Thursday, March 13, 2014

Better get a pre-nup, hahaha

Love In The Future (John Legend) is such a perfect album, yet I hate it so much. Today, for a change of pace from Janelle Monae and Pitbull, I decided to treat myself to a little Legend.  

The album is genius really, great compositions (although All Of Me/All of You is, as I like to say, akin to a great ten-ingredient salad: it would likely have been even better with just the first six ingredients) , extremely capable voice, a confident and assured message...  

This message is what I hate so much - who can stand all that romance, love and marriage? Sometime in the future, when governments need a campaign to get people loving and procreating again, yeah, sure, grab this sappy album with its excrutiating cover - bloodred flowers on a plain white background - and honeydoused lyrics. 

The album is a great illustration of what I call thematic unity; not only do the titles, cover, lyrics and style, match, but the songs actually bleed one into the next - delightful! ) Anyway, moving on - the one thing more gag-inducing than this music is its official video, I'll spare you and just show a (much saner) live performance instead.  
I didn't want to puke at All Of You on this latest listen.  I managed not to think of the near-inevitability of divorce maybe, like hey, Monsieur or Madame Stupid-In-Love, you'd better get a prenup hahaha. I kept my mind away from the many musical transitions and my theory of salad ingredients. I was using the good speakers and having a good time. ( Speaking of which, I need to get rid of every poor audio machine in my life quality really matters when listening to music. )  I was really enjoying myself. 

To summarize, Love In The Future is a perfect album about...Love In The Future.  It believes in love and wants you to believe too.  Technically, it's flawless.  It should have won whatever the big award is.  
But by the eighth track just now I had to stop the music.  It was getting to be too much sap for my delicate mind to bear. 
 Makes me immature, I guess. I mean, who hates John Legend?


t said...

I looked up this year's Grammy's. Grammies. Whatever.
Love in the Future was indeed a nominee for Best R&B album. Didn't win tho'. It was up against Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys. Now I happen to think that's another 'thematically unified' album. And in some cases it is indeed fire, wow, that duet with Maxwell, plus the video, all New Orleans steamy desperate want-for-touch. John Legend's album is probably better, but Alicia's is pretty good too, so ok.
Assuming the Grammy Awards matter, they need another R&B category. So much great R&B music, only one category...where several other genres get three each : best xyz recording, performance, album, duet/group...

I love Pink. She has great musical taste.

Decided to try out some of the finds on the Grammy nominees/winners page, e.g. downloading Kendrick Lamar right now (hope it's good, never tried him). Then I tried this thing called Lana Del Rey I've seen headlines bashing for years. Oh, Lord. It was very bad music. Stupid voice. Like Beyonce bad. (Beyonce is starting to get less horrendous, vocally, but you get the idea.) I'm going to try one more, but goes to show how you can't rely on the opinions of others, of crowds, of even experts.

Meanwhile, in the Dance categories, I found a nice one called Clarity by Zedd. Not life-changing, but at least not bad. I looked for some more Miguel, it sucked. The Pharell / Daft Punk song that won best recording/performance or something was kinda lame. Pharell isn't lame, but this song was too much of a throwback (60s? 70s?) for me. Even the Tamar Braxton Love/War song wasn't great. There was a much better song by Toni Braxton and Babyface that didn't appear anywhere.

Best album art...crap. Some new agey moon album. Magna Carta Holy Grail. Seriously, I design better book covers. :)
Actually, I need to make this point more strongly sometime - that musically, I'd rather scour Nigerian pop. There's so much good stuff here. PS Look how Wale visited Nigeria and went back to make an extreme booty-shake album. Nothing against Wale, I really really desperately fell in love with the song BAD. But the song was a Tiara Thomas song to me. She rocked the vocals. She supposedly composed the song. He did the rap bits, which I don't care for. But nobody knows Tiara Thomas, so hey. Rihanna played Tiara later on. Rihanna is vocally very sound. Love her work.

One thing the Awards did right: Royals (by Lorde who is, like, a teenager) is a lovely song. Pure Heroine, the album from which it's drawn, is not so super. It's very good, but not particularly noteworthy; unlike the Royals single which was tingly good.

t said...

I was wrong, by the way. There are multiple R&B categories, explicitly and indirectly, at the Grammy's. See?

t said...

