O’S
  13. OKAGA, CA

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

I don’t know, half asleep?

Thoughts on Album Cover:

This album cover was actually the first thing that convinced me to check Tyler out.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No.

Final Thoughts:

Before I was even listening to Tyler, The Creator, I remember reading an interview with him about the negative reception of this album. He said something along the lines as people being upset about what he was rapping about now, saying that he used to rap about having to live with his grandma and that just wasn’t his life after becoming an artist. Of course that makes sense, your art will change dependent on how your life changes, but I don’t think that’s why it was negatively received, it was received negatively because it’s not a good album. Seriously Cherry Bomb just isn’t a good album, it’s boring, it’s kind of R&B at times, and most the album I was waiting for Tyler to start going hard on the mic, but whenever he did, which is a rare moment on Cherry Bomb, it was too little too late. I’m glad Tyler didn’t keep going down this road. Boring album.

Said The Whale-As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide (2017)

My Rating: 45% (D-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 45%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Step into the Darkness
  2. More Than Ever
  3. Heaven
  4. I Will Follow You
  5. Realize Real Eyes
  6. Confidence
  7. Miscarriage
  8. Beautiful Morning
  9. Emily Rose
  10. Lilac and Willow

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Just need to add a couple more Said The Whale songs to your playlist.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Probably the best part of this album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the least.

Final Thoughts:

Said The Whale has always been a good pick-me-up band for me, singing about Vancouver and Canadian lifestyle in general is an easy way to my heart, but they strayed too far from their core sound on As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide and the result is this disastrous album. First off every song sounds the damn same. Secondly it’s desperately trying to get radio-play, it’s typical mall music without the catchiness of mall music. And the biggest offender is the repetitiveness of the whole thing, good lord sit down and write some lyrics out. As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide is the worst Said The Whale album I’ve heard, I usually like these guys but this was just so miscalculated.

People Under The Stairs-Fun DMC (2008)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 76%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 88%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Swan Fever
  2. Step Bacc
  3. Up Yo Spine (Fishbucket Pt. 3)
  4. The Fun
  5. The Grind
  6. Anotha’ (BBQ)
  7. The Ultimate 144
  8. Letter 2 c/o The Bronx
  9. Party Enemy No. 1
  10. Enjoy
  11. Gamin’ on Ya
  12. Critical Condition
  13. The Wiz
  14. People Riddum (Feat. Odell)
  15. California (Feat. Blvme)
  16. Love’s Theme
  17. A Baby
  18. Same Beat (The Wesley Rap)
  19. D
  20. The Mike & Chris Story

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready to party or just vibe out to some laid back hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty funny, definitely on the better side of their album covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Ugh if only I could find it, but yes I want it very badly.

Final Thoughts:

If it’s not obvious that I’m a big fan of People Under The Stairs I don’t know when it will ever be, perhaps when I review all of their albums? Fun DMC is my favourite album of theirs so far, it’s just so much…fun. The title really gets to the heart of the mentality of the group, old school fun hip-hop. It’s like Jurassic 5, but with two emcees who love their craft and focus on their beats to a worrisome level. The lyrics are goofy, the flows are in the pocket, there is little else I need from a hip-hop album than what Fun DMC delivers. Now start re-releasing some vinyl so I can listen to it forever and ever.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard-Return To The 36 Chambers (1995)

My Rating: 74% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 74%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro
  2. Shimmy Shimmy Ya
  3. Baby C’mon
  4. Brooklyn Zoo
  5. Hippa To Da Hoppa
  6. Raw Hide
  7. Damage
  8. Don’t You Know
  9. The Stomp
  10. Goin’ Down
  11. Drunk Game (Sweet Sugar Pie)
  12. Snakes
  13. Brookly Zoo II
  14. Protekt Ya Neck II The Zoo
  15. Cuttin’ Headz
  16. Dirty Dancin’
  17. Harlem World

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting crazy non-conventional hip hop that’s grimy and dirty.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s iconic, can’t say enough about it. A+

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

If it was on sale, sure.

Final Thoughts:

Ol’ Dirty Bastard is The Wu-Tang Clan’s wild card, while Method Man is sleepy, Redman is goofy, Ghostface is lyrically impressive, Ol’ Dirty sounds like he’s being unleashed from a cell somewhere deep in a mental asylum. Although this album is iconic among hip-hop heads, I personally thought it was a little too all over the place for my liking. When Dirty has his Clan members to keep him somewhat contained, his dangerous flow style is a breath of fresh air and keeps the Wu-Tang interesting and diverse. On his own though, there is nobody to reel the crazy man in, and although it makes for a unique and influential album, it doesn’t always make for the best listen. I love Dirty, there are some amazing tracks on Return To The 36 Chambers but it just will never mean as much to me as it seems to to others.

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