Thursday, June 23, 2005
Get Behind Me Satan | V2 Records
On Get Behind Me Satan, the Detroit duo The White Stripes birth a different beast than the lumbering guitar rock animal on 2003’s Elephant. Though some songs like “Instinct Blues” and “Red Rain” are feral guitar-based blues rock numbers, about half of the release finds lead White Stripe Jack White seated behind a piano.
For songs like “The Denial Twist” and “My Doorbell,” the absence of Jack’s guitar is filled by Meg White’s drumbeats, creating tunes that literally bounce in your head. “The Nurse” heads in another direction with the raindrop sounds of the xylophone-like marimba punctured by lightning bolts of electric guitar and drum, while the mostly acoustic “Take, Take, Take” is the sort of dark rock ‘n’ roll that The Rolling Stones perfected on 1968’s Beggar’s Banquet.
Basically, though different from the equally great
Elephant, Get Behind Me Satan is another White Stripes release
that can comfortably take a place in your CD collection
amongst legendary rock albums like Banquet. (ST)
Be | Geffen
“Hip-hop is changing; y’all expect me to stay the same,” bellowed Common just three years ago on his rap-noise experiment, Electric Circus. That’s funny—listening to his new album, it doesn’t sound like things have changed much at all since Resurrection. From the first notes of Be, it’s safe to say the E-Circus has passed through town, never to return. And truth be told, Common’s never sounded better.
Whatever your view of Common’s bold, admirable/disastrous
2002 experiment in noise and style, the lesson is clear: in
hip-hop, the beats make the album. In this case, thanks mostly
to one Kanye West, who keeps things soulful and upbeat, Be
sounds fresh. It’s quite a feat, considering the fact that
Common relies on old tricks: the same dexterous wordplays and
metaphors that have defined his style from the beginning;
duets with powerful guest stars (Kanye and John Legend);
another “Pop’s Rap.” For someone who was apparently so eager
to evolve, Common sure hasn’t changed the way he rhymes. But
when the beats match the rhymes, that’s a sweet sound that’ll
never change. (BS)
Demon Days | Virgin
They’ve created a monster—initially meant as an experimental side-project, the Gorillaz have now graduated to sophomore status. For the most part, Demon Days follows the blueprints of that ever-successful debut LP, with a few changes: minus team Deltron (Dan the Automator and Del tha Funkee Homosapien) to make way for Danger Mouse on production. Meanwhile MF Doom and Roots Manuva fill the vacated quirky-yet-accomplished baritone MC slot on “November Has Come” and “All Alone,” respectively, and “Dirty Harry” takes the place of “Clint Eastwood” as the album’s bouncy tribute—albeit nowhere near as single-worthy.
Yet for all the hubbub, nothing comes close to hitting the high of the single “Feels Good, Inc.” released back in April. Irresistibly catchy, with the U2-ripped chorus and some fresh intro hip-hop verses from De La Soul, it’s the closest thing to the pop-happy days of the debut four years ago. But underneath the seemingly delightful façade, the song reveals a darker nature that extends throughout the rest of the album. From the eerie computer-toned buzz on “O Green World,” or the menacing grunge of “White Light”—even the depressing song titles (“Every Planet We Reach is Dead”) on Demon Days reveal a new depth to the Gorillaz. (BS)