I'm feeling Wale's music. Usually all this hip hop rap stuff is Greek to me, but his artistry is clear, his work ethic, and authenticity too. Listen and you'll know what I mean. The album I got is "Sneaker Head."

t said...

I've gone from like to love love love with the Lorde album. Love.

I just got good external speakers. It's great doing Jesse Jagz's Royal Niger Company album again with this device. I love it on all the speakers I've tried...headphones, cheap laptop out, and now my sleek made in China digifon cube. Good stuff. Music is so amazing!

t said...

Peeked at the latest Grammy's. Some of my favourite American things from the past year won:

(Love Marriage and Divorce) The Babyface + Toni Braxton album won (I've thought it was expert, excellent, loved it from day one) , as did Pharell's GIRL (I didn't find it immediately satisfying, then from the second or third time I decided it was f*ing amazing, an intentional piece of work, a trippy piece of work, I didn't think Grammy, but hey, cool, icing on the cake)

As for singles, in January I found Lazaretto (Jack White) on youtube, via and omg it was such an energetic, stirring spectacle that I'd tried many times to rip the video. So, that's a nice win. And of course Kendrick Lamar's i has the same quality. Connects with you. Yes. Glad it got recognized.

That's it in my faves matching the winners.

Comments on Other winners:

- Sam Smith was big in 2014 but I haven't had the time to pay attention.
- I don't deal in Beyonce and gimmick music.
- When I listened to the St. Vincent album, I worried folks would think I'm weird, like what is this? I haven't come to love it yet, it's strange, full of otherworldly howls, but maybe someday I will understand? I'll try again.
- I haven't been paying attention to Eminem. He is/was really good, that likely hasn't changed. I assume the content hasn't changed either?
- The one I will go and find now is Tony Bennett + Lady Gaga. They do the classics, I think American standards? I hope it's fun. Would they break my heart?
- Incidentally, Happy was a best video. I think it was a "happiest" video, "most popular" video, definitely the biggest viral event video-wise, not really a "best" , but oh well, they're not really trying to find the best, are they? Just some confusing combination of good, influential, etc. Incidentally too, Dark Horse was not nominated in that category??? c'mon that's your best video right there. It was nominated in producer / duo categories. No. I think it barely made it as a song because the song had a stupid layout as though they actually resurrected Mozart to do the song, and he had this elaborate thing mapped out and was filling it in with gorgeous music but...Katy Dark Horse Perry zapped him, turned him to dust, before he could finish. So there are these nasty transitions (do you hear what I mean), it builds up to no freaking climax at least nothing near as rich as you'd expect, but the clunky song is saved by expert work in the execution: vocals, mixing, etc, and of course the PERFECT VIDEO. Perfect lyrics, story, matching the acting, singing, movement, just everything but the composition. For a while I couldn't enjoy the music for that tiny reason. It would have been stupendously perfect.

The one I liked via RollingStone, after a few clicks, that wasn't at the Grammies: Tinariwen / Imdiwan Ahi Sigdim . Maybe it's up for next year?

That's all folks.

mlg said...

So just read this post (wow, it was last year already). RE: Pharrell, I could only do 48 seconds of Girl, the song (not the album, haven't listened). I loved his work when he was with N.E.R.D. so much more than the more popular music he's doing now. Could also be that being in a band meant he could focus on the sick beats he's so gifted at creating. And maybe just being younger, with less navel-gazing, and doing music for himself and those like him. They were kind of niche then, understandably. I had their album Fly Or Die, that I got from a Virgin Record Store during some airport stopover ~2004. And from that, looked up other N.E.R.D. stuff like Spaz (, Everybody Nose, She Wants to Move, etc. Some of the most beautifully compiled dancebeats I've ever heard.

t said...

Also going from really like to really really like on Alicia's Girl on Fire album. Sonically bright, useful message, I just really like it. What I'm listening to now. I'm trying to learn something - is it how to be positive, or to just be simply good like that?

Re: mlg I haven't forgotten, will check out N.E.R.D. and stuff. I hope you gave G.I.R.L. another chance. It really works as an album, and you'll like it. A little like this Alicia - it's subtly different, but it's one thing (one fresh take on music, one core message breathed, given life, through music).